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Boden Blagden
Staj
(3/10/04 7:18 pm)
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Group about to go into the CRM.
Well, at the end of the last session the group convinced Tal that they were there for a wagon to take some artifacts to the temple. They did this by using the wand of disguise from Vacra and using the disguise kit they found. The Fighter/Wizard in the party made himself look like Master Dunrat. Although he never did any of the speaking to Tal. The Human rogue of the party did all of the talking, with a good bluff check.
So, next session they are going to the CRM, and I have a feeling they may use this tactic to get in the door without a fight. I figure if they do get in, and he is disguised as Dunrat again, then Mereclar will want to speak with him and see the artifacts. If this happens how do you all think I should handle this.
I figure Mereclar will see through the disguise pretty easily seeing that the disguise self spell makes it to where if you interact with one using it you will get a will save to see through the illusion.

Your thoughts please.

Grumgarr
Ghoul Worm
(3/11/04 4:29 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
Mereclar probably knows Dunrat by sight - Dunrat however resides in the Outer Fane and almost certainly considers himself above question by Mereclar who he probably sees as a very lowly doorman (particularly considering this is really the 'side door'). Of course, your PCs don't know this.

Basically their relative positions and attitudes might mean that Mereclar would leave Dunrat the hell alone - and I'd say there's no way he has any idea where Dunrat has been or what he's been doing - he's a guard - he's not in the know about the cult's plans. So I wouldn't have him ask about artifacts. He'd be way out of line - not his business.

He might well be a little suspicious of other faces he doesn't know, but new folk come to the Crater Ridge all the time - I'd say with a decent Bluff check (or an Intimidate check from the Rogue if he does the talking) the party can get in with no problems. Of course, now there's a whole gang of guards behind them should they want to leave (and maybe they won't have effective disguises next time they're passing).
If the PCs can't also mimic Dunrat's voice/personality, they might raise suspicions, but is Mereclar willing to risk outright confrontation with a servant of the Outer Fane?

Bottom line is - your group are being creative and clever. Don't penalize them for it. Let them in. Then, when they get the idea of how BIG this place is, let them try to figure out how they're going to get out. That Dunrat disguise isn't going to cut it for long without speech. And anyone who knows Dunrat will get a big bonus to figure out he's not who he seems...let the mindless slaughter (that is the CRM) begin. :evil

Grumgarr

Infiniti2000
Night Beast
(3/11/04 6:08 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
I agree with Grumgarr wholeheartedly. More importantly, Mereclar and Terrenygit will expect Dunrat to do the talking, not his 'lackeys'. If Dunrat doesn't do all the talking, they will get suspicious. Moreover, if they talk to Terrenygit, he will expect certain phrases from Dunrat about glory to Tharizdun and the EEE.

But, the main point is to NOT penalize the players for creative roleplaying. Your group is attempting something that the majority of us wish our players had. 'Role' with it and have fun. :)

Thrommel
Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(3/11/04 7:28 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
Seconded. (Actually 'thirded' I guess.)

I think the CRM experience would actually be MORE frightening if they were able to Bluff their way deep inside and then find out they're surrounded by enemies.

There's enough non-allied monsters in the CRM that they'll get their share of combat without arousing the ire of the Temples. Plus, if they sneak in, they have a better chance of being approached by someone like the Water Temple with an offer of striking against the Fire Temple.

Your party's path is the route that Monte's group went and as I2K said, many of us are envious of that kind of bravado.

-Thrommel, who wonders if he joins some sort of Triad by 'thirding' Grumgarr. If so, I'm taking a PrC...

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/11/04 9:18 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
Yea.

I'm TRYING to inject Role Playing into the CRM as often as possible.

I had the guards at the North Gate be lax, yet curious ... waiting for one of the two rogues or the guy with the Disguise Self wand to try something ... nada ....

I had Omarthis and Riu parley instead of instantly attack when they found adventurers ransacking their treasury. The group just leads with the sword.

They fought with Omarthis and Riu to a standstill (Greater Barghest have WAY too many "At Will" abilities for their CR, holy crap. They're terrified of that thing, now.). Both sides were forced to retreat. (I removed two CR 0.5 guards and gave Omarthis one more level ... of Dwarven Defender. Enlarged Dwarven Defenders with reach are SICK.)

The group is probably going to head the other way next time they come to the mines, hoping to avoid Omarthis And Crew ... unfortunately that'll have them running into Vranthis, a Juvenile Green Dragon ... anybody else notice his CR went up by two?

--fje

--fje

Mr Kaze
Staj
(3/11/04 9:40 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
Having played it both ways, I have to say that it's a lot more fun (to DM) to have the party making bluff checks while the temple goes about its business as usual. If they can get Mary Claire (er, Mereclar) to let them in as if they belong there, then give them suitable XP for having successfully encountered him -- but no more if they go back and kill him later. Then they can drop the disguise a ways down the hall, claim to be new recruits (who always "came in from the other door" -- they do all have temple symbols, right?) and go get themselves hired by somebody to help with the temple infighting. (Subdual damage practice fights are a good way for the PCs to demonstrate that they're better than the rank-and-file guards without betraying their real objective.)

The open concern would be "but do we really want to help the temple like this?" -- which is very valid if you've got any Lawful Good sorts in the party. But anybody with the Chaotic alignment should be all over this kind of thing (which it sounds like they might be). Take a break and watch Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo if you have any doubts about this sort of tactic and its ability to save the world (or at least a small town). Also read up on "the Water Temple Attacks" in the section with the Fire Altar as it gives the kind of insight that a pure hack-and-slash group won't ever see.

And don't worry about "Detect Good" -- nobody's going to be using it in the CRM so long as the doors are guarded. After all, that's what the guards are there for, right?

Good luck to you and your players and may their inventiveness spur your storytelling on to great new heights that most people struggle to achieve.

::Kaze (has so much more fun reacting to bluff checks than initiative rolls...)

msherman
Briar Beast
(3/11/04 9:42 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.
I think you probably made the encounter _easier_ by trading 2 mooks for a level on Oamarthis. Riu's spell-like abilities buff up those guards an awful lot. Have them recruit more of them for the next fight (by which time the party will presumably be higher level).

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(3/11/04 11:45 am)
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Re: Group about to go into the CRM.

At this point, it's already hard for me to get the mooks to do anything in the way of damage.

One, as written, the mooks are likely to be encountered in different places ... if the group gets a surprise round, the high-movement Cleaving Barbarians can usually take out 6-8 without sweating. Already both Bbns do more than 10 points of damage, minimum, if they ever connect ...

99% of the time, of course, the mooks aren't sitting in their room playing dice because my party is loud and tends to kick down the door flinging fireballs (which is getting them in trouble more and more).

Even so, I have to find places and ways for the mooks not to be grouped together because if more than 3 of them are in one place, they get a 7 dice fireball in the face.

I had most of the guards Bull's Strengthened, but only so many people can attack the front ranks at one time. Even so, the BullStr only ups their attacks and damage by 2 points and does nothing for their pitiful HP. Anybody not on the front ranks in the first round ... BOOF with the fireball.

I figured the 2 people I took out would have just been free XP anyway when the first fireball went down ... I try to hide the guards wherever I can so they can come from different angles. They know about That Mage With The Fireballs, but no matter how I ambush they can't get through Jondar's 23AC and even if he IS damaged, that +12 Concentration check means anything that doesn't kill him outright, he can cast through.

As I've said, at this point, the guards are XP On The Hoof. And Cash, too ... there's a market glut in Verbobonc from all the MW Bastard Swords coming in. The party is already only getting 30% for them, and probably 25% next trip into town.

The problem isn't even the guard's To-Hit or damage output, which is really good for .5CR beasties ... they just don't have enough HP or high enough AC to last more than a round. Either they get fried from a fireball or splattered across the room by the Barbarians.

I think I need to redesign them myself for a little more impact. At least make some Archer versions who've taken Point Blank and Precise shot so they can USE a bow to actually hit anything. We're pretty strict on Cover and Firing Into Melee penalties, so the guards As-Is have to charge into combat to have any hope of hitting. That +2 Atk Bonus they have now just doesn't cut it with the -8 trying to fire into a melee over the shoulders of their comrades at people with 18-22 AC.

By giving Omarthis a level of Dwarven Defender, his AC went up dramatically. He hunkered down Enlarged and drove the whole party out of the room. Riu Levitated to the ceiling and crawled along it like something from Alien (scared the crap out of my players), then floated down ON TOP of Jondar and savaged him ... rinse, repeat. Finally the Healer threw a Calm Emotions down on Omarthis and Riu and the Cleric put one on the remaining guards (firing madly from the end of the hall) and the party retreated, seeing as Jondar had been at -6 three times that fight (I can never quite kill the bastard) and both barbarians had been down to negatives once and even the Healer was tapped out of healing spells. One more downed character would be a dead character.

Honestly, that fight, the only things that mattered where Riu and Omarthis. I even had four Invisible guards with readied actions to fire a volley at Jondar the first time he cast a spell ... four arrows rattling harmlessly off of his mage armor.

--fje

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Qualleg
(3/11/04 1:40 pm)
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hmmm..
Well Dunrat is well known, but the chance is that not many people in CRM already met him. Even if they do, they probably couldn't really remember what he looks like. As long as this fighter playing Dunrat well, they should be fine. Of course, when they see Dunrat with new henchmen, they will assume the other are fired.

Strictly speaking, Dunrat will OWE CRM. Hedrack will be caught completely flat foot.

Boden Blagden
Staj
(3/11/04 5:18 pm)
Reply
Re: hmmm..
Well, the group would have no idea what Dunrat sounded like. Dunrat attacked them in an attempt to get the artifacts back and died. But, they knew it was him because he had the note on him. So, The voice will have to be disguised too. The party is mostly elves except the one Human Rogue that did all the talking with Tal. I played Tal as kind of affraid of Dunrat. I don't know if he had ever seen him before, but I figure Tal knows the way the cultist are.

Infiniti2000
Night Beast
(3/11/04 8:08 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: hmmm..
The voice is easily faked. Remember that Dunrat isn't just a priest or even a high priest of one of the temples, he is from the Outer Fane. Therefore, even if they suspect something, there's a good chance they will not say anything just in case. Indeed, he might not even say anything, just point and grunt. ;)

Boden Blagden
Staj
(3/24/04 12:06 pm)
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Re: All went well for the PCs until they met Vranthris.
Well I played Meraclar and Terriget as if they were just not inclined to question Dunrat. Even when the PCs starting talking about the artifacts Meraclar and Terriget just looked puzzled as to what he was talking about. The PCs used some good bluff and diplomacy skills and found out about the earth temple and the mine tracks. They decided to go down the tracks and avoid the temples for the moment.

Going down the tracks they were able to sneak up on the Ettin and his pet and dispose of him, but the large ettin packed such a punch that he took out the Monk after a couple of rounds. After that the sage (aka rogue with education feat and lots of knowledge was devoured by the ochre jelly.)
Now two members down the party moved on and wound up catching Vranthis in his cave. (I gave a 10% chance he was in his cave and it turned out in their favor.) they were quickly breathed on but they recovered and were able to defeat Vranthis with only one casualty. In the middle of the battle three humans were randomly teleported to the top of the platform and aided the group with defeating the dragon.

With the group so far into the CRM I figured bringing people in naturally would be impossible for a while, so I just teleported them in.

The group now looks like this.

Aasimar Cleric 5 of Horus-Re
Human Barbarian 5 (frenzied berzerker)
Human Wizard 5
Wood Elf Ranger3/Fighter2/Order of the bow Initiate 1
Sun Elf Cleric 5 of Hanali Celanil
Shield Dwarf Fighter 5
Human/Shadow-Walker Rogue 4

The group is pretty heavy.

The group spotted Moolowik in the water and began to call out to him to talk. So, he talked to them and invited them to help the water temple in it's quest to destroy the fire temple. The group agreed so the only thing I knew to do was try and bring them to the Water bridge and from there have them wait for others in order to attack the fire temple. The group has gotten to the orcs so far and they have killed Murant, but there are still several orc wariors to go through.
I had D'gran let them through only if he was paid. I am really at a loss now at what to do. I figured before that I would have someone from either Terriget or Meraclar to follow them and see what they were up to.

I am really looking for what to do next since I have strayed from the way the module reads and let the PCs basically walk through part of the CRM without having to fight, although eventually they will have to fight. They will go through the orcs easily and go through the air temple. How should those in the Air temple react to a Kua-Toan and a bunch of adventurers walking through their temple.

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