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Registered User
(1/9/02 12:11 pm)
Andorax's Sunday night PCs
Starting out a thread to chronicle the adventures of my TWO different parties going through Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Pardon if this thread, is a bit spotty...this is all from memory, and significant pre-history behind this group at this point.

The Sunday group has been at it now for about 3 months (ok, we're slow. We've jobs and lives and limited gaming time)

Initially, the group consisted of two Half-Elves, a Fighter (Toran) and a Rogue/Bard (name forgotten) (both 3rd) and an Aasimar Cleric (Thel) (2nd). I like to give experienced characters a set of modules for a "back history". It helps me choose appropriate items for them, and give them something of a background to work from. In this case, the PCs had completed "L1 - Bone Hill", a ruined keep with Bugbears upstars and undead downstairs.

I had intended to give them three different rumors to track down...a missing persons case (Manefesting, a Tale) and a Druid who's own natural cures have failed to find a solution to a grave disease, and needed the help of an Alchemist (The Alchemist's Eyree, with Jaroo (the real one) issuing the request. News travels slowly), and rumors of missing miners (The Burning Plague).

Well, I placed Bone Hill about a week south of Hommlett, and the PCs headed further south for the missings persons case. They missed a fork in the road, had a desperate struggle with a Gnoll and an Ogre, and ran into an Ankheg mound. Alas, the Fighter (Toran) was made short work of by the massive mandibles of the Ankheg (hard to learn when to stab and when to try to struggle free).

The PCs made a desperate run back to Restenford (near Bone Hill), only to discover that the cleric there was unable to raise the dead. They had an even more desperate run further up to Hommlet, where they had to consult with the Cannoness Yday, the only cleric capible of such acts. After a very frustrating process of gaining an audience, and convincing her of their sincere need, the PCs had to work their rears off to raise the necessicary 1000 gps. Success, and Toran returned to the land of the living.

From there, it was NorthEast, to investegate the old ghost town of Nulb. A few difficult encounters along the way failed to convince them that they were heading into trouble. A nasty fight with a Yeth Hound, and another with a Wight still didn't deter them, and so they came to the edge of Nulb at sunset, and saw the undead rising and shambling about the village.

That turned them back...but only for rest and preparation. They returned in the morning, and Thel used his Detect Evil to find where each Skeleton or Zombie was buried, while the other two slew it as it rose up to attack.

This worked great, until Lareth heard them about their work. Casting Bull's Strength and Rage, he charged the Rogue/Bard, quarterstaff in hand, and frothing at the mouth, striking two-handed (not using it as a double-weapon).

And that's when I rolled a 20 and a 6.

Alas, the Bard/Rogue was splattered into paste. The other two fled quickly while Lareth continued to pummel the pasty corpse with the shattered half of his quarterstaff, screaming all the while.

(they went back to Hommlet without the body).

Demoralized, and thinking of unpleasent thoughts about their "killer" DM, the two of them decided to check out the mines (without asking for, or recruiting, any sort of aid). They journeyed two days west to Duvik's Pass, and thense, into the mine. Several dead kobolds later (Toran now has a phobia of rats, to add to her phobia of monstrous insects), they managed to reach the cave of the Orc Priest. Well, a Hold Person and a Darkness were the follow up, and with Toran held, I was able to make short work of poor Thel. Toran came out of it just in time, and Thel had cast a Silence about her location (I ruled that the Silence would negate the Orc's Blindfighting). So we had a fighter and a cleric swinging at each other in the dark. Finally, Toran prevailed...and returned with Thel's body to Hommlet.

1000 gp later, she convinced the Cannoness to try to return Thel, but alas, he had gone on to a better place, and wasn't coming back for nothing!

Enter Camber (Human Rogue 2/Wiz 2, working on Arcane Trickster) and Lyssa (Half-Orc Cleric of Kord, out to prove that not all Half-Orcs are evil, depraved losers).

Our intreped band sets forth to the northwest this time, heading towards the Dwarven Alchemist's home (they met with "Jaroo", who played it cool, figuring it would be better to keep in character, and anything that send adventurers AWAY was to the better. Camber was particularly excited about the prospect, as he is a budding Alchemist himself.

A few more random encounters later (the "near the Moathouse" table has been deemed to me to be a "near Hommlet" table, and it sorely needs expansion), and the PCs arrive. They contend with the hordes of wererat Dwarves quite well for a party of their level, take down the Imp in short order (I backed it off to standard HD and stats), and pull some very intelligent play off. They were able to hold off the ambushers who came in the front door behind them with a couple smokesticks, well placed. They repeatedly made good use of the tight quarters (although Lyssa was very upset about the entire process).

The Earth Elemental gave them some serious trouble, and the boss of the Wererats nearly killed them. I had both Lyssa and Toran into the negs, and Camber and his viper familiar barely managed to finish him off, thanks to a Potion of Blending that they'd taken off of the bandit leader on the way there.

The Gnome got away, and he stole their mule and much of their equipment.

With some serious grunting and heaving, Camber managed to get both of them up to the "Officer's Quarters", and nursed them back to consciousness. In the process, alas, he also confirmed that they had both contracted Lycanthropy.

Back to Hommlet. The entire Alchemist's stock and store, less a few chosen items, went to Spugnoir's shop to offset the cost of a cure, and they went once again to the Church of St. Cuthbert. Somewhat surprised to find them all alive and standing, they were asked what was wrong...and in an act of considerable brilliance, they told them flat-out.

Well...about five minutes later, they were escorted by about a dozen Burne's Badgers and by Elmo to the dungeons below the keep.

Well, to make a long story short, Yether the Keen made an impassioned speech to Y'day, and convinced her to attempt a cure for these poor individuals. I allowed her to stretch the 12th level requirement by having Yether and her assistant (name escapes me) assist via a vauge semblance of the old 2nd edition Combine spell. Two nights, and (again) most of their money later, they're all having drinks at the Welcome Wench and cursing the day they were born.

Enter Scott, Human Fighter 4 (Halbardier).

It's off to the Moathouse now. Too bad they didn't believe the ranger fellow out in the wilds. "Oh no, it couldn't possably be a Dragon...he's off his rocker." They didn't even ask what color!

A desperate struggle ensued, and through the use of tactics, skill, desperation, and luck they managed to bring Big U down to about 20 hps, at which point he flew off and decided to come back later (let the healing begin).

The PCs managed to investegate most of the Moathouse Dungeon. They inadvertantly freed Spugnoir by killing the Gnolls, and then heading south and through the Ghoul Shortcut. They actually found the hidden altar.

DM tip: Don't just let them plow through the tunnels unimpeeded. Throw in half a dozen more ghouls, and ambush them in 1s or 2s. If they ARE to reach the hidden altar, make 'em work for it instead of just giving it to them.

They managed to clear out much of the dungeon. Backing out, they made camp outside the moathouse.

In the night, two different people on two different shifts spotted a dark figure making his/her/it's way from the moathouse towards town, and didn't wake the others or choose to investegate themselves. Thus, did Spugnoir get home safely, and thus did one of the remaining clerics send for help.

The following morning, back into the dungeon. Nasty ambush by the Gnolls and their leader in the courtyard (I used the arrow slits to good effect here). Epic fight between the party's one visible human (Scott) and the Gnoll Ranger.

The rest was cleared out, save for the well and the stone wall. Leery of both, they chose to prepare for a fresh start in the morning. They camped in the pillared room.

Well, the cleric returns, and brought the Assassin from town with him. It went something like this:

Invisibility on Cleric.

Silent Portal on the secret door, to open it silently (I did this one minor substitution on his spell list).

Invisibility on self.

Go down the non-hidden stairs, sneak around, come to door. Door won't budge (Lyssa has shoved her bunk up against it).

Whittle, whittle, whittle...try to drill a hole to peek/stab through with rapier.

Dang...the watch heard him. Tiptoe away.

PCs are standing at ready near other door. Armed, dangerous, and ready to roll. Assassin sneaks in the secret stair, walks up behind Toran, and...

...well, when you add Sneak Attack, Death Attack, and a fairly nasty poison together, the results aren't pretty. Toran's second death.

Assassin runs. PCs pursue. Cleric tries to smack the straggler, Camber, in the back.


Ok...from this point, it gets better for the good guys. They manage to take out both the Assassin and the remaining Cleric, and cart a boatload of stuff, and a dead Toran, back to Hommlet.

At this point, the Cannoness is starting to contemplate construction of another wing on the Temple of St. Cuthbert, but Toran is once again returned to the land of the living.

In the ensuing recovery period, the PCs take a couple days off, talk to Spugnoir, manage to sell all the stuff they've accumulated and identified at something of a profit for once. They also let Yether know about the cultists, and pass the letter on that they found.

Well then. What is it with my PCs and letting the NPCs have all the fun? Yether, Y'Day, Burke, Rufus, Elmo & Co. root the cultists out of the millhouse, and catch the Doppleganger as well. What can I say? With their cover blown, they didn't stand much of a chance against these guys. Of course, the PCs lose out on much XP, equipment, treasure, and clues.

So the PCs set forth for the Moathouse. Guess what?

Yup...Big U has come home in this time.

Battle ensues once more, and Big U's less likely to get anywhere near Lyssa's Greatsword and Scott's Halbard this time 'round. Flitting from tower to tower, he smacks them with lightning every chance he gets.

Close call with a Tanglefoot bag on the drawbridge (curse that Camber).

Now, I'm forced to lightning blast the ceiling of the moathouse to cause it to set afire, since the PCs have taken shelter inside. Eventually, I manage to drive them underground.

They use the stoneshape scroll to open the stone wall, manage to NOT get stoned by the Cockatrices, and find the secret way out. U's still circling over the moathouse, so they go back inside to camp, rest, and prepare to take on...the Well.

Ok, so finally they get to the whole point of the dang Moathouse!

Trip down to the top of the pillar is an easy one, but they're obviously nervous. The veins of purple moving around of their own accord isn't helping things.

They dart to the other platform, and Scott starts lowering them down. Down, down, down...Grell attacks!

Lyssa stands at the side the Grell is coming from. She's strong enough to fend off grapple efforts, and manages to chop off just about any tentacle that gets a grip on a fellow PC. Damage MACHINE. the Grell makes a ripe *splat* on the floor. That's the cue for the Cleric to wake up and get nasty (dang, I wish I could remember names better). I opened with Summon Monster II (Infernal Dire Bat), and proceeded from there to Bull's Strength, and start insanely hacking at things with my short sword.

In retrospect, I think Tharzidun priests shouldn't summon Infernal or Abyssal creatures. They should probably summon Pseudonatural critters, as per the Alienist PrC in T&B.

Contending with two flying critters at once made for an interesting challenge, and when Scott was Held, I ruled that his hand stayed gripped 'round the rope, which caused it to go right up into the pully and be trapped, painfully, but to arrest the movement of the disk.

The priest got sick of being swiped at, so he decided to fly up and start cutting the rope!. In desperation, Lyssa summoned a Celestial Eagle to harass him, and between the Eagle and missile support from below, they took the cleric down...down, down, down, *clink*.

And so the PCs make their way to the bottom.

Lyssa, getting sick of freezing her arse off, pulls the fur cloak off of the priest and....

...goes to wash it off in the pool!

Well, they managed to survive that (and I've finally nearly run them out of Antitoxins). The compulsury thorough search of the place, accompanied with the summoning of at least two more Grell (can't ANYONE just bring in one and call it good?). Toran makes a teensy mistake and managed to wake up the emblem of Tharzidun. PCs watch in horror as she goes comatose and their attempts to stabilize her fails.

She said "Yes" the second time she was asked.

Again, the player demonstrates her brilliance, and tells the others everything that happened, right down to her agreeing to free "it". She actually thought "it" was going to be some good thing trapped down here to assist them against the bad things.

Then again, they also misread the note to think that the "Water Temple" was the poisoned pool, and the "Fire Temple" and something to do with that black sun emblem on the floor.

Well, the PCs (who now seriously distrust Toran, thinking she may have turned evil) make their way back upstairs, and back to town, and once again, in an act of sheer brilliance, recount the whole story to Yether. Why Yether didn't denounce Toran at least, and possibly the whole party, on the spot is beyond me...but I let it go with a stern "You do realize that you might have triggered the end of the world, don't you?"

A night's rest with everyone alive, for once, and they're on their way to Rastor.

They run afound of 5(!) Dire Wolves en-route to Duvik's Pass, which is about two days in the right direction. In town, they're treated well for having stopped the disease (well, Toran is...she was the only survivor from that part). They're pointed in the right direction for Rastor, and set forth.

Geez, but I'm rolling vindictively on the random encounter chart. 5 Dire Wolves, then a Wyvern (lucky poison saves, and now I *have* used up their Antitoxins) which they managed to drive off and get to establish a "I'll find safer prey elsewhere" attitude, and then...

Yes. 00. A Grey Render. How in the heck am I supposed to throw a Grey Render at these guys, as they make their way through high hills/low mountains?

Well, a day out, I hit them with a dead Orc Barbarian L3 (equipment from DMG). Described his masterwork breastplate as crushed in beyond repair. Next afternoon, they spot a large animal trap by the creekbed.

Side note: I roll up all the encounters for a given journey, knowing how long it *should* take. It lets me prepare them far better and have a good feel for how to present them.

Well, their next camp went quietly until the dawn watch, when "snap", another trap goes off in the distance. Yowl, goes the Moutain Lion trapped in it. Yowl, rowl, Thud, Thud, Thud, THUD.

Camber sneaks up. There's a very perplexed and frustrated Grey Render trying to open the trap without further hurting his friend, the Moutain Lion.

Battle ensues once more. Suffice it to say that if the PCs hadn't had three Warhorses fighting on their behalf (one of which died in the process), they'd be turning back towards Hommlet again. As it is, they were exhausted, hurting, and thoroughly miserable when they reached a cave along the side of the road that evening (after severely yelling at Scott for suggesting they track the Render back to it's lair..."what if there's MORE of these things?!?")

Next encounter...5 Ogres (I told you I rolled hot). Again, it was that night. They're not fully healed, they're out of spells...I just KNOW I'm going to kill the party.

I rolled was Lyssa's. Wait a sec...bright idea coming on.

Ogres come shambling up the road. They stop when they see Lyssa. Shout something in Giantish.

Lyssa wakes up the party, and they prepare for a life-or-death struggle.

Ogre shouts at them again.

Prep spells (Mirror Image, Bull's Strength). Grab weapons and shields.

Ogre shouts, now in Orcish "Hey, little one...we saw come out and talk."

Lyssa pokes head around.

"You done using cave? Been walking all night...want sleep."

The PCs readily agreed.

They crossed a wooded valley, and ran afoul of a Huge Monstrous Spider, which they managed to make short work of, and last Sunday ended within sight of Rastor.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(1/14/02 7:17 am)
Re: Andorax's Sunday night PCs
Alas, for it...but my reputation as a "killer DM" grows. I sincerely hope things work out better, on a Player as well as a DM level, before my other group gets this far.

My intrepid band of adventurers, acting on little information and less cunning, arive in Rastor. Lyssa immediately gets terribly confused, trying to reconsile the apparent presence, open on the street in broad daylight, of half-orcs who aren't hiding their faces...with the fact that the first two people she meets in town (the Dwarven Blacksmith and the Dwarven Priest) seem to hate her for some reason (remember, much of Lyssa's personality is taken up with trying to prove Half-Orcs aren't innately bad).

A brief interchange between the party that gets a little loud, and the innkeeper overhears some banter, offering to put Camber in touch with someone "a bit more willing and less argumentative" than the two female PCs in the party.

The PCs were definately caught off guard by the fact that the town not only seems to know about the CRM, but that their presence there isn't seen as a "dire threat", but more a "oh, yeah...sure...they're there."

So things are going well. So they decide to hike up to the CRM and take a look-see. There's a half-formed plan that has something to do with ambushing a patrol and either charming or roughing them up and questioning them.

So out come the dice, and wham....d4+4 1st level Warriors. D4=3, and we have 7 warriors hiking DOWN from the CRM to buy supplies in town. Another D4, and they're from the Air Temple. they've got a back door, and a need for competent help. This can be worked in.

For interest sake, I decided to give them an L3 Cleric as a leader, so we've 6 L1 Warriors and 1 L3 Cleric.

What does the party try to do, when they spot the warriors first?

Three of them try to hide behind a boulder large enough for two, and the fourth stands in the road, and just waves them on by. Alas, 'twas Toran. Alas again, for Toran was wearing the Black cloak with the Elder Elemental Eye emblazoned upon it, taken from the Gnoll Captain in the Moathouse.

Well, the questions started flying, but in the wrong direction. Toran wouldn't answer which temple she served, and couldn't even explain which temple her supposed recruiter, Festrath, was with. Then one of the others spotted the hiders (or two of them anyways). Lyssa and Scott make for the road, as Camber gives them the "shh...go away..don't give away my position" signal.

So the three of them are questioned, and still no answers that are either good enough to satisfy, nor bad enough to justify an assault (remember, the Air Temple is the weakest, and can't afford to lose their own forces, let alone these potential recruits, if they're for real).

Well then. Lyssa, Scott, and Toran are marched back UP the road at swordpoint to talk to their Captain, Kel (He'll decide what to do with youse guys). Next unexpected twist...Camber returns to Rastor, takes their horses, and rides for Hommlet like there's no tomorrow, convinced that they joined the forces of evil of their own free will, and not bothering to even shadow them to see what happens.

Alas, the other three PCs kept waiting for Camber to backstab, hypnotise, or cast SOME sort of spell or take SOME sort of action on these guys, and then they'd draw their weapons, leap into action, etc.

Camber never they never now the three of them have two warriors behind each of 'em, and the cleric leader is pounding on the door. Kel comes out, with his gang of two Ogres and 3 more Warriors in tow (and a Gnoll with an Xbow at either arrow slit).

Well, a few more, deeper, questions are asked. A few more suspicions are raised, and Kel finally decides.

"Well, you're obviously Thieves, Spies and Liars. That cloak you wear, were you truely in the service of the Elder Elemental Eye, would not be given to a new recruit. You've none of the posessions or markings of new recruits, and know nothing of our ways. Last, all of your explanations ring false."

"However, we have NEED of Thieves, Spies and Liars. So I give you this choice: Lay thy hand upon the Altar of Air and swear a binding oath of loyalty...or die."

Now, raise your hand if you thought, even for a moment, that they would take the option that doesn't end in "or die".

Sorry were wrong. They did the noble thing...stabbed someone and took off running.

Scott, in his Breastplate, didn't get far. He was mobbed, stabbed, and then flattened with the flats of blades.

Toran had a bad inititive roll, and was charged and clubbed by an Ogre. She tried to flat run away, and was clubbed again (AoO). She was staggered, but determined not to give up, so she stuck him with her sword. Ogre remembered his orders at this point, set the club aside and punched her full in the face. Goodnight.

Lyssa ran for all she was worth. The other Ogre pursued her. She heard his footsteps coming up behind her, turned, and CRITTED with her Greatsword! Sliced him open from crotch to chin. Turned, and fled some more.

The other Ogre, reluctantly, gave chase (Kel didn't exactly ASK). Eventually, he caught up with her (the rest of the troops, all in Splint or worse, couldn't). And met with the same fate. So Lyssa, uninjured but exhausted, made her way back to town alone.

Well, here's where the story turns south. Camber took everything except the cart and rode off to "parts unknown". The player retired the character, and has quit the campaign, citing that he can't play at the same table as Toran's player, since "she'll always do things that will cause my PCs to react like that."

So Lyssa is now back in Hommlet (random encounters didn't feel appropriate under the circumstances). She has no horse, no companions, about enough money to stay at the Inn for a week, and a deep sense of despair.

Scott and Toran...well, their souls were offered up to the EEE on the Altar of Air, and their worldly goods were divied up between the Air forces. Not a bad trade for two Ogres, all things considered.

Tune in next week, when we'll be introducing two new PCs, proportedly a Monk and a Battle Wizard. That is, IF there is a next week at all.

One very depressed DM signing off.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Unregistered User
(1/14/02 7:51 am)
Pretty harsh session...

How did the other players (not PCs) handle the session?

What kind of ideas do you have for slipping the new PCs in?

I'm curious, 'cause I'm digging for ideas in case something like this happens to me.

Hang in there; it sounds like it's been a good campaign so far.

Registered User
(1/14/02 2:16 pm)
Re: Ouch....
The other Players handled it quite well. Both of them felt that what happened was the direct result of their own mistakes, and that they knew full well, going into it, that mistakes carried consequences.

Lyssa's player was relieved to have survived, miffed that she never caught up with Camber to enact vengance, and has gone back to talk to Yether the Keen. He has counselled her to try and let a clearer head prevail. She's now more determined than ever to do something about this place.

Yether suggested to her that there is a group of adventurers just down from Verbobonc who have heard rumors of troubles here in Hommlet. I'm asking the remaining two players to come up with co-backgrounds for their PCs, so they'll be meeting with Lyssa, and I'll let her tell the tale from her own point of view. I'm also thinking of using Xaod to prod them in the direction of Nulb/old Temple to give them some more XP and some more self confidence (Lyssa was the player who had the former Rogue/Bard pummeled into paste by Lareth, so she's understandably nervous OOC about going back).

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(1/16/02 7:42 pm)
Re: Ouch....
Ouch I believe is an understatement. *sighs* Well, if it is any consideration from what I could read it wasn't necessarily your DMing that got them killed so I see no reason why you should feel bad. However, if your characters are getting whooped up on during random encounters remember you can not have them happen. It isn't like your bound to the random encounter table. Maybe you don't like to fudge the occasional dice roll but I think it sometimes is necessary. Again, as long as the players were ok with the deaths then there isn't anything wrong. If, however, they are getting hopelessly depressed then try something (like the hobgoblins in the temple like you said) to give them some confidence.


Registered User
(1/17/02 9:31 am)
Hope springs anew
Thanks for the concern, Tellerve. You mention not letting a random encounter ruin the session...but the "random encounter" was supposed to just be 6 L1 Warriors and an L3 Cleric. The party *should* have made short work of was their planned ambush that they *WANTED* to set up, for crying out loud.

If it had been Orcs, it wouldn't have been an issue. They would have just shrugged, said "oh, look...orcs. Kill 'em", and gone about their business. But oh, no...they're Humans. They could all be 8th level! (then again, so could Orcs...details). So they tried to bluff...badly (Toran's not exactly good at it, and she had a hard time answering the logical questions I would think the patrol leader would ask).

It's not that the random encounter itself was out of scale, or bad, or a's that things went from bad to worse to STILL worse, because I followed a logical progression, making the decisions I thought the PCs in that position would make. I hated doing it, but I had little choice while still maintaining a universe where things make sense.

Some good news. Toran's player has thoroughly berated Camber's player, and he will be returning next Sunday. At present, it looks like we'll be having a Dwarven Fighter (possably Fighter/Psi Warrior), a Human Monk and a Human Wizard/Sorceror (don't know which...either way, it's going to be a "blow things up" mage).

I still think I'm going to drag Xaod into this, and try and push the PCs into investegating Nulb and the Old Temple. It'll give them a chance to find out some firsthand things about what the old Temple is like, and perhaps learn a bit about the four elements and the history behind it. I think Lyssa is planning on having a long chat with Elmo over a few ales and trying to learn a few history lessons (why oh why didn't they do that a month ago?)

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(1/17/02 9:40 am)
Hope springs anew
dbl post

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Edited by: Andorax at: 1/23/02 8:36:22 am
Registered User
(1/22/02 8:26 am)
And the adventure resumes
Well, not much got done on Friday, save for character generation...but the adventure is once again underway.

Curses...I just realized I don't have my new PC's names memorized. Forgive me my fragile memory, I shall correct this error soon.

We've added the following three to the group:

Human Sorc 6 (fire/assault mage)
Human Monk 6 (lots of skills)
Dwarven Fighter 1/Psi Warrior 5 (who can charge across the ceiling up to 50').

Should be an interesting croud. I gave them a "backstory" by pawing through my module stock and store, and came up with the Saltmarsh trilogy. They're fairly well garbed and equipped as a result, with the Monk and the Dwarf duling it out for best AC (both 22 normally...the Monk has the Bracers of Armor +4, and the Dwarf has Half-Plate +2 and a Lg. St. Shield +1).

They added their own element, though...apparently, they're chasing after a former rogue companion of theirs...a fellow named Camber who nicked off with all the spellbooks they had found (unsold), a fair portion of the cash, and several of the magic items. It'll sound rather familiar to Lyssa.

Anyways, all we did was get the three of them into town and settled in the Inn. Lyssa got very drunk talking with Elmo, but managed to pry some history out of him. I also had Xaod stumble into the Inn on his way to the common room to pass out, hollaring something about "Fire and Ash" and something about "nothing but a bunch of worthless Hobgoblins". Caught the Sorceress' attention, as part of her backstory is that she accidentially burned the inn in her own town down.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Mungeon Daster
Registered User
(1/23/02 4:51 am)
Re: And the adventure resumes
Excellent stuff. I love the bit about '...or die' LOL ! :)

I'd say you're a great DM and you have a set of great players that roleplay well even when they know things their characters don't. Sounds like they dug their own graves, layed in them and then asked to be buried...

The encounter with the temple guards sounds like a tragi-comic masterpiece !

Unregistered User
(1/23/02 8:51 am)
I loved reading through your party's exploits :) You really seem to be a good DM (although I myself don't use random encounters as much) and it's not your fault if the PC's approach is unfitting for the circumstances. But that depends on the players being able to really feel in the situation. But again, your abilities to improve that are limited. It reminds me of the time my party tried to escape the prison of a drow city in the Underdark. Instead of trying to sneak out they tried to blast their way out, because that was what the players were accustomed to, blasting. It was only that I didn't want to spoil the campaign that they didn't get crushed ; I put in a portal to the Astral plane that sent them far away... and yet so close... All in all I'll be looking forward to the next installment :)

Registered User
(1/25/02 11:20 am)
Re: :D
I've enjoyed the story as well -- i look forward to the next installment.

Don't suppose you GM in Raleigh, NC do you...... I'm looking for a good/great game....

Bobby Nichols

A polar bear is a rectangular bear after a coordinate transform.

Registered User
(1/25/02 12:04 pm)
Re: :D
Alas, no...but if anyone here just happens to be in Boise, Idaho, I'd welcome a visitor/guest/possible new player on my Friday night non-RttToEE game.

Next installment is coming up on Monday. It should be interesting to see how the introductions go, and if I can keep them focused on the task at hand (ending a great horror) rather than going tearing up the road to Verbobonc in search of Camber.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(1/28/02 8:09 am)
Progress once more
Well, we're back underway again. Just to clear up a clerical matter:

Rurik - Dwarven Fighter 1 / Psi Warrior 5
Tsindin - Human Sorceress 6
Leto - Human Monk 6

Now that that's out of the way, we can proceed.

We left off with Rurik on his way upstairs to go to bed. He seems to, by custom, barge in on Leto in the middle of the night rather than bothering to buy his own room. Well, a loud, drunk Dwarven fighter doesn't exactly endeer one to one's fellow Inn guests, but nothing particularly came of it...right away.

Morning came. Lyssa was up early, and kept a general eye on the comings and goings. Tsindin and Leto broke their fast together, and waited for Rurik to awaken. Lyssa headed back upstairs, just as Rurik emerged from Leto's room, hung over and miserable. Well, the insults started flying, and concluded with Lyssa (current STR 24) shoving Rurik down the stairs (in spiked half-plate armor).

Rurik came flying back up the stairs, Animal Affinity: Strength going. Leto zipped across the room, up the stairs, and next to Rurik, and proceeded to trip him and tell him to settle down, since he had started it.

Well, Vesta arrived on the scene next, and chewed the lot of them out for being disruptive and fighting in "her" Inn. Lyssa is under the (mistaken) impression that she's been kicked out of the Inn for good. Lyssa met up with Yether, who surprised her by leading her Light Warhorse back out from the Inn's stables, telling her that he and Rudolph had had a talk last night, and "worked something out" (Camber had stolen and sold her horse when he left for Verbobonc).

Both the new group, and Lyssa, independant of one another, had sought out Xaod, and both had agreed to have another go at the Old Temple with him. They all met at the edge of town (Lyssa and Rurik eying each other warily), and headed north.

Made short work of the Dire Badgers. I made a minor change with Xaod...I swapped out his "stored" Dagger for a stored Heavy Lance. Much more effective use of the power when on the road, and he can switch it back easily enough when he's heading into a close-quarters situation.

The next day was uneventful, and they camped a couple hours short of Nulb. They rode into it during the day, crossing the bridge and keeping tight to the right along the river. Xaod has no particular desire to mess with the place, as he's no magical weapon capible of harming the nastier dead things that walk there.

Soon enough, they arrive at the old Temple. Awed by it's immensity, they start discussing their plans. Lyssa, somehow still in a grouchy mood, asks Xaod "How do I know you're not leading us into a trap?" Well, Xaod decides he isn't going to put up with that, turns his back on the PCs, and walks straight in. The rest follow, after a bit.

Tsindin's sleep wand makes short work of the sentries, but alas, not short enough...and the four guards in the Vestibule book inwards to alert the bosses.

Note to self for second running of RttToEE...the Elite Hobgoblins have Greatswords and Potions of Bull's Strength!

Well, Tsindin's fireballs are very good at cutting down on the badguy population. First one wipes out most of the ten hobgoblins on the left, and between Xaod, Rurik and Lyssa, the rest are downed quickly. Second one injures the Dire Ape badly and wipes out his Elite Warrior friend.

Note to self #2. The Adept has a brooch of shielding. Don't forget those!

Long story short, they hardly break a sweat against everyone else, although Xaod falls prey to a pair of criticals in the same round, and has to step back and heal himself (something that Rurik noticed, but may not have interpreted successfully).

Then comes the two "big baddies". Lyssa was my first target, and she's dropped to 1hp in a single round by a Bull's Strengthed, Invisible Hobgoblin Boss who's getting full Sneak Attacks on account of catching her flat-footed. My Adept would have stayed invisible if he hadn't needed to be flanking (they wiped out everything else too quickly), so he bashed at Leto with his mace, and missed.

From there, the Boss managed to force into retreat one hero a round, while the Adept kept keeping him, and himself, whole. That is, until Leto (the second victim) and Lyssa charged back into the fray at the same time that I missed both attacks agianst Rurik.

In a single rush (and a Feat of Strength from Lyssa), they managed to down the Hobgoblin boss.

Ok...the escape routes are blocked, the heroes are all standing, all armed, all looking like they're about to kill the lone Hobgobin Adept *A LOT*.

Fine. I know I'm dead meat anyways...the Adept snapped his wand and hurled his potion belt to the floor, and died the following round.

The PCs have healed up, mopped up the goodies, and are preparing to return to Hommlet with some decent cash in their pockets for once.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(1/28/02 8:16 am)
Re: Progress once more
No tries for surrender?

Registered User
(1/28/02 9:15 am)
Catdragon in Raleigh?

I live in Raleigh!

small world.


Registered User
(1/28/02 12:44 pm)
Surrender and Hobgoblins
They were slaughtered alltogether too quickly to try to happened very fast and furious. When it was down to the two "bosses", the chief bullied the adept into it, telling them that they were weakened and were soft humans.

The Adept might have surrendered to them, but from the look of the PCs (body language, behavior, general impression) I figured that HE figured that there was no way out of there, surrender or flee. He'd already seen how fast the Monk can move and how nasty of spells the Sorceress can cast, and really didn't see much by way of mercy or pity in the eyes of the PCs.

They dang near rolled the flaming sphere over the escaping human prisoner, on the theory of "it's moving, kill it".

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Unregistered User
(1/28/02 1:22 pm)
He mightive been able
to bargain for his life with the magic items, instead of just outright destroying them.

Registered User
(2/4/02 9:04 am)
Let Dead Hobgoblins Lie
Suffice it to say, the hobgoblin chose to insult the PCs rather than plead for his life against five bloodthirsty killers (from his point of view). It's happened, and we've moved on.

Hearing the comotion, the "rogue" Hobgoblins in Area 3 decided to quietly depart, while the ones in the tower just holed up and bolted down. The PCs withdrew for the night. I rolled random encounters, but the only one which came up was 2 hobgoblins. I ruled they just quietly gave the PCs a wide berth.

Well, they were disappointed that the outbuildings were empty, and frustrated that the Tower was sealed against them. "Go away...we don't got nuthin ta do with them in the Temple. We don't got nuthin ta do with yer raids. We's just livin 'ere, we ain't comin out, and we ain't lookin for no fight. So bugger off."

After determining that the roof was probably not accessable, the door wouldn't fall easily, the arrow slits were too narrow to do much through, and that they didn't want to waste their one Knock spell (from scroll), they left for Nulb.

Not sure how you guys have been running Lareth, but I've had a fairly "raving lunatic" approach to him. Hearing them coming, I normally slap some prep spells on him, the last of which is Rage (which does NOTHING for his state of mind) and have him charging the PCs down, screaming " BEGONE" at the top of his lungs and trying to pummel whatever he sees into paste.

Well, I knocked Xaod clean off his horse with my charging blow (+10 bonus to damage will do that), and proceeded to lay about me. I was quickly surrounded, though, and Lyssa pulled out her Feat of Strength AND got a critical (mumble, grumble), which nearly finished me off...Xaod managed ANOTHER critical and did the rest.

PCs very nervous about his stuff. Wanted to question him, and Leto was examining him to see if he was still partly alive, but I told him that he "should have died before he quit moving". They're nervous indeed at this point, and they left his corpse in one of the side-buildings (oops).

The Inn went badly for them, and alas, spelled the end of poor Xaod. Even without the Death Attack, d8+4d6 was too much for him. The Horrific Gaze struck Leto and Tsindin, but I rolled pathetically (1, 1, 2), and after Rurik disarmed Wat twice (lucky bugger, rolled a 1 and a 4), they finally got him finished off.

Went upstairs, and checked the rooms. Why, oh why must it ALWAYS be the cleric who winds up in Dala's room first? How many DMs have reported this same misfortune? Well, another bad roll, and Lyssa's down all of 1 Wis point, and proceeded to Turn Dala. From there, it's "one, two, three, charge!" and nobody missed. End of Dala.

Now off to the partly sunken ship. Well, Leto went aboard, concerned that anyone heavier might bust it up. It was still daytime, so my Wraiths couldn't venture outside. The Jelly came up behind him and struck at him, but he was way too quick and nimble...lept up ONTO the bow of the ship, and dove into the river, swimming away.

Rurik charged to the end of the dock, and poked at me with his Longspear. Bad move...I've got reach, and I'm not afraid to use it. Lash, lash, burn, but no grapple.

Chop, chop, divide, divide, FIREBALL. No more jelly.

Well, instead of trying to loot, they set about burning the ship down with a couple of Flaming Spheres (Tsindin really does like setting things aflame...I'm surprised she didn't do so with the Inn). I gave them one nerve-wracking scream of fury and anguish as the roof of the cabin started burning (and the Wraiths were forced to retreat underwater to get away from the sunlight).

The PCs decided not to investegate further, and return to Hommlet. They gathered up the horses (it took Leto's Animal Handling and some convincing to get Xaod's to move). But Nulb had one last little surprise for them.

Random encounter roll...came up with a Scrag. I stuffed it under the bridge (note for Monte...those who don't know their MMs inside and out from 2nd edition might not know that a Scrag is a Marine Troll, and to look under "Troll" to find it.)

Well, I could not, for the life of me, get both claws on Lyssa at one time. Against several PCs, all dishing out as much damage as they can, I didn't stand up long. And once I was down...well...yup, another Flaming Sphere. I can't wait to get Tsindin into the Fire Node where all of her accursed flaming things are USELESS! Muahaha!

Couple things to note:

1) The Scrag's random treasure turned up a Bracelet of Friends. Handy thing, the PCs are already discussing various potential uses for it (including a brief, and fortunately declined, discussion of trying to Attune the Canoness and PROVE to her that bad things are going on). I highly recommend taking another look at this simple magic item, and considering giving one or two of them out to significant NPCs (Hedrack and the 1st come to mind).

2) Speak with Dead lets you talk to a Corpse, not to a Soul. Xaod's Corpse believed he still had work to do. Xaod's Soul realized that the PCs had taken up his task, and was content to remain with Heironeous. 1,000 GP in the Canoness' pockets later, and they're still Xaodless.

Anyways...Lyssa's welcome back in the Inn, so that problem's settled. Zerosh was imparted upon to sell them a couple 5th level Scrolls of Identify, for suitable prices, so now they know what most of their stuff does (and have managed to guess the Ghost Touch part of Wat's Longsword). Lyssa has leveled, so she'll be able to start casting Restorations next Sunday. And Rastor awaits them.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(2/11/02 7:34 am)
Death, the Grim Spectre, has returned to perch over my shoulder at the gaming table.

Our intrepid band has journeyed to Rastor once again (well, once again for Lyssa, for the first time for the others). Along the way, there was a brief encounter with someone driving a wagon towards Rastor (apparently, word has gotten out that there's a buyer's market up that way).

There would have been an encounter with an Air Mephit, but the PCs all totally blew their spot checks (nothing over a 9) and the Mephit thought better of dealing with four armed adventurers.

There was a tense moment on the road with a few Orcs, who had just left Rastor and were heading back for the tribelands, and didn't want a fight...particularly. Rurik was a bit tough to convince, but eventually agreed to let it go.

So they arrive in Rastor. Rurik pays his respects at the Temple of Moradin, and discovers that there's a shrine somewhere up in the CRM, swearing to return any artifacts of Moradin that are recovered from it.

So they decide to go check out this mine. Spot a Spider-Eater in the distance. Go to the right this time, and circle round until they come to the western entrance. So what's their brilliant plan to get inside?

Walk right up and see if the doors are unlocked.

Well, what do you know...they were. So they invite themselves in, have a moment to take in the decor, and get greeted by a Gnoll from the guardroom with a "Who are ya, and whadaya want?"

So Rurik charges. Geez...these people have no grasp of strategy, and there's going to be enough dead PCs by the time this is over to out-page the module! Rurik drops one. Lyssa cleaves-to and drops two. Tsindin finishes the last one off with a Magic Missile as he heads for the warning bell. far so good.

So they take their leisurely time looting the bodies, and are seen (in the middle of the four-way intersection) looting the Gnolls as one of the guardsmen up in 3 looks out down the hall.

"Hey, what's all the noise about? What are...crimeny! We're under attack! WAKE UP LADS!" And the battle is joined!

Leto drops one with his Heavy Xbow, and hangs back to guard Tsindin. Tsindin fires off a Ray of Enfeeblement, which doesn't do much, since she just enfeebled a soon-to-be corpse (newer player error...thought it was area of effect for some reason). Lyssa and Rurik run up the hall, preparing to charge.

Well, seeing Rurik and his Longspear, the guardsmen think the better of it, and take up a defensive stance of their own (while still hollaring for everyone else).

Rurik and Lyssa charge, and due to abyssmal rolls, do not kill off the guardsmen. The four human Xbowmen from the south come out, and Lyssa, prepared, blasts them with a Fireball.

Enter the Trog Priest. He opens the door, opens the Zombie door, and starts bolstering. Lyssa and Rurik take a quick look at one-another..."You take the living ones in the guardroom, I'll take the dead ones in the hall."

At this point, I figured that the Trog Priest had no desire to get involved...he sent his zombies into the fray, and slipped past, heading north. Far more worried about his own than the gate guards.

Well, Lyssa starts getting bogged down killing Zombies, and Rurik can't hit anything (or be hit for that matter...Gnolls, even flanking, don't do well against an AC 22 Dwarf). Leto and Tsindin come halfway up the hall, Leto guarding, Tsindin dropping a Flaming Sphere amongst the Zombies.

Enter the Howler. AAAAAUGH! What do I have to do to convince these people to run in terror, use the Tarrasque???

Leto takes one look at the Howler, thinks about it long and hard, and decides to shoot it with his crossbow. Gasp...I'm down by 3hps.

Tsindin throws a Tasha's Hideous Laughter at it (Saved with an 18 on the die).

Rurik and Lyssa keep fighting Gnolls and Zombies, respectively.

So the Howler leaps on top of Leto. D4: 4 spines. To hit: bite, spine, spine critical. Damage: near max on all three.

50 points of damage to the previously untouched Leto...he's shaken like a rag doll and impaled on the thing's back.

So...Tsindin runs...about 60', and stops once she's past the Zombies. Tries once again to make the Howler laugh (no such luck).

Lyssa continues to slay Zombies. Her one concession to the Howler's presence? She turns to partly face it in case it charges.

Enter Wormspike and Mereclar. They take a look down the hall, and Mereclar orders the Howler to charge.

Lyssa takes a hit from the Zombie, which is just enough to bring her down far enough....for the Howler to drop her completely. Why, oh why, must I roll so %*#*)(%)*# hot on the Bite damage? Tsindin finally catches a clue that this thing is going to kill her, a lot. Striking a sunrod, she runs into the darkness to the north.

Rurik turns, to see an Ogre filling most of the door. Sucking up AoOs left and right, he runs up the wall, around the corner, down the hall, and nearly out the door.

Mereclar stabilizes Lyssa, for questioning.

A few more rounds later...the Howler is called back, the area is cleaned up. The status of our heroes is as follows:

Leto is dead. As upset as the Trog Priest is about having lost half his zombies, I'm only giving him the gnolls (3) and men (6) that died (the other 1 & 2 were savable). Leto's severed head has been nailed to the door right next to the nameless skull, a warning to would-be attackers.

Rurik is about halfway back to Rastor now, having likely burned up all his Psi points bursting every single round until he was tapped.

Tsindin managed to zap Gretchka twice with her Wand of Shocking Grasp, continue down the tunnel, found the two sleeping Trogs, and offed them both with Magic Missiles. I ended the session with her going back and looting Gretchka's body, finding 3 potions labeled (in Draconic, alas), and trying one out (they're Invisibility, in case you didn't know, but I haven't told her the result of her test yet).

Lyssa is bound to a chair in the storeroom (14), and has around 3 hps left. She's been deprived of all of her posessions, and Mereclar and Wormspike have been "asking her a few friendly questions."

So I've got two PC's worth of stuff to re-equip, enhance, improve, bribe, and so forth...and I'm down 3 Gnolls and 6 men (and am 3 Zombies to the plus...I'm thinking of advancing the Gnoll-Zombies 1 HD).

Hope springs anew next week, as Tsindin discovers that she's invisible, and can make Lyssa invisible too. I expect Rurik will jump out of his chair at the Inn in Rastor when she returns.

And then they're really going to be at a loss for how to get into the CRM.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Registered User
(2/11/02 7:52 am)
Man, your players are stuborn. You would think that they had realized the last time that direct combat in this module is not always the sollution. By the time my players faced the howler, they had realized that fleeing was a very viable option in this module. Of course, I do roll behind a screen so I could keep the first two attacks of the howler a bit low on damage to give the PCs a clue about its power (and they were smart enough to go into a space where the howler had difficulties attacking). My PC were much more successful before they fled. A silence resulted in 4 gnolls and 4 humans dead before the alarm was sounded and afterwards they managed to kill all the zombies, 4 more gnolls and the trogeledyte cleric (a hold person from a bard with a charisma of 18 is even for a cleric reasonable difficult to resist) and Wormspike.

Registered User
(2/11/02 8:10 am)
I players went through the Main Gate last week, and were quite stubborn as well. The howler killed one PC and one NPC, and another PC was killed after he hid under Terrenygit's bed and four warriors found him. At least that last PC was trying to get away from the Howler.

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