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Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/29/03 8:48 am)
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Re: And the adventure resumes
Some great suggestions...particularly the repentance and the stashed goods.

Amping up the GTR isn't really all that important...just sheerly being a +3 item is enough, backed by Spud's absurdly great strength. Forget grappling, he'll just bash Imix into submission with it. It is, after all, also a +3 Heavy Mace. That, or reducing his DR to +2, would do the job nicely.

As for 6), I really do like the "contest of wills" idea...it'll play up the fact that I've been running the OOSD as having a very definate, and eager personality. It's been goading Lyssa on every time she's touched it, urging her to use it's powers and employ it's abilities.

Don't worry about the seal-off...two corridors, two rounds. Varachan will come 'round the open corner in the round that the way behind them is blocked off, and they'll still ahve a chance to grab him by the armpits and make a run for it out the other way.

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

Trithereon
Here quite a while
(4/29/03 11:07 am)
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Surviving the Fire Node
There is a non-functioning Gate to the Water Node in the Fire Node. The original adventure Fire Node had a Gate to each of the other elemental Nodes.

Perhaps it is time for a little divine aid on your PCs side? The Gate is divinely blessed such that it will work only for your PCs. The group's divine spellcaster gets a vision of it working for them and a sense of where it is.

Assume they take the hint, and help, and use the Gate to escape to the Water Node. This is a mixed "blessing" as the Water Node is not completely uninhabited. There may be some lingering non-mortal beings like elementals and an evil genie (Jann?) trapped since the second fall of the ToEE. They are BORED and out of touch with what's been happening for many years, so combat isn't a given.

The trick then becomes getting back to the Fire Node. You could have it that only one Gate will now function, keyed to one of your divine spellcasters. The Water Node has a Gate to the Earth Node; the Earth Nodes has a functioning Gate to the Air Node; the Air Node to back to the Fire Node. Lots of opportunties for roleplay and for combat.

Alternately, after your PCs survive their night in the Water Node they are divinely granted the use of the Gate to the Fire Node located in the Water Node.

Just a thought.

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/29/03 12:47 pm)
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Re: Surviving the Fire Node
There is a non-functioning Gate to each node in the Fire Node...every node connects to every other.

In fact, the octagonal knob just north of the Throne Room IS the gate to the Air Node!

What if, just perchance, Varachan happened to get his hands on the Air Gem? What if the presence of the Gem makes it possible to travel TO the Node and then back, from the Node, to the (currently unexcavated) Air chamber in the Greater Temple?

If you teleport into solid rock, you're shunted off to the nearest open area (by some rules, taking damage along the way). The PCs could use Varachan's Air Gem, and the OOSD, escape to the Air node, camp there overnight, return to the Greater Temple by way of a "shunt" out of the Air Node by virtue of the skull&Gem, and then either engage the Temple forces in the Greater Temple or make a dead-flat run for the Fire Node and go after Imix fully-prepped, and with Greater Temple forces on their tails!


Thoughts?

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

Thrommel
Can't leave now (mod)
(4/29/03 6:14 pm)
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Re: Surviving the Fire Node
I think it's good to have multiple escape scenarios to counter the wily ways of the players. You certainly didn't expect them to go charging after Imix, did you.

I think you may need some more clues or motivation with the Air Node thing. Varachan is only going to be alive for about three rounds. In that time he needs to 1) greet the party 2) whack them with the clue bat that Imix can only be hurt by +3 weapons and they're outmatched 3) give them the Air gem, tell them it's the Air gem, and explain why it's important and 4) get whacked repeatedly upside the head by Imix all the while.

That's a lot of work for one guy who only has three rounds to live.

I think if you're going to do the Air gem thing, you have Lareth box the party inside the wall of force with Varachan. Then Lareth & co does their 'show of force' bit - buffing themselves to the gills. (The party probably caught them unaware, right?) Meanwhile Varachan can slip the Air Gem to the party and they all escape together while Imix roars and Lareth screams in frustration.

I do think this is the safer plan and will allow the party to get their wind back, but you need to box them in so Varachan has time to explain what's up and to counter any more rash acts of heroism on the part of your players.

Work on populating that Air Node. The original description of the nodes blows.

HA! Get it?

-Thrommel, who cracks himself up, because he's a nut. Hoo boy, another one! Why aren't I on tv...?

Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(4/29/03 11:12 pm)
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ezSupporter

Re: Surviving the Fire Node
With respect to the Air Node - which I think is a brilliant idea - I might consider leaving it practically depopulated. It's not too much of a stretch to assume that the nodes were eradicated by the last team of adventurers (I know we did when we played the module in what? high school).

A couple of reasons for this:

  • The Air Node is for all intents and purposes a place for the PCs to catch their breath (badaBING). They don't need either a bunch of air critters (as per the old module) or a group of air genii preparing for the foretold arrival of their Prince (as per my first idea).
  • Perhaps your players are beginning to see the light at the end of a tunnel. The question is if they're prepared and willing to run encounters in the Air Node.


Using Varachan is a great idea, and having Lareth Wall of Force them in and begin buffing while signing to them that they're going to have their butts handed to them (no, really - I mean that literally) once he's filled to the brim with unholy goodness - well, that's just brilliant.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Infiniti2000
Still here? Wow.
(4/30/03 5:43 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Surviving the Fire Node
Well, if you use the Earth Gem, you can pull some ideas from BarqMulch's earth node.

"-Thrommel, who cracks himself up, because he's a nut. Hoo boy, another one! Why aren't I on tv...?"

:lol Zans, I hope you're still recording these Trommelisms.

Thrommel
Can't leave now (mod)
(4/30/03 6:07 am)
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Surviving the Air Node
I'm not saying repopulate the whole thing. But a couple random encounters are probably in order.

If you want to fill in the gaps a bit, how about an encounter with a cleric who was accidentally left behind in the Air Node. He could review the temple history as he knew it and the players could relate the current events. It might be a good story device for bridging the two mega-adventures together.

You could also use him to provide the healing that the party won't have access to since they're not in town.

Maybe he doesn't have to be a live elf either. Maybe he's a ghost and when the PC's put his bones to rest (which I'd make a simple task) he thanks them by healing them, etc. That way there's no worries about toting another PC along.

Heck, maybe you don't even need this guy if Varachan is there and you allow him to regain his clerical abilities. That way you don't waste time on a side-plot.

Other than that, I think the place should have a real desolate feel. The players should feel like they are alone, this is it, they're cut off and they're going to have to fight their way out or die trying. Keep building that plot momentum.

-Thrommel, who's not a live elf either.

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/30/03 6:18 am)
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Re: Surviving the Fire Node
I'm certainly not keen on utterly depopulating the Air Node...I don't want this to feel like a 'free ride' to them, and the past adventurers had more important things on their minds (such as escape) rather than hunting down every last nook and cranny of a vast open space that is challenging to get around without giving everyone a Fly spell.

On the other hand, the "really nasty" stuff won't be here, so it'll be within the realm of reason, and one whole heck of a lot safer then where they're at right now.


Let's see, round by round....

Pre-round (description). Describe the room. Describe Imix, Lareth and Maliskra. Add on the description of a DD coming 'round the corner opposite them, Tentacle Rod in hand.

Round 1. Lareth seals one exit. Imix saunters halfway up the hall. Maliskra (the only one serious about putting them out of business ASAP) launches some fire seeds and advances to nearly gaze-range.

Varachan pulls his helm, shows Lyssa the gem in his off-hand (in a manner such that the baddies can't see) and looks pointedly at the alcove. That's about all six seconds is worth.

Round 2. If the PCs get the hint, they're likely retreating right now. Varachan will toss the gem to Lyssa, who can easily socket it and step into the circle. Lareth, not realizing the danger, will continue his seal-off tactic. Imix will swing at whoever is a straggler at this point, which will "educate" them as to how big and bad he is. Maliskra will likely both cast and gaze. For effect purposes, I'm seriously looking at having Varachan look back just as the party is air-teleporting out, meeting Maliskra's gaze, and arriving in the Air Node as a statue.

If the PCs charge up, Varachan will charge forward with them bravely, and will likely be the first dead. I'll fudge a die here and there to show that he is able to hurt Imix with the GTR, then let 'em fall as they will. In any case, he'll be handing the Air Gem over to Lyssa in hopes that she will "catch a hint".


Infiniti2000, there's two problems with using the Earth Gem. One is that the Earth Gate is not here, it's in room 11, completely opposite.

The other is that if I DO repopulate the Air Node, that'll be a new resource for other DMs in future who wish to use it ;)

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

mypetrock
Looking around
(4/30/03 6:22 am)
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(Elemental) node lends a hand
One of the threads in the module was the competition of the temples in the CRM - Fire hates water and earth... Why would evil minions of the big T stop that just because they are in the node? If I was a BBEG and I was told that another BBEG was going to steal the glory, I don't think I would be too eager to just let it happen. Enemy of my enemy is my friend. With that in mind you could have a bored (air, water, earth) elemental decide that he can't just let fire win and aid the party. If nothing else it would be a disposable meat shield.

mypetrock

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(4/30/03 1:09 pm)
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Re: (Elemental) node lends a hand
mypetrock, it'd be hard to explain an "off-type" elemental just happening to be in Imix' throne room at the same time as the PCs.


By the way, it looks like this is turning into a far more lively discussion than I'd expected...could I aim you guys at a new thread I just fired up..."The Air Node"?

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

Zurrin 
Looking around
(5/1/03 11:42 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: (Elemental) node lends a hand
I have been reading these boards occasionally as preparation for when I run the RttToEE. And while I am a little late mentioning this I couldn't help but notice your ruling on using the beholder's anti-magic cone and the wall of force. I just want to make sure I am not missing something but I thought wall of force was immune to the effects of anti-magic. The spell description for wall of force doesn't specifically mention anything other than the fact that almost no spells can affect it. However the spell anti-magic field specifically mentions that it is doesn't have any effect against wall of force.

Whether this applies to the anti-magic cone from a beholders central eye is could be perceived as a separate debate. However I was wondering if you were familiar with this "detail" and if I simply missed something important. Obviously it is too late to reverse what happened however since nobody has mentioned it yet I am more curious as to whether or not I misinterpreted something.

Hopefully I don't come off as a rules lawyer or anything but I hate surprises because I interrupted something incorrectly.

Edited by: Zurrin  at: 5/1/03 11:43:42 am
Siobharek 
Still here? Wow.
(5/1/03 12:10 pm)
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ezSupporter

Anti-magic ray
Hmmm, according to my PHB/MM, Zurrin is right.

As he says, too late to change anything, but it does serve as a heads up to those of us who still have Kex to look forward to.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(5/1/03 12:45 pm)
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Re: Anti-magic ray
Duly noted and I now stand corrected. I knew that Dispel Magic (and related) had no effect on a Wall of Force, but I did not realize it was immune to anti-magic effects as well.

Live and learn, I guess.

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

JRGiant
Looking around
(5/4/03 9:23 pm)
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Re: Anti-magic ray
Of course, somewhere Tsindin's turning over in her grave...er...dustpan...er....never mind.:evil

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(5/5/03 6:56 am)
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The End
Not really...if that had been the case, it would have been virtually the same result...the difference being that only the lower 10' of the corridor would have been blocked with the wall of force.


Folks, it's all over. Thanks for all the help from front to back. This is it, that's all, no more.

I went with the Varachan ploy, bringing him 'round the corner, and showing both his face and the gem to Lyssa. She called on everyone to "fall back"...alas, the plea fell on deaf ears.

Imix strides forward, taking a casual "I don't even have to bother" shot at Spud. The Medusa casts her Fire Seeds and strides forward, waiting to give someone a facefull.

Our heretofore nameless Arcane Archer whips out a scroll of Teleport and is now standing just behind Lareth and by the throne of Imix, drawing her weapon.

Brian (currently a FF Firesnake) slithers to the charge and attacks the Medusa (suffering an AoO from Imix).

Lareth turns, shouting at the Archer, and unleashes a Blast of Force from the Rod of Force, but misses (I describe big cracks in Imix' throne as his blow strikes it).

Lyssa withdraws to the silver circle, and hurls a Holy Smite at Imix and the Medusa (success, but no failed saves).

Spud charges between Imix' legs after Lareth (they're convinced the A#1 most important thing is getting the Orb of Oblivion from Lareth), also taking an AoO from Imix (Combat Reflexes).

Imix turns 'round, walks forward a bit, and clips Spud again (he's nearly down at this point). Varachan yells out "get back, as you value your lives", after handing the Air Gem to Lyssa, draws the Greater Tentacle Rod, and charges Imix, sucking up an AoO and clipping him for minor damage.

The Medusa hurls her Fire Seeds at Varachan, roasting him alive and nearly killing him.

Brian continues to bite at the Medusa, but her AC is too high to get more than a couple minor hits in.

The Archer attempts a Disarm on Lareth, trying to knock the Orb of Oblivion free, succeeds, bends over, snatches it up, and takes a 5' step towards freedom and safety.

Lareth screams madly and tries to entrap her under a Wall of Force (I provide a Reflex save versus the hemispherical trap). She dodges.

Lyssa stuffs the Air Gem into the Orb of Silvery Death and has a brief chat with it as to what it can do about the situation...the skull is less than happy, gibbering about how it's got more power now. Tyra, in the meantime, has withdrawn back to the circle...she was somewhat underplayed, as her player was absent, and we have a somewhat unspoken rule that you play cautious with NPCed PCs.

Meanwhile, the silvery circle begins to glow. Lyssa, sensing what's coming, pleades with the party to retreat.

Spud bashes Lareth twice, then grapples him.

Round 3, and Imix isn't amused. He gets his first shot at full attacks, and he doesn't want the orb of oblivion running around loose. Unloads on our nameless archer, who is chopped to ribbons. Backhands, and finishes off Varachan.

The Medusa gazes on Bryan, to no effect.

Spud dutifully picks up the Orb of Oblivion. I don't recall for sure whether it was a withdrawing AoO or just Imix's next action that crushes him utterly, because just as Lyssa gets her next action...the Silver Circle flashes again, and whisks her and Tyra off to the Air Node.

Bryan is about to be chopped up by Imix, as the only one left behind, but the Medusa's gaze finally gets past a save, and it is his stone form that Imix crushes.



Well...with two survivors, and a demoralized table of players, I decide to give them a final shot. Lyssa uses the Wind Walk spell (still in effect, cast less than an hour ago back in Hommlet) to go semi-material and uses the OOSD to return to the Greater Temple (vaporously squeezing through the cracks and getting out into the empty Greater Temple, up, and back to open air). Tyra follows.

A three-hour journey sees them to Verbobonc, where Lyssa pleads her case before the Great Temple of Kord. This is VERY hard for her to do, since she has always been exceptionally self-reliant.

Three scrolls of Resurrect, a minor miracle to recover bits of flesh, and an emergency supply of equipment later, the party (three of 'em down a level) are ready to take one last shot at it. That same evening, they return.


I won't go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that a fully buffed 11th and 12th level party is something quite different from an exhausted and underprepared 12th level one. The Noble Salamander lasted a single round. Imix lasted three. Spud died TWICE more in the final fight with Imix.

Events of note:

Cordelia (the formerly nameless Archer) is able to do some minor damage due to having a Holy bow*...the arrows won't touch DR (lesson for future: Greater Magic Weapon on the arrows).

Spud doesn't get much chance to dish it out, but he does a lot of 'taking it' and spares other party members in so doing. He is chopped down with Imix' first full round of attack.

Bryan and Lyssa conspired to make one of the most disgusting damage-bombs I've ever seen.

Bryan the Shifter shifts into Girralon form, clenching his Holy Scimitar* in one hand (GMWed to +4) and two Greater Magic Fangs going (one bite, one claw). He was then Enlarged, Enduranced, and then...yipe. Lyssa casts a splatbook spell, "Curse of the Brute" on him. Buffs strength at the cost of Int and Cha, and Bryan has enough of both to sacrifice that by the time everything's all said and done, he's broken 40 on Strength!

Of course, just before this, he had cast Lion's Charge on himself (full round attack after charge). He unleashes, and manages to take Imix down nearly 150 hps in his opening round!

Tyra charges up, taking the AoO too, and she drops a "Lasting Breath" on Spud (basically, an even more restrictive Raise Dead with a one-round permitted casting timeframe, and which damages her in the process). So Spud's up to 0 hps (down a level) and reeling...wait...he's at 1 hp (the Regenerate Circle Tyra had cast a bit ago).

Imix isn't kidding now. He unleashes on Bryan full-bore, knocking him down to about 12 hps.

Enter Lyssa and her Heal spell (although Imix crits with his AoO so she pays for the privlidge).

Cordelia pricks him, Spud nicks him, Bryan unloads like a mad monkey, and Imix drops to 5 hps. Knowing AoOs will waste him, he goes on the defensive, and it costs him any chance to be effective.

A tense moment as the Medusa unloads a Dispel Magic on the Frothing Monkey of Doom, but Lyssa's vastly superior caster level sees all of the "critical" spells through.

Cordelia gets the deathblow with her last volley of arrows, and Imix blows up, blasting the party with massive power (yes, I gave him the Savage Species "Final Strike" ability). Save DC 34, 71 Fire damage, 37 Light. Medusa pummeled, Spud and Tyra obliterated. Bryan barely sucks it up and survives it. Cordelia is about 10' outside of the blast radius, thanking her lucky stars.

Ripping the medusa limb from limb is easy for Bryan at this point, and when he finally gathers his marbles and ceases frothing (it was already quite late), I did a post-game wrapup. They found Lareth and slaughtered him. They found the two remaining gems, discovering (to their sorrow) that Varachan had overpaid for the Air Gem...with his soul.

The two Orbs are destroyed, and the adventure is ended.


I have strongly encouraged my players to come here and join us now that it's all said and done. Thanks again, everyone, and don't expect to see me go anywhere anytime soon. I'm going to be hanging around for a goodly long time, and I may yet run it again.


* items on loan from the Temple of Kord, including weapons with up to a +3 enchantment. Two went +1 and Holy, Spud went +3 straight-up.

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

Dragon Mage 1E
Here for a while
(5/5/03 8:20 am)
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Re: The End
Wow!

What else can be said! Sounds like a good time had by all. I am really looking forward to it now, with my players reaching the Fire Node in a week or two.

Thanks for all the great tales!

"What the curtains?"

Thrommel
Can't leave now (mod)
(5/5/03 9:46 am)
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Re: The End
Congrats to you and your players!

It was a wild ride. Thanks for taking us along - it's been both entertaining and educational.

I hope your players are proud of themselves and their DM. Great playing all around.

-Thrommel, who'd like to see a 'Fabulous Highlights & Lessons Learned' thread from all involved... and of course Andorax is one step ahead of me, as usual.

Edited by: Thrommel at: 5/5/03 9:59:22 am
Entropius
Here for a while
(5/5/03 10:49 am)
Reply
Congrats!
Congrats, Andorax, for running an excellent campaign ... and congrats to all your players for sticking it out despite the dozen or so PC deaths... your log has been great fun to read.

This log needs either a sticky or a mirror on ZFC's site. The BoB would be a good place for it, if it weren't five times as long as the rest of the first page combined. :P

That buffed-to-the-gills Girallon sounds positively obscene. How many hp did the Shifter have? I'm surprised he survived an Imix AoO, plus a full-round attack, plus fire damage from striking him with natural weapons. (Do girallons have fire resistance? I don't have the book with me atm...)

-Entropius, who wishes he had half as good of players and one-quarter the DM'ing skills of Andorax

Andorax
Still here? Wow.
(5/5/03 11:09 am)
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Re: Congrats!
How'd he survive? Well, a combination of Resist Elements: Fire, and my completely forgetting that striking Imix with natural weapons would be roasting him.

As for hit points, he had a host of them. I think the total ended up just over 130, compliments of a strong Con, good rolls, and Lyssa's high-rolled Endurance spell.

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

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Here to stay
(5/5/03 8:41 pm)
Reply
Hmm..
What happens to Varchan? You say that he sold his soul to the gem. What does that mean of Varchan? Is he doom to hell or abyss? If so, could you create a campaign that devotes saving Varachan? You know.. "A Search for Varachan", leading to epic campaign.

By the way.. I'm curious.. how many people free from prison thus far?

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