One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Having played ToEE when I was much much younger and having it run by a fantastic DM the adventure has always had a fond place in my heart. Therefore I decided to run the adventure for my friends (a mixture of complete newbies and experienced rpgers - although none of them were familiar with 2nd ed rules).
Each week I write a summary for the players of the last session's events and I thought I would share these with you folks. I'm not going to pretend they are well written but for those of you interested in another group's flirtation with that great adventure I hope you enjoy!
Dramatis Personae (I'll edit this as and when the party changes):
Brother Yav - dwarf priest of Ralishaz and exile from Havenhill.
Gristle - loyal half-orc henchman of Yav, summoned by the Deck of Many Things
Lady Lyria Asterales - elven wizard from the Spindrift Isles.
Cunigund Luitgard - human thief from Abarra in the Bandit Kingdoms. Henchman to Lyria.
Bartal - Nyrondese man-at-arms henchman of Cunigund, summoned by the Deck of Many Things.
Fulco Walkram - human fighter and son of the Velunese ambassador to Celene.
Syfarryn Cleardawn - grey elf fighter/mage. Childhood friend and henchman of Fulco.
Pan - Keoish half-elf priest of Wee Jas and undead hunter.
Xâkestari - Paynim fighter / sha'ir, a half-elf foundling with an affinity with the marids.
Ab - Xâkestari's whimsical maridan gen companion.
The Casualties & Retirees
Axia - Suel barbarian fighter from the Amedio, escaped from slavery in the plantations of the Sea Princes. (Slain by zombies in Session 5)
Raimol - Mercernary hireling in the employ of Lady Asterales (Slain by zombies in Session XII)
Zrabbas Mo'Sharba - Hepmonoland Suel from the jungle city of Sharba and eunuch priest of Bralm. Retired from adventuring in Session XIII after a large haul of loot.
Tocq Bumbleheart - halfling fighter and henchman of Zrabbas Mo'Sharba. Retired from adventuring with his 'master'.
Thurin 'Potluck' - an elven thief from Narwell who left the party to find his fortune in Verbobonc City.
Titus Wolfheart - human fighter and merchant's son from Dyvers who left the party with Thurin.
Ery Timbers - Gnome Fighter / Thief and henchman of Titus. Retired along with Titus.
Woden "Blackthumb" Urwood - Half-elf priest of Trithereon and ex-soldier from the Viscounty of Verbobonc. Slain by a mace-blow to the head from a bandit.
Urd-Nar - Rugged Flan warrior from the Abbor-Alz. Rescued from bandits he disappeared after the party left him in Nulb.
Malfern the Minstrel - human bard and henchman to Nar. Went missing along with Nar.
Last edited by Wolfling on Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:43 am; edited 13 times in total
After a fortnight long journey from Narwell through the gloomy Gnarley forest, you finally arrived at Hommlet on the 25th of Coldeven 579 CY. As dusk settled in, bringing with it a spring chill that made you hug your cloaks about you, you found yourselves unsure of what you would find here. As you got closer you discovered a small pastoral community surrounded by orchards and meadows for grazing livestock nestled amongst the rolling mounds of the Kron foothills. Seeking rooms and refreshment in the surprisingly pleasant yet expensive Welcome Wench inn, you quickly set to making enquiries about the rumours of evil goings on in the area. The innkeeper, although chatty and polite, managed to tell you much but of little worth. Weary from your long journey you retired for the evening with many questions unanswered.
Awoken shortly after dawn by the innkeeper's wife with the homely smell of fresh-baked bread and hot tea you arose early. After freshening up with the hot water and clean towels generously provided you gathered in the common room to discuss your plans. Based on the information you gleaned the night before you decided to pay a visit to the recently built Church of St.Cuthbert, the popular local god of truth, common sense and zeal in the hope of learning more of the Evil you had heard of. After being greeted by the somewhat pedantic Brother Calmert you were ushered into a waiting room where you had an awkward meeting with the rigid Canon Terjon. He was most interested in your reasons for enquiring about places of Evil and warned you that wise people of good moral fibre did not go seeking such places. He was convinced that you had been misled and that there was no such Evil remaining in the region, having been defeated 10 years past by the forces of Good at the Battle of Emridy Meadows. He believed that the rumours you had heard were nothing more than jumpy and superstitious locals responding to a slight increase in banditry and suggested you could do more good by helping the villagers with more menial chores. During your conversation you also learned that the Canon had not been in Hommlet long having been sent from his previous posting in Verbobonc to replace the previous Canoness Y'Dey who had taken sabbatical leave six months ago.
Leaving the Church feeling irked by the arrogant priest you decided to pay a visit to the mansion of the village elder, Kester Nevets, believing that you may have more luck talking to someone who was alive and living in Hommlet during 'those dark times'. Greeting the serving girl and informing her that you had just spoken to the Canon Terjon who recommended that you come to see Elder Nevets you found her smile turned a little frosty and that the Elder was busy this day but might receive you in the morrow.
Frustrated by your lack of leads you decided to try and meet with Viscount Wilfrick of Verbobonc's representatives, Berne and Rufus. Arriving at their guard tower you could see that work, sponsored by the Viscount, had begun on a small keep but were disappointed to learn that they were not home. What seemed another blow turned into lucky coincidence as you met them on the steps where a flamboyant Berne invited you in to converse. At last you found someone in the village who seemed responsive but he shared the Canon's opinion that the rumours of evil goings on where just that. He did confirm however that banditry had seen an increase of late and that merchants travelling to and from Hommlet had been preyed upon. Seeing that you were intent to follow whatever leads you could on the matter he mentioned reports of an old moat-house to the north-east that the bandits may have been operating out of and that anyone helping rid the Viscounty of this problem may find themselves in receipt of a reward. Armed with but a couple of 'maybes' you were keen to get going.
Hoping to find a wagon to use as bait you paid a visit to the trading post where you found two peculiar merchants selling an assortment of expensive goods of varying quality but no carts or wagons. Thurin was able to converse in the thieves' cant with the taller ratty looking merchant and ascertained that they would be willing to buy goods of a 'dubious origin' from him.
Eager to strike out and having only reached mid-morning you saddled your nags and set off in what you believed was a north-easterly direction hoping to find the moat-house within a few hours. Accompanying you was Zert, a sell-word picked up by Thurin whose caravan had not turned up in Hommlet yet and who agreed to come along for an equal share of the loot. Six hours later with dusk falling and the temperature dropping rapidly you found yourselves approaching the eaves of the Gnarley forest with no moat-house in sight, no real idea as to where it should be, and no rations to feed yourself with.
[the PCs decided to set off for the moat-house with no supplies, no map of the region and no idea of where to look for the place save for a general direction!]
I speak for myself when I write this, but I look forward to reading the tales of other campaigns. No doubt others feel the same way as I do. I first played this game DECADES ago (middle school) but The Village of Hommlet was perhaps my first module as a player of three PCs: Dirk Crowwood, half-elven ranger, Nira Ralion, half-elven (female) bard, and Lanathian Celdor (nicknamed, Lanthorn ), elven bladesinger (fighter/mage).
All I gotta say to your players is, "Good Luck!" That moathouse is TOUGH for low level characters.
Your party is very eclectic. Interested how they all met and assembled, as well as the reasons for their adventuring together...if you have the time and inclination, that is.
I'm a bit late in starting this off as the players are already at the Temple so I'm playing catch up with posting these (I didn't want to bombard the thread with a dozen session summaries!)
As for how the party assembled - it kind of went as follows; Zrabbas Mo'Sharba had been sent to the Spindrifts from his city of Sharba to learn from the Church of Bralm there. He was granted a 'sabbatical' to explore the region and spread Bralm's ordered way. As he boarded his vessel he encountered Lyria who was fleeing from an arranged marriage. The two travelled to the Hold of Sea Princes and became companions along the way. Whilst travelling north they encountered Axia, an escaped slave on the run. Deciding that the strength of this warrior would be useful on the journey along the Wild Coast they agreed to join forces. Their travels brought them to Narwell where in the taproom of an inn they encountered Thurin and Yav talking about rumours of opportunities for adventure to be had in southern Verbobonc. Again, feeling safety was to be had in numbers they teame dup and their journey took them to Hommlet.
A little long winded and contrived but it was the best I could come up with based on the varied backgrounds!
With only an hour of rapidly fading daylight left you decided to find a sheltered spot to make camp whilst Axia went hunting to try and furnish your sparse supplies of food. Finding a small copse of trees perched on the side of a low hill you built a fire and wrapped yourself up in whatever blankets and spare clothes you had to stave off the chill night air. To make your situation bleaker as the temperature dropped a heavy fog rolled in obscuring your vision of your surroundings and even each other. Luckily Axia managed to find her way back to the camp after two hours of relatively unsuccessful hunting, the single rabbit she carried giving you little more than a couple of mouthfuls of warm meat. Bedding down for the night you set your watches. No more than an hour before sunrise Thurin and Zert heard a scrabbling noise and glimpses of insectoid shapes in the fog. They had just enough time to shout a call of alarm before the camp was swarmed by giant centipedes who must have been lairing in one of the nearby rotten trees. Using a combination of steel and Lyria's magic you were able to quickly defeat the centipedes but Zrabbas Mo Sharba who was bitten, succumbed to the effects of the centipede poison and found himself paralysed. With no knowledge of the healing arts the rest of the party had little choice but to try and keep him warm from the frosty morning air and prevent him from swallowing his own tongue. With the thick fog still lingering the spell-casters decided to rest again in order to re-focus their minds and keep an eye on Zrabbas Mo Sharba whilst Axia confidently braved the oppressive fog to try her hand at hunting again. Shortly after midday the huntress returned with a small stag (and a rabbit), providing her companions with a much heartier fare. Fortified by a hot meal and with the fog having receded to more of a mist you decided to continue doggedly in the north-easterly direction you had first set out on in the hopes of finding the elusive moat-house. Reaching the eaves of the Gnarley you forged your way into the dense undergrowth using Zrabbas Mo Sharba as bait to lure in the bandits. After an hour of crashing through the forest you reached a trail running parallel to the edge of the forest. Heading in a northerly direction you continued riding hoping to run across bandits. As dusk began to fall you set up camp a short distance from the trail and huddled up preparing yourself for a second frosty night in the wilderness. Once again your sleep was disturbed, this time by a foraging giant stag beetle, it was not aggressive, although curious about something on or carried by Thurin. Wisely you did not provoke the horse sized beetle and it wandered off leaving you in peace. A couple of hours later your watchmen heard the sounds of softly jingling tack and harness and the light clop of hooves. Arming yourselves you warily approached the trail to spot a band of nine gnomes who had also spotted you. Hailing the gnomes you struck up conversation with them. Polite yet wary of you they informed you that they dwelt within the Gnarley but that they were not aware of any moat-houses within this region of the forest. During the conversation the gnomes began whispering amongst themselves and eyeing Lady Asterales with suspicion hastily rode off leaving you standing in the trail somewhat confused. Zrabbas Mo Sharba, hoping to make some sense of the situation, called upon his goddess to help him collect strands of thoughts that may have been left behind by the gnomes. His magic revealed that the gnomes, sensing evil within your party had believed you to be bandits and quickly departed. Axia suddenly bolted after the gnomes and asked them who it was they had sensed evil within. Informing her that both Zert and Lyria had wickedness in their hearts they warned Axia to be careful and urged her to follow the trail south as it would lead her to Hommlet whilst north would lead her to Nulb, a place rife with bad folk and thieves. Returning to her fellows Axia shared what she had learned and you quickly fell to tense discussion. Lyria and Zrabbas Mo Sharba clearly stated that as long as you all worked together what did it matter whilst Zert scoffed that this gnome trickery was a load of rubbish. Awkwardly returning to camp Axia asked Thurin to come and hunt with her whilst Yav and Zrabbas meditated and Lyria combed her hair by the camp fire. Not long after confusion descended once again as Zert, who had been grooming the horses, leapt up onto his warhorse and began riding off with three of your trusty old nags in tow shouting “I can't stand a moment longer in this forest with you losers!”. Despite your best efforts to stop him you watched in outrage as he disappeared southwards down the misty trail with your steeds. Gathering your belongings you decided this was an insult that couldn't be ignored and decided to track him south and seek your revenge.
Using a combination of steel and Lyria's magic you were able to quickly defeat the centipedes but Zrabbas Mo Sharba who was bitten, succumbed to the effects of the centipede poison and found himself paralysed. With no knowledge of the healing arts the rest of the party had little choice but to try and keep him warm from the frosty morning air and prevent him from swallowing his own tongue.
Once again your sleep was disturbed, this time by a foraging giant stag beetle, it was not aggressive, although curious about something on or carried by Thurin. Wisely you did not provoke the horse sized beetle and it wandered off leaving you in peace.
I have some information about priests of Bralm from the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory guide that may prove of interest to you, especially with regards to insects...
Aaahhhh, dissention in the party. Sounds very familiar.
Thanks Lanthorn - Zrabbas was only level 1 at the time so was too low level to gain the immunity to insect poison (I've got The Scarlet Brotherhood and I've always wished they did all the other pantheons in such detail!)
The player role-played it out well and treated the paralysis as a euphoric state gifted to him by Bralm
With the morning mist still clinging to the frost-paled undergrowth you set off southwards in pursuit of Zert and your horses. After an hour of following the hoof prints along the soft earth of the forest trail Axia lost the tracks within the vegetation that had spilled over the path in a bid to claim it back into the woodland. Despite her best efforts she could not pick up the trail again and after a frustrating hour of searching she decided to give up and recommended continuing to follow the path south. The journey through the Gnarley was uneventful but an awkward tension hung over the party after Axia voiced her concerns about the recently encountered gnomes' claim that Lady Asterales had a wicked heart, a concern not seemingly shared by the rest of her companions. Day turned to dusk and you set up camp a short distance off the road, the night passing uneventfully save for the continued antipathy between Axia and Lyria. The morning saw the first day of Growfest ushered in by a fresh easterly breeze that brought the Gnarley to life with the rustling of leaves and creaking of old boughs and branches. You continued to follow the overgrown trail which although seeming to snake both east and west at times always took you in a southerly direction. Eventually the dense vegetation of the forest began to lighten a little and by lunchtime you found yourselves breaking out of the eaves of the forest to view the rolling grassy Kron foothills but still no moat-house.
Continuing along your way the path grew more and more overgrown and the surroundings wetter and marshier as the level of the land gradually sank. By mid afternoon you found yourselves following the slightly raised path through a fen dominated by tall grasses and rushes and the croaking and chattering of the native wildlife. Suddenly in the distance you spotted the jagged silhouette of some manner of ruined keep, hoping that this may be the moat-house you had spent nearly five days trying to find you tethered your horses and followed a raised earthen side path deeper into the fen and towards the ruined building. As you drew nearer to the building you discovered it to be a large stone keep of sorts surrounded by a moat that had now merged with the surrounding marsh – the moat-house at last! Striding towards your goal you were taken by surprise when a number of giant frogs burst up from below the marshy water and voraciously attacked you. The larger specimens tried to swallow you whole and it was all Thurin could do to avoid being gulped down by the hungry frog whilst Yav reluctantly tried to save him. After a trying battle you defeated the overgrown amphibians and scraping off the goo and mucky water you were now covered in continued towards your goal.
You found the moat-house in bad condition. The drawbridge lay rotting and broken from its chains and the doors to the keep lay burst open on their hinges. Parts of the walls and corner towers had collapsed into rubble and were now overgrown with wet moss. Thurin, taking charge, told you to stay put whilst he scouted out the compound to save you from walking into an ambush or trap however he found the place seemingly deserted. Entering into an overgrown courtyard you investigated a corner-tower, the upper levels of which had collapsed. Axia, stepping boldly into the room was immediately ambushed by a huge hairy spider almost as big as she. You quickly swarmed into the tower and surrounding the spider dispatched it in a rain of blows, Yav's enchanted staff bursting its swollen abdomen and leaving its legs twitching for some minutes.
Gathering yourselves you proceeded up the rubble strewn stone stairs that led into the remains of the interior buildings of the keep to find a ruined banquet hall. Broken furniture, rubble, rotting tapestries and banners littering the large chamber. Whilst deciding where to go, Axia overheard course laughing coming from behind a wooden door opposite the entrance. A quick dispute followed as to the best course of action but hearing the voice of the traitor Zert brought your desire for revenge or justice to the fore of your minds and you quietly approached the door ready to ambush the men within. Opening the wooden door as quietly as you could, Lady Asterales cast her spell of sleep amongst the group of rugged men causing five of the bandits to fall catatonic to the floor amidst a light shower of rose petals. Swarming into the room you launched an assault at those bandits still awake. Axia, displaying a savage rage, rained wild blows down upon Zert and quickly landed a strike that cleaved his arm off at the shoulder, felling him in a shower of blood. A bandit that seemed to have some authority over the others proved a more resilient foe and growled out that “The New Master will avenge us!” before he was eviscerated whilst his fellow ne'er do wells were hacked down as they awoke from their magical slumber. The last bandit standing desperately attempted to flee but Axia, refusing to be denied her full vengeance, felled him with an arrow in his back. Wiping the blood and entrails off your weapons, whilst Zrabbas Mo Sharba tended to some of your wounds, you paused to catch your breath before searching the room and deciding on your next steps.
Whilst Zrabbas Mo'Sharba searched and stripped the bodies, the rest of you searched the dark and gloomy room that the bandits had been using. The hour spent doing this proved fruitful with Lyria noticing a secret door in the wall and a chest of treasure uncovered from beneath the rubble. The secret passage was carved into the wall of the keep and a narrow flight of steps descended into cobwebby darkness. Exhausted from your day's travelling and fighting you decided to rest. As night fell a heavy fog rolled in over the hills surrounding the keep cutting you off from the outside world and leaving a damp chill in the air. Rousing yourselves in the early hours of the morning you decided to explore the rest of the ground floor of the moat-house. Thurin scouted out some of the remaining rooms then signalled you all forward. Leaving your loot in the black-room you continued your exploration. Many of the rooms were deserted and filled with ruined and smashed furniture with only a few treasures being discovered that had likely lain hidden since before the moat-house had been ruined. You also discovered that the bandits were not the only inhabitants here.
Your first encounter was with a giant adder that had claimed one of the rooms as its place to rest between hunts. Rushing in en masse, Yav stunned the snake with a crack to the skull from his staff and the rest of you quickly hacked and slashed the serpent to death avoiding its poisoned fangs and the agonising death they could have brought.
In a store room you were swarmed by giant rats the size of small dogs. The emaciated rodents spilled out into the hall and attacked you with a voracious fervour that nearly overwhelmed you but in the end you prevailed despite suffering many injuries. Within the store room you discovered a flight of stairs leading below the moat-house however you chose to continue your thorough investigation of the ground floor before heading into a lower level.
In what appeared to be the remains of a barracks you found a giant lizard that aggressively guarded it's territory, fearing that one of you would be ripped apart by its vicious jaws, Lady Asterales used her magic to put the lizard asleep and it was quickly hacked to death. Noticing its stomach was oddly distended you gutted it to discover a finely made metal shield embossed with geometric swirls that the stupid beast must have swallowed.
Close to the barracks Thurin discovered the remains of the kitchen. Barging past him Zrabbas Mo'Sharba strode into the room only to be assailed by a giant tick. The dog-sized tick quickly burrowed its head into his stomach. Crying out in alarm you all rushed in to assist him but it was Zrabbas Mo'Sharba himself that killed the arachnid, plunging his staff through the hard carapace of the creature and impaling its soft insides, saving himself from a swift bloodless death.
Only an hour after you last rested, many of you were bloodied and wearied from having cleared the over-sized vermin that had laired within the upper ruins. Barricading yourselves into the kitchen you rested again discussing and reflecting on what you had learned so far about your own strengths and weaknesses and feeling better prepared to face whatever lay ahead in this place.
Barging past him Zrabbas Mo'Sharba strode into the room only to be assailed by a giant tick...Crying out in alarm you all rushed in to assist him but it was Zrabbas Mo'Sharba himself that killed the arachnid...
This alone impresses me. Not many people realize that a tick is NOT an insect...two body segments, lack of antennae, chelicerae, and eight (count them, people!) legs!
Wolfling, I grant you an "A" in DM Zoology.
-Lanthorn, Science Teacher
p.s. boy do you have some vicious, giant beasts in that moathouse, always eager to devour unsuspecting adventurers!
-giant frogs, giant adder, giant tick, giant lizard, giant rats...am I the only one noting a common 'giant' theme here?!
Haha - well one of my players is a bug specialist so I thought I had better do some quick research as to what type of creature the tick actually is!
It also seemed ironic that the priest of Bralm was the one to constantly get attacked by bugs. His faith was tested many times!
The players did comment how the moat-house seemed to be filled with lots of super-sized creatures! I just went by what wa sin the module but guessed that maybe all that lingering malignant elemental magic maybe warped them all to the sound of Cerrone's "Supernature" hehe.
Ready to forge your way into the under-levels of the moat-house you decided to explore the descending staircase in the previously rat infested store-room. After Thurin had quietly scouted the path ahead, Axia bravely led you below. As she reached the base of the stairs a green slime dropped from the arched ceiling onto her head. Yav, warned by Thurin's cry of alarm, raised his shield above his head just in time to ward off another. Recalling stories he had overheard dwarven miners tell, Yav identified the green slimes and that unless they were scraped and burnt off, Axia would be reduced to slime herself in a matter of minutes. Luckily, with the help of her comrades, she avoided such a gruesome fate instead suffering uncomfortable burns to her head and neck. Exploring the room the stairs had led you too you discovered two doors concealed behind a pile of junk pushed up against the walls. Thurin was able to pick one of the locked doors discovering a store-room containing shields, leather armour and barrels containing salted meat and a couple with brandy. The other locked door was beyond his skill and remained closed to you. Rather than bash it down you decided to explore further discovering a pillared hallway with an adjoining torture-chamber and prison cells to the other side. As you opened the cell doors to peer inside two zombies lurched out from behind a pillar towards Thurin, Lyria and Yav. Quickly retreating, Axia strode in to bring the zombies down but quickly became cut off and surrounded as more of the walking dead staggered from out their cells. Although fighting bravely Axia was quickly overwhelmed by the zombies and brutally torn limb from limb by them. Seeing their strongest fighter felled so bloodily the rest of you decided to flee. Lyria and Thurin used oil and flame to try to keep the zombies from pursuing and the last thing they saw was a grizzly site of the shambling corpses strewn in gore as they devoured your fallen comrade.
Retreating into the bandits' former hold-out you bolted the door and caught your breath. Although returning to Hommlet crossed your minds the lure of further treasure tempted you to stay and you crept down the secret stairwell you had discovered. The narrow steps led to a small room with two secret doors leading off from it. Opening one of the secret doors Thurin discovered a brutish looking ogre slumbering on a pile of dirty furs. Creeping in as quietly as he could manage he got close enough to the ogre to plunge his sword into its skull, slaying it in its sleep. Investigation of its lair revealed some minor treasure and a room containing three prisoners, clearly intended to be eaten by the ogre. Amongst the prisoners was a gnome, Ery Timbers; a spy from the gnomes of the Kron Hills, a human silk-merchant from Verbobonc named Heinrich Druvius and a dishevelled young man named Titus Wolfheart. Heinrich's offer of a reward if you returned him to safety was all the encouragement you needed to return to Hommlet. With Ery's directions it took you only a day's ride to reach the village where you found the villagers part way through celebrating Growfest, a week long fertility festival and particularly sacred to the followers of the Old Faith there. Returning to the Inn of the Welcome Wench you found the innkeeper, Ostler, pleased to see you and genuinely saddened by the loss of Axia. Taking a brief pause to gather your thoughts and consider your next steps you agreed to spend at least two days in the village as a well deserved rest.
Although fighting bravely Axia was quickly overwhelmed by the zombies and brutally torn limb from limb by them. Seeing their strongest fighter felled so bloodily the rest of you decided to flee. Lyria and Thurin used oil and flame to try to keep the zombies from pursuing and the last thing they saw was a grizzly site of the shambling corpses strewn in gore as they devoured your fallen comrade.
Where's Milla Jovovitch when you need her?!
What a Gothic, disgusting and horrifying end. I guess for the mindless undead, what better way to get a brain than devour one!
The players were smart to kill the ogre in its sleep. Lord Trithereon approves of such tactics! Don't listen to those folks with that silver lightning bolt...
It was kind of gruesome but seeing the expressions on the players' faces it had the intended effect .... to remind them of their mortality and the price of power! Plus a zombe death kind of has to be gory haha.
I made the call to have the ogre asleep as at the level they were it would have likely been a total party kill and where is the fun in that! The thief still had to roll under his lowly move silently chance but Trithereon (or Rudd in his case!) must have been smiling on him as he passed. Their expression of relief was even more wortwhile than the one of horror earlier hehe
Paying for two weeks food and lodging at the Welcome Wench you proceeded to sell your loot and commission various items of fine craftsmanship from the local artisans. In need of some relaxation you decided to participate in the remaining few days of Growfest and enjoyed the fête, dancing and festivities laid on by Hommlet's residents, taking the time to get to know some of the villagers a little better. When the week long festival has finished you decided to try your luck speaking to the village elder, Kester Nevets. This time the maid seemed better disposed towards you and arranged a meeting two days hence. Rather than sit idly by and wait for the appointment you walked to the neatly maintained grove of the village druid, Jaroo Ashstaff. He patiently listened to you but told you little claiming that he needed to learn more of your character and worth before sharing with you what he knew. Unsurprisingly he asked for your assistance regarding the halflings of the nearby village of Bayo who had not arrived at Hommlet's Growfest with their annual cargo of honey and sweet cherries grown in their orchards. Jaroo asked you to travel to the halfling hamlet and make sure nothing was amiss. Your companion Thurin was nowhere to be found in Hommlet but not wanting to tarry you left that same day, re-scheduling your appointment with Elder Nevets for another time. The journey south took you through gently rolling hills crowned with meadows bursting with springtime flowers until you reached Bayo. There you discovered that the halflings had been raided by goblins only a few nights ago, stealing their harvested fruit as well as some of their villagers. The impromptu leader, an aspiring hero named Tocq Bumbleheart, had fears that the goblins may have been let through by the fey folk who once protected them and other than suggesting that these fey might be being blackmailed somehow by the goblins, you did not investigate the topic further. Instead, you joined the halfling scouting party comprising of six daring villagers; Tocq Bumbleheart, Prevost Pelley, Rondel Greenthumb, Rouillard Greenthumb, Vaudin Brooks, and Tissier Torteval. Leaving shortly after luncheon you delved once more into the Gnarley forest, following the tracks of the goblins until the sun set and you made camp where the halfling scouts saw to your culinary needs. After an uneventful night you set off in search of the goblins once more. Four of the halflings split off to scout ahead but not long after came running back at a break neck speed with a gang of goblins and kobolds hot on their heels. You dispatched your foes with little trouble and took a moment to catch your breathe and patch up any wounds you had taken before continuing your search for the captured halflings of Bayo hamlet.
(The PCs were woefully low-level at this point and after their struggle in the moat-house I decided they need a side-quest to help them out a bit. The cherries and honey were ingredients Jaroo uses in his potions of healing so this was also a good way for them to earn a few free potions!)
Whilst catching your breath after the skirmish with the goblin and kobold patrol, Thurin caught up with you, his halfling guide having been able to follow his fellows' trail signs. With him was the young man who you rescued from the grisly pantry of the ogre at the moat-house. He introduced himself as archer and adventurer extraordinaire; Titus Wolfheart. His slightly trampish appearance and previous captivity left you doubting his claims. Setting off on the trail of the raiders you had just fought, your halfling guides followed the tracks to an open clearing in which you discovered an unusual collection of allies; orcs, hobgoblins, goblins and kobolds all at apparent rest under the watchful eye of a burly flind. Wasting no time you launched a surprise attack felling a number of them from your sniper's volley of arrows. Initially the battle went in your favour until the distance was closed and a violent melée ensued. Titus and Zrabbas Mo'Sharba were badly injured and forced to retreat as the halfling scouts broke their cover and rushed in to block the humanoids' pursuit. Tocq Bumbleheart and Rondel Greenthumb felled the flind leader with a flurry of jabs from their shortswords, tipping the balance in your favour. Through determination and bravery everyone made a last concerted effort to successfully defeat the humanoid patrol and take captive two snivelling, yipping kobolds. Lyria managed to communicate with your captives in the crude orcish tongue and learned that the main village-camp was only half a day's walk to the north where a diminutive fey dressed in green with a red beard, called Feardorcha, led them. She agreed to let the kobolds go if they led you to the camp which the reluctantly agreed to do. True to their word they took you through the tangled forest to a small clearing. Thurin, using his elven cloak carefully scouted out the camp and learned that the clearing ringed by half a dozen ramshackle huts. In the centre was a group of just over a dozen humanoids similar in composition to the patrol you had just slain. They were sat listening to the bawdy song of a human minstrel who the kobolds referred to as Niklas. Huddling together you quietly discussed your options and how to proceed from here.
After a brief discussion you decided that Lyria and Thurin, accompanied by a couple of the halflings would creep around the outskirts of the camp using the dense undergrowth as cover. From this vantage point you launched a surprise ambush. Lady Asterales used her magic to send the kobolds and two of the hobgoblins into a magical slumber whilst the rest of you launched a volley of missiles into the unsuspecting humanoid revellers. Reeling from this surprise onslaught you managed to keep the upper hand for most of the skirmish. Titus and the Bayo halflings using their bows to great effect, Thurin using his elven cloak to creep about the camp backstabbing his unsuspecting targets, Lyria using her somnomancy and daggers, whilst Yav and Zrabbas Mo'Sharba used their curative spells upon their injured comrades and taking opportunities to crack the skulls of any humanoids close enough. Only towards the end of the skirmish did the flinds gain an advantage, cleaving Prevost Pelley almost in two as he and Lyria attempted a panicked flight from their opponents' over-bearing sword blows. At the same time a diminutive figure clad in green and sporting bright red hair emerged from one of the huts. Suspecting this to be Feardorcha, Titus wasted no time and impaled the wee fellow with a single arrow that pinned him to the hut he had just emerged from. In fact the only survivor from Feardorcha's gang was Niklas the bawdy minstrel who kept a low profile during the fight and finally fled the camp. Thurin and Yav tried their best to capture him but as they attempted to grapple with Niklas they discovered his true nature, a sly wererat. There weapons seemed to have no effect on him, healing up as fast they were inflicted and the minstrel soon slipped away into the depths of the forest. Giving up the chase you focused your attention on looting the camp and in the process discovered the weary and ill-treated halfling captives as well as the stolen honey and cherries. Packing up everything of value that you could find you wasted no time making your way back to Bayo where you were greeted as heroes! A feast was held in your honour and you gorged yourselves late into the night whilst grateful villagers sought to shake your hands or embrace you for rescuing the kinsfolk. At Thurin's request, a place was also set at the table for the fallen scout, Prevost. Not wishing to tarry any longer than necessary you set off for Hommlet in the morning, agreeing to accompany Tocq Bumbleheart and the delayed annual offering of honey and cherries to be sent to the village. Before departing the village Tocq presented you with two pots of the precious Bayo Special Honey. Unlike normal honey this type had enchanted curative properties and to have been given some was a great honour. You reached Hommlet late that same day and accompanied Tocq as he handed over his cargo to Jaroo Ashstaff. Jaroo told you that you had proven your worth in his eyes and that you should visit him at his grove sometime soon as he had information to share with you. Due to the late hour you returned to your rooms at The Welcome Wench and settled down for the night.
These session summaries are way behind but what has always worked out well so far is how I haven't even needed to engineer any extremes of fortune for the priest of Ralishaz.
He's managed to do it all by himself with his dice rolls. Last session his luck failed him; a critical hit on himself whilst trying to strike at a stirge sucking out his blood and finally the corrupt fruit from the orchard in the Temple grounds (which to be fair he has been eating for sessions now) finally got the better of him. Luckily he had some Keoghtom's Ointment at hand to save himself!
Yeah, I'm sure you've all figured out by now that when I DM my alter-ego, SirAxaris the Anti-Palindrome, takes over.
Unfortunately, several of my group didn't return to school this Winter Term and may not return for the Spring semester, if what I hear is true. But, we should be able to find replacements. Replacements are always fun to initiate.
Your campaign has me very excited, Wolfling! I can't wait to hear how your PCs fare in the Temple itself. I've never got to run it all the way through.
Edit: Realized part of my comment above didn't apply to this thread, so I removed it. SX
Last edited by SirXaris on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
Lol, I'm happy with UN-Holy or NON-Holy - just as long as we don't combine the two to become NUN-Holy (althought technically that would just be Holy again)
It is a fun campaign to run SirXaris. I have a group of complete beginners which makes it even better. I did have an experienced player but disappointingly he couldn't get on with the 2nd edition rules having perhaps become too enamoured with Pathfinder. Whilst I do thoroughly enjoy that game (please don't exile me), it hands everything to the player on a plate, especially the adventure paths which are practically a case of spoon-feeding.
It makes it tough for a Pathfinder player to play the classic D&D adventures. They're used to only ever encountering things meant for their level whereas in ToEE, one wrong turn and the players can end up three levels down fighting things they should be fleeing from. I like that. It feels more natural and encourages players to think more.
The newbie players treat each room with mixed excitement and dread plus as they don't know the rules they don't limit themselves to what the rules allow - they tell me what they want to do and I then have to work out how they can accomplish it. Plus even better - they don't know what any of the monsters can do to them mwuhaha!
The following day you set about selling your loot and provisioning yourselves then paid a visit to Jaroo's grove as the sun began to set. Finding him absent, Zrabbas Mo'Sharba used the blessings of his faith to communicate with the large black bear slumbering in the doorway of Jaroo's hut who lethargically informed him that Jaroo had been gone since the early afternoon but that he had no idea when to expect him. He did say he would tell Jaroo you had visited should his friend ask him.
The following morning you paid a visit to Elder Nevets and found Jaroo Ashstaff there to meet you also. On the basis of your deeds for the hamlet of Bayo and on the positive opinions some of the villagers of Hommlet had voiced about you the two of them agreed to share with you what they knew of the 'dark times'.
Over a decade ago wicked men (some say from the banks of the Nyr Dyv others from the Wild Coast) began gathering in Nulb, a disreputable village 30 miles to the north-east of Hommlet and situated on the marshy banks of Imeryd's Run. A temple was built nearby, recruiting wicked folk to join its cult that promoted chaos and evil and believed that the elements themselves were by their very nature random and destructive and thus opposed to mankind and goodness. Over time more and more flocked to this cult until they were a formidable force of rogues, bandits, assassins and villains. Once their power was consolidated they turned their attention to spreading wickedness and suffering throughout the surrounding land.
Hommlet suffered greatly during this time and many villagers lost friends of kinsmen to raiders from what had become known as the Temple of Elemental Evil. Victims were taken to be sacrificed or enslaved. Children were offered to the first and weakest of the elements, destructive fire, men were offered to the element of water embodied by storms and floods and finally the womenfolk were offered to the most powerful tier of elemental evil, a combination of air and earth that together embodied the blackness of the Abyss and the negation of all matter. Beneath the temple was built a labyrinthine complex of tunnels the extent of which remained unknown to the forces of good.
Finally the cultists could be endured no longer. The forces of Good rallied together and led by Prince Thrommel IV, Provost of Veluna and son of the King of Furyondy, they crusaded against the Temple of Elemental Evil. Two great battles were fought collectively known as the Battle of Emridy Meadows that saw the forces of evil crushed and villagers in Hommlet recall seeing streams of ochre-robed cultist fleeing south to safety. After defeating the armies of the Temple the host of Goodness marched on the Temple itself and defeating the remaining occupants in only two weeks. Then a small group of powerful wizards and priests combined their magics to seal the Temple shut and steal its location from the minds of those who knew of it so that it would forever remain forgotten. Jaroo claimed to not know who was responsible for casting these magics or who the other leaders of the host of Goodness might have been. (This is obviously a lie - from what I can tell Jaroo was amongst the heroes there at the sealing of the Temple)
Elder Nevets added that the moat-house had once been an outpost of the Temple of Elemental Evil and after the fall of the Temple a small force marched there and raised the place, driving out its wicked inhabitants.
When asked what should be done next, Jaroo suggested returning to the moat-house to investigate the symbol of the burning eye you had discovered as well as travelling to Nulb to see if you could learn of any rumours of a revival of the Cult of Elemental Evil. He did not like to say whether he thought this was actually happening but that it definitely warranted further investigation and he mentioned that he would contact the agents of the Viscount to let them know your findings.
Leaving time for Lyria to (unsuccessfully) attempt to divine the powers of some of the enchanted treasures you had found, you finally set off for the moat-house on the 13th of Planting. Undeterred by an early squabble about your mounts and the foul rainy weather you rode to the moat-house, this time accompanied by reinforcements; Tocq Bumbleheart of Bayo, Ery Timbers the gnome scout , Elmo the village drunk and Raimol the man-at-arms hired by Lady Asterales as a bodyguard. Some initial scouting from Thurin revealed a look-out had been posted. Potluck, using his elven cloak, took on the four bandit watchmen felling three of them whilst the rest of the party rushed in and helped slay the fourth. A swift exploration of the upper levels revealed no further bandits so you decided to descend the secret staircase into the lower levels.
This time you opened the second secret door that had so far remained unopened to discover it led onto a network of snaking corridors. Delving into the dungeons a little deeper you came into a large empty room with three closed doors. Opening one of them you discovered an anti-climactic empty storage cupboard but your attention was quickly drawn to a band of bugbears playing some kind of game in a chamber to the north. Zrabbas Mo'Sharba led a valiant charge against the goblinoids that saw you dispatch the six foes with little effort. Whilst you looted their bodies, Titus went to investigate the other closed doors however opening the middle door of the previous chamber revealed a blank wall and the sound of whirring mechanisms followed by a loud clanging noise that rang down the corridor from the back the way you had come. What has Titus activated? You are sure it can't be good news.
"Then a small group of powerful wizards and priests combined their magics to seal the Temple shut and steal its location from the minds of those who knew of it so that it would forever remain forgotten. Jaroo claimed to not know who was responsible for casting these magics"
Umm... How is Jaroo, or anybody, able to tell the PCs this story? Unless it was simply the Temple's location that was stolen from their memories...
I did a considerable amount of research into this. I have to admit the adventure is sketchy on the details and the few that there are are scattered about.
I can confidently say that it wasn't the Circle of Eight who sealed the Temple but their predecessor the Citadel of Eight. I had always assumed that it was the Circle but in fact the Circle of Eight did not exist in 569CY (the date of the Battle of Emridy Meadows and fall of the Temple). In fact significantly, it is believed that the Circle of Eight exist because of the events that happened.
It was the Citadel of Eight that existed at this stage, and although some members remained constant they seemed to have quite a different ethos. One of the Citadel, Serten, died at the Battle of Emridy Meadows and this amongst other things contributed to the group disbanding.
The adventure itself states on p.28 that Otis (who was actually a member of the Citadel of Eight), Jaroo, Y'dey, Terjon, Rufus & Berne were all involved and as things started hotting up Robilar turns up and causes havoc and quickly leaves. It is Tenser and some allies that turned up at the end.
It never states who exactly performed the binding magics on the Temple other than to say powerful priests and wizards. My conclusion is that the Citadel of Eight were involved perhaps alongside a couple of others who fought at the Battle of Emridy Meadows and aided by the people who were originally involved; Jaroo, Y'dey, Terjon, Berne, as assistants in the ritual.
The adventure gives a whole page of information that should be revealed to the players and someone has to know it to share with them. It makes sense that it owuld be the people who originally fought against the Temple.
So in answer your questions;
Jaroo is in fact highly qualified to answer these questions as he lived it first hand 10 years ago. As did Terjon, Otis and Y'dey.
I introduced the magic wardings removing the location of the Temple from the minds of the people who had been there and keeping other people away as a plot hook. I couldn't understand how the Temple's location could be such a mystery when half the NPCs had been there and it was less than a day's walk from Nulb. It made no sense.
Jaroo claimed that the location was stripped from the minds of those that knew it but he may not have been completely true. Those there at the ritual may have been made exempt. Someone would need to know how to get there again just in case but if this knowledge ever got out their lives could be in great peril from evil-doers seeking the place.
The reason why these NPCs (Jaroo, Terjon, Berne & Rufus) were dismissive of the rise of the Temple again was not that they didn't believe it was happening. On the contrary, they knew it was, but a group of green adventurers could make things much much worse through their meddling. So they hoped to put them off, seeing that they were determined Jaroo decided to feed them enough to keep them satisfied but never the location of the Temple. Jaroo isn't just the village druid, it states he is tasked by his Old Faith to keep an eye on the Temple and evil activity in the area.
I hope my logic and Jaroo's knowledge of things makes sense to you now!
Wolfing, sorry for the confusion. The "history lesson" was unnecessary.
You're "caught up" in the module and my thinking was elsewhere. Mostly, I was just having fun.
I have the computer game Temple of Elemental Evil and play it regularly. In that game, Terjon informs the Party that "the Circle of Eight" showed up and "saved the day!"
Of course, in "modern parlance" they are the Circle of Eight, rather than the Citadel of Eight, which is why the game may use that term. And that's why I used it.
Also, in the computer version of the game, the Temple's location is not "secret." Several people in Nulb can immediately tell you how to get there. Of course, you first have to finish the Moat House portion of the Adventure before anyone in Hommlet will tell you how to get to Nulb, though!
Thanks for the explaination, Wolfling! I ask those kinds of questions because I am an editor and it keeps me in practice to find potential conflicts within an account. I hope it helps you to keep your account consistant.
It's cool guys! I value the feedback and comments because they make me think about the decisions I have made and sometimes shed a new light on them. So feel free to quiz me about stuff in the future too!!
Inquiring minds wanna know...and I personally don't mind hearing your justifications, Wolfling. You are obviously a very introspective, methodical DM who 'does his homework' first. I, for one, can very much appreciate that, for I do the same thing. I don't like contrived plots and do my utmost to avoid them at all costs, though sometimes it happens. I think you are doing justice to your campaign and your players.
Backtracking along the corridors you discovered that the trap had caused a portcullis to fall, obstructing the way back to the secret stairwell and trapping you in the lower levels. With little choice in the matter you continued through the dark winding corridors until you stumbled across a room similar to the previous chamber with the trap.
Scouting ahead Thurin discovered a gang of gnolls deep in heated discussion who seemed unaware of your approach. After much deliberation you devised a plan to take on the gnolls from an advantageous position and launched your attack.
Your plan worked well and you dispatched the gnolls with relative ease. Meanwhile, Yav, growing bored with not being able to gain a position on the front line of the fight began to investigate the three doors leading off from the chamber you were fighting in. The first door revealed an empty closet, the second a long passage. Just as you finished looting the corpses of the gnolls Yav flung opened the third, central door. Just as the central door in the previous chamber had been, this one was also trapped. The third time was certainly the charm when it came to bad luck for the priest of Ralishaz. A portcullis slammed down behind him trapping the furious dwarf. Not even Elmo with his exceptional strength could lift the heavy iron grate. The rest of you spent half an hour searching the room to try and find a mechanism but nothing was discovered and you decided to push on down the long corridor.
Taking the first turning that you came to you quietly followed the length of the new corridor opening the door at its end to finding another corridor that gently sloped upwards and a door directly to the side. Titus opened the door to discover a human guard garbed in a black surcoat and cloak emblazoned with a familiar symbol; a golden eye wreathed in flames.
After the initial surprise you all leaped to arms and engaged the guard who shouted out out a low, hooting cry of alarm alerting other guardsmen behind him. Titus quickly felled two of the guards and you charged up the corridor where you engaged more of the black-clad men. Lyria's sleep spell quickly dealt with the guards at the front allowing you to pour into the room they were in. As you pitted yourself against your foes two imposing men emerged from another room. Both wearing black embroidered with the golden eye symbol and heavily armoured in ornate plate. One bore a heavy platinum chain and wielded a longsword with great skill whilst the other was an exceedingly handsome man with long golden hair wielding a mace and short bronzewood staff. These two newcomers proved tough adversaries. The golden-haired man began casting spells managing to paralyse Elmo and Tocq as well as healing the wounds of the guard sergeant allowing these three black-clad men to maintain a defensive position.
Despite the spellcaster's advice that you should leave whilst you still could you bravely continued your assault taking heavy wounds and seeing Thurin felled from behind as he attempted to use his elven cloak to escape the fight. Only the Bayo honey helped keep you on your feet. As you finally killed the guard sergeant and the spellcaster stepped into his position you decided to attempt new tactics.
Withdrawing back and hoping to lure the remaining two men into a position where more of you could attack them however they were not fooled by such an obvious ploy and so you resorted to bows, darts and thrown daggers that just seemed to rebound off their shields and armour. At a stalemate you faced off your opponents whilst you considered how to gain the advantage whilst Yav wondered if he would see his companions again or would he rot to death in a prison brought about from his impatient curiosity.
I am curious what Powers the clerics of the Temple follow. I imagine it must be some elemental deity or dieties (one, perhaps, for each of the four main elements, or is it merely a single Power?). Please illuminate the Lanthorn on this! I am an inquisitive sort...
They do come up with some tactics some of the time hehe and Yav's luck was indeed definitely due a turn!
That's is a great question Lanthorn and I have to admit I had completely forgotten to ponder on it. So I just have and this is what I've come up with;
According to at least the 1st edition rules clerics can cast 1st and 2nd level spells through their own hard work and study without needing the direct intervention of a deity or their servant. Many of the priests in the Temple can only cast up to 2nd level spells. This perhaps represents the training they received in the Greater Temple and the teaching of the principles of Elemental Evil.
Those casting spells of up to 5th level can obtain them from the servant of a deity. I also read that to mean that some creatures such as powerful devils and demons might also be able to grant spells to followers either through their own merits or through a deal with an actual deity.
Hedrack I believe gains his spells directly from Iuz.
Barkinar gains his from Zuggtmoy (mainly through her proximity, depsite the wardings) but perhaps the further Barkinar travels from the Temple the weaker his powers become.
Deggum has been mentored by Hedrack and so I think his spells come from Iuz.
As for the rabble; Alrem, Kelno and Belsornig - Iuz is a lightly candidate or again Zuggtmoy - or perhaps a combination of the two.
Deciding to use ranged weapons against your opponents you forced the flaxen haired priest and his loyal bodyguard back into a boudoire. Finding the door locked and beyond the abilities of Thurin and Ery, Elmo and Titus resorted to smashing the sturdy wooden door down. Finding the two foes trapped with no escape route it was only a matter of time before the guard-captain was slain by two lethal blows from Raimol and Tocq and the priest, whose name was revealed to you as Lareth the Beautiful, was captured. Stripping Lareth of his possessions and pillaging his bedchamber you bound the eloquent priest and proceeded to interrogate him.
Lareth showed you how to free the imprisoned Yav then with a rope around his neck like a dog and wearing nothing but his small-clothes you forced the New Master to lead you through the remaining unexplored areas of the moat-house. You quickly stumbled across a crypt where four ghouls had made their lair. Ravenous, they immediately attacked paralysing Yav and Titus with their wicked claws. Ungagging Lareth, Zrabbas Mo'Sharba instructed the priest to use his power to take control of the ghouls, a request that Lareth happily obliged. However it seemed that despite his weakened state he still had freedom on his agenda. After the ghouls had been dispatched Lareth attemted to flee through a secret passage in the crypt. Only the quick reflexes of Zrabbas Mo'Sharba prevented Lareth from escaping and a sturdy jab in the face from the Drone of Bralm's staff caused Lareth's head to make a sickening crunch against the stone wall leaving him dead.
Caring little for Lareth's demise you set about searching the crypt and whilst Thurin explored a secret escape shaft leading to a torture-chamber above the rest of you discovered the ghoul's den which contained a number of treasures. Despite the dank stench of the ghouls' nest you decided to rest their to reflect on what you had learned, heal your numerous wounds and to allow your spellcasters to replenish their humble magical arsenals.
(I have come to learn that the players will attempt to rest *anywhere*! I made some rolls for picking up something nasty whilst resting in the ghoul's lair but they were all lucky ... even Yav!)
I am curious what Powers the clerics of the Temple follow.
The Temple was built for Zuggtmoy, with the backing of Iuz -- her lover. But knowing that few humans would serve her and her fungi, it was decided to deceive them by implying that they were serving the Elemental Planes.
This same ploy was used by Iuz in deceiving the Stoneholders into invading Tenh. The Fists thought that they were answering the call of their god, Vatun, when in truth, it was Iuz pretending to be Vatun.
So the Clerics of the Temple no doubt believe that the are serving the Primal Elementals, whereas their powers are really coming from Zuggtmoy, or perhaps, in some cases, from Iuz.
Then, of course, there is the Elder Elemental Eye, which may or may not be Tharizdun. However, worshipers of Tharizdun are definitely trying to usurp the Temple and power Node for their own purposes -- freeing Tharizdun from his prison. So, some Clerics might be receiving their powers from Him, unknowingly.
Lareath does indeed serve Lloth, as she is trying to usurp the Temple for her own purposes -- given that the Temple sits upon a Node, a Nexus of magical power from the Oerth.
...whose name was revealed to you as Lareth the Beautiful, was captured. Stripping Lareth of his possessions and pillaging his bedchamber you bound the eloquent priest and proceeded to interrogate him.
This must be the same "Lareth the Beautiful" from the moathouse of the Village of Hommlet... I didn't realize he was also found in the Temple, too! I guess it is assumed that Lareth isn't killed in the Hommlet module, then... Is he 'souped up' in the Temple?
Wolfling, if you are interested, there is an older thread (about a year old or more) under the General Forums...I will try to locate it for you... SPECIFICALLY about Lareth. My DM ran him as a drow!
(I have come to learn that the players will attempt to rest *anywhere*! I made some rolls for picking up something nasty whilst resting in the ghoul's lair but they were all lucky ... even Yav!)
Yer learning, young DM! Earn a new level of DMing experience.
Mystic, interesting plot and interweaving of Powers. OK, next question:
If you use the 2e system of spell spheres, etc., as I do, that means that the DM would have to determine which priest serves which Power, and thus which spells could be cast, turning ability (if applicable), weapons and armor used, etc., right?
I mean, makes sense to me. Iuz's portfolio is clearly outlined in FtA with more depth added in Iuz the Evil supplement. The Elder Elemental God and Lolth are outlined in the Monster Mythology. But what about Zuggtmoy? Have there been any sources that delineated her clerics' abilities???
Lanthorn - they're still in the moat-house! They haven't reached the Temple yet (well they have but I haven't got that far in the summaries yet!)
I haven't worried about working out Zuggtmoy's spheres - I just have the priests with the spells as given in the module (unless there is good reason to change them).
I think I read that thread about Lareth. I like the fact that he is a human male, completely breaking the tradition of Lolth only being served by female drow. Drow in my game are generally boogie men and not even all elves believe they exist. For not it serves Lolth's purpose to keep her favoured servants on the sly and as a power-hungry demon she has no hesitations about using other races and genders to achieve her goals.
I ran Queen of Spiders years ago and came up with an origin story for Lolth with humble origins as a succubus who clawed and poisoned and tricked her way up to where she is today. I added an element of lust to her portfolio - lust for power as well as carnal lust from her succubus origins. Lareth's beauty appealed to that aspect of Lolth. Maybe I'll post it sometime!
Having rested, you prepared yourself to explore the remaining areas of the moat-house. Stiff and sore and still bearing many wounds from the previous day's hardships you stoically pushed yourselves on. First of all you headed down the long passage way that gradually sloped upwards until after proceeding along it for about five hundred feet you broke out through a well concealed (from the outside) opening to the surface and were greeted by an overcast breezy spring morning and the smell of the surrounding marsh. Titus and Thurin decided that they would stand guard at the entrance of this route to the surface so that they could warn the rest of you if any of Lareth's alleged troops should turn up.
The rest of you headed back into the bowels of the moat-house to investigate another unexplored area. Descending a steep flight of steps not far from the entrance to the crypt you found yourselves in what once must have been a natural cavern that had been carved out by the builders of the moat-house. In the cavern sat a large natural pool of still dark water. Yav, displaying his customary curiosity, threw a crampon into the pool. Seconds later an aggressive giant crayfish leapt out from the pool in a spray of icy cold water, attacking with its fierce pincers. It didn't take long for you to beat back the over-sized crustacean, a violent crack from Yav's staff, splintering a large part of the crayfish's carapace, causing it to retreat into the safety of the pool.
Despite the risk of the crayfish still lurking about, Yav boldly investigated the pool, discovering a natural lip just below the surface of the water that had collected bits of bone and debris. Working his way around the circumference of the pool Yav discovered some long lost treasures, possibly belonging to less fortunate adventurers. Unsatisfied that the crayfish still lived, Lady Asterales persuaded her hireling, Raimol, with a cash incentive to swim down into the pool and investigate. Raimol was able to inform you that the crayfish seemed to be holed up in a underwater passage leading off from the pool and possibly connecting to the pool's source of water. Seeing that only Raimol and Lyria were proficient swimmers you decided to leave the defeated crayfish to nurse its wounds.
You then decided to move on to the final area you had left to explore. The fact that you knew the area was where a horde of zombies had butchered your colleague Axia only a couple of weeks ago left you feeling somewhat nervous about proceeding. Ascending through the secret shaft that Lareth had attempted to escape through you climbed up into a torture-chamber that had been disguised to look as if it was unused and quickly pushed on towards the last locked door in the chamber beyond. Sure enough, the shuffling, groaning zombies were drawn to your presence like moths to a flame or flies to excrement and a battle with the undead commenced with more and more bursting from out of their cells.
Amongst the walking dead you were greeted by the horrific and violated remains of Axia, much of one half of her face had been eaten, as had her bowels. The fight was close and it was only the use of Bayo honey that saved you from a similar fate to Axia. Both Ery and Tocq fell to blows from the zombies but were saved before they bled to death. Raimol was not so lucky. A heavy blow from one of the zombie smashed in his face and he quickly bled to death before you could aid him.
With the zombies finally defeated you smashed down the last unopened door to find a store-room containing hundreds of polearms and black cloaks emblazoned with the flaming golden eye insignia. Having had enough of the moat-house you agreed that it was time to return to Hommlet and after a shocked reaction from your henchman begrudgingly decided to bring back the bodies of Raimol and Axia for proper burial rather than leave them to fester in the corridor where they fell as you had initially planned.
Weary and wounded you rode back to Hommlet where you were warmly greeted at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Before settling in you took the bodies of the fallen to Jaroo so that he could minister to them and briefly told him of Lareth and what you had discovered at the moat-house. You then returned to the inn for hot baths and food and a well deserved rest.
The following morning you ventured into the village to sell your moat-house spoils only to find the value of some of your loot was too great for a hamlet like Hommlet to purchase so you decided that a trip to Verbobonc city was in order. As you returned to the Welcome Wench you encountered Jaroo busying himself about the place warning locals to secure up their shutters and doors as bad weather was due. Sure enough by the afternoon Hommlet was struck by gale force winds that lasted for three full days. The village suffered widespread yet surprisingly minor structural damage but determined not to delayed any longer Yav, Thurin, Titus, Ery and Elmo rode off for Verbobonc leaving Lyria to scribe new found spells into her grimoire and Zrabbas Mo'Sharba to help assist the villagers with their repairs.
By horse the journey to the capital would only take two days. The end of the first day's travel brought you to the small village of Etterboek located at the edge of the Kron Hills before they give way to the rolling meadows of the northern Viscounty. Rooming at the only inn for the night you discussed your current situation. Yav noticed one of the only other patrons listening intently to your conversation.
Confronting the red-haired half-olve you discovered that he was a veteran of the Battle of Emridy Meadows and priest of Trithereon, god of liberty, self-defence and retribution. Introducing himself as Woden Urwood from the nearby village of Penwick, he, like yourselves, was investigating the rising bandit activity plaguing the eastern reaches of the Viscoutny of Verbobonc and was also headed to the capital to consult with a senior member of his faith. Seeing the sense of travelling together Yav and Woden seemed to warm to each other in the final day's ride to Verbobonc city. Arriving at the elegant capital you split up to pursue your own errands although Yav decided to accompany Woden to the Shrine of the Summoner where the priest of Trithereon hoped to consult with the venerable Father Cornelius. The wizened old man proved most hospitable and listened carefully to the dying words of Woden's mentor;
"On three, in six, lies nine - but none shall ever see
Fair Good cloaked by Vile Evil for eternity
Will you answer, Answerer? Where is your power, pray?
With the whelp of Mitrik and there until doomsday"
Although some of the verse was too cryptic, Father Cornelius immediately recognised a reference to The Answerer, an enchanted sword sacred to the faith of Trithereon. He revealed that shortly before the Battle of Emridy Meadows, Prince Thrommel IV, leader of the Host of Good, passed by Verbobonc and paid a visit to that very shrine you had visited. There he was gifted the sacred blade Answerer to use in the upcoming battle. Mitrik is the capital of Veluna, a peaceful land bordering the north of Verbobonc to whom the Viscounty was a vassal state of. Prince Thrommel was the Provost of Veluna as well as the Marshall and ruler of Furyondy. He was due to marry Jolene of Samprastadar, daughter of the Plar of Veluna. Their union was to solidify the bond between Veluna and Furyondy resulting in a powerful force for Good in the Flanaess. However, six years ago Prince Thrommel vanished without a trace, the sword Answerer with him. Cornelius was sure that 'the whelp of Mitrik' referred to the missing Prince although the use of 'whelp' was strange considering the respect that Woden's mentor had for Thrommel. He could not tell how this verse was connected to current events and left Woden with as many questions as answer(er)s. He also could not tell you why the Prince, a supposed paladin would be wielding a sword sacred to Trithereon.
After this meeting you spent three days trading and sight-seeing before finally heading back to Hommlet. Discussing your next moves that very night you agreed to waste no time and the following morning, accompanied by your new companion Woden Urwood decided to ride north to Nulb, a wretched hive of scum and villainy that lay just outside of the Viscounty's jurisdiction. As a result it had become a haven for unlawful and villainous folk.
Its hey day had been during the Elemental Wars but after the Battle of Emridy Meadows the population of the place had slowly swollen like a puss-filled boil. You were sure that if you could learn more of the bandits anywhere there would be a good place to start. Unfortunately Zrabbas Mo'Sharba decided it was time to part ways with you all. The last haul of loot had provided him with ample funds to retire to the halfling village of Bayo with Tocq where he hoped to set up an apiary and brewery and so waved you a farewell as you left Hommlet.
You found Nulb to be much as you would expect. A foul smelling run down place located in the swampy land surrounding Imeryd's Run, a tributary of the mighty Velverdyva river. Arriving as the light began to fail you located the only inn, The Waterside Hostel, where you received a crude reception from the hostler, **** Rentsch and his staff. Nothing like the warm and homely Welcome Wench you found yourselves barricading the doors to your dirty rooms with beds, chairs and some of you decided to forego sleep expecting cut-throats and burglars to come pouring in. However the morning saw you tired yet unharmed so you set to wandering about the village. Whilst Woden, Lyria and Yav visited the warehouse market Thurin sourced out the barman as a fellow rogue and made enquiries about the bandits. In a meeting with Wat the barman behind the stables, spied upon by Titus, Wat informed Thurin that in order to get in with the bandits he'd have to prove himself and he'd be in touch about what this test was to entail.
Now, on your first day in Nulb you have many questions. Can you find the bandits here and are they even connected to those at the moat-house? What of the cult Lareth belonged to? Is there a connection? Will you find more cultists here as well. Does Nulb hold these answers or just a knife in your backs?
I've gotta admit, Wolfling, that I am deeply impressed, and kinda would like to be 1) a fly on the wall during your gaming sessions, or 2) a player.
As you returned to the Welcome Wench you encountered Jaroo busying himself about the place warning locals to secure up their shutters and doors as bad weather was due. Sure enough by the afternoon Hommlet was struck by gale force winds that lasted for three full days.
You get big time "Lanthorn points" for infusing weather into your game!!! Awesome. Love it.
Confronting the red-haired half-olve you discovered that he was a veteran of the Battle of Emridy Meadows and priest of Trithereon, god of liberty, self-defence and retribution.
More "points" for infusing one of my favorite Powers into your game. Soon enough, you, too, shall have a Rune of Pursuit as your Avatar (just NOT mine...it's an 'individual' thing! )
I am also glad to see you had your players travel to Verbobonc. I hope you were able to 'do it justice' with whatever resources you could muster. Great place. I'd like to go back...
Like your recounting of some history, too, about the Battle of Emridy Meadows, Prince Thrommel, and his sword. By the way, wasn't it called Fragarach???
...Nulb, a wretched hive of scum and villainy...
Am I the ONLY reader to catch that Star Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope Mos Eisley spaceport reference???
I want some "Wolfling points!"
If I were a priest of Trithereon, I'd raze Nulb to the ground, then salt the earth...
You get big time "Lanthorn points" for infusing weather into your game!!!
I love the random weather. It's a great way of making the world come alive. Although I've managed to randomize three hurricane force storms so far. Bad luck - or the effects of the ToEE?!
I found a lot of source material on Verbobonc and then axed out the stuff I didn't like to make it fit into my vision of the Viscounty and City. The players tend not to like diversions from their adventure so I don't get to spend much time roleplaying out encounter sin the city unless I pre-plan them but I thought I hsould flesh it out a bit just in case!
As it turns out the player's have become attached to Nulb - perhaps it reminds them of a night out in London lol. As you'll see later one of them has even bought a house there! They could have chosen lovely rural Hommlet but no, scummy Nulb. I think they've grown quite attached to Screng and Hruda!
Yep the sword is indeed Fragarach but I decided that I wouldn't reveal that to the players for now as they didn't look into the blade any further. I decided that as we had a priest of Trithereon joining us I would tie in the god with the anomaly of Thrommel's sword being CG and from another realm much like Trithereon (even if it does transpire it was a typo in the original material!).
p.s: you do indeed get points for noticing the Star Wars reference! I had great fun spewing insults and abuse to the players from the foul-mouthed hostile locals
Your first day in Nulb seemed to be fairly fruitless. Surly, guarded locals answered your questions warily. You paid a visit to Mother Screng's Herb Shop where the ancient and decrepit old woman and her beastly daughter, Hruda, impatiently endured your questions and informed you that the Hostel was a 'den of vipers'. This warning turned out to be particularly true.
Thurin maintained his deception with the barman, Wat, who informed him that his test to prove himself was to be a hit on Lyria. Her head and valuables were to be presented to Wat before sunrise. Realising that this facade was about to come to an end you devised a plan. Disguising Lyria as a corpse you laid an ambush for Wat but, possibly already suspecting you, he had his own ambush prepared.
As Wat fell to Lyria's sonomancy, the barmaid Pearl leapt out of the shadows striking Thurin a deadly blow. A scuffle ensued until Pearl fell to the ground, her chest cavity exposed by Lyria's acidic magic. You just had time to hide the bodies in the stable before Dic k Rentsch and one of his guards came to investigate the noise. This time you were all on hand and with the use of Woden's silence dweomer, despatched the two men stealthily.
Retreating into the stables again you woke Wat and interrogated him. In the interest of self-preservation he quickly revealed to you that he was an informant of the Fire Temple, a faction of the re-risen Temple of Elemental Evil. He was aware of other factions within the temple and knew that they were not unified but possibly at odds or at the best indifferent to one another. His contact from the Temple appeared sporadically and there was no scheduled time for their next meet. He suggested that the best way to find the Temple was to trail the bandits you spotted entering town and who answered to a separate faction, one he did not know of.
After much deliberation you decided to send Wat back to Jaroo in Hommlet under the guard of Elmo and Ery. Meanwhile you awoke a drunken Yav who had managed to sleep through the whole ordeal in the tap room of the Hostel and then broke into an abandoned house at the edge of town to lie low and rest whilst you considered your next move.
The disappearances of Dic k, Wat and Pearl are bound to cause a stir and now your own disappearance may, correctly, implicate you. What will you do next to resolve your precarious position in Nulb and deal with the information you gained from Wat?
Fear not, 'deadly blow' was perhaps misleading! Serious blow is more like it - Thurin was badly injured but not slain - I should have made that a bit clearer! Thankfully I won't have to contend with any half dragon/half drow Rogue/Assassin/Psion with the vampire template!
Mystic-Scholar - the players will soon find out that there is one person who indeed is very glad for the turn of events ... one long suffering girlfriend is about to strike it lucky!
(Sorry - I stopped keeping the summaries for a while as I decided the players never read them. Then I changed my mind which is why ther eis a bunch of summarie sin a clump!)
Having spent a tense night in the abandoned house you decided you had no choice but to venture out into Nulb. As you cautiously left the house Yav noticed a “For Sale” sign and having warmed to the ramshackle chaos of Nulb decided to look into some real estate despite the fact his companions had just killed the owner of the Hostel. Paying a visit to Mother Screng and Hruda the old women implied they were already aware of what might have gone on in the evening and that curiously Dala, D ick's girl, claimed she had no idea what might have happened as she had nodded off whilst on the late shift. Hruda also told Yav that he could enquire about the old property for sale with Lodriss at the tavern and even shared some purchasing advice with him.
Whilst Yav went off to buy his new home, some of you paid a visit to Dala. It soon became apparent that she knew exactly what had happened and what you had done but now Dic k was dead she had taken over the Hostel and her fortunes had never looked so good. She wasn't about to risk getting silenced and confided she never like Dic k anyway. She assured you that she wouldn't tell a soul and that you were welcome to rummage through Wat and Pearl's rooms.
However a search of their quarters revealed no further clues about the Temple. With your business finished with Dala, Thurin meandered about the town listening in on any gossip and to look out for warning signs that you might be in hot water but luckily, although the gossip was rife it didn't seem that you were in any immediate danger.
Returning to Yav's newly bought house, named Creekside on account of it's location, you set to discussing your next move and decided to go in search of bandits. Heading out of Nulb coincidence or fortune soon struck as you encountered a band of rugged dirty men heading back towards the town. Following, what you assumed were bandits, you saw them disperse as they entered Nulb and so you set about trying to find them.
Some of you decided that you would try your luck at the Waterside Hostel and turned up in the evening to find an over-worked Dala struggling to run the place on her own. Thurin quickly volunteered his services carrying drinks to the punters so that he could try and listen in on the conversations and quickly identified two of the bandits you had seen earlier but despite his attempts at chatting with them they remained surly and guarded.
Meanwhile Woden struck up conversation with a musician Dala had hired going by the name of Malfern the Minstrel. A rakish dandy who appeared to have fallen on hard times judging by the dishevelled state of his once fine clothes and somewhat unkempt appearance. Requesting a song about the triumph at the Battle of Emridy Meadows, Malfern seemed to squirm at the thought of playing such a song in Nulb and compromised with a ballad about a maiden searching for her lost love who fought in the battle. Woden's suspicions were aroused and after Malfern's surprisingly good performance he continued his questioning but found the minstrel evasive. Hoping to lure Malfern back to Creekside where he might feel more comfortable talking candidly he hired the minstrel for a private performance at Yav's house the following day to which Malfern readily agreed.
Returning your attentions back to the two bandits, Thurin slipped some potent sleeping herbs you had purchased from Mother Screng into their ales. Soon enough one of the bandits passed out, seemingly stone drunk and his companion begrudgingly dragged him up to the common room upstairs. Seizing your opportunity you crept up after them and Lyria cast her ever useful sleep spell on them for safe measure. Quickly you bound and gagged the bandits and then bundled them back to Creekside taking a longer route around the outskirts of Nulb to be safe.
The following morning saw the first day of Flocktime ushered in by stormy weather and in the leaky Creekside Lyria used her magic to charm the bandits into thinking she was a trusted friend and ally. They revealed that they did indeed work for the Temple of Elemental Evil and that they were due to return to the Temple any day and, influenced by the charm spell, thought that you would make great bandits too and should join them. Using the charade that you did indeed wish to become bandits you agreed to travel with them.
The power of Lyria's charm caused you minor concern when the bandits thought it would be a great idea to invite all their fellow bandits over for a party and seemed to treat Yav's home like their own, raising Yav's ire. You also decided that you needed to cancel Malfern's appointment and felt that all of sudden things were getting a bit out of control.
Woden returned to the Hostel the following lunch time and found Malfern a little more candid. He revealed that he was from Verbobonc originally had fallen on hard times, misfortune brought him to Nulb where he heard rumours of evil cults and bandits and hoped that he may find inspiration for a song that would turn his fortunes about. He confessed he knew little more other than that Nulb harboured many sympathisers to this evil temple's cause. He agreed to accompany Woden with the bandits believing a great tale could be gleaned from the adventure.
The following day you quickly provisioned yourselves and paid a final visit to Mother Screng and Hruda from whom you purchased a selection of healing potions and unguents and then met up with the bandits. The majority of them were highly suspicious of you despite their colleagues assurances but let you accompany them despite their reservations. Leading you into the shadowy Gnarley forest you managed to use your natural charm to warm the frosty attitudes of many of the bandits towards you. After only six miles of trekking through the forest you noticed the surroundings changing. The foliage becoming twisted and sinister and an uneasy feeling began to well up in the pits of your stomach.
All of a sudden you broke into a clearing and were confronted by a vast and hideous cathedral of dull grey stone overgrown with creeping plants clinging to the gargoyles and vile carvings that bedecked the building. Finally after over two months since you first arrived at Hommlet you had at last discovered the location of the Temple of Elemental Evil!
The bandits lead you straight past the cathedral itself to a partly ruined tower in the north-eastern corner of the cathedral grounds. There you discovered they had made their base but you did not receive a warm welcome. The leader of the bandits, a man by the name of Sarnal, seemed furious with the two men you had charmed and it seemed that they had broken some protocols of recruitment. You were told to sit and wait whilst Sarnal stormed out of the tower. Taking the time to examine the tower you discovered it was home to perhaps nearly thirty bandits and seemed well provisioned with food and drink.
Upon Sarnal's return he summoned the two bandits under Lyria's magical sway to his private room. You heard raised voices followed by cries of agony and the two men exited the room each clutching bloody rags over one of their hands. Punishment for their transgression had been exacted.
Eventually the tense wait was over. You were told that you would be tested the following day to prove your worth. After a restless night's sleep, those of you not wearing armour were instructed to don some scrappy leathers, much to Lyria's disgust. Escorted outside the tower you found two groups of bandits already waiting. You were split up; Woden, Malfern and Lyria and in one group and Thurin, Titus and Yav in the other.
I'm curious how the PCs are gonna get themselves out of this predicament. Quite 'ballsy' if you ask me! If they are smart, they'll extricate themselves as soon as possible before the brigands catch on to their little ploy.
The power of Lyria's charm caused you minor concern when the bandits thought it would be a great idea to invite all their fellow bandits over for a party and seemed to treat Yav's home like their own, raising Yav's ire. You also decided that you needed to cancel Malfern's appointment and felt that all of sudden things were getting a bit out of control.
Now that's some excellent DMing! The best laid plans should never go off without a hitch.
And, I agree with Lanthorn. If you are my kind of DM, the party will regret being foolish enough to try to continue with such a charade any longer than it takes to make a break for it.
Thanks SirXaris - As a DM I dislike Charm Person - it can be a real story breaker so I wanted Lyria to understand the perils of enchanting someone in a love potion gone wrong kind of style. She hasn't used it since, which is a shame because she could really do with using it now they're in the Temple!
I have found that the best way to deal with such enchantment spells like Charm Person is to realize that in a fantasy world like WoG, most everyone has, at least, heard of the spell and knows what it can do. Most NPCs with any kind of class levels will have encountered the spell once or twice in their careers. So, in a situation like the one you described where two subordinates break all the rules while vouching for complete strangers, the bandit Captain and his lieutenants would immediately become suspicious and suspect that they were Charmed, or otherwise magically persuaded to do such a thing - especially when one of the supposed new recruits is obviously a wizard (Lyria).
Thus, charm spells can be very useful in the midst of battle or when dealing with a single individual, but become a liability because their effects are too easy to spot by non-charmed NPCs.
So, in a situation like the one you described where two subordinates break all the rules while vouching for complete strangers, the bandit Captain and his lieutenants would immediately become suspicious and suspect that they were Charmed, or otherwise magically persuaded to do such a thing - especially when one of the supposed new recruits is obviously a wizard (Lyria).
The "trick" is being prepared to "play the part," which could be difficult, if not impossible for any "good" aligned characters. It's completely possible that the Charm was simply used as a "direct approach" to meet the Leader of the bandits. The Leader could well believe that, however . . .
. . . the test to prove that is surely coming! Will your characters be able to "live up" to the test? After all, the test could be something as simple as . . .
. . . killing the lowly farmer/fisherman/hunter that innocently stumbled onto their "hideout."
Sorry for the radio silence! I was busy with work and doing my entry for the A-Series Art Contest. Also I had a gap in my summaries and so I needed to spend some time wracking my brain to remember what actually happened (apologies if some parts seem rushed!)
Session XV – XVIII - Part 2
Feeling you had no choice other than to keep playing on you saw each other disappearing into the undergrowth of the Gnarley as the two parties headed off in opposite directions with nothing but a garbled contingency plan no-one seemed to have the same conclusion about.
Despite the lack of clarity about how to find each other again both groups were certainly clear that they would not go through with performing banditry against innocent travellers. Woden, Malfern and Lyria quickly rebelled against their bandit companions, using the element of surprise and Lyria's sonomancy to free themselves of the charade.
Thurin, Titus and Yav took a little longer and decided that they would use the confusion of the actual bandit ambush to turn on the outlaws. Fate seemed to take a hand in events and the targets of the ambush were none other than Elmo and Ery returning from their mission to Hommlet. With them was a young nobleman who in the confusion almost attacked Yav but clarity prevailed and the bandits were also defeated. Pleased to be reunited, Ery quickly explained that the man with them was Fulco Walkram, the son of the Velunese ambassador to the olven realm of Celene. The young man although noble of bearing looked a little travel worn and ragged around the edges. He explained that he had been on the trail of the missing olven Countess Trillahi and her companions. His investigations had taken him as far as Hommlet where he had encountered Elmo and Ery at the Welcome Wench and they had suggested he meet with the rest of you.
Both parties finally came to the same conclusion to return to Creekside in Nulb and you were all reunited and relieved to be safe. After grilling Fulco you agreed to allow him to join you (despite Yav's disgruntlement and dislike of Fulco due to the early banditry mix-up). You agreed that now you knew the location of the Temple of Elemental Evil you should return there at once and deal with the bandits. Wasting no time you travelled back into the Gnarley, the more perceptive amongst you remembering the way.
Approaching the bandit tower you took cover in a grove of twisted usk trees waiting until dusk had fallen before contemplating your approach across the exposed ground to the tower itself. However whilst waiting you were taken by surprise by a shadowy creature that loomed out of the darkness. Assuming the creature was some form of undead you quickly suspected this might not be the case as the use of positive energy seemed to have no effect against your foe. Even worse the wounds inflicted by your mundane weapons seemed to disappear as fast as they were made. Spreading out the few magical weapons you had amongst yourselves you eventually triumphed against the shadowy foe.
Finally ready to take on the bandits (and not keen to hang about in the temple grounds) you tentatively approached the tower. Hoping to simply be let in you knocked on the door but found there to be no response. Thurin picked the locks and you swung the door open to discover the bandits lying in wait for you in the darkness of the tower. Launching a volley of javellins, bolts and arrows a violent fight commenced. No-one was spared from getting their hands bloodied and the cries of the dying echoed about the tower. Yav used his magic to paralyse many of your foes allowing you to brutally hack them down. With the battle proceeding in your favour and Sarnal having been hacked down one of the lieutenants activated a trap in the hopes of turning the tide.
Rocks and debris rained down from above sealing off the entrance and crushing you and the bandits alike. Woden, badly injured from the rockfall was quickly preyed upon by a second lieutenant wielding a wicked morningstar. A glancing blow to the head knocked the priest of Trithereon to floor unconscious and it was horrifyingly clear the bandits intended to taking no captives as the lieutenant brought his morningstar down on Woden's vulnerable head, spraying splinters of skull and brain about the place in his savage assault.
The fighting now turned to small isolated scuffles as you quickly dispatched the remaining bandits until finally you were the only ones left standing.
The players were horrified that a character just in the minus hit points would continue being attacked. It had the effect I wanted - that this was a place of chaos and evil and a place to be feared. Luckily the player was already making sounds about changing his character (again)!
Taking a moment to gather yourselves and observe the carnage around you, you re-lit the ensconced torches in the tower and then set to investigating the place.
Yav, Elmo and Fulco began clearing the rubble from the tower entrance whilst Lyria and Malfern looted the bodies and investigated what lay behind the closed doors. In the first room they looked in they found two bound men; a hulking swarthy brute and a slender half-olve. Both seemed tired and grubby but were unharmed. Malfern immediately recognised the burly human as Nar, a Flan hillfolk who he had encountered back in Verbobonc, searching for his brother. Despite Malfern's delight at crossing paths with the warrior again, Nar did not seem as delighted!
The other captive introduced himself as Pan, a priest of Wee Jas who had come to this area investigating rumours of increased undead activity. Both men had fallen afoul of the bandits thus ending up in their current predicament. After a brief conversation you came to the awkward realisation that the brother whom Nar had come to rescue had been recruited by these very bandits and had tragically been slain by yourselves during the fight. Nar, a man of few words, didn't seem to bear you any immediate malice and set about mourning his brother with a prattling Malfern in tow.
Lyria and Pan continued to loot the room they were in which seemed to belong to some of the bandit officers and then quickly moved on to the room of Sarnal, the bandit leader. Thurin had already told you that he had discovered a secret trap door in the floor of the room and Pan immediately noticed the same concealed exit. After looting the room of a number of choice items you opened the trapdoor to discover a shaft descending down. Using the worn bronze rungs set into the side of the shaft you descended into a small chamber lined with small niches containing various treasures. The room appeared to be a secret stash for Sarnal and you wasted no time in claiming it for yourselves.
Content that you had taken everything of value to be found in the tower you decided that you could all do with some rest and taking advantage of the empty, although corpse strewn tower, did your best to get some sleep. Luckily you were undisturbed and after the spellcasters had prepared their spells for the day you decided to investigate the temple grounds leaving behind the body of your companion Woden to rot alongside the bandits he died fighting.
The search of the temple grounds revealed little of note other than a tumbled down old cottage that had a still intact wine cellar. Content with your lap around the Temple you finally approached the dark cathedral. As you approached the main entrance you could see there were huge double-doors forged of bronze with iron chains securing them shut. Upon the door were bright runes and symbols and as you crept closer found that they flared brightly and through their magical wardings made it impossible for you to approach. Only Yav, Nar and Malfern were able to resist the wards on the doors. Upon closer inspection Yav could determine that the glyphs were to do with warding and protection but only a sage or scholar of such things would be able to determine the full extent of their meaning. Despite being thwarted by the main doors you noticed that there were two smaller doors of bronzewood on each side around the corners and prepared yourselves to investigate further.
The priest of Wee Jas would have invoked the full displeasure of the Lady of Book and Bone had it not been his first session ever playing D&D. I decided to give him some adjusting time before reminding him of this incident.
To be honest Wee Jas is a bad choice of deity for him. He seems to veer towards CN but wanted to follow a deity of magic but he found Boccob boring. In my version of things Lirr is an olven deity of magic as well but he wasn't enamoured with that choice either! Can anyone think of any CN gods of the arcane?!
I for one would have Wodan come back as a JuJu Zombie with faint memories of how the party left him to rot. Then again it depends on the parties level. Maybe he becomes a Zombie Lord or ghost the bandit could serve him as other zombies or spectre's.
Determining that the bronzewood doors were the only means of entrance into the Temple, other than that great bronze valves, Nar and Elmo set to hacking it down by axe. Although extremely noisy it did not seem to attract any attention to yourselves and you tentatively took your first steps into the vile cathedral. Inside you were surprised to find the building deserted and in a mild state of dereliction as someone had attempted to deface it unsuccessfully and left the place to gather dust. Whoever had built the place paid no mind to taste or colour co-ordination and your eyes were assaulted by a barrage of sickly and mismatched colours.
Tanks to Fulco's explorations you quickly discovered three flights of stairs all descending into the depths below the cathedral as well as a narrow flight of steps carved into the side of a large well shaft. You noticed in passing that two of the four disused alters showed signs that they had once been used in grim humanoid sacrifices. You also discovered a number of vestries each with different coloured robes; brown, ivory white, crimson and moss green. These colours seemed to be repeated throughout the building and you suspected that they pertained to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water respectively.
At the far end of the cathedral you found a large throne of purple and black stone carved with leering demonic faces set upon a semi circular dais comprised of square flagstone of the same four colours. Carved into the polished basalt wall behind the throne were the words;
THE POWER OF ELEMENTAL DEATH
BRINGS MORTALS LOW
BUT RAISES THE NAMELESS ONE
You didn't ponder the words for more than a few seconds before hastening to descend the central flight of steps, keen to find action. The wide staircase led deep down into the ground until you found yourself approaching doors, similar to that great bronze portals at the entrance to the cathedral. This time only Nar was able to approach closer than a few yards, the rest of you even unable to gaze upon them.
Returning to the vestry in which you found the brown robes and a 'tasteful' rhondite ewer you descended the staircase, attempting a different route below. This time you found yourself reaching a lofty corridor of carved limestone with a gothic arched ceiling. Unlit torches were placed in sconces along the walls and you felt the light breeze of air circulation. The corridor seemed well made and was not dusty indicating that unlike the cathedral above this level may not be so deserted. Pushing onwards you took corridors at random, passing two junctions until you reached a large chamber filled with tall pillar. With Yav convinced that he had heard the sound of a bird ruffling its feathers, you all proceeded into the hall with caution. Not long after entering the room you were surprised when a portcullis crashed down to prevent you returning the way you came. At the same time a beautiful song echoed around the room enchanting everyone save Lyria and Yav. As their companions walked towards the sources of the song in a trance-like state, Lyria guessed that it may be the song of a harpy. Seeing shadowy shapes up in the rafters both Lyria and Yav tried to assault them with their ranged weaponry. Suddenly one of the doors burst open and a pack of ghouls loped out keen for an easy meal. What could have been a quick fight in the favour of the denizens of this place was prevented by the use of Yav's magic as he froze the harpies in place, one of whom tumbled to the floor with a crack of bones. Freed from the song of the harpy a bloody battle ensued with the ghouls and primarily through the use of a protective scroll that warded you against undead and Fulco's blade were you able to come up triumphant against the foul creatures. However the fight is far from over. Just as you finished off the last ghoul you realised that Yav's magic keeping the harpies frozen was about to fade...
Dimly recalling Yav to be the priest of Ralishaz...wondering if he cast a Hold Person spell on the harpies, but thinking (technically) such a spell does not work on them since they are monsters instead of human(oids).
Sorry if I am a killjoy... Trust me, even if I am correct, I have made numerous errors in judgment on spells, including recently!
Of course, this may be an edition sort of thing. If you are playing 1e, which, if memory serves me right, you are, harpies are but 3+1 HD, so maybe a Hold Person would work if you decide (as I am sure you did) that they are a type of humanoid.
In 2e, harpies have been upgraded to 7 HD status! I would rule that such a spell would be ineffective against them.
p.s. a Silence spell is handy against harpies, whether casting it on the foul bird-women OR their hapless victims (so long as they are not spell-casters of course).
One thing I'll say about 3rd ed onwards - the introduction of specific creature types was really helpful!
I struggle to know what classes as a humanoid in 1st and 2nd ed so in the end I snap-decided that harpies were pretty much humanoid in physiology (as much so as some of the creatures listed in the spell).
Was there ever a list produced for 1st or 2nd edition that reveals what exactly is a humanoid?
Was there ever a list produced for 1st or 2nd edition that reveals what exactly is a humanoid?
Generally speaking, man-sized and bipedal suffices. Yet gnolls, bugbears, and ogres are considered 'humanoids', yet anything larger than man-sized (like an ogre) is not affected by the Hold Person spell (or Charm, for that matter). A Hold/Charm Monster is needed for that.
I will look in my books for a 'rule' in black and white, if possible, however, for an answer to your primary question.
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