(PF Beta) The Return to the Revenge of the Sinister Secret of the Temple of Elemental Evil


Campaign Journals

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(cross posted on RPG.net)

I figured I'd post this here as we are using the Beta Pathfinder rules, all PCs and NPCs are built with PF (no prestige classes from 3.x products). Somebody let me know if this is not the right place for an actual play log.

Game Concept:

I haven't DM'ed a game of D&D since about 1996 but recently decided to get a new group together consisting mostly of mini's players who have grown jaded with the plastic crack. This past Gencon had wet my appetite for RPG'ing a little bit and considering my DDM collection now exceeds 2,000 miniatures I needed to find something to do with them.

I am an old school D&D advocate. I like Greyhawk, I like the absurdity of Gygaxian adventures, and I generally use RPG as an excercise in sketch comedy. So naturally I chose the Mona Lisa of Gygaxian epics, the Temple of Elemental Evil as the adventure of choice.

Game Version:

I chose to run the game using Paizo's Pathfinder rules. There a few reasons.

* In my opinion 4E is lame
* 1 or 2E is a little too abstract and clumsy for my tactical mini oriented play group
* 3.5 Players Handbook isn't free and Paizo is.
* The base classes in Pathfinder are legitimately competitive, and reward you for staying with them for a few levels without reaching out to a source book to multiclass.

The Players:

For the first session, really just a rules primer, we had three players. Their real names will not be used to protect the futures of their children.

C.C., playing the legendary LG Human Monk - Chopper Toughstick. Chopper is a devout follower of St. Cuthbert and believes in justice, vengeance and laying good wood on bad guys.

J.D., playing the notorious CG Elf Rogue - Han Wanabe. Han follows no deity and believes in taking from those who deserve to be stolen from and doing the right thing (if it pays well).

S.P., playing Ifersh the dirty rotten CN Half-Orc Druid. Ifersh is in it just to watch the sparks fly, and because sitting in his grove sorting moss and lichens got boring.

Next post Session 0 ->


-- Session 0 --

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe, Ifersh.

The Plot: None really. I just want to introduce the players to the basics of the rules, find an excuse to bring the group together, and give them a compelling reason to end up going to the village of Hommlett.

Recap: We begin our epic tale in the fair city of Verbobonc (or Ver-bon-ik as we all pronounce it for some reason).

Chopper is passing through on his meandering travels up and down Furyondy, and has stopped at an inn / tavern in a shady section of town. He had planned on visiting the church of St. Cuthbert here, and moving on to right wrongs and practice the crane kick.

Han had to make a speedy exit from his previous hometown after clashing with the local guild. Verbobonc seemed like a great place to get a fresh start.

Ifersh ran out of rice pudding at his grove and had come North to Verbobonc to restock. While he was here he thought he'd grab some ale and chicken feet at his favorite dumpy tavern on the South side of town.

As the night began to wind down, the 3 PCs all leave the now nearly empty tavern only to her a shriek of agony coming from the alley across the street. Chopper and Han check their character sheets and indeed see the Good axis staring back at them, they rush the alley to help. Ifersh decides to hang back and see what unfolds.

Through the dim lantern light our PCs witness a rough looking thug standing over a well dressed, but bloodied lady. The thug demands that the interlopers leave immediately and mind their own business. Combat quickly ensues.

A couple of arrows from the longbow and a flurry of blow later the assassin is brought low, but still hangs on to life by a thread. Ifersh approaches the party and offers to stabilize the offending cutpurse so they can question him. Chopper notices the woman bears a holy symbol of St. Cuthbert. Han intimidates the swine into revealing that he met his backers in the Village of Hommlett, and they had given him precise instructions that the lady he was to murder would be here in this alley at this time.

The party quickly realizes that a woman dressed like this has no business in an area of town like this. Why was she here ? How did the assassins employers know she would be here ?

Chopper decides that her body should be brought to the church. Han agrees and loots the thug for his life savings. Ifersh decides to follow along as well.

Arriving at the Church of St. Cuthbert in Verbobonc the party is greeted by the current cleric on duty, Dalmert. He is taken aback when presented with the lifeless body. He explains that the body is none other then the Canoness Y'Dey, who formerly presided over the church in Hommlett.

The party queries Dalmert as to what the canoness might have been doing in that part of town, in the middle of the night, without the local churches knowledge. Dalmert doesn't know what it could be, the canoness was away on a missionary visit to lands North of Verbobonc and was supposed to return to Hommlett by months end. She shouldn't have been in Verbobonc for another few days at least.

Dalmert thanks Chopper and his heathen comrades for avenging her death swiftly. But begs them to head to Homlett to both investigate further and to inform the cleric on duty (a man named Terjon) in Hommlett in the canoness' absence of the news of her death. To this end he offers the party traveling money, horses, and the services of one of his clerics, Irky Timbers.

After some hee'ing and haw'ing the party decides that they shall indeed form an 'adventuring company' and head to Hommlett. Ifersh justifies his place in the party by the fact that the party will need his help navigating their way down to Hommlett.

The next morning our heroes shove off to Hommlett. A random wilderness encounter with 3 wolves soon ensues.

This was an opportunity to go over the basics of D&D 3.X combat, actions, AOO's, cover, damage etc. The party triumphed over the rabid beasts with little trouble.

They notice the wolves were tearing at the corpse of a human male, bearing the same hilt on his sword as the man who slew the canoness.

The remainder of the journey is uneventful. They arrive in Hommlett, and after asking for directions Irky and Chopper head off to the church to inform Terjon of the bad news. The rest of the party heads to the tavern, because, well, thats what you do in an AD&D adventure.

Terjon is distraught by the news, for a few reasons, one of which is the fact that he'll be unable to leave Hommlett as he had planned. When asked about who in Hommlett may have plotted her demise he can only think that the plotters may be based in a nearby moathouse which has from time to time been a base for brigands and thugs.

In the tavern the party encounters all the usual suspects from ToEE:

* Elmo, whom they decide is a bit of a drunken idiot and couldn't be of any value to any expedition.

* Ostler, the inn keeper, who requests the parties assistance in dealing with a pesky guest named Furnok.

* Turuko and Kobort, who offer to aid the party on an expedition to a nearby moathouse. They have heard of tales of treasure there and are seeking only a 1/2 share of all treasure found. The party decides thats too steep a price to pay.

* Spugnoir, an unassuming robed man in the corner. Han approaches him and a dialog soon ensues revealing Spugnoir as a wizard in search of arcane scrolls. He claims to know the exact location of the moathouse and has been waiting for a trustworthy group to adventure with. He asks only for any arcane scrolls the party finds in its travels, which is fine with the party since none of them have any use for them anyway. They agree to meet up with Spugnoir in the morning and set out to the moathouse.

At this point the party hasn't really explored much of the village proper and are pretty much planning on a kick the door down approach.

This ends session #0.

Next post Session #1 ->


-- Session 1 --

We have a new player in our midst, J.V. his character is a rugged Human CG Ranger named Emmett Fletcher. He enjoys shooting things with his longbow, chopping wood and long walks on the beach.

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe, Ifersh and Emmett Fletcher.

The Plot: Clearly evil lurks in the nearby Moathouse. The players at this point can try and procure more information from the village or head out and kick the door in. They opt for the latter. I introduce Emmett to the group as they leave the village and hit the road, him and Ifersh go back a few years. Having met at a druid / ranger social held in the greater Kron Hill area. They also repulsed some orcish barbarians from the area a few moons back.

Recap: The party embarks from Hommlett 6 strong. Our 4 players plus Irky Timbers and Spugnoir. The journey is estimated at a day and a half. They set out and make good progress (good Survival rolls) and get set make camp when the party hears the clanging of metal up ahead. Han and Emmett scout ahead and behind the parties intended campsite. Emmett goes unnoticed as he crawls through the brush. He gets a good look (after making some Stealth checks) at 4-6 rough looking men, lightly armed, camping around two merchant wagons.
After discerning that the two wagons had different merchant symbols the party makes a guess that they have been hi-jacked by brigands. They decide to try to stealthily search the wagons for possible survivors and shiny stuff. The stealth roll to sneak around the horses goes very poorly, the brigands are alerted that something is up and combat quickly ensues.
It's 6 on 6 as 2 brigand crossbowmen, 2 thugs with clubs, and 2 brigands with hand axes attack whomever they can see. The party dominates this combat pretty easily, scoring some good damage rolls and dispatching the bad guys without breaking a sweat.

DM Note: It was here that I really realized that 1st level Pathfinder characters are a little more rugged then your average 3.5 character. The number of HPs allotted made the encounter pretty safe for the party (we used the constitution score option). In addition the ranger had rolled a pretty savage set of stats, and the Pathfinder Monk is a legit front line beater - even at 1st level. It may take some trial and error to balance 3.5 baddies against Pathfinder characters. That being said, the HP boost should diminish as they level up, percentage wise anyway.

The party leaves one bad guy alive for questioning. After some intimidation he reveals that the wagons were indeed hijacked just outside of Verbobonc. There brigands were to deliver the goods inside untouched to the moathouse for a sum of 500gp. The wagons contain spices and various wines and liquors of a high quality. The brigand claims they didn't kill the merchants and only left them stranded. This spares his life for the time being.

The plan then becomes to disguise themselves as brigands, make their way to the moathouse and try to bluff their way in. Perhaps using a Charm Person on the captive to help along the way. The plan quickly falls apart after a couple of morbidly bad Ride and Handle Animal checks to try to keep the wagons on the quickly deteriorating roads (as the road winds into a swamp). At this point the party hears splashing and croaking in the distance. With no way to quickly get the wagons unstuck and turned around they decide to stand their ground on the wagons and fight off whatever is heading their way.

4 Giant Frogs and 2 Really Giant Frogs emerge from the muck and assault the party. They blow their surprise round (which I gave them for being prepared) on missed attacks and readied actions instead of setting up a good defensive situation, consequently the party gets divided pretty badly.

(reminds me to take some pictures of the fun next time )

With the largest frogs having 40 HP and the PCs rolling poorly on attack rolls (but great on Acrobatics checks) they have a really tough time dispatching the frogs. Spugnoir, anticipating going up against humans had a couple of Charm Persons and a Sleep memorized. He spent most of the fight hurling Acid blobs at frogs. The rogue (relying on range) was hampered by not having Precise Shot yet, and having a low strength score. They were unable to leverage any sneak attacks for the rogue. The ranger did a great job on softening up one of the big frogs, until his dice went ice cold. A couple of melee's later he was down. Meanwhile the NPC cleric was holding his own with a few new Paizo tricks keeping him alive, one was the Destruction domain power (Smite) the other was the positive energy surges combined with the feat Selective Channeling. He single handedly took out a 40 hp frog with some stellar attack rolls (2 crits). The monk was very monkish, moving in and out of combat hopping across wagons, he just couldn't roll a 12 or higher to save his life. The druid had also memorized a less then optimal batch of spells, and was having dreadful luck clubbing the frogs. Spugnoir eventually gets dropped, the monk manages to stabilize the ranger, and turn his attention to the wounded big frog. Overall it was a tough fight and the players thought they were all going down at one point.

DM Note: This encounter was about spot on as a 'Challenging' (i.e. APL +1) encounter, the party rolled poorly and used poor tactics and barely survived.Wounded and out of spells the party decides to try to get the wagons back to their original camp site and rest.

No more wilderness encounters and a rest later we decide to end the session.

This ends session #1.

Next post Session #2 ->


Just to butt in -- what made it look like the Pathfinder monk is more of a "front-liner" then the 3.5 version? (Aside from the extra HP, of course.)


Ned, I'm very much enjoying your posts -- not just for the game feedback, but I like your sense of humor. Keep 'em coming, please!


hogarth wrote:
Just to butt in -- what made it look like the Pathfinder monk is more of a "front-liner" then the 3.5 version? (Aside from the extra HP, of course.)

Maybe it was simply the ability to grab Deflect Arrows right away,or just the extra hit points. This is a human monk, his feat choices are:

Dodge (1st level feat)
Mobility (Human bonus feat)
Deflect Arrows (Monk bonus feat)

So looking at what seperates him, it seem like it's only HPs and the ability to grab Deflect Arrows one level earlier.

Deflect Arrows was used twice in the combat with the bandits, and certainly helped.

Perhaps I should revise my statement, the HPs were what allowed him to be pretty bold, as his AC would be the same between 3.5 and P3. He merrily jumped around not caring much if he missed his Acro-tumble roll as his AC was often a 21 against AOOs. This allowed him to get flanks and move out of flanked positions with ease.

Another thing that might contribute is the +2 stat boost (which of course isn't a monk thing in 3P, it's a human thing). It seems like the stat boost may help a class like Monk which requires many abilities to be good, more so then some of the single or dual ability classes.

This monk rolled up pretty good stats to begin with:

14
16
12
12
15 (+2) 17
11

He has good Strength, Dex, and a great Wisdom score. The much maligned Flurry of Misses, was pretty useful even at +0/+0.


--Session 2 --

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe, Ifersh and Emmett Fletcher.

The Plot: After the failed moathouse incursion last session the party is eager to get into the dreaded moathouse anyway possible. They begin the adventure at an encampment a short days journey from the moathouse, with the stolen merchant wagons still in tow, along with a captured brigand named Brutus.

Recap: The plan is still the disguise / trojan horse plan from last session, that was derailed by some amphibian adversaries. This time the party makes it to within a few hundred yards of the moathouse without incident. Spugnoir successfully charms Brutus to insure his cooperation, and Ifersh is selected as the front man to try and negotiate entry into the moathouse. As the moathouse comes into view, the party sees that it is surrounded by a stone wall and (drumroll) a moat. The remaining bridge is clearly too beat up to support horses let alone huge wagons filled with merchandise. Ifersh and Brutus approach the gate while the other party members hide among and in the wagons.

DM Note: Several key things are wrong with this plan. First, all the brigands they've seen thus far have been human males. Ifersh is a Half-Orc, and thus regardless of whether he is wearing the dead brigands armor is a less then ideal doppelganger. Secondly, Ifersh has an 8 Charisma - and no ranks in Bluff. This will make it tough for him to convince any gatekeeper of his legitimacy.

After knocking on the gate Ifersh and Brutus are greeted by two brigands. They can clearly see the gate is an entrance to a courtyard, with the actual entrance to the house proper a little ways further back. Ifersh fails miserably on his Bluff check to convince the guard that he is a member of the brigand gang. The guardsman, hurridly tells Ifersh to stay put while he heads in to talk with his boss. As the guard turns to run toward the building the party decides cover is blown and it's probably best to kill these guards before they grab reinforcements. The party rushes the gate as quickly as they can and combat soon ensues. As the party pours through the threshhold into the courtyard they quickly realize that 6 brigands are present. The party concentrates on stopping the retreating guard, pelting him with ranged attacks and the monk closing in on him with his speed. This combat goes pretty well, a couple of party members sustain some damage and some spells get burned. In the meantime Brutus has high tailed it away with one of the horse wagon combos.

The party decides to listen in at the moathouse door for any signs of life. They hear nothing but faint scurrying. Instead of entering they decide to check out the tower in the corner of the courtyard. Upon entering the tower they are assaulted by a Large Monstrous Spider. This is a fairly tough combat, as most of the PCs fail their save versus the spider's Web SA. The party rogue gets poisoned, and a few others take some more damage. The rogue gets his first chance at a chest, and manages to open it; revealing some gold and scrolls for Spugnoir. After clearly indicating the fitness of this tower as a place to rest the party decides to make camp there in hopes of entering the moathouse in a more healthy state. The door is of high quality, and the tower provides a point to look out for danger. Clearly the brigands have avoided the tower because of the spider. Before camping the party cracks the door to the moathouse in the hopes of attracting whatever is scurrying out into the courtyard and off into the woods.

Big moathouse upper level map.

After a rest and recharge the party decides to enter the moathouse proper. The first floor is fairly straight forward. The party first investigates the Southeast corridor, encountering a Large Snake. The snake gets a little damage in but is dispatched. However its real purpose was to distract and separate the party. As the snake goes down the remaining brigands and their fearsome leader (a level 2 fighter with a greataxe) burst forth from the 'Black Chamber'.

I intended this combat to be a harsh lesson in leaving your spellcaster unprotected, but my brigand leader fell flat on his ass. He whiffed on all his attacks and Spugnoir came out a hero, getting off a Sleep and a Burning Hands. The party made the best of a bad situation, using 5-foot steps and timely Acrobatics rolls to move everyone into positions where they could attack. With the leader missing, the minion brigands eventually fell pretty easily. Irky Timbers channel energy ability got the party back in shape.

The party attempted to question the leader, and I don't honestly remember what information they got out of him - but the information I have in my script goes something like this:

my_script wrote:


If captured and tortured the brigand leader will reveal a few things if questioned.

Were you hired to assassinate a woman in Verbobonc? – “We perform a lot of dirty work. We’re brigands after all. We did take a contract for a woman in Verbobonc, we were told she was a noblewoman cheating on her husband – what is it to you?”

Who hired you to assassinate the woman in Verbobonc? – “That information lies with the assassin, is it safe to assume you’ve already killed him?”

Who hired you to guard/patrol this moathouse? – “I’ve taken my share of lives, now as you take mine, I leave with a smile and await the judgment of Erythnul.”

The party is pretty healthy at this point, they decide to check out the rest of the floor. A fight with a giant tick and a monitor lizard ensue. The lizard gives a few nasty bites but doesn't drop anyone. Ifersh sits out the fight with the lizard claiming it had as much right as anyone to hang out here. After slaying the poor lizard the rogue cracks another chest and reveals some loot, a nice (masterwork) light crossbow, and a fancy glowing (+1) wooden shield. At this point the party decides to beat ass back to Hommlett with the brigand leader held prisoner.

The ride back to Hommlett is uneventful and the party decides to bring the brigand leader to Terjon for judgment. A little more carousing at the inn reveals a hearty adventurer named Zert. He plainly admits to being a man-at-arms, and also claims to have a map of the moathouse dungeon. He wants to raid the place but can't do it alone. Some additional dialog ensues between Terjon and the party, and I believe between Ifersh and Jaroo Ashstaff the druid of Hommlett. I really must keep better notes of this stuff. My script for Terjon contains most of what the party discussed with him.

my_script wrote:


What was the Canoness doing away from here? – “As I understood it she was to travel to Furyondy to request additional clerics for our church here, as it stands only Calmert and I reside here making it difficult to convert the local residence and handle church affairs.”

The assassin revealed that he was conscripted to kill her by person(s) from Hommlett, who could this be? – “The people of Hommlett are a varied folk, some clearly let disorder and chaos into their lives, others are indifferent, but I know of nobody whom I’d match with that level of malevolence. The inn is a place occasionally occupied by travelling miscreants of all sorts however. Most don’t stay long though as the inn owner is a shrewd, if misguided man who follows the Old Faith. There is a nearby moathouse which is a little more than a day’s travel that is known to harbor bandits and brigands; I’d have burned it to the ground if I had more resources.”

Can you help us with this moathouse? – “With the death of the Canoness I certainly can’t leave my post. However I will inform Calmert that healing services should be provided to you at cost.”
What is this about converting residents? – “We would love to bring the residents into the church. It’s been slow, but we have made progress. One person I’d really like to convert is Jack Borton, the leatherworker, he’s a hard working man and a well respected member of the community. He has expressed doubt in the Old Faith.”

What is the Old Faith? – “You will have to take that up with Jaroo Ashstaff. He resides in the grove East of the inn.”

What is the Temple of Elemental Evil / history of the area? – “That is a place of great evil, whose location has thankfully been forgotten. The battle of Emiry Meadows claimed the lives of many of my comrades, including my father. Blood still soaks those fields.”

You fought there / what was the battle of Emiry Meadows? – “Yes, as a young man I nearly died fighting the forces of the temple. I lost my father, his remains still lay somewhere out there in that field. Fire scorched the plains, lightning scoured the trees and the whole place was deemed unholy. I only wish I could reclaim some remembrance of him.”

Housekeeping:

The party leveled up to 2 and there was much applause. Our rogue chose to go with the bonus feat for his rogue talent, as an alternative to multi-classing as a fighter. I'm trying to encourage everyone to stay the course with their base class until level 4, just to give things a fair shake. The monk went with the dreaded Scorpion Style Attack feat. The ranger chose archery as his style and got the mighty Precise Shot feat.

This ends session #2.

Next post Session #3 ->

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just wanted to pop in here and mention that I like your report style. I like the way you report what you observe, along with what is going on in the game and with the rules.

I own a copy of Return to ToEE and am hoping your players enjoy it as much as I did reading it. I had many characters enter the original ToEE and had poor results back in the day. To the point that a friend of mine (who did not get to go on any of those journeys but who heard nearly all the tales of woe) purchased for me a button when we went to GenCon this past year. The button read: "I visited the Temple of Elemental Evil and all I got was DEAD". I hope your party fairs better than I. Good luck to them and to you as well.


I'm interested in seeing whether Scorpion Style gets any use at all. It seems pretty pointless to me.


I'm really enjoying the way you tell your stories here... you're funny, thorough, and have made a really great story out of what many DMs would consider a hopeless starting group... I mean, c'mon, a rogue, druid, and monk as your key PCs? Ugh... but you handled it well with a couple key NPCs, and the players sound like they're really enjoying themselves. And you tell it so well! You've taken a few levels in Bard, haven't you? hehe...


hogarth wrote:
I'm interested in seeing whether Scorpion Style gets any use at all. It seems pretty pointless to me.

You know the monk player and I poured up and down the monk bonus feat list and I think for the lower levels it's better then Stunning Fist.

These are his choices (he already has dodge, deflect arrows)

Caught Off-Guard, Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple, Scorpion Style,
Stunning Fist, and Throw Anything.

Caught Off-Guard is UTTERLY useless for a monk who is never without a weapon (unarmed).

Throw Anything is slightly more useful, but just carry some shurikens if you want a ranged monk option.

Combat Reflexes is so narrow. It's only useful above the 1st AOO per round. So it's useful in crowds when he's engaged 2 or more opponents, who all intend to provoke an AOO.

He thinks the CMB system isn't for him, and insists its better to kill things them grapple them (he obviously hasn't been Spiked Chain loop-tripped).

So for him it came down to Stunning Fist and Scorpion. He liked Scorpion because he can use it every attack (Stunning Fist only twice a day) and keep bad guys effectively pinned where he chooses to fight. It also works on undead, which Stunning Fist doesn't. Heck, Scorpion Style works against incorporeal critters.


Brutesquad07 wrote:

I just wanted to pop in here and mention that I like your report style. I like the way you report what you observe, along with what is going on in the game and with the rules.

I own a copy of Return to ToEE and am hoping your players enjoy it as much as I did reading it. I had many characters enter the original ToEE and had poor results back in the day. To the point that a friend of mine (who did not get to go on any of those journeys but who heard nearly all the tales of woe) purchased for me a button when we went to GenCon this past year. The button read: "I visited the Temple of Elemental Evil and all I got was DEAD". I hope your party fairs better than I. Good luck to them and to you as well.

Glad there are some readers out there. Just to clarify, I am running the original Temple of Elemental Evil (despite my misleading thread title). They haven't gotten to the Temple proper, but I know it has been the site of many a TPK. It was my favorite adventure back in the day so hopefully my players will enjoy it, and take all of its oddities with a grain of salt.

I've also written a new script to go along with it. The original ToEE lacks much in the way of character dialog and plot threads, it's just a giant list of encounters. After we get through a significant portion, I'll post it here (in case my players are watching). Lastly I've created a document that details all the encounters and the appropriate D&D Miniatures for the encounter(i've got thouasands of DDMs).


nedleeds wrote:
hogarth wrote:
I'm interested in seeing whether Scorpion Style gets any use at all. It seems pretty pointless to me.

You know the monk player and I poured up and down the monk bonus feat list and I think for the lower levels it's better then Stunning Fist.

[..snip..]

So for him it came down to Stunning Fist and Scorpion. He liked Scorpion because he can use it every attack (Stunning Fist only twice a day) and keep bad guys effectively pinned where he chooses to fight. It also works on undead, which Stunning Fist doesn't. Heck, Scorpion Style works against incorporeal critters.

(1) He can use it every attack, provided he only makes one attack per round (since it's a standard action). The one advantage to Stunning Fist is that it works with any kind of attack (flurry of blows, attack of opportunity, etc.).

(2) It doesn't work on undead/constructs because it's an effect with a Fort save that doesn't affect objects. Of course, if the DM says it works, it works! :-)

(3) I agree that the choices are a bit skimpy, though. My monk went for Combat Reflexes at level 1, and I think I might go for Improved Grapple at level 2. I suspect that Pathfinder's version of grapple is not terribly useful, but you never know.

Anyways, I could be completely wrong about how useful it is. That's what playtesting is all about, right? Looking forward to the report!


hogarth wrote:

(1) He can use it every attack, provided he only makes one attack per round (since it's a standard action). The one advantage to Stunning Fist is that it works with any kind of attack (flurry of blows, attack of opportunity, etc.).

(2) It doesn't work on undead/constructs because it's an effect with a Fort save that doesn't affect objects. Of course, if the DM says it works, it works! :-)

(3) I agree that the choices are a bit skimpy, though. My monk went for Combat Reflexes at level 1, and I think I might go for Improved Grapple at level 2. I suspect that Pathfinder's version of grapple is not terribly useful, but you never know.

Anyways, I could be completely wrong about how useful it is. That's what playtesting is all about, right? Looking forward to the report!

Ah thanks for clarifying. In my humble opinion, if they are going to go through the trouble of being explicit in the Stunning Fist entry about what it affects then perhaps they should do the same in the Scorpion Style entry. I'll let him know and then he may want to re-select. They are all suspicious of facing undead in the moathouse since they suspect an 'evil priest'. The Scorp Style would have been good at keeping Ghouls from rushing to the backlines and raping spellcasters. Perhaps I need to walk him through some examples of where grappling is useful (opposing spellcasters, creatures with DR) and that might make Improved Grapple a more appealing choice.

The Exchange

This si not directly related to the playtest report, but I have a player who ran a monk from 6th to 8th with Scorpion Style Strike.

His wisdom was an 18 and he and the cleric were bumping it to 22 during key fights with Owl's Wisdom. Since he liked to stay mobile (he was the melee bruiser) and wanted to run interference for the eaker party members, he'd advance to the enemy line and hit them with Stnning Fist and Scorpion Style (Fort 20s) often landing a hit with Bull's Strength and the bard's song boosting his hit. Enemies could commonly fail a DC 20, and the 6 rounds of hampered movement could effectively drop an enemy out of the fight or a few rounds.

In fact, the final fight of Bloodsworn Vale was a win almost solely due to this technique dividing and slowing the villain's minions to allow the party to regroup and heal while being pummeled by his arcane might.


Magagumo wrote:
Enemies could commonly fail a DC 20, and the 6 rounds of hampered movement could effectively drop an enemy out of the fight or a few rounds.

6 rounds of hampered movement?

<<checks Beta document>>

O.K., I admit that sounds more useful than Stunning Fist. I was thinking of the Alpha version that lasted one round (but had no save).


Just like to say great stuff so far. Started reading by chance but found it a really fun read. Hope you keep up the momentum! Look forward to the next post.


--Session 3 --

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe, Ifersh and Emmett Fletcher. In addition we have a special guest who has grabbed the reigns of the NPC cleric Irky Timbers for this session.

The Plot: We left our party in Hommlet recovering from their fight with the bandit gang. They know much more evil lurks within the ... uh ... evil ... moathouse. They've procured the services of a hearty fighter named Zert who has a map, a sword and a big shield. Without wanting to waste too much time they head back out to the moathouse.

Recap: The party makes their way to the moathouse without trouble (making survival checks on the way). There isn't much of a plan outside of kicking the door in and dealing with whatever swings back.

DM Note: I've been handling the wilderness encounter stuff pretty randomly (even using Gygax's charts occasionally). If it looks to be a natural encounter (boars, wolves). I've been allowing for survival rolls to avoid the animals. I'm not sure what the norm is, or if there is a Pathfinder standard.

With Zert's map in hand they decide to head down the trapdoor. This time they let the rogue do his job. He stealth's his way down the ladder and peeks in a doorway. A large Ogre is rummaging through his scraps of loot unaware of Han's presence (fails Perception roll badly). Han scurries up the ladder (making another Stealth check) and informs his team of the man child. They opt to head down the stairs instead, not wanting to have to fight the Ogre in cramped quarters.

After descending down via the stairs the party finds itself in a dimly lit prison area, shackles are on the pillars and cells line the North wall and they are filled with ... ZOMBIES! Eight zombies to be exact, and to make matters worse as the party faces the brain hungry undead two green slimes drop from the ceiling behind the party. Some teamwork quickly ensues, the druid makes a Knowledge (Nature) check on Green Slime revealing its vulnerability to fire. Spugnoir then unleashes the Burning Hands he had memorized and dispatches the spawn of Zuggtomy. The zombies put up a good fight, but the positive energy bursts and quick realization that blunt weapons don't do much damage help the party get through relatively unscathed. Some perception rolls go really bad and the party doesn't notice the secret tunnel in the pillar filled zombie room.

DM Note: This was the party's first interaction with undead and with DR. I handled it by saying stuff like, 'your club blow makes a low thud but doesn't seem to bother the zombie'. Several zombies failed their will saves giving the party lots of free attacks. It could have been 12 zombies and the party would have made it out ok. It did highlight the need to have a backup slashing weapon. The monk especially, who had his fists, a quarterstaff and a sling. He is now on the lookout for some Butterfly Swords :)

The party heals up a bit then decides to take on the ogre. They gain a surprise round and work to flank the massive creature. Attack rolls go pretty well, and the ogre rolls pretty badly and they dispatch him pretty easily. The side room is home to some prisoners. Two badly beaten humans and a beaten down gnome named Nybble. They are able to discern some more information from the down trodden prisoners.

(again quoting from my script, might not be the exact dialog)

my_script wrote:


What happened to you (merchants)? – “We were hijacked just outside of Verbobonc, our guards were slaughtered. We were taken to this moathouse and sold by the brigands above along with our goods to another man. There were four of us, the ogre ate the other two.”

Who bought you? What did he look like? How was he armed? – “He was an imposing human man in well adorned armor. He wore a cloak with a flaming yellow eye. We were gagged and blindfolded while we were brought to this miserable cell.”

What merchant house do you work for? Do you recognize these merchant house symbols (show symbols of any other recovered wagons)? – “We work for the house of Patik, from Furyondy; we were to deliver some spices and metals to Verbobonc. If we had anything left we were to try and deliver it to the nearest village a place called Hommlett. I recognize them, they are <insert names here>, were they captured as well?”

How can we help you (merchants)? – “Safe passage back to Hommlet. We have credit there with some merchants and could find our way home from there, or wait for another caravan from our house.”

What happened to you (gnome)? – “I was prowling around the forest. I’d heard rumors of a brigand hideout and stumbled upon this moathouse. It was clear I was overmatched, as I began to depart I was attacked my some frogs. My only way out was back up towards this wretched place, I was surrounded by some brigands and forced to surrender.”

How can we help you (gnome)? – “Access to my armor and weapons would help, as would any help healing my wounds. I think I can find my way back up to the Kron Hills or at least back to the village to the West.”

The party makes enough perception rolls while digging through the ogres stash to find the gnome's gear (some small leather armor, a hooked hammer and a crossbow). Ifersh offers him some gold to escort the merchants to Hommlet. They heal everyone (with a timely positive channel) and give Nybble (the gnome) some bolts. He responds in kind by presenting Ifersh with a Gnome Friend ring, for which he is mocked by his teammates. The merchants promise a reward to be claimed back in Hommlet.

After a short trip down the stairs from the ogre room they come to a narrow winding section of the dungeon. Han scouts ahead and finds a room with some large furry humanoids. The party creeps up a little closer and decides to try to amubush the guards. Some poor stealth rolls later a fight with some bugbear guards ensues. The first few rounds are largely wasted trying to get the party into the open space of the room to fight. This leads to some serious damage on the party's heavy hitters. The party is largely out of healing and out of spells. They emerge from the winding hallway and are confronted by a group of gnolls.

The party here is faced with their first situation where fighting might not be the best option. The rogue decides to try and intimidate them using the death of the bugbears as leverage. This gets their attention and keeps them from attacking the party on site.

my_script wrote:


Who do you work for? – “We work for the Master. For now at least.”

Who is the Master? – “The Master is a powerful priest. He will kill you all. He doesn’t worship our god; he worships Lolth the spider whore”.

Why is your loyalty strained? Would you consider working for somebody else? – “We have lost too many pack members for what we are being paid. The master has new recruits now anyway; they are probably getting paid twice as much”. “We will leave this place for 50 gold”. “We will show you where the new recruits are stationed for 100 gold”.

The gnolls hold to their word after getting paid and they scramble out of the dungeon.

The party decides to hole up in the tower in the courtyard and attempt to rest and regain spells etc. before continuing. They don't want to head all the way back to Hommlet and risk the dwellers of the dungeon having much time to prepare. Lucky for them the rest is uneventful.

They dash back into the dungeon and dispatch some ghouls, and a giant crayfish without too much trouble. The ghoul encounter could have been worse, but most people passed their paralysis saves, in addition undead being vulnerable to sneak attack was a boon here. The elf rogue is both immune to the paralyze and could sneak attack them.

Both encounters had treasure chests with some arcane scrolls for Spugnoir.

After analyzing the map the party decides that the master must be holed up in the only remaining rooms on the map. They approach the outer door to the long hallway and begin a dialog with a guard behind a slit in the door. They decide to bluff their way inside the door by claiming that they are brigands delivering goods. They manage to get the guard to open the door for them, exposing them to a sleep spell from Spugnoir. This combat went pretty well roll wise and tactics wise, they pelted the guards with some arrows first then closed and flanked and defeated them.

I gave them a couple of rounds to heal up or buff, given the swiftness with which they dispatched the hallway guards. The bigger guard encounter was right around the corner.

It was here that Spugnoir really shined, a stinking cloud really hosed up the crossbow guards for the bad guys. It let the party concentrate on the melee guards without getting pelted. Some flanking, and aid other actions helped out with taking the sergeant down. This was supposed to be a pretty tough fight, I loaded the barracks room with:

Crossbowmen (6)
Guardsmen (6)
Sergeant w/ Crossbow - Cleric of Syreth (WotDQ)
Sergeant - Mercenary Sergeant (Und)

So 12 Warrior(0)'s and 2 second level fighters. The party had gotten into a pattern of pelt with arrows then close and switch to melee. It worked pretty well here, with average rolls being enough to dispatch the guards. I believe the monk got dropped and the druid was down to 1 hp. Burning what healing they had left they prepared to confront the Master whom they could hear in his back chamber (preparing spells no doubt).

As they entered the chamber through the door I had Lareth shout out some words in case the party had any interest in parley'ing with him.

At this point one of the St. Cuthbert characters just shouted out 'By the Cudgel !!!!' and decided to crush his skull. This didn't go exactly according to script, but I had a roadroading instrument prepared in case the party didn't get any information from him.

my_script wrote:


“Stop! You have come as far as you will go. Yield now and you may leave with your lives. You are dealing with power beyond your ability to comprehend!”

He is true to his word. If the party yields, he allows them to leave. At this point he quickly grabs his potion of invisibility, drinks it and flees the moathouse for the Temple.

Questioning by the party results in the following dialog.

Who do you work for? – “I serve the goddess Lolth, in all her beauty”.

What is the temple of elemental evil? – “A place you shall never see while I still breathe” (attacks).

Give us <insert gold, magic items, etc.> and we will let YOU go! – One party member can attempt to Intimidate Lareth. Consider it a DC18 check. If the attempt succeeds Lareth offers 500 gold to be allowed to leave, he drinks his invisibility potion at the first chance and flees the moathouse for the Temple. If the party demands his equipment he attacks.

A long tough fight with muliple characters getting dropped ensued. Lareth's tough AC of 22 made it hard to hit him. The party had flanking and used aid other extensively to get a shot at taking him down. Eventually they wore him down with some decent damage rolls and he fell. Lareth also miscast his Bull's Strength on a roll of 2, while casting defensively.


DMs Note: The fight was absolutely down to the last HP. Lareth is listed as a 5th level cleric, and I built him from scratch using Pathfinder and leveled him up to 5th. I gave him Evil and Destruction as domains, Combat Casting, Improved Turning, Weapon Focus (Club), and Turning Smite as feats. However the real clincher was the bump to 3d6 negative energy damage on the channel. Honestly I think he would have won the fight if I had just burned all 6 of those instead of attacking at all. That much damage, with no AOO, in a tight space would have been too much. That said I channeled 3 times with him, burning up the good clerics last channels to try and keep pace.

Looting Lareth's bookshelf they find a bunch of healing scrolls (moderate, light, neut. poison, etc.) which they would need shortly. They also stabilized Lareth and intended to bring him to justice in Hommlet. They stripped him of his arms and armor, what appeared to be a magic shield, magic plate mail and a magic club and ring.

The battered and bruised party decides to try to exit the moathouse via the escape tunnel rather then up and through the other floors. As the party emerges from the escape tunnel they are confronted in an open field by Turuko, Kobort and a band of gnolls and brigands. Turuko barks out something along the lines of the following.

my_script wrote:


“Your days of adventuring have come to an end. Surrender now and your deaths will be painless. Fight on and Hextor will reward you with nothing but pain.”

Zert calmly says, “Rank amateurs! You are more than a little out of your league.”

So as par for the course, Zert is a betrayer in league with the evil monk Turuko. All have been promised a healthy ransom for the party's heads on sticks.

The ensuing battle is a bloodbath. The party gets poor initiative rolls, and Zert gets the drop (already behind the party as combat ensues). Zert levels Spugnoir. The party gets desperate at one point and Ifersh decides to use a cure scroll on Lareth. Applauding the creative move, I posit that a confused Lareth would Summon Monster III in an attempt to create a distraction and escape (in his underwear).

This ends up creating some Fiendish Snakes that serve as a nice destraction for the horde of gnolls and bandits. Eventually the party is wearing down badly, ever after dispatching Turuko, Zert and Kobort. I decide to bring in a deus ex machina, Elmo the drunken ranger. The fight winds down, with most of the party either below zero or barely hanging on.

DMs Note: Overall this fight put the Chaotic in Chaotic Evil. The very gnolls they paid off to leave the moathouse came back to haunt them after selling their services to the ambushers. The party was very near death and learned the value of having some backup healing in the form of scrolls or potions.

Turns out Elmo was just "huntin' in da woods".

The party crawls back to Hommlet with Elmo as their guide.

DMs Note: I keep referring to "my script". I am in no way taking ownership of the Temple of Elemental Evil. My script is simply a combination of the adventure, the video game and some personal additions to the original source material. I am in no way the author or IP property holder of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Some big time book keeping ensues after this marathon (6pm until 2am), the whole party levels up to 3rd with some change left over.

This ends Session #3 ("Moathouse") ->

Next post Session #4 ("Heroes Return")


Dang, but that is inspiring! I can't wait to hear the next instalment. :)


Did the monk ever use his Scorpion Style feat? Did it work?

Grand Lodge

I can't wait till they get to the Temple. We went through three entire parties in there before we finally "won."

Probably my all time favorite adventure.

We followed up Temple with Scourge of the Slave Lords and Queen of the Demon Web Pits like many others did.

Probably the fondest campaign ever!

Fantastic "reliving" the adventure.


hogarth wrote:
Did the monk ever use his Scorpion Style feat? Did it work?

Hahahaaha no he didn't. Not in this session. We've actually completed another session since this one (that I need to write up) where it came into play. The one opportunity would have been during "Ambush!", if he had rolled a decent initiative he could have maybe gotten to Kobort and kept him from sprinting through to the back lines.

Scorpion would seem to be far more effective with a surprise round (to double move), and a high initiative roll (to hamper the movement of sluggers who are going to want to get to your back line).

I'll get the next session written up soon. It's not nearly as long.

A couple of things I missed, I mention a "railroading" device in Lareth's chamber - this is of course his diary (which I can post) which I ripped from the computer game. It details his activities and is there in case Lareth dies or escapes. Also the party leveled up to 3rd level after this session, and in fact probably leveled up after beating Lareth, which would have made "Ambush!" a little more fair.


Chapter One - in which I describe how I came to this ill-gotten place
Chapter Two - in which I describe how I made this place livable
Chapter Three - in which I discuss our guests from the Temple
Chapter Four - in which I discuss my plans for domination of Hommlet...and beyond!

Chapter One

In my effort to help restore Lolth to her rightful place of power, I have come to this place, once a thriving center for evil for the hated Zuggtmoy, now a vacuum of raw power in need of new leadership. The former members of the elemental cults are ripe for conversion to your flock. They need only be shown strong leadership.
Lolth has entrusted in me to recruit former members of Zuggtmoy's Temple. I must act as a member of the current Temple, committing to help raids against the locals and supplying the occasional recruit. Lolth has spoken to me and told me to be patient and that the time of the spider queen will come. Zuggtmoy and the elemental cults are merely tools.
So I have arrived at this forward establishment, ready to help renew the Temple to power, while secretly recruiting for my mistress, Lolth.

Chapter Two

I cannot live in this foul place of decay. My first order of business was to dig out a tunnel near my quarters so that I can surface as needed. This allows me to conduct my business without the bandits above asking too many questions.
I have been able to make my quarters quite comfortable now, as our raids have brought in many fine linens and even rare furnishings. I have now been able to set guards about our location as well. Six merchant wagons have fallen in the last week alone. The bandits are smarter then I gave them credit for
My dungeon stocking endeavor goes splendidly. First I put those slimes I acquired from the Temple at the staircase. They have caught many unsuspecting adventurers. Then I recruited those gnolls, but they were far too unreliable. So I found Lubash, a perfectly loyal ogre. I’ve also recruited a local bugbear tribe for use in the temple forces, such fine minions will gain me great favor, though they are costing me a bit more than those unsavory hyena men.
Everyone fears Lubash and he keeps the main entrance secure, as long as I keep him adequately supplied with human flesh from captured prisoners. Now in my spare time, I have even been able to create zombies from some of the dead as extra guardians. Some ghouls recently emerged from the caves below this outpost. Lolth herself knows only from where they came. Of course my powers allowed me to control them with ease.
But the perfect camouflage has been those bandits living above. Anyone who comes out here to investigate will find and destroy them, thinking they have cleared the area of its evil...haha...if they only knew. In the meantime they promote chaos and confusion amongst the hapless townsfolk. All the while buying me time to complete my work here.

Chapter Three

Recently, our visitors from the Temple itself have increased in number, so I have decided to log them here.
I have been careful to receive no guests here from Lolth, but I carefully meet with her spies beyond this dungeon. At first, the visitors from the Temple came rarely, and only for a quick report. But recently their numbers have increased. I think the Temple is almost ready to rise again and so their efforts have increased. I do not know where these messengers come from, but they all serve the black lord of the fortress. I often wonder if I am but one of many recruiting for them? How else could they hope to raise an army strong enough to challenge the lords of Veluna?
The black lord’s power is growing, and I must move quickly if I am to establish Lolth in command here. I cannot allow that meddling Iuz or even those still loyal to Zuggtmoy to get in the way of Lolth's resurgence to power.

Chapter Four

My raids have already compromised Hommlet and it will not survive much longer. The bandit activity has made trade with Hommlet near impossible; killing the merchants in town is a mere formality. The Temple has already planted spies within the town and if it were not for Burne and Rufus, we would have control of it already.
Still, it is imperative that we move quickly to strike down Burne and Rufus before they complete that castle of theirs. The time is right and it will not be long now before we can move directly against the town. If they complete the castle they may be able to raise a standing army rather than the rag tag militia that now protects Hommlet.
Once my men have taken control of Hommlet, those remaining in the Temple will see my power, and will move to join me quickly as they see the might of Lareth the Beautiful! Then my mistress can return in triumphant glory to the seat of her most hated enemy's throne of power and rule once again!

(or check into a psycho ward … whatever comes first)

Grand Lodge

mmmm maybe I will start writing similarly formatted journals for my villains. sound's like fun. And the PCs never keep them alive to question them and never learn the back story and what the heck is really going on.

Journals... yeah there we go.
BTW Arkham has a cell available... oops too late.


Krome wrote:

mmmm maybe I will start writing similarly formatted journals for my villains. sound's like fun. And the PCs never keep them alive to question them and never learn the back story and what the heck is really going on.

Journals... yeah there we go.
BTW Arkham has a cell available... oops too late.

It's essentially railroading, but in an older style adventure like this it's just fine. My players are in it for fun and comabt and less so for Oscar nominations for role-playing so it works.

I mean ... when you tell your players you are running "The Temple of Elemental Evil" doesn't that immediately rail road them anyway?

Dark Archive

Magagumo wrote:

This si not directly related to the playtest report, but I have a player who ran a monk from 6th to 8th with Scorpion Style Strike.

His wisdom was an 18 and he and the cleric were bumping it to 22 during key fights with Owl's Wisdom. Since he liked to stay mobile (he was the melee bruiser) and wanted to run interference for the eaker party members, he'd advance to the enemy line and hit them with Stnning Fist and Scorpion Style (Fort 20s) often landing a hit with Bull's Strength and the bard's song boosting his hit. Enemies could commonly fail a DC 20, and the 6 rounds of hampered movement could effectively drop an enemy out of the fight or a few rounds.

In fact, the final fight of Bloodsworn Vale was a win almost solely due to this technique dividing and slowing the villain's minions to allow the party to regroup and heal while being pummeled by his arcane might.

People complain that Scorpion Style is a standard action, but if you go the dodge/mobility/spring attack route, I would think it would be quite effective. Just my 0.02


AlKir wrote:
People complain that Scorpion Style is a standard action, but if you go the dodge/mobility/spring attack route, I would think it would be quite effective. Just my 0.02

(1) Note that in Pathfinder, a monk can take Spring Attack as a bonus feat; he doesn't need to take Dodge or Mobility if he doesn't want to.

(2) Spring Attack allows you to "make a single melee attack". However, note that Scorpion Style is a standard action, not a normal melee attack (e.g. you can make a full attack where each attack is an unarmed strike or a trip attempt or a sunder attempt, but you can't make a full attack where each attack is a Scorpion Style attack or grapple attempt because those are specific standard actions). So it's not totally clear if you combine a Scorpion Style attack (or a grapple attempt or a Deadly Stroke attack) with Spring Attack. In fact, the 3.5 FAQ suggests that you can't (it forbids combining Shot on the Run and Manyshot). If I were a Pathfinder DM, I'd allow it in my campaign though.

[sorry for yet another monk-ish digression...]

Dark Archive

nedleeds wrote:


The party gets desperate at one point and Ifersh decides to use a cure scroll on Lareth.

[jaw drops] Woow!!

nedleeds wrote:


Applauding the creative move, I posit that a confused Lareth would Summon Monster III in an attempt to create a distraction and escape (in his underwear).

Well he was Lareth the beautiful after all; I'm sure he looked good as an underwear model. [What happens in the Moathouse, stays in the Moathouse]

By the way, what happened to his Staff of Striking ?


~reads through and then adds a post as a marker for me to save this thread in my favorites~ Thanks for thei thread!


--Session 4 --

(actually took place 3 weeks ago, I'm running behind)

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe, Ifersh and Emmett Fletcher.

The Plot: We left our party on their way back to Hommlet bruised batted and barely alive after the battle with Lareths forces and a savage ambush by some evil headhunters. They now have a better picture of the breadth of the evil that is spreading across the land and are now 100% positive of the rise of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Irky has returned to Verbobonc to raise some additional clerics to protect Hommlet and has taken Spugnoir (s lifeless corpse) with him for raising.

Recap: The party makes their way to Hommlet (with the help of Elmo) without incident. The party brings Lareth shackled and battered to the Church of St. Cuthbert to be judged by the law of the cudgel. They then get some much needed rest (and level up to 3).

DM Note: I timed the breaks a little poorly with respect to leveling up. They probably should have hit level 3 just before or just after Lareth. Ambush was a little brutal for a level 2 party.

The party soon finds itself greeted as heroes in the Inn of the Welcome Wench the next day as news of the moathouse's fall spreads around town. They receive word that the 'guardians' of Hommlet, Burne and Rufus wish to thank them and speak with them.

The PCs are now sure of a couple of things:

1) There are forces (inside Hommlet?) that wanted them dead (hence the bounty)

2) Lolth may be weaving her evil in some way

3) The efforts for recruiting for the temple might not be limited to this moathouse. Lareth's diary had a map to a place called Nulb.

DM's Note: Forgot to mention in my Lareth Diary entry above that there was a map to a river town called Nulb tucked in the diary

Before heading to Burne and Rufus they decided to show the diary to Terjon and get his feedback.

What follows is the dialog lifted from my script:

My_Script wrote:


Who is Lolth? – “Lolth is a goddess of great evil and chaos, she is worshipped primarily by the drow; a devious and evil race of dark elves.”

We found his diary; it speaks of a place called Nulb? – “Nulb is a wretched place filled with deviants and thugs. It lies on the banks of the Imeryd’s Run. The town is ‘governed’ by a marauding band of river pirates”.

We think Lareth is recruiting forces for the temple (show diary). What can be done? – “That is most disturbing indeed. Now we have every reason to suspect the temple is on the rise again. Perhaps a stronghold of evil such as Nulb could reveal more clues to the temples location. I would wager that if the temple is indeed active that its agents are using Nulb as a point of entry for men and arms.”

Check out this sweet armor / item / ring we got off Lareth? – “Remove that foul implement from my sight. It is adorned with homage to the wretched queen of spiders.”

Ifersh the druid is still suspicious of Terjon and his lawful ways. He decides to check in with his buddy Jaroo and see if he has anything more thoughtful to say on the subject.

My_Script wrote:


Who is Lolth? – “Lolth is a goddess of great evil and chaos, she is worshipped primarily by the drow; a devious and evil race of dark elves. She perverts nature’s natural vermin; she is an aberration of nature and an affront to all who seek balance in things.”

We found his diary; it speaks of a place called Nulb? – “I know that Nulb sits on the edge of Imeryd’s Run. I don’t know much more then that other then it is a dangerous and rough town.”

We think Lareth is recruiting forces for the temple (show diary). What can be done? – “That is most disturbing indeed. The balance is being upset by this infusion of evil and chaos. The temple of elemental evil did not worship the spider queen however; they paid tribute to evil elemental forces.”

Check out this sweet armor / item / ring we got off Lareth? – “Such weapons and armor are out of balance with nature. I would suggest you follow a more natural path. Perhaps you could trade that cold blackened steel in for something born from nature.”

They try and pawn off some of Lareth's goodies at the blacksmith after identifying them and he isn't interested in them. They are adorned with ornate homages to the spider queen and they seem to spook everyone. Ifersh has no objections however and soon takes Lareth's Staff of Striking as his new club (I converted it to a club for 3p). The plate mail armor is of no use to anyone else in the party (we don't have a fighter or a cleric :) ). The boots and gloves are metal and finely made but no use either. The steel shield is useful and becomes the rangers for the time being. After some chatter at the Inn (in which people insist on constantly buying them drinks for solving the bandit problem once and for all) they learn the Hommlet trading post may be the best place to sell the stuff.

Finally they set off for Burne and Rufus to have an audience with the legendary adventurers. The Burne / Rufus encounter is pretty much a speech and Burne asking for help, then some of the standard questions the PCs were asking everyone. Here it is lifted from my script.

My_Script wrote:


If the party answers the summons from Burne and Rufus they are greeted by Burne (who in large part speaks for Rufus).

“It is splendid to finally meet the famed Slayers of Evil! You have truly done this village a great service by expunging the evil bandits from our land. I wanted to personally thank you, and present you with honorary membership to Burne’s Badgers.”

Rufus and Burne’s exploits are detailed in the module. They are also constructing a keep on the East edge of the village. The keep will serve as a base of power for Burne and Rufus, it will also allow the village to garrison a small standing army rather than a home based militia. Rufus and Burne are funding half the construction cost (through funding from the Viscount of Veluna), while the town council has voted to fund the other half. The bandit activity has hampered construction, as supplies from both North and South have been delayed or stolen.

“Your reputation clearly precedes you as agents of good. You are also free of the ties that bind many long time residents of the village, and this makes you suitable to help us with a problem. We believe that somebody within the labor camp is leaking information about the shipments. The bandits were able to strike at our caravans with surprising ease, no matter how we mixed up our shipping schedules. Though the threat of bandits has been eased we still need to know if we have an agent of evil in our midst.”

Who is Lolth? – “Lolth is a goddess of great evil and chaos; she is worshipped primarily by the dark elves. As an agent of the cudgel it is my duty to strike down her agents wherever I can.”

We found his diary; it speaks of a place called Nulb? – “Nulb sits upriver on the edge of Imeryd’s Run. It is a day’s ride at most from here. It was formerly a center of commerce and fair trade. These days it has fallen into the hands of a gang of river pirates. They control much of the rivers trade, thus forcing us to use ground caravans. It is a dangerous and chaotic place.”

We think Lareth is recruiting forces for the temple (show diary). What can be done? – “I was a young bold adventurer when the temple first fell and was sealed through the sacrifices of the agents of good. Rufus and I cut our teeth at the battle of Emiry Meadows. This rise of evil may be connected somehow to the misfortune that has befallen us recently.”

Check out this sweet armor / item / ring we got off Lareth? –“Powerful weapons and armor they are indeed, perhaps they can be turned against the evil of their former owner.”

The PCs bite on the labor camp spy thread and set up a plan as follows. Burne will plant false information about a caravan carrying valuable goods coming in from the North. The stealthy PCs (ranger and rogue) will shadow the labor camp for people leaving at mysterious hours of the night. The rest of the party will get a dummy wagon (from Burne) and head out of town and return South-bound at the time of the fake caravans supposed arrival. They head off in the afternoon to hock Lareth's stuff to the trading post folks, he is keen on paying top dollar for it and gives the party a few thousand gold for the armor, boots and gloves.

Later that night Han (rogue) and Emmett (ranger) notice a shadowy figure sneaking off from the labor camp toward town. They surprise him and attempt to Intimidate him. The PCs fail the rolls pitifully and he barks back some expletives and tells them to shove off. The 2 are forced to fight the laborer and try and subdue him. They manage to not kill him and I give them another chance at an Intimidate now that they have him at sword point, they beat the DC16 check as below.

my_script wrote:


Intimidate checks determine his reactions if caught.

DC12 – “Look. Let me go and I’ll tell you what’s going on.” Assuming the party agrees, “I send reports on the shipping schedules to the traders in the Hommlet trading post. They pay me 10 gold per report per week. That’s all I know. I don’t ask questions.”

DC16 – As above and in addition, “I know the fat man is more then he seems, I’ve seen him execute people who get in his way. He and his partner are working for some dangerous people. He records my reports in a log book under his desk.”

True to their word they let the laborer go.

DMs Note: Both are Chaotic good so I suppose you could interpret this 2 ways, one that since they are chaotic they should have lied and killed or arrested him after he divulged the information, or two since they are both chaotic it was pretty random as to whether they were going to let him go.

Meanwhile the only thing the trojan wagon party encountered were a couple of boars. As morning breaks the party regroups only to hear some disturbing news from Calmert the cleric.

"In the night, Lareth has escaped. We have no clue how, our guards were stabbed from behind with no noise. The guards at the church door didn't hear a sound."

The party investigates the scene. The dungeon and cells in the sub floor of the church are small, Emmetts tracking reveals one set of prints in the dust in the floor coming in and two going out. It looks like one man took out two alert armed guards stationed in front of Lareths cell. The tracks become impossible to follow up the stairs and into the main hall.

They next decide to inform Burne of the traders. Burne is appalled that such evil was lurking right beneath their noses. The party completely forgets about the log book mentioned by the laborer, and since the laborer was let free Burnes hands are somewhat tied. Burne won't go in and arrest them out right but agrees to have the Badger's avoid that area of town so the PCs can do some investigating.

The PCs decide to stake out the trading post in the evening. The building appears to be populated by Rannos, Gremag and their man-at-arms. As the night takes hold and the lighting inside dims a bit the rogue decides to try and sneak in and steal the log book (which they remembered by now). After some very tight stealth rolls against some pretty good perception rolls the rogue manages to get out with the book. After regrouping with the party the front door creaks open. It stays open for a moment then closes shut. After a bit of babbling and guesswork the party realizes somebody is probably invisible and just walked out of the post. This would also explain the breakout of Lareth.

Emmett tries to track the invisible person and manages to find his tracks; the party is just a few minutes behind. They managed to close within ear shot and the lurker is on his way up the deer trail toward Nulb when they hear a crashing in the woods on both sides. A sharp howl alerts the party to two large humanoids emerging into the (full) moon light. Werewolves !!!

This is a tough fight as the party lacks silver or magic weapons save the Staff of Striking. The party had a magic weapon scroll handy, and managed to magic weapon the monks fist. Eventually the party triumphs, learning a valuable lesson in lycanthropy. The rogue is indeed bitten and infected.

They return to the village looking for a cure for their ailing comrade while at the same time trying to figure out what to do about the traders. Ifersh decides Jaroo is the best person to consult on the werewolves and takes Han there. Jaroo claims that a spring of belladonna can greatly increase the chance of fending off the disease however Han will be incredibly sick and nauseous for the next 24 hours regardless. It sounds like the only option, and it works. Ifersh is greatful for the help and fills Jaroo's donation bucket.

The rest of the party returns to the trading post only to find it hastily vacated. The log book is proof enough for Burne and the trading post is seized. All of Lareth's armor and goods are long gone, all that is left are some common arms and armor.

At this point all signs point to Nulb (Choo choo !).

DMs Note: In the original pen and paper adventure Nulb is pretty vaguely defined. The pirate gang isn't fleshed out much and as written there isn't much to do besides killing everyone in sight. The video game does a great job of making Nulb a fun filled pirate town. I decided to go that route, making the pirates somewhat tolerable.

The village is a series of connected walking bridges and rickety buildings on small land slabs that emerge from the water. As the party enters the main bridge leading into town they are greeted by an older man rubbing his jaw a babbling and cursing out loud.

DMs Note: The man’s name is Preston Weltz. He is an old man fallen on hard times, however he’s been around the village for almost 15 years and knows what is happening around town. He is designed to be the party’s guidebook and railroad them off to the various quests.

Preston begins barking at the party.

“What do we have here, adventurers must ye be. Maybe just more pirates eh?”
“You lookin’ for work?”, “You should head down to the docks and see Grud Squinteye.”
“G~! d@@n it my tooth hurts.”

Preston is a wealth of information for the party and he has answers to a variety of questions.

My_Script wrote:


Who’s in charge here? – “Ha ha ha, it’s a pirate town. We don’t exactly have elections. Tolub is the captain of the pirates.”

Where can we find Tolub? – “You’d need to talk to his first mate, Grud Squinteye. He’s down by the docks and handles recruiting and labor. Tolub is more of a leader by inspiration.”

What’s wrong with your jaw/tooth/mouth? – “Oh I gotta a toothache that would drop a Hill Giant. The only dentist in town is a pirate, and he wants 400 gold to fix it and me being out of work that ain’t never gonna happen.”

What do you do for a living? – “Well let’s just say I arrange for men to meet ladies. My main lady hasn’t been able to pay up for some time now and I don’t have the heart to beat it out of her. Maybe the trade is just seen its time.”

Why can’t she pay you? – “She can tell you herself, her name is Mona and she fronts the brothel on the East edge of town. I’ve sent over at least 20 men and haven’t gotten paid a wooden nickel on my referral.”

Where can I get a drink / bed around here? – “If you want a drink and a punch in the mouth you might try the Boatman’s Tavern. The only lodge in town is the Waterside Hostel, and I’d watch ye purse over there.”

Where can I get arms and armor? – “There’s a blacksmith, calls himself Otis. Don’t know much about him he keeps to himself.”

My leg is bleeding can somebody heal me? – “You could try that wrinkled bag of an herbmonger; Mother Screng.”

The lure of pirate intrigue is too much for the party to resist and they head off to the docks to meet Grud Squinteye. The pirates are running a full scale operation with several boats flying the flag and a couple of barges stacked with goods of all kinds. At a podium shouting orders and throwing profanity around at the laborers is a long haired, earring laden scurvy looking man.

The party approaches Grud and asks about work. The following dialog ensues.

My_Script wrote:


Who’s in charge here? – “Tolub is my captain. I’m the first mate and I run these here docks.”

Where can we find Tolub? – “Ha ha ha. By day he be pirating! By night he enjoys a beer and a scrap at the Boatman’s Tavern.”

What kind of work do you offer? – “One gold per week for hard labor, moving … um freight … on the docks. You don’t look like the day laboring type though; I might have something special for you.”

We want to join your pirate gang? – “We don’t take applications there lad. Ya got to be recommended into the crew.”

Who can recommend us? What special work do you have? – (pulls the party aside to a quieter area) “Well, I got a little problem. It’s a bit embarrassing. I told some impressive stories about this fish I said I caught. But I ain’t ever actually caught the fish. It was so big it nearly brought me in for a meal. Anyway, I already told the boys I caught it. It’s a giant gar down in the shallow area of Imeryd’s Run. You catch that fish for me and I’ll recommend ya for induction, and I’ll make sure everyone knows you around town. I may even throw some loot your way.”

How do we know which fish you want? – “Ye can’t miss it. It’s bigger then that there dingy! Just bringin’ me the head is good enough!”

A fishing expedition sounds as interesting as anything else, the party decides to visit the herbmonger for some healing potions and head to the Imeryd's Run for some early morning fishing.

The party starts patrolling the shores near the shallow area of the run. The water is about waste deep and murky. As the party gets near the shore an old enemy rears its head and attacks.

... no not Lareth ....

A giant frog! The frog attempts to use his grapple tongue attack to drag party members into the water. Soon most of the party is engaged with the deadly amphibian. From the other bank humanoids begin emerging and charging into the water. 3 Lizardfolk, a Lizardfolk Shaman and a Sea Hag!

The party decides to split up, the monk (with Lareth's Ring of Freedom of Movement) decides to rush the hag figuring she is a spellcaster (wrong). The shaman tries a couple of command spells while his raider companions take wild swings at the PCs. Meanwhile the frog just won't fall and once again plagues the party. The rogue gets a couple of sneak attacks off on the frog and finally drops him. A critical against the shaman takes him out. The party rolls well against the Hag's various abilities except the monk who ends up weakened.

The party eventually mops up the last lizardfolk, and burns some healing potions. The blood in the water has aroused another guest, the legendary giant gar that Grud spoke of. He's hungry and headed right at the party.

The PCs roll spectacularly and dispatch the massive fish without much trouble. They behead it and Ifersh decides to clean it and try and sell it for sushi.

They return to Nulb with a giant fish head to present to Grud.

My_script wrote:


We have brought you the head of the gar. Now what? – “By Olidammara’s cod piece! I can’t believe ye actually caught it. I had even odds on ye making it out of there with yer britches! Everyone in town will know you are a friend of Grud. Hey and here’s a pearl for ye time and expenses.”

The party decides to head to the Waterside Hostel for some rest and healing.

to be continued ..........................


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

Now that is a very cool story so far! Keep on posting, and please post your ideas going beyond what is written in the original adventure, especially details you lifted from the computer game (I did never play that one - is it worth locating?)
Your story makes me want to DM the good ol´ Temple right now.

Stefan


Great read. Thanks for sharing

What video game is this?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
Ian Morris 321 wrote:
What video game is this?

This one.I remember downloading the starting video of the Battle of Emridy Meadows several years ago, I still should have the file somewhere. Great show.

Stefan


Thanks I must have missed this one.

Searching Ebay now...


we are doing the slave lord modules.

Our party monk had scorpion style.

But he died before he could use it.

He was mean in combat (even at 1st level) as he was a half orc with an 18 str. As such he was definately the front line brusier.

The party, travelling to highport by boat, was ambushed by the octopi, instead of trying to help (after they all saw the pirates of the carribean movies and thought it was a kraken!) jumped into a long boat and fled to shore with the monk rowing, the rogue/ranger firing arrows at any tentacles that threatened the longboat and the sorceress using her wand of magic missiles the rogue was able to pilfer for her earlier.

Frustrated as a DM, they went by land, so I chose to ambush them as if they went by land to begin with, and in the encounter with the 40 orcs.

They chose to fight them!

40 orcs vs. a 2nd level monk, 2nd level sorceress and a 1/2 rogue/ranger!

Dumb!

Oddly enough, only the monk died (he was moving around too much and got into the thick of the orcs and trying to save the rapier wielding rogue who for some dumb reason was involved in melee with 8 orc sword weilders, flurry of misses and flurry of misses (and some really good orc rolls) the monk was dead.

The player replaced his monk with a fighter.

Never got to use scorpion strike. I really think monks should get a free exotic weapon for the spiked chain. (IMHO)


The monk in this campaign feels like a front line fighter. I don't have any real experience with 3.5 monks so I can't compare and contrast. His only real flaw at this point is some bad hit point rolls on level 2 and 3 (I give my players the option to take the average or roll).

I think level 4 will be a big boost for him and really be a true test to see if this party can continue to survive without a vanilla Fighter (um ... or an arcane spellcaster or cleric for that matter).

Grand Lodge

nedleeds wrote:

The monk in this campaign feels like a front line fighter. I don't have any real experience with 3.5 monks so I can't compare and contrast. His only real flaw at this point is some bad hit point rolls on level 2 and 3 (I give my players the option to take the average or roll).

I think level 4 will be a big boost for him and really be a true test to see if this party can continue to survive without a vanilla Fighter (um ... or an arcane spellcaster or cleric for that matter).

In a game where I was the fighter and for three or four levels rolled a 1 for hit points, we changed HP systems.

1d10 turned into 4+1d6
1d8 turned into 3+1d5
1d6 turned into 2+1d4
and 1d4 turned into 1+1d3 (not used in PFRPG thankfully)

In essence it guarentees half the roll and gives you a chance to do better. We got to reroll our HP and thankfully it made a HUGE difference.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber
Krome wrote:


In a game where I was the fighter and for three or four levels rolled a 1 for hit points, we changed HP systems.

1d10 turned into 4+1d6
1d8 turned into 3+1d5
1d6 turned into 2+1d4
and 1d4 turned into 1+1d3 (not used in PFRPG thankfully)

In essence it guarentees half the roll and gives you a chance to do better. We got to reroll our HP and thankfully it made a HUGE difference.

I grant my players the highest of two rolls for hp, and if they still roll a "1", I let them have another roll. They need it!

Stefan


Yeah. I give the option to take the average, but everyone is a gambler these days it seems.

It does catch up in our play sessions. My 3.5 monster "conversion process" consists of adding 2 hit points per hit dice, and the occasional feat here and there. So the average "CR" 2 monster has a few more hit points, but some CR 4 or 5 guys might take two additional swings to bring down.

On the topic on conversion is there an organized, thread/web page of converted common OGL monsters Goblin/Kobold/Gnoll/Bugbear etc.. ?


I had a couple of PMs asking about Lareths stat block. Here he is in all his ... beauty.

Lareth (‘The Beautiful’) - Human Cleric of Lolth 5 – Male
Chaotic Evil – Lolth
HP: 38 AC: 22 Flat: 20 Touch: 11
Speed: 20 Init: +1
Fort: +5 Ref: +2 Will: +8
Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1), Int 10, Wis 18 (+4), Cha 16 (+3)

Skills: Diplomacy (+8), Know. Religion (+6), Know. Planes (+6), Spellcraft (+7), Sense Motive (+10)

Feats: Weapon Focus (Club), Combat Casting, Improved Turning, Turning Smite, Martial Weapon Prof. (Flail)

Attack: SoS (+7) 1d6 + 2 (20)

Equipment: Plate Mail +1, Light Steel Shield +1, Staff of Striking (Club) +1, Light Mace, Cloak, 2 x Potion Cure Moderate Wounds

Spells: 4/4/3/2

Domains: Destruction, Evil
1,2,4 domain powers

Class: Channel Negative Energy (6/day DC15 Will Save for 1/2 3d6 Negative Energy Damage)


--Session 5 --

Attendance: Chopper Toughstick, Han Wanabe (I'll be running Han this session), Ifersh and Emmett Fletcher.

The Plot: We left our party on their way back to the Waterside Hostel after presenting Grud with his legendary fish. The village of Nulb was clearly a pretty seedy place.

Recap:

(this actually took place last session (session 4)) ...

The party heads off to get some medical assistance from the herbmonger Mother Screng for their wounds suffered at the hands of the Sea Hag and Company. The party also stops by the blacksmith, a burly man named Otis who seems strangely out of place here. He has a fair selection of arms but nothing too exotic (in a dump like this there isn't much demand for masterwork stuff). Returning to the Waterside Hostel the party is immediately set upon by a would be thief, Pearl, she fails her sleight of hand vs. Han's perception and is caught. Han manages to Diplomacy his way into Pearls bed and heads upstairs to Save vs. Poon-Ray. The others saunter up to the bar and see what Wat, the bartender has to say. At this point rumors of the party have begun to spread around the small town. Knowing the party are capable fighters Wat not so subtley spills the beans.

Wat wrote:


“Hey you guys look a little more seasoned then most of the idiots that stroll through here. How about a chance to join up with some real fighters?”

After some small talk the party agrees to meet up with Wat in the morning and head off to meet his associates.

(this ends the stuff that took place last session (session 4))

DM Note: I originally intended Nulb to be a way to get the party to around 5th level before hitting the temple proper, but I'm seeing that the Pathfinder characters will probably have little trouble with most of the early Temple misfits, even at level 4. That being said we do only have 4 PCs and still not Fighter, Arcane caster or Cleric. The party has also not run up against multiple spell casters.

The party awakens in the Waterside Hostel, surprisingly with all their posessions. Wat informs them that they are going to leave in a couple of hours, at which point they will head out of town a couple of miles. The party will need to be disarmed, and their gear placed in lockboxes (to which they will be given the keys), then blindfolded, and taken to the 'secret hideout'. The party is of course paranoid of these terms, they decides to get as far as they can and then ambush Wat and whomever else arrives to take them off to the 'secret hideout'. Ifersh decides to confer with ole' Preston. Preston confirms that he's seen Wat head out with small groups of men, once a week, then return alone, usually that day. He knows Wat isn't a pirate. His tooth still hurts, and he bemoans the fact that Mona hasn't paid him in almost a month now.

My_Script wrote:


Why can’t she pay you? – “She can tell you herself, her name is Mona and she fronts the brothel on the East edge of town. I’ve sent over at least 20 men and haven’t gotten paid a wooden nickel on my referrals.”

The party decides to check out Mona and her brothel, even with Han's fingers still smelling funny from the prior night. Mona is sweeping the front porch of her 'establishment'.

My_Script wrote:


What is this building? – “It’s a brothel of course, are you more of those stingy pirates. I’ve had enough of you, playing without paying.”

Why aren’t the pirates paying you? – “They have nothing to fear, they run this town. Most either don’t pay or rough the girl up and take their money back. Without my orb they just laugh at me, flip a few coins my way and leave. It’s barely enough to eat and drink off of.”

Is this why you can’t pay Preston? – “Yes. I owe him for his referrals but I’ve no money for myself or my harem. The people he refers don’t pay anyway.”

What is this orb you speak of where is it / who stole it? – “The orb of sah, I can bestow great curses with it. While I possessed it the pirates feared its power and they paid in full. It was stolen during an orc raid a few months back, the orcs came and orc raped my harem; fought with the pirates and were finally turned back. They live in the caves to the west.”

A quick trip down to the docks reveals that indeed the orcs did raid the place a couple months ago. Their leader was a barbarian orc that Tolub almost killed, but he got away. Tolub himself will send men to help if the party ('landlubbers') can find their hideout in the Kron Hills.

The party decides to defer the orc-fest until after they deal with Wat. Meeting up with the barman they head down the High Road towards the dreaded Gnarley Forest. After getting about 2 miles outside of town they see two figures about 30 feet ahead on horseback. Wat goes ahead to speak with them, they are armed in chain armor and look like professionals. The two men begin uncovering some branches which obscured a deer trail to the east. As Wat returns he asks the party to disarm and is greated with an Oaken handshake to the face courtesy of Ifersh.

Combat ensues with the three baddies (2 2nd level fighters with longswords, and Wat a 4th level rogue). Combat goes fairly well for the party, Wat doesn't have enough companions to setup any good sneak attack opportunities. He does manage to poison the ranger with his spider venom coated blade. Han gets a couple off 2d6 sneak attacks off and the party manages to take out their opponents. The last fighter getting picked off his horses back trying to flee. They leave one fighter alive for questioning, he 'slips' up and calls the 'secret hideout' the temple. Searching their belongings they find a robe adorned in flames, a map marking the deer trails location, a Short Sword +1, Leather Armor +1 some potions (invisibility being the highlight) and some mundane armor and arms from the 2 fighters. The party limps back to the town of Nulb with some wounds.

DM Note: At this point the XP from this encounter is worth about 600 for each player which will put them over the top to the all important 4th level. I decide (along with the Papa John's delivery guy) that we will take a break and level up. I'm hoping to avoid the awkward situation from 2 sessions ago where the party should have leveled before facing 'Ambush!'. 4th level will let the party boost some crappy stats, get the druid a couple more spells and wild shape, get the monk an ua-attack damage boost and his ki pool.

The party decided to check out the Boatman's Tavern, and buy Preston Weltz a square meal. They watch Tolub boxing from their table and after the meal they feel surprisingly more confident (leveled up). The party then hits Mother Screngs and buys her out of Cure Moderate Wounds, they also snag a Neutralize Poison scroll (i mistakenly allowed it to 'cure' the effect of the strength damage, when I think thats what Restoration is for). They head off to the Waterside Hostel to confront Dick Rentch. They make up a story about Wat amubushing them outside of town after offering them some work. Dick buys the story and is surprised at Wat turning out to be a brigand, he was a reliable bartender. But his schedule always seemed bizarre to Dick. Pearl mans the bar in the absence of Wat. The party rests up and decides to tackle the orc problem the next day. Upon awakening Dick corners the party.

Dick wrote:


“I obviously underestimated you guys. I work for some enterprising fellows who could probably use some high end labor like you guys. My contact comes into town every week (4 days away), and picks up guys I recruit. You interested?”

So the party begins to realize that there are people recruiting for different factions of the temple. Dick didn't even know Wat was recruiting right under his nose. The party agrees to meet this man, and in the meantime they decide to check out the orc situation.

Loaded down with some cure spells the party heads a little west to the Kron Hills. Some Tracking, Survival and Knowledge: Geography rolls later the party emerges at a small clearing staring at the mouth of a cave. A large number of orc tracks converge here. The parties initial plan is to wait until night, get soem men from Tolub and ambush the orcs in the dark. Then I ... err ... Han ... remind them that orcs have darkvision and that plan is the exact opposite of what they should do. Regardless they decide Han with his savage +15 stealth should scout the cave out. After destroying the orcs Perception rolls with Stealth checks in the high 20's Han has determined a few things. There are 10 or so orcs in the cave, some fighter types, a big one with an axe, and a couple that look like shamans. He's also seen how they are passing the time, by torturing a male dwarf to death. There is also a female dwarf caged near-by, and another male dwarf, not moving in another cell. All near the back of the cave. The shrieks of agony from the male dwarf can even be heard outside the cave.

At this point Han relays the information and the lawful good monk has no choice but to try to save the dwarves. They hastily devise a plan where the monk will try to stealth in as close as possible. Punch an orc then run out toward the cave mouth, hoping to draw the orcs out into the clearing. At which point Ifersh will Entangle them, and the party can pelt them with arrows while Chopper (and his ring of freedom of movement) merrily moves about beating on them.

The plan goes splendidly, and most of the orcs spend their first round running for the entrance. One orc (who will forever be remembered as 'gimped orc') got scorpion striked and hobbled toward the entrance, only to get tangled up. Ifersh drops an Entangle all over the cave mouth (Forest Cliff Lair for you DDM buffs). A surprising number of orcs make their reflex saves however. The barbarian (Level 4 Orc Barbarian) begins raging. A *long* combat ensues, much of it because of the limited mobility of the orcs. The orc barbarian tears into the ranger with a readied attack for 14 damage. The monk manages to scorpion strike the barbarian and limit his ability to rush around. The MVP of this fight might have been the sneak attack damage the rogue was dishing out, including 2 critical hits. The orc cleric and orc druid helped prolong things with some healing, and the half-orc assassin managed to run off once the tide turned but eventually the party triumphed.

DM Note: Couple of funny things. One was the monk forgetting his unarmed strike had gone to 1d8 until about 80% of the way through combat. The druid completely forgetting about Wild Shape. The ranger not picking up on my snaffu (i announced the orc barb was readying an attack ... which kind of defeats the purpose). Also the party had bought *scrolls* at Mother Screngs, but during this fight they magically changed to potions. Oh well, tactical combat at 2am is always haphazard.

The 2 male dwarves are dead. The female turns out to be a dwarven cleric of Moridan. They were headed to Nulb to go downriver after most of their clan was wiped out in a mining accident. Ilde is now the sole survivor and wants vengeance. The party rests up in the cave and that ends the session.

- this ends Session 4 and 5 ("A Pirate's Life!") ->

- on to Session 6 ("The hunt for the Temple of Elemental Evil") ->


Yay for Scorpion Strike! Did you think the save DC was about right?

It sounds like Han the DMNPC got a lot of action compared to the PCs, though.


His chance to hit certainly isn't the best, but the 3d6 damage is by far the parties best damage dealing attack. In addition Han's dice were pretty hot on some damage rolls scoring several 15+ damage hits with Sneak Attack and criticals.

Much of the end of the orc combat was spent pouring 'potions' down his throat to keep him alive so he could continue sneak attacking.

The ranger was consistantly dealing damage at range and up close, and the monk was crucial in limiting the BB-Orc-B's movement and in being mobile enough to implement the plan.

A quick question if anyone here is listening. With Wild Shape does the Druid retain any magic item bonuses (ring of protection, etc.) and can they wild shape into Dire animals.


nedleeds wrote:
His chance to hit certainly isn't the best, but the 3d6 damage is by far the parties best damage dealing attack. In addition Han's dice were pretty hot on some damage rolls scoring several 15+ damage hits with Sneak Attack and criticals.

I wasn't just talking about combat "action". :-)

nedleeds wrote:
A quick question if anyone here is listening. With Wild Shape does the Druid retain any magic item bonuses (ring of protection, etc.) and can they wild shape into Dire animals.

Yes (if it's a "constant bonus" that's not an armour bonus), and yes (anything of type "animal" with the appropriate size). I'd recommend reading the "boilerplate" that applies to all Polymorph subschool spells:

http://alpha3.wikidot.com/spells-and-magic#polymorph


OK. So the "You can't wild shape into something with more hit dice than you" rule no longer applies since you are contrained by your own ability scores and the restrictions detailed in Beast Shape.


nedleeds wrote:
OK. So the "You can't wild shape into something with more hit dice than you" rule no longer applies since you are contrained by your own ability scores and the restrictions detailed in Beast Shape.

Yes. So for combat purposes there's no point in wild shaping into a brown bear since you can wild shape into a dire bear (which has slightly better claw and bite attacks).


hogarth wrote:
nedleeds wrote:
OK. So the "You can't wild shape into something with more hit dice than you" rule no longer applies since you are contrained by your own ability scores and the restrictions detailed in Beast Shape.
Yes. So for combat purposes there's no point in wild shaping into a brown bear since you can wild shape into a dire bear (which has slightly better claw and bite attacks).

Erg. Not sure I like the current setup. I understand the intent (I think), which is to keep a Druid from bagging his combat stats but still being the parties best fighter when he wants to be (10 strength -> 30 something Dire Bear strength sure beats Bulls Strength). Maybe there is some happy medium. I always thought the Druid should have to pick a certain number of shapes per level the helps the whole system since the DM/player have the stat blocks they need and the mini they need on hand and prepared, instead of just pulling "Porpoise!" out of his ass at the last second.

Grand Lodge

nedleeds wrote:
hogarth wrote:
nedleeds wrote:
OK. So the "You can't wild shape into something with more hit dice than you" rule no longer applies since you are contrained by your own ability scores and the restrictions detailed in Beast Shape.
Yes. So for combat purposes there's no point in wild shaping into a brown bear since you can wild shape into a dire bear (which has slightly better claw and bite attacks).
Erg. Not sure I like the current setup. I understand the intent (I think), which is to keep a Druid from bagging his combat stats but still being the parties best fighter when he wants to be (10 strength -> 30 something Dire Bear strength sure beats Bulls Strength). Maybe there is some happy medium. I always thought the Druid should have to pick a certain number of shapes per level the helps the whole system since the DM/player have the stat blocks they need and the mini they need on hand and prepared, instead of just pulling "Porpoise!" out of his ass at the last second.

I thought that too. Drove me nuts when our Druid would spend half an hour trying to figure out just to pick which form best fit the situation. Unfortunately, he always picked the WORST critter. *sigh* no helping crappy players...


Well since it's a playtest, I'm going to run it by the book. Using the Beast Shape I(II, III) rules. I'll see how it goes and if it is of any value at all. Sounds like it might be more useful for reconaissance than for combat at this point since our party druid has decent strength and a good magic weapon at this point (Club of Striking +1). I can't see any reason to Wild Shape into a Wolf in combat at this point (except to run away maybe).


Maveric28 wrote:
I'm really enjoying the way you tell your stories here... you're funny, thorough, and have made a really great story out of what many DMs would consider a hopeless starting group... I mean, c'mon, a rogue, druid, and monk as your key PCs? Ugh... but you handled it well with a couple key NPCs, and the players sound like they're really enjoying themselves. And you tell it so well! You've taken a few levels in Bard, haven't you? hehe...

See, this is the thing. Any DM worth the name should be able to look at whatever characters are generated by the players, meditate on the situation, and work the DM mojo magick in order to bring the game to those characters.

I know this is probably way off topic for this thread, but I've seen so many posts in these forums that are like "wah, this class is broken," or "gosh, everyone knows that an adventuring group has to have a priest, a wizardly type, a tank d00d, and a sneaky thief."

I'm venting a little bit here. C'mon people, we are playing role-playing games. The operative ingredient is creativity. Feel free to think outside the pre-packaged box, y'all.

possibly irrelevant and off-topic 2c

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