Ripper DMing Temple of Elemental Evil session V

This game turned out much better then the last one did, but as a recap, I had a decision to make. I had forgotten that elves had infravision, and my mistake had led the party to believe that a darkness spell was in effect, and it did not allow the party to function as they normally should had. Shannon had already rolled up another character, as he had lost his other one to my failure. He should had been able to see that he was out numbered dramatically, and had time to change his tactic, and while I never liked making things a do-over, this was blatantly, my fault. I decided to give him his character back, and told everybody that it was a cognitive dream, a warning of doom, granted to them by St. Cuthbert.

I also felt that they didn't have enough muscle, so I had my wife roll up an additional fighter which she could play, as well as her witch. Both she and Shannon are experienced players and don't have a hard time playing two characters equally well at once.

The new Ranger (Shannon's character) and the new fighter (Misty's character) were companions sent on a mission to investigate the temple. The Druid in Hommlet instructed them to meet up with the party and join forces. The ranger had secret information about breaching the temple itself, but required a thief (Kim's character) and money to buy a mule (which they got sacking the moat house).

The other wizard didn't make it to the game this session, nor could Summer, who played the parties Cleric, which initially made me a bit nervous but decided to move along anyway. Kim showed up, and we have a new player ready to join us, but he just wanted to observe this session. Well, not really a new player as he's one of our old D&D buddies who moved back from Rockport Missouri, where, apparently, they don't play Dungeons & Dragons. HOW WEIRD IS THAT?!?! It's great to see his face again and I look forward to him joining. He has always brought an interesting dynamic to the table, and he's also an awesome DM so Shannon and I can have a break DMing, and actually play some!

Anyhow, back to the Temple. I took Mouse's suggestion of getting them inside of the Temple Ruins regardless of that impossible to make savingthrow against the front door, to heart. A secret chink was made in the armor of the Temple, a specific barred window could be breached with just the right amount of force. The Ranger was made aware of the hole by his superior, but needed a thief to scale the wall, which the party had. These two teams teamed up, amazing how fast friends are made isn't it?

They spent much of the session on the unoccupied level of the ruins, finding all of the little clues hidden throughout the place before venturing down below. Prepping for this session was much easier too. I knew roughly how far they would get, and spent much of the afternoon reading and correcting my way to Dungeon Level 2. Some of the first map isn't keyed very well, namely the stairs. It took me a half an hour to figure out where one of them went to because it didn't say.

I also improperly identified sturges, mistaking them for those stalactite monsters that fall from the ceiling, but quickly looked them up because I didn't remember them having bloodsucking abilities before, and they don't. Sturges are giant mosquitoes with bat wings, and I was able to quickly clarify the problem before we got too carried away with it.

Another problem that I ran into was with the Earth Elementals in the Earth Temple. I did my best to update it to 2nd edition, but didn't realize that the monster which it refers to was not in the MM, and I didn't know where it was. THOSE THINGS WERE MEAN!!!! THAC0s of 5, hit only by +2 weapons (which they didn't have) Rydan's mage had a +2 axe, but he wasn't at the table, and the mage was recovering from a wild night of drinking in the Nulb Hostle. The only thing that was their weakness was a Movement Rate of 6. We had to discus the best way to handle this situation in a way that everybody could agree with, and that was fair to everybody, including the earth elementals.

Misty reminded me that Huge creatures have a harder time hitting smaller creatures, so I looked it up and discovered that Huge monsters have a +9 to their initiative rolls. It was decided that since these creatures were in their element, if they hit their target, they would instantly do full damage, like it says in the 1e MM. However, since they were so slow, the only way that they could win initiative is if they rolled up a 1, and the player rolled a 10. Was it dangerous? YES! One hit meant fatality! But it was also fair. The player also had to roll a successful DEX check, else slip and fall, giving the Elemental an equal shot at initiative on the next round.

I assume that those creatures are in one of my MC books, but just didn't have time to look them up properly, but it is times like that that really make the game fun. Invention and brainstorming with the players is always a great time for me.

I'd also like to add that I really enjoy the Random Encounter method with ToEE uses. Instead of rolling %d and then rolling separate dice on a different chart, you just roll the %d. If the number is 11 or under, it tells you instantly what encounter you have, and if it is above that, then no encounter. I set the 10 min. timer and could quickly factor in search times and time spent doing other stuff, and didn't have to fuss over anything. IT WAS GREAT!!! Of course it doesn't factor in noise level or anything, but no system is perfect. As far as ease and speed, that system works awesomely.

I think that everybody had a good time. There wasn't any yelling or bitching and fighting going on this time around. The game was much easier to prep for because of the confined environment. Overworld prep just stresses me out! And no matter how much I prep for stuff, my players can always find themselves into spots that nobody even thought up before. It's much harder to do that underground . . . granted that it isn't impossible, just harder.


Timeshadows said...

--I'm glad that session went well. :)

Cyric said...

Your ToEE entries are a great reading! I really enjoy them and I hope you keep them up.
I'll start playing Pool of Radiance (Ruins of Adventures) tonight (in round about 1 hour, actually) and am very exited about it. Hope it turns out as good as your does.

Btw: don't trouble yourself too much with session 4. Things like these happen... even to the best DMs. And your players should have noticed your mistakes on the fly...


Mouse said...

Sweet! I got a shout-out! I'll need to bookmark this blog so I can keep an eye on how the adventure progresses.

I should also mention that I looked back through my copy of ToEE and found my hunch to be correct. If you look at the map and carefully read the description of the entrance you'll find that there are two small regular doors on either side of the Magic door that can be forced open.

Honestly I like your way much better though. The fact that you could simply walk around the corner and bypass the magic doors never really made sense to me.

I also remember having some trouble with those Earth Elementals. I believe they can't leave their room and my players were able to flee before they could be pounded!

Anonymous said...

Fighting the elementals should be deadly. A party that goes head to head with them is going to DIE! Trying to sneak around them or getting the head clerics robes so they won't attack, or just plain avoiding them since they won't come out of their room should be considered as some of the alternatives.
A party that only bulldozes its way through had better be at least mid-level or they are going to get bitch slapped real fast.

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