Author Topic: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.  (Read 5148 times)

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47213
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2015, 03:46:04 am »
That's some amazing plot! "Carvin Marvin" in particular is awesome and could really jack someone's alignment badly. I just can't think like this. I do plot as intent and character consideration and tend to improvise. Been out of gaming for some time now. Thinking about getting into a LARP that a friend of mine asked me to play an NPC for. There is an independent company that picked up the "minds eye theater" material from white wolf and truly made a new and well balanced system and progressed the stagnant backstory. Problem is I'm not into vampire. Like at all.

Has Marv ever wound up in the hands of a paladin in you time with him?

Nope.  It HAS wound up in the hands of a tanked-out fighter with no appreciable will save, in a party where nobody else was armored up.  The rogue survived by climbing up a drain pipe.

Climb check for your life is always a fun moment, but fighter draws sword, DM rolls, everyone knows what THAT means, is the kind of stuff I loved. I used to be able to silence "side talk" by just rolling and smiling ever wider as I decided whether or not to start noting things down for combat rounds. I had one kid actually flinch when I was running a demo story for him because the dice had become his cue that the story was about to shift. The power trip is far from my only joy in being an ST, but it's pretty notable!

Can't wait to see pathfinder Marvin!

You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

LuciferX

  • Metanoia
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 28062
  • fripping moncrey!
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 06:22:05 am »

When reading


...

The reason the noble is doing this is because the ballerina is an 11th level bard and is concerned that her looks are fading, so she has a plan to turn into a lich, using a bardic version of gentle repose to keep her looking young/non-rotten.  This will tie in with the Vecna cult.  The noble is infatuated with her, and she's promised to cure his deformities (lying), and turn him and all the other people assisting her into some form of intelligent undead (not lying, but they don't realize they'll be enslaved to her).  More about this later.

...
I immediately thought

Quote
Summary: Canto XXX

Beholding the Second Zone in the Tenth Pouch of the Eighth Circle of Hell, Dante recalls stories of antiquity in which great suffering caused humans to turn on each other like animals. But the viciousness portrayed in these stories pales in comparison with what he witnesses here, where the sinners tear at each other with their teeth; these are the Falsifiers of Othersí Persons. Dante sees a woman, Myrrha, who lusted after her father and disguised herself as another in order to gratify her lust. Some of the sinners of the Third Zone, the Falsifiers of Coins, mingle among these souls. Dante speaks with Master Adam, who counterfeited Florentine money; part of his punishment is to be racked with thirst. Adam points out two members of the Fourth Zone, the Falsifiers of Words, or Liars: one is the wife of Potiphar, who falsely accused Joseph of trying to seduce her, and the other is a Greek man, Sinon. The latter apparently knows Adam and comes over to pick a fight with him. Dante listens to them bicker for a while. Virgil harshly reprimands his companion, telling him that it is demeaning to listen to such a petty disagreement.
Hic Salta?
________
Constant Eso-Opthamologist of Elicited Stopped-Clock Illusions, brings it back, or sinners just repent______

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2015, 05:45:10 am »
Saturday group (less experienced party):

Quote
Saturday notes:
Mark of Caliphas - Itinerant monk, beaten up by party after attacking El Hombre.
Appears later.
Night at the Opera.
Cast: 
Amalia Wallovski - Ballerina (bard11)
Sophie Kolopin - Soprano (bard9)
Lord Magnus Rimes - hunchbacked and deformed noble, patron of the arts
Lord Hugh Stoneshot - foreign (dwarf) noble, superior of Rimes in both society and in the plot

The PCs will have to stash el hombre in the library, and obtain nobles or courtier's outfits.  Getting into the noble's quarter while dressed correctly requires a bluff DC9.  Reduce the DC by 4 for a successful disguise check (including coaching), and increase it by 4 if anyone is wearing armor (weapons are expected, though...Swords, daggers, and light weapons are acceptable, increase the DC by 2 for every unacceptable weapon)  If they play at being foreign, give them a +2.  Other modifiers as appropriate.
Anyone failing the roll will have to either stay behind or sneak into the quarter.  This will require either a DC20 stealth check, or role-playing it out.  Failure means a chase, capture means arrest.
Once at the opera house, they can buy tickets to the general seating area (the only available area for those who don't have box seats) for 5 GP each.  They will be seated off the left side, not too far from the noble.  They will see another noble, far more handsome than the deformed Lord Rimes, speaking earnestly with him. (this is Lord Stoneshot, Rimes' superior both in society and in the plot they are hatching).  A knowledge (local or nobility) DC25 will get his name on the spot.  A diplomacy check DC 20 to gather information (before the show starts) will do the same.
The opera begins.  Amalia and Sophia appear in the second act of a story about an old king trying to cheat death.  As two other actors play devils trying to urge a pact on him, the ladies arrive.  Amalia is dressed as an angel, and reminds the king via dance that better things await him after death.  Sophia is dressed as a psychopomp, and sings a song about how all things must end.  The performance by all parties is amazing, once in a generation stuff.
Unbeknownst to anyone but themselves and Rimes/Houghton, the two ladies are actually performing the bardic masterpiece "The Song of Extinction".  6 random people around the PCs are targeted (the PCs are not, nor is anyone in the box seats).  All 6 unfortunates fail their saving throws, and pay the price later.  This is a "test fire" for a ritual they have planned further down the road.
The opera concludes with the king agreeing with the angel, and is led away to the bone yard by Sophia.
The nobles in the box seats leave first, as per custom, before the general seating area is dismissed.
As the PCs leave the opera, a string of ghastly accidents happen, all in the space of a few seconds:
* A young nobleman trips and falls down the entry stairs, breaking his neck and killing him instantly.
* A middle-aged noble matron, screaming at the death of the nobleman, spooks a carriage horse, which rears and kills her with a blow from its hoof.
* The carriage backs up when the horse rears, and crushes a fat merchant prince and his wife.
* The merchant prince's guards run forward to see to their boss.  One trips and falls, causing his crossbow to discharge.  The bolt strikes a older noble (still on the stairs) in the eye, killing him instantly.
*  The older noble's body falls forward, knocking a young noble lady down the stairs.  She tumbles all the way to the bottom, fetching up on the spear of one of the merchant prince's guardsmen.

The spell was cast crudely (first time), and the deaths happened all at once.  It is a knowledge (arcana) DC 40 to understand that The Song of Extinction produces this sort of effect.  There is no magic on the scene (the magic happened in the opera house) after the victims are killed.

There is no connection between the casualties, and the PCs will not be allowed to investigate.  In fact, anyone making a wisdom check DC9 will know that hanging around might get their credentials checked, which would be a bad thing, considering all the dead nobility.

On the way home, shortly after they leave the noble's quarter, they are assaulted by thugs (see notes).  These thugs are actually in the employ of Lord Rimes, but seeing as he knows the capabilities of the PCs, he has the illiterate toughs carrying a note implicating the wizard's guild.  Remember that the PCs may have their weapons, but not their armor, which raises the DC of the thugs.  There are 4 thugs, and the DC of the entire encounter is 5.

The note has a sketch of the PCs faces, and reads:  "Kill all of them.  No prisoners.  Dispose of their bodies in harbor.  Bring all their weapons and gear to the wizards guild."

A canny party may think it odd that the wizards guild would mention itself in a note.  Give the party a DC15 sense motive check if nobody figures it out (later).

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2015, 06:03:48 am »
After that, the party was asked by a captain of the watch they know (whom they insist on calling "Captain Carrot") to assist in the investigation of a double murder at a chapel in the cobbles (the slum).  Both men had been beaten and then murdered, and the third clergyman who was supposed to be present was missing.  Also missing was a wand of Gentle Repose, a spell which keeps bodies from rotting.

They tracked the abductors into the Merchant's Quarter, but the trail was lost...Not too far from Rimes' house.  A boot print (of a very expensive boot) was taken to the best cobbler in town, who was able to confirm that the boot was made by him to order by Wilson (Rimes' servant) but not FOR Wilson.  The Captain wasn't ready to get a warrant, because all the evidence was circumstantial, and Rimes was very well connected.

A social contact of theirs, a bastard half-elf nobleman by the name of Elander Polk warned them off (they had met at the opera).  He also mentioned that the bards had used some form of powerful magic just before the tragedy.  The party researched the effect, and discovered references to The Song of Extinction, and also that in addition to killing people, it also generated a lot of necromantic magic.

That night, one of the PC's allies spied on Rime's house, and saw that both of the bard ladies came and went in a 15 minute period, Lord Stoneshot was there for hours, and so was some nobleman he didn't recognize, a man wearing a silver sword scabbard.

Also, that night, the cobbler's shop burned down with all inside.  The PCs used magic to survive the heat, and went into the smoking ruins.  They found that the entire household had been killed before the fire, and that all the forms for boots (the only lead they had) had been stacked and burned in the room in which the fire was set.  They found a strongbox with a ledger and a heat-damaged letter. 

The next morning, they used "make whole" to repair the letter.  It was a letter "to be sent in the event of my death", stating that the cobbler had been coerced into a conspiracy by Rimes, Wilson...And "Captain Carrot".  The party smelled a rat, though, and established that the writing on the letter did not match the writing in the letter, but DID match the writing on the bogus note carried by the thugs that ambushed them after the opera.  The mad monk Michael (the one they beat up the week before) was brought in to the investigation by the church, and though he wasn't happy about the whole thing, he noted that the writing on the letter was done by an educated man (no inkblots, good spelling, etc), and most certainly wasn't Carrot's writing or that of the cobbler.

That evening, Lord Polk (Elander's father) had Rimes and Wilson brought up on what were apparently bogus charges of witchcraft (ie, had nothing to do with what was going on).  Wilson "tripped on the stairs" in the cellblock and broke his neck.  Rimes went to his trial, pled guilty, and was throttled and then burned.  He seemed to be glad of it.

The party had an audience with Lord Polk, who stated flatly that the charges against Rimes were indeed false, but also stated that the conspiracy was real and a threat to the city and possibly the kingdom, so Polk had Rimes legally assassinated.  He didn't have the juice to have Lord Stoneshot arrested, nor a previously unknown accomplice, a second cousin of the king named Salmonsen.  The identity of the man with the silver scabbard is still unknown.

The party left the audience, and realized that Polk's action had inadvertently left them with no leads to pursue at all...His actions only scraped the surface.  They are also convinced that Polk's actions were done with "good" intentions.  (They were on a timer, and they failed to get Rimes before the deadline, in game terms).

The game left off at that point.

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2015, 06:10:47 am »
I am for obvious reasons leaving out all game mechanics (gather information checks, etc).

Cain

  • Alea iacta est
  • Chekha
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 104986
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2015, 12:10:49 pm »
Sounds like, for a less experienced group, they're still a pretty smart bunch.  Nice catch on the faked letter.

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2015, 09:44:14 pm »
Sounds like, for a less experienced group, they're still a pretty smart bunch.  Nice catch on the faked letter.

"Less experienced" in this case means "lower level", not "un-experienced with the game".  They also know my style.  If I can get you to whack an ally, I will.  And maybe it's a double twist.  Time will tell.

The Wizard Joseph

  • Tryna transcend duality or whatever
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 47213
  • Product of Wisconsin
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2015, 12:53:01 am »
A fine story! I'm not even playing and I can't wait to hear how the party does.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2015, 02:28:18 am »
A fine story! I'm not even playing and I can't wait to hear how the party does.

Thanks.  It's been a few years since I've run a strictly homebrew campaign, so I've had 2 years to bounce the main gist of the story around.

Prelate Diogenes Shandor

  • Promotor Fidei
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 17251
  • Behold! The Yellow Sign of Dobbshead
    • View Profile
    • Yiffstar User Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2015, 02:38:33 am »
This week, the less experienced party is going to the opera, to spy on their boss.  The Soprano and the Ballerina will be using a modified version of the bardic masterpiece "The Song of Extinction", which will cause the death of 6 opera-goers (not the noble cabal or the party).  What happens is that within an hour, bizarre accidents will kill the 6 unfortunates.  The deaths will be freak accidents that will happen as the opera house empties.  Which ought to raise hackles.

That's a neat concept. I could see that concept by itself being made into a movie or an episode of a weird/paranormal fiction themed TV show.
Praise NHGH! For the tribulation of all sentient beings.

a plague on both your houses -Mercutio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrTGgpWmdZQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVWd7nPjJH8

It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would plunge us back into the darkness -H.P.Lovecraft

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster -Nietzsche

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

You are a fluke of the universe, and whether you can hear it of not the universe is laughing behind your back -Deteriorata

Don't use the email address in my profile, I lost the password years ago

President Television

  • Told You I
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 26105
  • Chupacabra of Internet Sex Crimes
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2015, 04:03:17 am »
Dammit, Roger, why are you so good at putting adventures together?

I'm really curious to see how this ties into the Temple of Elemental Evil. I don't actually know much about that adventure, though, so for all I know it could have been obvious all along and just gone over my head.
My shit list: Stephen Harper, anarchists that complain about taxes instead of institutionalized torture, those people walking, anyone who lets a single aspect of themselves define their entire personality, salesmen that don't smoke pipes, Fredericton New Brunswick, bigots, philosophy majors, my nemesis, pirates that don't do anything, criminals without class, sociopaths, narcissists, furries, juggalos, foes.

Doktor Howl

  • SHIT FIXER
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 385753
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2015, 04:46:43 am »
Dammit, Roger, why are you so good at putting adventures together?

I'm really curious to see how this ties into the Temple of Elemental Evil. I don't actually know much about that adventure, though, so for all I know it could have been obvious all along and just gone over my head.

That would be telling.  All things in good time.

The more experienced party is going after the temple directly.  The less experienced party is dealing with a problem with the same root cause as the temple.

Prelate Diogenes Shandor

  • Promotor Fidei
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 17251
  • Behold! The Yellow Sign of Dobbshead
    • View Profile
    • Yiffstar User Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2015, 01:16:31 am »
It's been a while; How's this been going?
Praise NHGH! For the tribulation of all sentient beings.

a plague on both your houses -Mercutio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrTGgpWmdZQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVWd7nPjJH8

It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would plunge us back into the darkness -H.P.Lovecraft

He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster -Nietzsche

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q

You are a fluke of the universe, and whether you can hear it of not the universe is laughing behind your back -Deteriorata

Don't use the email address in my profile, I lost the password years ago

The Good Reverend Roger

  • Horrible Bastard
  • One-Armed Jizz Moppers
  • Deserved It
  • **
  • Posts: 36736
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2015, 03:17:29 am »
It's been a while; How's this been going?

I'll write it up later when I'm not so furious.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Freeky

  • Can't breathe anymore.
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 187789
  • wat
    • View Profile
Re: Running my own take on The Temple of Elemental Evil.
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2015, 08:24:00 am »
That doesn't sound like things are going well.
If someone does the ďFine, youíre right, Iím clearly a terrible person, Iím Satan, Iím the worst person alive, I should just dieĒ thing in response to criticism of their harmful behavior, they are trying to manipulate people and flip the situation around so that they look like a victim.

As a neuroscientist I have to disagree with the perception that anyone is doing mathematical modeling of cognitive intelligence, yet; intelligence as an economist defines it, yes, but economists are worlds away from actual cognition.


Although it is outside the purview of this organization to offer personal advice, we can say -- without assuming any liability -- that previous experience indicates (and recent market studies corroborate) that given the present condition of the marketplace, continuing with your present course of action is likely to result in substantial in