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Author Topic: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)  (Read 4070 times)

Sacremas

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Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« on: September 03, 2014, 01:28:57 PM »

Okay here's an alternative D&D concept rather than the tapestry, a lot simpler and easier to start (I can start this up tomorrow if need be), but also with somewhat less story involved. This is a pure dungeon crawl, no political shenanigans, no morally gray situations and few roleplaying situations, this is a combat game pure and simple.

The module is Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Monte Cook's follow up adventure to the Temple of Elemental Evil by Gary Gygax and Frank Metzer for AD&D which was published in 1985 (and was made into a computer game by Troika some years ago), and had players come upon the village of Hommlet in the world of Greyhawk (the D&D base setting as of D&D 3e/3.5, not sure if they kept it, the world of Vecna, Pelor, Mordenkainen and the like) which was under siege by the Cult of the Elder Elemental Eye, a Cthuluesque doomsday cult led by Lareth the Beautiful out of his Moathouse dungeon and the high priest Hedrack out of the ephymous Temple of Elemental Evil. Players took the battle to these evil men and defeated the cult. 25 years have passed since then and now the locals are afraid that the cult is back again, and the call has gone out to new adventurers to come defeat this evil for good, and perhaps find the true cause behind it.

RttToEE is a MASSIVE dungeon crawl across three separate dungeons, two small (as in regular sized for dungeons) and one that makes the Tomb of Horrors look small (as in the visible-from-space category), taking players from level 4-14, and you will fight dragons, cultists, giants and god-like things and if you survive you will save the entire world. However that 'if you survive' is a very big if, RttToEE has a reputation as a character-grinder, do not expect to get through this with your starting character, that's how brutal this is. Expect to run into powerful enemies using devious tactics and nasty traps and ambushes, designed by the writer of the 3e Dungeon Master's Guide.

The system for this would be D&D 3.5 primarily, but Pathfinder could be used if you have it available. No houserules would be used, except common sense case by case ones to stop the locate-city-bomb spells and the hulking hurlers and the like that we all know of. Basically don't try to cheat the game and I'm good with anything you come up with, give me a chaotic evil character that's going to use 5 prestige classes and I'm good with it.

For now this is only checking interest, I'm not sure how much interest there would be in a pure dungeon crawl hack and slash type game as opposed to an actual roleplaying game, but here it is if there's interest!
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Ski-Bird

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 05:36:38 PM »

I'd definitely be down for this.  I've been on a bit of a Pathfinder kick lately.   ;D
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The Digger

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 05:54:12 PM »

I remember my thief character tugging on a green 'curtain' which turned out to be green slime!

Exit character number 2 (I think - it might have been 3?)

But that was in the original TofEE, way back in my youth (And I believe most of you know I am now a hoary old man)

So that is my cack-handed way of saying - count me in.  I have not played 3.5 except in computer games but I am starting to get in to Pathfinder.
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Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 07:03:56 PM »

Since this adventure actually includes an end of the world scenario, to explain why you shouldn't just run off and get whatever version of uber NPCs the world may have to solve it for you once that becomes clear (or somewhat clear at least, it's a mystery thing as well), let's say that the world is currently at war with an unnamed "Demon King" and his army a few countries away that's keeping most armies and big NPCs and the like busy, it's a winning battle but one that requires their attention now, a big obvious threat that a lot of people are rallying for but that you opted out of for your own reasons to focus on the smaller picture. Your characters (and your possible alts) are professional adventurers, possibly former residents of Hommlet that were young or weren't born when the original Cult reigned or travelers from afar. I have no interest at all in getting into the details of the world of Greyhawk or requiring you to do so, this is an adventure that's so big it's practically it's own campaign setting. The basic information in the Player's Handbook on the setting (basic gods etc) should be everything you need, and to be sure let's just assume that the basic Pathfinder gods likewise exist in this setting without getting too deeply into it. This is a reactionary story based around dealing with a specific threat rather than something that needs deep understanding of the setting itself, and the stuff that I wrote in the first post is really all the background information that you'll need. Likewise if you need an arctic country for your snow elf to be from or anything else, make it up if you want or look it up online. Cosmology and the like is as of Manual of the Planes and Deities and Demigods of 3e/3.5 precisely.

Note that aside from playing the computer game somewhat I am unfamiliar with the original AD&D module, as such while the adventure includes numerous homages (the Moathouse ruins for example is the actual AD&D module's dungeon given 25 years of decay, using the original map and including pieces from it, like a hole filled with rubble where the original module had a concealed pit with spikes) that would be cool for those familiar with the original one, it's absolutely not a requirement, especially as your characters would only be aware of little more than what I wrote in the first post (Hommlet, Elder Elemental Eye, Lareth the Beautiful, Hedrack the high priest, and that's even stretching it).
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Cyclone

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 07:43:11 PM »

This sounds like something I'd be up for.  Will need to see my ability score spread before making any decisions on race or class, though.  The stuff I'd really want to play are pretty MAD.
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"When they ran out of ships, they used guns.  When they ran out of guns, they used knives and sticks and bare hands.  They were magnificent!  I only hope that when it is my time, I may die with half as much dignity as I saw in their eyes at the end."

Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 08:14:33 PM »

For ability scores I'm not sure, but I'm leaning towards letting you roll abilities on Invisible Castle (4d6 remove least die, arrange as needed), or do a 25 point spread point buy, use the point buy if the scores you end up with that is higher than what you rolled total. You should probably aim towards a +8ish overall ability score modifer when added together, minimum +5.

Here's one example of what you could end up with then; STR 15, DEX 13, CON 11, INT 14, WIS 11, CHA 15, an overall +7 modifier but with a lot of uneven scores, one of which will get bumped up by the level 4 bonus to a +8 modifier, use "RttToEE" as campaign name, use your board name if you haven't decided on character name yet.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 08:17:01 PM by Sacremas »
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Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 08:45:52 PM »

Note that if you want to play advanced races I'll only allow a +2 ECL equivalent at the most, you are going to need every hit point you got. To put it like this, the second or third encounter in this adventure have been known to kill entire parties of badly prepared characters, so prepare for war, not for room to grow in.
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The Digger

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 09:49:39 PM »

Looks like the dice gods have finally thought fit to grant me a decent set of attributes.

4d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,5,2] = (13)
4d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,6,5] = (17)
4d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,6,6] = (18)
4d6.takeHighest(3) → [4,3,2] = (9)
4d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,5,3] = (14)
4d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,6,3] = (15)


http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/4629386/

Still not sure what to take but perhaps an elven wizard?

[
Str       9      9
Dex    18+2      20
Con    15-2      13
Int      17+2   19
Wis    13      13
Cha     14      14]




Any thoughts other folk?

And what level are we talking about?  Presumably 4 or above since you mention the stat bump.

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Ski-Bird

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 10:00:26 PM »

I normally tend to lean toward a caster, or charismatic rogue of some kind, but this may be just the opportunity I needed to break out of that.

Something grim and gritty, and rather good at killing things I think...
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Requiem

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 11:02:51 PM »

This is definitely intriguing, haven't been sneaky for a while so leaning towards rogue possibly ranger, how we'll would multi-classing work out? Probably best to focus on one class given the brutality of the adventure.
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Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 01:24:41 AM »

Multiclass away as long as you don't end up too weak to start. Starting level is 4, and you have 4500 gold to spend on gear, you can spend no more than 1500 gold on a single item, you can buy magic items including +1 weapons, scrolls and potions and rings. There's a fairly big city a little over a day's journey away that'll let you shop for new stuff and spend your well-earned cash occasionally, including getting new items enchanted or forged, but spend too long shopping and R&R and you may return to find that enemies have been resurrected by a cleric you forgot or reinforcements have been hired.

Assume that the war against the unnamed Demon King (let's assume that's what he's being called and his real name is something alien and unpronouncable) has been going on for a couple of years, it's been a hard fight but a winning one, a bloody war of attrition. If you don't come from Hommlet (or even if you do) you can be former front-liners in that war, maybe several (or even all) of you met in that war and just grew sick of it after watching friends die or something like that and decided to go into adventuring rather than fighting someone else's war now that it seemed like it was going to be won regardless. So now you go to fight and die on the front lines of a much smaller but even more desperate war! Joy.

To clear up the case on the brutality of the adventure, one thing to keep in mind is that this is a 3e adventure that has not been updated to 3.5 let alone Pathfinder so you're going to be slightly stronger than characters were meant to be, this may give you a fighting chance to get through it one piece. I do not intend to actually go out and get a body count, but I don't intend on fudging dice to let you live (as I've done in certain other games, Great Collapse would have had a couple of near-death experiences if not for fudging I remember), I'll be posting my rolls same as you from Invisible Castle and as the dice falls so it lays. I'll be using as clever tactics as I can from the adventure and using the NPCs in them, but won't add to them unless the situations specifically calls for it (like an area you've cleared being listed as being reinforced if left unattended for so and so long), otherwise it's a war against the module itself. Hommlet includes a 10th level cleric capable of casting Raise Dead so if you can drag your buddies back to town and has the cash (given that she's presiding over the town you're guarding you'll be getting a discount on all services, but still has to pay) you might get by a few deaths just fine. Later in the adventure you will be able to raise dead on your own as long as one of you is a cleric. However there will be times when that's just not possible, abilities like Disintergrate and Swallow Whole might make getting a body back a problem, and in these cases a reroll will be needed. At the very end of the adventure (level 13+) a cleric character will have access to Resurrection which will make things even easier to recover characters and perma-death very hard (but even so very possible still at that point as the dangers go up), and before then if you make the way to that big city and bring even the dust after a Disintergrate spell you'll be able to get them back, but at a premium cost and no discount. However there is no character available that you know of able to cast True Resurrection, so if there's no remains, the character is lost. If the entire party is lost (a TPK; Total Party Kill, yes those actually happen) then it doesn't matter, no one's going to drag you back and your remains will be fed to animals and items distributed among your killers, and any replacements if you decide to reroll will likely arrive maybe months later, with the enemies having reinforced the areas your predecessors cleared. This is a merciless adventure, but as long as you are aware of that going in we're going to have fun, as it's a really good one as well, with a very good background story.

Speaking of clerics and the like, you should coordinate well so that all positions in the party is filled, we're talking front-liner or two (one for taking as much damage as possible, one for dealing it, or one that does both), ranged attacker (fighter or ranger with a bow or crossbow or a Warlock with Arcane Lance all do the trick), arcane caster or other kind of mass-death dealer (as a Wizard Fireball is just a level away, but an alchemist might have bombs to toss instead), healer (cleric channeling positive energy greatly preferred), and trap-disabler (primarily Rogue with a high Disable Device). Some will be able to cover several of those roles (a cleric can be a decent tank as well as long as they don't spend too many spells on buffing rather than healing, and a rogue can be both trap disabler and either archer or close quarters flanker) but you should make sure all of them are filled. I preferably want 4-6 PCs as that's what the adventure is designed for and is easiest to handle, I can take 7 but no more than that, we already have 4 interested so it looks like the game is a go potentially without a need for a recruitment. Going forward for prestige classes and multiclass planning, for caster characters above all make sure that your levels don't hamper your spellcasting, which likely means pure class until you get a "+1 caster level per level" PrC, for the others just watch the hit points and the attack bonus and I'm good. If you want to play an evil rogue going for Assassin that can be allowed, but there's a good chance the cleric will have spells that works best with an all good party, but then again an all-good party get whammied by Unholy Blight en masse as well.
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The Digger

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2014, 06:54:18 AM »

Quote
I normally tend to lean toward a caster, or charismatic rogue of some kind, but this may be just the opportunity I needed to break out of that.

Something grim and gritty, and rather good at killing things I think...

I normally go for the grim and gritty hence my thoughts about wizard this time.

If I go caster, you go meat shield/brute and Cyclone as rogue or ranger that could be 3 roles covered.  What about you Cyclone?  Tempted by something cleric-y?

Alternatively I could be persuaded (possibly) (with cash preferably) to consider a cleric character...
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Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 09:04:45 AM »

Correction on the wealth, I arrived at that level by adding up the expected treasure gains per level since I couldn't find wealth per level. Starting wealth is 5400 gp, and you can spend up to 2000 on a single item.
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Requiem

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 09:49:08 AM »

Yeah that settles it then, archery rogue it is with maybe some ranger in there.
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Sacremas

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Re: Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (D&D 3.5/Pathfinder)
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2014, 11:19:38 AM »

Revision to the idea of character backgrounds; upon further re-reading the specific Village of Hommlet parts of the module, turns out that it's way more detailed than I remember it to be, as in fully fleshed out with multiple sub-plots going on meant for PCs to discover over the course of the campaign. A native of Hommlet would be privy to a lot of this information and would more easier know when certain things are not as they should be. As simply because in that case I'd have to type up quite a lot for those specific characters to know and because we'd be skipping some sub-plots there, I'm going to have to revise and ask that none of you are from Hommlet, or if you are then you or your family left town years ago.

10 years before the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure there was a large battle known as Emridy Meadows in the area where the armies of two of the neighbouring countries of which Hommlet sits directly between clashed with a large army of evil monsters based out of the Temple, in the process destroying the upper level of the temple and sealing off it's deeper chambers with powerful magic, including rumors said sealing up the demon lord that was the cause of it inside it. It's quite possible for one of your family members like a father or uncle to have been part of that battle, without necessarily having been from Hommlet if you want some connections.

Approximately 20 years ago Hommlet was a hamlet of 200 people, but the dedicated defense of a finished keep ruled by two retired adventurers (Rufus, Fig8 and Burne, Wiz10 who could sell spells) as well as the militia support of a ranger named Elmo who was involved in the original adventure (he was a young boy then scouting out evil doings) and a few other people led to the prosperity of the town, and the fame of it having withstood the evil of the Temple twice led to many people settling down, until now Hommlet is a village of 980 people, and it seems to keep growing. If you are ex soldiers you may even be looking for a quiet place to settle down, and may have heard it said that nothing happens in Hommlet anymore.

One possibility for a character hook may be that some high priest has recieved a very vague vision of magic, fire and evil from the area and has tasked one of the lesser adventuring clerics associated with his church - that being the PC healer most likely - with gathering up some men and going there to look around. If investigations lead to the truth behind this vision and the group manages to defeat it, he's promised a reward of 10.000 gold to the group. If you decide to run with this hook, the priest has given you already an advance payment in order to cover expenses of 500 GP as party funds, use this to cover any expedition costs, food, etc. It's a very generous both promise of a reward and stripend that's raised some protest in the church, but the high priest in question is an elderly sort with some influence. THe priest will be of whatever faith the PC cleric/healer belongs to obviously. Try not to make him a chaotic evil cleric of the god of war please. ;)
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