The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 3: Session 3 part 1: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

“So, Super Troopers or Superbad?”

“Superbad, although we usually don’t go around trolling teens. There’s definitely a Farva at the office, though.”

Alright, guys, the moulds are in the fridge, we’ve got a few hours to wait. Let’s get started.

When we last left off, you guys had killed a pair of giant spiders (along with a mess of other stuff) and now you’re back at the woodcutter’s house.

“Behold, friend woodcutter, I bear good news: I have managed to kill the foul spiders!”
“They’re gone? That’s great news! I’ll have to get out there right away to get that wood ready for the carpenter. Thank you!” He’s still got some time if you wanted to ask him about the town or something, by the way.
Well, I was wondering what he even needed all the wood for.
“Well, first I’m going to cut up a bunch of it for the carpenter. I might try to replant some in the grove there, too. It’s good to keep the proper balance.”
Sounds suspiciously like hippie talk to me.
Basically, yeah. Everyone in Hommlet worships either St. Cuthbert or Beory, a nature goddess, through the local Druid order. Tarim is pretty solidly for Beory, for obvious reasons. So were there any other questions?
“Any more spiders you need clearing out? We did pretty well on that last job.”
“No, that deklo grove will keep me busy for a while. But thanks again for all your help!” Any other questions? Like maybe about the town or all the kids running around by the shack?
“So…er…how’s the family life, Tarim?”
“Oh, not too good. My poor wife, Ganna. She’s always making more clothes for the children. She spends hours over at the weavers. And my youngest, Amii, is always ill. I wish there was better healing here in Hommlet for her.”
Do people really do that? Tell all their problems to a stranger who just asks?
Some folks just like to talk. Plus it’s a small town, so he’s used to everyone knowing his business. Besides, did you guys want the quest XP or not?
Is there anything we can do for his poor little girl?
Tarim thinks, then shakes his head. “I think only a full Heal would cure her now. I am really afraid we might lose her. But I’ll be damned if I’ll go to that Cuthbert fellow up north. If Jaroo can’t heal her, then no one can as far as I’m concerned.”
“But that’s terrible! Your daughter’s life is at stake!”
Can Druids even cast Heal?
Hm? Well, they can, but I seem to recall that it’s a bit harder for them than for Clerics.
I suppose we should see if Jaroo can cast it, then, before we stir up any trouble. “Friend woodcutter, fear no more, for I am certain Jaroo can help, and I shall seek his attention on the matter.”
“Really? Thanks!”
We should get to that right away.
Eh, the kid’ll keep for an afternoon or however long. I’d say it’s time we unloaded all our bandit junk on the local merchants. So where’s a good place for that?

You could try asking one of the town guardsmen.
Hang on, why would a village this small have a dedicated defense force?
I bet the guardsmen know the answer to that, too.
Fine, I’ll bite. “Excuse me, Mr. Guardsman?”
“Yes sir? How can I help you?”
“Why does this small village have guards?”
“Oh, that’s simple. I’m one of Burne’s Badgers!”
Ah, so they’re the local sports team. That explains it.
What, really?
“No, of course not! The Badgers work for Burne, his most worshipful mage of Hommlet. I am embarrassed to say that we used to be brigands, but Burne has shown us a better way of life. We act as the town guard and expect people to behave responsibly while here.”
In other words, they’re the “keep the players from burning and looting the town right out of the gate” force.
“Can you tell us any more about Burne?”
“Burne is a wizard who came to Hommlet many years ago with his friend Rufus. They defeated many enemies in the surrounding countryside, including the bandit group that they later formed into the Badgers.”
“And where does Burne reside these days?”
“Burne and Rufus live in the tower on the east side of town.”
“Burne and Rufus” sounds like the name of a cartoon show.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the retired characters of Gygax himself or some of his friends.
If that was all he has to offer, I suppose we should get going.
Aren’t you guys forgetting something?
Oh, right, the weapons! “Och, laddie, whier’s a gud plaice ta seill off bandit weapons?” What?
Dude, that accent was so bad you woke me up.
“Hardboot dinnae give a fook abouoot yer nap, yerhar!”

And you complain about my stupid accents. “The, er, local blacksmith will buy and sell weapons and armor. His shop is at the corner of the main north-south and eastern roads, just across from the Inn of the Welcome Wench.”
Wait, the inn? Does it have a tavern?
Money first, then booze.
Right, right you are.

The blacksmith is finishing off a horseshoe as you approach. “What do you want?”
“Greetings, good merchant. I am Josephus.”
“Well met, Josephus. I am Brother Smyth, the village blacksmith.”
I suppose “Brother” Smyth answers my question on faction before I could ask it.
So the druids don’t use the term? Oh, hey, this is just like the solo campaign, isn’t it?
Sort of, but the two religions aren’t quite at each other’s throats, plus druidism is more Neutral than Chaotic.
Ask him what he carries.
“Oh, I can make all sorts of metalwork, including swords, helmets, and shields. And I buy and sell a wide variety of armor and weapons.”
Can he make masterwork items?
“Why yes, sir, I am able to make masterwork items.”
“Are they yet for sale or commission?”
“Hmmm…I’m not quite sure you’re cut out for that sort of equipment.”
Oh, you’d better be fucking with us.
“Well, to be honest, you look like the type who’d do just as well with the toy items. I’ve got a few customers in Verbobonc and elsewhere who can actually use that special gear, and I don’t particularly care to cheat honest folk out of their hard-earned coin for something they’ll never use, so…maybe it’s best if you just stick with my normal stock.”
Uh un. Fuck YOU.
“Fine, fine. Tell you what. Bring me the head of a giant to show me your worth as an adventurer, and I’ll gladly make my masterwork gear available to you. Is that fair?”
Depends. Where’s the nearest giant?
Emridy Meadows—
Sorry. I didn’t know if you were going to try and hide that one from us or not.
Well I wasn’t. The idea was to get you some quest experience for killing it, plus you probably won’t have the money for masterwork gear until after you do Emridy anyway.
Hey, speaking of money, can we unload this stuff on him or what?
Alright, alright…let’s see…carry the silver…looks like you guys got about 68 gold for all that.
That’s not a lot, is it?
No, but it’s enough to get lodging and get drunk. Let’s head to the inn next.

Just as you approach the front of the inn, a large man staggers in your direction. “Hello dere.”
Are you seriously doing a “handicapped” voice now?
“I’m not hendy—hankdap—stupid! I’m drunk! I mean, I’m Elmo!”
How nice.
“Good sir, is there something you needed from us?”
He breathes in deeply and tries to look grave, but he is wobbling back and forth unsteadily. “I’m lookin’ fer work. I need da money, y’see. I would like to buy some ale.”
“Aye, there be a troo reason tae adventure as I live and breathe!”
“I hesitate to ask, but…what kind of warrior are you?”
“I’m an arm-at-man! No, no, I man a man at arms! I can work fer you, but I need to get some chain mail and a BIIIIIIG axe! And I will work fer only half of da share of da money!”
Don’t followers normally take a half-share?
Yes, but you also need a feat to get that kind of follower. Most of the hirelings in this module will want a full share unless I say otherwise.
What about the equipment he asked for? Does he expect us to buy it for him?
“Yeah. You gimme 200 gold, and then I join you! And you only hafta pay me half money share from den on.”
We don’t even have 200 gold. “Sorry, Elmo, but we must decline your offer.”
“Okay den. Mebbe later.” Elmo staggers off into town.
How exciting. Can we enter the inn yet?

Just down from the inn’s front porch, you see a man who appears to be an inn guest. He is speaking with one of the local ladies, but appears to be going down in flames. Seeing you, he eagerly shifts his attention. “Greetings, sirs. What may I do for you?”
“Hello there, good man.”
“No, no, no. One should always perform a proper introduction. I am Furnok of Ferd, a treasure finder extraordinaire, at your service!”
“Och, ‘tis always fine tae meet a fellow man o’ tha Isles!”
“At least my Irish isn’t nearly as over-the-top as your Scottish.”
“That’s ‘cause yer doin’ it wrooong!”
“So, anyway, I am Josephus of, well, lots of places, I suppose, and this is the rest of the band. You’ve already met Hardboot, plus there’s Garrett, Alistor, and…Big.”
Say it. Say it all.
“Big McLargeHuge.”
“And what brings you to Hommlet, good sirs?”
“I am looking for adventure. And you?”
“I am looking for that perfect little group with which to explore all manner of dungeons, ruins, and ancient troves. Would you have room for one such as me, perhaps?”
“So you are offering to join?”
“Aye, I would like to accompany you on your adventures, both near and far, for an equal share of the loot, of course. I know more excitement awaits us all.”
“Thank you for applying, but I believe Suzie will be a sufficient skill monkey for our purposes.”
Was that in-character?
“Ah well, maybe another time then.” If you change your mind, you can ask any of these hirelings to join you later.
Time for talk is later! Time for beer is now!

The first person you meet in the inn is Glora Gundigoot, who welcomes you to the Welcome Wench.
Does that name mean that they have…“Welcome Wenches?”
No, no! It just refers to Glora, the wife of the owner, who doesn’t get any more…welcoming…than she is now.
So what do they got here? Food, beer, places for adventuring companies to spontaneously appear?
I think we should ask for a place to stay first. We may be in the area for quite some time.
Glora explains that her husband, Ostler, handles the accommodations. Glora runs the kitchen and the taps.
Well, then, she’s the lady to see!

The ale here costs a bit more than normal, but it’s apparently quite good, and brewed locally by a guy named Hubertus…“Gerstenbrenner.”
Heh. Hmm? Oh, it’s German for “Barley Burner.” I guess the local brew is more of a lager than an ale.
How do you know this stuff just off the top of your head?
What? It’s not like I spend all my time memorizing RPG rules. You don’t want to know how many hours I’ve spent on Wikipedia.
So if I wanted to go straight to the source, where would I find my good man Barley Burner?
The brewer lives just north across the river. But you know he doesn’t make private sales just out of the brewery, right?
Oh, you leave that detail to me. For now, I’ll put 5 copper down to sample the local flavor.
It’s…a pretty good lager, I guess.
Excellent. Quite excellent.

Moving on…

Just above the hand in this picture is the sign-in book, which acts as the party-swapper for ToEE. I can’t remember if it is singular or if there’s one in the other town, but either way it’s not something you can do on the fly. Since any characters drawn from the ether start at level 1 (plus I think I’ve got a pretty good party mix), I’m not really likely to do it at all. This is just a heads-up about the feature, really.

As you approach the front desk, the man behind the counter looks up with a smile. “Welcome to the Inn of the Welcome Wench, sir. I am Ostler Gundigoot. How may I help you?”
“And a very good day to you, friend Ostler. I am Josephus, and these are my traveling companions.”
“Be you seeking a room now?”
“Indeed; we were also wondering if you had arrangements for long-term lodging?”
“Not usually. However, I have a little problem that needs taking care of, and I need someone new in town to do it. Are you interested in getting the room for free?”
“What’s the problem?”
“I suspect that a certain gentleman named Furnok is cheating at games of chance here in the inn.”
Furnok? That the Irish guy outside?
“Indeed. He doesn’t cheat anyone here in town, so we haven’t been able to catch him. He only seems to win big when playing with our guests who are passing through.”
“And that’s where we come in, right?”
“Exactly. I need someone new, someone that he will think is an easy mark. Then you can catch him in the act. Come back and let me know, and you can have a free room here.”
“Sounds like a more than fair trade! Consider it done!”

No sense in wasting time. Who has points in Spot?
I do. I’ll do it.
“Ah, we meet again, Garrett!”
“Hi. I hear you like gambling. How about it?”
“I like to play a game now and again. I have some cards to play Ferdian Gambit, or some dice for knucklebones.”
“I don’t know what that first thing is, so let’s play dice.”
“Great, a quick game of knucklebones. The bet is 10 gold.” Suzie, roll a Spot check.
Crap, that’s not very good.
Don’t worry, you can keep trying.

*50 gold later*

Are you guys sure this is worth it? We don’t have much left now…
It’s an investment. If we stay at the inn here frequently enough, it’ll end up being a bargain.
Plus we could always beat him up later and take our money back.
…Maybe not out here where everyone can see us, but I suppose that’s an option.
Okay, rolling again…Oh! Is 17 enough?
It is! You notice one of the dice settling in the wrong direction. You can tell they’re loaded now.
“Furnok, you are a dirty, stinking cheater!”
“Oh, well, I…Please don’t turn me in! I just do this to earn some extra money to live on between adventures!”
“Oh, how sad. How about I go tell the innkeeper how sad this is? Guys?”
“As a fellow man o’ tha Isles I cannae let” naw I’m just fucking with you let’s go get a free room.

“Remember that Furnok guy you wanted me to catch cheating?”
“Yes? What about him?”
“Garrett caught him cheating.”
“That’s wonderful, thank you! I will make sure he doesn’t gamble with anyone here again!”
“So how about that free room?”
“Yes, you are free to use any room upstairs at any time.”

Hey guys, the Jello’s set!

When did William wander off? Oh well. Food break, people! So whose turn is it to order the pizza?