The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 4: Session 3 Part 2: You Just Can’t Find Good Help Anymore

’t Find Good Help Anymore

So how about this one: Superbad or Reno 911?
Mm, Superbad again, although it gets more Reno the further out your patrol goes. We don’t get nearly that much disrespect, though, thank god.
So what is there left to do in the inn?

Aside from sleep off that Filth Fever Lewis and Suzie picked up in the Grove? There are a few more potential hirelings you could meet. One is just down in the main room, drinking tea in a corner.

I’ll go talk with him, then.
“Hello. I am Josephus.”
“So, you are an adventurer?”
“Well, quite naturally. Are you?”
“My name is Spugnoir—”
“I’m so sorry for you.”
“…and I work for a sage in Stalmaer. He has directed me to locate any and all wizard scrolls in the area.”
“Really? Had any luck?”
“No, but I just recently arrived with a merchant wagon. I plan to check a nearby ruined moathouse, which I understand once housed a powerful warlock. This was before the Battle of Emridy Meadows, after which the moathouse was sacked.”
“Moathouse?” Didn’t someone say that word earlier?
Yes, I did, actually. It’ll probably be your next stop after exploring Emridy Meadows. Spugnoir can mark it for you on your map.
“Well, I shall be quite grateful to you for doing so. I would assume you want to come along?”
“Yes, please! I would love to accompany you. I don’t want any share of money or items other than to ask for all the wizard scrolls we find.”
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! “See ya around, kid.”

By the way, I forgot to ask earlier, but are you still sticking with that stupid “only one follower at a time” rule?

No, no, I’ve learned my lesson. I was thinking we could cap it at three or so; any more than that and I’d start getting headaches from the logistics.

See, now three is much more reasonable.

They’ll also be taking an equal share of the experience, so I imagine you’ll want to keep the number low in general.

So where is everyone else?

At this time of day, the remaining inn guests are all relaxing by the fire in the upstairs common room. Who did you want to speak to first, the ordinary-looking fighter or the skinny monk? There’s also a large barbarian present, but he won’t speak to any of you.

I’ll talk to the monk first.
The man gives you a slight bow. “Greetings. I am Turuko.”
“Well met, I am Josephus, here with a small group of fellow adventurers.”
“Well met to you, as well. My friend Kobort and I” –Kobort is the barbarian, by the way– “are between adventures right now and relaxing at this fine inn.”
“What brings a pair like you to Hommlet?”
“I had heard of bandits who were in a nearby moathouse. I wanted to go after them, but Kobort and I probably can’t handle them ourselves.”
“That’s just more loot for the rest of us, then!”
“What if we offered to bring you along with us?”
“I will only join with you if the offer is extended to Kobort as well. We demand full shares, and we only join groups of four or less people. Too many people reduce the spoils of adventuring.”
What, seriously?
Yeah, they’re kind of evil, and pretty selfish about it, too. You probably won’t want them anyway, they tend to turn on their party when the going gets tough.
Assholes. But you mentioned a third adventurer?
Yes, a pretty standard fighter. “Hello there. The name’s Zert. I’m new in town.”
“Hello Zert, I am Josephus” —hey, you said there were no African-Americans in Greyhawk!
So I forgot one hireling in the entire game.
Relax, he’s obviously the token black guy, and you can only have one token black guy, else he’ll cease to be token.
Plus there still isn’t an Africa or an America in Greyhawk, so Bob is still technically right on that one.
*Sigh* “So what’s your story, Zert?”
“Well, myself, I was dropped off here a couple days ago, and I’m waiting for my caravan to come up from the south.”
“Are you a merchant, then?”
“Aw, no, I’m just one of the caravan guards. I’m supposed to meet up with them here, but they’re not due for days. It could even be weeks if the weather was bad down there.”
“So what will you do in the meantime?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I like the ale here at the Wench—”
Lager, not ale.
“Whatever. But I might go up to that yonder tower and ask the lords if they need an extra man-at-arms. They seem to have so many already.”
“What lords?”
Lord Burne and Lord Rufus, remember? You were talking with the town guard about them? The Badgers?
Oh right, the Badgers! “So Zert, do you know any other place around here to explore?”
Zert knows about the moathouse, too, but you already heard about it from the wizard downstairs.
“So would you be interested in coming along with us to explore it?”
“Sure, let’s go!”
Wait, I didn’t mean—

Since I accidentally got myself a follower, I might as well show off how this works. First, if you look in the lower-left corner, you may notice that the follower’s base stats are blanked out for some reason. I suppose you could look them up in a save editor or online somewhere, but it’s simple enough to check their abilities by looking at the derived numbers. For instance, skills outright tell you the Ability Modifier, so I know Zert’s Dexterity has to be either 14 or 15. Strength is the only hard one since they removed all the Strength-based skills, but you can still get it from the attack modifier. In Zert’s case, I know that +2 comes from his Fighter level and +1 from his Weapon Focus feat, so his Strength must be 16 or 17.

So here’s why I think ability scores are blanked: almost all the followers in this game are absolute rubbish. Zert here is one of the better ones, and his only good stats are the +3 Str and the +2 Dex. I mean, 12 HP as a level 2 Fighter? Really? For this reason and others, I will not be using NPC’s for the most part.

Instead, I think I’m just going to steal all of Zert’s money and cut him loose.

Oh, right, I should probably explain that, too.

So in vanilla ToEE, the looting strategy of NPC followers is…odd, to put it mildly. So they’ll take some of the liquid assets and keep them, which is fair, I guess, but they’ll also take random weapons and armor to make up the difference. Then later, not only will they not sell all the random crap, but they’ll refuse to let you even touch it, then eventually get bogged down by all the heavy stuff they absolutely won’t part with. The worst part is when they grab actually valuable magic items they never even use (they just taunt you with it in their inventory).

As such, one of the first mods for ToEE was called “Humble NPC’s,” which lets you meddle with anything and everything the NPC’s carry, including their starting wealth. It lets you do horribly gamey things like the screenshot above, but on the whole I’d say it’s still worth it.

…And you saw us passing notes. I figured I could do it while you and Zert were still talking.
I only hope Zert never figures out it was us who stole his purse. We’d better not expect him to help us ever again.
Between myself, Suzie, and William, I’d say we have more than enough frontliners as it is. Zert can wait here for his caravan for however long it takes for all we care.
So is there anything else to do at the inn?

Let’s see…Oh, that’s right. Let’s say you all come down to the tavern one evening. The place is fairly packed with all the townsfolk and the inn guests, and the place has really come alive.

One of the townsfolk tells you that there’s a drinking contest about to start. Did you want to join in?

Do I?!
Remember that you’re a wizard this time around. You really don’t have a Fortitude save worth speaking of.
Aha, but dwarves get a +4 against knockdowns!

That’s not…okay, kidding aside, the rules for this contest are actually based around hit points.

So who has the most hit points?
William? William!
You will drink for our amusement.
No, no, your character will, sit back down. Ostler hears that Big will join the contest, and asks the rest of the tavern who will join.

In addition to the townsman who asked you about the contest, Zert and Kobort the Barbarian join. Elmo sits this one out, probably because he had a head start earlier. Now, the way this works is that each round deals 1-3 nonlethal damage, so everyone who wants to join should grab a d6…

Let me just take a moment here to point out how nonlethal damage works. You see that blue bar beneath Big’s portrait? That goes up as more nonlethal damage is applied, while the red bar goes down from regular damage. If the blue bar should ever be longer than the red, the character will fall unconscious. Luckily, nonlethal damage is also restored by the hour instead of by the day.

…And with that, Zert falls. The only two left standing are Big and Kobort. The betting turns furious as the remaining combatants eye each other over the table full of empty mugs…

Whee. Did I win anything?
The respect of the whole tavern? Plus a modest XP bonus for everyone.
Doesn’t seem worth all the rolling.

Don’t worry, I had an idea about getting a reward from this.
Hold on, are you rolling the drunks? I love it!
If you think that’s amazing, you should have seen some of the things she did in the solo campaign. I sent a pair of assassins after her once, and her response was to track down their employer, knock out all his house guards, kill his pets, and then punch him in the face and take his wallet.
Only knock them out?

Bob gives me an experience reward for letting human victims live. Can anyone use silver banded mail?
I believe everyone else is stuck with light armor, but I’d certainly appreciate it.
Hot damn, we’re even throwing the Barbarian naked into the street. This is the best night ever.
How about his black cloak? I’ve got one already, but maybe William can use it, since he won the contest.
Yeah, alright.

I think that’s enough for tonight, guys. Good game.

Thanks, Bob, I had a lot of fun tonight.
Maybe a little too much. Listen, Bob, I’ve got a couple suggestions for the next session…

Alright, I’ve got one: Law and Order or The Shield?
Ha! Well, that Farva guy I mentioned earlier thinks he’s in The Shield, but really…