The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 9: What Good’s a House in a Moat?

’s a House in a Moat?

Alright, guys, I don’t want to waste yet another session on the stupid alignment debate, so I decided to write this down:

“Good” means you will inconvenience yourself to help others, where helping is the chief motive,
“Evil” means you will inconvenience yourself to harm others, where harming is the chief motive,
And “Neutral” means any act which is neither of the above.

“Lawful” means you follow the law of the land unless it conflicts with a strict code of personal ethics,
“Chaotic” means you disregard the law of the land when it suits you and you maintain a loose code of personal ethics,
And “Neutral” means you fall somewhere in between.

You don’t have to like the definitions, but so long as we’re playing Temple of Elemental Evil, this is what we’re using. Okay?

“Okay, fine.”

“I seem to recall we spent more time fucking around in town than arguing about alignments, but sure, whatever.”

“So what all did we end up doing last week, anyway?”

“Let me check my notes.”

Well, the first thing we did was get everything identified. A couple of the more important pieces were the Green Elven Chain we gave to Big, and the Cloak of Elvenkind that Garrett’s using.
So did we decide if it’s a +10 or a +5 to Hide?

I was thinking of 3rd edition instead of 3.5. It’s just +5.

By the way, you realize that “Green Elven Chain” is simply +1 mithral chainmail?

I like the special name better. So after we did that, we presented the bloody head of the giant to Brother Smyth, who was suitably impressed by our combat prowess.
“Suitably impressed?” I remember it more as a
No shit holy shit
kind of conversation.

Next, we returned the holy symbol to High Priest Terjon. He was happy to see it again, and offered a further discount on his services for the future.

We also considered a few different magic items, but since it would have wiped out our collective funds to get even one, we decided against it for now.
You guys are no fun. I’d be totally rad with a Headband of Intellect.

Seeing that he wouldn’t be needed, Hal spent the rest of the session trying to shake down the brewer.
I was the one running around to the quest-givers, and Lewis was arguing with Bob about alignments. What did you do, William?
I brought a USB stick for the Xbox.
Also arguing about the alignment system.

Fine, with that settled, I suppose you’ll head to the Moathouse next.

The heck is a “moathouse,” anyway?

Forget I asked. So, William, how goes the hunt now that you’ve switched teams?
Eh, not too well. I thought it’d be easier since, you know, we’re all off in our own little corner. But it’s like everyone’s either crazy or taken.
So basically it’s just like the rest of us?
Yeah, basically.

Goddamn, he still isn’t done. Anyway, if you want to know where the good gay bars are, you just ask me, ‘kay?
Why do you know where the gay bars are?
Man, with all the drunk and disorderlies I’ve responded to, I know where all the good bars are.

William? Hal? I need your initiative rolls.

What, already?

Yes. You are being attacked by giant frogs.
Well, hot damn.
Suzie, you’re up first.

I move around to flank and deal 10 with the Sneak Attack.
Don’t forget to roll Tumble to avoid Attacks of Opportunity…okay, that’s good enough.
Should I go into Rage yet?
Might as well. We’ll need to kill the frogs fast if we don’t want them to Swallow us Whole.

Okay, I’m super pissed off now.

…And that’s enough to kill it. Of course, it’s not the only giant frog in the swamp. Everyone should roll initiative again.
Am I still Raging?
Yes, it’s only been seconds.

…Wow, that’s actually enough to bring it past -10, so it is completely dead now.
Good, so—
Of course, there’s still another frog in the area.

How do you keep rolling higher each time?
It’s a gift.
But you’re not out of the woods yet.

Ha ha, critical hit!
I imagine it must be nice to know you can actually hit things now.
Am I still Raging?

Well, kind of…
Oh, like you could ever compete with a Barbarian for damage output.
I’m just amazed our best damage dealer cares the least.

Everybody roll Spot…Okay, Suzie and William, your characters notice the telltale indentations of a secret door on the rock side.

Hang on, I’m not sure we finished exploring out here yet. How does the regular entrance look?

Less inviting.

Oh, right, plus there’s one more giant frog in the swamp.

…And now there’s one less.
At least I did more damage this time.
If that’s all to see out here, we might as well pop our heads in the backdoor.

What? What?

Urgh. What you see is a large group of bandits, including a large man you take to be their leader. While they seem surprised by your entrance through the side door, they are still within arm’s reach of their weapons and quickly scramble to attack. Roll initiative…looks like Suzie is going first.

I’ll move to attack the leader right away. With sneak attack, that’s 13 damage.
Don’t forget to roll Tumble; a few of the bandits have Rogue levels. That looks good, carry on.

“Och, 10 damage, ‘tis but a scratch!”
You realize you’re a Wizard this time, right? I think that was more than half your hit points.
“Och, ya be ruinin’ me self-image!”
Sure. My turn? Let me give Inflict Moderate Wounds a shot. Casting defensively, of course…roll Concentration, plus 12…that will do. Now the touch attack…

17, pretty good. Really, Moderate is kind of like my greatsword, but with slightly better damage potential and an easier AC to hit.
Why are you even telling us all this?
I just like to brag sometimes.

15 damage with a longsword, and that’s a little below average.
Oh, just wait. It’ll get better.

…Looks like we’re finally around to you, Hal.
If Suzie is the one facing down the bandit leader, how about I cast Bull’s Strength on her? Casting defensively, of course.
You realize that’s a touch spell, right? You’ll have to run past several bandits to get to her.

…Oh. Guess I’ll just lie down over here, instead.
Suzie? You’re up.
I’ll attack the bandit leader again…crap.
Right, so the bandit leader goes into Barbarian Rage, then proceeds to—
Hmm? Oh. Um, err…

…Instead of attacking Garrett, the bandit leader chooses to attack the wolf Meleny happened to conjure up earlier, provoking an Attack of Opportunity.

Shut up.
Hey, I didn’t say anything…

…Only 7 damage, but that’ll be enough to take the leader down. Next are some bandits…now you, Suzie. Ooh, nice shot. Now another bandit gets his shot…

Hang on, if he was at 0 hit points, why did he attack? Now he’s dying from the exertion.
Tell me, if one of you guys had 0 hit points and knew you’d get stabilized and/or healed if your side won, would you try and get one last shot in or just stand there?
Depends on whether I’m running with PK’ers or not.
Player Killers. Not every roleplaying group out there is as friendly as we are.

There, Hal, see? I’m a fair DM.
Oh, don’t worry, I still remember the tetanus fiasco from last time. Still, you made it kind of obvious.
(Crap, Meleny’s too far away to get her a Cure Light Wounds.)

…And on that note, the last brigand dies.

Time for the—

Oh, and you also Spot another secret passage leading down.

Time for the looting! Also maybe some exploring afterwards.
We should probably clear out this level before proceeding.

Fair enough. In the next room, you see a few Dire Rats. They seem non-hostile at this point.

The party then encounters a giant viper…

But it turns out to be no big deal.

Next they find some stirges (think giant mosquitoes crossed with the ugliest bat you’ve ever seen)…

In spite of so many appearing, none even connect, which is good, since they deal Constitution damage.

Also, there was a Giant Tick.

It’s times like this that make me wish there was a Giant Exterminator prestige class.
So is there an actual point to killing a bunch of oversized household pests?

You mean aside from the experience? Well, if that’s not enough, there is a lovely-looking crossbow in the next room, but it’s unfortunately guarded by a Giant Lizard.

Not for long.
I loot the body.
Why do you always say that? They’re just animals, there’s never anything—

Well, I’ll be damned.
You can’t even use shields. Hell, I think the Druid’s the only one of us who would use a shield, and she’s restricted to non-metal armor only. At least it’ll sell for a nice sum.
What’s in the chest? Oh! Search, Disable Device, and Open Lock first.

Relax, the chest is unlocked and trap-free. Inside, you find some copper pieces, scale armor, bolts, silver bolts, and a second masterwork light crossbow.

Hal, you should take one; maybe now you might hit something with it. Who else uses light crossbows?
I’ve got one. I don’t think anyone else does, though.
Then that settles that. What next?

Why don’t we go outside and ambush the ambush?
I like the way you think.

I also like the way you backstab. Damn!

One rather one-sided cleanup later…

Why is there a trap on a set of thieves’ tools?

Maybe they were in the middle of setting a trap when you burst in on them. Roll Disable Device. You did want the toolset, didn’t you? It’s not like a village like Hommlet will have them for sale.

I know, I forgot to buy them at character creation again, but I just don’t understand why there’d be a trap on them.
So what else is there in the courtyard?

There’s a guard tower by the front gate that looks mostly intact.

Inside, there’s a spider that gets the drop on you. Everyone roll Reflex.

“Ha ha! The coup de grace is mine!”
That’s not what that phrase means. Hell, that’s not how you even pronounce it.
Well, what would you shout, then?
If you’re going for fencing terms, you’d be better off with something like, “Ha ha! The point is mine!” Or maybe, “Thrust! Parry! Riposte! You are beaten!” You really ought to look this stuff up if you’re going to try and use it in-character.

Hey, guys, if you’re done with shop talk, I should probably mention that Meleny’s gained another level just now.

You’re getting her Natural Spell, right?

Yeah, but I figure now’s a good time to end the session anyhow. Let me just tell you what’s in the chest and we’ll wrap up.

Well, maybe once we know what’s on those scrolls. Paul, if you’d care to mark off your 0th level castings?
Done. That’s 3 uses of Read Magic.

Ray of Enfeeblement, Charm Animal, and Protection from Evil.

Oh, my delicious spells, I must gobble you all up.
Charm Animal is a Druid spell, but anyway, ew.
It’s like donuts for the soul! Or spellbook, at least.