The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 13: More than One Way to Skin a Magic Item

Hey, guys. Looks like everyone’s—

“Shush. It’s Hal’s ‘story time’ again.”

“You remember me talking about that rules lawyer before, right? Well, I got a couple more stories about that particular group. The first one’s more about my character than an incident, though.

“The group was run by a powergamer, like Lewis, and in the interests of fairness, he pre-built some broken character builds for us players. He’d be using some of his own as our opponents, and he wanted to be sure we’d get through alright. I forget what everybody else got, but I remember a half-dragon was in the mix. My own character was a grap-happy Human Monk; basically, the guy was designed to pin down the enemy and then clobber him to death.

“One other thing is that the Monk was a Lawful Neutral worshipper of Ilmater, the Forgotten Realms god of suffering. Now in case you’re familiar with the setting, let me just say I wasn’t, and “god of suffering” was the only description I was given, so I came to the logical conclusion that Ilmater was pretty much even parts masochist and sadist, and I based my character’s personality around this theme. Specifically, when he won a battle against evildoers, he would ritualistically break every bone in the enemy’s bodies as retribution for the suffering they caused before their demise. This kind of creeped out the other players, but it was all good. Dude was intense, is what I’m saying.

“I only really remember a couple of incidents from the campaign. There was one time we fought in an arena against a spiked chain fighter—he tripped us so often, eventually I stopped trying to stand back up and just attacked his ankles. Another time the DM ran a module where we fought some dude making crazy mecha-zombies. When we found the machine doing the mods, my Monk kicked it and got grabbed, but luckily the other party members demolished it after a round or two, so all that happened was I got a sweet pair of mechanical wings for my troubles.

“Ask me some other time about when they let me DM for a session. So, Bob, does William get to beat a dude senseless today?”

It’s certainly a possibility. When you enter the tavern at night, you can see that Tolub and most of his crew have assembled to drink and carouse. Tolub is shouting threats and insults at the rest of the bar, trying to get someone to brawl with him.
That’s your cue, William.
Um, sure. “Yeah, I’ll fight you, whatever.”
“There ye go, man! We fight hand to hand, no weapons, no bloomin’ magic. Neither side gets help from his friends. First one to knock out his fellow wins.”
Hang on, I didn’t cast the usual buffs yet.
I just said “no help from his friends,” Hal.
Well, not during the fight, of course. But as for buffing spells, I suppose Tolub is a fairly high level character? With equipment to match? I don’t suppose he’s going to take of his belt or his amulet for this fight?
Well, I…I suppose he wouldn’t.
You see? Just because his are permanent and ours temporary doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to level the field. Plus William is Small; the pirate captain is surely aware of the kind of disadvantage that implies!

This still doesn’t seem quite right.
This is purely in the interest of fairness. William? Show the man a fair fight.

You guys realize William is doing twice as much damage per hit as Tolub.
And yet Tolub gets to attack twice each round. Sounds fair to me.

So what did we get?
“A hundred gold doubloons, fair and square! …Mostly fair.” I’m also giving you some experience.

Hey-oh, that’s enough for me! Ah, third level spells. I think I’ll get Haste this time; that spell is hilariously broken.
Don’t forget your Wizard bonus feat.
Hey, that’s right. In that case, it looks like I can take Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Magic weapons for everybody!

Don’t go too crazy. You won’t be able to make +2 equivalent weapons until level 6.

So are there any places in Nulb we haven’t been yet, or should we go handle the giant fish now?

Well…there is a brothel in town.
Ha ha! Ale and whores, can’t have one without the other!
No. Not again.
Aw, c’mon, they’re right there—
There are some subquests attached to—
At the very least, you’d get some experience—
If your character were there, would he really mind—

I said no!

O…kay. Let’s just rewind a bit and pretend you didn’t go in…

So…on to Imeryds Run!

So how are we going to fight a giant fish, anyway?

First, the area is a swamp. Second, it’s not alone…

You are under attack from two giant frogs, five lizardmen, and a seahag.
That’s…quite a bit more than just a gar.
I move to attack the giant frog. I think you’re next, Hal.

Everyone may now move twice and attack one additional time per round, except for Bob’s NPC. Haste is so much fun.

…Both lizardmen succeed their save against the Sound Burst, so now another lizardman closes the distance. Next…

Oh, yes, did I mention the second giant frog is really more of a Behemoth Kingfrog? Because it’s Huge. Luckily, it decides to attack that black bear Meleny summoned near it. William?

Rage, and I guess I’ll start laying into that seahag. 17 damage, and…17 damage.

The small frog goes next and it’ll grapple…Meleny. You guys better hurry up, else she’ll be Swollowed Whole.
That shouldn’t be too hard, it’s down to 2 hit points.

Some sacrifices must be made for the greater good.
You could’ve moved a little farther to the left and clipped the hag instead.
Eh, she’ll live.

…The Behemoth Kingfrog decides to attack the most heavily wounded enemy, which is Meleny. She goes down to -9 and will probably die on her next turn.
Works out well for the rest of us.

…After the beating William took from the seahag, the Behemoth will probably go for him next, so Lewis and Suzie, you get Attacks of Opportunity.
19 damage.
That’ll do it in. William, you’re up next.

That kills the seahag outright. Now you just have to mop up the last lizardmen.

…So are you guys going to rez Meleny or leave her?
I’ve still got that scroll of Raise Dead from the church. Might as well put it to use.

In that case, I should explain that I’m doing things a bit differently then by the book this time. I’ll still drop your character’s XP down to midway through the last level, but you’ll stay at the level you died at, mostly because I don’t want to bother with the hassle of remembering how many hit points and skill levels to drop. The benefit of keeping your level is mitigated by not getting the extra XP for a lower level. Sound fair?
Fair enough. Any special loot?

So basically the giant frog ate a high-level elf at some point?

Basically. You find a magic sword, a magic bow, +1 arrows (I’m not having you identify each and every shaft), magic elven chain, a magic ring, and magic gloves.

Shit, yes. That was goddamn worth it.
What about the giant gar?

Hmm? Oh, that’s just a bit to the north. Not much of a fight, comparatively.

…And it’s down in just two rounds. Someone should grab its body.
I’ll do it!

Grud seems pleased to see the monstrous fish, and promises to spread the word and get you that discount.
So glad we got that fishing sidequest wrapped up. The suspense of it was killing me. So, not counting certain off-limits quests, is there anything else left to do in town?
Actually, I had an idea after we left last week. Do you guys remember those Temple recruiters in the hostel?

“It turns out he’s secretly reporting to the council in Hommlet!”
Heh, seriously? I thought those guys were in earshot of each other.
Not if they lower their voices. Wat promises to look into the matter. Now what?
I talk to Rentsch next. “Rentsch, I have bad news about Wat.”
“What about him?”
“He’s a secret agent from…” what’s a good idea for a nation around here?
The nation of Furyondy is just to the north.
“He’s from Furyondy.”
Rentsch seems to believe you. “I knew it! I was told there might be an agent here in town. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention, Josephus. You will be rewarded.” Anything else?
Well, next I warn Wat that Rentsch knows about him.
Wat also believes you. He says he’ll “handle it.”
Now I’ll warn Rentsch that Wat is planning something.
“You leave him to me. I’ll take care of this.” So, in the meantime, I’d like everyone to roll Spot checks…Suzie, you notice that one of the tavern girls has been stealing from you.

Then I’ll steal right back! How much did she take?

Well, you find a number of tribal necklaces in her pocket.

That doesn’t sound like a lot. I’ll try again.

You’ve been caught. All the tavern staff, including Wat and Rentch, raise their weapons and attack. Suzie, you get to go first.
All the double-crossing bullshit was getting old, anyway. Might as well just kill them all.

…And you murder the poor, thieving serving girl.
That’s what she gets.

One rather one-sided combat later…

After identifying everything, the magic equipment you got was 2 +1 steel shields, a +1 chaimail, a +1 battleaxe, a +1 dagger, a Dagger of Venom, and Boots of Elvenkind.

Sounds like a good time to build some more magic stuff. I could definitely use some Bracers of Armor, myself.

So it seems I’ve just about cleared Nulb out in the process of getting my magic gear up to snuff. For those of you who may be interested, allow me to present the current equipment for the party.

Big McLargeHuge: Gauntlets of Ogre Strength +2, Mithral Chainmail +2, Holy Longsword +1, Ring of Freedom of Movement

Alistor Keystone: Gauntlets of Ogre Strength +2, Chainmail +2, Greatsword +1, Periapt of Wisdom +2

Josephus: Cloak of Charisma +2, Rapier +1, Shortsword +1, Mithral Chainmail +1

Garrett: Gloves of Dexterity +2, Cloak of Elvenkind (+5 Hide), Boots of Elvenkind (+5 Move Silently), Club of Striking +2, Dagger of Venom +1

Hammerdown Hardboot: Light Crossbow +1, Headband of Intellect +2, Bracers of Armor +2, Ring of Protection +1

Meleny: Scimitar +1, Bark Armor +1, Wooden Shield +1, Fungus Figurine

Looks like we’re finally ready for the Temple itself.
Maybe. The Temple will be a step up in difficulty even from Behemoth Kingfrogs.