The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 15: Tonight There’s Gonna Be a Jail Break

’s Gonna Be a Jail Break

“So you guys remember the Monk I talked about earlier, right? Well, for a while, we were doing a sort of DM rotation. The one power gamer was still the main DM, but occasionally he couldn’t make, so one of the rest of us would sub in. Even I volunteered at one point.

“So at this point, the players had just won themselves a keep out in the middle of somewhere, probably the Sword Coast since that’s where everything happens, apparently. I decide that one of their new neighbors comes over before too long, and he’s got a problem. See, his captain of the guard decided to perform a coup d’etat, and he figures a bunch of adventurers would be perfect for getting back into power. Thing is, I also made him come off as unbearably arrogant, so the players would have to think about which side to support. Plus, just to make things interesting, the lord tells them he wants his men alive, since he knows they’re mercenary enough to not care who they work for and good help is hard to find.

“They follow the lord’s directions and sneak into the kitchen, after which comes my favorite moment of the session. After silently dealing with the cook, those who can roll Move Silently and move into the corridor outside, where they had previously peeped to see a guard stationed at either end. Thing is, they forgot to roll Hide, so I tell them, ‘They see you.’

“’What?! But I rolled a 28! You didn’t even roll!’

“’They SEE you.’”

“And this would be why every version of the game after 3.5 combined the two skills.”

“Yeah, but I thought it was hilarious at the time. They tried to argue that (naturally) their characters wouldn’t have made such a mistake and they should roll Hide anyway, but it was so funny I made them live with it. Plus they were just hiding from a bunch of mooks, anyway. I didn’t even stat out any of the guards, I just determined that they mostly succeeded at whatever they were doing and rolled some dice to make it look convincing. The real point of the infiltration was figuring out ways to get past the guards without killing them; the only real combat was with the guard captain and his lieutenants.

“Oh, and when they finally reached him, it turned out that the guard captain was also unbearably arrogant, so it was really more of a coin toss for which one they’d support. They could support their employer and get a fun fight out of it, they could get the same money for supporting the guard captain (and the lord would have been so screwed by this, he didn’t have any backup), or they could go ‘Fuck it,’ kill them both, and take over for themselves, if they thought of it. In the end, they went with the original plan, kicked some ass, and went home just a bit richer.

“One other thing. After the session ended, I let it slip that the guards were nonentities. The rules lawyer in the group seemed to get offended by this, and he said, ‘You can’t do that.’”

“My response? ‘I just did.’”

“Rule #0 of any RPG: ‘When in doubt, the DM is always right.’”

If Hal’s done, I’d like to get started. We were just about to start the first level of the Temple of Elemental Evil itself.

“Oh, that’s right, my notes say we found some Elemental robes in the cathedral. Which kind should we wear down?”

For the first floor? Earth robes. Definitely Earth.

Even if you’re going the Evil route and helping out the Elemental Temples, the Temple is absolutely bursting with combat. As the party moves across the southeast areas of the first floor, they face gnolls…



…and let’s not forget the gray oozes and gelatinous cubes!

There’s harpies to spare…

…more ghouls sprinkled through with ghasts…


…Well, if it doesn’t take too long, I suppose you could level up right now.

Well, everyone except Hal has reached sixth level, and that means feats. Personally, I’m taking Spell Penetration, which becomes more important as you level up, since the big enemies will be getting Spell Resistance. What’s everyone else taking?
Spell Focus (Enchantment). Gotta make sure my spell save DC’s are top notch.
Mobility, since it seems like I’m always running around the enemies to get in backstabbing position.
Power Attack.
Oh, good choice. How much attack bonus will you move to damage?
Um, 3? Maybe 4.
Very good. And don’t forget that Power Attack damage is doubled if you wield a two-handed weapon. You also get a second attack now that your base attack bonus is over 5.
I got a big middle finger! Would ya look at that?
Don’t worry, it shouldn’t take you much longer.

…How come they aren’t attacking us?

You’re wearing those Earth robes, so they think you’re with them.

But that didn’t stop the last group of gnolls we found.

Those gnolls were just ornery.

Much like the skeletons beyond the gnolls, in fact. The many, many skeletons.

Oh really? Hang on, guys, lemmie just get into position.

Ha ha ha, YES! Beat that, Mr. Sun Domain.

…But why was this door locked?
Because they’re using this room for spare prisoners. One of them looks over as you enter the room. “Blimey! It be time ye came down to rescue us. This be no place fer a seafaring gent like meself. Can’t speak fer these other landlubbers, though. Not that I be doubtin’ they be lookin’ ta get free, too. The name’s Morgan, it is.”
Hypocritical much, Bob?
Hey, at least this guy is an actual river pirate. So do you untie him or what?
Yes, we untie the prisoners. “How’d you get into this mess, anyway?”
“Argh, matey, mine be a tale o’ woe. I was workin’ on me land legs in Nulb when I spotted me a pretty lass named Dala. A fine booty she was! How was I to know she be the girl of the hostler? That scallywag Rentsch had me measured for chains. There be no explainin’ ta that one. I cannot go back into Nulb fer fear o’ Rentsch or his friends spottin’ me.”
“Actually, we killed them all the last time we were in town. You might as well go back.”
“Uh, that be good news, I guess. Still, I don’t think I be wantin’ ta take any chances.”
What about the other prisoners? I think we should free them, too.

Their story is a bit simpler: their caravan was attacked by ghouls in the night, and when they came to, they were here. Morgan is willing to join if you’ll have him, though.

I think we have enough silly accents, thanks.

And now, back to the ghoul stomping.

…Hang on, I want to try something new.
What’s that?

Glitterdust and now Grease? Were Bards always this gay?
Hey, it’s a pretty darn effective spell! It even works around Spell Resistance!

Unfortunately, Grease is just as effective on party members.
Oh, Paul, we are going to tease you for weeks about this.

…That was the last one. Now, you may remember Zelda was hit earlier in the combat, but she’s still just barely hanging in at -9 hit points. Did you guys want to heal her back up, or maybe dismiss her and get a new (and effective) Animal Companion for Meleny?

Meh, I’m bored with chickens now. Let’s get something new in here.

Later on, the party enters a room stuffed with goblins and a single ogre. They turn out to be ineffective against Glitterdust.

Then the ogre goes down to a Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. Josephus made this a bad day for the ogre in general.

Beyond the goblins, there was a giant viper which Meleny charmed. Unfortunately, giant vipers are too big to fit through most doorways and move at maybe one-third speed, so don’t expect to see it around much.

Is he challenging us? I think he’s challenging us.
Guess I’d better make him regret it.

17 damage. Is he dead yet?
Goddamn, guys. Alright, he surrenders. “I am a simple turnkey, certainly not worth your trouble. Now leave this place at once!”
But didn’t you say the room is full of torture devices? Plus he’s wearing a black hood!
“Yeah, fine, so I torture the prisoners, too, but only on orders! I don’t know who these people are, only that they go to feed the gnolls afterwards.”
I move to sneak attack the bugbear guard.
Oh, fine, I’m sure this guy won’t have turned out to know anything important. The turnkey prepares to drink a potion, so that provokes attacks of opportunity.
Looks like I hit, and with Sneak Attack damage, that’s 18 damage.
And that kills him outright. Oh well. I suppose you can talk with the prisoners, now. By the way, I believe that was enough XP for Hal to level.

Sweet! I know what I’m getting: Craft Wand! Fireballs all day and all night long!
I’ll go talk to the prisoners.

“I am here to set you free.”
They are quite glad to hear it, but they warn you that opening their cage will open the one holding the orcs, as well.
“Any enemy of the Temple is a friend of ours. I shall open it irregardless!”
The orcs also thank you for your intervention, and offer to fight for you for merely a single share of the loot.
“No thank you, six is already more than enough party members.”

The next area is full of cells with zombies, presumably the bodies of the former prisoners. All of the cells are full of zombies. All except one, that is…

A stripped and gagged gnome stares up at you in desperation.
Not another one.
That sounds like about the right response.
*Sigh* I untie him anyway.
“Oh, hey, a gnome-only gift item! I guess that mean’s you’re on my team. My handle is Wonnilon. Glad to finally get out of this cell.”
“So…what happened to you?”
“Well, back in my day, I was a pretty big griefer against the Temple faction here, way back in the Hateful Wars expansion. I’ve tried to move on to farming items for another build, but my god that was boring, so here I am again.”
“But you’ve been captured.”
“Yeah, bad business. I died somewhere nearby, and I’m stuck at this spawn point since I really want my gear back but I can’t beat the mobs guarding it. If you could grab it for me, that would be awesome.”
Why not keep it for ourselves?
Experience. Plus his equipment isn’t all that good.
A fair point.
He thanks you again for saving him, then marks a safe location on your map where you will be able to find him.

Not two minutes later…

What’s in the chest?

Wonnilon’s equipment. And before any of you get excited, no, I’m not telling you what it is, only that it’s nothing you couldn’t buy or craft for yourselves. Plus, like I said, plenty of experience to be had if you give it over.

Maybe next time. Looks like all that combat has made the time fly past.

Next time, then. And maybe you’ll meet the head of the Earth Temple by then, too.