Part 19: Collect All Four!So I should mention that my D&D campaign wasnt the only one we played when we started back in high school. Mine was the one we played most often and for the longest period, mostly because I was the best at being prepared during any given weekend, but the other players had their pet games, and wed switch up every now and again.
One of the players ran a Vampire: The Masquerade campaign. Mind you, this wasnt exactly what youd call an average Vampire campaign; for one thing, none of us were particularly interested in brooding or anything like that. For instance, my character was a Gangrel truck driver with high Humanity (and if you didnt understand most of that, dont worry, it wont come up). One of the others was a Ventrue with an unhealthy fixation on Diablerie (basically, munching on vampire souls). But then he was always the sort of player whose limitations were defined as, as evil as the GM will allow.
I dont remember too much about the campaign, but I distinctly remember the one shining moment for my character which happened fairly early on. See, when I built the character, I put maybe one or two points into the Allies background, the allies in question being other truck drivers. In the course of the first or second session, we were tromping through the sewers looking for wererats, and in the process I used the Animalism discipline to befriend the regular rats in the tunnels. I rolled so well, in fact, that the Storyteller gave me another point of Allies to represent the rats.
What happened next is that the Prince of the city ordered our party to clear out a den of werewolves. I know that sounds suicidal to those of you whove used the Old World of Darkness system, but keep in mind that a) we had no sense of game balance back then and b) the Storyteller was still thinking in terms of D&D, so he was looking through the books for monsters for us to battle.
So heres where I came in: even with my poor grasp of WoD stat blocks, I knew that fighting a bunch of werewolves head on would be suicide, so I called in a few favors and convinced some of my trucker allies to bring some empty semis to a convenient sewer entrance (and to not ask too many questions about the cargo). I then talked the rats of the city into swarming into these semi trailers, then got them transported to this den of werewolves and set them loose. The Storyteller allowed all this, and deemed that being attacked by enough rats to fill a house from top to bottom would be enough to do anybody in, even a bunch of werewolves.
Mind you, that wasnt the first or last time we pulled off something that crazy. We would later go on to kill an Abomination with a few shotgun blasts, Diablerize an elder Vampire, and murder I dont even remember what with a suitcase bomb. Like I said, it wasnt your typical Vampire game.
Temple of Elemental Evil is quite a bit more vanilla, though. So as I recall, you folks were headed to town to resupply and raise the NPC.
Thats right. Most of the paperwork is finished, now, but we should probably get another Animal Companion for the Druid.
We should get another panda, the last one was pretty useful. I like the name Bamboozled for her. Anyone else? Good. Now we can get back down to the Temple.
*Some tedious exploration later*
You have entered a room with a wide, open space in the middle. The room is fairly packed with bugbears and gnolls bearing Air Temple designs, but since this is the only room youve seen such markings, you gather that the Air Temple isnt doing well. The sole human in the room (wearing the sole set of priestly robes) looks over at you as you enter, and with a despondent look, he says, Oh! Wonderful. I suppose you are here to kill mewell, thats just great. I am Kelno, the last remaining cleric of the Air Temple.
Well, thatll make cleanup faster.
Dont feel too bad, Kelno. Weve already seen to your friend upstairs.
Ha, yes, you killed Romag! Oh, I certainly didnt mind hearing that news.
We also met another friend in the Fire Temple.
Alrrem is dead? I should have suspected as much. Well, at least I get the pleasure of knowing theyre dead. So what of us? I dont suppose I could convince you to work with me?
Sorry, man, we got us a four-point shit list
Five-point shit list. Dont forget the Greater Temple.
right, and your name is the next one down.
Well, roll initiative.
I did mention this room is stacked pretty heavily with guards, right? Basically, every single Air Temple guard left is holed up in this room to protect against attacks, much like the one you guys are commencing.
All I heard is Time for Fireballs!
And the panda is dead.
That didnt take very long at all.
Mind you, about half of those DEAD! markers refer to already Dying enemies, but still. Whee!
Ha, ha! Whee!
*One thorough drubbing later*
I think yep, that was the last one. Congratulations, guys, youve cleaned out the Air Temple.
That wasnt very hard.
Like Bob said, the Air Temple was rather severely on the wane when we arrived. In contrast, the Water Temple has well, Ill tell you when we get there.
Wait, I thought Earth Temple was the ascendant one.
It was, but they spread their forces across the entire first floor, making it easier for us on an encounter basis. The Water Temple is as concentrated as Air was, but with much better forces. But well need to get there first, so lets get the healing done and get going.
The fuck is a Drelb?
Its like a wraith, but its not Undead, just an Outsider from the Plane of Shadow. Luckily, everyone has magic weapons at this point, so this shouldnt take too long.
Oooooh! Is that a Holy weapon with reach it was guarding?
Eh, its not like anyone could use it. Im too short, Lewis isnt proficient, Suzie and Paul use two weapons, and the Druid has her stupid weapon restrictions.
And they say you dont pay attention.
We spend so much time in combat, how the hell would I not pick this stuff up?
Well, it was a statue, so Im basically ruling it as him having the Stoneskin spell on.
I suppose that makes sense. Still, dont waste your spells; I doubt this will take too long.
So what was worth having a minotaur statue come to life to kill any comers?
Nope. Just one single potion.
Well, thats pretty bogus. It had better be a damn fine potion.
Hoo, boy. Here we go. If they arent attacking us right away, I think we ought to get into the right position, first. As in, the farthest corner of the room from the entrance.
Right, so has everyone cast all the buffs they intend to?
Dude, Lewis, what the hells the big deal?
Hang on, guys! You know the High Priest of the Water Temple is standing right next to you, right? Hes not just going to let you start the fight without trying to talk to you first. As it stands, he actually looks pleased to see you. Wonderful, you have finally arrived. I have many sources of information, and I have been expecting you. I am Belsornig, chief cleric of the Water Temple.
Thats nice. You know, youre not the first priest we visited.
Yes, Romag. Congratulations. I understand you have already killed him. Heh, a pity.
Not just him, though.
Oh, I know. Scared little Kelno what was his expression when you slid the blade into his chest? Its so wonderful to ponder.
But there was still one more.
You mean Alrrem. All three are dead, how wonderful!
Are you not seeing the pattern here?
You intend to kill me next? I was willing to grant you a favor for all the favors you have done for me, but perhaps a more forceful approach is called for.
Agreed. Force it is!
Meleny goes first, so lets try Call Lightning.
I thought that only worked outdoors.
Well, now it works anywhere. Its not all that powerful, anyway.
Holy Smite on the north end of the room.
So are you ever going to tell us what got you so worked up?
Yes, alright. Do you remember the giant statue at the entrance to the room?
The priest casts Hold Person. Make your Will save, William.
Damn, I forgot to Rage, too. He got me.
That giant statue is actually a Juggernaut. You may remember it from the Monster Manual II in 3.5, but its legacy stretches back to the original version of this module, as well as the Tomb of Horrors. On its own, it wouldnt be too threatening to a party of our level, but in a room this full of enemies, it can pick us off and crush us one by one as we deal with the lesser threats. Were just lucky its heading for the Barbarian first.
Id say its time for a Flame Strike.
You didnt forget about the Special Quality of this room, did you, Bob?
Oh, right, no Fire spells will work, as the water immediately quenches it. Whoops.
No Fireballs? Aw, man!
That one was successful, William, you may now move.
Gonna crush the High Priest since hes in the way, then its time to stop the Juggernaut. Bitch.
Confusion at the north corner!
Nice shot. Hm, looks like you got four enemies with that, including the only living priest. You guys are doing pretty well.
Im kinda getting mauled here.
Critical Wounds? Hmm. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures. I think 110 restored HP should be more than enough, yes?
Looks like I broke the Juggernaut.
Excellent! Now we just need to mop up the remaining forces.
That was enough to hit level 8, finally!
So much shiny loot!
So weve crushed the four elements. What more is next?
On this level? Not much. Still, we should clean it up for the XP, if nothing else.
Whats on the ragged parchment, before we forget?
Is this supposed to mean something?
*Shrug* Up to you to figure it out.
Cleanup was comparatively simple, especially considering how many times I had to reload thanks to that Water Temple battle. That Juggernaut really is nasty, and thanks to its Construct Immunities and that Spell Resistance, there isnt much my party could have done to stop it short of wearing it down the hard way. Highlights of the remaining third floor activities include:
Facing The Littlest Troll,
Using the Wand of Fireballs four times in a single combat because goddamn thats a lot of bugbears,
And hitting 9th level with half the party. Feats gained were Cleave (Big McLargeHuge), Greater Spell Penetration (Alistor Keystone), and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (Josephus).
Oh, right. And Hardboot got himself a pretty awesome new robe. Sure, its evil, but it is fabulous.