The Let's Play Archive

Temple of Elemental Evil

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 25: Session 22 Part 2: Equal Parts Hilarity and Bullshit

Screw waiting.

Ate the pizza?
Ate the pizza.
Still got the beer?
Still got beer.
Let's finish this thing.

I think I screwed up the order, but with earth down, water has to be next.

The Water Elemental Node is kind of unique in that, for the most part, it contains a bunch of normal critters who are water-themed. For instance, these vodyanoi? Absolutely nothing different between them and umber hulks except the color scheme, and also that vodyanoi can breathe underwater.

That said, the camp full of mid-level Rogue bandits was a bit of a puzzler. Where did they even get the wood and the hides?

Now I feel kind of sorry we killed all his men.
They attacked us first, it’s their fault for escalating.
“Since you don’t feel like dying, may I ask what your story is?”
“I was once called Grank, a brash yet mighty cleric in the force of Derrick the Brave. It matters no more, though. Everyone is dead!”
“I’m so sorry.”
Actually, you rescued two of their party earlier, remember? Floor 3, Whitman and Mandy?
I remember we rescued more than one group down there, but I don’t see their names in my notes.
Honestly, I wasn’t paying any attention past the first couple.
Alright, maybe I fucked up, but it doesn’t really matter. You tell Grank that you save some of his companions, so he says, “Whitman and Mandy. Who would have thought? They must have pleased Hextor in some way. It is good that someone from our band has survived.”
Whoa, whoa, Hextor? God of tyranny? Did we screw up?
Just say, “No one deserves to be locked up by an evil cult, not even another evil cult.” So are we taking him or not?
Actually, Grank refuses to go. He believes he has failed his men, so he will remain here with them. “I shall pass like the night from Node to Node, and should keep my power of speech, search out for anyone to hear me, and to him my tale I teach.”
Good luck with that. I don’t imagine the Temple will be tossing any more trash into the Nodes now that they’re all dead.

These guys threw me for a loop the first time I spotted them. Beholders and their kin (in this case, ice tyrants) are one of the consistently most dangerous critters in all D&D, mostly thanks to their constant supply of goddamn murderous ranged touch attacks. Luckily, it turns out Confusion have a better range than they do.

Add in some Sound Burst spam courtesy of the Bard, and you’ve got a party.

Oh, and then I killed a giant stack of merrows (water-themed ogres) with a single Cloudkill.

“Haters gotta hate, Wizards gotta whiz.”
“You realize how juvenile that sounds, right?”
“Demons see me castin’. They hatin’.”
The hezrou is a step back from the glabrezu, at least in terms of assigned CR. Their hit point average is around 140, they only have three attacks that hit for less than the glab, and their SR is 19. However, their Stench ability should not be underestimated, since nauseated characters are unable to take significant actions, such as attacking or casting spells.

Stench is especially bad in ToEE, since they decided to merely “simulate” nausea by lowering a character’s critical stats, such as Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma. Luckily, the game can’t seem to distinguish between partial actions and move actions, so those affected could at least attempt to fight the hezrous. Oh, did I mention that? All demons have a chance, depending on their rank, to summon in another demon or demons. This one happened to bring in another hezrou.

While the first one was dealt with the hard way, the second one fell to the Bard’s Charm Monster spell.

I didn’t want to wait an hour for him to desummon, so I surrounded him with the frontliners and beat him down.

In the process, Alistor and Josephus hit level 12 while Hardboot reached 11. This would be their last level gained.

Only one more to go, but this last one’s going to be a doozy. William, I know I built my character around using Scather, but I want you to use it for this fight. It shouldn’t be a problem once Hal embiggens you. I still have the Frost Brand as backup.
Awesome, thanks.

There is an unfortunate bug in ToEE that remains even after all the patches and fixes the Circle of Eight has applied to the game. Remember how Scather and Fraggle Rock return blows for each one successfully dealt to the wielder? Well, the game also considers other return attacks, such as that dealt by a Fire Shield, as qualifying for a Scather blow. The unfortunate part comes in when the final blow of a round is a return-on-a-return: the combat script can’t figure out whose turn it is and freezes. You can’t even access the main menu; you have to alt-tab out and perform a hard shutdown.

Fortunately, a Chaotic Neutral wielder only gets one such bonus attack, so after a full attack action the last blow will be normal, preventing the combat engine from shitting itself. And guess what alignment my Barbarian is?

Everyone cast all their buff spells? This is the big one.

“I am the Lord of Dark—”
Allow me, Bob. My fellow players, welcome to what may be the greatest challenge of this module, at least among those we’re expected to win. Large demon, nearly 300 average hit points, initiative +11, armor class 35. In one hand is a +1 vorpal longsword that can strike four times per round; in the other, a +1 flaming whip that attacks twice and can entangle those struck. Each saving throw is at or near +20, but it hardly matters to us with his SR of 28. He can use Blasphemy, Insanity, and Dominate Monster at will, and Fire Storm and Implosion once per day. His body is covered in flames, he uses True Seeing at will, and he can automatically summon in another one of his kind if he feels like it. Overall, he’s not quite worth his 20 CR, since a party of 20th level PC’s will have an even better bag of tricks, but if we don’t watch ourselves, he can easily squash our 12th level part flat.
Don’t forget the efreeti.
And he has a pair of efreet with him instead of fire elementals. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present: the balor. Suzie and I will handle the efreet. William? It’s your show.

…Which one hasn’t gone yet? I’ll target that one. Oh, a 20! And confirmed! 60 damage!
You stabbed that genie right through the chest and killed it instantly. Hardboot’s turn.
Guess I’ll waste my turn trying to bypass his SR. Feeblemind…damn, didn’t roll high enough.
Meleny’s turn, and she uses the Orb of Golden Death to call in a glabrezu. William?

Fuck. Your. Health.
That…cuts it to less than half. Wow.

…Which brings us back to Hardboot.
How is that Efreet not dead yet? Disintegrate!

So much for him. Meleny will summon in a hezrou [PS: unlike the Scather bug, the hezrou stench item bug has since been fixed, for those wondering.], the demons cast their spells…William, you’re up.

And so he died in the span of two turns. Hats off to you, balor. See you the next time I watch Lord of the Rings. Now who’s going to clean up his hezrou?
I cast Hold Monster.
Yeah, that got him. Guess that’s the end of that.

In terms of the number of reloads I had to perform fighting the balor as compared to the other boss fights, the balor easily wins as the hardest fight in the game. Admittedly, half of them were from trying to work through the damn Scather bug, but the balor still wins after discounting those. In fact, I’m fairly certain that, without the bullshit “Scather always hits” rule, it would have been a much longer and harder fight even with all the buff spells I cast. His undocumented Fear spell can also lengthen a fight, since it requires characters to keep a certain distance away from him.

That was the last jewel. Now that the Orb is fully assembled, we can destroy it.
But we just got the ability to summon a balor! Why do we have to explode it now?
We have to if we’re going to kill the Demon Queen of Fungus permanently.
But this is like her One Ring, isn’t it? What if we used it to…you know…make her see things our way?

I’m not letting you dominate a Demon Queen. Now go blow up the Orb so we can end this campaign tonight.

According to the walkthrough I used, it is theoretically possible to use the Orb to enter a battle of willpower with Zuggtmoy. Sadly, nothing I’ve read or Googled seems to indicate that this ending was ever implemented, and even when I hacked my stats to 40, the option did not appear. Apparently, it’s possible to weaken Zuggtmoy enough to get her to serve you, but this option is only available to Evil parties.

“Would you happen to know how to destroy a golden skull artifact?”
“By all that’s holy! Be careful with that thing! I may be able to come up with a solution, but I’ll need some time to research.”
We give him some time to research. What’s he say?
He explains you need a place of high winds—screw it. You need a scroll of Fireball, a scroll of Gust of Wind, a masterwork maul, and some holy water.
We can pop over to the church for the holy water, and the smith carries a masterwork everything, so that won’t be a problem. Hal can scribe us some scrolls if he has them. Hal?
Fireball: check (duh), and Gust of Wind…check!
Great, mark it off. We give Burne the stuff. What’s he say?
He’ll see to it that the Orb is destroyed. Once he’s done so, you’ll have a 4 day window where Zuggtmoy will be both weakened and trapped on the Prime Material Plane, which gives you the chance to kill her permanently.
There we go. Let’s have a quick look at our loot from the Nodes, then get back to the Temple and finish this thing.

Hot damn. You should use this, William.
But it’s a lawful weapon, right? Won’t that give me a negative level or something?
Yes, yes, -1 to hit, saving throws, etc., etc. It’ll be worth it to get an extra 2d6 damage on the Demon Queen. You’ll get your level back once you put it down afterwards, anyway.
Alright then.

Everyone ready?

Oh, we’re ready. Get your buffs out, gentlemen. Oh, that reminds me. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten to use this the whole time, but I keep forgetting thanks to the short duration. I cast Divine Power and Righteous Might.
What’s special about those spells?
Oh, they’re simply the reason I went with a Cleric in the first place! Divine Power gives me +6 to Strength (doesn’t stack with my belt, sadly), as well as a Fighter’s base attack bonus, giving me an extra attack at this level, plus 1 temporary hit point per caster level. Righteous Might increases my size to Large (increasing weapon damage and reach), a size bonus of +4 to Strength and +2 to Constitution (which stacks with everything but Enlarge Person), +2 to natural armor, and damage reduction 6/evil. For a number of rounds equal to my level-1, I become as good, if not better, than our buffed-out Barbarian.

At this end of the hallway, you spy a wizened old woman who stood up as she recognizes that she has visitors. Her voice crackles like parchment as she says—

Magic Missile.


It’s the Fungus Queen, right? I mean, who the fuck else would be down here?
By the sound of things, the rest of the Temple didn’t even know this place existed.
Okay, fine, yes, she’s Zuggtmoy, you’ve pissed off Zuggtmoy before she even had a chance to open her mouth.
Well it’s not like we’re down here to make friends.

Seems like I’m getting an average of about 50 HP per hit.
As am I. Thanks to her absurdly high HP total, we’ll need hits that big just to whittle her down. Good thing we can deal up to 8 of them per round.
Sorry I’m doing so little to help.
It’s just her Damage Reduction getting in the way, plus she’s probably immune to Sneak Attacks. You can still help once she summons in some chaff, at least.

“What, throwing in the towel already?”
“Come on, whatcha got that’s worth a Demon Queen’s life?”
“I have many treasures to offer you. The pillar of platinum you see there is worth half a million gold pieces, and my gems are worth over a quarter of a million gold pieces.”
“Nice, nice, but I’m fuckin’ swimming in platinum after looting your Temple. Got anything else?”
“I also have many magic items, including a wand of fire, a rod of smiting, a ring of feather falling, a Daern’s instant fortress. And of course, many scrolls and potions will be laid at your feet as well.”
“Shit, girl, I could build mosta that stuff myself if I felt like it! Besides, the way I see things, I can kill you and just take all that shit.”
“Fools! While you have blathered, I have regenerated my health! You will find that I am now quite capable of defeating you!”
Oh well. Back to hewing. William?
Let’s Paul Bunyan this bitch.

That wasn’t so bad. Just a matter of cleaning up those vrocks now.

You know what, let’s just skip that part. Congratulations, guys, you won.
Wooooooooo! High fives! High five! High five! High five! High five! C’mon man, high five! Yeah! Woooo!

Right, if Hal is finished, I have a few little epilogues I’d like to go through. Weakened by the destruction of the Orb of Golden Death, Zuggtmoy was killed while still trapped on the Prime Material Plane. Her spirit destroyed, a major force for evil is now gone from the world of men.

All on us, baby, yeah!

Iuz is also weakened by the Orb’s destruction. He now ranks you among his personal enemies and plans a revenge suitable for this annoyance.

He’s not so tough.

Related to that, Iuz and St. Cuthbert had a long conversation after they left your presence. What they discussed is not known to mortals, but the enmity between their followers escalates afterwards.

It seemed like Cuthbert was lecturing a spoiled child even when he was in front of us.

Iuz is a relatively new god, and Cuthbert is considerably more powerful than him. You’re not far off, really. Next, since you killed Lareth, the leader of the Moathouse bandits, you gain the enmity of his patron goddess Llolth. Over the years, she dispatches many drow assassins to kill you. All fail.

Seems like this job put us on a lot of gods’ hit lists.
You’re not doing your job as an adventurer unless half the divine pantheon is out for your blood.

Prince Thrommel is rescued and marries Princess Jolene of Veluna. The kingdoms of Furyondy and Veluna unite, and you are made knights of the kingdom.

Very nice, but I don’t think Josephus is ready to be tied down to a plot of land.
Probably knights-errant. All the respect and none of the responsibility.
Ah. Well, that would be better.

With no high priests left alive after your raids, the Temple of Elemental Evil loses its surviving worshippers, who disband and scatter to the four winds.

Who’d we even leave alive?

A couple of people survived. Feldrin flees over the Lortmil Mountains and starts his own rogue’s guild in the Principality of Ulek. He is eventually killed during a skirmish with a rival guild.



Oh yeah, that asshole!

Smigmal Redhand, the Temple assassin and femme fatale, escaped and returned to the orc tribe where she was spawned to become its leader, the first time a female ever ruled an orc tribe. Her burning hatred for humanity never dimmed. She was eventually eaten by an ogre, who suffered great indigestion afterwards.

Gonna need some help with that one, too.
Hold on, I think I remember…*flip* *flip* That’s right, there was an elf named Smigmal whom we rescued from a room across from the Orb mage. She was an assassin? So she was lying about being an unwilling dupe?

That’s right. And she rolled really well for the Bluff check, which is why I didn’t tell you I was rolling your Sense Motive checks as she was talking.


In the quiet years that followed the fall of the Temple, Hommlet grows into a bustling and prosperous town under the guidance of its elder citizens. Paida and Valden are happily reunited, and Filliken and Mathilde marry, enjoying many happy years together. Garrett and Meleny also have a formal ceremony after Zuggtmoy’s death.

That’s nice.

…But not under my watch. I’ve grown quite tired of DM’ing once again, and I’ll be glad to hear if one of you has anything lined up.

“Well, I could always set another adventure in my steampunk campaign.”

Really? You wrapped things up pretty well the first time. I’m not sure going back is the best idea.

“Hey, I could give it a shot. Running a game doesn’t seem all that hard.”

“I feel worried when I think about the kind of game you would run, Hal.”

“No, see, it would start out as the four of you guys landing on a desert planet, hunting for a legendary treasure. I got all these different ideas on what you guys would do next, you’d have tons of stuff to do.”

“Could I actually play an African American this time around?”

“Sure thing, Paul. Sure thing.”

Final stats and equipment, for those interested:

Gloves of Dexterity +2
Cloak of Resistance +1
Moradin’s Soul Hammer +1 (+2d6 Lawful, +2d6 Good)
Holy Longsword +1
Purple Elven Chain +2
Boots of Speed
Lareth’s Ring of Freedom of Movement
Ring of Protection +2
Amulet of Health +2
Belt of Giant’s Strength +6

Hedrack’s Plate Gloves of Strength +6
Hedrack’s Plate Helmet of Will +5
Cloak of Charisma +2
Frost Brand
Hedrack’s Full Plate +3
Hedrack’s Plate Boots of Reflex +5
Ring of Minor Fire Resistance
Ring of Protection +2
Amulet of Wisdom +6

Gloves of Dexterity +2
Cloak of Charisma +6
Shocking Rapier +1
Frost Shortsword +1
Green Elven Chain +1
Horn of Fog
Ring of Minor Fire Resistance
Ring of Protection +1
Necklace of Adaptation
Oohlgrist’s Emerald Belt (Immunity to Acid)

Gloves of Dexterity +6
Cloak of Elvenkind
Shocking Longsword +3
Rod of Thunder and Lightning
Darkwood Buckler +2
Leather Armor +2 of Silent Moves
Boots of Elvenkind
Ring of Minor Fire Resistance
Ring of Freedom of Movement
Scarab of Proof against Poison
Belt of Giant’s Strength +6

Gauntlets of Ogre Power
Headband of Intellect +6
Senshock’s Robes (+3 Armor, SR 15)
Light Crossbow +1
Staff of Striking
Ring of Minor Fire Resistance
Ring of Protection +1
Wands of Fireballs (CL 10), Chain Lightning, Hold Person