- Nik Vinter
After Dwarrowdeep which my players didn't like we decided to move on and I started preparing Temple Of Elemental Evil since it's something I've always wanted to play even if I heard polarizing things about it, hence I got a copy of T1 and started reading trough it.
Joe and Tabudai left Hamelet accompanied by Jon and Cravos. The road was long and they had to reach Treshold first, from there they took a carriage to Verbobonc and finally walked trough the Kron Hills to reach Hommlet after reading on a notice board that something was happening in the village and the local people needed help. After asking around they found the tavern, the tower of Rufus and some other local shops. First thing in the morning they decided to look for Rufus and ask him about the jobs he was offering.
I used this opportunity to infodump some lore about the local area and about the Temple, as well as to give them some side quests:
- In the fields south of Hommlet something is creating water and flooding the crops
- A group of bandits is attacking caravans on the route from Hommlet to Verbobonc
- Something weird is going on on the nearby Moathouse
They decided that they wanted to tackle the flood issue first, so they immediately went to explore a bit. The hills were slightly flooded as described and after looking a bit they managed to find a small cave from where a small stream of water was coming out. Getting closer allowed them to hear some weird voices coming from inside, so the first thing they did was to set up a trap with a rope and some caltrops. Then they screamed into the cave and waited until some fishmen came out, tripped on the wire and started fighting them. There were 7 of them and just by fighting they managed to kill Cravos and make Jon flee. Joe and Tabudai decided to risk it and kept fighting, managing to kill 4 of them and forcing a morale roll which made the fishmen escape, leaving both the fighter and the mage at ~2hp.
Scared and scarred they trecked back to Hommlet to rest at the inn. During their time off I introduced some NPCs to them:
- Elmo: a young kid eager to fight and get his name written in a bard song
- Kobort: a big warrior who needs the company of Turuko, his smart friend, and loves fish
- Turuko: Kobort's friend. A monk who believes to be smarter than he actually is and loves quoting books (wrongly)
- Furnok: a quiet treasure hunter who is looking for someone to accompany him to a tomb up north and is willing to stay with the party for a bit
Tabudai and Joe decided to employ all of them, and two new characters joined the party as well (Olafur, Dwarf Warrior and Parabir, Human Cleric) bringing the total up to 8. With this big of a company they were sure to eradicate the fishmen's nest in no time, but they were wrong: they didn't expect defenses to be set up! Once they arrived at the cave and entered it they triggered a tripwire that made noise, made the fishmen aware of the intruders and made a big stream of water come down from the mouth of the cave. The water engulfed half of the party, almost killing Tabudai in the act, and more fishmen quickly ran out from the cave to finish them.
Tabudai was prepared so he casted sleep, putting 12 of the monsters out of the fight. To bad they were more than 25 and had their king amongst them. The group tried fighting but even with the spell's aid they didn't manage to make meaningful progress so they ran away, ready to devise a new plan.
The idea was simple: go to Verbobonc and buy armour for Elmo. Find some information about the fishamn in the local library and then find a way to create some poison. And that's what they did.
In Verbobonc Parabir and Joe got approached by a kid that told them something weird was happening in a town nearby and he managed to escape from his crazy parents to look for help, but the group didn't seem to be that interested at that time. Joe and Tabudai bought a Cow, a small pot and a shovel and then went back to Hommlet. The idea was simple: use shit, dirty water and mud to create a poisonous substance, infect the cow with it and finally make the fishmen eat the cow. Olafur was the one to shit in the pot and they also stole some horse manure to go with it.
When bringing the cow to the fishmen hideout they noticed that the monsters were starting to build some fortifications and a small lookout post. While trying to be hidden they got attacked by a group of Stirges but they managed to kill them all, even saving the cow in the process. After waiting for the poison to kick in they pushed the cow towards the cave and waited for the fishmen to kill it, and that's what they did.
On the next day they came back, Furnok sneaked towards the lookout post and killed the fishman waiting there and they got inside the cave system. The area was small and they quickly reached they area where the king was. He was sitting on his trone, ill, surrounded by a couple of weakened guards, dead bodies of his kin and sick creatures. He asked the party why they were doing this, why they attacked randomly without even questioning him and also tried to explain what was going on, but then he realized that he owed nothing to the group of people that massacred his tribe so he made the guards attack.
The fight was gruesome and Furnok got hit multiple times. Tabudai put his sling to use in an expert way and killed they all killed the remaining guards one by one. At the last moment they heard some screams coming from the king, and when they got there after the fight, they realized that he was lying dead on his throne. Joe decided to kill every remaining creature in the room, stopping only after backtracking and finding a room full of female and child fishmen. At least they got potions, gems and a scroll of Jump out of it.
Will they find out the cause of the water? Where will they go next? Is someone/something behind everything or is it just a coincidence?
I guess we'll find out together
As you might've noticed there's not much from T1 yet except from some NPCs and the general town of Hommlet. I hinted at the fact the Moathouse was slightly dangerous so my players decided to concentrate on other quests first. I think I stole the fishmen cave from A Night Below but I'm not sure, I usually improvise on the spot. The kid talking about his city in Verbobonc is a hook to start Against The Cult Of The Reptile God, another module I'd love to try and I'm not sure yet what's going on with the bandits and Furnok's tomb.
I think that introducing so many variables into the game was a great choice and my players are full of things to do and options to choose from, which is great. For example I introduced the conflict between St. Cuthbert and the Druids in Hommlet but no one cared so it's not something I'm thinking of expanding right now. The Temple Of Elemental evil is also looming in the background: I've hinted at it, they know it exists and they know that it's probably too high level for them, but it's great to have a dungeon introduced at level 1 and be there until the group is ready for it.
Hopefully we can start with the Moathouse soon. I will probably have 2 NPCs leave the party at one point so I'd love them to be level 2 before starting it. Next time we'll probably visit Furnok's tomb since the party really likes the NPC. I'll keep you updated!