Tuesday, June 16, 2015

**SPOILERS** Conclusion to the Temple of Elemental Evil **SPOILERS**

This last weekend my friend and I finally set aside time for the Temple of Elemental Evil!  December 2013 was the last time we got together to roll some dice in person.  We had been playing some DCC RPG via the Internet but really wanted to get back to our ongoing campaign.  I drove down to North Carolina to visit him and we crushed out the final bits of the Temple in what proved to be a satisfying conclusion to a VERY long campaign (8+ years!)


YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!  Story continues after the break!

The party consisted of the following intrepid adventurers:

Vallon - Human Fighter & Surly Bastard
Marhev - Human Fighter and Walking Tank
Jess - Human Cleric/EMT/Holy Roller
Kaila - Elf Wizard (holds the record for most deaths.  She is currently dead and under a Gentle Repose spell so she doesn't go bad and start stinking up the joint!)
Rahan - Elf Rogue (nicknamed The Finisher for his ability to drop baddies with his bow, after spending the entire fight missing them)

We started where we last left off, the party had just ported into the Water Node after finding the blue Gem of Power in the Air Node. The party had been deposited in the center of small atoll in waist deep water, they made their way to the edge of the atoll and climbed the 10ft tall coral wall that surrounded them to get a better view of the area.  They discovered that they were in a huge cavern filled with water, with small coral islands randomly placed all around.  Moving down to the waters edge they realized the water outside of the coral wall was much deeper, to deep to walk in.  While pondering how to get around in the Water Node they spotted a huge shell cutting through the water several hundred feet out from their position.  Rahan used the Trident of Warning to determine that it was a Dragon Turtle, not something that they wanted to engage.  It soon passed and they noticed a fire glowing from the northern portion of the cave, they soon saw an old man approaching from that direction on a small raft.  He greeted them and introduced himself as Sargen.  He offered them a lift to his hovel and some warm food.  After several trips back and forth to carry them all to his home they disembarked at a small cave cut into the northern wall.  Sargen told them he had been abandoned here and left to his fate, he had survived by fishing and catching what he could. 

Sargen took notice of the Orb of Golden Death that Rahan held and stated he knew that item, in fact he had been involved in the creation of it.  His story was thus:  Sargen was a priest of Zuggtomoy and helped to create the Orb and the Nodes.  For an undisclosed reason he fell out of favor and was abandoned with several others former priests in the Water Node, the rest had died off and he had survived through sheer will.  He told the party that he would help them to destroy the Orb and the Nodes if they would take him with them and free him from this prison.  Warily the party agreed, with Rahan being the most vocal against his inclusion.  Sargen informed them that they needed all four of the Power Gems to complete the Orb before it could be destroyed.  The four gems were scattered to all four nodes, Earth, Air, Fire and Water.  They already had the Water Gem they found in the Air Node.  Sargen also had the Earth Gem which he had found in his travels.  He gave this to the Rahan who socket-ed it into the Orb.  Rahan became aware of the now increased powers of the Orb, with each Gem found more power was added to the Orb.  Sargen then told them once all of the gems were in the Orb they would need to do the following to destroy it; subject it to a 50mph wind, strike it with the granite maul that was used to create it, subject it to a very hot flame (over 1000 degrees) and then submerge it in icy cold water.  Sargen knew that when Zuggtomoy was imprisoned that the granite maul was imprisoned with her.  Armed with this new information they used the Orb and the new gem they then traveled to the Earth Node.

Preparing for the Black Dragon fight.

Once there Sargen told them he had used the gem to travel to this plane before, he was aware of a Black Dragon that held a large hoard of gems and treasure, if another power gem was on this plane this would be the best place to start looking.  They had brief but tough fight against several Xorn which ambushed the party but which ended when the monsters retreated back into the rock from which they came.  Sargen led them to the dragons cave and then stayed back as he had no spells or weapons with which to fight.  They prepared by casting Protection from Energy (acid) on the fighters and Jess, hoping it would keep them safe from the dragons breath weapon.  They then entered the cave and confronted the dragon, a young adult.  It was a brutal fight with the dragon spraying them with acid and then dropping darkness over the melee, in the end they were victorious but came dangerously close to being wiped out.  They found and claimed the Red Power Gem from the dragon horde as well as a few other minor magic items and some coin.  They transported back to the Water Node to rest and recover spells and to plan what their next step would be.

Sargen told the party he had only briefly entered the Fire Node, it was hot and dangerous and not to his liking.  He had no idea where the gem would be kept, so it looked like it was going to be a dungeon crawl to locate the next gem.  The party now held three of the four gems and only needed one more to escape the Nodes and to destroy the Orb.  They transported themselves to the Fire Node and began their search.  They search roughly half of the level finding very little opposition, only a small group of salamanders which they quickly dispatched.  Upon entering a large room with four 10' wide fire pits they were confronted with a large being (Efreeti) that stood roughly 12' tall and which was engulfed in flames and held a huge scimitar.  He spoke to the party in a booming voice and stated that his mistress wanted back her item which was stolen from her and that he was going to retrieve it for her.  The party could leave the Orb and live or die trying to keep it.  They pretty much told him to piss off so he began his attack by using his change size ability to grow to 18' tall, he then brought down walls of fire to cover the exits.  As the party charged him and he disappeared from sight only to shorty thereafter reappear on the far side of the room where he begin blasting the party with Scorching Rays.  They charged again and once again he turned invisible only to reappear near the back of the party to attack Rahan with his blade as he was the one holding the Orb.  At this point the party was feeling pretty vulnerable, so Rahan used the Orb to summoned a Chain Demon to help confront the Efreeti, which caused Rahan's charisma to be drained by the Orb which always demands a sacrifice.  The Chain Demon was not to happy with being summoned so used his abilities to attack the Efreeti but also to harm the party when he could, such as attacking with a whirling blade attack that hurt not only his target but also harmed Sargen and Rahan at the same time.  While battling the creature Rahan noticed that the Efreeti had a chain hanging around its neck with a smoky gem embedded in it, the final gem they needed!  

The Efreeti disappeared again and reappeared on the far side of the room for a second time, this time though it was a Permanent Image created by the Efreeti to draw out the fighters again, his plan worked when they charged the image leaving Rahan, Sargen, and the summoned demon alone again.  He reappeared and viciously attacked Rahan hoping to steal the Orb, Rahan was able to make a called shot against the necklace, freeing it from his neck.  This enraged the Efreeti who quickly fell to the blades of the fighters who had discovered his ruse and had returned to the real fight.

The final gem was claimed and added it to the Orb.  Rahan immediately knew that he could transport them to the Entrance Room, the only way out of the Nodes.  They returned to the Water Node and rested and prepared spells before transporting to the Entrance Room.  This area is located on the third level of the Temple and is the final prison of Zuggtomoy's Aspect.  Sargen told them what he could of Zuggtomoy, that she is the Queen of the Fungi and Deception and she is not to be trusted.

Cthulhu dice, bag and Chelsea dice tower.  A match made in....heaven?
The party advanced cautiously through the area they had a brief fight with the some shrieker and hooting fungi which they were able to quickly defeat.  They then discovered the throne which could take them all the way back to the surface.  After a quick vote they decided to retreat back to Hommlet, lick their wounds and take Kayla's corpse to Verbobonc to be brought back to life. 

At this point Rahan, possibly from holding the evil Orb for to long, had become convinced that Sargen, the nice old man that had been helping the party out was actually Iuz in disguise.  He went on and on about how they were helping Iuz to kill Zuggtomoy and gain the Orb, the party eventually voted and decided to trust Sargen but keep a wary eye on him.  Once Kayla was back to life and the party was prepped and ready to go, they returned to the Temple and took the chair back to Zuggtomoy's prison.  Entering her chamber they were confronted with an old crone sitting on a throne, she demanded that they leave her alone and take a large pillar made entirely of electrum.  This was a trick, if the party had touched the pillar it would have sprung to life and stuck down the doors and chains holding her on this level, she would have then offered a gold pillar and a platinum pillar which would have set her completely free.  Recalling what Sargen had told them about not trusting her they pressed on and closed the distance.  She then fidgeted with the throne and beams began shooting out all over the room, the old crone disintegrated and was gone!  She had teleported behind the throne to see what they would they do.  The party continued to moved forward so she sprung her attack.

Zuggtomoy moved out from behind the throne in her "puffball" fungi form and she released a cloud of spores that had no effect on the characters.  She was also accompanied by two Basidironds (which produce spores that induce hallucinations) and two Phycomids (which shoot acid spore pellets).  It was a pretty straight forward fight that the characters handled well.  No fortitude saves were missed and no one went down, Kayla had to retreat back to a previously visited room as she was severely wounded.  Both fighters took a ton of damage but Jess kept them up and in the fight, if things had gone another couple of rounds she would not have been able to keep up with Zuggtomoy's damage output.  Victorious they searched around and found a niche behind the throne, after setting off four traps, which almost killed Marhev and Vallon they gained access to a secret compartment.  Inside was a treasure horde as well as the granite maul they needed to destroy the Orb. The party healed up and traveled back to Hommlet.

Once in Hommlet, Sargen began telling everyone that he could find that the Temple had been defeated and they Zuggtomoy and been destroyed!  The adventurers were greeting by a crowd and a huge party was thrown, the whole town was feasting, drinking and smoking and was in great spirits.  The party knew there was still work to be done.  They decided to destroy the Orb in Hommlet, near the stream which was icy cold and would serve as the final step in the Orbs destruction.  They planned the following to destroy the Orb; cast Gust of Wind (to hit 50mph), then strike it with the Granite Maul they had gained from Zuggtomoy's prison.  Next they would drop it in a special forge that they commissioned the village blacksmith to build (near the icy stream) and once it was heated to 1000 degree's they would drop it in the icy stream which would hopefully destroy it.

As they began the process a crowd of villagers began to gather, at this point the forge was hot and ready and they everyone was in place.  Suddenly a tearing sound echoed throughout the village and the air was SLICED open, from within stepped Iuz in his demon form, tall, imposing and deadly.  He thanked the characters for gathering togehter all of the piece of the Orb and demanded it back from them.  They moved to engage but were frozen in fear by his frightful aura.  He waved his sword and Marhev and Vallon fell dead.  He confidently strode forward as Jess, the only one not frozen in fear frantically cast a Protection from Evil spell.  Again his sword waved through the air and Jess, Kayla, Rahan and Sargen fell dead, the villagers fleeing in all directions from the demi-god. 

As Jess's life was leaving her she heard a voice, soft and cool in her mind, it said "My child, your time here is not done, as you have always done, care for your friends and will I removed Iuz for you.  Remember my words, Fortitude Within, Valor Without".  With that life flowed back into Jess, she saw a woman in gleaming armor clash with Iuz and they disappeared in a flash of light.  Jess had seen her God, Mayaheine.  As she stood she felt a warm glow in her hands and as she looked at them they glowed with a pulsing golden light.  She walked around the area touching the foreheads of her stricken companions and each one rose as if wakened from a deep slumber.  As the last of them was saved the glow subsided from her hands.  The party knew that they had to do, destroy the Orb, the quickly cast Gust of Wind on the Orb, then stuck it with the Granite Maul, threw it into the forge as they pumped the bellows and then dropped it with a pair of tongs into the icy river.  It shattered into a thousand pieces and a great scream was heard to echo across the land.  Their task was done!  Brought back from the dead by Jess's deity, they had succeeded in bringing the Temple of Elemental Evil low!

The partying resumed for days on end until Burne, the original inhabitant of the tower in Hommlet, returned to seek out the adventurers and to question them about what had happened.  After several days of intense questioning he sent a raven off and asked that the party join him in a journey to Verbobonc where there was someone who wanted to see them.  The party agreed and set off with the old wizard and soon found themselves in Castle Greyfist before his Noble Lordship, Viscount Landgard, Defender of the Faith.  Their tale was recounted by Burne before the entire court.  The Viscount then stood and stated the following;

“ I have heard of your deeds, you have done these lands and the people a great service. I commend you on your victory, it was hard fought and well earned. A great evil has been stuck from my lands and I would reward you for it. Vallon, please step forward.

For your bravery and strength I give you Squelcher, a sword of Answering and a weapon of great renown (+3 Keen Long Sword. +4 on critical + additional 2d6. Attack of opportunity against any creature that damages him, does not increase the number of attacks of opportunity per round.) I also name you Lord of the Village of Hommlet, your are now a knight of Veluna. Arise Sir Vallon.

Marhev, step forward. For your courage and refusal to quit when facing terrible evil I give you the suit of Full Plate Mail of Krakenheim (Full Plate +1, Cold Resistance). I also name you Lord of the Village of Hommlet, your are now a knight of Veluna. Arise Sir Marhev.

Jess, please step forward. For your strength of faith and your willingness to care for your people, I give you the Amulet of Mayaheine (Amulet of Health +4 Constitution). I name you Priestess of Hommlet. Let you faith and healing hands touch those who need it most. You have the permission of the state to build a shire or temple to your deity in Hommlet.

Kaila, please step forward. For your resourcefulness and sacrifice I give you the Staff of Mitrix (Staff of Healing), may it help to keep your life long and healthy. I name you Incantatrix of Hommlet, may you use your powers to watch over the people and protect them from evil. The Verbobonc Mage's Guild would also like extend to you a full membership.

Rahan, please step forward. For your quickness and loyalty to your friends I give you this Cloak of Displacement, may you use it only for good. I also name you Friend of Hommlet, the Thieves Guild of Verbobonc would also like to extend to you a full membership.

To each of you I also bestow the Silver Star of Verbobonc and the Gold Crown of Furyondy. These are are our highest honors.

I now charge you with the protection of Hommlet and its surrounding environment. You have my permission to complete the castle that was begun by Burne. To this end I award you 10,000 Gold Crowns towards its construction and I give unto your care the village of Hommlet in the form of a gift, to be held for the duration of your lives."

Thus ended our 8+ year adventure.  It was a really amazing adventure for both of us, me as DM and him as a player.  I truly cannot believe that we were able to finally complete it!  I have a stack of files that I will be releasing in the next few days for others that want to play the Temple in 3rd Edition.  Most of the conversions and work was done by others, I just collated it together and added a few of my own pieces.  I hope you enjoyed our story, thanks for reading!

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