Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ToEE 4E Session 10 - Nulb and the Temple, Finally!

Back in Hommlett the party rests, shops and debates their next course of action. They are 3rd level now and paying a little more attention to their gear. They are:

  • Torgor Bearkin, Dwarf Sentinel Druid with his bear companion "Po" (Apprentice Red)
  • Isaac, Human Swordmage (also Red)
  • Torinn, Dragonborn Sorcerer (Apprentice Blaster)
  • Apollo Magewood, Elf Bladesinger (Also Blaster)
They thought they had arrived at the perfect solution in having the crayfish shell made into studded leather armor, a new type from Mordenkainen's Emporium but then they realized that it would take a feat to be proficient with it and decided not to mess with it, so they sold it to the blacksmith for some extra gold. 

Apprentice Red was intent on picking up some healing potions and did so.

No, I didn't show them this sign.
They then debated for a good 15 minutes on how many and what types of rooms they should get to keep their stuff in - they are treating the Inn of the Welcome Wench like a bank and storage facility! This debate then turned into a discussion on whether to go to Nulb first or head directly for the Temple. They opted for Nulb.

It's a pretty small place
After an uneventful journey - other than the creepy expository text I read to them - they found themselves in Nulb, drinking at the Waterside Hostel amid much teenage boy silliness like "wanting a D&D bar fight" and things like that. There are times when I wonder if they might be happier playing with a group of friends their own age and this was one of them, but it was still fun. Since they were in Nulb in the middle of the day and there were all of about 5 people in the bar they decided to press on for the Temple.

After another long creepy description (there is a lot of boxed text in this part of this adventure - a lot of it!) they poked around the fringes of the temple and focused in on the three main areas of interest - the big tower, the wooded area, and the temple proper. They decided to check the woods out first. 

Quickly discovering a ruin inside the trees they debate about crawling down into the hole in the pile of rubble and after a few minutes rats begin swarming out of the thing, attacking them in droves. The party gets chewed up a bit but nothing too serious and they drive off the rats soon enough. They then decide to go ahead and climb down the hole and discover what's left of a basement, a concealed trap door leading to a wine cellar. There is quite a bit of still drinkable wine down here, and this leads to more silliness from the players ("whoa, this place just got a lot less sinister"), but they have played enough D&D to recognize that this is stuff they can sell if they can get it out. They work this out and then decide to do more exploring before they get too into wine excavations.

They look around the north end of the Temple but do not get close enough to any doors (which are at the southern end) to get into the whole warding thing, so they decide to head for the tower. They notice the ravens, the chained door, and then sure enough the bladesinger goes and peeks in the arrowslits on either side of the door. That's when the swarms of ravens attack! However, having learned much about how to fight swarms from the rat fight this one is over before it really gets going - Torinn throws a flame spiral followed up by a breath attack and all of the ravens are dead in one round as the rest of the party joins in.

At this point we paused as the party considers their next move and the DM considers tactics for what's inside the tower ...

DM Notes: This was a milestone of sorts as they are finally at the Temple itself, even if they did only scratch the surface. Now we will really start to dig in to the meat of the whole thing and I expect my 4E encounter building skills to be tested as we get into more of a traditional extended dungeon slog than I have been running - but that's next time.

This session could have been subtitled "How to fight swarms" as they managed to run into two separate groups of them. In the original the rats are 12 giant rats fighting in a confined space and gaining certain advantages. For 4E I decided to use Rat Swarms and they worked out pretty well making multiple attacks each round and inflicting some minor ongoing damage which I envisioned as individual rats hanging on and biting away. It looked a little dicey at first but once they figured out which attacks were having more of an impact they started leading with those and the rest of the fight went by quickly. By the time the ravens came along they knew exactly what to do and combined with a nice damage roll from the sorcerer (which bloodied the things in one shot) they polished them off in one round! I replaced the giant ravens sitting up in the tower (with a magical size-changing illusion hiding their true size) with raven swarms, mainly because I liked it better. I will post my notes for this area soon along with some explanation of what I was thinking.

When I was reading the description of the temple - yes I was reading it aloud, I hate to summarize High Gygaxian - and showed them the cover picture, one of them says "Is it all dark and stormy like that too?" NO! I just read to you that it's NOT all dark and stormy like it was in the days when this place was open for business! Now pay attention! - it was that kind of run, but we did laugh a lot.

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