Sunday, March 20, 2011
ToEE: Investigating the Moathouse
The Party (Level 1):
Jerry (Companion Character subbing for Nick): Human Cleric
Kossack (Cliff): Minotaur Fighter
Kryla Bloodfang (Matt): Dragonborn Cosmic Sorcerer
Pixie (Leigha): Gnome Wizard
Razz of the Three Moons (Jesse): Githzerai Swordmage
I've only been playing D&D regularly since 4e came out. As such, I've missed out on a lot of the classic old modules, such as The Temple of Elemental Evil, The Tomb of Horrors, and so on. It turns out that at least one other member of our group has missed them as well. We also have a player or two who has played them, but not in 4e. So now we're starting a campaign designed to let us try out these the classic modules. Since there is no official release of ToEE for 4e yet, our DM is having to convert the classic module. We expect ToEE to carry us through several levels, but once we're through it, we're hopefully going to jump into some other popular modules as well.
I had already played a little bit of The Village of Hommlet (the ToEE intro module), just enough to know to avoid the frogs. I'll try not to take advantage of my OOC knowledge, but my class is more likely to stay in the back anyway. I can't wait to see someone else get swallowed for a change.
Here's another example of my penchant for overdoing things. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I memorized a bunch of dirty limericks when I was playing Aria, just in case it came up (it never did). Well, this week I've been taking a crash course in fortune telling in preparation for Kryla. Luckily I'm married to a former 1-900 psychic. I've got various methods in mind for minor divinations. If Kryla is to get an ambiguous psychic vibe about something, I'll roll my Smiley Face Die to see if she gets a bad feeling about this. I've also got dice for things like forecasting the weather, choosing directions, and predicting what creatures we'll face in the next room. But if I happen to do a full-on reading, I'm going to use Astrodice. I've even made up a cheatsheet so the readings can go a little faster.
Kryla's in-character method: "Kryla reaches into her bag and pulls out a rolled-up piece of cloth and a small bag. She unrolls the cloth on the table. It is a black square of velvet-like material, with several concentric white circles painted on it. From the bag she pours a few multi-colored stones into her hand. She tosses them up into the air, so that they all land on the cloth. Kryla studies closely where the stones landed, and interprets the patterns using methods known only to her. After a couple of minutes, she gives you her answer." ...not that I've given this a lot of thought or anything. Of course, I'll probably never use any of this. But at least I'm prepared.
Since Jerry the Human Cleric is the only member of our group to be of a common race, and he's fairly charismatic to boot, we've decided that he's the face of our group. But Jerry's player is going to miss a few of the early sessions, so we're currently running him as a companion character. Our story began in the town of Narwell, where Jerry convinced us to check out an old temple. We traveled to Hommlet, where we asked a few questions around town. A few people mentioned a nearby moathouse, so we decided it would be fun to go check it out.
On the way there, we stopped to sleep for the night. During Razz's watch, we were attacked by a frog the size of a volkswagen. It immediately went for the sleeping minotaur, and Kossack soon found himself in the belly of a frog. (Which is one of the top 10 worst ways to wake up, really.) Kossack fought free while the rest of us attacked the frog. The minotaur enjoyed his freedom only briefly, however, as the frog soon swallowed him a second time and jumped back into the lake. We hit the frog with a few ranged spells until Kossack once again freed himself. The frog then fled, probably figuring this steak wasn't worth the trouble.
Once the sun was up, we approached the moathouse. Unfortunately our DM's map had gotten a bit torn up, but that kind of gave it character. We each made it across the drawbridge, and found no baddies waiting for us as we entered the building. We first explored a small tower room, which we saw was full of spiderwebs. Razz spotted an ivory box across the room, and immediately headed for it. He then was attacked by giant spider, which critted its opening attack, nearly killing the Gith. The rest of us headed in there and helped him kill the spider. Once it was dead, Razz grabbed the box that had caused him this much trouble. He opened the box and...
...it was empty. Oh well, the box itself is still worth something. Now that this room was clear, we crossed the courtyard and headed for a large set of stairs. As we reached the top of the stairs, we were attacked by a large number of bandits. Kossack and Razz were hit by the opening salvo of crossbow bolts. Razz was once again hit by a crit during the surprise round.
A few rounds into combat, a rage drake came running down the hall and joined the battle. Pixie made good use of her multiple-target powers to take out the minions, and Kryla's Blazing Starfall kept a few enemies from advancing. We're using those crit/fumble cards again, which meant that every 20 or 1 had some extra effects. A poorly rolled attempt at Sacred Flame made Jerry deaf, and a later fumble by Pixie meant she lost her use of that At-Will power. Both effects lasted until our next extended rest.
Eventually the bandits were dead, and we were down to the Rage Drake. It spent a few rounds immobilized, so Pixie took that opportunity to place a zone of fire around it so it would take damage each round. When it could finally move again, Krlya finished it off with her Dragon Breath. She critted on the attack roll, and the effect card gave the Drake vulnerable 5 acid. It's almost a pity that killed it, as Kryla would have been doing some major damage to it with her Acid Orb At-Will.
After the battle, we explored the moathouse some more. Razz found a room full of bats, but he quickly shut the door. We saw a giant snake, but we let it be for the moment. While some of us were exploring the rooms, Kossack heard some footsteps, but didn't see anyone. We found a room with some stairs leading down, but the stairs were covered with rats. Razz was dangerously low on healing surges, so we decided to clear out any more dangers so we could take an extended rest. We knew the bats and the rats would stay in their respective rooms, so we went after the snake.
Razz approached the snake, then immediately dropped dead for unknown reasons. Jerry tended to Razz while the rest of us attacked the snake. Pulling aside Razz's armor, Jerry found a giant bloodsucking tick attached to the Swordmage's chest. The tick was treated as a room hazard, and the DM had rolled max damage, which had been exactly enough to drop Razz in one hit. Jerry got Razz back on his feet, but the Gith spent most of the battle cowering in the corner, with no surges left and 1 hit point. This was not a good day for the Swordmage.
Once the snake was dead, we picked the safest-looking room and blocked the door. During our extended rest, Pixie heard a noise from the roof. She woke up Kryla, but the Dragonborn didn't hear anything. Once we were all rested and refreshed, we headed for the rat-infested stairwell. We used some area effect spells to clear out the rats, then went down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, some slime fell on us.
We shook off the slime and looked around the room. We were expecting a little basement, that we could clear out and be done with the moathouse. Nope. It looks like quite a bit of exploration ahead for us, so we decided it would be a good time to end the session.
The first time I played the Village of Hommlet, we were using the 4e DM Rewards module. However, that's not the version we're using now. Since Rusty has had to convert the Temple of Elemental Evil to 4e himself, he went ahead and converted this part of it as well. I was actually surprised at how similar it was; most of the time I wouldn't have been able to tell it wasn't the published 4e version. This bodes well for future sessions. If we can just start rolling a little better, we should do well.