Sunday, November 13, 2016

To Nulb and the Temple of Elemental Evil

I apologize for the lengthy delay since my last post, I took an unexpected month-long hiatus earlier this Fall from running any of my Roll20 games. Then it took a few game sessions to accumulate enough new material to post about. Anyway, on with the story:

The documents which the players captured from Lareth's chambers made several references to the village of Nulb, so the PCs decided to travel there and see what they could learn. It was only a few miles away Hommlet and an easy half-day ride. The PCs arrived in Nulb by noon and immediately came across the local inn, The Waterside Hostel. The PCs stopped in and ordered some lunch, but quickly decided to move on and explore the rest of the village. However, the seedy nature of the place was more temptation than the party Halfling could resist. He decided to stay, buying rounds of drinks for everyone and leading the crowd in his favorite form of entertainment, singing sea shanties:

The party Halfling ingratiates himself with the Nulb locals, buying drinks and dancing and singing on the table top

Meanwhile, the rest of the characters explored other points of interest in Nulb;

The characters meet Otis, Nulb's village blacksmith
The first stop was the local blacksmith. The PCs were somewhat surprised at his helpfulness, given the unsavory nature of the inn's patrons. They departed after agreeing to stable their horses with him for the night.

Next stop was Mother Screng's Herb Shop. The party Mage was intrigued by the place, but Mother Screng's sharp tongue turned them off to wanting to conduct any real business with her.

The party Mage tries to chat up Mother Screng, without much success

Next, the characters visited The Boatman's Tavern and Nulb Market:

The characters (minus the Halfling) have a drink at The Boatman's Tavern
It didn't take long for the PCs to realize that they were surrounded by river pirates and that the market's inventory almost certainly consisted of stolen goods. With Hommlet close by, they decided not to purchase anything from this particular shop. They quickly finished their drinks and departed, although they were eager to tell the party Halfling that they had found a new drinking establishment in which he would certainly feel right at home.

Later that evening (after reserving rooms for the night) the PCs met with Otis the Blacksmith at The Waterside Hostel. The meeting was to negotiate for the long-term stabling of their horses while they expected to be exploring the nearby Temple. However, Otis took the opportunity to quietly reveal his true identity and his purposes for being in the village. He also warned the players that the Cleric's plate armor (formerly worn by Lareth) would have by now been recognized by the village's inhabitants. Lareth was a frequent visitor in Nulb and certainly by now Temple agents within Nulb would have realized that something had happened at the Moathouse. Otis told the players that they were probably safe for the night, because it would take time to get word to the Temple and receive instructions back. But he told them that beyond that, they could be in grave danger if they remained in Nulb.

The characters meet with Otis the Blacksmith

The players decided to set out for the Temple first thing the next morning, hoping to preempt any move against them. They also decided to not leave their horses with Otis in Nulb after all, believing that something might happen while they were away exploring the Temple. Therefore, they left Nulb by way of the main road (and not the trail leading directly to the Temple), established a base camp in the forest a couple of miles out of town, and then proceeded on foot to the Temple. Their horses were left in the care of an NPC animal handler they'd hired several weeks ago and had brought with them to Hommlet.

SPOILER ALERT! If you ever expect to adventure through The Temple of Elemental Evil as a player in the future, you should do the honorable thing and stop reading now. Otherwise, you will be doing your DM and your fellow players a disservice by acquiring "meta-game" knowledge of the adventure in advance. On the other hand, if you are a DM or are otherwise already familiar with this adventure, feel free to dig out your copy of The Temple of Elemental Evil and follow along!

Having already been warned by Otis, the players did not try to approach the main entrance to the Temple, with its wards and protective runes. Instead, they entered by one of the side doors:

The PCs enter the Temple of Elemental Evil for the first time

After entering the Temple, the PCs lighted torches and began following the western wall, exploring the perimeter. They soon encountered the western Transept, but did now follow its wall. Instead, they cut across due north and then encountered a vestry:

The PCs find the vestry located on the western side of the Temple.

The characters noted the feces-stained white robes piled in the middle of the floor. The party Halfling was all for donning these robes, hoping to "blend in" with any encountered Temple inhabitants. However, the rest of the players refused and so the Halfling reluctantly gave up on the idea.

The players decided they should go back and explore the western Transept, and soon discovered a broken and shattered altar:

The Thief searches the broken altar while the Halfling explores a nearby door
The party Thief decided to search the altar for any hidden compartments. Meanwhile, the Halfling, feeling bored, decided to explore whatever might be behind a nearby door.

The Thief found nothing of interest around the altar, but the Halfling soon discovered a flight of stairs leading downward in the Transept's side-room. The characters decided to leave off exploring the Temple's upper works and instead head underground.

The characters descend to the Temple's 1st dungeon level
The characters reached the Temple's 1st dungeon level and proceeded to explore several corridor twists and turns. However, these explorations turned up nothing of interest. Eventually they came across a well-maintained door and decided to investigate. Unbeknownst to them, they have stumbled onto the outer guard room of the primary living area for the Earth Temple's forces. They managed to take out the guards posted in this room, but not before the guards inflicted some damage of their own and also managed to alert their comrades in the room beyond:

The PCs have encountered Earth Temple guards, without really realizing what they've stumbled upon

The conclusion of this battle is where we ended for our last game session. Those of you who own a copy of this module and who care to follow along should have little trouble in figuring out where the players are currently located. And therefore you will also know what challenges lie ahead. Be sure to check back soon for an update to the current situation!