Saturday, July 30, 2016

Roll20 ToEE Campaign: End of July Update

Last time, the party was debating over what to do with the two remaining Gnolls who were attempting to surrender, offering information on where to find "the Boss" in exchange for being allowed to leave the Moathouse unharmed. In the end, the PCs accepted the offer. The party Halfling wanted to betray the Gnolls (get the information they offered, then kill them) but the party Dwarf wouldn't allow it. So the Halfling settled for taking their money, as well as looting the corpses of the dead Gnolls.

The party debates the fate of the surrendering Gnolls
The PCs had taken a beating during the Gnoll battle and had expended most of their spells, so they thought it best to rest before exploring the rest of the Moathouse dungeon. Initially, they figured they would just hole up in the Gnoll's former barracks room and would be safe enough there. And here, I should first admit that I'd been fairly lenient on random encounters while resting, up to this point in the campaign (i.e. pre-ToEE). So the players can be forgiven for expecting similar treatment now. However, in order to be fair, I took off my DM hat and told them that the odds of random encounters here are much, much higher than what they'd previously been exposed to. I told them that the training wheels were off, they were in the big leagues now, and that their characters had no real chance of resting unmolested in the Moathouse dungeon.

Quickly reassessing their plan, the players decided to return to Hommlet for the night. Arriving at the Inn of the Welcome Wench just at sunset, they decided to have some dinner and a few rounds of ale. The party Halfling went to Ostler and told him to put everyone's dinner and drinks on his tab. Even Elmo, who happened to be nearby, was treated to a mug of ale.

The characters order dinner and drinks, courtesy of the party Halfling
The Halfling pays the tab and even buys Elmo a drink, while Spugnoir looks on
Only while the Halfling is paying do the other PCs realize that he's using the silver coins collected from the Gnolls earlier that day. So, instead of paying out of his own pocket, he's really just using party treasure to cover the bill.

Early the next morning the party returned to the Moathouse dungeon, to investigate the accuracy of the Gnoll's information. They believe they now know where to find "the Boss", but were not comfortable with leaving unexplored space behind them when confronting him. So, at the 3-way intersection the Gnolls spoke of, instead of turning left towards the Boss, they turned right. This soon took them to the entrance of what appeared to be an old crypt.

The party Cleric moves to the front rank upon entering an old crypt
The party advanced into the crypt, rounded a corner, and were immediately surprised by a pack of 4 Ghouls. Before the Cleric could even make a Turn Undead attempt, he was paralyzed by a Ghoul in the initial, surprise round of combat. Two of the Ghouls began dragging him away, while the others engaged in combat with the Dwarf and the Fighter. The Halfling, seeing his favorite target for abuse about to be lost forever, set off in pursuit of the departing Ghouls and their intended meal. The Thief quickly followed.

The paralyzed Cleric being dragged into the Ghouls' den, with the Halfling and Thief in close pursuit
The Halfling and Thief caught up with the Ghouls just as they were dragging the Cleric into their den, where they hoped to feast upon him in security. One Ghoul turned to confront the pursuers while the other continued dragging the Cleric deeper into the den.

The Cleric is taken to the Ghoul's nest, while the Halfling and Thief are held off at the entrance to the den
A desperate melee ensued, but the Halfling's high dexterity (and thus low AC), as well as his higher resistance to paralyzing attacks won the day. Having defeated the Ghoul guarding the den entrance, the Halfling and Thief went deeper into the den in an attempt to still save the Cleric.

Assuming his companions were dealing with the rest of the intruders, the first Ghoul decided to start the feast early and took a bite from the Cleric's still-living flesh. Hearing a noise and turning, expecting to see his accomplice with another paralyzed victim, the Ghoul was instead surprised to see the Halfling, short sword in hand.

The Ghoul's feasting on the Cleric is interrupted by the arrival of the Halfling and Thief
Meanwhile, outside the den and back in the crypt, the Fighter and Dwarf were finishing up with defeating the other two Ghouls. The Magic-User and Spugnoir didn't do much throughout this battle except observe from the rear.

The Magic-User and Spugnoir helpfully observe while the Fighter and Dwarf mix it up with the Ghouls
In the end, the Ghouls were all defeated and the Cleric rescued, although he now has a nasty scar where the Ghoul took a bite out of him. The party took their time in the Ghouls den, gathering up the loose coins scattered about the place while waiting for the Cleric's paralysis to wear off. One last bit of excitement occurred when one of the Ghouls, who had only been reduced to exactly 0 hit points, revived and entered the den. The Halfling expected to once again have to save the party but this time the Magic-User finally sprang into action and cast a Magic Missile spell, which finished the Ghoul for good.

The final Ghoul, about to be dispatched for a second time
Although the battle with the Ghouls was rather intense, the party felt brave enough to do a bit more exploring. So they returned to the intersection and this time went straight ahead, in keeping with their strategy of leaving no space unexplored before confronting "the Boss". The passage soon led to stairs going deeper underground and ending in a natural cavern that appeared to contain a pool of water.

The party finds a pool of water, deep underground
At this point we had reached our scheduled quit time for that night's game session. So, the investigation of the pool would have to wait until next time!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

ToEE Moathouse Gnolls Continued

Not a great amount has happened since last post. The battle with the Moathouse Gnolls was successfully concluded, although the party Magic-User nearly lost his life in the process. He had cast Shield on himself and so decided to engage in melee with them. That turned out not to be such a hot idea.

When we stopped for the night the party Dwarf was speaking with the two surrendered Gnolls using the Ogre language. He is the only party member who shares a mutual language with the Gnolls. The creatures have offered to show the PCs the way to "the boss" in exchange for being spared and allowed to go free. The rest of the characters are in mid-debate about whether to accept or not.

Friday, July 1, 2016

B/X Roll20 ToEE Campaign Update

If you understand all the acronyms in this post's title, then you're truly a gamer... I haven't posted any updates lately, but we've been playing almost weekly since the last time I posted.

The party is now exploring the moat house dungeon and has encountered the Gnolls. The PCs used spikes to hammer the iron barred door trap behind them into the "up" position, and this noise alerted the Gnolls to their presence. The Gnolls took up battle positions behind the tables, readied their bows and waited. When the PCs arrived in this area, the Gnolls began peppering them with arrows.

The PCs initially fell back around the corner in the corridor to the north, assuming the Gnolls would foolishly follow and then they could engage them 2 at a time in melee. I decided not to play that game this time. It might work with goblins (and has in the past) but I decided the Gnolls were too clever for such a simple tactic. The PCs want to advance deeper into the moathouse dungeon, so they decided they had no choice but to assault the Gnolls' position. Here is a screen shot:

This is the point at which we paused this week's game. A couple of Gnolls have been killed by the PCs own missile fire, but the melee types have decided they need to close in to get this over with as quickly as possible. A couple of other Gnolls broke morale when their friends were killed and have moved off-screen to the left.

Meanwhile, my work continues in creating the Temple of Elemental Evil itself in Roll20. Here is the latest update:

  • Village of Hommlet: Completely created and populated
  • Moathouse: Completely created and populated
  • Village of Nulb: Completely created and populated
  • Temple Surface Level: Completely created and populated
  • Temple Dungeon Level 1: Completely created and populated

I don't want to reveal too much here, in case any of my players happen to see this. However, anyone familiar with the ToEE should immediately recognize this particular location on dungeon level 1:

Ok, that's all I have for now! Next time I will post about how the PCs have been getting along with the inhabitants of Hommlet. It's not been exactly cordial, I can tell you that much...