Temple of Elemental Evil

Welcome To Hommlet
Founded in 1985 by Jon Homm

The Village of Hommlet, or merely ‘Hommlet’, as it is commonly called — is situated in the central part of the Flanaess, that portion of western Oerik Continent which is known and ‘civilized.’ The hamlet-sized village (local parlance having distinguished it with the greater term) is located some 30 leagues south-east of the town of Verbobonc, or thereabouts, on the fringe of the territory controlled by the noble Lord the Viscount of Verbobonc. It is at a crossroads.

To the north is the mighty Velverdyva River, along whose south bank runs the Lowroad. Many days’ travel to the east, on the shores of the Lake of Unknown Depths (Nyr Dyv), is the great walled city of Dyvers. The village of Sobanwych lies about halfway along the route. Below that to the southeast and east are miles and miles of forest (the Gnarley), beyond which is the Wild Coast, Woolly Bay, and the Sea of Gearnat. The road south forks a league or so beyond the little community, one branch meandering off towards the Wild Coast, the other rolling through the lower Kron Hills to the village of Ostverk and then eventually turning southwards again into the elven kingdom of Celene. The western route leads into the very heart of the gnomish highlands, passing through Greenway Valley about a day’s travel distant and going onwards to the Lortmil Mountains far beyond.

Hommlet grew from a farm or two, a rest house, and a smithy. The roads brought a sufficient number of travelers and merchant wagons to attract tradesmen and artisans to serve those passing through. The resthouse became a thriving inn, and a wheel and wainwright settled in the thorp. More farmers and herdsmen followed, for grain was needed for the passing animals, and meat was in demand for the innfolk.

Prosperity was great, for the lord of the district was mild and taxed but little. Trade was good, and the land was untroubled by war, outlaws, or ravaging beasts. The area was free, beautiful, and bountiful – too much so, in the eyes of some.

Whether the evil came west from Dyvers (as is claimed by one faction) or crept up out of the forestlands bordering the Wild Coast (as others assert), come it did. At first it was only a few thieves and an odd group of bandits molesting the merchant caravans. Then came small bands of humanoids – kobolds or goblins – raiding the flocks and herds. Local milita and foresters of the Waldgraf of Ostverk apparently checked, but did not stop, the spread of outlawry and evil.

A collection of hovels and their slovenly inhabitants formed the nucleus for the troubles which were to increase. A wicked cleric established a small chapel at this point. The folk of Hommlet tended to ignore this place, Nulb, even though it was but 6 miles distant. But its out-of-the-way position was ideal for the fell purposes planned for this settlement, as was its position on a small river flowing into the Velverdyva. The thickets and marshes around Nulb became the lair and hiding place for bandits, brigands, and all sorts of evil men and monsters alike. The chapel grew into a stone temple as its faithful brought in their ill-gotten tithes. Good folk were robbed, pillaged, enslaved, and worse.

In but three years, a grim and forbidding fortress surrounded the evil place, and swarms of creatures worshipped and worked their wickedness therein. The servants of the Temple of Elemental Evil made Hommlet and the lands for leagues around a mockery of freedom and beauty. Commerce ceased, crops withered; pestilence was abroad.

But the leaders of this cancer were full of hubris, and in their overweaning pride, sought to overthrow the good realms to the north, who were coming to the rescue of the land being crushed under the tyranny wrought by the evil temple. A great battle was fought.

When the good people of Hommlet saw streams of ochre-robed men and humanoids fleeing south and west through their community, there was great rejoicing, for they knew that the murderous oppressors had been defeated and driven from the field in panic and rout. So great was the slaughter, so complete the victory of good, that the walled stronghold of the Temple of Elemental Evil fell within a fortnight, despite the aid of a terrible demon. The place was ruined and sealed against a further return of such abominations by powerful blessings and magic.

Life in Hommlet quickly returned to a semblance of its former self, before the rise of the temple. For five years afterward, the village and the surrounding countryside have become richer and more prosperous than ever before. A monstrous troll which plagued the place for a time was hunted down by a party of passing adventurers. Carrying the ashes and a goodly fortune as well, the adventurers returned to the village. Before going elsewhere to seek their fortunes, the adventurers also returned a portion of the villagers’ losses. Other adventurers, knowing of the evil that had once resided in the area, came to seek out similar caches, and several did find remote lairs and wealth – just as some never returned at all.

After a time, adventurers stopped coming to the area. It seemed that no monsters were left to slay, and no evil existed here to be stamped out. The villagers heaved a collective sigh – some pained at the loss of income, but others relieved by the return to the quiet, normal life – and Hommlet continued its quiet existence for four years more.

But then, a year ago, the bandits began to ride the roads again – not frequently, but to some effect. To the good folk of Hommlet, this seemed all too familiar, so they sent word to the Viscount that wicked forces might still lurk thereabouts. This information has been spread throughout the countryside, and the news has attracted outsiders to the village once again. Who and what these men are, no one can be quite sure. All claim to be bent on slaying monsters and bringing peace and security to Hommlet; but deeds speak more loudly than words, and lies cloak the true purposes of the malevolent.

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The Adventure Begins!!!!
Excitement sold separately

Your party is now approaching the Village of Hommlet, having come all the way from a humble tavern in a distant city on the Wild Coast. Perhaps by chance, perhaps by some unseen will, you all were looking for fame, fortune, wealth, and the chance to do great good in the world, and you were all in the same place at the same time. You formed a bond, a fellowship, maybe even an organization together, and all set out for Hommlet, where adventurers like yourselves are said to be in need.

You are poorly mounted, if mounted at all, badly equipped, and have no large sums of cash. In fact, all you have is what you wear and what you ride, plus the few coins that are hidden in purses and pockets. What you do possess in quantity, though, is daring and desire to become wealthy and famous. Thus, your group comes to Hommlet to learn. Is this indeed a place for adventurers to seek their fortunes? You all hope, of course, to gain riches and make names for yourselves. The outcome of this is uncertain, but your skill and daring, along with a good measure of luck, will be the main ingredients of what follows, be it for weal or woe.

The small community at the crossroads is a completely unknown quantity. What is there? Who will be encountered? Where should you go? These are your first explorations and encounters, so chance may dictate as much as intelligence. Will outsiders be shunned? Are the reports true—is the whole community engaged in evil practices? Are the folk here bumpkins, easily duped? Does a curse lay upon those who dare to venture into the lands which once were the Temple’s? All of these questions will soon be answered.

The dusty, rutted road is lined with closely-grown hedges of brambles and shrubs. Here and there it cuts through a copse or crosses a rivulet. To either hand, forest and meadow have given way to field and orchard. A small herd of kine graze nearby, and a distant hill is dotted with the wand stone chimneys with thin plumes of blue smoke rising from them. A road angles west into the hill country, and to either side of the road ahead are barns and buildings—Hommlet at last!

The adventure begins…

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Day 1: There's no place like Hommlet
In which we meet our merry band of adventurers

It was the early morning when Lord Damor rode into Hommlet seeking fame, fortune, and adventure. In tow were his half-orc body guard Kannash and his halfling squire-cum-jester, Bruce MacSilverlight.

Taking a map that is made available to all travelers, our party went to the first house they saw where the were greeted by the friendly housewife, Unastine Daleborn. Being the house closest to the town entrance, Unastine was used to answering many travelers questions. Our adventurers only had three: 1) where could they rest they rest their weary feet? 2) who was the leader of this town? and 3) what did sort of good deeds did this town need done for it.

Unastine, being a devout follower of the Old Faith, tried to be as accommodating as possible. She told the travelers about the Inn of the Welcome Wench where they could stable their horse and enjoy a good meal. She told them not only of Zanster Dwarfhands, the town elder, but also of the town council. And she told them a little of the new evils that seem to be returning to their once peaceful town. Our heroes thanked her and went directly to the Inn.

After securing a room for the evening with the innkeep Ostler, our adventurers traveled to the main room to see if they could learn more about the troubles plaguing this town. Their interests were quickly sidetracked when they met the halfling Furnok of Ferd who was running some popular games of cards and dice. After Bruce lost “a wee bit o’ coin”, Kannash decided to investigate further. It was at this point that Furnok didn’t seem to care much for playing. Damor, sensing his squire had been had took swift action to lift the halfling upside down and shake the coin out of him. This immediately caught the attention of an intimidating man named Elmo, who up until this point appeared to be drunk. Damor tried to call for the other people in the inn to join him, but all seemed to have no interest in helping or were more interested in taking up arms against these new strangers. Ostler came over and asked our adventurers to leave, and the were again without a place to stay for the evening.

To be continued….

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Day 1 Part 2: In which our party meets Zanster Dwarfhands
He lives nextdoor to Xavier Wolfpeter

After no longer being welcome at the Welcome Wench they seeked out the town elder. Through some charisma, they made their way past the guards of the Walled Manor House (27) and found themselves before Zanster Dwarfhands. He told the party more about the town and the growing number of bandits, theives, and problems that they’ve been facing. Our party volunteered to keep a watch of the parameter of the town that night to help protect the village. Zanster also invited them to come back to the the council meeting that was happening that night, it being a new moon and all. He told them more of the religion in town including Jarroo in the Grove. He thought it would interest them since Bruce claimed to be of the Old Faith. Damor thanked him, reaffirmed his vow to patrol that evening, and said he would see Zanster at the council meeting in a few hours.

Our adventurers then went to the Church of St. Cuthbert (20) . Here they met Calmert and learned a little of the order of St. Cuthbert. They also learned a little about the history of the church, the new Canon Terjon, and even donated some money to the church. Our party learned their donation was actually going toward building a castle fortress on the west end of town. Calmert was so taken with the party that he even gave them some holy water which he had been blessing. Damor asked if there was any place they could stay for the night. Calmert offered up the cells in the basement of the church. The party accepted and then left and never returned.

From there they visited the home of Walroar Arroway (18) the braumeister. They learned the Arroway family and the brew house employees were almost entirely new converts to St. Cuthbert. Bruce, claiming to also be a follower of St. Cuthbert, made fast friends. Damor negotiated a deal where they would deliver some ale to the Welcome Wench in exchange for housing for the evening. They went to work, enjoyed a meal where the adventurers learned more of the town’s troubles, and then our adventurers headed over to the council meeting.

To be continued…

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Day 1 Part 3: The Council Meets
And Bruce learns that pride goes before the fall

While Damor and Kannish take their seats and wait for the council meeting to start, Bruce decides he wants to get his money back from Furnok and excuses himself back to the Welcome Wench. Once there he forces himself into Furnok’s unlocked room. Furnok refuses and brief melee takes place. Bruce narrowly escapes with his life, only managing to steal Furnok’s dagger after it breezes by his temple.

Back at the council meeting, the villagers are voicing their concerns of the growing troubles in the town. In particular, they worry about the moathouse, a few miles west of town that was an outpost during the war of Temple of the Elemental Evil. If nothing else, brigands, thieves, other nefarious forces were believed to be squatting there. Damor stood up and took the floor saying he and his compatriots would clear out the evil lurking in the ruins. While most of the town people seemed relieved, others were skeptic of this stranger’s promise. The adventuring party left and met with Bruce back at the braumeister’s house. The went to sleep peacefully, never patrolling in the night like they promised Zanster. One of Unastine Daleborn’s children was murdered that night.

The next morning the party woke up and headed for the trading post with hopes of procuring some riding horses. The met Gremag and Rannos Davl, the owners of the shop. While Gremag claimed to offer a fair price on all items, the amount he wanted for a riding horse was to high to even be named. It was clearly over the suggested retail price. Even when Damor told Gremag of the adventure’s plans to help the town, Gremag and Rannos seemed like they couldn’t be bothered and had no allegiance to either good or bad. The exchange became very heated and eventually the party was kicked out of the trading post.

Having enough of Hommlet, they headed through the overgrown track towards the Ruins of the Moathouse.

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Arrival: The Ruins of the Moathouse
But I like to think of it as a moat-home

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A scrub of thorns, thistles, weeds, and shrubs grows thickly along the edge of the track which leads into the wilderness. Even the track itself is mostly overgrown and cluttered with fallen branches and trees. Here and there it is washed out, in other places a mire.

Some game evidently still follows the pathway, for after a mile or so faint traces can be seen. But even considering this, going is slow. It takes about four hours to travel this distance, as much hacking and clearing must be performed. After two miles, as the track turns more northerly, the land begins to sink and become boggy. Tall marsh plants grow thickly where cattails and tamaracks do not. Off to the left can be seen the jagged silhouette of the moathouse.

The small ruined keep stands in the middle of the bog and is surrounded by a dank, algae filled moat The rotting timbers and rusted chins of an ancient drawbridge rest upon the soggy ground entrance into the main courtyard.

A side path, banked high to cross over the wetland to either side, just north to the entrance of the ruin. The track here is only about 15 feet wide or so, with crumbling embankments making travel near the edge dangerous. The bogs stink. The vegetation appears dense and prolific, but somehow sickly and unhealthy, creepers and vines throwing their strangling loops over the skeletons of dead saplings and living bushes alike. The rushes and cattails rustle and bend even to a slight zephyr, and weird bird calls, croaking and other unwholesome sounds come faintly across the fen.

The afternoon sunlight filters through the moss-covered merlons atop the crenelated moathouse walls, casting the bog in eerie, yellowish light and shadow.

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Upper Level of the Moathouse
It's what we call a "fixer-upper"

After our adventurers trudged for miles by foot toward the moathouse, they finally reached it. Crossing the dilapidated draw bridge they were attacked by frogs which they made short work of.

Carefully entering the ruins they noticed boot prints of numerous people that had recently been here. It seems that someone (or something) noticed their arrival as well.

The found a band brigands and their leader in the back room. Stragically trapping them in their room, they Kannash picked off the brigands one at a time while Damor put the fear of god in them. One managed to escape with his tail between his legs. Once the leader was free from the room he had no problem taking out Kannash and Damor. He then set his sights on Bruce, running him down a back hallway. Bruces arrows proved to be too much for the leader, and as he fell he vowed that the Master would surely make them suffer.

The party explored more of the upper level. While it was mostly well scavenged they did find a few items of note (as well as some bats and a giant tick). Damor discovered a secret stairwell that went into a dark dungeon. Slowly leading the way, Bruce was hit square in the face with a green slime. Then another one fell. Kannash and Damor came to his rescue, but the slimes started splitting. Using flasks of oiled lining the stairwell, Kannash and Damor made something of molotov cocktail and took out all the fiends in one swipe.

At the stairway arch, the party found some broken furniture. Exploring more, they found not one but two hidden doors. Each room contained lots of supplies and items for what seemed to be several, several men. They found 70 capes, each containing a symbol seen on the leader of the brigands above:

flaming_yellow_eye.jpg

The adventures decided to head back to Hommlet with as much as they could carry and see what else they could learn.

These are the items they found:

1 amethyst
2 citrines
a gold chain
2,000 cp
two bolts of fine cloth
a crystal flagon and four goblets
an inlaid wooden box with ivory handles and decorations
four magical arrows
1 wall cresset with silver baton
30 shields
12 suits of leather armor
2 5-gallon kegs of brandy
50 spears
10 glaives
6 guisarmes
3 battle axes
70 black capes (each with the yellow eye of fire sewed on the center)
a crate of 120 arrows
a crate of 200 crossbows
other containers of provisions, salted meat, etc.

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Return to Hommlet
Be sure to try the Hommlet Omelette at the Wench!

Realizing there must be something more going on at the moathouse, our adventurers decided to head back to Hommlet to see what was going on… The packed up as much of their loot as they could and left Kannash to guard the rest. They brought some of the cloaks with the odd symbol they found as well.

Upon returning to Hommlet, they were welcomed by the cheers of the towns people. How had word already traveled back to town? Perhaps the brigand that escaped? Among the crowd of people is Ostler, the innkeep of the Welcome Wench. He’s more than ready to forgive the heroes for their [[Day 1: There’s no place like Hommlet | previous mishap]] and even offers free housing and food for the evening. Also with the welcome wagon is Rannos Davl, the owner of the trading post. He has a special offer for the adventurers and invites them to visit him later.

The adventurers go looking for Elder Dwarfhands and find him at the construction of a new building to house the village council. The party returns (some of) their treasures back to the town. The elder is very greatful and even asks they keep some. Then they ask about the symbol on the cloaks and learn that the black triangle is representative of the Elemental Evil. It appears that someone is trying to reopen the temple.

The adventurers visit Jaroo the druid in the Grove for more information. He himself was sent to investigate the rumors of such evil. Knowing their adventure will be rough, he promises to give them help if they return the next morning.

Back at the Welcome Wench, the party enjoys many free drinks on the house as well as some amazing supper. They see their old friend Elmo enjoying a drinking contest with a putrid barbarian adventurer with no name. The fowl smelling barbarian agrees to the handle “John” and asks to go with them on their adventurers. Elmo wishes to also go along if the party can bring him a BIG axe.

The adventurers (with new friend “John”) go visiting Elmo’s house. There they meet Otigold Fletcher, captain of the militia and father to Elmo and Otis. They learn that Otis had gone out adventuring to seek fortune. He isn’t happy to see his younger son follow in those footsteps, but give the adventurers Elmo’s axe and armor anyway. If anything happens to Elmo, Otis will surely hear about it.

Before turning in for the evening, the adventurers visit the trading post. Rannos Davl is working and sells the party some potions and buys back some of the items they discovered. Very interested in what other treasures lurk in the bowels of the moathouse, he offers to sponsor the party’s next trip there. He equips them with horses and a dungeon cart so they can bring back all the loot they find. Additionally he offers the help of his employee, the young and eager Crurry Spelloyal.

By now it’s getting late but there’s one thing left to do. Bruce heads back to Furnok‘s room at the Welcome Wench to make amends for the [[Day 1 Part 3: The Council Meets | incident]] that happened the day before. Furnok isn’t in his room but it’s mysteriously unlock. Bruce and “John” discover money, a spell scroll, and a ring of invisibility. Bruce is very nervous to take anything from Furnok, but “John” throws the ring in his sack without a second thought.

They sleep well that night and enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the morn. They visit the Grove before setting off and Jaroo introduces them to Olowald Mistletoe, a young mage. Olowald, Crurry and Elmo join ranks with our party as they return to the moathouse…

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Return to the Moathouse
Mo Moathouse, Mo Problems

With their numbers now doubled, the adventurers return to the moathouse to further explore the explore the dungeons below, learn more about this yellow eye of elemental evil, and bring bring back more treasure for Rannos. However, when they return, they notice that Kannash is no where to be seen. Fearing the worst, the head down in to the lower level to look for clues to find what happened to their friend.

As they walked down the stairs, something caught Demor‘s eye. He found a gold ring near the flasks of oil. They didn’t make their way to far into a corridor before zombies began pouring out of cells. While the undead creatures didn’t seem to difficult, they didn’t go down easily. Crurry Spelloyal got the MVP award for killing the most zombies. The zombies didn’t have any money but a peridot was discovered in one of the cells.

Exploring further they party found a torture chamber, but they were suddenly attacked a lizard that seemed to have made it’s way from the upstairs. The lizard also went down quickly. Crurry beheaded the creature and wore it’s flesh covered skull as something of a cap. Examining the room they found blood that seemed to go south toward a pillar in the back of the room.

In a northern room they found another locked door with well greased hinges. But nothing of value was found in the room. One room over the party discovered Lubbash, a giant Ogre who was hungry for human flesh. “John” wearing a cloak with the yellow eye of elemental evil made Lubbash believe they were transporting prisoners to the New Master. The ogre was so stupid he believed him even though John didn’t know the hand signal! Before leaving the room, the adventurers accidentally discovered Lubbash’s pantry which included the remains of many creatures and two well tortured humans and a gnome. The party continued past Lubash’s room to the hallway beyond. There they regrouped and decided to go back and save the poor souls who were soon to be lunch for Lubbash. Surprising the creature they managed to take him down quickly. The adventures rescued and healed the two merchants who offered to reward the party next time they were in Hommlet. Bruce unshackled the gnome who said he was there spying on some Gnolls. As a thank you, he gave Bruce an iron ring. Additionally, a small amount of money and an elven cloak was found among Lubash’s things.

While Bruce was walking the prisoners to safety upstairs, the rest of the party continued along the hallway beyond Lubash’s room. They triggered a trap which closed them off to the Ogre’s room. Luckily, they had enough strength among the group to lift the grate separating them and let Bruce rejoin the party. Further down the hallway they found a room with three doors and a room off to the side. Listening through the first door, they heard more zombies. Doors two and three sounded clearer, but when opened revealed a solid wall behind them. Even worse, one of the door set off another iron gate that prevented them from returning the way they came. With Damor’s “turn undead” and Crurry’s blood lust, the 7 zombies behind the first door were quickly annihilated. Before venturing that way, the party decided to check the side room.

They found a group of gnolls. Despite not having a common language the party was able to pay off two of the gnolls who left without fighting, the remaining 7 including the leader ended up being a formidable battle. The party persevered and decided to make camp for the evening.

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Meet the New Master
Same as the old master?

Keeping watch in shifts, the party rested in the gnoll hole over night. Elmo woke them in the morning with a sudden surprise. Olowald and Crurry had gone missing. There were signs of a struggle and Elmo tracked the elf and halfling blood to a room of Burial Crypts. At the front of the room they saw a Ghoul devouring Olowald’s body. Stealthly, Bruce fired a killshot into the back of the Ghoul’s head.

At that moment, Kannash appeared from behind a crypt. He had found a secret passage from the torture room. With him was a new mage, Baron. There wasn’t much time for introductions before they were set upon by 4 more ghouls . These creatures were getting corpses to eat from the Master- and sometimes even had the chance to prey on those not yet dead for sport.

After defeating the ghouls, Demar found a den where the ghouls nested. Scattered in the mess he found 800sp, seven vials of holy water, a potion of undead control, and a scroll of protection from undead. At the other end of the crypt were small burrows were the tunnels were still being built out.

With nothing more to be done for Olowald, the party went out looking to see if they could rescue Crurry. Hearing some water coming from the south, they ventured into a room containing a natural pool of water. There were two guard of the Flaming Eye there that were engaged in trying to push back a giant crayfish. Under the guise of also working for the Master, the adventurers helped fight back the crayfish before turning on the guards. They tied one up to get more information out of him. It was then that they learned the identity of the new master— Lareth, the Beautiful.

Lareth has been sent to this area to rebuild a force of men and humanoid fighters to gather loot and restore the Temple of Elemental Evil to its former glory. He is but one of many so charged, of course, but is looked upon with special favor and expectation. He and his minions have been careful to raid far
from this area, never nearer than three or four leagues, travelling on foot or riding in wagons of the traders from Hommlet. None of the victims are ever left alive to tell the tale, and mysterious disappearances are all that can be remarked upon. No trace of men, mounts, goods, wagons or draft animals is ever found.

The guard also gave information of where the barracks and Lareth, the Beautiful’s chamber were located. He also told them of a room in the northern part of the dungeon where a group of Bugbear “new recruits” could be found. In the pool of water, John spotted something platinum and a bone tube. Trying to grab the items, he knocked them off the ledge and they sank to the bottom of the pool way out of reach. The guard laughed at John’s misfortune and in a rage John bashed his head in.

Seeking out the bugbears, the party set a series of confusing traps to confound the new recruits. The adventures took out the recruits and found gold and silver necklace.

Feeling confident, the party marched on the barracks and chamber of the New Master. Using the ring of invisibility, Bruce snuck inside and the four guards were quick to realize something was a miss. Demar tried to put the fear of god They sounded the horn bringing in 12 more guards and some sergeants. Bruce fired a shot and revealed himself. Coming from the master’s chambers appeared Crurry, revealing himself as Lareth’s evil lieutenant. He made Bruce an offer to meet the master and join the darkside. Bruce went into the Lareth’s chamber and spoke to him.

Lareth offered Bruce the chance to join him in his quest for evil if he could prove himself by killing one of his party members. Surprising everyone, Bruce slit Crurry’s throat, turned invisible, and ran for the door. The guards sounded the horn alerting more bug bears and ghouls to close in our party. Fighting their way out, the part escaped up a passageway hoping to reach the topside before the evil caught up to them…

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