Temple of Elemental Evil

Interlude: Hommelet to Nulb
When we last left our companions....

The pleasant and seemingly peaceful village of Hommlet turned out to be filled with intrigue, with agents of Chaotic Evil hiding within the hamlet. The supposedly deserted and ruined moathouse nearby held a new champion of the nearby Temple of Elemental Evil.

All of this brought danger and difficulty to the members of your group, but it also offered adventure, experience, and wealth.

You have either slain or driven off the evil men and creatures, and the able guardians of Hommlet— Jaroo, Terjon, Burne , Rufus , and the rest of the sturdy militiamen — can surely see to it that their area remains clean of the taint of Evil hereafter. Having accomplished most of your goals, you must now look elsewhere for yet greater challenges (and commensurate rewards). If agents of the Temple were still active in Hommlet, then there must certainly be work for you at that fountainhead of wickedness.

Just a half-day’s journey afoot (only about two hours’ ride), east along the High Road, lies the disreputable community of Nulb, and the Temple hidden in the hills nearby. This vile place spawned much suffering, ruin and death before the hosts of Good brought it low and bound its power. It is evident that the place was wounded but not slain, for dark things crept into Hommlet under direction of someone or some thing still lurking in the shunned edifice of Evil.

The upper works of the Temple were thrown down and destroyed in the final siege of the war against its hordes. Because of its great power and evil, however, the conquerors did not actually raze the Temple proper, instead sealing its great doors and placing mighty wards of all sorts upon the place and the black labyrinth beneath. Even as great a force as overthrew the Temple could not cleanly deal with what lurked below.

Since that great battle, the Temple area has been shunned, its ruins deserted. The nearby village of Nulb has returned to a semblance of normal activity — questionable at best, for the place has always been rumored to house thieves, brigands, smugglers and pirates. But as Nulb stinks of garbage and filth, the Temple area reeks of the foul corruption and pervading Evil from whence it was spawned. No wonder that both places have again been left to their own devices.

When the Temple of Elemental Evil flourished, earthquakes, storms of all sorts, great fires, and flash floods struck areas nearby with seeming capriciousness. All that ceased when the Temple was assaulted and sealed. You have been advised of all this, and urged to go elsewhere to seek your fame and fortunes. The unease which prevails upon those merely passing near the ruins shows that some wickedness still haunts the place. There are many bad folk in Nulb, and still greater perils amidst the fallen Temple.

Yet the lure of such adventure beckons to you, drawing your party as surely as a lodestone draws iron. Warnings against loss of life — or even worse fates — cannot counter the irresistable pull of treasures secreted deep underground, of monsters still unbeaten, of mysteries to be unraveled. There are whispers of occult places beneath the interdicted Temple, where mighty Evil is yet wrought and noble folk are imprisoned. With care and cunning, luck and great deeds, caution mixed with boldness and daring, you and your associates can win through to achieve exploits of the stuff of legend! The journey of a hundred leagues begins with the first pace, and the time for your sojourn has come.

How you and your fellow adventurers plan to overcome the perils of the Temple is a matter that you must decide for yourselves. Is it best to reconnoiter from Hommlet? Base your activities from the village of Nulb? Try to make a secure wilderness camp somewhere near the ruin? Or perhaps lodge somewhere within the foreboding Temple itself? The decision is now. It is certain that both vast treasure and horrible death await, so you must gain the one while cheating the other. Fortune and the gods must smile upon such an undertaking.

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Battle at the Welcome Wench
This is why they make you put a credit card down

When the party returned to Hommlet after their adventures, the town was eerily quiet. And meeting and updating Zannster Dwarfhands on their encounter with Lareth the Beautiful, they set up camp in Elmo’s house and rested for the evening. Bruce went and visited Furnok, returning his ring of indivisibility.They were awoken by the town being under attack!!

Inside the Welcome Wench a great melee took place with our heroes and Lareth. His followers from both the ruins and sleeper agents within the town fought the villagers.

The heroes swiftly defeated Lareth’s minions before turning their sights on him. He proved to be not too difficult, but shortly before following summoned a power assassin. The assassin seemed nearly impenetrable and one by one took down the party members. Once they were all incapacitated he threw Lareth over his shoulder and snuck out of the Inn.

The next morning the townspeople licked their wounds and tried to make sense of what happened. Lareth seemed to be one of many that was trying to bring back the Temple of Elemental Evil to it’s former glory. What’s worst, it seems the people of Hommlet were too trusting and many of their own citizens were working toward these nefarious ends. Elmo, Jaroo, and Terjon vowed to work with the militia to protect the town from further attacks. The party members explored the rest of the town to try and find if any other secrets remained.

Once they were satisfied they had spoken to everyone, they headed off to Nulb….

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

moathousekeep.jpg

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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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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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: 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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