Temple of Elemental Evil

9. The Earth Temple

4/29/11: We had a few weeks where we didn't play because all of us were very sick... but we got a game in last night and we're back on track.

Carric Cendoria - Elf Seeker
Fayte Bonesunder - Human Paladin
Heron - Half-elf Fighter
Jurod/Jolene - Changeling Mage

* NPC Hirelings: Mardix the man-at-arms, Vellic the druid, Harmony Helltiger the rogue and Rania the thief.

We started off this session with a special encounter with the gods. I had the players bring their old characters, who are now gods, to play through a quick scenario. The point was to show why the gods don't just deal with the temple themselves - because there's a million other things going on too.

Zev: In the abyss, Duskeater lounged in the Court of Teeth with an imp called Slenderfemme the Delectable. Zev appeared and pointed out that Murkwallow, the imp in the Temple of Elemental Evil, had been killed (killed by the heroes last adventure). Duskeater apologised and said he had two choices for replacements - Slenderfemme and Dankweeper the Conspirator (the imp from Nolivari, whose master Jurod had tricked and humiliated). Duskeater was partial to Slenderfemme.

Dankweeper spoke up. "Great master Zev, I am Dankweeper the Conspirator! I beg you to give me the opportunity to go to the temple! There is one there, his name is Jurod. He corrupted my priestess! He impersonated you! I wish to ruin that charlatan in body and in soul!"

Duskeater waved him off. "That's nice, yes, yes." Duskeater indicated that Slenderfemme was his choice. Zev chose Dankweeper. Duskeater was shocked and humbled, and apologised.

Dankweeper said, "I will not fail you. I will destroy Jurod. And I'll get you the Golden Skull from the temple."

Suddenly, Zev heard a call from one of his followers in the Cinderlands, on the world of Nyrod near the city of Korvosa. Seaph Mourn, a dark angel of Zev, called out to his god with his dying breath. The King of Terror's agents had slain him and were up to something big.... Zev teleported there with Duskeater...

Anjou:A druid on the world of Dracos, Drake Lonesong, was protecting an ancient tree from foresters looking to found a village. The tree was home to many squirrels and birds. The foresters wanted to chop it down, and the ten of them were threatening the lone druid to get out of his way. Drake warned that he'd use his spells if he had to. He called out, "Anjou give me strength!".

Thunderclouds rolled in and a bolt of lightning struck the ground between them. Anjou appeared. The foresters screamed and backed away. Anjou pointed to the tree. "This is sacred to me." She gestured to the druid "You will listen to Drake. He will advise you of a safe place where you can live in harmony with nature"

River, a goliath barbarian of Anjou, an ally of Seraph Mourn, called out to her, also warning of trouble with the King of Terror with his dying breath.  Anjou said "Now I must depart", and rode a lightning bolt back up into the sky.

Kava: A dwarf named King Blizzard and his lover, a dragonborn named Rain Katana, could not naturally conceive of a child. But they were trying, as many before them had done, was to get to the Epic mountains to seek out the Frosthowl cave. There, sometimes Kava Frosthowl would allow them to melt the ice inside and unearth a child that was theirs. 

But on their way to the cave, they were caught in a blizzard. They were freezing to death. They called out to Kava for aid.  Kava sent them an icy basilisk to lead them through the storm.

then Kava heard another call. A dwarf avenger of Kava, Blood Saber, was stuck down by an ally of the King of Terror in the Cinderlands. He begged his patron to come to the Cinderlands with his dying breath. 

Cedric, Healer of Empyron:  A gravely wounded efreet appeared before the dwarf ally of the gods. She gasped, "Please! Help me! The githyanki...". She was dying. She held a githyanki silver sword. Cedric knew that the githyanki were at odds with the efreet, because the efreets were big on slavery, and the githyanki hated slavery. They butted heads when Tiamat allied with the efreet to fight against the Coalition of Dracos, of whom Gith and her githyanki were a part. Relations between them had been volatile ever since, with Gith promising to attack their city if they did not put an end to slavery in the City of Brass.

Cedric could see that the efreet had stolen one of the prized silver swords of the githyanki. The wounded efreet begged Cedric, "I am Sunset Rosefire, niece of the Caliph of the City of Brass! you can't let me die!". Cedric knelt down and healed her with his magic.

She thanked him and bragged about how she had assaulted the githyanki airships unprovoked and stole oneof their swords.

Then Little Weshkaw, the cherub "son" of Io/Reshkar flew up to Cedric. Because Io was a prime deity, he had to deal with all the worlds, not just the worlds of Nyrod. Cedric was one of Io's exarchs that dealt with issues in the worlds of Nyrod. Weshkaw was panicked. "Lord Io! King of Terror! Pawid Pwincess! The Cindow wands! You have to go there wight now! Very Impo-tant!.

Then the cherub saw Cedric and Sunset close together. He drew a heart-tipped arrow. "Would you wike... a girlfriend..?" he asked.  "Do you wike this efweet wady?!"

Cedric said "No, that's OK."

Cedric and the other gods appeared in The Cinderlands, by the bodies of those who had called them. They were all members of the same adventuring group, and they were all dead. Seraph Mourn, River, Blood Saber,  and a gold dragon who served Io called Eternity Zeal. There was also a tiefling cleric bearing the symbol of Dispater. His name was Arcpiston.

A ten foot tall woman who reeked of decay and was surrounded by poison mist. This was The Pallid Princess, "daughter" of the King of Terror.  The King of Terror was a primordial that had taken Vecna's seat as a prime god. The King had broken up a slumbering primordial into three smaller entities, his exarchs of "children". All of them had an ultimate goal - to kill the gods and to let giants and elemental beings rule the prime material plane.

The Pallid Princess said "So! You stand in the way of the primordials once more! My father shall usurp you all."

Then Dispater appeared. Or rather, a translucent image of him did. He leaned over Arcpiston's dead body and said "Arcpiston, your sacrifice will not be in vain!". 

The Pallid Princess summoned an ally. "Living tumor! Take care of them!". A floating, large tumor appeared and hovered toward the gods. Then she ran through a portal that was behind her. The magic portal slowly began to close. 

As the gods prepared to battle the tumor, Duskeater looked around. He said, "Look what we have here... Some dwarf. (nervously) And Kava Frosthowl. And a lady with a spear. How cute."

Anjou said "I used this spear to stab Bahamut and create Io."

Duskeater nodded and then looked at Zev's implement and said, "Oh look! It's the wand of Orcus! I forgot, it's right there!"

The gods attacked the tumor, while Dispater made his way to the portal. He held it open with his magic, but was shocked at where it led. Anjou held the tumor at bay with the arrow of fate, while Cedric pelted it with radiance. Kava cleaved into the thing with her axe (doing 162 points from one of her four attacks!.

Once bloodied, the tumor created a duplicate of itself. But Kava killed the original, and Zev destroyed the other with a life force reclaimed spell.

Duskeater gloated and said "Hey everyone did you see? I know, you saw. I don't need to say anything else."

Dispater called out, as he was still keeping the portal open, "I can't hold it much longer!". The heroes came close and peered through. They saw an evil city of devils. Dispater said, "It's my home city of Dis in Hell! Why would the King of Terror's exarch go to my city? My city is in trouble! I need your help!"

The gods sensed Dispater was being disingenuous somehow, like he knew more than he was telling. 

Anjou said, "I don't trust you, but I don't believe that you can kill me either. I'll see you on the other side." Anjou flew through the portal. The other gods followed. And that's why the gods hadn't dealt with the Temple - because there were a hundred other threats to the worlds going on at the same time.

Heron, Fayte, Carric and Jurod had joined the Earth Temple in an effort to infiltrate the Temple of Elemental Evil. They were making their way back through the swamp to the village of Nulth.

Vellic asked, "How far are we going to go with this? I mean, we're aligned with Chaotic Evil! I am a servant of the druid Aldrelle and she loathes Chaotic Evil. I'm going to be honest with you. There's some things I'm just not going to do."

Heron said, "So far we've only been fighting servants of Chaotic Evil. So long as they keep fighting amongst each other, we can keep doing what we want to do."

Mardix put his hand on Vellic's shoulder and said, "Don't worry kid, there's some things I won't do either."

In the swamp up ahead, they saw a lizard man being attacked by two giant leeches. They were stuck to his back and he was covered in blood. Jurod used his magic to cast arc lightning. A pair of lightning bolts killed the leeches. The lizard man, covered in blood, stumbled onto the road. 

The heroes urged Vellic to heal it. Vellic said, "It's evil."

Jurod asked, "Don't you value life?"

Vellic said, "It might go to kill somebody or something."

Jurod urged him to heal it. Vellic shrugged, called upon Anjou, and healed the lizard man. The lizard man hissed, backed into the swamp and ran off. 

The heroes arrived at Nulth and made their way to the Waterside Hostel. It was full of scummy sailors. Dick Rentsch, Wat, Dala and Pearl were working very hard to keep them serviced. Fayte could tell that the potion of friendliness that she'd slipped to Dick seemed to be permanent. He was leering at her with his one good eye. His lover, Dala, sneered at Fayte, and then looked lovingly in Carric's direction. 

The heroes took a seat at a table in the far corner. The sailors looked at the heroes and whispered. One of their leaders came over and said, "Hey! I heard there were adventurers in Nulth. Let me buy you a fuckin drink!."

Heron said "Why? What did we do?".

"I'm just trying to be fucking friendly", the sailor snapped.

"OK", said Heron. "I like friends". 

The sailor turned and looked at Dick Rentsch. "Hey! Baldy! Get these fuckers some of your Piss drink."

Heron said, "And don't spit in it, asshole!". The sailor retrieved the drinks and sat down with the adventurers.

"The name's Kolang.  What you been up to here in Nulth?"

Jurod asked, "Why are you asking us this? What do you hope to gain?".

"Pleasure of your company. Maybe I'll meet a girl..." He looked at Harmony, the naked, tattooed eladrin rogue. He smiled. 

Jurod and Kolang began to argue. Kolang threatened to gut him. Kolang's ally, a halfling female, stormed over to the table. She said, "Let's cut to the fucking chase! Did you scum find any treasure? We're fucking living on worms!".

Jurod laughed. "Some honesty! About time."

Heron began to tell a worm story from Mist Hollow to try to deflect from the fact that the heroes had found treasure. As he started to tell the tale, she said "Oh, fuck this! Get him, boys!". All of the sailors got up and attacked!

The staff of the hostel aided the heroes in the battle. Halflings rushed the heroes and slashed the purses off their belts and then tried to escape with gems worth almost 1000 gold! The heroes were able to keep them from getting away while fighting the sailors.

Jurod cast a font of flame spell that Wat enhanced by spitting alcohol. Fayte and Dick Rentsch teamed up on Kolang, with Dick dealing out some vicious groin kicks. As sailors were bloodied, they tried to run. At first the heroes tried to just knock out the sailors, but ended up killing many when they nearly lost thousands of gold.

Mardix was thrown onto the bar. Pearl held down a halfling thief while Heron beat it bloody with his staff. Jurod cast a sleep spell on four sailors. Urulina, the halfling woman, tried to run but Fayte cut her down. Fayte slit the throats of those who fell asleep, and the heroes killed the last fleeing sailor.

As the battle ended, Dick Rentsch laughed. "Ha ha! Fuckers! Nice work. Let's see what they got on them." He searched some bodies, and found nothing but copper pieces and worms. "She wasn't kidding! Fucking worms!".

Heron said thoughtfully, "We could use these worms to, I don't know, fish or something. Revitalize this economy without having to steal from people..."

Dick interrupted, "Ohhh fuck you. You're in fucking Nulth, man! Get over it!"

Heron said, "If you have to steal from the strongest people in town, then you have to re-think your economy. "

Dick and the workers began to clean up. Dick noted, "I think those are some of Tolub's boys. You gotta watch out for him. He's tough. He's a river pirate who just got back in town.

Fayte did not visit Dick's compartment. They slept in the Hostel and awoke the next morning. A thunderstorm was raging. Sheets of rain pummeled Nulth. Jurod transformed overnight into Jolene. Mardix was pleased. Raina was appalled. Mardix explained, "Sometimes it wakes up as a lady - sometimes it's a guy."

Heron said "That's what's been happening? I was totally clueless!"

The heroes took their cart pulled by a mule, a horse and a skeletal horse, and rode through the storm back to the temple. Minions of the Earth Temple directed the heroes to the dining hall on level one. The ogres had cleaned it up, and one of the ogres was cooking in the kitchen. The heroes took seats and greeted the assorted villains before them:

Romag: Leader of the Earth Temple. He had crystal embedded in his body, and could create three foot tall crystal minions that acted as servants.
Hartsch: Romag's right hand man, a voidsoul genasi utterly devoted to the temple.
(ogre) Garweez: A dense cook with no thumbs.
(ogre) Chief Karmundree: Leader of the ogres, suspicious of the heroes.
(ogre) Mosey: A female who liked to eat.
(ogre) Balacokra: remained silent
(drow) Commander Trista: Guarded a door, seemed to respect Romag. Carric noticed Hartsch trying in vain to flirt with her.
(drow) Lieutenant Yasmina: Guarded the other door, quiet and distant.

The PCs were given bread made from grinded-up bones. Romg explained that Chaotic Evil was natural - animals steal, kill and rape. He believed Chaotic Evil was the natural way of the world. He said that when the Elder Elemental God would rise, the Eye would kill everyone but those in the temple. Romag said then they could go out in the world and live in peace and harmony with nature and not have to worry about being stabbed in the back.

Hartsch asked the heroes, "Can you commit to that?"

Heron said, "I can commit to the natural order."

Chief Karmundree asked if any of the heroes had killed an ogre. Vellic spoke up and said he and his patron druid  Aldrelle had killed some. The chief was furious.

Heron whispered, "Bad time! Bad timing!" at the druid.

Romag said if the heroes were accepted, they'd be taught a new spell called Rot Earth. Harmony ate some bone bread and began to puke. Carric tried to slide his cup over so she could puke into it (bluff.. he had a -1. He rolled a 1). She puked on and under the table. The chief was mad. Garweez hung his head and said, "I thought I made it right..."

Heron said, "No, friend, she's just an eladrin. Very weak of constitution. Not robust like all of you!"

This lifted Garweez's spirits. He said, "You will like next thing! Bear stew!". 

Romag talked about the other temples. The fire temple was run by Allrem, who would try to turn the heroes. The chief piped up and talked enthusiastically about the water temple. He said the head priest was an ogre named Belsornig, who believed ogres should rule the new world.

Romag said the overall leader was one known as The Doomdreamer, The Supreme Commander...

Garweez said "Hedrack! He's a master of Chaotic Evil!". The assorted villains gasped. The name was not meant to be spoken in the temple...

A drow screamed. Hedrack had come! She backed away as Hedrack floated into the room, twitching. He wore robe and a pointed hood. Holes were cut out so he could see. His eyes were big, and his pupils were surrounded by no color. He looked wildly around the room. Heron noticed that Hartsch looked upon Hedrack in awe and admiration.

Hedrack looked up at the ceiling. He spoke of a dream he had of total oblivion. It was the fuure, he claimed. Hedrack said that a tribute was in order. "I shall choose who it should be!". 

Hartsch happily ate Bear stew and looked around at the heroes. Garweez sadly looked around and held up his thumbless hands. The ogre said "He make one of us cut off something!".

Hedrack looked at each hero and tried to read their minds (theheroes could resist with saving throws.

Vellic: "You're pure! You embrace nature but you do not understand Chaotic Evil. You love the druid Aldrelle. Perhaps...."
Heron: "Lord.. Pallidious! A powerful force of Chaotic Evil! You could bring him here.. but you don't remember!"

Heron said "Remember what?"

Hedrack moved on...

Harmony: "Thief! Beauty! You covet wealth above all else! You've done horrible things. Yes, you belong here in the temple." Harmony looked around nervously.
Carric: "Cursed One! Galasis punishes you for what you did not do! Does it make you angry?"

Carric said, "Yes."

Hedrack tried to pierce further into Carric's mind. "There's someone... there's something else..." Hedrack gave up and moved on.

Mardix: "Man at arms! A great warrior! You have worked for Chaotic Evil before, but you do not know it!"
Fayte: "The Raven Queen... Dragotha... There is a dracolich here, you know."

Fayte put her hand on her sword. Her eyes narrowed heroically.

Raina: "Whore! Rogue! Ah! Your perversion titillates me so. Perhaps I'll add you to my collection..."
Jolene: "Ahhh...ahhh! Twisted! Chaotic Evil is your domain! A future priest may you be. But Jolene, you will be Jurod's downfall. I've made my choice!"

The Supreme Commander turned to Vellic. He said "Cut off your thumbs, druid!"

Heron got up, but the Chief put his hand on Heron's shoulder. Hedrack used his powers to take control of Vellic's body, forcing the druid to cut off his own thumbs with a kitchen knife. Hartsch gleefully helped hold his hands steady and cut off the second thumb himself.

Blood spewed from the wounds. Vellic screamed. Hedrack said "Romag, a deva has infiltrated the temple. Root it out and sacrifice it!"

Hedrack made his leave.

Romag addressed the heroes.. he had more tasks for them...