Posted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:00 pm Post subject: T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil Refresh
As we all well know, what was written in the original TOEE module to the DM is that the DM is expected to flush out and create sooooo much more. Nulb (only 4 locations), the temple staging and supplies, other Elemental Outpost around the area...on and on.
I find that most DM's do not do much hardly any extra work. They just attempt to run the module as written without addtl effort. Im looking to talk to DM's that did a tremendous amount of effort to give that module justice. Several DM's created excellent YouTube video's on how to come to grips and organize each level. Jon's D&D VLOG and "DM It All" youtube guy created great youtube series "The Temple of Elemental Evil 2: The Controversial Finale". Finally, Grognard created 5 articles how to connect the TOEE to the Drow series with Lolthe. I intend to use all this wealth of material in my next campaign.
Im attempting to recreate the original Temple of Elemental Evil in Greyhawk with elements of the modern Princes of the Apocalypse TOEE 5e module to replace the first two or three levels. Also include a 5th level for Thurzidun. Since the top two levels of the original Temple is not very "elemental" like, my thoughts was to combine elements from the elemental nodes of the Princes of the Apocalypse module. Give the temple a more distinct "elemental" feel before the party reaches the bottom 2 levels of the original Temple. I am using the 4 elemental "haunted keeps" bases from the 5e module and locate them all around the Village of Hommlet. These are the addtl outposts that the original module suggested to be created.
Has anyone done this and what are your thoughts best how to handle it.
Has anyone done this, or wrote up how to combine the Temple with these 5e module "nodes"? Any idea's how to do it? I would like to keep the original bottom two levels of TOEE and confrontation with Iuz, St Cuthbert and the temple of Thurzidun down below.
1. Understand it mechanically. By this I mean is I seek to gain a sense that if the module is played as presented, how rapidly will the characters gain levels. This, which I call pacing, helps the DM understand if the characters will need extra help before taking on a new adventure in the Temple (e.g. having Elmo join the party or playing a separate adventure to enable the characters to gain necessary experience and or items).
2. Plots and subplots. Who are all of these groups around the Temple? We have its espionage network (the traders representing part of it), some sort of support network which must bring supplies and recruit troops, the river pirates, the brigands in the tower and on the lower levels, and the various temple factions, and how they interact with each other and character actions.
3. The neighborhood. Based on the above, where can the characters go for training, knowledge, or just to buy a set of plate armor? This results in a certain level of detailing of Verbobonc, Nulb, Dyvers, and tWoodwych, the latter being an enigma to me.
tarelton, same here. I have used many articles written by others to put all that together. Nulb is fully flushed out and detailed. All the agents and organizations in the area and all their activities. All the Npc'S in Verbobonc and the entire Viscounty. Dyvers and Wild Coast and the entire Gnarley Forest. Its unfortunate I am not able to share my website campaign world publicly because I used art work and articles without permission. For use on my personal campaigns.
Where I am stuck is at recreating the top two levels of the Temple. There is a few guys that has detailed out those levels in youtube videos. They did a fantastic job doing it. But I am really impressed with what the 5e module "Princes of the Apocalypse" did with their 4 elemental nodes. It makes the temple more elemental like. I do want to leave the bottom two levels alone. But add the Fane of Elemental Evil as a 5th lvl. Based on Greyhawk Grognard did with this 5 articles connecting the Temple with Lolthe and the Q1 modules. https://www.greyhawkgrognard.com/?s=Connecting+the+Temple+of+Elemental+Evil+with+the+Vault+of+the+Drow
Im just sure if flat out replacing the top two levels with the 4 nodes from "Princes" will work. I thinking it would be easier to replace specific rooms. Maybe the Temple rooms for each of the high priest leaders..
The biggest takeaway I get from reading ToEE, especially T1, is that it is/was a sandbox, a player sandbox, not a DM sandbox. It wasn't a preconceived world, endless DM homework, a 1e supermodule, a 3e Adventure Path, or a 5e $50 hardbound.
It was an outline, a village, a dungeon, and most importantly, a conspiracy and chain of consequences where players left their mark. They built strongholds, found henchmen, pussyfooted, retreated, died, did things Gygax never intended, and stymied LG and CE alike.
There weren't any nodes or a Moathouse, just a plain-jane dungeon with zombies, orcs, and a demon whose prison was sprung then Robilar chucked a pillar through her door with his girdle of storm giant strength.
Don't flesh out the whole world; flesh out the characters that inspire you and the players. Follow their lead, give them vibrant characters with motives, and their nose will do half the work for you. DM'ing is a collaborative effort.
The DMG sample dungeon was an original ToEE level. I would probably use that before a 5e node invention.
As I have gone about rebooting T1-4 the biggest question for me has been: “What measurable advantage do the bad guys get from spending all these resources making the TEE, Orb of Golden Death, and the Nodes?” In short, I thought it necessary to spell out why the Temple is more of a danger than just being "that place bad guys hang out." I wouldn’t be surprised if others have come up with similar ideas.
Sure, the temple is located at a strategic point. But that does not explain the investment in the Nodes, creating the Orb of Golden Death or certain particular chambers of the Temple - especially rooms 434, 435. Room 435 will let you chat with Zuggtmoy - is she that great a conversationalist? Start prying gems out of Room 434 and Iuz himself could show up? Whats up with that?
The nodes are described as “sources of power” on page 107 as well as “places of preparation and storage.” So how is this “power” used to affect things in the vicinity of the Temple or for those allied with the Temple?
1. Here is what I came up with for those allied with the facility:
Divine casters allied with the temple gain a benefit when summoning or calling demons or elementals. In 3.5 terms, the summoned critter got the half-fiend or half-elemental template for free when summoned within the temple.
Divine casters allied with the temple gain potency when using elemental magic. In 3.5 terms, their caster level went up for elemental described spells along with some free feat usage when cast within the temple.
2. Here is what I came up with for the Temple itself:
“When the Temple of Elemental Evil flourished, earthquakes, storms of all sorts, great fires, and flash floods struck nearby with seeming capriciousness. All that ceased when the Temple was assaulted and sealed.” T1-4 page 27.
In other words, the big evil guys are preparing and will gather the elemental power gems hidden in the Nodes and then scream “NOW WITNESS THE FIREPOWER OF THIS FULLY ARMED AND OPERATIONAL BATTLE STA... I MEAN TEMPLE!”
I decided that when the Orb of Golden Death has all of its power gems placed, and the user stands in the light of room 435, the diagram of the countryside of the walls of the surrounding room 434 becomes accurate to the present moment and may be used for the targeting of the divinations gained for standing in the light, as well as for the targeting of much higher level destructive elemental spells than what the Orb of Golden Death is normally capable. The range of such spells is extended to locations displayed on the diagram of room 434 and the spell effect occurs at the desired location with the Orb possessor safely within the bowels of the Temple.
vestcoat, i see that you go back as far as I do. I also ran the original T1 when it first came out, DM'd is at a sandbox, built a model of the rebuilt Moathouse that the players made it as a base. Then years later ran the T1-4 which the party only got as far as the 2nd level because they always had bad tactics. Charge in and kill stuff. Yeah, I see your nostalgic idea's of how to run the original module. But years later, after reading many articles and youtube video's expanding and organizing running such a difficult dungeon I am ready to tackle giving this adventure justice and run a gran full length campaign. The new 5e Princes module inspired me. I didn't like the entire module but I think elements of it are brilliant and useful.
A-Baneful-Backfire, your 2nd idea for the “sources of power” is brilliant. I might just use that! In the original module, as you pointed out and in the 5e version, the Elemental Cult does use these elemental powers to cause unnatural harm to the area. ie earthquakes. Your twist on that explains much how they do that! I like it. This idea is one take away on this thread.
Regarding the connections between Lolth, Zuggtmoy, EGG and Tharizdun, I would go Gagaxian or go canon. It's really confusing to use both. Lolth's connections to the ToEE were mostly only found in the original campaign. After T1 and the D series were published, Gygax/TSR shifted gears and removed Lolth from the ToEE, but Mentzer didn't get the memo. Her references in T1-4 are errata, with the exception of the "check" she suffered and possibly Falrinth's familiar. Grognard's attempt to pin D1-3 after ToEE, despite their sequence of publication and ToEE's clear timeline references on the contrary, are clumsy and unnecessary, IMO.
As for Tharizdun, Hasbro's combining him and the EGG is one of the most ill-researched, blasphemous pieces of GH canon on par with Zeb invading the Bandit Kingdoms twice and Sargent combing the Prince and Provost. It's more interesting to keep them separate.
If you want to use Tharizdun, I would connect the ToEE to Kuntz's Tharizdun-worshipping Dark Druids, originally set right next door in the Gnarley and recently reprinted by Chaotic Henchmen. Perfect sequel to ToEE and lots of Tharizdun development. It could even lead to the Tarrasque sleeping in the Drachensgrabs.
Vestcoat, wow, I think you are the first person I have talked to in Discord or these forums that is taking this campaign as far as I intend to. Most responses I get are from lazy DM's that dont get the point and just players make the campaign. The kind of DM's that never put much effort into their campaigns. In regards to Grognard:
Grognard's attempt to pin D1-3 after ToEE, despite their sequence of publication and ToEE's clear timeline references on the contrary, are clumsy and unnecessary, IMO.
I see what you mean, but he did pose 4 options and people responded which option was best in their opinions. I figured that as I wrap up and complete this campaign word on World Anvil I would make that final decision last. After I import and key the Temple levels. Which I am keeping as my last task to wrap it all up.
Yes, someone a year ago recommended Kuntz's Tharizdun-worshipping Dark Druids. I actually purchased that physical module and read it. Its a little vague how I would use it and how it connects to Tharizdun. In fact its incomplete. Kuntz hasn't made the 2nd module yet. So...I would have to develop that. I left it on the back burner for now.
Temple's organizing of humanoid raids in the Pomarj (WG8)
Yes, Earth Temple would makes sense given the Earth Dragon or the Fire Temple for Mt. Flamenblutt. Good idea's. I already am using the module of the Caverns of Blackthorn southeast of Dyvers, The Free Lands in the Gnarley Forest is a hidden lair of humanoids. I got the Blackthorn tribe in combination with some Living Greyhawk modules attacking human settlements up thru the Gnarley and into Kron Hills and Southern Viscounty. In fact, the 1st adventure of the campaign starts in Verbobonc and leads them to an ancient Suel temple near the swamp that is being used as a forward base by the Blackthorn tribe. They know and respect the Temple evil cults but do not work with them. The temple bandits "Hanged Man" and "Tolubs" bandits give them a wide berth.
After defeating the leaders there and recapturing the Sword and Gem of Asbury they return back to House Asbury and are tasks to head south past Hommlet. This campain has a lot going on for a reason. to give it a sense of open world. But everything is connected back to the TOEE. Every town, adventure, noble lords, politics, all connected to Iuz, TOEE and Blackthorn tribe which are connected to the Pomarj.
In case anyone missed this, written in the original TOEE module is the following:
"Space does not here permit a full description
of each small part of the four nodes;
after all, even with the limited space in use,
each node complex comprises more area
than all four dungeon levels! Random and
placed encounters are given, with other
notes, so that the whole is playable as it
stands. But a small amount of time, effort,
and skill on your part can develop the rough
notes into fully polished gems of adventure,
just aching for discovery."
basically, this is mentioned about every aspect of this module. This module was not intended to be run as is from the pages. I think some people never knew or forgot that and treat the module as gospel.
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