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    T1-4 - adventure hook for starting the module
    Posted on Thu, November 20, 2003 by Trickster
    donimator writes "Most of us have struggled at one point or another with the problem of how to fit a published adventure into our game and get the story going in an interesting fashion. This article explores that topic, relating the tale of an unlikely group of strangers brought together by fate to face the challenges of Hommlet and the Temple of Elemental Evil.

    T1-4 - adventure hook for starting the module
    By: donimator
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    The following is a campaign hook to get a party of adventurers started in the old chestnut, T1-4 ?The Temple of Elemental Evil?. The old starting line ??having come up from the lands of the Wild Coast?(paraphrased) left much to the imagination. I came up with the following with a group of players playing 2e rules with Player?s Option skills, magic and combat rules?

    Prelude to Adventure ? pre Wars CY 577
    A wealthy nobleman?s son is known around Greyhawk as an explorer of sorts. Although his skills are below par, he is a capable cartographer and has produced many maps of the coastal areas of the Nyr Dyv and down the Selitan River. He has respect for all classes, despite his family reputation, and is generally likeable.

    The young lord is chartering a ship to sail to Wooly Bay to chart the waters in and around the Bright Desert. This is beyond the extent of the safe expeditions he has taken in the past and his father has put out the call to some high level friends to staff the ship with capable people to ?assist? his son. The ship?s crew is experienced and the captain has been well-paid to ensure the safe return of the son.

    The characters start out in Greyhawk in various locations and do not know each other. The ship is set to sail at first light and the characters trickle onboard as follows?

    Cast of Characters
    Fighter (Myrmidon kit)- Oeridian (originally from Greyhawk surroundings) LN
    This character is a corporal in the standing Greyhawk guard. A 2nd-level fighter, the character has experience with boats from childhood. The character?s sergeant remembers this and calls the character out for special duty. The character is to be a protector of the nobleman?s son until his safe return to Greyhawk. Skilled in classic fighting styles, this character is a little leery of returning to the sea.

    This character is a strong leader as long as people are of the same opinion as he. He is loyal to the end. He has a pleasant, but stern demeanour and distrusts magic. His beliefs align with a powerful deity such as Pelor or Heironious, but has respect for other faiths as long as good.

    Mage- Quasi-Specialist Mage / Channeller - Oeridian (from Duchy of Urnst) NG ? (note magical greed-tend toward evil)
    This character was developed after a lot of back and forth with the player. Heavy use of the Player?s Option Skills and Powers creation rules were used to create a character with strong advantages and disadvantages. Time will tell how this character plays out, but it makes for an interesting role-playing opportunity.

    This character is a 1st level mage recently granted his license from a minor Greyhawk school. The character?s master is a kindly mage who has taught the character from age 14. The character comes from a warrior family, who could not dismiss the magical power within him and sacrificed dearly to have him accepted in wizard school. He was a reluctant student, interested only in powerful spells. Probably should have been a specialist, but the master tried in vain to make him a well-rounded mage, fearing his desire for spells of power would corrupt him.

    The character has strong advantages and disadvantages. The character is able to use a short sword and bow, uses d6 for hit points and can wear leather armour to account for his early warrior training. In the creation rules from PO:Skills and Powers this cost 30 CPs. The character also uses the THAC0 tables of a priest (another 10 CPs) to justify his swordplay training as a youngster. His brother is a strong fighter and he always perceived his father playing favourites, although not true. He wanted to be a fighter and loathes his dependence on magic, but craves the power it gives him. To balance his advantages he has the following limitations - hazardous spells (10 CPs) save or take damage with each spell. Magic hurts the character but the desire to use is uncontrollable. Reduced access to schools ? 2 of 8 with no access (10 CPs). The desire to use only those spells that confer power or control has left him unable to access some schools? conjuration(no need to summon) and illusion (no need to fool). Disadvantages ?phobia-mild fear of darkness (5 CPs), bad-tempered(6 CPs) and tongue-tied(6 CPs) due in part to his perceived failings. Will result in negative reaction modifiers and chances for inopportune comments. This character feels somewhat a failure in his father?s eyes and the desire to be powerful through magic is overwhelming giving him a greed for magic power (7 CPs). This manifests itself in a need to obtain magical knowledge even at the expense of the party?s goals (saving throws).

    This character?s master was a student of Rary, and was asked by the nobleman for protection for the son. The character has also been tasked with obtaining some spell components from the wilder lands. The kindly master gives his student an enchanted sealskin bag for spellbook and components (waterproof) and a ?lucky coin? ? a gold piece with command activated continual light spell that can be dimmed (?for studying yer spellbooks at night? ? nudge, nudge) and to help his fear of darkness.

    This character is a channeller, spells once memorized are forever ingrained in the players mind, he has only to draw on them through spell points, with risk of damage and fatigue. There is no need to constantly re-learn spells. Player to be played with ?spell point? system and channeling rules from Player?s Option ? Spells and Magic and ?specialist wizard? allotment of extra spell points. Level progression will be slowed and player will have a 25% deduction in experience points given. Magic is innate to this player but his inner turmoil makes him both hate it and crave it. Prays and curses to an appropriate god of magic.

    Thief ? (Burglar kit) Halfling(Tallfellow) (from Greyhawk)CG
    This character has grown up in Greyhawk and lived most of his life on the streets. Parents unknown, he was initially accepted into the Beggars? Guild. His promise noticed, he and a friend were ?purchased? by a vile thief and apprenticed to him. His small stature has made him tough and streetwise. He longs to belong to a group and has shown great promise in his chosen profession. Although skilled his life was hard and due to money problems, the master eventually sold the friend to another thief leaving him alone.

    Just today accepted into the guild, the character returns to collect his belongings and inquire as to why his master wasn?t at the ceremony. Returns to find his master killed and assassins searching the house. Implicated in his master?s treachery (which was unknown to him), he is forced to flee. His old friend works the docks which are close by. This is how he arrives on the ship. Loyal to a Halfling god (Brandobaris)

    Priest (of Fharlahgn) - Oeridian/Suel (from Furyondy)NG
    This character is a priest newly accepted into the order. The head of his temple has offered his services to the nobleman in exchange for favour and a donation. The character has some boating skills and is encouraged to take his first ?wandering? for the priesthood. The character is strong, an example of the faith. This priest uses the basic ?spell point? system from Player?s Option ? Spells and Magic for priests. There will be fixed and free spell slots with normal increased costs. Spell memorization will be through prayer after rest.

    Bard (Herald kit) Baklunish (from Ekbir-grew up in Greyhawk)LN
    This character will begin as an NPC and come under party control later. A member of the Guild is usually requested to accompany the young lord on his adventures. This character does not like ships and is not used until washed onshore. Well schooled in the history of the central Flaness, this character will be instrumental in imparting information to the players on the history of the Temple, etc. Character is a linguist, specializing in current and ancient languages of the Flaness. Brave and competent with a sword and sling. Character has some healer and herbalist proficiency. The character has an intense interest in magic. Worships a god of intellect, learning.

    Ranger ? 2nd level ? Half elven (Explorer kit)raised by elves in Welkwood - CG
    This character is first encountered on land. He is run as an NPC until party is well on way to Hommlet. He walks the line between elven and human cultures, preferring to wander the lands. He patrols the Wild Coast border with the Suss Forest / Welkwood and is on fairly good terms with many elvish communities beyond the Jewel River Highly proficient with a bow, this character is a reluctant leader, often at odds with the Myrmidon. DM will control until firmly established in party. No strong religious affiliation ? elvish gods of nature and human (Beory, et.al).

    Road to Hommlet
    The characters have made their way onto the boat by various means and are prepared to set sail. They find the captain and crew honest, if rough. The young lord is engaging and likeable. He is well schooled in many areas and the characters develop an affinity for him. He is idealistic and educates players on some history of the land (with the bard?s help of course), the life of the Rhenee and the politics of Oerik.

    The ship travels the Nyr Dyv seeing vessels of different nationalities. Disappearance of Thrommel is brought up, Battle of Emridy meadows (as told by the Bard). Ship journeys down Selitan River and docks in Hardby to top up supplies and to avoid weather in Wooly Bay. In tavern players learn of invasions from Pomarj into Wild Coast and occupation of Elredd, Fax and Badwall. Ulek and Celene believed to be organizing together (elves and humans!!) to drive out but likely to take months with winter coming.

    Boat sets out in morning from Hardby, captain confident. A good north breeze carries the boat quickly on its way. Spirits up, but unusually light amount of traffic. Towards nightfall, wind dies and fog sets in. Set upon by two ships propelled by magical winds, bearing colours of the Pomarj. Men and humanoids in fast ships pull alongside and attack. The party is on deck and battle ensues. Magical fire sets ship ablaze as it is looted. The party fights well, but cannot alter outcome or reach the other ships. Poisoned arrows shot onto ship, hitting young lord as he fights. Many crew dead, as captain struggles to save sinking ship. Explosive cask hurled onto ship and rends large hole. Party stunned by blast as ship quickly disappears beneath the waves.

    Party awakens scattered on rocky shore. Faint memories of the Bard, despite dislike of water, binding them together to floating debris. No trace of any other crew, few supplies are found to get them going (armour, etc. missing). Lord is alive, but barely. Priest and/or Bard able to stabilize him, but the poison is taking effect. Only path is to the west and party must construct a litter to transport the nobleman? son. Head west over broken terrain and grassland for several miles. As best they can tell, they are several leagues north of Elredd ? signs of recent humanoid passage.

    Hear sounds of combat ahead. See two men and a boy fighting off small band of orcs/goblins. They stand near a donkey cart that has been overturned. One man with bow, felling them quickly (the Ranger character). Other man and boy obviously unskilled. Party arrives as man and boy are felled. Humanoids defeated with party?s help. Survivors scatter and Ranger drops to knee in exhaustion professing thanks. Dying father, begs help for son, return to his mother in Hommlet.

    Ranger introduces himself and tells of orcish invasions which are much worse than feared. Main raiding party has gone north, skirting Welkwood and elves. Elves only concern is to keep them out of Welkwood and Celene. The elves have little trust of humans and he scoffs at alliance with Ulek ? the elves will take care of themselves. Can arrange safe passage through Welkwood to Gnarley Forest and on to Hommlet ? closest friendly settlement to help Lord. Does not want to travel near Lortmils or leave the woods. Party faced with accepting his passage through the woods or dealing with orcs to north and south.

    Ranger finds path through overgrown dark regions of Suss Forest ? gives history of orc-elvish wars. Passes a few sentries and speaks to them only in elvish. Crosses Jewel River and soon enters an elven village. Elves look at young Lord and further stabilize him, but will not treat a human. The nobleman remains near comatose and weak After Ranger?s pledge, party granted passage north to Hommlet. At this point the Ranger becomes a player character.

    Journey is uneventful towards the village. Enter village per description in module (after truly having a reason for traveling up from the Wild Coast). Injured are taken to church for healing. The party is greeted by the townfolk with thanks and praise. The Bard tells tales at tavern, learns lore of town, etc. Rufus and Burne meet party and show castle works. Party spends several days in town as Lord heals. It is suggested they travel to Verbobonc and then to Dyvers once he has healed. Town is busy, as the construction of the castle has brought workers into town. The young Lord, on the road to recovery, drafts a letter of credit with trader to allow party to outfit themselves (sparsely). The agent of the Temple at the trader?s tips brigands off about the nobleman?s son.

    That night, the work camp is attacked as a diversion while the church is infiltrated by brigands. Young lord is kidnapped from the church and the only knowledge is that they were headed east. Told of moathouse to east, only substantial structure between here and Nulb. Rufus won?t spare any men, as there are precious few to protect the town with such a force nearby.

    These events hopefully have led to creating an affinity for the village as well as a sense of responsibility for the safe return of the nobleman?s son. The party is currently heading to the moathouse and hopefully points beyond?

    "
     
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    Re: T1-4 - adventure hook for starting the module (Score: 1)
    by Yabusama on Fri, November 21, 2003
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Excellent work, I have been wondering how to tag my parties interest in this classic adventure and you have given me some great ideas. Thanks



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