Retro Story Hour: (Contact's) Temple of Elemental Evil 2!
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  1. #1
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    Piratecat's Avatar

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    Retro Story Hour: (Contact's) Temple of Elemental Evil 2!

    It was just about two years ago when (contact) emailed me the game writeups from the Temple of Elemental Evil 2 game he had played in. This was before Monte Cook's RttToEE - heck, it was before 3e came out - and they wanted to field test the rules that they'd picked up here at Eric Noah's website. I began to read the story. After ten pages, I couldn't put it down. And when I finished it in the wee hours of the morning, it was everything I could do not to wake KidCthulhu and make HER read it! So I posted it here on the boards, one installment a day. Of course, that was two messageboards ago, and the original thread is long gone.

    But the story isn't. And recently re-reading it, I'm reminded by how damn good it really is. Character death galore. Sneaky machiniations. Epic battles. And an awful lot at stake.

    So here it is again, in all of its glory. (contact) is illustrating it, a picture per installment. And I hope you have as much fun reading this as I do.

  2. #2
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

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    I love this thing. Should we expect one update a day again?

  3. #3
    Yeah, let's do a daily serial update, what do you say? I will be illustrating the thing as we go.


    We ran this campaign during the Spring and Summer of 2000. Most of you will remember this time as the giddy months leading up to the release of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. I will remember it as the giddy months where I watched character after character get sucked into, then get mulched by this abandoned temple in the woods south of Furyondy. You know the one - - it's near Homlett, there's always an electrical storm going on around it . . . that's right, The Temple of Elemental Evil.

    The campaign was inspired by the "Return to" series of modules released towards the end of the 2e run. Monte Cook's excellent RtTOEE hadn't even been announced, and we needed a fresh start to work out the kinks in our hybrid "2e/Eric Noah's Unofficial 3e Site" game. We had fond memories of the original Temple of Elemental Evil, and our DM wanted to give it a crack.

    We knew we wanted the "Return" to be true to the original: A huge, unbelievably deadly dungeon that chewed up player characters like Mama Kass at an all you can eat sushi bar.

    So I rolled up a happy-go-lucky halfling.

    I hope you enjoy it, and remember: "Take it one level at a time, kill everything, then move on".

  4. #4

    Dramatis Personae, (or Deadmatis Most Likelae)

    Our Cast of Characters

    The Adventurers
    - Aelniir of the Sheildlands, a crusading cleric of Tritherion
    - Esril, an Almorian expatriate, human fighter and lay follower of Kelanen, the Sword Saint
    - Gnomishic, a forest gnome rogue/illusionist
    - Heydricus, a lazy sorcerer, with a fighter's background
    - Reysnole, a half-elven ranger/druid
    - Whistlin' Pippin Jumpscreek, halfling rogue

    NPCs of Hommlet:
    - Canon Turgeon of St. Cuthbert
    - Calmiir, his assistant, a 3rd level cleric of St. Cuthbert
    - Jeru Ashstaff, Druid of the Woods
    - Ostler, owner and proprietor, The Sign of the Cudgel
    - Isuld and Therese, Ostler's daughters
    - Daily and Dobble, Ostler's sons in law
    - Andras, the Wizard in the Tower
    - Old Missus Klench, gossip and rumormonger

    NPCs of Knulb:
    - Lord Henri of Knulb, paladin
    - Marie, his Landed Consort and Regent
    - The Nine Sisters
    - Gravy, halfling retired adventurer, owner of Gravy's Greasy Spoon (Home of the All-You-Can-Eat-Endweek!)
    - Dick Rentch, proprietor of the Waterside, and leader of the Thieves' Guild
    - Locke, a thief

    The Political Situation:
    When the campaign begins, the Viscount Wilfrik of the Free City of Verbobonc has recently been assassinated. A Baron of Furyondy by the name of Butrain has put forward his claim. Butrain is opposed by the Lady Anne of Mitrik, who is the niece of Wilfrik. Tensions are high in southern Furyondy.

    In the wake of the Greyhawk War, refugees from the conquered Northern Sheildlands have spilled into the Knulb area in large numbers.

    Political Figures of Note:
    - King Belvor of Furyondy, Our Lord Good and Kind
    - Baron Butrain of Furyondy, Lord of Willip. Butrain has put forward a claim to Verbobonc
    - Lady Anne of Mitrik (Wilfrik's niece), also with a claim to Verbobonc
    - High Mayor Velyson of Verbobonc
    - Lord Henri, of Knulb
    - Lady Marie, of Knulb
    - Sir Willam of Willip, Knight of the Hart (a Furyondian chivalric order), populist leader
    Last edited by (contact); Tuesday, 29th October, 2002 at 06:35 PM.

  5. #5

    Chapter 1: Sweep Around Your Own Front Door

    Chapter One: Sweep Around Your Own Front Door
    (or, All beginnings are endings, but some are the Beginning of the End.)

    The PCs meet on the road to Hommlet, a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere, most famous for being the kind of place where nothing Evil ever happens, the sort of town where all is as it seems and adventurers don't have to sleep with their weapons at hand.

    Hommlet is also known, of course, for being the town closest to the Temple of Elemental Evil, a truly horrific multi-level temple/dungeon complex where the forces of Evil (Eeeeeviiil) forged an Unholy alliance between the followers of Iuz and Zuggtomoy, and priests worshipping the Evil aspects of the four Elemental Planes. Thankfully, all this cruelty and depravity was destroyed 20 years ago, and as everyone knows, will never come back.

    Hommlet has fared well under the stern and strict leadership of the Canon Turgeon, a cleric of St. Cuthbert, and de-facto Uber-Boss for Hommlet. His strictly enforced rule that no traveler may stay in Hommlet beyond 3 days without a job ensures that the "refugee problem" (from the fallen Sheildlands) stays in dirty, disreputable Knulb where it belongs.

    The party manages to hire on as 'scouts' and avoid the onerous 'indigent tax', with the exception of Heydricus, who thinks a silver piece a day is a small price to pay not to work. Aelniir quickly butts heads with the Canon over secular and religious issues, and Pippin becomes infamous for holding down not one, not two, but three jobs! Pippin whitewashes the Church of St. Cuthbert by day, helps out at The Sign of the Cudgel, Hommlet's Inn, by night, and puts any spare time to work rebuilding the PCs home in Hommlet, a dilapidated building shunned by the locals.

    The party does some drinking with a wandering fighter by the name of Willam of Willip. Nice guy. Dresses really well.

    The party hears the following from the rumor mill: The recent assassination of the Viscount of Verbobonc may have been sponsored by the Baron Butrain, a Noble of Southern Furyondy with a claim to Verbobonc. If Butrain succeeds to the Viscounty, it would be tantamount to a Furyondian annexation of Verbobonc, which would lead to the annexation of Dyvers, as well as the area around Hommlet and Knulb.

    Reysnole develops a mentorship with Jeru Ashstaff, a druid who used to live in Hommlet but fled the Canon's iron handed rule for the peace of the forest. Despite the fact that Jeru is now a powerful enough druid to level Hommlet on the solo, he prefers not to be involved with the 'civilized folk' at all. Reysnole begins leading Nature Walks for the edification of Hommlet's spiritually hungry.

    Aelniir advances Tritherion's Cause by looking for things to kill. He finds some, first in the persons of a small goblin tribe bent on murder and mayhem, then in the shape of rumors that something Wicked has taken up residence in a nearby abandoned moathouse. While not exactly the Temple, it'll do. The party travels to Knulb in preparation for their attack on the moathouse.

    In Knulb, the PCs meet Gravy, proprietor of Gravy's Greasy Spoon, a hostelry (despite its name) famous for the quality of its food. Gravy, it seems, is the only local to have ventured into the dungeons beneath the Temple of Elemental Evil, made it out with his life, and stuck around Knulb. Gravy's advice? "Don't go in there. Don't ever, for any reason, go in there!" Thanks pal.

    Gravy also admonishes the PCs: "Do not take the back door into the temple". Whatever, little buddy. Hey, thanks for the biscuits and pork chops.

    The PCs begin their exploration of a ruined moathouse near Hommlet. For backup, they take Daily and Dobble with them. The brothers have night and day personalities, Dobble with his wide-eyed enthusiasm, and Daily barely able to suppress his greedy suspicion. Esril dislikes Daily from the beginning, belittling his manhood at any opportunity. Daily seems scared of her. Aelniir strikes up a "hey-pal-guess-what-I've-got" relationship with the duo, trying (with moderate success) to convert them to the worship of Tritherion

    After the foray into the moathouse, which results in several giant toads, carrion crawlers and giant ravens going to their Great Reward, the PCs hit upon a dungeon level guarded by undead. A secret door reveals a chamber housing enough weapons and armor to arm half the populace of Hommlet! Worse yet, Esril recognizes the Sigil of Prazrael, a Demon-Lord who has tormented her homeland of Almor. Knowing there are demons about, the PCs grow suddenly paranoid. Suspicion of Daily and Dobble soon follows.

    Aelniir demands that the Canon establish a militia to defend Hommlet against the ravages of the Abyssal cultists. The Canon Turgeon's calm reply to Aelniir's frantic assertion that there is an evil army preparing to ravish the countryside: "That's what you're here for". Aelniir grits his teeth and stalks away, recognizing the ass-whipping he would take from this mid-level cleric should he indulge his impulsive side.

    Desiring to know the truth about the brothers grim, the party approaches the Mage Andras in Hommlet. Andras agrees to do some divination on the duo in exchange for a suitable magic item from a later treasure find, and a first round pick in next year's draft. Andras casts his divination (an ESP) and reports that Daily is planning to kill Aelniir.

    The party takes Daily and Dobble into the woods to kill them, but a doppelganger posing as the elder daughter of the innkeeper ruins the ambush. A wicked melee ensues, but our heroes emerge victorious (if half-alive).

    Pippin & Gnomishic sneak back into Hommlet to investigate their fallen foes' rooms for clues before anyone catches wind of the fight in the woods. P & G discover a secret attic w/ spy holes over every room in the inn. Furthermore, our heroes discover that the owners of the inn are themselves doppelgangers, living off the labor of their human "child"! No wonder the youngest daughter Isuld does all the work around the inn! Her entire family has been replaced by shape-changing Eeeeeviiil.

    Pippin sneaks into the doppelganger's room, and a battle ensues. Pippin is slain, but not before he heroically dispatches one of the foul beasts, thereby inducting himself into the Hall of Halfling Heroes.

    The remaining doppelganger flees, and their evil coven (with Daily and Dobble the Assassins) is broken. Pippin, however, has gone to the Great Halfling Burrow in the Sky. An excerpt from the speech of Canon Turgeon of St. Cuthbert, given during the funeral of Whistlin' Pippin Jumpscreek:

    • "Whistlin' Pippin, a very Friendly Hobbit. Much loved and sorely missed. We will all remember fondly his days of hard work painting the Chapel, followed by his evenings of hard work helping out at the inn. In so many ways, Pippin worked to better our little community, exemplifying St. Cuthbert's doctrine of . . . (sermon edited for brevity) . . . and he never stole a thing in his life.

      "He may not have been the cleverest of Hobbits, and certainly his decision to enter single combat with two Doppelgangers was less than prudent, but I believe that in his final act, he embodied all that is best about our Faith: A Relentless and Holy Zest to Smite Evil.

      "Dear Pippin, we commend your soul to St. Cuthbert (if in fact He takes Hobbits), and swear that your death shall not be in vain!"

    Illustration: ". . . his decision to enter single combat with two Doppelgangers was less than prudent,"

    Isuld is inconsolable. She has lost her family, and now she has lost the halfling she was secretly in love with. She vows vengeance and agrees to train with Esril. Isuld converts to the worship of Kelanen the Sword Saint, and renames 'The Inn of the Cudgel', 'Kelanen's Rest'. She begins to train as a Fighter under Esril, and takes a powerful vow of revenge: a blood oath to oppose the Evil that killed all of her loved ones.
    Last edited by (contact); Monday, 30th June, 2003 at 06:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Gallant (Lvl 3)

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    God I love this story. I have it printed out in a binder. I'm going to reasd the whoollllleeee thing again now. Because it's Eeevviillllll.

  7. #7
    Defender (Lvl 8)

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    That picture is AWESOME!

    Worth a thousand words... well, a thousand words in anybody else's Story Hour, that is...


  8. #8
    Novice (Lvl 1)

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    Originally posted by (contact)
    We knew we wanted the "Return" to be true to the original: A huge, unbelievably deadly dungeon that chewed up player characters like Mama Kass at an all you can eat sushi bar.
    It's back! I loved this story hour when I first read it, and I'm eager to read it again. Gather round boys and girls, this is the real thing. No other story hour will make you ask plaintively, "Why won't anyone mulch my characters like that?"


  9. #9
    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

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    Yay! First blood!

    I do hope that this will go on the story hour hosting page as a collected work, once all and sundry chapters have been introduced.

    And there was much rejoicing.

  10. #10

    Re: Retro Story Hour: (Contact's) Temple of Elemental Evil 2!

    Originally posted by Piratecat
    Of course, that was two messageboards ago, and the original thread is long gone.
    Or not.

    Using the wayback machine, I've found old version of Eric's site (including the story hour boards) in which the original RTTOEE thread was posted. Actually, your original story hour is there as well, PC.

    I'd provide a link, but unfortunately it isn't working for me at this particular moment. Rest assured though, I've accessed those sites as recently as August.


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