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From the Diary of the Cleric: Temple of Elemental Evil, Session 30

Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.  You can find the original google doc here.

Rogues Gallery – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*

The Hommlet Raiders
The Hommlet Raiders
  • The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner the Soulknife due to a mutation granting her telekinetic powers (character #2, previous character was Mirka the Rogue – Deceased)
  • The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
  • The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko the white wolf.
  • The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
  • The Fighter – Fencil the Android (brain tape swap) (Character #2, previous character was a cleric – Deceased) and his (henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard – Deceased).
  • The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion, THE Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty sparrow).
  • The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.
  • The Wizard – Boris the Jaws-Dodger (Deceased Session 25, retired from the game).

*Due to a transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund.”

Session 30 Recap

Gisella leaned against the broken keep walls and fell to her feet. “Finally over…”

“I didn’t think that they would muster an entire force to take back this keep,” Lintelfaden coughed, leaving his damaged suit. “They made a fine mess of it.”

Lorenz healed any remaining wounds. “It wasn’t just water cultists, there were earth guys too digging through the place like moles. They really want this keep.”

Hundreds of cultists had charged for Riverguard, reinforced by elementals and their earth allies. The party knew they formed an alliance but they never expected they would try to retake with this much force. The battle lasted hours, draining their resources, magic, and stamina through the arduous battle. If it wasn’t for their advanced weaponry, they wouldn’t be breathing right now.

The enemy didn’t care about the condition of the keep, walls and buildings destroyed as the earth cultists broke through as the vanguard. The ground was flooded, trees and buildings torn off the ground and into the sea, carving channels through the swampy ground. There weren’t even bodies left of the enemy, taken away by the water or had sunk into the mud; it wasn’t a pretty sight. Though, much to the party’s relief, the storm clouds parted and the heat from the sun warmed their drenched bodies.

“The entrance to the water temple is almost directly below us,” Fensal reminded. “This is their first line of defense, makes sense why they want to stop us here.”

“It’s cold!” Lilie complained, hugging Aki as she produced a small flame. “It’s wet, I don’t like the water guys! Let’s join the fire cult instead!”

On the horizon, Gisella spotted another battalion heading for the keep, but one that made her sigh in relief. Lareth’s reinforcements had arrived, composed of drow and ‘stylish’ bugbears, and began to take their positions within the keep, bringing much needed provisions rather than tasteless rations.

“Now they arrive?” Bustov sighed. “They couldn’t have shown up 5 minutes ago and helped us?”

Augusta shrugged and headed for the back of the keep. “Nothing we can do now. Let’s rest up then think of a plan to deal with the water temple.”

The actual infiltration plan was rather simple. Through the hidden river at the back, they would take the boats and ride the current into the temple and the plan didn’t go further than that. There were some… rough patches as to what came after that but what was the worst that could happen? No one felt threatened by anything the cultists might have, especially since Lilie had Water Breathing prepared. After how they easily defeated the wind cult and taking the keep twice this would be a cinch.

“Right here I think… Yep, found it.” Lintelfaden pushed away the fake wall concealing the secret channel, three small boats tied to the dock. “Down this river and into the temple.”

“That’s a pretty strong current,” Lilie muttered. “It won’t be easy to swim back up it.”

“You’re a shark. If we really need to you can just tow us out.”

“Oh, I always forget I can do that kind of thing.”

Augusta threw on her mantaray cloak they found from the bullywugs. “Let’s go straight in, I’m ready.”

The boat could handle Fensal’s weight despite his metal body but it couldn’t hold up Lintelfaden’s suit at all, threatening to break as soon as he tried to board it. Luckily, he was able to maneuver through the river with his rocket boots, staying completely protected inside with his own air supply. Quickly buffing each other with Water Breathing, the party got ready to take on the water temple.

The plan to use the boats sank really fast. As the current picked up speed, it threw the crafts around the tunnel, slamming them into the walls and filling the hull with water, trying to sink it. It eventually capsized the entire boat and the others behind crashed into each other, shattering as they were shot out into a large cave. From top to bottom, it was entirely filled with water, not a single bit of land or a surface to gasp for a breath. The entire place was designed like a trap, anyone who couldn’t swim or breath underwater would drown.

Fensal immediately sank to the bottom, unable to swim due to his weight. He looked at his bow, clearly not thinking his weapon choice through, and shrugged. Anyone with a bow was rendered useless, anyone in heavy armour struggled to swim and fight, removing nearly half the party from being useful.

As soon as they entered the temple, the waves in the water alerted the main guard and a tide knight riding a shark charged at them with a few more cultists supporting from behind. Not only could they breathe underwater, their eyes were protected by a film much like fish, giving them perfect and clear sight. Blessed by their princess, this was their turf and they weren’t about to go down like the wind temple.

Fighting in water was much harder than they first anticipated. The power behind their attacks was lost completely if they ever managed to score a direct hit. The freedom the enemy had allowed them to run circles around the party, dancing in and out of range, serrated blades or tridents piercing through armour with ease. The biggest worry was the tide knight, charging straight past Elmo or Lintelfaden and targeting the weaker backline.

Lorenz shot down one of the cultists, his las-rifle still proving to be a reliable weapon underwater. Casting spells was a completely different story; swimming made performing the hand motions of the spell nearly impossible and unreliable. He was barely able to cast weaker healing spells and as soon as he did, he completely drew the tide knight’s attention.

Luckily, a few of the party seemed unbothered by the change of terrain. Lilie easily struck down the cultists in her shark form while the magic cloak gave Augusta just as much freedom as the enemy. Gisella could just use her telekinesis to fight, her daggers flying through the water and seeking out their prey. But they weren’t reliable tanks who could take hits, Lintelfaden and Elmo were sinking and ignored as threats.

In a single hit, the tide knight swam by Lorenz and knocked him out, slamming the edge of his trident right across his temple. If it weren’t for Lilie chasing and throwing off his aim, there was no doubt he could’ve killed the cleric easily.

Aki waited for the tide knight to swap targets before she swam beside Lorenz, trying to be as stealthy as possible. Though weak, her healing was enough to bring back his consciousness and avert the danger of death, all without alerting the enemy.

“Ouch, thanks,” he coughed.

“I can’t use my bow underwater…” Aki muttered. “Neither can Pencil, we’re both really useless, the least I can do is heal.”

“Yeah. Lintelfaden’s got the knight covered right now but this is a bad situation either way.”

The tide knight nearly jumped out of his skin as the suit of armour at the bottom of the cave started to chase him. Propelled by the rocket boots, he unsheathed the Katana of the Lich Shogun’s Eternal Shogunate and dealt a deadly blow, throwing the rider off his mount. Quick to react, Augusta delivered the finishing strike with the pinion blades.

“I’ve got it!” she exclaimed and raised her hand towards Elmo. And nothing happened at all.

“What are you doing?” he said, struggling to swim, regretting his heavy armour choice.

“I’m focusing really hard to create a water whip and pull you up towards me!”

“A… water whip? Ma’am, in case you didn’t realise we are underwater.”

“Yes but… hmm, it should, maybe, still work.”

Aside from a few small waves, nothing happened at all. Her childlike ideas were never really thought out properly.

“Shouldn’t you help fight instead of creating water underwater?” Elmo sighed.

“Oh, the others have got it under control.”

The final cultist was slain but it wouldn’t be long before reinforcements arrived and the current situation wasn’t good. Despite spending nearly half a day planning, they missed key elements or didn’t think about certain aspects of underwater fighting. They opted to retreat up the stream, using Lilie to tow them back up while Augusta, Gisella, and Lintelfaden swam against the flow.

It took them more than an hour to think of another plan of attack, trying to find a workaround for underwater combat. They lacked the proper spells to give them free movement and, aside from a few magic items, it wasn’t enough to help the entire party considering there were more than 10 of them. It was one of the downsides of having a large team.

“I am not riding a shark!” Elmo snapped.

“It’ll be fun, trust,” Augusta persuaded. “You’ll hold onto the fin part and swim around on Lilie’s back.”

“I can’t just ‘hold on’, there’s a skill to it! A skill I don’t have.”

“Next we go back to town, I’ll shout you a beer.”

“Alright, I’m riding the shark.”

With only a druid and a cleric, the party really suffered from not having access to arcane spells that a wizard or a sorcerer could grant them. Aside from Water Breathing, there wasn’t anything in their arsenal to use and potions were useless in the temple. Lilie was the most useful, being able to summon a shark and be one herself, but the rest had to make do with what they had. They weren’t going in blind, however, the one encounter gave them a good idea of what and how they would have to fight.

“I can’t use my new item,” Gisella sighed, putting on a shiny golden ring. “I can’t believe the bullywugs had a Ring of Invisibility…”

“W- Wait, really?!” Lorenz stuttered. “Let me see!”

“If you could see me it would defeat the whole purpose of the ring. The water is displaced so even if I’m invisible they can still ‘see’ an obvious outline of me.”

“Telekinesis, flying daggers, special ring, you get all the good stuff!”

“Makes me feel special though I have no idea why that would be so.”

Back into the temple, taking a page out of the tide knight’s book, Elmo and Fensal were the ones who would ride Lilie and her summoned shark, Kevin. They didn’t have the boats but they could rely on the current enough to lead them in and back into the cave. To no one’s surprise, the guards had been replaced by three tide knights searching the area for the intruders who killed the first defense. And their prey had returned right to them. Without hesitation, they readied their tridents and charged.

They seemed disgusted when they saw Elmo trying to ride Lilie, insulted that their perfect and honed skill was being copied by mercenaries. Even more so as Fensal fell off of Kevin, making him a clear and easy target for them. With one blow, the android was knocked out and left to sink to the cave floor.

Gisella struggled to reach him but the knights immediately closed in on her, knowing full well just how dangerous her telekinesis was. It was no longer a hidden power that surprised her enemies, the longer she fought the cults, the more information they gathered about everyone in the party and planned countermeasures against them. General Puggins’ Morbid Band of Adventurers was a well known mercenary group; a name like that was… unforgettable.

“Oh, that’s not a good thing…” Augusta mumbled, taking matters into her own hands. She weaved straight past the knights with ease and took Elmo’s helmet off his head.

She slammed it onto Fensal’s head and a weak regenerative energy flowed out. Faint circuitry began to glow blue and pulse inside him as he regained consciousness just long enough for Lorenz to deliver a proper heal, effective even against his robotic body.

Fensal’s body began to gradually heal itself. “Thanks, I didn’t expect to fall off.”

“Kevin will come back for you,” Lintelfaden explained, rocketing past him. “Stay back and let me handle this.”

When he did catch up to the tide knights, his blade cut through their armour with ease. A swift strike, unsheathing the katana for just a moment, he could be a killing machine at times. The enemy constantly veered away from him and targeted the backline…

But Lilie and Elmo were ready and intercepted their charge. Together with Kevin, they managed to knock off one of the riders and quickly collapse for the kill before his comrades could save him. The blood sent the sharks into a frenzy, wildly hunting for their next target, barely kept in check by their rider. Heedless of any wounds, they searched only for the next kill.

“This isn’t very effective,” Bustov admitted, releasing another ice arrow. It froze the water as it flew but was quickly drained of its power, barely giving the enemy a chill by the time it hit them. “I’m just making icicles…”

“You can shoot them all down easily, right?” Aki asked, a little worried.

“Why of course! Did you really doubt me?” Somehow, he was able to flick back his hair underwater.

As if attracted by the sounds of battle, sharks with the heads of dogs swam out from deeper in the temple. They happily raced towards the blood, sniffed it, and their eyes went red, barking at the party. Dashing wildly, they didn’t even swim straight, sometimes upside down, but they were relentless nonetheless.

Those are ugly doggies… Lilie thought, swatting one away with her tail.

“Uh, can I get Kevin now?” Fensal asked, still stuck on the cave floor.

“Just a sec,” she replied. And forgot he was there in the same moment.

Lorenz flicked out a laser blade underneath the rifle and used it as a bayonet, fighting off the shark-dog. He had combined the Fusion Torch with his gun giving him close range options in situations like these. Gisella easily threw one across the cave while Augusta slashed another with the pinion blades. They weren’t trouble to deal with but it took the attention off of the tide knights to freely do as they please, almost knocking Elmo off of Lilie or dealing a serious blow to Bustov.

Healing Bustov, Lorenz’s magic was cut short and the golden light vanished. “I’m running out of magic and this is just the entrance-!”

A war cry from the back of the cave sent shivers down their backs as one of the knights returned with reinforcements. Another group of reavers and a cleric joined the fray, ready to tear through flesh with their sharktooth blades. Rallying behind their knight, the situation went from bad to worse and they weren’t making any lasting progress.

“Retreat again?” Lintelfaden suggested. “Even if we win this fight we aren’t in a good position.”

“Definitely,” Gisella agreed. “Those who can’t swim against the current, rely on Lilie or Kevin.”

“Can I please get a shark?!” Fensal cried.

Lilie quickly swam by Lorenz and Elmo pulled him up, giving him a ride out. I feel like I’m forgetting someone but I’m not sure who it is… She thought.

“It’s gonna be trouble if they follow us out,” Bustov realised. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they can swim against the current and get out.” The visor materialised and his sights were set. “Light them up!”

I don’t even need to ask, the Lenz chuckled.

The ice beam struck the tide knight directly in the chest and pulsed, releasing a wave of frost that slowed the reinforcements and brought their advance to a halt. Every time, the blast was stunning and even more beautiful underwater. A ball of ice almost like a glacier froze all the reinforcements for a moment before rising and shattering as it hit the cave roof, breaking into thousands of shards, killing those trapped inside.

Even if their chances of victory increased tenfold from that single attack, this was just the beginning. Every fight would be like this and they were using all of their resources just to get past the entrance let alone going toe-to-toe with Gar Shatterkeel, the prophet of the Crushing Wave.

Kevin finally returned to pick up Fensal along with Bustov and Aki, riding out as fast as they could back through the tunnel. The shark-dogs barked and chased them up but they were easily fought off, not much of a threat alone without any support.

Not until they got safely back to the dock did they breathe a sigh of relief. They were all sick of this temple and were contemplating leaving it until last when they could blast through easily and didn’t have to worry about their small pool of spells running out.

“I hate water…” Lorenz sighed, collapsing onto the ground. “I hate water, the sea, swimming, mud, I don’t like this temple one bit.”

Lilie returned back into her human form and climbed onto dry land. “Yeah, I don’t like this. I’m so glad we decided to run, it’s a lot safer if we run from hard fights.”

“You would say that,” Bustov laughed. “I’m sure we could do it but a little more planning is in order.”

Fensal agreed, sliding his finger across the string of his bow. “The cultists and the way they fight are a pain to deal with and about half of us can’t even fight properly. We can only rely on Lilie’s wildshape and summoning so much.”

“Let’s head back to Hommlet,” Gisella suggested. “Since Lareth has sent reinforcements, we don’t need to worry about retaking this place for a third time.”

Lorenz pulled himself off the ground and was ready to leave in seconds. “As long as we can leave all of this water stuff, I’m all for it.”

“We need to take a boat there.”

“…I don’t think I like Earth anymore.”

Posted in 5e, Dungeons & Dragons, Game Log

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