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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 26 Mar 2019 :  18:09:56  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I'm really struggling with this as DM. We have made it to the Undying Temple, but we are only 11th level.

The adventure states that by now we should be somewhere around 15th?

The group made good use of divinations and teleport to bypass most of the Underdark journey and went straight to the city after Szith Morcane.

They quickly found The Hidden, and devised a way to air walk directly to the top level of the Castle and fought 2 rooms to get to the Undying Temple.

I have several problems:

1) The group cannot defeat Irae
2) the group cannot counter or handle the actions of the Temple and all of it's powers
3) Taking negative damage each round while within the Temple is silly and will contribute directly to a TPK
4) The adventure essentially makes it impossible to destroy the Temple even if you beat every encounter.

I find the conclusion to be anything but. It's trite, unnecessary and removes any sense of closure for the adventure.

5) The ethereal Temple is needlessly complicated and there is no real justification for it. It is NOT necessary for the Great Revenance spell, and really has no place in the adventure.

I can't even understand the point of it, nor can I explain it to my players

6) there are multiple EL 18+ encounters back to back and the final encounter is EL 21+

Here is the list for JUST the UNDYING TEMPLE! for 7 11th level PCs:

EL 20, 16, 17, 17, 11, 17, 18, 19, 19, 18, 17, 19, 8, 18, 18, 18, 18, 21+

UMM WTF??!! This is WITHOUT the Temple firing enervations every round if it wishes, and WITHOUT taking negative energy damage EVERY ROUND.

I don't know what to do. I hate hand waving and DM Fiat but i may just have to pull the plug on this one right now.


The questions is how to do so gracefully?

I'm responsible here, I painted myself into a corner without understanding the entire final part of the adventure.

Edited by - Cards77 on 26 Mar 2019 18:11:38

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
32398 Posts

Posted - 26 Mar 2019 :  18:52:37  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Either tone it all down by DM fiat, or find some side thing that'll keep them occupied long enough to get the levels they need.

Maybe the PCs have to get something from, or chase someone into Sigil. Once they're there, they can get involved in a number of side quests -- which could still be drow-related -- before they go back.

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Seethyr
Senior Scribe

USA
653 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2019 :  01:07:12  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah it sounds like its time for a side quest or five. Forget 15 - I'd get it to 16 or even 17 with those numbers and conditions.

Reading this is making me glad I never ran it, but it was a good read. Will a significant side-jaunt disrupt the flow?

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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2019 :  14:54:48  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Seethyr

Yeah it sounds like its time for a side quest or five. Forget 15 - I'd get it to 16 or even 17 with those numbers and conditions.

Reading this is making me glad I never ran it, but it was a good read. Will a significant side-jaunt disrupt the flow?



Yeah I'm just stuck. I'm frankly quite upset that this adventure sucks you in with some really great parts 1 and 2, only to end up like this.

There is no way a group would be near to level 18 before the last part as stated.

Edited by - Cards77 on 27 Mar 2019 16:08:47
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4728 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2019 :  15:41:16  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The solution all depends on how familiar you are with the rules and with making stuff up as you go along.

Option 1 is be really mean and let them die. Then their new characters can play through again but in the aftermath of their former party's actions (news monster but with the carnage of former battles strewn about).

Option 2 is let them play as normal, when they lose they are instead captured to be sacrificed. They must escape from dungeons (with help from other prisoners) and come back later.

Option 3 is amend the difficulty of the encounter. Make irae and the other baddies be lower level with less gear and remove the negative aura (the ritual to create it hasn't been completed and the pcs can interrupt that ritual if you like when they confront irae).

Option 4 is a bit more on the fly. You can bring in other factors. So another adventuring party turns up and is already in progress of attacking irae when the pcs get there. The other adventuring party lose and the pcs can retreat, or together they beat irae and must divide any treasure between the two groups. Or the pcs arrive but the negative aura hasn't been made yet and irae is not at home (baddies don't wait in their lair all day waiting to be smashed). The party clean out the temple but must go and find irae elsewhere or perhaps can lay a trap for her (lots of preparation time might even the odds between pcs and irae).

Just a few thoughts. I realise messing with stat blocks is a large task in 3e as is rewriting bits of the adventure but sometimes as a DM you just have to make things up when the players go off piste

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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2019 :  16:10:47  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

The solution all depends on how familiar you are with the rules and with making stuff up as you go along.

Option 1 is be really mean and let them die. Then their new characters can play through again but in the aftermath of their former party's actions (news monster but with the carnage of former battles strewn about).

Option 2 is let them play as normal, when they lose they are instead captured to be sacrificed. They must escape from dungeons (with help from other prisoners) and come back later.

Option 3 is amend the difficulty of the encounter. Make irae and the other baddies be lower level with less gear and remove the negative aura (the ritual to create it hasn't been completed and the pcs can interrupt that ritual if you like when they confront irae).

Option 4 is a bit more on the fly. You can bring in other factors. So another adventuring party turns up and is already in progress of attacking irae when the pcs get there. The other adventuring party lose and the pcs can retreat, or together they beat irae and must divide any treasure between the two groups. Or the pcs arrive but the negative aura hasn't been made yet and irae is not at home (baddies don't wait in their lair all day waiting to be smashed). The party clean out the temple but must go and find irae elsewhere or perhaps can lay a trap for her (lots of preparation time might even the odds between pcs and irae).

Just a few thoughts. I realise messing with stat blocks is a large task in 3e as is rewriting bits of the adventure but sometimes as a DM you just have to make things up when the players go off piste



Option 2 could work in Out of the Underdark.

The players didn't go off piste, they have been extremely crafty and smart with this.

The adventure frankly is stupid hard in the last portion and very poorly thought out.
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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
242 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2019 :  16:20:39  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good suggestions so far.
My first thought is to let a spellcaster banish the party to an evil, outer plane, as Abyss, Carceri or Gehenna. That would give them some XP on the way back. Could work out as a solution if they are not able to escape prison, and sits captured.
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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  14:56:19  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well this is effectively put my game on hiatus. The party is confused and doesn't know how to deal with the Undying Temple and Negative Energy Orb. They can feel that it's epic and know they are completely outclassed.

Hand waving seems to be the only solution but they have caught on that this is beyond them totally. I HATE to do that.
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1382 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  16:12:32  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do remember reading in some 4e Dragon (that has a 4e conversion of Irae's stats) that this adventure was made in such a way to discourage players' creativity (or cheating, as they put it), as they felt 3e adventures were hard to prepare and desing (for both designers and DMs), and players always did something to "cheat and win the easy way". They use the Ethereal version of the castle as an example of this: they created it to avoid players using the Ethereal Plane to bypass the traps and such. I'm going to check for the issue's number.

But, yes, I guess your players got punished for being creative.

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Edited by - Zeromaru X on 30 Mar 2019 16:20:04
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4728 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  16:13:49  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well the solution where you beat the party into unconsciousness, imprison them awaiting sacrifice, and steal all their gear isn't really hand waving it away.

3e has several big problems, but assuming all fights end in death is a biggie and the rules make it very difficult to take prisoners.
A baddie is going to want to capture people to eat or sacrifice or enslave so while this behaviour isn't supported by the rules it's entirely within the lore of the setting.
I always take lore over rules (except for that 4e stuff) so use your dm power and make things happen the way they would in realistic fantasy life

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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1382 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  16:37:01  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Guess I got it wrong. The reasons for the Ethereal temple are in Dragon 370's Desing & Development column. Irae's stats are in Dungeon 174's Dungeoncraft column.

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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  16:54:39  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Zeromaru X

I do remember reading in some 4e Dragon (that has a 4e conversion of Irae's stats) that this adventure was made in such a way to discourage players' creativity (or cheating, as they put it), as they felt 3e adventures were hard to prepare and desing (for both designers and DMs), and players always did something to "cheat and win the easy way". They use the Ethereal version of the castle as an example of this: they created it to avoid players using the Ethereal Plane to bypass the traps and such. I'm going to check for the issue's number.

But, yes, I guess your players got punished for being creative.



Hmm I didn't know this thanks for adding that.

It makes sense, I mean they did Air Walk past the entire castle all the way to Level 6 (the highest window) in the South Tower.

That bypasses the entire Castle except for level 7 and the hallway to the Undying Temple.

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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 30 Mar 2019 :  16:59:53  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gary Dallison

Well the solution where you beat the party into unconsciousness, imprison them awaiting sacrifice, and steal all their gear isn't really hand waving it away.

3e has several big problems, but assuming all fights end in death is a biggie and the rules make it very difficult to take prisoners.
A baddie is going to want to capture people to eat or sacrifice or enslave so while this behaviour isn't supported by the rules it's entirely within the lore of the setting.
I always take lore over rules (except for that 4e stuff) so use your dm power and make things happen the way they would in realistic fantasy life



Yes I agree.

My only issue with this is the added complexity and time needed to play out a prison escape AND an "out of the Underdark" scenario.

I do have multiple story arcs going at the moment and adding several real life months to this jaunt because the design is crap just isn't an option at the moment.

My only option I guess is then to nerf the entire Undying Temple but hopefully in a way that doesn't tip them off but I'm sure they have already caught on.

What REALLY chaps my hide is that I can't even reward them for being clever and destroying the Undying Temple......because it can't be destroyed!

Thanks a lot authors.

It's not effected by any spell lower than 8th level.

You would have to channel or turn 100 HD worth of undead to destroy the negative energy sphere.

Nothing short of a wish spell would do anything.

So you can kill the BBEG and all her minions (including a LICH, and a ****ing medusa) and still not accomplish the overall goal.

Another NPC baddie can just come in, cast Legend Lore and pickup the Great Revenance where Irae left off.



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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 10 Apr 2019 :  18:31:33  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well the group slogged through a nerfed version of the Undying Temple. We killed Irae.

The plan is now to destroy the Negative Energy Sphere and thus the Undying Temple itself.

Two clerics will take the Rod of the Twisted Weave INTO the Negative Energy Sphere. They will sunder the Rod while channeling 12d6 points of positive energy.

The theory is that by sundering the Rod with positive energy, within the negative energy sphere will disrupt the Weave enough to remove the sphere's anchor on the Prime Material Plane, thereby removing it and destroying the Temple (since it is a magical construct connected to the Weave).

I am going to allow it. The clerics are essentially going to sacrifice themselves to accomplish this.

Any thoughts on the ultimate fate of the two heros?

Shunted to the Negative Energy Plane? Annihilated?
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8282 Posts

Posted - 11 Apr 2019 :  01:00:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Well the group slogged through a nerfed version of the Undying Temple. We killed Irae.

The plan is now to destroy the Negative Energy Sphere and thus the Undying Temple itself.

Two clerics will take the Rod of the Twisted Weave INTO the Negative Energy Sphere. They will sunder the Rod while channeling 12d6 points of positive energy.

The theory is that by sundering the Rod with positive energy, within the negative energy sphere will disrupt the Weave enough to remove the sphere's anchor on the Prime Material Plane, thereby removing it and destroying the Temple (since it is a magical construct connected to the Weave).

I am going to allow it. The clerics are essentially going to sacrifice themselves to accomplish this.

Any thoughts on the ultimate fate of the two heros?

Shunted to the Negative Energy Plane? Annihilated?



Aged enormously but not dead due the negative energy backlash. Blackened hand that becomes petrified and immune to any magical repair or regrowth. If its removed, a Durpari Plangent arm can be put in its place.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Delnyn
Seeker

USA
49 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2019 :  10:37:05  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Well the group slogged through a nerfed version of the Undying Temple. We killed Irae.

The plan is now to destroy the Negative Energy Sphere and thus the Undying Temple itself.

Two clerics will take the Rod of the Twisted Weave INTO the Negative Energy Sphere. They will sunder the Rod while channeling 12d6 points of positive energy.

The theory is that by sundering the Rod with positive energy, within the negative energy sphere will disrupt the Weave enough to remove the sphere's anchor on the Prime Material Plane, thereby removing it and destroying the Temple (since it is a magical construct connected to the Weave).

I am going to allow it. The clerics are essentially going to sacrifice themselves to accomplish this.

Any thoughts on the ultimate fate of the two heros?

Shunted to the Negative Energy Plane? Annihilated?



Aged enormously but not dead due the negative energy backlash. Blackened hand that becomes petrified and immune to any magical repair or regrowth. If its removed, a Durpari Plangent arm can be put in its place.



You could make a whole new arc where the two heroes risk being subverted by Pandorym through the Plangent arms.
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Cards77
Senior Scribe

USA
684 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2019 :  23:27:07  Show Profile Send Cards77 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Well the group slogged through a nerfed version of the Undying Temple. We killed Irae.

The plan is now to destroy the Negative Energy Sphere and thus the Undying Temple itself.

Two clerics will take the Rod of the Twisted Weave INTO the Negative Energy Sphere. They will sunder the Rod while channeling 12d6 points of positive energy.

The theory is that by sundering the Rod with positive energy, within the negative energy sphere will disrupt the Weave enough to remove the sphere's anchor on the Prime Material Plane, thereby removing it and destroying the Temple (since it is a magical construct connected to the Weave).

I am going to allow it. The clerics are essentially going to sacrifice themselves to accomplish this.

Any thoughts on the ultimate fate of the two heros?

Shunted to the Negative Energy Plane? Annihilated?



Aged enormously but not dead due the negative energy backlash. Blackened hand that becomes petrified and immune to any magical repair or regrowth.



I did this exactly. BUT I did allow magical repair via miracle.

I didn't want to take the PCs character away. She loves to roleplay him. So he will be aged now and become steward of our stronghold so she can still roleplay him.
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