This is the second part in my Adventurer’s Tale, a playthrough of the D&D board game, ‘Temple of Elemental Evil,’ and the first part can be found here.
After wrapping up the last scenario, the adventurers did a little ‘Town Business, swapping some of there powers around, and Ratshadow sold his potion of stonewalk for 300gp.
We join the party recovering in a quiet inn located on the outskirts of Red Larch…
Alaeros, Barrowin and Ratshadow sat around a small table, drinks in hand. The mood was sombre, even Ratshadow was quiet.
Eventually Barrowin broke the silence, “When do you think Talon will be up and around again?”
Alaeros, staring glumly into his bear didn’t look up, “Healer reckons about a week all being well. She’s putting a brave face on it, but she’s in a worse state than we though; we were all lucky to get out really, and…”
“Alaeros, am I glad to have found you!” An elderly man burst into the inn and hurried to their table. “Mychasi has been taken by the Howling Hatred, I really need your help, they’ve taken her into the caverns and I must get her back…”
“Slow down Menthur,” Alaeros rose from his seat and laid one of his large hands on the old mans shoulder. “How long ago was she taken?”
“Early this morning; they ambushed and netted her as she passed through the woods.” He wrung his hands together in nervous worry, eyes pleading with Alearos to help.
“I’ll go, Mychasi is young and foolish, but I’ve grown fond of her. Ratshadow, Barrowin?”
The Halfling rose from his seat, “I’m with you.”
“Me too, though to capture a Wyrmling the Cult must be out in strength, we shall miss Talon’s capable arm.” Barrowin shook her head, felling a wave of forlornness pass over her.
Alaeros nodded, “You though, Menthur, you shall remain here, you’re far to old for battle, despite your past reputation.” With that he brushed past the old man and, with the Halfling and Dwarf in tow, made for the door.
“Excuse me gentlemen.” An Elf, finely clad in brightly coloured clothing, stepped in front of them; her eyes lingering on the dwarf before turning back to Alaeros. “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation, and I believe I could be of assistance. My name is Nymmestra, you can call me Nym, and I have certain talents that you might find useful, especially as your friend is otherwise incapacitated.”
He stared at her, holding her gaze with his piercing eyes, weighing her up, a quick decision was required. He turned to the others – Ratshadow shrugged, the Dwarf scowled.
“Fine, just don’t get in the way.” He pushed past her and out of the door.
Barrowin, still glowering at the Elf, followed him out.
The Halfling held the door ajar for the Elf, and spoke quietly as she passed him by, “I’m Ratshadow, and it’s my job to tell you, any funny business and you might find a small blade slip between your ribs, other than that, it’s very nice to meet you!” He smiled and bowed at the same time.
“My, I can see we’re going to get on famously!” She laughed, patted Ratshadow on the head, and joined the others outside.
They stood in the entrance to the cavern; a few random torches provided a little lighting, and the air smelt dank.
“There are traps everywhere, be careful where you step,” warned the Halfling. I’ll see if I can clear a way through. With that he knelt at an inconspicuous stone half buried within the floor. There was a loud click followed by what sounded like a spring being released, and he stood up, pointing down a dark corridor. “This way should be safe now; just make sure you follow my path through here.”
Just as he was about to move into the passageway there was a loud screeching sound from above accompanied by a creature blazing brightly with fire.
“A Fire bat, look out!” The warning was unnecessary as the creature lit up the surrounding area as it swept down on Ratshadow.
It’s teeth snapped but found only empty air as the agile Halfling flung himself clear.
As the heroes took up a fighting stance, small openings appeared in the walls, and arrows carved their way through the air towards them. (Encounter – Sniper Shots).
One lodged in Alaeros’s shoulder, and with snarl he wrenched it free – blood trickled down his side, soaking his tunic. (Alaeros -2 Damage). The others were luckier, only minor cuts and grazes, and no sooner had they started the arrows ceased – the holes in the walls disappearing once again. (1 Damage each to Ratshadow, Barrowin, and Nym).
With his blood up, Alaeros pushed Ratshadow aside, sending him sprawling to the floor, and swiped at the Bat with his mighty axe, but it just gave a squawk and fluttered up out of reach, causing Alaeros more pain as he wrenched his wounded shoulder. (Encounter – Weight of Greed – 2 Damage to Alaeros and Ratshadow!)
Ratshadow had fallen heavily, twisting his knee, and as he regained his footing he knew he was going to struggle with it for the rest of the day. “Blast you, you great lumbering ox,” he cried, “You didn’t even manage to hit it!”
Ratshadow instinctively ducked, and he felt the heat as a bolt of fire shot past him, and engulfed the Fire Bat, reducing it to a small pile of cinders.
“Now, now, boys, let’s not bicker. It’s a good job I came along to look after you, eh?” She strolled nonchalantly past them, pausing momentarily to pick something up from out of the smouldering remains, and continued on down the passageway, feeling their eyes boring into her back. (Treasure – 100gp)
“There’s more traps this way, would one of you boys like to see if you can disable them – traps really aren’t my forte you know?” She did little to hide the amusement in her voice as she called back – she really was enjoying herself!
“Boys! I’ll give her boys,” muttering away at herself Barrowin decided that, if she were to disable a trap, then it wouldn’t be one that had been pointed out by a high opinionated, self-centred, smarmy little Elf. And with that she set about what she assumed to be a trap leading from the opening passage.
After several attempts at trying to locate a trigger device her patience got the better of her, “Oh to blazes with it!'” And with that, she held her breath, closed her eyes, and expectantly took a step forward… She opened one eye, peered around, and then opened the other.
“Oh!” She said, and ducked! The Water Cultist’s jagged coral sword clanged of her helmet, sending her reeling back the way she came, and, senseless for the moment, she tripped over the steps, her helm ringing out once again as it connected with the wall! (Barrowin -1 Damage by Cultist and 1 Damage by Encounter – Dark Gift).
Ratshadow, cloak billowing, danced past the Cultist screaming insults as he went. The distraction seemed to work as, losing interest in the fallen Dwarf, the Cultist turned towards the Halfling. A look of surprise spread across his face as Ratshadow’s throwing dagger took him in the throat – death followed quickly after. (Ratshadow critical hit with throwing dagger – nice! Treasure – 100gp).
“Well, that was easy. Bring it on, that’s what I say!”
“Okay, shorty – if you insist!” The voice came from behind him, and he got the feeling he didn’t really want to turn around to see who’d spoken…
…But he did, and it wasn’t a pretty sight!
The Bugbear charged him first, swinging its massive club. The blow connected with the Halflings short sword, but the strength of the blow sent a shiver of pain along his arm, numbing it to almost uselessness. (Ratshadow – 2 damage)
Barrowin, still reeling from the blow to her head sat listless, watching events unravel. Eventually, she came to her senses enough to cry out, “Alaeros, the enemy comes in force, Ratshadow needs help!”
Meanwhile, things were going from bad to worse for the little rogue – A huge Hobgoblin was trying its best to remove the little fellow’s head from his shoulders, but so far, thankfully, it hadn’t succeeded.
Unfortunately, so intent was he on dodging the Hobgoblin’s efforts, he failed to avoid the very solid stone club wielded by the Earth Cultist. The blow sent him staggering, unable to defend himself. (Ratshadow – 2 Damage, 1hp left!)
“Revenge, they say, is a stone club, best served with extreme force,’ the Cultist laughed and advanced, intent on the kill.
Alaeros came at a run, “Face me you spawns of hell, try to take on the might of Alaeros if you dare!” It was enough to distract the monsters, and, losing interest in the mortally wounded Halfling, they moved to surround the far more intimidating figure of the Human Fighter. (Alaeros Utility Power – Daring Shout.)
“For the House of Margaster!” He swept his mighty battle-axe around in an arc with a strength developed by many days on the training fields. Indeed, it was a blow guided not only by a steady hand, but by the gods themselves – first it bit through the chest of the Bugbear, tearing it open and sending blood spraying across the room; next, it cleaved the Hobgoblin’s skull in two, felling the beast where it stood; finally, it continued on its path to finish embedded deep in the side of the Earth Cultist. (Alaeros Daily Power – Sweeping Attack, amazingly three hits! Treasure – 100gp).
“What was that about extreme force?” He kicked the body of the dead Cultist, freeing up his bloody axe. He knelt alongside the Halfling, offering what aid he could.
“Can you walk?”
“Well, I’ll be damned if I have to let a big oaf like you carry me!” He stood, shaking and weak, but managed to give Alaeros a big grin, “Give me a moment, I think I would like to live a little longer yet.”
Alaeros knew that, if the Halfling was still jesting, things weren’t as bad as they seemed. (Alaeros Utility Power – Battle Master – No encounter card drawn this turn).
A shimmering light appeared beside Ratshadow causing him to flinch and try to reach for his sword. Alaeros raised his axe and stood protectively over him. The air began to crackle and the hairs on their arms stood on end, slowly a shape began to form…
“Hello boys, see what a mess you get yourselves in without me!” Nym appeared before them, smiling a smile that made Alaeros scowl. (Nym Utility Power – Dimension Door)
“Where were you when we needed you?”
“Why, abandoned all on my little own. You really should get a grip on that Dwarf – he’ll get you all killed wandering down passageways on his own, and then expecting everyone else to bail him out.”
Alaeros’ hands tightened on the handle of his axe, knuckles turning white as he fought for control. Through gritted teeth he spoke, his voice quiet and held under control, just! “Give me one good reason not to beat your brains in right now?”
“Because dear, you need me, and underneath this beautifully refined exterior, I am actually quite a nice person – you just have to get in my good books, that’s all,” she gave him a smile and turned away down the corridor.
Ratshadow held up a hand, “Leave it Alaeros. Right now we need her, magic has never been our strong suit, and she does have a point, Barrowin shouldn’t have made out on her own. Go and see how she’s doing, I could do with her aid.”
Alaeros turned away, thinking to help the Dwarf, but was suddenly thrown from his feet as the ground began to shake, rocks fell from the ceiling, and dust clouded up around them all.
“What was that,” he managed between coughs.
“Earthquake?” Suggested Ratshadow.
“No, I sense something magical, but it doesn’t appear to have done anything more than cause a mess!” Nym peered through the dust, annoyed at getting her clothing dirty for no good reason. (Encounter – Terra Reformation).
“The ground is alive, it’s reforming as we move, believe me, I’m a Dwarf, and we know about these things.” Barrowin moved alongside Ratshadow, “I’m sorry short stuff, it was my fault you got hurt, I should have followed on behind you.” She laid a hand on Ratshadow and started to chant under her breath. A glow passed from Dwarf to Halfling, penetrating Ratshadow’s body. (Barrowin Utility Power – Cure Wounds Ratshadow gains three hp plus an extra one from Barrowin’s Healer power)
“How do you feel?”
“Better, thank you. I think we’d better move on, let’s not forget why we’re here.” (Encounter – Cutpurse, cancelled with experience as Barrowin would lose 2 hp).
Ratshadow made of slowly down a new passageway, half way down his body began to convulse, popping and stretching into all different shapes, suddenly Ratshadow no longer stood before them, it was a Doppelgänger!
“What evil is this?” Alaeros prepared to charge, but held himself as he noticed a fiery figure step behind the Ganger. “A Fire Cultist, beware, we’ve met their likes before; watch out for their deathburst!”
The Ganger didn’t hang around – it pounced at Nymmestra bringing its massive fists down hard on her back. She staggered, surprised at its strength. (Nym – 1 Damage).
Distracted by the Ganger’s attack, she failed to parry the Fire Cultist’s thrust of his flaming spear, “That’s it boys, you stand around gawping; I’ll do all the work, eh?” (Nym – 1 Damage).
(Encounter – Cursed Item – No effect as Ratshadow has no treasure cards.)
Alaeros paused for a moment; he appeared to be considering something, but eventually his conscious got the better of him and he moved in to attack.
Moving to the rear of the Ganger he barely raised his axe, but the blow still fell the vile creature, and he continued on, wanting to put a little distance between himself and the Fire Cultist.
“Well done big boy, but what’s wrong with taking out the fiery one too? Don’t you like playing with fire?” Even under pressure Nym seemed to be having fun!
Alaeros wasn’t rising to the bait and kept his voice to a low growl, “You’ll find out if you kill it; best to do it from a distance, they tend to go with a bang!”
Keeping his eyes affixed to the Cultist Alaeros knelt and picked up something that had caught his eye. He slipped it into his pouch without looking, he’d examine later, when he had chance. (Treasure – Healing Potion.)
It didn’t look like he’d have a chance anytime soon though, as reinforcements were arriving, and they weren’t friendly!
Another Fire Cultist leapt to join the fray, and he caught Alaeros with his burning spear causing him to cry out in pain. (Alaeros – 1 Damage.)
Spurred on by the arrival of his friends, the other Cultist managed to shoulder Nym into the wall, the heat from his armour searing her skin and causing the smell of burning flesh to permeate the air. (Nym – 1 Damage.)
That wasn’t the only disgusting stench to reach their nostrils, the other foul smell came from the Troglodyte, which was currently trying to rake Alaeros’ eyes out with its claws – fortunately, it wasn’t meeting with too much success!
Nym’s voice rose above the commotion, “This really will not do,” her voice changed to one of absolute power, “Be away from me!” The Cultist flew across the corridor, hitting the wall hard, and sliding down into a heap on the floor. This was quickly followed by a Fire Bolt, launched from Nymmestra’s fingers and turning her prey into a fiery heap. (Nym Utility Power – Bigby’s Hand, followed by At-Will powers – Fire Bolt. Treasure – 100gp.)
“Need a little help there big boy?” She circled around Alaeros getting behind his foes.
“Do as you will Elf, I’ll manage one way or another.” Admittedly, he did appear to be in control of the situation, but there were more pressing things – not least the arrival of another Trog, this time backed up by a couple of Cultists.
“My, more fodder for the canon!” She was beginning to enjoy herself!
She dodged the Trog’s sloppy attack and the Air Cultists bolt whipped past her ear, she thought for a moment that maybe she was pushing her luck, and was soon proved correct as the Water Cultist charged her.
It wasn’t the worst of blows but it sent her flying backwards, much to her chagrin. (Nym – 1 Damage, she’s now on 1hp!)
“What?” Nym turned, her eyes affixed to the crossbow held at her head, Barrowin’s face staring at her from the other end.
She didn’t need telling again and hit the deck, sure that the bolt had almost parted her hair, but sometimes it paid to keep her thoughts to herself!
The bolt, which indeed did remove the odd hair from Nym’s head, plunged deep into the side of the Troglodyte facing Alaeros. It screeched, a piercing sound that died out with its remaining breath. Barrowin charged past Nym without a backwards glance, though she held a smug grin on her face. (Treasure – 100gp. Encounter – Cultist Fervour cancelled with Xp.)
Ratshadow came at a run; ever since the Doppelgänger had gotten hold of him he’d been working hard to get back into the fray. Now though, he knew his next move could prove vital. (Ratshadow Utility Power – Reliable Talent, gains advantage.)
Even at a run his deftly thrown daggers were deadly accurate – the first took the Fire Cultist in the neck, the second the Trog, right in the chest – both died instantly, but not before the Cultist burst into flames, engulfing Alaeros. (Alaeros – 1 Damage. Ratshadow – Treasure – 100gp. Encounter – Hidden Traps; traps placed on closest unexplored edge to Ratshadow.)
Alaeros, a little singed here and there but otherwise okay, nodded his thanks to the little Halfling. He then turned towards the cultists and charged in once again.
He bashed into the Water Cultist’s shield, and then, giving him no chance to recover, brought his axe down hard on his foot. The Cultist fell, and with a grimace, Alaeros finished him off with a single blow to his skull. He then turned away from the Air Cultist, so as not to obstruct a path for, he hoped, Nymmestra to blast away with a Fire Bolt. (Treasure – Blessing of Torm, no use at all! Encounter – Choking Ash, cancelled with Xp.)
As he turned away he got a glimpse of what lay around the corner.
“Oh, sh..!” He now knew why there was such a heavy presence of Cultists; before him, hovering above an ornately carved alter, was an Air Elemental, turning and swirling, its attention focused on something further down the corridor.
“Help, please help me!”
“Mychasi? Hold on, were coming” Alaeros’ shout wasn’t just for the benefit of the Wyrmling, it also alerted his friends to the fact she was near, unfortunately, it also caught the attention of the Elemental!
The Elemental spun through the air towards Alaeros, letting out a blast of wind as it went hitting him full in the chest. Alaeros Staggered, but managed to keep his feet. (Alaeros – 1 Damage.)
Nym was then faced with a dilemma – Air Cultist or Elemental? She raised her arms and, chanting a few arcane words, unleashed a blast of magic with all the force she could muster. It hit the Elemental but failed to slow it down, instead it began to whirl, round and round. (Nym – Daily Power – Disintegrate. Encounter – Hail Storm cancelled by Xp.)
The enraged Elemental continued to spin, finally releasing all its built up energy at Alaeros, lifting him from his feet and sending him sprawling down the corridor. (Alaeros – 1 Damage.)
Meanwhile, the Cultist took advantage of not being hit by a fiery bolt by releasing one of his own. Fortunately, the wind raised by the Elemental sent his bolt off target to deflect harmlessly of the wall.
Barrowin could see Mychasi trying to sneak past the Elemental, but there was little she could do to aid her. So, she took careful aim and fired at the Elemental in the hope of causing a distraction. Despite a hit, the bolt had little effect on it, and Barrowin cursed her luck.
A great rumbling and shaking of the ground suddenly occurred – crevasses opened up beneath their feet, fire erupted from the walls, air and hail blasted down the passages, and the heroes were grasped and flayed by all the elements at once. Nymmestra fell to the ground unconscious, Alaeros staggered and fell to his knees – things did not look good! (Encounter – Exposed to the elements – 1 Damage to all heroes, including Mychasi. Nym is reduced to 0hp, with Alaeros not far behind on 1hp.)
“Everything is consorting against us, we must bring this beast down, but I have little to offer but these,” and with that Ratshadow launched two daggers, one at the Cultist, the other at the Elemental. A lucky strike saw the Cultist fall, the range had been great, but the Halflings aim had been true. The other hit the Elemental, it could hardly miss as the thing was huge, but it seemed to do little damage. (Treasure – Healing Ember.)
As soon as he’d launched his daggers though, the rogue was kneeling at Nymmestra’s side. He produced a small vial and poured it into her lifeless mouth. She coughed and spluttered, and opened her eyes.
“My, I never knew you cared!” She smiled, but this time the smile reached her eyes and looked as if she meant it. (Ratshadow uses his cunning action to administer the Healing Ember and Nym regains 4hp.)
Ratshadow didn’t get the chance to reply, as a scorching flame burst to life besides him, burning his face. The fire turned to steam, then to water, and then into a very real Water Cultist. (Encounter – Burning Sacrifice, 1 Damage to Ratshadow.)
The Air Elemental was swirling again, causing a blast of air to sweep down the corridor. With a ‘wumph’ it unleashed its awesome power sending Mychasi flying through the air – fortunately the Wyrmling managed to get its wings out and glide, moderately unhurt, to the floor. (Mychasi – 1 Damage; only 1 hp left now!)
“Run for the exit, its not far. We’ll watch your back, and we’ve some unfinished business here yet.” Alaeros pointed back the way they’d come, “Just follow the trail of destruction, and be careful, strange things keep happening in this god-forsaken place.”
The Wyrmling didn’t hang around and scurried off in the direction indicated, calling out her thanks as she left.
“Right, now we can concentrate on that thing.” He gripped his axe and prepared himself.
Nymmestra, meanwhile had pounced on the Water Cultist, trying to draw it away from the Halfling. Her bravado though, wasn’t matched by her skill in a melee, and the cultist ripped his sword across her, drawing blood, and the jagged edge snagged on her precious clothes dragging her off balance and making her stagger into the path of the Elemental. (Nym – 1 Damage and moved one tile.)
Taking a quick swig of the healing potion he’d discovered earlier, Alaeros advanced on the Elemental. “Out of my way girl,” he shoved Nym to the side as he launched a ferocious attack on the creature with his axe. (Alaeros regained 2hp drinking the healing potion.)
Even the Elemental backed up against his ferocity, and he landed blow after blow, but finally he burnt himself out, disengaging like the seasoned veteran he was. (Alaeros rolled a critical hit doing 2 damage with his axe, and then moved 2 spaces – the Elemental is now down to 2hp. Encounter – Robber, Alaeros loses 100gp.)
In a fit of rage the Air Elemental unleashed a massive whirlwind, missing Alaeros who had backed off, but hitting Nym head on. She leapt backwards, somehow riding the blow and keeping her footing, though she’d clearly been hurt. (Nym – 1 Damage.)
She drew herself up to her full height, and her eyes began to glow; when she spoke her voice came from everywhere, “By all the power that is invested in me, I will strike you down.” With that she unleashed a bolt of fire that was unlike anything previously seen. It glowed, white hot, and flew fast and straight, hitting the Elemental and… and then nothing; it simply ceased to exist.
Nymmestra collapsed to the floor, her eyes rolling, her body convulsing. (Nym cast Fire bolt doing 1 damage to the Elemental, she then used her ‘overchannel’ power to take 1 damage and cause 1 extra damage, thus killing the Elemental.)
The place went quite; the Water Cultist had faded away as easily as it had appeared. The only sound was that of their breathing, it was like the whole cavern had come to rest.
“Wow, that was something. Is she okay?” Ratshadow approached the fallen Elf as Alaeros bent to pick her up.
“We should leave, and quickly. It doesn’t feel safe in here.” He took the lead with the Elf hanging limply from his arms.
“By Gorm, I think my God has deserted me.” Barrowin sounded so glum as she slowly brought up the rear, “I have done little but hinder everyone. I must regain my faith for I am no longer worthy.” She hung her head in shame.
Ratshadow placed a consolatory arm around Barrowin’s broad shoulders causing him to stretch up on tip toe, “It’s been a hard day my friend, Mychasi is safe, that is all that counts,” he nodded towards Alaeros, “That Elf’s an odd one, full of self-confidence, but underneath, I think, she’s something very different. Still, time will tell. Let’s get back for a well deserved rest.”
With that they exited the now quiet caverns, returning to Red Larch to lick their wounds.
I’ve played this scenario many times before, and I can’t recall ever having so many monsters crop up. Still, that can work in ones favour, as the Xp gained from their defeat can be used to cancel the life sapping encounters, which is why I think I managed to compete it without using any healing surges, though it was a close run thing at one point.
To anyone who’s not played the game I should point out the need to reveal a new tile every turn, if possible, as this progresses you towards the final goal and often spawns more monsters. As I alluded to, you need to defeat monsters in order to gain Xp, otherwise the encounters will eventually be the end of you.
With the introduction of Nym, the Elf wizard, I thought I would bring a little confrontation to the group, and I’m sure Barrowin will eventually see red at been called a ‘boy!’ But never fear, Talon is on the road to recovery and should be back on her feet pretty soon.
Alaeros finished with 3hp and 300gp; Nymmestra with 1hp and 400gp; Ratshadow with 3hp and 600gp; Barrowin with 4hp and 200gp.
Temple of Elemental Evil: The Cult of the Howling Hatred, starred:-
The Air Elemental
Special Guest Star – Mychasi
Written on Location