Adventurer’s Tale – Part III: Rotten in Red Larch

Adventurer’s Tale is a D&D Temple of Elemental Evil: The board game, story driven solo play-through. The first part can be read HERE, and part II HERE.

I haven’t particularly been looking forward to this scenario, it has never been one of my favourites, and I know I’m going to have to get creative to bring the story together. So, I’ll apologies in advance for all the extra prose required to join up the action.

For the sake of the story, I’m allowing the ‘Investigate Villager’ action to be taken instead of a move, when and where required.

Once again, anything in brackets and in bold, is game information.

After the last adventure took its toll, the heroes rested to nurse their wounds before setting off back to Red Larch.

The journey was quiet and thoughtful, even Nymmestra refrained from harassing the Dwarf; everyone reflected upon the hardships of their last adventure and yearned for a hearty meal, a good beer and a warm comfortable bed.

As they approached Red Larch they couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was; the hustle and bustle of the normally busy town was nowhere to be seen.

‘It’s been like this for a few days now.’ A figure appeared from the shadows of a tree and moved towards them, but her familiar voice made them drop their hands from weapons.

‘Talon! Good to see you up and about.’ Alaeros moved forward and grasped her arm, the others, except for Nym, offered warm words; evidently pleased to see her recovered from her injuries.

‘And you must be Nymmestra? I’d heard you’d accompanied my friends.’

Nym smiled and threw herself into a flamboyant bow, ‘My, things are looking up. Aren’t you a pretty one? It was beginning to hurt my eyes having to look at this ugly bunch day after day!’

Talon was taken aback; she looked at Alaeros, who shrugged, ‘Is she always like this?’

Nym laughed.

‘Always.’ Barrowin’s voice was full of menace, though after a pause she too let out a loud guttural laugh.

Talon’s voice broke through, full of seriousness, as was her face, ‘I have news, and it doesn’t bode well. Cultists visited the town a few days ago, looking for information apparently. They didn’t stay long, but since they left the place has been like a ghost town, everyone’s keeping themselves to themselves, mostly they’re not even venturing out of their houses.’

‘Last night a few Cultists returned, too many for me to handle alone, so I though I’d set up watch in this copse – I expected you back sooner.’

Alaeros let out a sigh. ‘We rescued Mychasi all right, but we took a beating in the process. We had to stop and lick our wounds.’

‘Well, I don’t know about you but I’m in need of a good bed to sleep in, and standing here chatting isn’t going to get me any closer.’ Ratshadow shielded his eyes from the early afternoon sun, ‘And besides, I’m curious, can you not feel it? Something is certainly amiss. Come on.’ He led the way along the old dusty track towards the town of Red Larch, the others falling into step behind him.

‘See what I mean?’ Talon pivoted around as she stood on the steps of the Town Square, not a soul to be seen; even the birds were hiding away.

‘Bang on a few doors, see what everyone has got to say for themselves. That should get us somewhere.’ Barrowin was all for the direct approach; she had something to prove after her decisions went awry the last adventure, even if only to herself. ‘What do you say Ratshadow, shall we take downtown?’

Ratshadow nodded, just like old times, he enjoyed working with, and winding up his friend.

‘Wait!’ Alaeros’ voice, barely a whisper, cut through. Silence reigned. But then they heard what had caught the big man’s attention, a shuffling sound, accompanied by a low intermittent growl.

From between the houses came an evil looking, man-sized creature, preceded by an almighty stench – they’d dealt with its kind before – a Troglodyte!

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
Preceded by an almighty stench – a Troglodyte!

It was clear the beast wasn’t expecting them and in its startled state Alaeros wasted no time in dispatching it – his heavy axe cleaved down through its skull, blood oozing down into its glazed eyes.

‘A Trog, here?’ He put his boot against the dead Troglodyte’s head and heaved his axe free, then bent to examine the small leather pouch tide around its waste. ‘Money, and a fair amount too. Could be someone’s paying well to have their dirty work done for them.’ (Treasure 100gp.)

As he ran his hand through the gold he let out a sharp yelp of pain, a burning spread up through his fingers and along his arm; at the same time the others also grimaced in pain, as they too felt a burning surge through their body, all that is except for Barrowin. (Alaeros’ encounter – Weight of Greed – Each hero with 300gp+ takes 2 damage)

‘We should check these houses, see if anyone’s home.’ Talon made towards the nearest of the small wooden buildings as Alaeros rose up, rubbing life back into his fingers, and continued along the path that the Troglodyte had emerged from.

‘Damn, a Cultist, and he’s seen us!’ At Alaeros’ warning Talon changed direction, leaping from the doorstep and taking up a position of cover, one that enabled her a clear shot at the bare chested Water Cultist, who was now advancing towards them.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
Talon took up a position that enabled her a clear shot.

Her arrow took the Cultist in the shoulder, causing him to pause and scream an oath. Whatever it was he yelled, for none of them understood his foul tongue, it certainly caused a commotion. Arrows came hurtling down upon them from unseen archers – or was it some kind of mystical magic – and they were forced to find whatever shelter they could.

‘By Gorm, what foul magic is this?’ Barrowin crouched behind a barrel, blood already seeping from a number of close shaves.

‘Magic indeed, they’re only playing at it. Wait until I get them in my sight, then we’ll see some magic!’ Nym, also bleeding slightly, shook a fist at some unseen foe as she cursed. Looking around she saw that the others hadn’t faired as well as she and the Dwarf. Talon had a head wound, which was bleeding heavily into her eyes; Ratshadow was sitting, back against a door, cutting out the head of an arrow that had pierced his arm. Meanwhile Alaeros, who had remained standing throughout the assault, unflinchingly yanked an arrow from his thigh. (Talon’s encounter – Sniper Shots – 2 damage to Alaeros, Ratshadow, and Talon; 1 damage to Nym and Barrowin)

Ratshadow threw down the arrowhead he’d been busy with, and with steel eyed determination strode off, pushing Talon aside as he passed. ‘Right, now I’m just a little bit annoyed!’ He drew back his short bow, arm trembling with pain, and released his arrow, ‘Yes, take that you blue devil.’ It wasn’t a great shot, mainly due to his wounded arm, and it hit the Cultist in the foot. Fortunately this caused him to go sprawling; landing on his front, and the arrow in his shoulder was pushed deeper – he gave a slow, drawn out sob, as life left him. (Ratshadow just about made the hit roll!).

‘Well, I for one feel a lot better for that!’ A big smile spread across Ratshadow’s face; actually his arm was feeling a little better, and he began swinging his sword, getting in a few practice cuts and stabs! (Treasure – Clarity – Ratshadow chose to regain 1 hp.) (Ratshadow’s encounter – Attack from Shadows – No effect, all heroes on a tile containing another hero.)

If Ratshadow had been his normal self he may have noticed the flicker of flames in the distance, or maybe the black shadow as something moved silently from one building to the next – but he didn’t, so let’s hope he lives to regret his moment of complacency!

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
Ratshadow missed the flicker of flame in the distance.

‘If I can trust you boys, and the lovely Talon,’ Nym casts a smile at Barrowin, then turned and winked at Talon, who choose to ignore her, ‘To cover my back, I’ll see if there’s anyone home.’ With that she knocks heavily on the door of the nearest building, ‘ Hello, anyone here? We’re the good guys; nobody’s going to hurt you. Hello!’ (Nym investigates villager).

Sensing movement behind the door she takes a step back, her fingers glowing with a readily prepared spell. The door opens a crack and an eye takes a peak through.

‘Go away!’ Who ever it was, they weren’t pleased at being disturbed, and the door banged closed again.

‘Drusilia, is that you?’ Talon called over Nym’s shoulder; she clearly recognised the voice.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
Drusilia, is that you?

‘Maybe, who’s askin’?’

‘It’s Talon. Alaeros is here too, you’re safe now. What’s going on?’

‘If you have to ask, then we ain’t safe. Go away!’

‘Nym looked exasperated, ‘Fine, if that’s what you want,’ and then added a little louder, ‘I’ll bet that door opens quick enough when I send a fire bolt down the chimney!’

‘Leave her be, Elf, she’s just scared.’ Barrowin innocently swung her giant hammer though the look on her face was far from friendly; Nym just shrugged and stepped away from the house. (Nym’s encounter – Deception, place a new monster on a tile with a villager token – an Earth Cultist, placed out of sight of the party)

Barrowin pushed past her and tried the next house – the door was ajar and, peering in, she could see there was no one at home; she pulled the door closed behind and hurried to catch up with the others. In her haste she tripped over a small rock, or maybe, as she claimed later, the rock moved to trip her. Either way, she never heard the clink of her gold as it rolled from her pouch and stuck solidly to the rock! (Barrowin’s encounter – Magnetic rocks lose 200gp. No damage was taken)

‘Shhh! I see someone.’ Alaeros went into a fighting crouch, which the others matched, and silence filled the air. A hundred yards away or so, a Cultist appeared to be standing guard, a giant club in his hand.

‘I’ll take care of him, one of you try the house opposite. The rest watch our backs.’ And with that he crept away. Slowly, using the fencing as cover, he edged towards his unsuspecting prey until at the last moment he burst into a run, head down, axe held like a battering ram.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
‘I’ll take care of him!’

His charge took the Cultist by surprise, lifting him clean off his feet, chest caved in by the force of the attack (Critical hit – 2 damage, killed outright!). As he came to stop Alaeros’ realised his mistake, the fiend was not alone. He dived to his right just as an Air Cultist raised his crossbow; rolling across the ground he was back on his feet in no time and confronting the surprised Cultist with his axe raised. (Alaeros’ first attack – battle axe – allowed him to move a further 2 spaces)

With the Cultist’s attention fixed on the axe, Alaeros smiled, and plunged his dagger deep into his chest. The Cultist wheezed and staggered backwards, freeing himself from the dagger, then collapsed to the ground, dead. Alaeros felt his hands tremble, that had been close, but as ever all those hours of training paid off. (Alaeros uses Action Surge to take an additional action, another attack in this case.)

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
With the Cultist’s attention fixed on the axe… He plunged his dagger deep…!

Glancing around to ensure no more surprises, Alaeros checked the bodies of those he’d slain. The Earth Cultist carried nothing noteworthy, but the other had a strange phial filled with tiny motes of light. He’d never seen anything like it before, and stowed it carefully away in his pouch, sure that one of the others would be able to identify it for him. (Treasure – Healing Ember), (Alaeros’ encounter – Hail Storm – Cancelled with experience points).

Unbeknown to Alaeros, or indeed any of his companions, the enemy was sneaking up; awaiting their chance to pounce. The fire Cultist gave a hand signal to the Hobgoblin, who ran from cover to join his fiery friend, and together they stalked their prey.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
The Fire Cultist and Hobgolblin stalked their prey together.

Talon banged on the door, ‘Hello, we’re here to help, is anybody there?’ (Talon Investigates villager).

A young woman, skin a beautiful chocolate colour with a voice to match, opened the door wide, but it was the tip of the spear, thrust within inches of Talon’s face that caught her attention.

‘Talon? Thank the Gods, and you have friends?’ She lowered the spear and glanced nervously over Talon’s shoulder. ‘They came in the night, took some, left others… Duplicates, that’s what.’ Her voice was full of fear and tears ran down her face; she wasn’t just scared, she was terrified!

‘Calabra, what do you mean duplicates? Who came?’

‘Things, shape changers, duplicating people – they’re trying to take over.’

‘Shape changers? You mean Doppelganger? How many? Who have they become?’ Talon fired question after question. The young woman sank to her knees; the tears had turned into streams.

‘I… I don’t know. I tried to help stop them, but I… I was scared. I ran and hid. Two, maybe three changers, I’m not sure, but there were others, too many.’

‘Go back inside, take courage, you’ll be safe now.’ Talon gently took her arm, raised her up, and placed the spear back into her unwilling hands, ‘Go.’

She watched her close the door then turned back to the others, who had all been listening in, ‘Doppelgangers, at least two, maybe thr…’ Her voice was cut off by a bright streak of lightening and a roar of thunder – the wind suddenly whipped up, lashing the falling hailstones against their faces. Armour dented with the force, and all five of them dived to the ground to find some relief from the torrent. No sooner had it started, it stopped, and the last of the afternoon sun burst through the clouds – the sound of laughter lingered on the now gentle breeze. (Talon’s encounter – Exposed to the elements – Each hero takes 1 damage).

‘I’ll go and help Alaeros check the houses up town, it should only need the two of us.’ With that Ratshadow followed the path that Alaeros had taken only moments before. As he passed close by to an old farmhouse, the door suddenly opened and a woman’s head appeared, her hair a bright fiery red, which seemed to match her temper. (Ratshadow Investigates villager).

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
…Her hair a bright fiery red, which seemed to match her temper!

‘Oi, you, what the hell do you think you lot are doing? Don’t you know it ain’t safe to be outside? You’ll bring all manner of creature down on us, and right outside my front door too – now clear off!’ With that she slammed the door shut, only to open it again a few seconds later, ‘And don’t leave those dead bodies there either!’ Slam! The door shut again, only this time several bolts could be heard sliding in to place confirming it she’d said her piece.

Ratshadow’s mouth hung open, he hadn’t had chance to say a single word, then Alaeros’ booming laughter broke the spell, ‘I see you’ve met Amber; lovely wee lass she is too, full of vim!’

But it didn’t take long for the young woman’s words to become a reality, as the ground itself seemed to burst into flames, scorching Ratshadow’s skin with its magical flames. The burning was intense but short lived; as the flames died down they left a very angry Halfling nursing some serious burns. (Ratshadow’s encounter – Rage of Imix – 2 damage to Ratshadow).

It seemed like an opportune moment to the Fire Cultist, who sprang from his hiding place behind the group, and thrust his spear into Barrowin’s face. The Dwarf, for once, was not taken by surprise; she’d caught a glimpse of the Cultists flaming spear reflected in her warhammer’s highly polished head, and she whirled it around to easily deflect the thrust.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
It seemed like an opportune moment!

The Cultist screamed in defiance and attacked ferociously, but Barrowin calmly stood her ground against her frenzied assailant.

‘I think you’ve bitten of more than you can chew, you foul worshipper of… of… of whatever it is you worship!’ She made her defence look tireless – just waiting for the right moment to bring about a killing blow.

Her chance never came as the Cultist suddenly lurched backwards and flew through the air landing at the feet of a large Hobgoblin fighter, who had just emerged from the shadows. (Nym used Utility power – Bigby’s Hand)

‘Damn you Elf, I was just going to smash his head into tiny little pieces.’

Nym laughed as she stood next to the Dwarf, ‘I though you’d forgotten – these fiery Cultists burn up when they die – I’m just trying to save your very thick skin from getting singed, and I haven’t finished yet.’ With that she raised her hands palm outwards, and uttered some choice magical words under her breath. Bright, white-hot flames leapt from her hands, engulfing both the Cultist and the Hobgoblin. (Nym Casts Daily Power – Burning Hands).

The hobgoblin roared as his skin began to melt, but the Cultist smiled, thinking it a fitting way for a Fire Cultist to die.

‘And that, my dear Barrowin, is how to do it!’ She patted the Dwarf patronisingly on the head as she passed her by and bent to retrieve something the Cultist had dropped. It was a gem of some sort, and she smiled to herself, ‘Today is a very good day. Yes, a very good day indeed!’ She quickly deposited the gem safely into a hidden pocket sewn deep within her bright purple clothing.

Little did she know that this gem was cursed, and no sooner was it in her possession then it began to decay, taking a little of her life away with it and leaving just dust in the bottom of her pocket. (Treasure – Exploding Gem) (Nym’s encounter – Grasping Tides – Nym loses 1 treasure and takes 1 damage – easy come, easy go!).

‘ Well Elf, whilst you’re far too busy amusing yourself, I’ll be making myself useful and knock on a few of these doors.’ Barrowin strode up to the nearest house and tapped gently (for a dwarf) on the door – it opened to her touch. (Barrowin Investigates villager).

Peering in to the darkened room was no hardship for her; having spent her youth in the mines her vision was perfectly adept whatever the light. ‘Don’t be silly, or I’ll be forced to hurt you,’ she said.

A flame flickered as a lantern was lit, though the man didn’t lower the spear he held. He was a big man and looked like he knew a thing or two about spears – the pointy end was hovering a few inches away from Barrowin’s face, though she showed no fear, in fact she deigned not to notice it all.

‘Just checking everything’s alright here, some strange going’s on you know?’

The man shrugged, and indicated with his spear that she should leave.

She turned on her heels mumbling something about politeness, and gently closed the door behind her.

‘My, he’s mister charisma isn’t he, or maybe he just looks down on you dwarven kind.’ Finding merriment in her own words she burst out laughing, holding her hands out to show no offence, but judging by the Dwarf’s face, offence had well and truly been taken! (Barrowin’s encounter – Rage of Imix – cancelled with XP)

Meanwhile, to the north of the town, Alaeros was busy chatting to Fodel, a wise man with some clerical skills. He confirmed what Calabra had said, and was currently packing his belongings ready for a quick getaway. (Alaeros Investigates villager).

No sooner had he turned away when he heard a strange, whispering whistle like sound, instinctively he ducked knowing full well what it was. The boomerang whistled past his head, he then dived in the opposite direction knowing it would make a second pass.

As the thing returned he tried to gauge from where it came, but he lost sight of the thing as it zoomed into the distance. (Alaeros’ encounter – Thundering Boomerang).

Talon held her position outside Calabra’s home. She was in a good position to cover everyone should they come under attack. She looked at the sky, the day was drawing to a close and the sun was hitting the horizon – she sensed their trouble was only just beginning. (Talon plays Utility Power – Danger Sense – no encounter card drawn this turn).

‘Last one,’ Ratshadow said as he passed Alaeros and headed for the last building in the northern part of town. Before he can knock though, a loud crash came from within, and placing his ear to the door he could hear someone muttering in a foreign tongue whilst they appear to tear the place apart. (Ratshadow Investigates villager).

Using his unique skills Ratshadow slips the lock and gently teases the door open. What he sees inside causes him a moments confusion, Drusilia is ripping apart the interior of the house, pulling down cupboards and tearing open the furnishings – but this can’t be Drusilisa, for she lives in the central part of town, and was there when they called but a few moments ago.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
This can’t be Drusilia!

Having no doubt in his mind who, or what this was, he slipped inside. Blending into the shadows the Halfling’s face took on a determined snarl, and coming up behind the figure he showed no mercy, plunging his dagger deep into its back.

Even though he was certain, he still breathed a sigh of relief when, in its death throws, the thing reverted back to its original form – that of a Doppelganger.

He stepped out of the darkened building, cleaning his bloody dagger on an old piece of material; as he looked up, squinting in the last of the days sunlight, he felt the wind whip up – It didn’t die down. Instead it began to whirl around him, faster and faster, tugging at his clothes, his weapons, his very soul. Lifted from his feet he felt himself being carried away. (Ratshadow’s encounter – Windswept).

Alaeros watched as his friend rose up into the air, but his attention was soon dragged elsewhere as a Firebat flew out of the now wrecked house.

‘Barrowin, be a good fellow and head to the fort, see if there’s anyone around, I’ll take the southern town.’

‘Damn you Elf, I’m not a…’ But Nym had already gone, vanished, leaving just a distortion in the air.

She reappeared in the far south of the town, where she strode confidently up to the nearest building and knocked on the door. (Nym used Utility Power – Dimension Door). (Nym Investigates villager).

What appeared to be Calabra’s twin opened the door, but unlike Ratshadow, Nym was unsure if this was really her or not. She explained that they were here to help, and asked if Calabra knew anything about what was going on.

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
What appeared to be Clabra’s twin opened the door!

‘I know little. There are people disappearing, but I can take care of myself – with this.’ Her accent was strange, but her appearance was that of someone foreign to these parts, so that could be expected. Even so, Nym was unimpressed by the spear that had been placed to her throat.

‘Now, now, no need to get carried away, I wouldn’t like to see you get hurt – at least not just yet anyway!’ Nym held herself still; she needed time to think.

Time was something they were running short of – the setting sun was bringing things out of hiding! (Nym’s encounter – Terra Reformation – each player places a new monster on any tile).

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
Things were coming out of hiding!

Barrowin walked towards the fort, its walls were old and in need of repair, but nobody was likely to attack Red Larch these days, or so they thought!

Before she could bang its large wooden gates, a small hatch opened and an equally small head appeared. ‘Barrowin, it’s me, Eldon – want to come in?’

Barrowin was pleased to see a face she recognised, ‘Well met Halfling. No, if you’re safe then keep it that way; don’t let anyone in, not even if you know them. I’ll give you a password,’ She leaned forward and whispered to him through the hatch, ‘If they give you that then you’ll know them to be true. Now, take yourself away and find somewhere you can hold if things go bad. I’ll be back later.’

Barrowin smiled, she’d a soft spot for the young Halfling but had no concerns for him, she knew he’d be careful, and he was clever too.

But as she turned to go she felt a sharp pain across her cheek, and felt blood ooze down on to her lips. A crossbow quarrel was stuck in the wooden gate, just where her head had been moments ago. She crouched, scanning her surroundings for enemies, but finding none she proceeded back the way she’d come, but keeping to the shadows this time. (Barrowin’s encounter – Hidden Betrayal – Barrowin takes 1 damage).

‘Heads up everyone, we have company. Gnoll archers – I can hold them here for now. Do what needs to be done, and hurry.’ Talon waited, poised, ready for the Gnolls to show enough of themselves so that she could be sure of a kill.

Alaeros heard her warning, he needed to be decisive. Planting his feet he called upon his innate ability to make people want to fight him, ‘Come on you snivelling, weasel faced, good-for-nothing, useless, ugly wretches. I can take you all on, or are you too cowardly to face me, a mere man, who will send your souls to a hell far, far worse than you can imagine.’ (Alaeros’ Utility Power – Daring Shout).

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
‘…I’ll send your souls to a hell far worse than you can imagine!’

It worked, and before he knew it a Cultist, a Fire Bat, and a very ugly Hobgoblin surrounded him. Time for the second part of his plan. Beginning to spin he became a blur, turning faster and faster, his axe held tightly against his body until, with perfect timing, he swung it out, ripping into the flesh of his enemies. Down went the Fire Bat and Hobgoblin, but the Earth Cultist somehow managed to stay on his feet, though obviously mortally wounded. (Alaeros Daily Power – Sweeping attack, I actually rolled a 5, a 1, and a 4, three misses! Fortunately the attack did 1 damage even with a miss, which was enough to kill 2 of the enemies) (Treasure – 100gp).

The death of the Fire bat must have enraged some fiery God, for once gain the very earth burned ferociously for a short time, causing Alaeros to stagger, feet blistering with the heat. (Alaeros’ encounter – Fire Scar (in town Rage of Imix) 1 damage to Alaeros).

Finally, the chance Talon had been waiting for arrived. The Gnolls had been trying to manoeuvre into a position where they could get a clear shot at her, but this time one of them revealed too much of themselves, and Talon released the arrow she’d had notched for some time.

It flew straight and true, entering the Gnoll’s mouth as it roared, head back, and pierced its tiny brain. (Talon used her Daily Power – Colossus Slayer – a bit of an overkill, but the end is nigh!) (Treasure – 100gp).

Seeing an opportunity, the Doppelganger in Calabra’s form, burst through the door and leapt onto Talon’s back, ‘I never thought you’d survive this long. I’d hoped you’d leave for reinforcements when I mentioned shapeshifters, never mind, you’re dead meat now.’ With that the fiend tried to bite into Talon’s neck only to find an arrow thrust up, through its jaw and into its brain, by an archers strong arm. (Talon Investigates villager, knowing it to be a match with the other revealed Calabra).

‘If you think we need help to better the likes of you, then you have a very high, and unrealistic, opinion of yourselves!’ Talon shrugged the beast of and took cover again, just as the other Gnoll began to take an interest in her. (Talon’s encounter – Choking Ash, cancelled with XP).

Ratshadow came round, shook himself, and found that he was relatively unscathed. The wind that had swept him away had fortuitously dropped him in the southern part of town, and he could see Nymmestra approaching. He dusted himself down, ‘Well, that was an exciting ride, maybe next time I’ll invite you along!’

‘Don’t flatter yourself little one, I’ll take more than a little wind to sweep me off my feet,’ she smiled, which seemed to be her standard expression, and waved him on towards a large brick building, ‘Go ahead, I reckon we’ve met the owner before though!’

Ratshadow listened at the door, nothing, so he decided to haul himself up and peek through the window, ‘It’s Borivik, he appears to be reading a book or something.’ (Ratshadow Investigates villager).

‘That’s interesting; Barrowin confronted him earlier in that building across the way. Now, I wonder which one is the real Borivik? Can you tell what he’s reading?’

Ratshadow changed position, luckily he’s quite adept at moving quietly and attracted no attention, ‘Something like an Almanac of Monsters, I can’t make out the title, but I’m betting its open at the D’s!’ (Ratshadow’s encounter – Hidden Traps – for town adventures place a new monster on any tile).

Meanwhile, the Earth Cultist was still trying to better Alaeros, and actually doing a pretty good job, he’d scored a few good whacks of his club against the big man’s arms and legs, but as yet not enough to slow him down. (Alaeros 2 damage).

Nym walked casually up to the door where Barrowin had previously confronted an un-talkative Borivik, and pushed open the door with so much force it flew off its hinges. ‘One chance, that’s all I’m giving you.’ (Nym Investigates villager).

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch
‘One chance, that’s all I’m giving you!’

The possibly Borovik stood in the middle of the room, spear parallel with the floor and aimed at the Elf’s chest.

‘Say something then. Oh, you can’t can you, something not quite right with the change, just like that second nose of yours!’ Instinctively it raised a hand to check its face, ‘Ha, got you there didn’t I. Never mind.’ She concentrated for a brief second and the Doppelganger’s body convulsed, writhing this way and that in an agony that its face showed only too well. Another instant and it was dead – Nymmestra, once again, smiled!

A few hours later they were all sitting around a small table, enjoying a refreshing beer with the remaining few inhabitants of the town. ‘Everyone will start to come back when they hear its safe again, shouldn’t take long.’ Talon reassured them.

‘The Cultists didn’t stick around for long after that last Ganger met its fate. Oh, exactly what did you do to it?’ Ratshadow had seen its fallen body, and even a thing as evil as that deserved a better end, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

‘You know, just a little readjustment of a few minor organs, nothing too taxing!’

‘Well, On the whole I think we did a damn fine job by Gorm, and we deserve a reward,’ Barrowin banged a fist down on the table and everyone looked at the Dwarf, unusual behaviour for someone so modest, ‘And I for one will take that reward in the form of another beer and a comfortable bed for the night!’ She laughed, whacked Nym on the back (a little harder than necessary maybe) and proceeded to quaff another ale…

Well, in terms of the actual scenario that didn’t go too badly. One of the advantages with the town set up is that line of sight is quite restrictive; meaning that when told to place a monster on any tile, which happened a few times throughout the adventure, I could place them in the town square, where they can’t get sight on any other tile bar one, which is restricted by buildings anyway.

As a solo player, playing a game like this is all about the story you tell, but in this instance it was difficult to relate that into words without losing continuity. Unlike the dungeon adventures, where new tiles are constantly going down, here I was restricted to a set layout, and had to try and make the encounters fit in with that static environment, all made much more difficult by the use of unpredictable Doppelgangers.

Anyway, it is what it is and I’m happy with the way the story is progressing, so, let’s take a look at how everyone ended up.

Alaeros finished with 2 remaining hp, 500gp, and a healing ember worth another 300gp if he chooses to sell it.

Talon – 3hp and a measly 300gp.

Ratshadow – 2hp and 600gp.

Nymmestra – 2hp and 400gp.

Barrowin – 6hp and managed to lose all the gold she started with!

I was hoping for the chance to level someone up at this point, but maybe next time, when the heroes decide to track down the Doppelgangers allies.

The Temple of Elemental Evil – Rotten in Red Larch, Starred


Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch


Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch



Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch


Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch

The Monsters

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch

The Villagers (and their Doppelgänger!)

The Encounters

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch

The Treasures

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch

Written on location in Red Larch

Temple of Elemental Evil - Rotten in Red Larch

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