Temple of Death

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Big Ulf
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Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:15 pm

hey all, after a great time with X4 I just started DMing X5/Temple of Death, and the players are just out of the Great Pass.

Looking forward to this, and seems shorter than X4 which was epic in itself when you add the travel in.

Anyone have any fond memories or ideas RE: modding X5 (e.g. which Dark Wood encounters did you use, if any? Any new ones?)

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:12 am

This was always one of my favorite modules, although I think I only actually ran anyone through it once (and I don't think ever to completion).

My suggestion would be to expand on the journey through Hule. Play up the "strangers in a strange land" feel and the characters' need to keep their foreign identities under cover while still investigating the Master. Either extend the Magden encounters further (and IIRC there is some good room to expand on those scenarios, which are really just kind of "snapshot" events), or add a couple of other towns into the mix.

The encounter with the magic-jarred wizard in the woods could be expanded and serve as a really good bit of foreshadowing of the Master's real body in the Temple, perhaps by expanding on the backstory of that magic-user and maybe tying it to Hosadus somehow. I also think that the Spectral Hound hunt could be expanded by extending it further over the course of the PCs arduous trek across Hule. Start it with some initial hints that something is on their trail, and have some gradually more dangerous attacks at various stages of the PCs journey. Maybe give them some opportunities in the towns they visit to try and research what might be tracking them down and give them some knowledge of how best to defeat the hounds.

Another option might be to run a short Dungeon adventure of some adaptation in the midst of things if you need to. I can't think offhand of a good one to use; you might need to try and adapt one of the AD&D ones instead of one of the D&D ones.
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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:54 am

I am currently working on an adventure called "Escape from Hule" that can be played as a sequel to X5 Temple of Death. The plan is for it to go into Threshold Magazine #22. As of now I have a plan for three escape routes with four encounters along each route. I am copying the style of the previous two adventures as much as possible, I can't promise I will equal David "Zeb" Cook but I will do my best.

I recommend using this map to give you some ideas on fleshing out Hule.
http://www.pandius.com/Eastern_Savage_Coast_6c.jpg

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:45 pm

oh man that sounds great @NPCDave - would love to see it in an earlier form if you're into it. We won't be finished X5 for another couple of sessions and it's Xmas break, so wouldn't need to look at options for a while yet.
well wait - just read that the release date on #22 is 15 February - that's pretty much perfect. If there's a hiccup and it doesn't appear in there would love to get in touch with ya.

cheers!

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Helm » Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:32 pm

Wow, i would love an escape from Hule adventure. I was just wondering how the oarty would go back to Darokin and/or Glantri.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Irondrake » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:46 pm

Okay, now I'm even more excited to see Threshold Magazine #22 now that I know "Escape from Hule" is going to be in it!

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:32 pm

I have to get the text done in the next couple of weeks so I can distribute an early copy if need be in January. But it will be even better once the Threshold team enhances it with a few maps and artwork.

Now X5 does provide skilled players who are fortunate and thorough with two means of teleporting back to Darokin immediately, see page 24 location C6 and the House of Zebulon description. But not everyone can find those, so I wanted to write this to fill in what might have been if Cook had been given 64 pages to work with instead of 32.

I am using some later setting material and assuming 1000AC rather than 1200 AC but I am only using the B/X ruleset which is Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert. That means constraining myself to 1983 and earlier publications so if I want to use something from later on I have to get creative or add something to the appendix.

Quick preview:

Escape by Air - The PCs hijack the Master's personal airboat and figure out how to command and control it. They can now retrace their original route from above and find out the skies aren't so friendly.

Escape by Land - While the House of Zebulon in modern rulesets would contain an extra-dimensional space, in 1983 rules that space is located in the Abbey of the bhuts. If the PCs figure it out they can walk back into the Abbey and get a head start on the overland trek back to Darokin. First thing they discover is what happens to bhuts when they rise as undead.

Escape by Sea - If neither of those routes are achievable, the PCs should be able to find maps of Hule and nearby nations. From these they see that they could make better time heading south to the sea ports with the hope of booking passage on a ship. They find the Savage Coast and take advantage of the shipping lanes to make their way east.

This adventure will get them back to the Known World and allow you to either start X10 soon after or wrap up the adventure as X5 originally intended and leave X10 for a later date.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:29 pm

BTW great on assuming 1000AC - the 1200AC thing for me was always a cop-out and/or messy way to pretend there was an overall tight continuity in the early days. They should have given DMs some credit! And great to starting X10 sooner than later....sounds good

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:08 pm

One of the creators of D&D 5E just called X5 "one of the best modules".

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:42 am

Speaking of escaping from Hule, there is one other area of X5 that always struck me as being underdeveloped, and that is the vampire that is lurking in the chambers underneath Greatrealm. It's there as kind of a final encounter or else something to hinder PCs attempting to sneak in via the underground I guess, but it seems like kind of a waste as a throwaway encounter. There should definitely be some kind of story to its presence there, and its continued existence underneath a temple (admittedly one with chaotic clerics, but still).
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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Sturm » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:05 am

At the very least, it should indicate the Church of Bozdogan in Hule is secretly allied with undead, and leave them free reign up to a certain point. Maybe such undead are followers of Hel? a close alliance between Hel and Loki is likely, given also that Hule has plenty of humanoids.
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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:30 pm

hey DMing it now, and the party will be close to the Temple tonight, so thinking ahead here...on Page 17 of the module, Cook lists 4 ways (at least) the PCs can enter the Temple...

#1 is "If the players spend several days searching the land away from the Temple, they find the secret passage that connects to the dungeon under the main tower."

would that mean that the PCs enter into room D4, "The Secret Exit"?

thanks!

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:29 pm

That was always my understanding, yes.
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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:36 pm

Thx CD!

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:14 am

A quick update on the Escape from Hule adventure:

A 30 page adventure is completed and finalized. Many thanks to the editors and proof-readers who probably improved this adventure by 25% over what I could do alone.

This includes everything you need to play Escape by Air and Escape by Land. However, I don't have Escape by Sea written yet, but I will and that will make it into the next issue of Threshold. I estimate that will be another 12-15 pages. So this adventure will be split across two issues.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:14 am

Accidental double post.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by stanles » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 am

NPCDave wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:14 am
A quick update on the Escape from Hule adventure:

A 30 page adventure is completed and finalized. Many thanks to the editors and proof-readers who probably improved this adventure by 25% over what I could do alone.

This includes everything you need to play Escape by Air and Escape by Land. However, I don't have Escape by Sea written yet, but I will and that will make it into the next issue of Threshold. I estimate that will be another 12-15 pages. So this adventure will be split across two issues.
having read it for the upcoming issue of Threshold I can highly recommend it :D
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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:54 am

@NPCDave, just read your article in Threshold and man, that's great! Such a wonderful resource. Look forward to the last part next issue. Well done, gonna have it ready for my group.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Fri May 03, 2019 2:35 am

Stan, Ulf, thank you very much for your kind words.

I have just finished the last part, and it turned out to be two thirds the number of pages as the first. The sea route is the longest journey and I provided allowances for several possible routes the PCs could take to get to a seaport. I also had to throw in some Red Steel/Savage Coast goodness to give the PCs a taste of the Red Curse. Whew, this was a lot of work, it was much longer than I thought it was going to be, but I think I captured the spirit of Cook's X4/X5 series and the essence of B/X D&D.

I now see why those early adventures always had a New Monster section in the back of the module. You really need that to add more variety to the monster encounters. Very few of the monsters which appeared in the Basic or Expert rulebooks of B/X didn't get used in those early modules. And of that small list of monsters, I am happy to say I used one in Part 1 and one in Part 2.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Fri May 03, 2019 7:11 pm

Great - as luck would have it my old gaming group is about one session away from encountering the "Master" in the main building. They left the Temple by the skin of their teeth through the underground, and funnily enough decided to go back in, primarily because they're greedy for that airship they've seen from a distance. Little do they know...

and agreed, IMO so far this is a perfect "X5.5" to run the Desert Nomads as a trilogy. Always seemed weird that it was only two modules, and now that's fixed.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Wed May 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Hey @NPCDave: wanted to let you know we had some fun as they decided to "Escape By Air". As the ship started to dive down when the Undead Control potion wore off, they made the 2nd roll to control the thing by 1 point. Then, battered and frustrated at not totally destroying the Temple before they left, they thought they were in for a smooth air sail back home. Until the dragons hit...and my old-time players said "oh, Sh**!", just like they did when they were trying to escape the caverns earlier in X5, but ran into the room with the Hill Giant and a bunch of monsters. So if you wanted proof that you captured the feel of X4/X5, you can file it under "Mission Accomplished!":)

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by NPCDave » Thu May 16, 2019 7:56 pm

Big Ulf wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 5:45 pm
So if you wanted proof that you captured the feel of X4/X5, you can file it under "Mission Accomplished!":)
That's great! Thank you for the feedback.

Those dragons also make an appearance (though not together) in Escape by Sea, as the PCs try to cross the border of Hule. The players get much more warning though, and if they use a fair amount of stealth and avoid open battle with military forces they should be able to slip by without a dragon fight.

I added another paragraph for Escape by Air in the upcoming Threshold issue, so here it is for you to make use of when you get to the last major encounter...

On page 115-116 of Threshold Magazine #22, no height of the airboat is specified for when the PCs drop ropes over the sides for Darokin soldiers. The airboat should be no higher than 30 feet when it drops ropes over the sides to give the soldiers a reasonable chance of climbing up to safety on the airboat. If the airboat is ten feet off the ground when the PCs drop the ropes, shorten the climbing duration by two combat rounds. If the PCs are thirty feet off the ground when the PCs drop the ropes, extend the climbing duration by two combat rounds.

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Fri May 17, 2019 5:42 pm

Cool, thanks! They're almost 'home' now so we'll see if they stop for soldiers or just want to get back in one piece:)

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Big Ulf » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:23 pm

Hey @NPCDave we're done your X5.5 now, but I'm curious to see how the Escape by Sea would have gone. It looks like Threshold #23 is a little behind schedule, although I may have missed it. Any idea as to when it's out? Thanks!

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Re: Temple of Death

Post by Sturm » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:36 am

We are finalizing it and should be published in a few days!
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