Almost lost the party last night. They just barely managed to escape their first foray into the Temple. Trolls are killers. You knock them down, and a few rounds later they pop up behind you. The party was just about to be overwhelmed and decided to retreat at the last possible minute. They left their flying carpet hovering outside and hopped in and escaped. After a very long rest they returned. This time being cautious and using the magic they have access to. Sneaking in invisibly and silently they were able to stop the runners from alerting the forces below and quickly killed the troops that were stationed there. The two mass melees took up the whole night. Most of the big monsters are still alive since they were holding and paralyzing. Next session they descend into the lower level.
Just reading through the adventure and thinking how easy it would be for a party to beat the mountain giant and his troops and never discover the hidden areas of this adventure. Would you fudge it and drop some additional clues? You could bring run a Return to... adventure in the future based on additional info the party might discover, e.g. Eli Tomarast’s book. I’m curious to see what the party finds and how they handle it.
Just reading through the adventure and thinking how easy it would be for a party to beat the mountain giant and his troops and never discover the hidden areas of this adventure. Would you fudge it and drop some additional clues?
The three or four times I ran this (all pre-college), the players never found the secret entrances to the Black Cyst, etc. unless I dropped clues (which I did at least once, but not every time).
You could bring run a Return to... adventure in the future based on additional info the party might discover, e.g. Eli Tomarast’s book.
Yes, I think that's the best way to go about it. If they also stay in touch with the gnomes, perhaps evil forces continue to return to the site, even after it's cleared, and Gwaylar and the clan elders begin to ruminate that the place has always been a home for evil, which may prompt the PCs to look at it more closely.
Last night we picked up right where we left off. The party members were catching their breath after the battle with the guards in the Upper Level. They had found two flights of stairs leading down. They picked the western stairs and Jastra went ahead to scout quaffing a dose of invisibility potion and wearing Elven Boots. At the bottom of the steps there were two norker guards. Slipping past them she discovered a giant troll lounging in a nest in a room across the corridor from the stair bottom. She returned to the party to inform them of what she saw. After devising a plan Jastra gave Ember, who also owns elven boots, a dose of invisibility and the pair descended ahead of the party. They slipped past the worker guards, Ember entering the giant troll's room, Jastra moving down the hall a short distance. Ember moved up to the giant troll's bed and, using Daoud's Wondrous Lantern, held him. around the same time Jastra created a wall of ice across the corridor preventing the norkers from going anywhere. The rest of the party started down the steps. Upon seeing the wall the norkers went running and screaming into the giant troll's room. Surprised to see Ember there. Their cries did alert two trolls in a connected room that came running in. The rest of the party had arrived. Ingo, a gnome accompanying the party, doused the held troll in oil and lit him up. The party killed the two trolls without too much trouble and torched them too. After the fight Corbek realized he may have been too hasty is telling Ingo to torch the giant troll after the found some spoiled treasure in the nest remains. They did get a few gems and coins for their trouble though. Searching the trolls' room they found typical troll filth. They missed the potions that were hidden in a water barrel. The stonework on the level had an unnerving effect pn the party. Black, or shades of purple, that seemed to writhe and swirl out of the corner of the eye, but nothing could be discerned upon direct examination. The party dispelled the wall of ice and headed south down a black corridor. To be continued.
A short distance down the corridor the party took a side passage west into a series of rooms occupied by norkers and ogres. They were in an out of the way section of the dungeon, so the noise didn’t attract any attention outside of the immediate area. In one area they discovered a row of 9 doors. 7 were empty norker lairs, one held two humans, captured Kettites, survivors from a border patrol captured by the humanoids. In another cell they found a chained mountain dwarf, “Teldroll Storis”. The party took them all with them. Soon after that they stumbled into a more heavily occupied section of the dungeon and had to retreat. It was the right decision, but it always surprises me how often players don’t recognize it as the right decision. Out of spells, low on hit points, faced by more waves of monsters, and they’re debating on whether it would be a good idea to retreat.