Excerpt from
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil

From Part 1: Hommlet and Environs

Ten leagues south of the large and well-established city of Verbobonc, within the Kron Hills that lie east of the Lortmil Mountains and just west of the Gnarley Forest, nestles a small settlement with a long and dark history. This unremarkable village, called Hommlet, witnessed the growth of one of the greatest centers of corruption the world would ever know: the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Hommlet is a small town with a population of just under one thousand. Only twelve years ago, it was a hamlet of around one hundred people, although even then most folk referred to it as a village. Since that time, the town has enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity.

The town is not ruled by a mayor or a town council as many others are. Instead, two ex-adventurers called Rufus and Burne have been granted control of Hommlet and its lands by the viscount of Verbobonc. Not many people in the town look at it that way, however. Most folks simply see the two men as the town "elders," giving them the respect that they have earned. Few grumble when it comes time to pay their taxes to the two lords. Most everyone appreciates the protection Rufus and Burne's soldiers provide, as well as the role the two played in the downfall of the original Temple of Elemental Evil (and the threats they have overcome to protect the town since then).

In such a small town, nothing that costs more than 800 gp commonly can be found for purchase. Exceptions exist, of course -- the Church of St. Cuthbert might have an extra suit of full plate to sell brave heroes who obviously fight against evil, for example. Such exceptions should be rare.

Above all, Hommlet is a peaceful, contented place. Its people are well fed, safe, and happy with their lot. However, they are wary, for their happiness has been threatened more than once in the past. The people, particularly those who have lived in town a long time, watch with interest the comings and goings of suspicious strangers, and they keep an eye on the old moathouse and temple that were sites of not one but two malevolent insurgencies over the years.

History

Once this area was simply a gentle wilderness. Growing out of a small collection of farmhouses and a roadside shelter, Hommlet expanded quickly. Prosperity came naturally to the fertile land, as herders, farmers, hunters, trappers, and woodcutters made the growing hamlet their home. The town was built on a crossroads between Verbobonc and the Wild Coast, so visitors were frequent. Eventually, these visitors brought trouble.

Brigands and other evil humanoids have been a bane to Hommlet for years. Eventually, thieves, cutthroats, orcs, and even more sinister forces created a settlement of their own -- Nulb. That hamlet was frequented not only by the most evil of people, but by monsters and beasts as well. A chapel dedicated to vice and damnation grew nearby, with increasingly vile creatures coming to worship foul deities there. In time, this chapel became the Temple of Elemental Evil, filled with dark priests and their wicked servants.

While that first temple reigned, the lands around Hommlet grew dark with violence and pestilence. As their power increased, the temple clerics built a small keep, known as the moathouse, not far from Hommlet. From this base, they planned to launch raids and secure their fortunes in the west. Fortunately for Hommlet, those who commanded the temple were not overly concerned with the village but with more powerful strongholds to the north. When their corruption spread, it drew the attention of armies the temple was not yet prepared to deal with.

Forces from the north attacked the temple, some using Hommlet as a base and a point for resupply and rest. When the temple fell, folk in Hommlet saw ochre-robed priests fleeing westward and rejoiced that the evil was gone.

Two men involved with the fall of the original temple, Rufus and Burne, settled in Hommlet and built a tower. Their connections with the lord of Verbobonc to the north were well known, as were their plans to expand their tower into a large keep. The town prospered once again.

But evil was not done with the Temple of Elemental Evil. Slowly, over years, its creatures and servants returned to the place and brought with them the taint of evil that hung like a shadow over Hommlet a second time. This time, however, the inhabitants of Hommlet chose to get involved. A young man named Elmo and his brother Otis worked with Canoness Y'dey of the Church of St. Cuthbert to spy on the temple's activities. They helped small bands of adventurers overcome the evil cleric in the moathouse and the more powerful foes in the temple -- not the least of which was a demon lord who was eventually banished back to the Abyss. This time, the dungeons beneath the temple were collapsed, and it appeared that the place was finally overcome.

In the years that followed, the town prospered as never before. With the temple and Hommlet on the lips of many throughout the countryside, the former hamlet grew into a village and eventually a small town. Burne and Rufus finished their keep and were granted the town and the lands around it to protect and nurture. More churches sprang up to serve the needs of the growing population, and some are even talking now of building a wall around the town.

Town of Hommlet

Hommlet (small town): Nonstandard; AL NG; 800 gp limit; Assets 38,000 gp; Population 950; Mixed (human 79, halfling 7, elf 5, gnome 4, dwarf 3, half-elf 1, half-orc 1).

Authority Figure(s): Rufus, male human Ftr8; Burne, male human Wiz10.

Important Characters: Yether the Keen, male human Clr5 (head, temple to Pelor); Canoness Y'dey, female human Clr10 (head, church of St. Cuthbert); Jaroo Ashstaff, Drd10; Elmo, male human Rgr6 (militia captain).

Others: Burne's Badgers, War1 (18), War4 (1), War5 (1).

Notes: Hommlet probably has more than its share of classed characters (some of fairly high level). This is primarily due to its history -- one fraught with danger and adventure.

From Appendix 1: New Magic Items

Some of the magic items from this adventure are detailed here.

Armband of Reduction: This metal armband allows its wearer to reduce his height to one-half normal, as if a reduce spell had been cast upon him. This effect functions once per day and lasts for 2 hours (and may be dismissed at will by the wearer).

Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, reduce; Market Price: 2,000 gp; Weight: 1 lb.

Chitin Armor: This special nonmagical armor is made from the organic hides of monstrous beasts like giant beetles. Because it is organic, it is easy to move within it. It has all the properties of masterwork breastplate, half-plate or full plate armor (as appropriate), plus it raises the maximum Dex bonus of the armor type by +1. The secrets to making this armor are known only to troglodyte craftspeople.

Caster Level: n/a; Prerequisites: None; Market Price: 500 gp (breastplate), 900 gp (half-plate), 1,800 gp (full plate). Weight: As normal armor.

Contact Medallion: Once per day, the wearer can speak a command word and forge a telepathic bond (as Rary's telepathic bond) with one person lasting for 1 minute. Range is one mile.

Caster Level: 9th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Rary's telepathic bond; Market Price: 5,000 gp; Weight: -- .

Everful Mug: With a command word, this common-looking mug fills with 12 ounces of water, cheap ale, or watery wine (user's choice). It functions three times per day.

Caster Level: 1st; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, create water; Market Price: 800 gp; Weight: -- .

Hammersphere: This magic sphere is 4 inches in diameter, made of silver and covered in small rubies. Etched into it in four places is the hammer-and-anvil symbol of the deity Moradin. When held aloft and activated with a command word, the sphere conjures forth a giant hammer. This hammer functions as a spiritual weapon, except that it inflicts 3d6 points of damage per hit. (You don't have to concentrate on the hammer or keep the sphere aloft while it functions.) The hammersphere is usable once per day.

Caster Level: 7th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, spiritual weapon, greater magic weapon; Market Price: 2,500 gp; Weight: -- .

Rings of Force Armor: This pair of black iron rings must be worn as a set, one on either hand with no other magic ring, to function. They sheath their wearer in a field of energy, granting a +4 armor bonus (the wearer is treated as having mage armor). This sheath is harmful to the touch, so any creature touching the wearer with bare flesh suffers 1d4 points of damage. Further, because of the sheath, the wearer's unarmed attacks gain a +1 enhancement bonus and add an additional 1d4 points of damage.

Caster Level: 9th; Prerequisites: Forge Ring, magic weapon, mage armor, wall of force; Market Price: 45,000 gp; Weight: --

Rod of Force: This rod is made of black iron, 18 inches long and a half-inch wide. The rod has three functions, any of which can be used, in any combination, five times per day:

Blast of Force: A blast of force projects from the rod with a range of 100 feet. This blast strikes as a ranged touch attack. It inflicts 10d6 points of force damage.

Wall of Force: As the spell.

Blade of Force: A 30-foot-long glowing blade of force springs forth from the rod that lasts for 10 rounds. This can be used as a +1 brilliant energy longsword.

Caster Level: 13th; Prerequisites: Craft Rod, magic missile, wall of force, Mordenkainen's sword; Market Price: 125,000 gp; Weight: 3 lb.

Stalwart Eye: This Tiny birdlike item allows its owner to speak a command word and see through its eyes. The stalwart eye has AC 18, hardness 8, 5 hp, and cannot move on its own except to turn its head as the owner desires. No range limitation exists on the power except that the owner must be on the same plane as the stalwart eye.

Caster Level: 5th; Prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, alarm, animal messenger; Market Price: 10,000 gp; Weight: 2 lb.


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