One thing I noticed is that my proposed “Machete Order” for the early Greyhawk modules is that it rather neatly solves a problem that had cropped up in some of my earlier ruminations.
- To wit, it allows the contents of Lolth’s platinum egg to be brought to the Temple of Elemental Evil in order to use in the Hall of Elemental Magic. This could be used here as a key to use the elemental nodes to free or finally imprison the EEG, as I discussed back in June 2017:
The tricky part, from the texts as published, is figuring out how the elemental keys are introduced into the Temple, since they were placed in the Fane of Lolth seven years before the Temple was published. There are a couple of ways around this conundrum:
The PCs use the elemental keys in the Temple after they adventure through D3. I find this unsatisfactory, as it means they either need to come back years later, or they hit the Temple after the Vault of the Drow, which would not make a lot of sense game-wise, as PCs of sufficient level to kill or drive off Lolth would not find much challenge in the Temple as written.
There are two sets of keys. Having a duplicate set of keys is sort of a cheat, but it does work. I think there’s a better solution, however, and one which solves yet another problem with the published work. To wit…
The elemental keys start off in the Temple, and if the PCs don’t use them to good effect, could end up with Lolth. Indeed, perhaps that is what Falrinth (who is secretly in Lolth’s service, just like Lareth the Beautiful) is actually there to do; find the gems/keys and send them to his mistress, the demon queen Lolth, to keep the EEG in prison for eternity.
By having the PCs get the egg in the Vault of the Drow, and then have their henchmen in possession of it when they investigate the Temple of Elemental Evil, the first option instantly becomes the preferred one. There’s no need for logic-breaking contortions to have the PCs come back years later to finish the job in the Temple, no need for two sets of keys, and no need for Lolth to somehow magically come into possession of the keys just to give the PCs a mulligan at finding them.
Machete order comes through on that score.
And I should point out that the real point of that post was to better explore the narrative connections between the Giants/Drow modules and the Temple of Elemental Evil. Namely, the Elder Elemental God, which has been a theme here for many years. Some people seem put off by the fact that I also mentioned the Slave Lords adventures. That was probably over-reach on my part, and certainly superfluous to the main point I was trying to make. Just ignore those mentions if they annoy you – they’re certainly not worth the distraction they’ve seemingly caused for a few folks.