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The Temple of Elemental Evil (tagline: A Classic Greyhawk Adventure) is a computer role-playing game by now-defunct Troika Games. It is a re-creation of the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure of the same name using the 3.5 edition rules. The game was published by Atari, the current and sole holder of the interactive rights of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. ToEE was released in autumn of 2003.
The release was criticized for stability issues and other bugs. The turn-based tactical combat, however, was generally thought to be implemented well, and is arguably the most faithful representation of the then-current pen-and-paper ("3.5e") rules in a computer game. This game still has a very active fanbase, with many improvements and bugfixes added.
Thirteen years before the start of the game, Hommlet was a peaceful town. Due to low taxes and safe roads, the area became prosperous, and the village flourished. This prosperity drew the attention of evil forces, who began slowly trickling into the area. It is not known where these forces came from, but the Dyvers of Nyr Dyv and the inhabitants of the forestlands of the Wild Coast were the chief suspects. As the presence of bandits, kobolds, and goblins increased, a local militia led by Waldgraf of Ostverk was raised to defend Hommlet. This only served to check the evil forces, however.
Six miles from Hommlet, a group of hovels formed a center for the evil activity. The locals ignored this threat since it was in the marshes, and Nulb began growing. A small chapel built to an evil god grew into a stone structure as the evil forces pillaged and robbed the lands around Hommlet. For three years the Temple of Elemental Evil served as a center for the swarms of vile creatures who plagued Hommlet. As the evil grew in power, the land around the Temple suffered from pestilence, famine, and a lack of commerce.
The leaders of the Temple grew too power-hungry, and they were defeated in open combat after challenging the kingdoms of the north. The evil forces were slaughtered, and their mighty Temple was destroyed and sealed with magic and blessings. In the years that followed, Hommlet became a destination for adventurers, who brought wealth to the city and returned the area to its peaceful origins. Eventually, adventurers stopped coming, and the village went back to life as usual. A year before the start of the game, however, bandits once again began trickling into the region, and the villagers appealed to the Lord the Viscount of Verbobonc for aid. He responded by providing funds for Burne and Rufus, two well-known adventurers from the area, to build a keep just outside of Hommlet.
The game begins with an opening vignette that is determined by the alignment of the party. All of these require the player to start in the town of Hommlet. After arriving in town and completing minor quests for the townsfolk, the player is directed to the moathouse, a small, fortified outpost to the east. The moathouse is home to bandits, and the player is asked to clear them out. However, in the dungeons of the moathouse, the player encounters a large force of bugbears led by an ogre named Lubash and a priest of the Temple of Elemental Evil, Lareth the Beautiful.
After defeating Lareth, the player can then go to either the Temple itself, or to Nulb, a town in the swamplands nearby. If the player goes to Nulb, many of the citizens will talk of the Temple. Spies for the Temple are living in the town, and the player can gain passage into the heart of the Temple by pretending to be interested in joining.
The Temple is divided into four factions: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire Temples. Each Temple is at war with the other three in a perpetual struggle for supremacy. The player is asked by all four to provide assistance, and can gain access to Hedrak, the leader of the Temple of Elemental Evil, by performing quests for the sub-Temples. Most of the sub-Temples require the player to kill a leader of an opposing Temple to gain access to Hedrak.
Upon meeting Hedrak, the player has two options: kill him, or accept his quest. If the player accepts the quest, which is to kill Scoorp the Hill giant, Hedrak will make the player a part of the Temple of Elemental Evil, thus ending the game. If the player kills Hedrak, the way to four nodes of elemental power will be available. Inside each of these nodes is a gem. These gems can be inserted into the Orb of Golden Death, which is hidden inside the Temple, to form a powerful artifact.
Deep inside the Temple, the player must then deal with Zuggtmoy, the Demoness Lady of fungi. The player can, based on choices made, fight Zuggtmoy, a weaker version of Zuggtmoy, or avoid a fight. This can lead to one of three endings: Zuggtmoy is banished for 66 years, Zuggtmoy is destroyed permanently, or Zuggtmoy lives on, but the player is well rewarded.
The game focuses on a party of up to five player-controlled characters. These characters can be created by the player or can be one of the pre-made characters that come with the game. All, however, must be within one step of a party alignment. Any player-made characters are created in a 13-step process. At any time, the party can have up to three NPC followers, and all player characters can have a familiar and/or animal companion as allowed by class.
All characters have a screen that shows information pertaining to them. Five tabs -- inventory, skills, feats, spells, and abilities -- allow the player to manage equipment, change spell configurations, and compare character attributes. This screen also appears when the party is bartering with an NPC or looting a body, but clicking out of the inventory tab will eject the player from the interaction. Additionally, small portraits of the characters appear on the bottom of the screen, along with a small red bar showing remaining health and icons depicting any status conditions, such as level drain, blessings, or paralysis.
The characters are controlled via radial menus. After selecting a character, the player right clicks to open a circular menu. From there, hovering over wedges brings out more options, such as specific spells, actions, or inventory items. The main radial menu, which encircles a picture of the character selected, has up to six sections, the number being based on class abilities. Specific actions are color-coded based on the type of action they are.
Characters can use their skills throughout the game by selecting them on the radial menu. If a player wanted to pick another character's pocket, he or she would select a character with the Sleight of Hand skill, left-click on the skill from the radial menu, and left click on the victim. Dialog skills, such as Intimidate and Gather Information, appear as options in dialog with an icon denoting the skill being used. Skills are increased every level at a rate derived from the character's class and Intelligence.
Combat is turn-based, with characters going individually based on their initiative. Each character can make five types of actions: free, no, full-round, move, and standard. Characters can take a move action and a standard action each turn. Full-round actions count as a use of both actions. Free actions take a negligible amount of time to perform, so they count as neither actions. No actions also count for neither actions, but they require special circumstances in order to be performed. Characters can choose special attacks to perform or spells to cast, and they can also choose to attack or cast in specific ways. Defensive casting and fighting, dealing non-lethal damage, tripping an opponent, and coup de graces are examples of particular actions in combat. Characters have a set yet semi-random number of hit points based on their level, class, and Constitution score. Upon being reduced to zero hit points, a character is staggered, and a full round action will cost him or her one hit point. A creature with hit points between -1 and -9 is unconscious, and loses one hit point a round. The character has a 10% chance of stabilizing, which will stop the loss of hit points but will keep the character unconscious. Other characters can stop this loss of life through a successful heal check. If a character or creature reaches -10 hit points, it dies.
Differences with 3.5
Although most of the main rules from 3.5 edition of Dungeons and Dragons were implemented, there were several exceptions. Some of them, such as applying a bonus to AC from the Dodge feat, were simplified to streamline play. Others, such as not letting prone characters attack, were implemented to reduce the amount of required animations. The structure of the engine was also utilized, allowing encumbered characters to move at 3/4 their maximum rate, even if the resulting speed wasn't a whole number. Certain abilities, including Barbarian Rage, were modified to better flow with the game. A hybridization of some rules also occurred; the spell Doom was modified to reflect the first printing of the Player's Handbook, and weapon sizes are a blend of 3 and 3.5 editions.
Template:Toofewopinions Upon its release, Temple of Elemental Evil created a small stir due to the availability of the option for a male character to enter a same-sex marriage. In the town of Nulb, a pirate named Bertram begins flirting with male characters in the party and offers a lifetime of love and happiness in exchange for his freedom. This relationship was described as "pushing the boundaries" by Guardian Unlimited. Criticism of the relationship came not only from industry observers, but also from some gamers who felt that gay characters should not be included in video games in order to maintain the status quo. Producer Tom Decker defended the move, saying in an interview with RPG Vault:
I particularly felt strongly that since we had several heterosexual marriages available in Hommlet, we should include at least one homosexual encounter in the game and not to make it a stereotyped, over the top situation, but on par with the other relationships available in the game.Bertram was named #6 on GayGamer.net's Top 20 Gayest Video Game Characters. Bertram was not to be the only possible gay marriage in the game; another was planned in a brothel that was later removed from the game.