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Video Game / The Temple of Elemental Evil
aka: Temple Of Elemental Evil

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A video game adaptation of the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure module for Dungeons & Dragons. The game was developed by Troika Games and released in 2003.

This being an adaptation of the original module, the backstory of the plot veers a bit into Alternate Continuity: Troika used the description used in the original module and added the future Circle of Eight to the Battle, even going as far as having them be the only reason the Battle was won, rather than using the official post-Gygax version of events where the then-named Citadel of Eight never even participated in the Battle. Other than that, very little has changed with the overall plot when compared to the module.

Although buggy upon release (even by Troika's usual standards), the game received some praise, mainly for its relatively faithful adaption of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e combat rules, and has since developed a strong cult following, with fanmade patches fixing the most problematic bugs. The game is currently available on GOG right here. There is also a total conversion mod for the game, turning it into an adaptation of the Keep on the Borderlands module.

Tropes exclusive to Troika's adaptation include:

  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The original game has the level cap at 10, half that of the tabletop game. One of the changes made with the Circle of Eight mod is the option to increase the cap up to 20. Appropriately for the unmodded game, all the spell casting classes are limited to spell levels 1-2 for rangers and paladins, levels 0-4 for bards, and levels 0-5 for clerics, druids, sorcerers, and wizards. To balance this out, however, a number of spells were not even put in and some of the higher level spells were "downgraded" to replace them.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zuggtmoy's original appearance was that of a comical puffball mushroom. She's now much more fearsome and intimidating, appearing as a blue-skinned demonic female with long sharp claws and whose lower body consists of strands of fungoid matter. Wizards was apparently so impressed with the new appearance that it was made her canon true form for 3.x Edition, with the original appearance being a mere aspect.
  • The Alcoholic: In Hommlet, Elmo is town's drunk. You'll find drinking on the streets during the day and drinking at the local tavern at night. You can hire him and his stats are actually decent and he will be sober when you order him around.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Rather than gather your whole party at the edge of map to screen to leave, you can just pull up your world map anytime you want and choose your destination and voilà! Instant travel.
    • The first NPC of your party to enter an area will immediately transit everyone to that place.
    • When combat is over, spells like Web, Grease or Entangle expire immediately so you don't have to wait long minutes for them to go away when they reach their true time limits.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have up to 5 PCs and only have a maximum of 3 NPCs with you at any one time. The Circle of Eight mod allows you to replace the NPC slots with PC slots, allowing a party of up to eight PCs, but you cannot go beyond this limit.
  • Artifact of Doom: Apart from being able to cast several spells, the Orb of Golden Death is wanted by both Iuz and Zuggtmoy, who are able to coerce whomever holds the skull.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The gem at the end of the tutorial is described as being valuable enough for adventurers to kill for it. The camera then zooms out from the player grabbing the gem to reveal Ariel, the player's newfound companion, holding a knife behind her back.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Followers would take first dibs on all loot. This was annoying since they always swipe the best stuff, even if it wasn't something they could use (such as a suit of full plate armor for a rogue). The game didn't track encumbrance outside of combat, so they could take an unlimited amount of loot, but once combat began they'd immediately become bogged down by the multiple suits of full plate they were carrying and become completely immobile.
    • Your party members can't seem to walk a straight line and make unnecessary long detours to reach their destination, even in open terrain. Thankfully, this doesn't seem to happen during combat.
    • You can't control your animal companions and summons. Unsurprisingly, they die rapidly because they rush into battle without thinking. However, they will complain about friendly fire from your magic attacks, even thought they shouldn't have gone into the path of your spells in the first place.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Monsters will go straight for your mages, even if you hid them in another room.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: For an unmodded game, being allowed an extra 3 NPC's allows you to grow your party to a large enough crew to mow down any of the game's challenges, so long as you took characters who actually have decent stats and useful abilities and gear. Unfortunately this proves to be more of a hindrance than anything as, as listed above in Artificial Stupidity, NPC's will take the best of any loot they see, even if it's ultimately useless to them, which will lead to NPC's completely nerfed to only being able to move a few feet when they're inevitably encumbered. Also, if they take said gear, then you'll not be allowed any use out of it, meaning you'll have to find or create your own stuff. Also, experience from encounters is split amongst the team, so the more people, the more the group experience is divided.
  • The Blacksmith: There's a blacksmith in Hommlet who works during the day, and there's Otis in Nulb who is actually investigating a temple. He's also a recruitable NPC. Both of them sell masterwork items.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The game doesn't force you to fill out your 8 head roster, so there's no reason why you should HAVE to do so. While this does make the already difficult game a fair bit harder, carefully managing your crew will have your created 5 characters able to take on any challenges and threats, further helped by...
    • Crafting feats...seemingly mundane given they don't serve an in-battle purpose and can take a fair bit of setup to get any mileage out of, in a game where there's no real shortage of gold or experience (Crafting requires an experience point cost) to pay the costs, you can deck out your party of 5 with amazing gear and resources to sail through any challenge.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When Zuggtmoy finally reveals herself to you, and threatens to kill you slowly and painfully, your responses are:
    1. [attack]
    2. [try to flee]
    3. [soil yourself]
  • Card Sharp: Recruitable thief Furnok, is initially seen at an inn where he challenges people to either dice or cards. The bartender suspects that he's actually cheating, but a party member with a high spot skill is required to catch him in the act.
  • Character Alignment: invoked The game uses the standard D&D alignment system of nine alignments. In addition, it also requires a party alignment, where party characters are within one step of the designated party alignment. The immediate effect determines the starting quest for the party, and it later affects some dialog options.
  • Dialogue Tree: Most conversations have several options for dialogue including special options for characters with high enough levels in skills such as bluff, intimidate and diplomacy.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can "kill" Iuz, which affects the ending.
  • Disk One Nuke: If you marry Meleny, you'll receive a holy longsword +1 which is very useful because of the abundance of evil monsters in the game. You can get the sword as early as chapter 1.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: When speaking to the concubines, they reveal that they were many others before them and were never seen again.
  • Early Game Hell: Level 1 D&D characters tend to be very weak, thus this trope shouldn't be a surprise. To help, you can recruit at least one NPC (e.g. the drunkard Elmo) to make some of the encounters easier. On the other hand, at least one of the starting quests is extremely dangerous for a starting party (e.g. the Neutral Evil party need to announce the temple destruction to Terjon, a higher level cleric that's likely to engage the party in response.)
  • Escort Mission:
    • Prince Thrommel will ask for your aid to escort him outside the Temple. This is actually fairly easy, since you probably already cleared the upper levels of monsters. However, if you want to keep him to explore the rest of the dungeons, the trope will played straight.
    • If you free Paida from the Temple's clutches, you'll need to escort her safely to Hommlet.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: The game has 11 classes:
  • Fortune Teller: Mona is a gypsy fortune teller in Nulb who tasks the players to find her stolen orb.
  • Gambit Pileup: Every high priests of the temple ask you to kill the other high priests. Of course, you can also decide to slay them all.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Having a Chaotic Good character use Fragarach and/or Scather in the Fire Node or the Fire Temple causes the "Chaotic Good wielder has unlimited Attacks of Opportunity" effect of the weapon(s) to infinitely loop and lock up the game. Unfortunately, the effect is hard coded into the game, meaning that even the CoE mod team couldn't fix it. The only way to avoid it is to either not use the blade(s) at all or let someone who is Chaotic Neutral or Neutral Good wield them instead.
  • Game Mod: The game still has a fairly active modding community, working hard to fix the unfinished state and add other content and improvements. Most notable is the Circle of Eight modpack, a large series of bugfixes, addons, and a whole new area to explore after finishing the main game, and the new Temple+, which is addressing problems hardcoded into the engine itself.
  • Gay Option: You have the option of developing a relationship with Bertram.
  • Gentleman Thief: Furnok is well spoken, good mannered and sharply dressed.
  • Giant Spider: Giant spiders are involved in a quest and can be found as random monsters.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Hedrack keeps his concubines in revealing bikinis.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: The game's currency is copper, silver, gold and platinum.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: While not impossible, Iuz is extremely difficult for most parties to even think about beating since he has high DR against non-holy weapons and non-ice energy damage. But if you play well and use Scather, the elemental power gems (to summon high level demons) and magic missile your main obstacle is the time limit.
    • Hell, you can even try to take on Saint Cuthbert himself, although it's suicide (forty attacks a round in melee will obliterate any character). However it is possible to kill him by using a specific spell and exploiting the poor AI. Have one character use a missile weapon on him from a distance. Saint Cuthbert will charge the character and attack once (moving and attacking only allows one attack rather than the full attack allowance.) Have your caster cast Otiluke's Resilient Sphere on the character who shot him. This prevents the character from attacking but also prevents all damage to them. Saint Cuthbert will now futilely wail away on the sphere while your other characters pelt him to death with spells and missiles.
  • Item Crafting: Provided you invested in the right feats and spells, you can create your own magic items at the cost of money and a portion of your XP.
  • Joke Character:
    • Ted, Ed and Ed, neither of whom can be recruited without recruiting the other two. Ted speaks like a hillbilly, while the Eds don't speak at all. They're only available if, when asked what you seek in your future by a fortune teller after completing a quest, you respond with the "humor in all things" option.
    • Cavanaugh is another NPC with laughable stats: all his attributes are set at 10.
  • Lizardfolk: Lizarddmen are frequent random monsters you'll encounter.
  • Lord British Postulate: Players aren't meant to attack Iuz and Saint Cuthbert and win, but that wont stop players from trying.
  • Modular Epilogue: What ending "slides" you see depend on your actions, such as rescuing Prince Thrommel.
  • Multiple Endings: Several actions that you take throughout the game can affect the ending.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: Like the tabletop counterpart: diplomacy, bluff and intimidate. Any bonus you have in your Charisma score will increase those skills.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: This game has a lot of giants: hill giants, ettins, ogres, sea hags and trolls. Adding to this are zombie versions of ettins and hill giants.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different: There's only one minotaur in the game, which is found guarding a chest.
  • Red Light District: Nulb originally included a brothel, complete with sidequests. It was cut, either on WotC's order or due to time constraints, but the Circle of Eight mod restored it.
  • Roboteching: The Magic Missile spell is always animated at different curved angles before it reaches it's target.
  • Romance Sidequest: There are a few romance options in the game, including several NPCs who won't join your party. Of the joinable members there are 3 who can be romanced and your character may even get married to them. There are more options for male characters.
  • Save Scumming: Doing the same thing keeps the results the same, but doing it slightly differently (say, attacking from the left instead of the right) will get a new result.
    • The game has an iron man option to inhibit the save/load abuse.
  • Sex Slave: The Temple keep brainwashed women as sex slaves.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Summon Magic: Apart from the standard D&D spells, which allow you to summon a monster, undead, or animal according to the spell, several monsters also use summons, such as demons. Zuggtmoy can summon several species of fungus based monsters. The Orb of Golden Death allows you to summon 4 kinds of elementals and 4 kinds of demons depending on which gems are stored in the skull.
  • Temple of Doom: The titular temple, which is filled with all sorts of monsters, cultists, and an evil goddess.
  • This Cannot Be!: Zuggtmoy will say this loudly if you resist her attempt to make you her thrall.
  • Time-Limit Boss: If you do decide to fight Iuz, you have only a short time to do so before he teleports away.
  • Title Confusion: The subtitle "A classic Greyhawk Adventure" appears on the cover/disc, the first patch's installer and copyright screen, but is absent on the installer, title screen and the 2nd patch's installer. Interestingly the "the" at the start of the title (see up) is always present.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Several can be recruited in-game, including a hill giant, a troll and an alu-fiend. Some of them will turn on your party if the opportunity presents itself. Having monsters in your party will mean that some NPCs, such as shopkeepers, will refuse to talk to your party.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The two last levels of the Temple has really large corridors and rooms. Justified since Zuggtmoy and Iuz make regular appearances at the Temple and they are many times the height of mortals.
  • Wedlock Block: Meleny's father will only let her get married to the player character if her older sister marries first, and if he thinks the character is sincere enough.
  • Wretched Hive: Nulb is full of pirates and other shady types, including people linked with the titular temple.

Alternative Title(s): Temple Of Elemental Evil