As I mentioned before, this whole adventure arc was due primarily to placate a player who felt slighted, however justified and minor that slight was. It did lead to some fun adventures and neat NPC's; Roth was one of my favorites.
One of the things I've always thought interesting about D&D is the place "adventurers" fit within the larger world. Is it a normal thing, these people who explore old ruins and fight monsters for fun, profit, and (sometimes) Good? What do these people do when they retire? Do they have families? With Roth, I posited an answer to some of those questions on a limited scale. He was simply an adventurer who retired to his cabin in the woods -- a Grizzly Adams sort of ranger who was content to be left alone other than occasional visits from his son, who had also turned to the adventuring life. I had written "The Story of Roth Farstrider" and given it to the players after they had met him. I have that document in The Blue Notebook. If I get a chance, I can retype it and post it here (if anyone's interested). It's full of references to places, battles, plagues, and all sorts of other campaign-world things about which I had absolutely no further information. I thought that, if the players asked, I'd just make up more stuff. That's how this is supposed to work, right?
I learned a couple of important things about D&D 3.0 at this point, one of which I quickly house-ruled away and the other, well, it still took me awhile to fully internalize.
The first thing I learned was that deafness caused by thunderstones was permanent. I had no idea that these 30 gp items could so seriously screw up a character. After Kreed's player rolled really poorly in trying to throw the stone at the giant bat, we all found out, as Boaz was deafened. Of course, this gave all the healing spells Boaz normally cast at 20% chance of failure, raising the difficulty of the rest of the adventure.
The adventure itself was pretty simple -- some kobolds from the underdark had found their way into Roth's well, messing with the underground stream that fed it. The party simply had to navigate around some minor environmental hazards (sticky mud), fight some kobolds and the monster that led them, and unblock the stream. My second lesson of this particular session had to do with that sticky mud. The party just had to make a few skill checks to cross some mud that would slow them down and, if they failed a BUNCH of checks in a row, suck them under. This obstacle took a lot of real-time to navigate, simply because party members kept failing checks and had to be pulled out by other PC's. It seems so obvious, especially given the boredom and frustration that the failed skilled checks produced in "Night of the Gimlet", that I should have just hand-waved all this away unless they were being chased by kobolds or something. (Why didn't the party just take 10 or 20? Did I not let them?) But, no, I stuck with the rules and a bunch of our limited game time was spent hauling PC's out of the mud.
Then the party completely got kicked in the face by the kobolds and their "god." Risus Monkey missed that session, so I'll try to detail what happened as best as I can in my next post.