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Tag Archives: Dungeon Tiles

Prisoners of the Seatower of Balduran

This encounter is intended for any number of players of any level using the  Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset

Most gaming groups who run last year’s nostalgia inducing Murder in Baldur’s Gate will pick a faction and support their side throughout the adventure’s many and various short quests.

Of course, my group decides to get themselves thrown in prison as a ruse to earn the confidence of the crime faction in order to serve as a vice squad for the authorities. This is why it is hard to write RPG modules – how are you supposed to anticipate this madness?!

The result, ultimately, is that I accrued a few short encounters that you can throw into any prison scenario – whether you are in Baldur’s Gate or elsewhere in the multiverse. It’s not a full on encounter, but a string of “incidents” that can be used to spice up your game.

•An older prisoner is coughing and sputtering, but who isn’t in this damp and dreary place? A DC 15 Medicine check reveals that this prisoner has caught “the damp” and will die within a few days if not treated. Convincing the guards that he isn’t just faking the illness requires a DC 10 Persuasion check (with Advantage, if some medical jargon is applied to the entreaty). Once the prisoner is well and back in his cell, he will be grateful and reward the heroes in some way (handing them a spare shiv, warning of some impending plot against them, or cutting them in on a prison break, etc.)

•An upper level of the prison is home to the more affluent incarcerated. A nobleman named Rexus Bormul has become the defacto “lord” of the cellblock. Technically speaking he could walk right out of here (either legally or illegally) but prefers the immense power he has over the prison to the relative power he has outside it. From his poshly appointed cell he entertains guests and chats jovially with the guards and wardens, bribing them so thoroughly that they may as well be his henchmen. 

    Rexus calls the PCs up to his spacious cell block for wine, food and entertainment. After attempting to woo them, he requests their assistance in some matter – perhaps delivering a letter once they make it “outside,” breaking up an escape attempt, murdering a fellow inmate, or simply spying for him. It is up to you whether Rexus is a genuine ally, a scheming villain, a friend of an enemy, or an enemy of an enemy.

•A scrawny halfling inmate palms a valuable or contraband possession from one of his fellow convicts – one who has been threatening the tiny criminal. The thief plants this personal treasure on one of the PCs, hoping that in the ensuing scuffle, the party will be able to solve this problem for him.

•One select nights, a corrupt warden holds prisoner brawls in the late evening. He allows guards, and maybe even inmates to net on one another in bare-knuckle brawls (fought until unconscious). This is highly illegal, and no doubt he PCs will be pulled into the matches. They may be asked to take a fall in a fight, may curry favor with their keepers by winning fights and earning a particular guard a lot of money, or they might try and rat out the whole operation to the day warden.

     Perhaps the fights even take on a more sinister turn as knives, or even desperate wild dogs are pulled in off the streets to fight inmates for “entertainment.”

•A hero with a particularly valuable skill (a bard who performs, a crafter, a learned sage, etc.) is taken from the general population cell to a private chamber where a warden, or ranking guard asks their help in a special project. This might confer the party some boon, earn the ire of their fellow convicts, offer a chance for escape, or even present an opportunity for an advantageous romance.

•An odd, squirrelly inmate reveals that he was a mage the whole time, hiding his abilities for months (or even years!) in order to facilitate a riot or prison escape plan. The PCs might learn this ahead of time with an Arcana DC 15 check by finding impromptu spell notes carved amongst the hash marks that litter the wet stone walls.

•Being below sea level, this section of the prison has a small pond in the ruined part of the tower. Escape would be impossible through the sturdy iron grate, but small fish do manage to swim in and out. Inmates are welcome to try and catch their own meals by hand (eaten raw, or cooked by sympathetic guards), or this paltry place to while away the hours might be the scene of a struggle as one convict attempts to drown another. Or perhaps impromptu lock-picks can be crafted out of the bones of some unlucky fish?

•That dead rat has been there in the corner for weeks, and the guards refuse to remove it! In truth, the very slowly decaying corpse is serving as a dead-drop for the passing of notes; perhaps between prisoners, guards, or someone on the outside. Tiny notes are rolled up and slid into the varmint’s rotting maw. 

Map

       

Features of the Area

1. Stairs up

2. Guard Station

3. Storage

4. Double locked entry portcullis

5. West general population cell block (Barred walls and locked doors, includes simple cots and sewage holes for bodily waste) DEX DC 15 to Lockpick

6. East general population cell block (Barred walls and locked doors, includes simple cots and sewage holes for bodily waste) DEX DC 15 to Lockpick

7. Mess hall

8. Kitchen (Locked, guards only. Only dull knives present)

9. Underground pond (entry to the lake barred by an iron grille)

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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Incidents, Playtested

 

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The Thing in The Pit

This encounter is intended for 3-5 characters of 2nd level and makes use of current playtest/5th Edition data as of July 6th 2014


This one is a quickie: a room I designed for a one-shot dungeon crawl that unfortunately got passed over. Some of the party will be forced to fend off the slapping appendages of an abhorrent otherworldly creature, while the rest of the team attempts to breach the entrance to the dungeon before the lot of them are crushed. Make certain to have a player character on hand who can pick locks – or else this encounter is far from being fair.

Map

                                

Features of the Area

    Terrain: Each large block of dungeon floor is 10 feet by 10 feet. Any 5 foot squares marked with a star are considered difficult terrain

   The Pit: This yawning chasm reaches far down into the Underdark, where a massive, amorphous beast from the Far Realm is trapped. The drop is 20 feet where tight cracks and crevices leech deeper into the ground. The elastic tentacles have wormed their way up through these openings. Because the uneven walls of the pit provide good handholds, no check is necessary to climb back up (the writhing tentacles may pose their own challenges, however)

   Treasures: The locations of the two treasure caches are indicated by gold sunbursts on the map (see “Rewards” below)

   Exit Door: This sturdy steel door is a half-foot thick and incredibly heavy. It is shut up tight by three identical locks. Passage to and through the door is blocked by a toppled over column (see below).

      •Each lock requires a DEX DC 10 check to open, and some appropriate lock-pick must be used (a set of Thief Tools would suffice, and Proficiency in such tools grants advantage as normal). 

   Broken Columns: One of these collapsed columns has fallen in front of the locked exit door. With the stone ruins blocking the way, it will be impossible to unlock the door.

      •The column is very heavy, and another party member will be needed to lift it, if not completely move it out of the way. A STR DC 10 check is sufficient to lift the column up, allowing access to the lock. This same character can keep the column elevated for several rounds without having to make another check, but must use their action on their turn to do so. A STR DC 15 check will allow the character to shove the column aside and out of the way for good.

Monsters

The otherworldly abomination is far too massive and durable to be killed by a few paltry, low-level heroes. Fortunately for them, the beast cannot drag its squamous bulk through the caverns below to reach them. Instead, it has extended several of its slimy, mouth-covered tentacles to probe for prey. Though each individual tentacle can be destroyed with some ease, more will take their place, and the creature itself will take little damage. Is the monster regenerating these tentacles, or does it just have a near inexhaustible number on its body? That’s a question bets left unanswered.

•x(# of PCs) Tentacles (40 EXP each)

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     Beast Tentacle (Medium Aberration – Limb)

AC 12 (Vulnerable: Slashing)

HP 8

   Available Actions:

Slam  (Within 15 feet of any part of the pit; one creature) +3 to hit (1d6+3 bludgeoning damage); automatic hit and +1d6 bludgeoning damage if target is already restrained

Trip  (Within 15 feet of any part of the pit; up to two creatures) DEX save DC 12 or target(s) are knocked prone

Ensnare (Within 15 feet of any part of the pit; one creature) +4 vs. STR or DEX (target’s choice); on hit target is restrained and may attempt the check again to escape as an action. A tentacle that has ensnared a target in this way may deal it 1d6+3 piercing damage as an action

   Traits:

•Each time a beast tentacle is destroyed, roll 1d4-1 (minimum of 1) – a new tentacle replaces it after that number of rounds has passed.

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Tactics

The tentacles have supernatural blindsight, and the best has enough intelligence to try and interrupt any character attempting to escape. Otherwise, they try to kill and eat every PC (like you do, when you are an amorphous beast)

Rewards

In the nook in the north part of the room, the skeleton of an unfortunate explorer (wounded by the beast and unable to escape) is crumpled against the wall. Amid the ragged ruin of bones and torn clothes are x1 Healing Potion, a silver ring worth 10 gp, and three raw, uncut gems worth a total of 100 gp

One of the water basins in the eastern section of the dungeon is home to the formation of some uncut precious stones. A STR DC 10 check (advantage if a dagger, prybar, or other tool is used) will free the gems, which can be sold for 50 gp

 

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D&D Next “Funnel” Fan Adventure – The Traitor’s Feast

If I’ve been quiet lately, it’s because I’ve had another full adventure in the works! Too many projects at once has prevented me from working on the “One Page Dungeon” contest this year – which is a real shame. Instead, I’ve been plugging away, slowly and surely, on a new full adventure for those conducting the D&D Next Playtest.

Ostensibly this was also a full write-up for the first session of a new Realm Management campaign I’m planning to start up in the summer. The idea here is that the players run a dreaded “funnel adventure” to see which of their pretenders to the throne will survive. These characters will then be launched into all the intrigue and hex counting that is “Test of the Warlords.

In a funnel, each player takes the role of several very low level (in this case, level 0!) characters with minimal resources and advantages. They use their wits, luck, and the guy standing in front of them, to survive a dungeon adventure full of more traps, hazards and tricks than actual combat. Though this adventure branches away from that archetype a bit (it takes place in a noble’s palace rather than some unexplored tomb – the players are young lordlings rather than commoners with delusions of grandeur) the intention is the same.

The goal of most funnel adventures is to serve as character-creation trial by fire. May the best man win, and move on to earn her or his status as a level 1 character. Rather than picking what you want to play, you roll up several ideas, and see what survives.

This adventure includes guidelines on how to make Level 0 characters for the D&D Playtest (Including an extensive list of “professions” held by the nobility which I am quite proud of). Part of the adventure is intended for integration with Wizard’s of the Coast’s Dungeon Tiles as well as Dwarven Forge’s Room and Passage, and Rooms sets of 3D terrain. I do love my toys.

You can download “The Traitor’s Feast” (Don’t read the title to the players! Spoiler!) here, or over on the “Full Adventures” page:

 

                The Traitor’s Feast_ – D&D Next  <—–Download HERE

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Not Playtested

 

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D&D Next / 5th Edition Fan Adventure!

So, a lot has happened since I went radio silent a few weeks ago:

Plans to work on a write-up for a full adventure in the Neverwinter game I am currently running fell through for the moment. Due to my theatre schedule/the holidays/time spent playtesting a game developed for N.A.G.A.D.E.M.O.N – and whatever else decided to get in the way. During that time I managed to play a bit more of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition playtest. Then I did some digging…

Turns out that other authors have been posting their homebrew playtest adventure content. This seems kosher with the playtest’s strict (and somewhat odd) regulations on what you can/cannot talk about due to the fact that these adventures don’t actually reveal any of the playtest information (instead referencing page numbers to mechanics that would require the player to sign-up for the playtest anyway). In light of that, and due to the fact that I might have actually finished writing my Neverwinter adventure BEFORE running it (A problem due to nosey players reading spoilers on this blog), I instead set out to write my own 5th Edition adventure.

Thus I give you “The Astral Conqueror of Sargodell Deeps.” Intended as a single-session foray into the rules, it’s not terribly complicated or difficult, but manages to fit in a variety of challenges. Whenever I write a one shot, I try to set a few goals or constraints for myself to make it interesting. In this case:

  • Create a more “traditional” dungeon crawl experience without it dragging on overlong
  • Try to fit the whole dungeon on a table at once
  • Use exclusive sets of Wizard’s of the Coast’s Dungeon Tiles (Oh Caves of Carnage, how I have kilted you…but no more!) without too much mixing and matching
  • Provide an opportunity to use some fancy new miniatures I picked up in a context that fits the adventure (Thus, the inclusion of the trebuchet, flying cultists, and our primary villain)
  • Try out a letter-substitution puzzle and dress it up as interpreting arcane runes (A simple puzzle that requires just enough brain power and effort to make you feel cool for solving it, without bogging down the adventure. And it makes you feel like a wizardy archeologist!)

The file is a tad large as I went overboard on the image quality for the artwork and maps.

As for plans moving forward, times are getting much busier for me, though when they finally die down I’ll get back to business as usual with weekly posts. I still intended to post that Neverwinter adventure – just as soon as I get around to writing it – but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that arriving any time soon if I were you.

In the meantime, check out the new adventure over on the Full Adventures page! Give it a gander and as always let me know what you think – constructive criticism makes for better adventures and content in the future. And if you are someone I know personally who is likely to be a player in a run through of this adventure, KEEP OUT! You’ll see what it’s all about soon enough.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Announcements, Not Playtested

 

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D&D NEXT/5th ed Playtest Experience (Points)

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Many apologies for the intermittent and off schedule posts. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m rather involved in Cleveland theatre, and am currently part of a cast devising an original play. That involves acting, rehearsing, writing lines, memorizing those lines, revising those lines…you get the idea. Thus the brunt of my writing time has gone to that, and poor Save vs. Weekend has become second banana. But fear not! I have neither lost interest nor resolve to keep this blog afloat. That said for the next few weeks posts will be at zany times, and likely only once a week.

Due to my time constraints and in the interest of contributing to the D&D community, I thought I’d sidestep the expected weekly encounter write-up (insert obligatory chiding of my breaking from the Blog’s intention) to instead discuss a bit about how things have been going with the sporadic D&D 5th/Next playtest games I’ve been running.

The last game was run with 5 total players, using a self written adventure (2 combats, a puzzle, a potential hazard, and lots of random tables) all while the old school Dungeons and Dragons cartoon played in the background and DMDJ set the mood.

So, my bullet-point observations about 5th Edition / D&D Next:

Easy to Pick Up – My last session included three (THREE!) players who were completely alien to the tabletop roleplaying experience. So new to it, that I had to remind myself to explain the “little things” to them – like what 2d8 means in terms of those little plastic dice. Even then, among the two experienced players at the table, only one had played using the 5th Edition rules and not at all extensively. Given that lack of knowledge base, I found that character creation went very smoothly. Focusing the game more on the attributes gave new players a very easy, understandable touchstone to work from. They knew what things their characters were best at, and what things they should leave to other party members if possible.

Backgrounds and Specialties were extremely helpful for this process. I didn’t need to explain an exhaustive list of abilities and skills – the names were all the players need to know what they wanted to be. “Artisan? Oh yeah, that sounds cool. Can I be a painter?” “Archer is an option? Yeah, I definitely want to use a bow since my strength is, like, nothing.” Quick, simple, and easy to understand and roleplay.

That all said: I’d ultimately like to see a list of feat for those who feel a little too confined by the Specialties and want a little more flexibility in describing their character.

Less Stringent Spells = More Fun – I think the new spell formatting really got to shine in this session. You all know I love 4th Edition with a grandmotherly warmth, but power descriptions are very precise and focused – which isn’t a bad thing. The problem is that it tends to force your mind to think solely in terms of what the spell can do statistically, and ignore its implications and interactions with the world.

To new players, having a paragraph that described the spell, and a paragraph that explained the nitty gritty was invaluable. Combat spells were easy for them to learn “Oh, so this text at the bottom says, I roll these dice and that’s fire damage and I get everyone in a 15 foot cone, cool.” The descriptive paragraphs got them thinking of their spells in precisely the right way – trying to come up with clever, out-of-the-box applications. I admit that I hand-waved some rules to make their ideas work*, but isn’t that the point?

I think an inherent and hard to pin down problem in 4th Edition is the accidental psychological paralysis it puts on DMs and players. Seeing all those neat, clean, precise rules makes you think they need to be followed to the letter or else you are “doing it wrong.” Of course that’s false, but our brains work in funny ways. I’ve run into that problem less and less while running 5th ed games.

*[I suppose using Command and saying “Reveal” was not intended to force Orc Warlords to admit useful or embarrassing secrets, but the players loved it. I also maybe give Mage Hand to much credit; but when a players uses it to pour out flammable liquid onto burning opponents or shove its spectral fingers into the mouth of an arguing party member to end a discussion – only a monster would let rules nay-say!]

Solving Not Just Rolling – A thought related to that aside: The new mechanics seem to encourage a “problem solving” route just as much as they encourage a “gameplay” route. And yes, that narration oriented approach is a thing very subject to the DM’s handling of the game (Ahem! DMG pg. 42!!), and it can certainly exist in 4th ed (I try to steer my games in that direction as much as possible.) But the emphasis on skills/skill challenges and feats can sometimes get in the way of that free-form problem solving approach to complications – making mechanical choices more appealing than a clever or logical idea.

Monsters and Low Hit Points: Feast or Famine – Maybe it was my fault for throwing orcs in as the primary combat antagonist. To be fair, the PCs were 2nd level (due to my concerns about PC fragility), so it wasn’t an unreasonable monster choice, but the orcs sit in a strange place of high damage, and not quite high enough Hit Points. Nearly all the orcs went down with a single blow. Having the “Relentless” trait kept them hanging around a bit longer, so they fit their role better in this iteration of the playtest than the previous, but they still seemed oddly fragile. On the other hand, the inclusion of the great axe as their main weapon made them incredibly potent – especially against weaker PCs. I think this is meant well; a single d# of damage should be threatening, but not overwhelming if the DM lands a single lucky roll. At this point in the game’s life I think there’s an imbalance somewhere. Mind you, I haven’t played with that wide a range of the monsters to choose from.

Still it seemed I was either dropping players or they were dropping monsters all at once, with rarely anything in between. While my goal wasn’t to replicate the feel of 4th ed combat, I think 5th ed’s battle and gameplay in general is speedy enough due to action-economy that having a lot super-low HP monsters isn’t always necessary.

I agree with the logic in lowering Hit Points across the board (to improve the significance of magical healing), but I think this move made 1st level PCs too fragile. One thing I loved about our current edition of D&D is that 1st level wasn’t a terrified rush to earn experience points enough that you could snag that extra Hit Die and survive the lucky crit you would occasionally absorb. Of course, you want plenty of room to grow, but starting between 10-25 Hit Points gives some good breathing room for characters and encourages them to take risks right off the bat, without anticipating total and utter failure.

The Fighter is Awesome – I had two players each playing very different Fighters: a “Dwarven Defender” type, and a staff wielding, light armor clad amazon huntress. Both were effective and unique and made good use of combat maneuvers to both set their characters apart and contribute to the “game” aspects of play. I was very happy with how the Fighter is shaping up.

Follow My Lead – I saw fit to give the PCs a couple followers during an appropriate moment of the game. I think the way monster stat blocks are laid out, and the system itself, less dependent on the troublesome effects of level creep, makes integrating a handful of followers and easy and not too unbalancing prospect.

Magic Items are Special and Interesting – The document covering magic items was still pretty hot off the PDF presses when we played, and I hadn’t had too much time to look it over before tossing some of its contents in. I’m pleased to see that many items have peculiar quirks (the demands of the “Oathbow” made sure our archer held off on its devastating power until she was sure she could take down her target) and value outside of their obvious applications in combat. I know it’s early yet, but this is the way to go. I enjoyed that 4th edition offered a wide range of magic items, but so few of them had any real appeal – I think giving items a lot of character and “extracurricular” capabilities can make even statistically sub-par treasures worth having.

3D Terrain Fosters Creative Thinking – This isn’t strictly a 5th edition related note, but it’s worth mentioning since I’m giving an after action report. This was one of the first times I busted out my 3D terrain pieces provided in the Harrowing Halls map tile pack. I found my players using the tables and stairs in thoughtful ways, and I think having those pieces there – rather than just an image of a table on a tile or the mention of one in a description – really fostered that kind of thinking. Sure, you might think of using a table as cover even if there wasn’t a table miniature, but it’s easier to overlook that possibility if the environment isn’t emphasized. 3D terrain is just one way to do this, of course. A very descriptive and thorough DM can do just as well, but I’ll make the case for my silly props enhancing play and inspiring characters (Ha! Take that you graph-paper loving grognards!)

In general my comments are positive but bear in mind this is just the results of a single session, and it went well, meaning we had fun, and that my impression of any flaws in the system are probably negated by that. Also, our pizza was late, and thus free…who can be in a bad mood when THAT happens!

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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Announcements

 

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The Ogre Zombie’s Tomb

This encounter is intended for five characters of 2nd level

It dawned on me that I had perhaps been getting too elaborate with many of my encounters. Mind you I didn’t want to just spit out a lot of “10 square by 10 square with 5 skirmishers of player’s level” snooze fests – but at the same time I might be getting a tad over dramatic with the set-piece encounters. Not everything needs to be a big, epic, hours long brawl, I know. So I’m going to attempt to offer some quicker and more easily planted encounters interspersed with the over-the-top cinematic fights I happen to love so much. My goal with this blog was to provide content that could easily be slapped into any night’s session. Set-pieces have a way of forcing you to work around their schedule.

I’ve also been neglecting the dungeon! Madness! To alleviate that I intend to produce more “drag and drop” dungeon chamber encounters. The place where most games can afford to have an on-the-fly addition is in the dungeon – so it stands to reason that you’ll likely get the most mileage out of some pre-generated dungeon encounters.

Set Up and Backstory
This encounter can be a series of rooms in any old dungeon of your choosing. Its presumed that some other creatures – kobolds or goblins or what have you – occupy the dungeon (to serve as a food source). This particular niche was carved by desperate townsfolk long ago; who buried an ogre that had been destroying crops, caravans, and people for years. They feared him so much that it was rumored even death would not slow the brute down, and so a few bold souls interred his corpse in the dungeon, and filled a pit with holy water to make certain he didn’t come lumbering out.

A few were superstitious enough to bury the monster with some valuables in the hopes that would appease it in the afterlife. Sadly, it wasn’t enough, and the rotting ogre’s corpse has been stomping impatiently in front of the holy water moat for a very long time.

Some of the dungeon’s denizens have been making forays into this area to try and recover the treasure from the ogre zombie’s side of the moat – but found themselves food for the cave fisher lurking nearby. The beetles are picking clean what the fisher doesn’t want.

Map

Map Features
Rooms: Are roughly hewn stonework. Relatively smooth walls and floor, save for cracks and the occasional debris. The ceiling is in disrepair. The obvious light sources are the fire beetles (emanate light at half the distance of a normal torch) and some distant rays of sunshine beating down through the cracks in the ceiling of the zombie ogre’s chamber (bright enough to treat the room as normally lit).

The cave fisher is hidden in a shadowy corner of the antechamber where it has adjourned to digest its last meal. It gains a +5 bonus to it’s stealth check while concealed here. If need be it will creep forward along the ceiling to get in range of prey, keeping a +2 bonus from the relative camouflage of the broken and uneven ceiling.

Sitting at the foot of the pool are the remains of some unfortunate dungeon denizen is now a meal for the fire beetles – thus continuing the dungeon circle of life.

Pool: this stone moat dips drops to a depth of about four and a half feet and is filled with sanctified water. If submerged or splashed onto an evil creature it deals Ongoing 5 radiant damage. The zombified ogre is unwilling to step foot in or even chance crossing the pool due to his instinctive repulsion by consecrated places.

Loose Ceiling: The ceilings in these chambers are worn and buckled with age. Already stones and pieces of rubble are strewn about the dungeon floor and more sections seem at risk of collapsing. The ceiling height is 4 squares (20 feet) or in more practical terms, a 2d10 fall.

A section of ceiling directly above the pool is especially loose. If the players come within sight of the hulking zombie it very well might smash the walls in frustration, causing a section of rubble to fall into the pool. This would give the zombie stepping stones to cross over – escaping its prison and entering the fray. Allow this to happen when the players are finally gaining the advantage in the fight. If you are utilizing dungeon tiles, use a 2 by 2 square rubble tile to indicate the pathway across the holy water pool

Monsters
x1 Hulking Zombie (Monster Vault pg. 294)
x1 Cave Fisher Angler – Marked “C” (Monster Manual 3 pg. 28)
x3 Fire Beetles (Monster Manual pg. 30)

Map Tiles
Making good on a previous intention – the map for this encounter was composed with individual tiles from the “Dungeon Tiles” master set “The Dungeon.”

 

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Chamber of Shifting Visions

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Set-up
This encounter I slotted into a one-shot adventure I ran a couple of times recently. The goal was to let the players have some fun by constructing the dungeon themselves; with an eye to crafting the terrain to their character’s preferred tactics. It was also a good excuse to use some of Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeon Tiles that I had lying around. When all was said and done I was pretty happy with the experiment, although I wasn’t in love with my monster choice for the encounter and have changed that up here. You’ll want to use monsters who will exploit the dangerous and advantageous terrain features – so look for a push/pull/sliders and shifters.

The idea is that the PCs enter a strange chamber that conforms to a person’s expectations of what is inside. The catch is, if more than one person enters, the room gets jumbled and combines their ideas into a random amalgamation. Hence why players get to choose room features of their own to add into the encounter space – but are limited to certain features (since there are already some minds inside the room messing with their brainwaves.) At least that’s what you’ll say to the player who states “I imagine the room is full of gold pieces.” And whatever you do, don’t neglect this opportunity to remind them NOT to imagine the “Stay-Puffed” Marshmallow Man.

There’s no strict map for this one, but some guidelines in how to hand out dungeon tiles for you players to place. I used D17 Fane of the Forgotten Gods for the encounter, but any of the more “dungeony” dungeon tile sets will work just fine. Barring dungeon tiles you could always tell players to draw out a (digit) x (digit) space on a battlemat. I started with a 4×4 tile in the middle as the “center” of the map. I then went clockwise around the table (going by initiative might also be a good variation) and handed the players a random dungeon tile. For the first phase of construction use plain tiles of differing sizes and shapes – but on the bigger side. You want to establish the general dungeon space here. I threw in a couple more unusual tiles in this phase, in particular a rope bridge. Generally six or seven tiles should be fine (You might even want to reserve a few tiles for yourself to place to mix things up and potentially foil some of their plans.)

After the first round of tiles are placed you’ll go through a second round of placing terrain features – hazards and benefits. For this I just grabbed a few odds and ends dungeon tiles and when the players placed them (again in clockwise order) I stated what their effect was. Make sure to be clear about a tiles purpose, lest the players avoid all your interesting terrain features completely in fear they are traps. Again hand out a tile for each player and reserve one or two for yourself.

Some suggested effects:

  • Granting concealment or cover
  • Using a minor action to gain 5 HP
  • Taking 5 elemental damage for entering starting a turn in the space
  • Gaining a +2 to all defenses while in the space
  • Gain a +2 to attack rolls while in the space

Lastly hand out three door tiles, while you place the fourth. Assign a number 1-4 to these doors. When the players enter the room they appear through a randomly determined door. Entering the room costs two squares of movement but they can exit and reenter if they pop out of a door that doesn’t suit them. If this room is at a choke point in the dungeon, don’t forget to include an “exit door” tile that the players cannot enter from as well.

Quest Text

This forty foot long chamber is lined with mirrors of all shapes and sizes. At the opposite wall are a pair of mis-matched double doors, both covered in a reflective gold sheen. As you pass by the many mirrors, you catch brief glimpses – not of this chamber – but the room beyond. Glistening treasures and deadly traps – pits, columns, fountains, in all manner of architectural style. As you swing open the double doors you see a blur of all the possible iterations of the room beyond. The only way to know for certain what lays inside is to step across the threshold.

Monsters

  • x2 Dwarf Clan Guard (Monster Vault pg. 101)
  • x1 Spitting Drake (Monster Vault pg. 83)
  • x1 Lesser Water Elemental (Monster Vault pg. 109)
  • x4 Decrepit Skeletons (Monster Vault pg. 255)

Since I ran this with level 1 characters the monster set up is geared toward that level. Adjust accordingly.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Combat Encounter, Playtested

 

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