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This was discussed here a long time ago - it's probably still in the archives, but I couldn't find it either. The author basically said what you already guessed: originally there were keys, in order to force the 3 parts to be played in order. Later, this was removed, to make it less linear - but a few things slipped through editing.
The angle I used was this: the Cult of the Green Lady is like a faction of the Church of Wee Jas, and they are responsible for the care of the bone yard (perform funeral services, burials, etc.). And there have been instances of grave robbers digging up bones looking for treasure (one of the town rumors is that someone hid 100gp in a fake grave). So I played up the clerics of the Green Lady as being a bit fanatical, and their position of influence is such that the local rules & regulations within Diamond Lake are much more strict that elsewhere (like the Free City).
You could introduce an NPC or two. Maybe a bard can latch on to them at the tavern, and offer to follow them around and chronicle their adventures? You could introduce Ekaym eary in order to fill this purpose, but then you have to make sure he doesn't get killed too early...
You could also have some of the prisoners that they rescue tag along for a while to "help" - especially if the PCs don't choose to immediately rest or backtrack to escort them out of Sodden Hold. Rather than attack immediately, have them pretend to be helpful at first, them betray them at an inconvenient moment.
Of course, the whole doppleganger plot can be dropped completely, but I think it's useful to introduce a certain amount of paranoia into the adventure. It makes the PCs afraid to trust anyone.
This may not be what you had in mind, but until a better solution is available, try this: open the PDF in acrobat reader.Use the 'select' tool to highlight the text you want to print, then choose 'copy' from the 'edit' menu. Then open a word processor (I'm using OpenOffice Writer) and choose 'paste'. You can also copy&paste images, but then you have to arrange them on the page. So if you're wanting to print the core rulebook, it might be a lot of work! But if you just want copies of the player's guide for one of the adventure paths, then it's pretty easy.
I think it would be good to break up the three temples and hide them in separate locations. The Hextor temple can stay hidden in Dourstone Mine. Only Theldrick needs to have a connection with Dourstone (maybe he charmed him?). The Grimlocks can be hidden in the abandoned cave, near the Whispering Carn. Or - there can be a secret entrance to their layer via the Stirge Nest Cairn. The trio from Greyhawk can mention that they killed a few while exploring. Then Theldrick's notes should provide enough of a connection to make the PCs go investigate further. The Vecna temple - I'd hide below the Church of St. Cuthbert! In fact, I'd make Justin Wierus (the crazed priest who whips himself) the Faceless One (in this case, the mask is used simply to hide his true identity - he's not really disfigured). He's been busy recruiting impressionable people into the cult. The other priest of Cuthbert suspects something, but hasn't dared speak up - yet. You can use him to advance the plot, if necessary. The cool thing here is that once his true identity is revealed, all local worshipers of Cuthbert (even the good ones) become suspected cultists. Couple this with the Ebon Aspect's rampage shutting down Dourstone mine (and putting lots of miners out of work) and you have a real messy situation in town (politically, socially, and economically). The Ebon Triad are all pawns of the cult of Kyuss - but they don't realize it. Only the higher ups know the truth. I think this is important - because later, when the truth comes out, it's a big "a-ha!" moment. At this point, the Kyuss connection should seem like an annoying side effect of just ONE of their many nefarious schemes. You can have Smenk be suspicious of Dourstone, because of all the extra activity going on due to the Hextor temple. Smenk sends a spy, who sees cultists, and grabs a worm (some of the priests should have potions with slow worms in them, maybe?) This causes Smenk to recruit Filge to investigate further. Once the PCs cross paths with Filge (and most likely kill him), they'll begin to suspect Smenk. At this point, Smenk can come clean, tell them what he knows, and ask them to investigate (to make up for killing poor Filge). He can say it's for the good of the town, and it is, but it's also good for him, since it hurts Dourstone, a rival mine manager.
"Gathering of Winds" gives you chance to tie up loose ends. The PCs are able to confront the black dragon that was behind the lizard man attacks on Black Wall Keep (and that should be a pretty spectacular battle.) Also, it gives the PCs a chance to return home, and visit with Alustan. In my campaign, he started out as the group's main advisor. At this point, the PCs have to save HIM. It's almost like "graduation" when he says to them, "I have nothing left to teach you - you're on your own now."
As for the Wind Dukes - they were powerful champions of Law, so they wouldn't want to see Kyuss return to power. Maybe their artifacts are resurfacing due to coincidence, and maybe not? Perhaps some "higher power" is trying to help Law defeat Chaos once again... I tried to tie things together better by making the Wind Dukes who retired to the Prime Material plane after the battle of Kesh be the original founders of the Order of the Storm. They bred with humans and elves, creating a powerful bloodline that resulted in many generations of heroes. The PCs could be the last of this ancient bloodline.
Other things to consider: the True Ghoul is a really cool character. I got some good roleplaying out of him. My guys knew he was bad, but grudgingly agreed to let him "help" them for a while, since they had a common goal. His 'ghoul light lantern' is a cool magic item.
The fight with the Noble Salamander was hilarious! ("sorry to stab you in vitals like that, ol' chap. Couldn't be helped... magical compulsion, you know...")
The fight with the shadow spider was terrifying.
The fight with the elder black pudding was terrifying.
The fight with the demon at the end was terrifying.
If you skip the adventure, you'll miss out on some cool encounters, even if they don't advance the main plot arc. In my opinion, it's worth taking the time to make these work for your campaign.
I'd like to see fewer BASE classes, but more feats, and feats that mimic traditional class abilities. That way you could create a "ranger" or a "paladin" by taking the fighter base class and then adding the appropriate feats/abilities. The druid is just a special kind of cleric. The bard is just a special kind of rogue, etc. This lets you publish a "big book of feats" that works like a tool kit. It gives you the option to publish a book of "examples", showing how to mix&match various combinations to build classic PrC's people want (ninja, assassin, battle mage, etc), and it also opens the door for tons of fan-generated content (you could even make a contest out of it, and feature the best ideas on the website).
I had a player in a game I was running who's goal, and sole purpose for adventuring, was to save up enough money to open a tavern in Greyhawk. Now really, what kind of game would that be? Waiting on tables? Washing dishes? Paying taxes? Dealing with rude customers? That's not D&D, that's real life!
Virtually every classic fantasy book and/or movie since the beginning of time has featured a BBEG. Since these serve as inspiration for most D&D games, it's only logical that published adventures follow the same pattern (same for video game RPGs).
This is a *great* idea. I'm also surprised that it doesn't already exist. I guess the campaign journals are the closest thing to this, although few are what I would consider serious novelizations of the AP. Is such a thing even legal (copyright infringment, etc.) - since technically Wizards owns the AoW, not Piazo (correct me if I'm wrong).
You know, you should probably actually *read* the adventures before planning to run them... just saying...
But to answer your question, the Rod of 7 Parts has little to do with the main story. Another part does show up, much later. Basically, there is a long list of prophesies that have to come to pass before Kyuss can return and bring about the Age of Worms. The reappearance of various lost and powerful artifacts are among these prophesies. Where ever possible, the Ebon Triad has tried to engineer and/or manipulate events so as to make this happen sooner - but in some cases they have no choice but to just wait.
What I did to help tie things together (and much of this was inspired by discussions here on these boards) was as follows:
So, the fact that the rod reappears just as Kyuss's followers are preparing for his return may not be such a coincidence after all. And there may yet be people in the Cairn Hills area (Diamond Lake) that still possess the ancient blood line. It's weak now, and they probably have no clue - but that explains why they have the potential to be so "heroic" (and fated to battle Kyuss and his minions, as did their ancestors centuries before). Alaster Land may have belonged to this bloodline. That explains why he was drawn to the Whispering Cairn, and how he managed to avoid so many of the deadly traps, and why his ghost is willing to help the PCs, etc.
His later appearance can be used to explain some of these details, in case the PCs never figure it out on their own.
I think the fight with Zyrxog works best if the PCs enter from the main hallway, with him levitating up above the pool. If the PCs find the secret door into the pool room, then this encounter gets short circuited.
As I recall, Lashanna owns a magic item that allows her to summon and control the Blessed Angels. This item previously belonged to Zeech's (now dead) wife, who was herself a cleric of Hextor (a lawful evil deity. So it's believable that Erinyes devils, also LE, would do his bidding, act as servants to his minions, etc.).
So - to answer your question - they are not helping by *choice* but by *compulsion*. The 'devil box' is basically an artifact-level magic item,
At least, that's how I played it...
Anyone recall the old Star Trek episode in which two aliens hated each other and wanted to kill each other: they were each half black / half white, but one was black on the LEFT, white on the RIGHT, while the other was black on the RIGHT, white on the LEFT. Of course, to everyone else they looked exactly the same at first glance, and thought the whole point of the conflict was silly. Just saying...
Are you sure you want to continue the 2nd AP with the *same characters* ??
You're high level PCs from AP1 can always show up as "guest stars" at some point, in cameo roles...
Another idea: psionics! Give him psionic abilities that mimic any spell you want to cast, then use the "psionics aren't magic" rules (i.e., antimagic field does nothing versus psionics, etc.) Of course, the players will hate you.. but Mak'ar shouldn't be a push-over. You want to PCs to win, but they should have to work for it, no?
If I recall correctly, Mak'ar had a limited wish - he could have used this to dispel the antimagic field. Or, you could have given him Mordenkainen's Disjunction, or you could have several kyuss worm swarms in the area, under his mental control. This is effectively like giving him a 'summon monster' spell, but it gets around the limitation that summoned monsters can't enter an antimagic field. Since the familar can fly, you'd have to have the swarm come out of cracks in the ceiling, dripping down as he moves below them.
I haven't had this problem *here* - but I've seen similar problems elsewhere. What operating system are you using? What browser? (and version?). If it's a bug with the site, the developers will need to know.
Make sure you have cookies enabled, and/or allowed for this site.
Another "poor man's" solution: make counters instead. I've done this before when I either didn't have a mini, or didn't have large enough numbers of them. You can find pics of all the minis online, as well as pics from all the monster manuals. Use a tool like gimp or photoshop to crop and resize as needed. Arrange multiple images like tiles on the page.
I did this to make an army of lizard folk, and also to make an aboleth.
Of course, back in the day, my group would use m&m candies for monsters, and eat them as they got killed... they actually *complained* when I started buying real minis....
I'd continue play with the departed players PCs as NPCs (temporarily). In actuality, they're dopplegangers (how/when the real PCs got kidnapped is up to you - maybe during the night while the others were sleeping?)
Eventually, the PCs will discover the involvement of dopplegangers, then discover that their friends have been replaced, etc. In Telakin's lair there's a lab with the mind gems (and the metal helmet gadget, etc.)
You could also have their animated corpses be the zombies guarding the prisoners in the drow cavern (in Zerzog's domain). This will help really make them hate the mind flayer, which will make the final showdown with him really fun.
Hmmm... I guess congratulations are in order? But I'm actually somewhat offended that a group of PCs could kill any dragon, if played properly, so quickly - much less an iconic, uber dragon like Dragotha. If I were a player, I'd actually be disappointed if he didn't kick my backside. In my opinion, DMs running Dragotha should lie, cheat, steal, etc. - do whatever you have to - to make this a long, hard, challenging battle (as I believe it was intended to be). No one should be able to say "Dragotha was an easy kill".
Don't let him start the game with it in hand - instead, have it hidden inside the tomb of Zosiel. Make sure Alustan tells them that Wind Duke nobles were often buried with powerful magic weapons/armor etc. But when he finally finds it - it's broken in half! Then, have him take the pieces and mourn its destruction (during the battle with the Queen of Chaos, demons, etc.) - this is the first required ritual - and it results in the blade exhibiting its first power: mending (if it's ever sundered, it can be repaired, but requires a full turn of concentration/meditation).
As the PC gains levels, the blade should gain elemental themed powers (wind, lighting, etc.) - the PC should also get "flashes" of visions/memories from the days of the Wind Dukes. Eventually, reveal that part of Zosiel's consciousness remains preserved in the sword. You could, optionally, have its ego become a threat (tries to dominate PC - especially if he's non-lawful).
With the Queen gone, the biggest chaotic threat to the world at large is the return of Kyuss, so the sword is determined to defeat him. Ultimately, it unleashes it's greatest power (during fight with Kyuss) - this results in a) death of kyuss, b) the breaking of the sword, and c) the death of the PC wielding it. Wind Dukes appear from nowhere and carry him off for an honorary burial.
Aaron Whitley wrote:
I have a Dell Dimension E520 that came with WinXP. I got it about a year ago, and immediately repartitioned the hard disk so I could dual boot with ubuntu 7.04. The only problem I had initially was getting the drivers for my then bleeding edge ATI video card. Ubuntu is great, and I have no regrets. I never use WinXP anymore.
I have since also got a Dell Inspiron laptop, and set up a dual boot system with WinXP and ubuntu 7.10 - no problems at all.
I would assume that the Harbinger is aware of the PCs as soon as they enter they Spire (either via 'alarm' spells, or via telepathy - he 'hears' their thoughts as they approach). So he has time to get all his buffs in place. And rather than have the Knights of Kyuss waiting in those little 10x10 rooms - have them with him, acting as elite guards.
I think I got really lucky on this one, because my PCS were so afraid of the box - just from the description - that no one dared touch it.
Way back in 1st Ed., when the barbarian class was first introduced, one of it's drawbacks was that they were superstitious and HATED magic, so they shunned magic items, including armor. Of course, this wasn't really "fair" in terms of game mechanics, because they would have worse ACs than other classes - so to offset this, they got a "defense bonus" instead (which went from +1 to +5). I'd like to see this reintroduced, because the whole "I hate magic" thing really made role-playing a barbarian interesting.
Here's another approach to the original poster's problem (i.e., how to deal with a McGiver type player). Id say you should assign a probability of success for each idea - no matter how outlandish, then make him roll a D20 to see how it works. SO, rigging a bucket of water to fall when someone opens a door: DC 10 (50% chance of success, and the victim gets a reflex save to avoid it, as well). But a real Rube-Goldberg style "dragon-mousetrap" - DC20 (that is, he has to roll a natural 20 for success, which is like 5% chance of success). If he fails, you simply say, "something about your complex plan failed to go as expected". If he attempts to argue physics, you say, "look, its a GAME, everything you do has a finite probability of success or failure, as determined by ME, the DM. If he baulks at rulings that seem to defy real world physics, chemistry, etc. just shrug and say, "it must be some kind of magical effect you've never experienced before" - and note that many common in-game effects like invisibility, flying, levitation, etc. fall into this category. So if you're going to play DnD, you have to be willing to accept this, else you might as well stick to checkers.
I've been wanting to run "Tammeraut's Fate" ever since I first read it, several years ago, and now I'm finally going to get my chance! Yay!
So I've been reading over the adventure, and it suddenly hits me:
Why on earth don't the survivors not RUSH to the pier and jump on the ferry as soon as it arrives with the PCs? The adventure says something about, "they're in shock from the terror of the night before" - but as soon as the PCs arrive, the big plan is to survive until the ferry comes back!
I know a lot of people have played this, and I've searched the archives and not found a single negative comment, but my players can be really critical about little plot inconsistencies, so I want to make sure I pull this off smoothly.
So far, the best I can come up with is: a) the survivors are alive, but hurt badly (unconscious), or b) they try to run for the pier, and get attacked by something along the way (rats? snakes? giant perytons?)
Any comments/suggestions welcomed.
Uranium Dragon wrote:
Just in case you can't find the poster - the 1st floor is almost identical to the 2nd floor, minus the balcony (i.e., it's a 5x5 square room, with a stairway up to level 2, and another down to the basement. There are two small closet areas - but it's basically one big empty room.
Savage Tide spends a LOT of time on The Isle of Dread. If you recall the original "X1" module fondly, then there's lots of nostalgia there to hook you.
AoW works really well in Greyhawk. I know people have converted it to Eberron and/or Forgotten Realms, but IMO it's more at home in GH.
ST converts well to Eberron (although it takes some effort). On the down side, there are numerous places where the bad guy is scripted to get away, no matter what. This is required in order to have a recurring villain. As DM, you have to be careful, least you paint yourself into a corner!
Some of the dungeon delves in AoW are pretty long. If you have 4 hour play sessions, ever other week, it can take 2 months to complete one adventure. By the end, player's will be asking, "Now why did we come in here in the first place?" So be prepared for that.
I think having the Ulgurstasta burst up into the arena during the final fight is a great way to end the adventure. Too bad Bozal won't be around to see it... of course, you could always bring him back as some kind of undead - vampire maybe? He's a cleric of Kyuss, after all, so the "gift" of undeath isn't too much of a stretch.
For what it's worth - I didn't want the PCs killing him early, so I made sure he wasn't in his room when they explored his area of the dungeon. Another possibility would be to have him assume gaseous form and escape through a crack (while that demon of corruption is attacking, etc.)
Another idea would be let him have the ability to assume vermin form (kyuss worm swarm) and again escape through the cracks.
I have to disagree - sorry!
Here's one way to think about it: if the original adventure was designed for 4 players, and an encounter has 4 monsters, obviously the intent was for there to be 1 monster per player. So if you have 7 players instead of 4, increase the number of monsters to 7 also, to keep the ratio (monsters / players) the same.
Another method would be to keep the ratio of monster hit dice per player the same. This might work out better at higher levels.
There are also rules in the DMG for calculating 'challege rating' (CR) - so the idea here would be to keep CR the same as players increase. But the CR rules break down at higher levels.
Final option - wing it! Before the game, determine if an encounter should be 'easy' (two or three rounds of combat), 'medium' (3-6 rounds) or 'hard' (over 6). If your PCs are on the verge of finishing your 'hard' encounter at round 3, have a bunch more bad guys appear charging through the door!
Similarly, if your 100HP dragon is expected to last 5 rounds, and the barbarian in the group crits for 150 in the first round, give the dragon 200 more hp (or ignore the hit points and let it die after the next big hit that happens during or after round 5 - just don't let the players know what your doing).
Remember rule 0: it's not cheating if you're the DM. :-)