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Maure Castle


Dungeon Magazine General Discussion

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I'm getting ready to run Maure Castle for my group. Any experiences or suggestions from those who have run it already?


DMFTodd wrote:
I'm getting ready to run Maure Castle for my group. Any experiences or suggestions from those who have run it already?

Yep. Get a good supply of body bags. I actually haven't run it, but I just can't imagine how a party of 4 of even the hardiest 15th level characters makes it through this. Mr. Gygax is a cruel, cruel man. You should post the highlights of the adventure - I love hearing about the high level stuff.


In what issues can I find this adventure please? If it's not a huge trouble, could you please email it to me? flesh2stone@hotmail.com

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

DrewS wrote:
In what issues can I find this adventure please? If it's not a huge trouble, could you please email it to me? flesh2stone@hotmail.com

Maure Castle is in Dungeon #112, and it's a doozy! More information about this issue is here.

Oh, also, if you ever need to find a back issue on any topic, try using the search box on the upper left part of the page. Typing maure castle brings up Dungeon #112 as the first link. :-)


I ran the adventure a few weeks ago for some friends in L.A. We played through the first two levels in their entirety and the group had an experience or two with the lower level denizens and rooms as well. Now before I go any further with advice, tips, or suggestions; I feel obliged to do this….

SPOILERS *** The following may contain spoilers, turn back now *** SPOILERS

The encounters in the dungeon run a large range of challenge. Some are quite easy for high level characters (like the Seeker Guards) while some will threaten to dispatch an entire party (like the Terrible Iron Golem). A party can easily become bored by too many easy encounters or cocky and rush into an encounter that is incredibly hard. Watch for either of those two events. You can avoid these events by mixing in a hard/interesting encounter to break up the easy ones, create better tactics for some of weaker opponents (The seeker guards definitely need to have some group tactics and clever use of feats going on, otherwise they become way too easy for 12th level PCs to obliterate. You may even want to change up there feats a bit to make them better group combatants), and by leaving hints and clues around about particularly dangerous areas.

Some stats may need a bit of expansion. For instance, many of the golems are special in some way or another, yet does that mean that when under SQ it says magic immunity that the golem is not affected even by spells that its lesser versions are affected by? I would say those few spells still work, though I suppose it is your call. Also, I didn’t notice this during the encounter (though it could have been mentioned somewhere and I simply missed it), but just so you know the “Accursed Carpet” is an animated object and a good description of how it attacks can be found in the MM. Also I think Reach is missing from a few of the stats, though that is generally pretty easy to figure out on the spot. Also, you may wish to check over some of the spell lists for the NPCs. Most are quite logical and good, my only shock really was concerning Eli. For a wizard that has special demonic hands that he appears to enjoy using in combat, he has a horrendous AC. Not only does he lack the normal array of AC buffing wizard items, he has few AC buffing spells, and a limited number of protective spells to cast during a time stop spell. I would consider altering Eli’s list or at least creating a second list that he switches to if he becomes aware of the PCs

There are lots of places to put your own stuff into this module. Do it, you’ll be happy and so will your PCs. If you don’t you may end up with a lot of empty/uninteresting rooms. Also, don’t just insert more monsters, traps, and treasure. Consider giving your role-playing friends some opportunities to shine. Those empty rooms are chances to meet allies or learn more about the history of the castle, and it is a very interesting one.

There are tons of magical auras due to traps, items, statues that are golems, and etc. Take a few notes down for each room, as you’ll likely be answering questions about auras a lot. Also, consider messing with your PCs a bit by making a few objects have Nystul’s Magic Aura. That should keep them on their toes.

Arley is cool. Use him well, he has a great history and the trading notes and lies and stories he can tell are all great ways to introduce bits about the castle and some misdirection. He makes a good spy too as he has can fly silently while invisible after the PCs just out of range of most dark vision (he has 90ft vs. 60 ft for most PC races).

Well there is likely more, but I think that is more than enough for now. Hope you enjoy the adventure, I know I did, even with al the bumps. In fact I’m planning on running it again soon. Happy Gaming.


I allowed my 6 players (all beginers at that time, some are still :-) to have the primary attribute "roll" of 18. This of course changes quite a bit (sometimes) so I usually run an adventure that is 2-4 levels higher than majority of the group but I was not sure with the Maure Castle when I read it. But I finally gave it a try. So I run the Maure Castle with 11. - 13. level characters, but I didn't need to change anything right now. I'm a little bit afraid of lower levels (right now they managed to "postpone" the Iron Golem encounter by foolishly using Forcecage). But as I know them, they'll make it (they're used to buy quite a lot of Raise Dead scrolls :-)
Arley is really cool. I sold all the magical stuff to group (for cca 100K :-) and Arley even agreed to make a "special" show cloak (with lot of flames) to bard, so he was a nice way to get rid of too much gold the party got.
I also liked the room that "eats" all magical things (7a I think). The Rogue lost all his equipment in there...


Thanks Gary, I will hunt that issue down!


Oh duh, that was easy, I just followed that link of yours and I ordered it, thanks again man.

Paizo Employee PostMonster General

DrewS wrote:
Oh duh, that was easy, I just followed that link of yours and I ordered it, thanks again man.

Now that's what we like to hear!

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that back issues are a limited resource, and that if you haven't already bought every single back issue there is, at some point, they'll be all gone, and then you'll be sorry! :-)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Asberdies Lives wrote:
...Mr. Gygax is a cruel, cruel man.

Yep! ;)

I remember playing "the temple of elemental evil" and "tomb of horrors". Both were player killers!!! I don't know how someone can put so many different monsters and traps (where, in 90% of the cases, players have not even a chance to avoid the trap)into such a small place. Ok, the elemental temple is not a small place, but it's nothing more than one dungeon!
Since the old 1E and 2E times my players always ask me, before the start of a new campaign:
"Hey wait, nothing "gygaxish" in it, isn't it?!" ;)


Barmy Gith wrote:
I ran the adventure a few weeks ago for some friends in L.A.

Barmy,

I'm assuming your players were of the appropriate level to play the adventure. Did they die often, or at all? The party that I currently DM is 10th level, and this is my first campaign under the new rules, so I can only guess at how powerful and capable they will be at higher levels. I can't picture these guys making it, and since every death basically sucks away a level (at best), a few tough encounters would be enough to send these guys screaming from the Castle. It is the players' first campaign under V3 rules as well, and they are tracking about 1 level below an adventure's recommended level (meaning at 9th level, they are solidly challenged by an 8th level module). But even with an extra level, I still just see them spattered all over the walls of Maure Castle.

What say you?
Chuck


Well Chuck,

Unfortunately it will be a bit tricky for me to answer that question. The game I ran was for 2 only players, so to make up for it we used the optional gestalt rules and one of the players also had a gestalt follower (slightly lower level, worse equipment, really just handy for finding traps and taking hits). So whether or not it exactly equalled a normal party is hard to say, furthermore these two friends of mine are very clever gamers and don't fall for clever DM tricks or tactics often. Consequently, if anything I would say they were slightly overpowered (oh, and I did allow leveling in the midst of the adventure, but only after a rest). Even so, one of the PCs died about 3 times and I believe his follower died a nearly equal amount (rolled a 1 on the bodak glare, terrible iron golem which nearly TKOed the party if not for the arcane caster teleporting out [leaving the others to their doom], and in a brawl at the chapel that I stacked a bit with some extra baddies that I didn't want them to miss out on since we were all leaving the next day [it was only about a 4 day game]).

Now, while I won't say no one will die, very dubious indeed. Smart PCs will likely teleport back and forth to safe camps outside the dungeon a few times, allowing them to restock on needed supplies and get healing and extra scrolls and one shot items that can be very helpful. Also, with enough wealth or the friendship of a very benevolent cleric they might be able to pull off a few true ressurection spells (no level loss).

In the end from what you describe, I think it might be wise to hold off on Maure till they have one extra level, though in the end what will matter far more is whether or not they clue into smart ideas about beating their enemies. Simple spells like detect invisibility, detect magic, their stealth ability, and knowledge checks or clues that key them into the weakness of an enemy will be key. By the way, just so you know (and I agree it is cheesy, and I don't know if it is legal, but it seemed reasonable) the wizard of the party eventually beat the terrible iron golem by using a polymorph scroll to become a rust monster. Golem failed its save, and that was that.

Hope that helps,
Good Gaming,
Barmy


I love Maure castle and it's purely because finally i found a nice, normal, down to earth adventure that didn't feature pirates, drow or psionics, now don't get me wrong i love all 3 of these things but i every game i run doesn't need to be about psychic dark elf bucaneers, so thankyou dungeon for a truly wonderful piece of dungeon crawling with some truly inspired traps and a nice variety of maonsters, keep it up

P.S. The Iron Golem worried me because it died so easily but thankfully Kerzit soon sorted out that problem, i think he may still be picking the bones of a viking out of his teeth


Maure Castle is amazing. I would have happily forked over $20 or more for that module, and it was what..$7 or something?

The next contribution from Gygax and/or Kuntz can't get here soon enough.

FYI check out the Gygax/Kunts collaboration Casltes and Crusades that is coming sometime in the not too distant future. We are finally getting Castle Zagyg !!


Scratch the first PC.

Meeting up with Yug-Anarch, the PCs bunched up into a nice group so Yug dropped a Flamestrike on them. After a failed save, the low hit point Wizard was a crispy piece of charcoal. Adding insult to injury, Yug escaped with her Word of Recall via a good roll on a defensive casting concentration check.

The PCs had to leave for 2 days to get the wizard raised. With the castle alerted, Yug has retreated to Kerzit's Fane to wait with her Claws. Seeker guards set up a watch post on the second level waiting for the PCs to come back. The PCs did return and one of the guards managed to flee and warn the others. So the Seeker guard leader, a commander, and 6 seeker guards are looking for the PCs.

Yug has been warned as well so she and her Claws will come a-looking for the PCs as well. Since they have the chalice, they'll be easy to find.


5 PCs deaths (in 2 different combats) in one 4 hour session. A new record for me.

Party Monk finds the Black Hand and contacts Eli. Eli pretends to be a little elven girl and tells the Monk that he's trapped behind the tapestry. Monk "bolts" to the tapestry to free the elf. This triggers the death symbol, monk dies (#2 death for Maure).

Rest of the party catches up and finds the dead Monk (I ruled that the Symbol was no longer active since the tapestry was covering it again). The PCs don't know what happened. Wizard says "maybe it was something behind the tapestry?". Zap, Wizard dies (PC death #3 for Maure, 2nd of the night). Everyone else saves. They leave the castle to get the two PCs raised. This takes 5 days.

Yug, reanimates the Huge Tyrg and stations a Seeker guard downstairs as well. PCs return, thinking that this area has been cleared, and are alarmed to find the Tyrg back to life. Monk and Paladin are stunned by the howl. Seeker guard runs out next to tapestry, Wizard fireballs Seeker but does not drop him. Seeker rips down tapestry, screaming "For Kerzit!", triggering all 3 Symbols. Wizard dies (3rd death in two sessions for this PC), Tyrg dies, Monk dies (2nd death in one session), Cleric/Templar dies (only had 50 hit points due to Tyrg attack, 5th death this session, 6th death for Maure), Fighter survives due to high hit points, Cleric/Fighter survives only because he is out of range.

6 PC deaths so far in Maure.

Best quote from my players for Maure: PCs are discussing the statue of Malchthent, the Succubi goddess. The Wizard (who has died twice in 2 sessions at this point), says "Do we really need to know EXACTLY how this evil statue is going to kill us? Isn't it enough to know it's a BAD statue and just leave it at that?"

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Best post ever. Brought tears of joy to my eyes. Evil Dungeon Master tears, of course, but tears nonetheless.


Awesome. When I read this module and questioned (in this very thread, actually) how characters are supposed to survive it, I had that friggin tapestry in mind. I would love to hear the players' reactions to the room that charms visitors into throwing whatever is at hand into that crushing well.

This is great reading ... keep the posts coming.


Love it. Some Spoilers --

That tapestry seems to be one of the toughest obstacles in the first two levels. Assuming a party of five, three separate symbol attacks make it pretty likely that somebody's going to roll a 1.

I'm currently preparing a Maure castle game -- party's trekking there now -- and I'm working on tweaking the opposition some. The players are a pretty tricked-out bunch — strictly by the rules, but they know their stuff. You start throwing Extended Superior Resistances on top of Elan racial defensive bonuses, for example, and you can really make mincemeat out of a lot of supposedly high save DCs.

One of my concerns is a lot of the nifty traps (I'm thinking the destructo-item room and the Succubi statue) are worded in a way that they'd be negated by a simple Prot. from Evil spell (magical compulsion, ongoing control). There are several exalted PrCs that generate a Magic Circle effect continuously; they would seem to spoil the fun. If faced with one of these PCs, make sure to take care of them first, he he.

As Barmy Gith indicated, the Seeker guards are far too easy to kill and have poor feat choices. Make sure to give them some tactics -- some stay up front; a couple stay in the back and try to disrupt casters with crossbows, and one Combat Reflexes/Tripper in the middle to keep anybody from breaking through.

A few of the fighter/mages seem to be written with a mostly-core-rule bent -- if other rulebooks are available, there's no reason Shyrg wouldn't use Spellsword levels instead of relying on Still Spell; this would give her much more flexibility. And both she and Eli (I agree, his spell selection is awful for a melee mage) should have Arcane Strike. Another point on Eli — if he's been relying on natural attacks, he should have researched an arcane version of Greater Magic Fang or at least have an item that gives an enhancement to his claws. Otherwise, that Improved Sunder feat is going to be pretty useless against higher-level PCs with magic weapons.

That Iron Golem rust vulnerability is just pitiful. What, Mordenkainen and Bigby didn't know about rust monsters? I may change the base monster to a Bronze or Brass Golem, or maybe just leave it alone. The players are pretty cautious and I'm not certain they'll even trigger the thing.


PC deaths 8 and 9 last session.

Investigating Rel's chambers, Rel alerts Eli, Eli sends a message to Yag to go deal with these troublemakers once and for all.

Yag and 6 Claws jump the party. Wild battle ensues, Yag uses her Word of Recall to retreat once again. PCs, thinking that the wounded Yag might be nearby, charge down the stairs to try and find her. They run right into the two Claws of Yenghou chambers.

Already wounded and somewhat spellspent from the previous battle; the 12 Claws are too much for the party. Paladin and Wizard die (4th death for wiz, has died now 3 sessions in a row, player decides to retire this character). Party rogue knocked to -9 hit points twice.

Note to Other DMs: A starting level of 12th is probably too low for this advetnure. I'd consider 13th or maybe 14th.


Just replying to others:

3 saves for 3 symbols? Evil, evil, evil. I didn't think of that.

Iron Golem: My players saw the glowing red eyes and left it alone.

Crushing Magic Room: PCs detected magic and saw the strong compulsion. Decided not to go in.


DMFTodd wrote:
Note to Other DMs: A starting level of 12th is probably too low for this advetnure. I'd consider 13th or maybe 14th.

It looks like your party is made up of 7 characters (counting through your stories) that were 12th level at the start? I guess that would seem reasonable for a 15th-level adventure, but against all of these traps and death spells, those last 3 levels become pretty vital. Every death is a lost level, so the party enters at 12th and leaves at, like, 10th (if at all).

For my group, a fifth character is joining the 10th level party, and I'm trying to figure out how difficult the next adventure should be - 11th? 12th? I guess we'll see.


Here's one suggestion for kindly DMs and sneaky players (shame on you for reading, btw): The revivify spell from the miniatures handbook. Raise Dead w/o level loss if applied within one round of dying.

Seems a bit icky to me, and Living Greyhawk has rejected it. But it's one way to help your players if they seem to be dying a lot early on.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Revivify is, in my opinion, one of the best things to happen to the 3.5 rules. I don't think it's icky, since it has to be cast within a round of death and it's a touch spell, so it's not always a guarenteed escape from doom. Just make sure to give access to the cool spells to the NPCs if you let the PCs use them!

As for Eli, check the bottom of page 81; he's got permanent greater magic fang +5 on each hand, so he's good to go there. His spell selection in the adventure is intended to reflect the fact that he's there to explore the dungeon as well, so it's natural he'd have some knock spells and various mobility spells. Also, he is a melee monster as far as wizards tend to go; he relies on his spells to deal with ranged threats and not so much in melee. That said, once he realizes the PCs are coming for him, it's certainly reasonable that he'd swap out his utility spells for more melee spells.

Giving some of the NPCs levels in non-core prestige classes is certainly a great idea. We just didn't have room for this in the magazine since we'd have to reprint all of the relavent stats for Spellswords and the like.

The adventure's a meatgrinder, as several posts on this thread have pointed out. PCs will get killed, unless they're super-lucky or super-powerful. As a result, I think it's terribly important that not everythng in the adventure is a fight to the death. It sucks to be high level, yet always be scrambling to avoid getting killed in every encounter. High level PCs should be allowed to FEEL high level now and then, if only as a reward for playing their character for years and achieving such high levels. If they've got auras that make the compulsion traps non-issues, good for them!

Similarly, we designed the Seeker guards specifically to let the PCs mow through them and to show off their high level spells and abilities. There's plenty of opportunity for tougher battles in Maure Castle, and mixing things up with relatively low-risk combats not only gives the PCs a sense of accomplishment and progress, but keeps them on their toes. If they go into a battle with a bunch of what look like Seeker mooks and suprise suprise, those "mooks" turn out to be a bunch of magically disguised mature nabassus, well... suprise suprise!

Finally, as for the terrible iron golem's rust vulnerability... that could indeed be a problem. If you think it'll be an issue, changing it to a bronze golem or giving it some sort of rustproofing is definately doable.


Thanks for the reply; and I read right over that Magic Fang effect, thanks for the cx.

That's a good point about letting PCs feel high-powered, especially in a nasty place like this. (And that's partly why I don't plan on throwing Exotic Weapon Master levels all over the place -- never have I seen so many EWP feats). But places like the magic-destruction room are so much fun I almost hate to not let the players in on the gag — they'll laugh later. (It's not an issue for my group, actually; nobody has one of those always-on protection effects).

And the point about revivify is a good one too — it doesn't get problematic until somebody grabs Reach Spell.


My current campaign is based on 3.0, so we haven't upgraded yet, but I likes the sound of Revivify. What level spell is it?


Level 5, same as Raise Dead -- you just have to be quick about it. Can't recall the material component, but like raise dead it is pricey. See the Mini Handbk for exact details.


Asberdies Lives wrote:
I guess that would seem reasonable for a 15th-level adventure,

Maure Castle is "an adventure for 4 12th level PCs", bottom of page 13. It's not a 15th level adventure.


My party has just begun to delve into the depths of Maure. They are paranoid already, after meeting Arley and having him disappear on them (or so they think, muahahahaha).

The party's tank: the barbarian, has already fallen to the pack of bodaks, and they are extremely cautious, not daring to go beyond the Great Curtains yet.

It should be a great trip, if they can find their way down to the next level, that is. (They've already passed right over the secret entrance to level 2 three times...)


My players moved down to level 2.
The Iron Golem felt quite easy with three players only, but two of them didn't survive:
1. Buffed up cleric failed (roled 1) save to resist petrification.
2. Barbarian/Frenzied Berserker did finish the Iron Golem, but was left on -87 HPs at the end of frenzy, so he died too.
3. Halfling rogue was of no use but to get Stone to Flesh (few days off) to revive cleric that raised the barbarian from the dead.
Somehow, the party managed not to steal the Symbol of Death tapestry (don't know why, probably because the 'collect everything' bard didn't play that night).
Of course, while noone wanted to open the door to the Succubi statue, 'ahh, come on gyus' cleric persuaded the rest of group so the Barbarian and Fighter fought for the "ownership" of statue. Barbarian won, but (un)fortunatelly managed to save against getting 7 negative levels.
I've tried some more advanced tactics for the Seekers, but my 'we are burning down the village' bard used quite a few fireballs and I had problems to escape with Llyral from the fight (god bless Mr. Gygax for lots of secret doors)...


Maure Castle Killed My Campaign (SPOILER WARNING)

Well, after three successive weeks of player deaths in Maure Castle, the players have revolted and the campaign is over.

They are a party of six 11th level players, but they had good magic items and great stats (base 85 points) and they've all had many years experience of D&D. It was always going to be tough, but they'd chosen characters good at sneaking and they had access to True Res back at home.

Week 1 they were ambushed by wandering bodaks after spending several hours trying to unravel the meaning of the wall covered in mad scribbles (failing to set a proper guard.) They realised it was going to get tough and quickly d-doored away but not before forgetting to attempt to avoid the gaze attacks and two players rolled 1's on their multiple Fort saves vs death.

Week 2 they completed exploring the upper level. They missed the bodaks this time while Arley spotted them and went into track mode, so they must have been pretty bored by the time they reached the golem. Anyway they cast no protective spells and all walked up to touch it simultaneously - result one more death and some more very quick teleporting to prevent further carnage.

Week 3 they went straight to the trapdoor they'd discovered the previous week and down to the second level, made short work of the tyrg and Seekers, then failed to check the tapestry for traps; result four dead players. Fortunately one of the remaining two could d-door them out and back they went to town on their flying carpet. Only the evil DM reminded them about the gold needle, and since the LN assassin had become CG after using one of Arley's cursed items he felt obliged to pull it out: resulting in an enraged Elder Air Elemental attacking them. Fortunately they managed to escape but by now the tattered remnants of the party wanted to retire, while the dead seemed happy in paradise.

So my players - a bunch of very bright 40-something men - made spluttering noises about the module ("imbecilic difficulty level") and how utterly outrageous it was that I had not toned down the challenges.

Meanwhile I'm thinking: (a) it's only a game; (b) great rewards require great challenges; (c) if I say "care bear" one more time I'm going to get punched.

Am I mad? Are my players whining babies?

Yours sadly, CerebrateKen.


Maure is definitely uber-deadly. That style of game won't fit for some groups. After the repeated slaughter of my players, I asked them if they wanted to continue and surprisingly they did. They've gone two sessions now with no deaths.

Care bear?


DMFTodd wrote:
Care bear?

Well it's not strictly appropriate, since the term generally refers to online computer gamers who wish to play games or on servers that restrict or ban PvP. It was definitely cheeky of me :o)

Best wishes, CerebrateKen.


On Revivify – This spell has had heavy use in my campaign and saved many a character from losing a level permanently.

As for the deadliness of Maure Castle – We have been playing in Maure Castle for the last three gaming sessions now. I have dropped party members below 0 HP more than 20 times already and the party has only made it to level three. Thanks to the use of revivify and quick healing, most of the players did not result in a permanent loss of level. However 4 party members have lost a level due to death and one PC permanently destroyed. Yea it’s pretty tough.


DMFTodd wrote:
I'm getting ready to run Maure Castle for my group. Any experiences or suggestions from those who have run it already?

My party of 4 level 13 characters are working their way thru this adventure now. They cleared the first floor and most of the second so far.

Body Bag count: 7

2 party members killed by Bodaks.
3 party members killed by the Terrible Iron Golem
2 party members killed by the Tapestry of the Lost City (symbol of death)

The poor Minotaur fighter has died 3 times. Every party member has died atleast once. In my campaign each character has 1 destiny card (3 characters have 2). Destiny cards allow characters to change the game dramatically in their favour. All cards, bar 1, have been used to nullify the possibility of death.

Close calls - dozens.

Admittedly (and the party agrees) that most of the deaths could of been avoided with some forward planning. Which is what they are doing now. Its a great module to cut down high level egos.

I also had Arley trade with the party. So 3 of the characters have interesting in game affects - the Minotaur fighter is now a cow instead of a bull. The monk dances in and out of combat and the cleric itches incessantly. I turned Arley into a RP session instead of the combat session the module seems to imply. Tho he does ambush the party latter (and dies - doh!).

The party bulldozed most of the seeker guards and that's when they decided to ambush them. Right in front of the Tapestry of the Lost City. 6 Seeker Guards, 4 Tyrgs, the two named lieutenants and the named captain. Of course the party managed to take them out but not before the Seekers dropped the tapestry killing 3 characters.

My guys also had a tuff time with the Terrible Iron Golem. Without meta-gaming (these are all relatively "monster knowledge: zero" type players) they figured out that electricity slows the Golem and it gave them a chance to kill it. So half-way thru the fight when they distracted the golem and investigated the statues I made the dagger have an electrical effect to reward their smart thinking. It still killed 2 of them (one guy twice).

They were quite happy when I told them that Mordekainan and crew couldn't kill the Terrible Iron Golem. So they had one up on Mr Gygax. They all loathe the old Gygax modules I sometimes pull out and update for play. And if they find out its a Gygax (or old school) adventure they all become super careful.

The person playing the Lillend is an artistic type in real life (as are the Lillends in D&D) so is really enjoying all the tapestries and paintings and is trying to figure out the link. So again, inadvertently, a greater emphasis has been placed on the various art pieces in the castle.

Three of the party members are "immortal" so even when they are killed they come back 24 hours later -1 INT and -1 level. The only non-immortal party member was killed. Since she is an outsider (Lillend) raise dead didn't work. She has now taken over the NPC Tyrg trainer and joined the party. Was a perfect fit. And completely unplanned and inadvertent.

The magic eating trap only caught one player. The party was suspicious and sent the Monk in as he has the best reflex save and is the best person to avoid trap affects totally. He fails his save. He then drops his Hewards Handy Haversack into the trash compactor. At this point the other players figure something is wrong because they know the monk absolutely LOVES his backpack. The Minotaur uses reach to pull him out of the room. The monk then strips down to his unmentionables and goes back into the room with a rope tied around his waist. This time he isn't affected by the rooms magic (one time only affect) but sees his backpack is torn to shreds and beyond repair.

At this point they notice an eye appear on the "mood ring" chalice (the scrying sensor) and decide to throw the chalice into the room. Hoping to lure other unwary adventurers in the future. Yes my party has a very dark sense of humour.

My players know that every battle, situation and encounter has some kind of "trick" to it. If they have been paying attention or used their skills wisely they should have some advantage each fight.

So the empty rooms are not an oversight?

Spellsword? Where can I find this PRC?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

>>>
So the empty rooms are not an oversight?
>>>

Hardly. In fact, none of them were empty the first time we tried to jam the entire thing into 97 pages. Alas, some stuff had to go. Rest assured that we made wise choices on what to cut, and nothing truly useful was left on the cutting room floor.

The original module, incidentally, had far more empty rooms.

--Erik


My group hasn't progressed far at all — had a long, LONG intro, setting up the stage for some big power struggles if the PCs are successful — but I don't see the empty rooms as a problem. The Great Hall empty rooms are very helpful for setting the mood of the place, and I'm hoping to include some information on the castle's history — for example, more details on the unspecified magical catastrophe that did in Alfebain and the others — in the available space below.

Spellsword is in Complete Warrior, an update from a 3.0 PrC in Tome and Blood. It's quite useful for Shyrg in particular.

Oh, and though the adventure suggests otherwise, by Gygax's own account (detailed in another article in the magazine), the Iron Golem was defeated by Mordenkainen's group, though only after Mordy got Stonified.


Found a snafu: The assasins in room 81 (or so) don't have any spells. They should.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

DMFTodd wrote:
Found a snafu: The assasins in room 81 (or so) don't have any spells. They should.

Hmmm... they certainly should! Try these out:

Assassin Spells Known (4/3; caster level 5): 1-feather fall, ghost sound, obscuring mist, true strike; 2-cat's grace, darkness, invisibility.

Sorry about that!


We started Maure Castle last night. It's been alot of fun so far.

I didn't give the party the key of portals, and they lacked the magic to bypass the door, so they had to use the "wait for the gnolls to come out" option. They raised an interesting question: why not just go outside and find the front door to the castle? I may have missed it, but does the adventure indicate why there is no "front door"? Was the castle sunken over the ages or somesuch?

Anyway, they made short work of the gnolls. One of the party members is a troll fighter 1, and of course, he was the one who decided to jump into the fountain to get the chalice. ;) Fortunately, he had purchased fire resistance for his armor.

The bodaks then tallied the first two confirmed party deaths so far. Thank goodness for revivify and action points, or things would be much worse!

-Shade


I sent a small group into Maure Castle last weekend. To get things moving quickly, and since they specifically asked for this adventure, I gave them a backstory and the key. But in my case the key was a single use item that melded into the door when used.

They did a little exploring. First real room they checked contained a bunch of bodaks. Unfortunately the bodak's won initiative and two of the three PCs was dead within 2 rounds. The third was invisible and waited for the bodaks to wander off before dragging her companions out of the dungeon.

She hid their bodies in a cave while she went to town to get some reincarnation magic. By the time she returned, her friends were bodaks, and they killed her.

In the interests of still having some fun playing the module, and not quitting playing after an hour, I said they woke up just inside the front doors, which are now unopenable by them to get out. They have slight memories of being bodaks, and they periodically recall a face of a victum they killed while bodaks. They know some incredible magic revived them, and that it wants them in Maure Castle for some reason.

They are having lots of fun, but that first battle was murder 8-)


After getting the snot beat out of them by the golem in the gnome temple, party retreats to the cleared Tormorast's Hold to rest. Yug and what is left of her gnolls tracks them down by Locate Object on the Dryad Chalice. Party rogue invisibly sneaks behind Yug but she has true seeing up. One Slay Living later, the party rogue is dead.

That's only 1 death in 4 sessions or so. Plenty of very hard battles but no deaths lately. Players must be getting smarter.

Looks like they're headed for Kerzit's lair though. Should have more to report after that.


Shade wrote:
They raised an interesting question: why not just go outside and find the front door to the castle? I may have missed it, but does the adventure indicate why there is no "front door"?

Check the intro, the part about the history of adventurers picking the upstairs clean over the centuries and so on. It says something to the effect of, "eventually, several levels below the surface, they encountered a seal they could not penetrate".

So there is a front door to the castle itself — there's just nothing inside, and no way to get down into the crypts except Eli's way. Why it took 200 years for anybody to figure this out — they didn't need to find the Great Hall, just start digging — is another question.


I have been running my adventurers through the castle for a few weeks (slow party with short play sessions), and so far not much has happened. The left Arley be, but the party dwarf insulted him greatly, so he assisted the Iron Golem once it was activated. Arley charmed the ranger of the party, the primary fighter took a dirtnap and became golem fodder, and only a wall of force allowed them to escape without everyone pushing up daisies. It was a bit heavy handed, but the party is pretty used to easy wins, and is perhaps too experienced to have normal battles be challenging.

Some issues with the module, however, and I haven't found anything online to assist:

Area 12 on the first level doesn't state where the stairs go to, or even mention them. I understand that the connection is made from area 28 below, but this can cause some issues with DM's that have little preparation time (why you run canned adventures).

This may be a niggling point, but the trap door going from room 11 to room 12 is denoted by an F. I understand that you use this multiple times in the adventure for a trap door, but the trap is in the ceiling...There is no notation in 12 whether the trap door to room 12 egresses in the ceiling or floor. This can make a big difference, especially when there is a trap on the other end...The trap door in room 37-38 uses the F symbol again, but this time, both trap doors (pits) are stated to be in the floor.

Where do the stairs between 22b and 22e go? Do they merely bridge the area between the statue on the hidden room? I assumed so.

Its hard to determine from the map that area 28 is enclosed partially, completely, or is in open air. Nothing clarifies this. I treated it as an open area, but it should be more clear.

Area 35A and 35B is supposed to have a dashed line on the map somewhere, and doesn't. Since the bodies were at 20' in, I assumed the trap was triggered 15' in. Lots of opportunities for confusion here.

Why are the stairs just south of area 41 on level 2 not even mentioned? I understand that the next level area 73 describes them, but they aren't even of the same shape. This is an important item to cover, it shouldn't be omitted, and it happened multiple times on the first few levels (as far as I have gotten so far).

Some general issues I have had with the maps:

There is no indicators stating that stairs go up or down. If its not in the map, it needs to be in the room description. I would prefer some map detail, as its easier to review the map quickly.

There are no map keys anywhere, and there should be one on the map itself, or on an adjoining page at the least.

There is no compass rose. I would prefer this to just assuming that the top of the page is north. I just made this assumption.

The room descriptions have very few details to describe occupant demeanors, or battle plans. Although I think that the DM can come up with these on his own, there are certain strategies that were used when some of the dungeon occupants were designed (or at least I would hope there were). It would be a great help to know what these intents were.

Yes, I do understand that there is only so much space in the magazine, and yes, I do believe that overall, I am very appreciative that this adventure was published! My only recommendation would be to perhaps split the adventure between two magazines and have the omitted information included. I do understand that you wanted to throw it all in one magazine.

I am not trying to discourage paizo from doing this. I much prefer a lengthy adventure. I praise you for it. Maybe a web enhancement could do the same thing?

Kevin

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Whew! That's a lot of observations, Kevin, but I'll see what I can do to clear them up.

1) The stairs in area 12 lead to area 23.
2) The floors for areas 11 and 12 are level. If you walked through the walls between the two from area 11, you’d end up in area 12 on the floor. The trap door in area 11 leads down to a narrow tunnel that ends at a second trap door, this one in the ceiling of the low tunnel. So when you climb up through it, you’re in area 12. So from area 12’s perspective, the trap door is in the floor as well.
3) The stairs between 22b and 22e lead down from the terrible iron golem to the secret tunnel that is area 22e. They’re enclosed; a PC who didn’t know about this area would think that the area just south of the terrible iron golem is a solid block of stone.
4) Area 28 is indeed open to the air. Think of it as a deep, acidic hot tub.
5) Oops. The dotted line never made it to the final map. As long as the PCs have to pass the first dotted line before they get to the dead bodies, it’s all good.
6) The stairs just south of area 41 aren’t given their own encounter key because we didn’t have room in the issue for even one more one-sentence encounter keys. These stairs lead down to area 73. You can assume the stairs curve and double back on themselves before they reach area 73.
7) You’re right on the symbol we used for the stairs: we definitely should have indicated on the map if the stairs were going down or up. Not much we can do about that now, alas.
8) It’s true that there are no map keys, but we figured that the maps were simple enough and used iconic, traditional symbols for most of their features that a key wasn’t needed. Oh, and we didn’t know where to put a map key because the pages were all too full already.
9) North is toward the top of the page. But yeah, there should have been compass roses on the maps.
10) When we were trying to squeeze the adventure into the magazine, one of the first things we cut were the Tactics sections for several of the encounters. Never fear, the ones we cut were fairly cut and dry; we kept in the complex tactics. In the end, though, we decided that detailing more rooms was more important than providing combat tactics for everyone in the dungeon.
11) Splitting it into two issues was never an option. Dungeon readers had made it clear many times before that one-adventure issues were bad, and we were really nervous that despite the special nature of “Maure Castle” we were gonna get burned alive. Fortunately, it seems that the gamble paid off and people really loved the issue. Originally, we had stuff in pretty much every single room, but that would have required a 150+ page magazine, and not only did we not have enough money to risk on something that crazy, we barely had time as it was to get this one out the door. I think I can speak for Erik as well as myself… “Maure Castle” was a tough issue to put together, but in the end, I think it turned out pretty good. And don’t despair that there’s “missing material”… the stuff that didn’t end up in “Maure Castle” in issue #112 will eventually see the light of day in some way or another.

BONUS ROUND: For those of you who have a copy of the original adventure (“Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure); check out the map of the third level. It seems that they printed the map upside down in that adventure, something that caused Erik and I much consternation and confusion until we read the original text super closely and realized that it’d all been reversed. What I’m saying is that it was REALLY hard in the first adventure to figure out where all the stairs connected!


Yug-Anark has a spell which isnt listed in the PHB - whirlwind of teeth. Where can I get the info on this spell?

I am setting up an amubsh between Yug, 6 Gnolls and a undead Huge Tyrg. And I was going thru Yug's spells to familiarise myself with them for combat when I noticed this spell.

Thanks.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Whirlwind of teeth is from the Book of Vile Darkness. It's one of her domain spells from the Bestial domain (which is also from Book of Vile Darkness). If you don't have that book, simply replace it with a second word of chaos, her other possible domain spell for 7th level spells.


PC deaths 10 & 11:

Party tries to rest on the cleared second level. Yug, using the Locate Object to track the Chalice, finds the party. Party assasin sneaks up behind Yug invisisbly and begins concentrating for death attack. Unfortunately, Yug has True Seeing up. One Death Touch later and we have PC death 10 for Maure.

The battle with Kerzit was ended quickly with a very lucky Dismissal. That could have been a TPK.

Party stumbles onto Eli and his buddies. Paladin bravely rushes across room, grapples and pins Eli so he can't cast spells. Eli uses his Dimension Door (verbal only) and Paladin elects to go with him. Eli teleports to Kerzit's lair. Eli's pinned, can't get loose. Oh look, the DM says, "Suggestion only has a verbal component!" "Come now big Mr. strong paladin, let me go and finish me with your sword like a man!" Paladin fails will save. Paladin meekly beats on Eli to no effect due to Eli's stoneskin. Eli rips Paladin to shreds gloating all the while.

Meanwhile, rest of party is searching for where Eli could have gone. They stumble into the Green shield and the party's fighter becomes confused. Fighter manages to roll "7" 4 times in a row, attacking nearest party member.

So Paladin's down. Party is spell spent from having to subdue their own companion and heal the wounds he caused. Meanwhile, Eli is heading back to the Statuary...

Stayed tuned, should have deaths 12+ next session.


She hid their bodies in a cave while she went to town to get some reincarnation magic. By the time she returned, her friends were bodaks, and they killed her.

Classic, I love it :)

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

This thread is like ambrosia to me.

--Erik Mona
Editor-in-Chief
Dragon & Dungeon

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