As I read through the adventure, I noticed a couple of references like, "...should the players get through the vault doors without the keys..." or some such wording, indicating that's a possibility. However, I didn't see any stats on the doors themselves and I'm assuming there should be more involved than a simple open locks.
I'm looking for ideas on stating / warding the door in case they try to muscle their way through from any of you who may have come up with something on your own, or stories of things your players did to try and bypass the need for keys.
I just ran this module. The party rogue attempted an open lock but discovered that the keyhole held no mechanism for locking. There was nothing to manipulate. The group was stealthing, so they didn't even try to blow the door down. If they had tried, no amount of damage short of a disjunction or wish/miracle would open the doors. My group investigated while invisible, learned of the Carrion Pit, found key #1, then after killing Charlgar and sparing Wilmot, they attacked the Citadel.
The phylactery was destroyed, but the PCs brash actions have roused the anger of the Storm Lord, which means that I'll be using Dungeon #93's "The Storm Lord's Keep" in response to their unprovoked attack upon the Citadel of Weeping Dragons. They just founded a village, rebuilt a ruined castle and moved in... They're in for a surprise! ;-)
I ran the Stormlord's Keep (very modified) a month or so ago. I thought it was a pretty good module.
How did integrating other adventures work for you in the middle of the AoW campaign. I plan on doing it and I am wondering how it effected later adventures.
Thanks for asking. It's worked out wonderfully. What I love about DMing, especially DMing Age of Worms, is that I have this magnificent canvas upon which I can add anything. "Storm Lord's Keep" is just one example. I'm JUST about to unleash the storm of vengeance upon the PCs. They're already being attacked by an army of hobgoblins, trolls, ogres, orge magi, and hill giants... PLUS a flight of about 15 dragons is descending upon their home, angry survivors of the Kongen-Thulnir catastrophe. The Storm Lord is expected to be the final boot that stomps out the PCs. ;-) In all honesty, I'm dumbing down the module. It's set for level 21, and my group is between levels 15-18. For example, each cloud giant does NOT have devastating critical. ;-)
I've also added the following modules to my Age of Worms campaign:
-Dymrak Dread: I ran this first, even before "The Whispering Cairn." It was the Diamond Hawks' first official "adventure" as a group. Had nothing to do with the Age of Worms, Kyuss, or anything like that. Goblins were making raids on farms near Diamond Lake, so the PCs answered the call. It established them in a variety of ways.
-Sons of Gruumsh: I ran this after "Encounter at Blackwall Keep." Some Blackwall Keep prisoners were spirited north and handed off to orcs in exchange for food, weapons, poisons, etc. PCs tracked this, met up with soldiers from Daggerford, organized a raid on the stronghold, and attacked. In the victorious aftermath, the heroes were attacked by Illthane the black. She made one pass with her breath, blackened the courtyard, dropped a Kyuss worm egg splattering most with Kyuss worms, and flew off in frustration. It was later discovered that the stronghold held casks of ale and water contaminated with Kyuss slow worms, most-likely slipped in by doppelgangers under the direction of Loris Raknian and the mind-flayer Zyrxog. Somehow, Illthane was involved.
-"The Menagerie" from Dungeon #126: On the very day that the Diamond Hawks first entered Waterdeep, I threw this module at them. A buddy of ours from past games was in town, he rolled up a PC, and I tossed this short module into the mix. It worked out great showing how their first day in Waterdeep would only foreshadow more excitement to come.
-"Blood of Malar" from Dungeon #126: Prior to their participation in the Champion's Belt games, the PCs were asked by their mentor in Waterdeep (a retired epic swashbuckler who is a former PC) to watch over the corrupt Lord Orlpar, who had repented his evil ways and feared assassination. When Dhusarra's Wolf Pack struck, the party werewolf Kragg struck, revealing himself to dozens of Grinning Lion patrons (he would later reveal himself to thousands of arena spectators) and one vampire cleric of Malar. Dhusarra selected Kragg as her new object of fixation, deeming him to be the next favored of Malar. I ran the module as it was written. Dhusarra escaped.
-Dragons of Despair (DL1): I dusted off this classic Dragonlance module to act as Illthane's lair. We ran through this after "Champion's Belt," replacing "Gathering of Winds." I turned the draconians into black draconic lizardfolk, and I turned the gully dwarves into black draconic kobolds. I added shamans, three adult male cohorts, an entire brood of black draconic servants for Illthane. Illthane could use her corrupt water ability to make Kyuss worms, so she was an important piece to be removed as she was attempting to raise an army of Kyuss spawn through her manipulations and direct action. Originally, I just saw Onyx and Raistlin and thought of Illthane and Allustan, and the inspiration took hold. Take a look:
-"City of Broken Idols" from Dungeon #145: I thought "Spire of Long Shadows" could use something extra, so I put Kuluth-Mar in the middle of Taboo Island, which was found on Lake Luo in Faerun's Chult jungle. The group had to start in Mezro and make it to Lake Luo, so the druid used tree stride to "hike" there. He was scried, and the rest of the group teleported to the druid's position. They had to boat across Lake Luo (and were attacked by the massive croc pictured on #145's cover--couldn't resist that), fight through Taboo Temple and the skinwalkers (created by the Harbinger himself), and once they made it into the center of the island, they could ascend and explore Kuluth-Mar.
-"Dungeon of the Crypt" from Dungeon #127: After returning from Chult, the famous Diamond Hawks started attracting a bit of attention. A fledgling adventuring group, the Dawn Blades, tracked a vampire into Deepwinter Vault and discovered a passage leading down into what they believed to be Undermountain. Wanting no part of it, and knowing that the famous Diamond Hawks had already explored parts of Undermountain with none-other than Durnan himself (see below), they asked the PCs to investigate. Thinking this might lead them to Dhusarra, they delved into Deepwinter Vault. I ran the module as it was written.
-"The Fireplace Level" from Dungeon #128: The PCs immediately followed "Artor" up the chimney and into the Fireplace Level. With no rogue with them, they quickly fell victim to a teleportation trap, which took them to Undermountain's 3rd level, the chamber housing the blue dragon Aragauthos and her throne of skulls. That led to a lengthy stay in Undermountain (see below). Once the group made it back out of Undermountain, they called in Mac Stump, former PC who had reached 21st level and was an exemplar in disable device. The module was run as written. Dhusarra, Artor, and the vampire medusa all escaped to strike again, apparently having fled Waterdeep.
*I couldn't pass on Vampires of Waterdeep. Awesome modules.
-Ruins of Undermountain: Since their arrival in Waterdeep, I took the PCs into Undermountain on a number of occasions. They toured parts of level 1 with Durnan before the "Champion's Belt" where he asked them to join his Red Sashes (they respectfully declined). They wound up in level 3 after tripping a trap in the Fireplace Level, floated down the Sargauth, saw Skullport, the slave market... they actually freed the dragon Aragauthos (see above) and stealthed their way past Skullport while the dragon raged and flew out of the Southern Sea Caves, startling half of Waterdeep.
*Though famous now, with their mayhem and meddling, the Diamond Hawks were becoming a problem to the authority figures of Waterdeep. Freeing a blue dragon from Undermountain was the last straw.
-Expedition to Castle Ravenloft: The Diamond Hawks were sent (though some might say banished) to the Savage Frontier to see an elven sorceress named Lashonna about a missing wizard named Balakarde who had already been looking into the Age of Worms. For this I combined Expedition with "Prince of Redhand." The zombie infestation from Expedition was changed to a Kyuss spawn infestation. The banquet was sort of an insane Masque of the Red Death-style scenario where everyone is hiding from the infestation outside and no one realizing (or admitting they suspect) that Lashonna is behind it all. Strahd was (and still is) a ghost haunting the castle. Long story short: the PCs showed up, we had the banquet, PCs ultimately kicked butt, old enemies like Dhusarra resurfaced, and Prospero and Lashonna escaped. The PCs now run the village and live in the haunted castle. ;-)
*And yes, one of the PCs has been tainted by the castle. The sorceress Marzena (from “Encounter at Blackwall Keep”) unfortunately resembles Strahd’s lost Tatyanna, and so Strahd has taken a serious interest in her. This influence has led to Marzena taking her first level in blood magus. ;-)
-Vanrakdoom (Champions of Ruin Web Enhancement): I took the group to Undermountain a third time when Halaster, angry about what the PCs did with his dragon and curious about the PCs' power level, sent his apprentices to seek out the PCs one by one, sucking each of them into a portal that dumped them into Vanrakdoom. Halaster himself (an illusion of him, but still him ultimately) tasked them with clearing out Vanrakdoom, which they did. I used this module to help push along a PC's story (the human shade rogue/invisible blade, specifically). Great download.
Future modules I plan on adding:
-“The Storm Lord’s Keep” from Dungeon #93: The Storm Lord is angry about the Diamond Hawks’ unprovoked attack upon The Citadel of Weeping Dragons. The connection between this mysterious being and the giants of Kongen-Thulnir is anyone’s guess.
-“The Dragon Peak of Palanthus” from World of Krynn: This will serve as Brazzemal’s lair, found amongst the Dragon Aeries at Wormcrawl Fissure. *I thought about using “Dargaard Keep” from World of Krynn as Thessalar’s stronghold, but I ultimately deemed that to be too much extra. ;-)
I've also used some of the other resources in Dungeon. For example, I used the "Sewer Stronghold Map" at the back of #128 as my Shadow Thieves hideout beneath the streets of Waterdeep. I used Girddrez, the "Critical Threat" article also from #128, as a unique foe/NPC, a higher-up in the ranks of the Blue Elk Tribe in Waterdeep's Dock Ward. For one last example, I used the "To the Games" article at the back of issue #132 to spice up the "Champion's Belt" experience.