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My very first quest, open to constructive criticism


Advice


So I've created my very first custom quest! I'm very new to all of this, and while I'm happy with the way it's coming together so far, I'm hoping it plays out okay and I'm open to any criticism. :)

My friends and I started with the Beginner's Box last weekend. They ventured through the first dungeon, but alas, Black Fang escaped! This weekend they will be sent to Raven's Watch. The Raven's Watch quest is outlined briefly in the GM Guide but it allows you to flesh it out yourself. In this quest the PCs discover an Evil Cleric by the name of Thelsikar and discover the location of Black Fang. This first quest of mine is the third entry in the series, and will have the PCs tracking Black Fang to "his" nest!

It's only a small map, as the Thelsikar/Raven's Watch map is relatively big and will likely take up most of the day, but I'm hoping that I'm starting to get the idea of how to put a little module together myself. My plans are to allow the PCs to take a dragon egg with them at the end of the quest, if they so choose, and eventually allow it to hatch (if it's looked after), granting the party a dragon familiar. It should be noted that I've not read through all the bestiaries yet and I'm not sure how this will turn out, but it was a cool idea I had that I thought I'd like to include.

Also please note that I have some refining to do before our gaming session on Sunday, and all these notes were slapped together over the past 2-3 hours.

I've uploaded the map to http://imgur.com/nXG1r while the quest notes are written out below:

-----------------
BLACK FANG'S NEST
-----------------

WHO?
• Black Fang (Black Dragon – pg63)
• Dire Rats
• Giant Spider
• Gray Ooze
• Troglodyte
• Troglodyte Cleric
• Trapped Adventurer

WHERE?
Black Fang’s Nest, located south of Raven’s Watch across the Turandarok River in a cave under Devil’s Platter.

WHAT?
• Gold!
• Traps!!
• Minor Treasure
• Major Treasure

WHY?
• Black Fang is a female dragon and is brooding! She plans on using the nearby town as a feeding ground for her young – Sandpoint needs your help!

WHEN?
• One or two days after completing “Raven’s Watch”.
---------------------------------------------------------

The party has overcome the evil cleric Thelsikar and discovered the location of Black Fang’s nest in a cave under Devil’s Platter. They are aware that Thelsikar has been making the dragon stronger through alchemy and are determined to put a stop to “his” plans to terrorise Sandpoint.

---------------------------------------------------------

ROOMS:
1. Entrance Tunnel
 Dire Rats
 Traps

The tunnel gets darker as the party ventures in. A search further down the tunnel reveals a tunnel that has been mostly caved in. There is a space large enough for a full grown humanoid to slip through, but it is covered in spider webs.

2. Gray Ooze
 1x Minor Treasure Rolls
 2x Potions

This area of the cavern system is particularly moist and humid as drops of water fall from the ceiling. Small puddles litter the floor. A DC15 Perception check reveals a puddle in the centre of the room to be a Grey Ooze!

3. Secret Room
 Giant Spider
 Webs
 Trapped Adventurer

Webs line this area of the cave and a Giant Spider lies in wait. Close to the entrance is a humanoid object wrapped in spider silk. If the adventurers attempt to free the prisoner before discovering the Giant Spider they are attacked and all party members are surprised, otherwise the spider acts as normal and remains hidden unless a party member comes within 5 feet (1 square) of its hiding spot marked on the mini-map. When a PC gets that close, all PCs must make a Perception skill check against the spider’s Stealth skill check (1d20+11). Those who fail are surprised.
Once freed the trapped adventurer explains that he is a bounty hunter, a ranger from far to the south. His quest was to find Black Fang and destroy her eggs, but after being caught by surprise by the Giant Spider he is lucky to be alive! All he wishes to do is get out of these caverns and find some warm food and cold drink, and a comfortable bed for the night. Before leaving the PCs to their adventure he hands them a note detailing his job.

4. Troglodyte Ambush!
 1x Troglodyte Cleric
 3x Troglodytes

As the players enter this room a Troglodyte Cleric emerges from the shadows, hissing “The brood mother must live! You will never leave this cavern alive, adventurers!”
The PCs must make a Perception skill check against the remaining 3 Troglodytes’ Stealth skill check (1d20+5), otherwise they surprise the characters before they engage in combat with the cleric.
Each Troglodyte drops 2x Minor Random Treasure Rolls for a total of 8.

5. Black Fang
The PCs enter a large cavern about 50 feet long. Running under the entrance to this room is a moat bubbling and oozing with lava. Ambient amber light reflects from the walls. A snort ahead catches the PCs attention and they are in luck – Black Fang is asleep! They have one chance to surprise the creature, and must make a Stealth skill check versus Black Fang’s Perception skill check (1d20+14-10(for sleeping)).

6. Treasure & Dragon Eggs
 2x Minor Treasure Rolls
 1x Major Treasure Roll
 3x Gems (worth 50gp each)
 100 gold pieces per party member
 1x Unbroken Dragon Egg


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is really your first adventure? Seems very well organized and well thought out. Damn, I wish my first adventure looked this good :P.

One point I would make is if you want people to be able to help more you might want to post black fangs stats or at least what age category of dragon he is. Since this is in the advice section, people responding may not have the begginner box.

Also, what is the composition of your party? (race/class/level). That is important to consider when designing an adventure. Black fang is the 'big bad boss' of the adventure. But if you have 3 rogues and a stealthy fighter, and they sneak up on him and kill him before he even gets to act, it will be disaapointing. Where as if the party is of a lower level and full of heavy armor (thus likely low stealth) characters, they arent sneaking up on anyone.

In regards to the dragon egg, be careful. Dragons as companions have several problems that the rules have not really tackled well over the years. First of all, dragons are very powerful. There is a reason why this game's predecessor is called dungeons and dragons after all. The game considers dragon companions to be something for high levels. If you look in the bestiary under monster cohorts. Dragons are considered their CR+8 for their 'cohort level'. So a wyrmling black dragon cant legaly be taken as a cohort (with the leadership feat) until 13th level. Mind you as dm you are welcome to ignore this restriction (I personally think they add too much weight to dragons as cohorts) but just keep in mind that the base game assumes that raising dragon eggs is a high level thing to do.

Also bear in mind, dragons age really slowly. Young adult is 50 years of game time away, adult 100, if you intend for your players to actually raise the dragon, they better all be elves.


Wow, thanks for the compliments Kolokotroni! I've played CRPGs for almost 25 years now, played around with MUDs and played a little bit of Vampire in the past but that's my only tabletop experience apart from the past weekend which was my first time as DM. We had open dice rolls as we all learned the game, and I made some adjustments as we played so the party didn't die while we were learning.

After that I was determined to build an awesome experience for my friends. The community here is extremely helpful and offered me a *lot* of fantastic advice, and I picked up the first notebook I'd used since high school and started jotting down notes on how to DM and how to build an experience. There's still a lot to learn, but those processes (passed on pretty much exclusively from the community here) are pretty much wholly responsible for my organisation :P

Thanks for the advice on the dragon egg. I presumed dragons were quite strong and wasn't sure if (or how) they could have it hatch. I thought it could create some interesting plot lines nonetheless, and maybe add a layer to the combat/travel at times, just for a bit of fun, to ensure that it didn't break.

The party composition is the hard part. They played one session before I joined, and had a fighter, cleric and wizard. The next session (the one that I joined) the wizard player was busy and the old DM rolled a rogue to play. This time, however, we're not sure who can make it, and another friend or two wants to join us. I will be hiding my dice rolls however, and I'm not afraid to fudge a result or two if I'm sure it will lead to great story and fun.

Black Fang is just a regular black dragon that takes part in the first beginner's box quest. The stats, though are as follows (hope I'm not including too much useless information here or anything. I'm pretty sure the beginner's blocks outlines stat blocks a little differently to the core rulebook/bestiary):

Initiative: +6
Speed: 60ft
CR: 8
XP: 4,800
HP: 76
Senses: Darkvision 120ft
Perception: 14

[Defense]
AC: 23, Touch 11, flat-footed, 21
FORT: +9, REF: +8, WILL: +7
IMMUNE: acid, paralysis, sleep

[Offense]
FLY: 12ft
SWIM: 60ft; not slowed by swamp difficult terrain
MELEE (standard action): bite +12 (1d10+6)
MELEE (full-round action): bite +12 (1d10+6), 2 claws +11 (1d8+4), 2 wings +6 (1d8+2)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: breath weapon, long reach

[Stats]
STR: +4
DEX: +2
CON: +3
INT: +0
WIS: +1
CHA: +0
SKILLS: Perception +14, Sense Motive +3, Stealth +12, Swim +23

[Items]
EQUIPMENT: None
TREASURE: 5 Major Random Treasure rolls

[Special Abilities]
BREATH WEAPON: As a standard action, a black dragon can breath a 60-foot (12 square) line of acid. Creatures in the line take 6d6 points of acid damage (DC20 Reflex save for half damage). Once the dragon has used its breath weapon, it must wait 1d4 rounds before using that ability again.
LONG REACH: A black dragon can make its melee attacks against creatures 5 feet (1 square) or 10 feet (2 squares) away from it.


Sorry for the bump but I'm really hoping I can get some more advice on this before Sunday rolls around (it's almost midday on Friday here in AU).

I'm looking for feedback on balance, particularly, as well as NPCs. I'm pretty sure the one NPC is more than enough, but I've never controlled any as a DM other than the basic monsters, so I'm not sure what to expect from either the NPC or the players.

I still have to write in the traps I want to include too, but they'll get done over the next day or so.

Thanks for your time reading all this. :)


It's good to see we have a new pathfinder DM. I don't know exactly on how to help you other then how to treat your players and some house rule ideas. Bumping to make sure your issues get addressed.


Thanks Robespierre,

After rereading this I realise I should probably mention that I was hoping this dungeon would be suitable for a party of 4 players around level 3.. Although we may end up with two new players (including the original four) that I'm hoping progress to level 2 just prior to starting this part of the quest. There's also a chance two of the level 3 players may not make it this weekend, but if it's balanced enough for four level 3's I'm hoping that won't be an issue... My main concern is that the party of six may overpower what I've set up here, although I'm not afraid to increase the number of enemies in any given encounter if I foresee that being a problem. :)


the ever present problem of who the hell is actually gonna show up to a session. In my opinion the dungeon looks balanced for a party of 3-4, if you end up with more than that you might want to throw in a few more enemies. for the final boss instead of adding more enemies since it's such an epic fight you can increase his hit dice to make him last a little longer or give him some AoE attacks instead so that it'll spread around the damage and everyone can share the 'fun'

It honestly looks very well put together though and looks like you guys will have a lot of fun :)


Hey everyone, just chiming in here on the Leadership topic as it is something that we are also dealing with in our home campaign.

Kolokotroni wrote:
Dragons are considered their CR+8 for their 'cohort level'. So a wyrmling black dragon cant legaly be taken as a cohort (with the leadership feat) until 13th level.

Sorry, but this information is not entirely correct. CR + 8 is the leadership score required for a young dragon. Young is an actual age category for a dragon.

Age Categories are:

Wyrmling
Very Young
Young
Juvenile
Young adult
Adult
Mature adult
Old
Very old
Ancient
Wyrm
Great wyrm

So there is no actual rules text for how to adjudicate a Wyrmling aged dragon gained through leadership because the Monster Cohort section in the Bestiary specifically only refers to Young Age Category Dragons, but I would assume it would be at least half of the CR + 8 (Maybe CR + 4?).

Finally, Dragons presided over by leadership specifically state they don't gain age categories but class levels as you level up.

From the Bestiary's Monster Cohort section* A young dragon's effective cohort level equals its CR + 8. Dragon cohorts do not advance via aging as normal dragons do, but by gaining class levels (typically in fighter or sorcerer).

@Sprinkler
The stat block for Black Fang is for a Young Dragon, it is a large creature and much bigger/older/more powerful than a wyrmling, if you want the stat block (or an idea for a statblock of a wyrmling) check here: Black Dragon Wyrmling Statblock example it is a little different than the Beginner Box statblock, so if you have any questions I'm sure we can help.

Of course, you and the players likely can come to an agreement on your own (dragon eggs probably will take a while to hatch!) hope that helps! BTW, I applaud your organization, looks good!

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