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Rise of the Runelords - Empty Rooms


Rise of the Runelords


I'm preparing for Rise of the Runelords and noticing that there are a lot of "empty" rooms in the Catacombs of Wrath in the first part. The torture chamber, a staircase leading to no where, the prison rooms in the study. Even in the Glassworks almost the whole building is empty. Is there a reason for this, because almost all the GMing tips I've read on designing an adventure make it clear to avoid empty rooms.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

remember that the party is only 1st/2nd lvl at this point. The fight with the goblins in the glassworks and the bad guy in the basement will probably be enough of a challenge for them.

Same goes for catacombs of wrath


laughmask wrote:
I'm preparing for Rise of the Runelords and noticing that there are a lot of "empty" rooms in the Catacombs of Wrath in the first part. The torture chamber, a staircase leading to no where, the prison rooms in the study. Even in the Glassworks almost the whole building is empty. Is there a reason for this, because almost all the GMing tips I've read on designing an adventure make it clear to avoid empty rooms.

I played through this part twice with 2 different GMs. One insisted on mapping out every single bloody room and even describing the rooms with nothing in crazy details.

Of course we as players thought wow the GM is focusing hardcore in this room, there must be something there. So we make perception rolls, and described how we search through the rooms. This was angonizing torture and the group fell apart just half way through the second book of RotRL.

The second GM decided to keep the story going and allowed us to do take 10s to cover all the empty rooms. He basically just described the searching of the empty rooms en masse. I felt this was way better.

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
laughmask wrote:
I'm preparing for Rise of the Runelords and noticing that there are a lot of "empty" rooms in the Catacombs of Wrath in the first part. The torture chamber, a staircase leading to no where, the prison rooms in the study. Even in the Glassworks almost the whole building is empty. Is there a reason for this, because almost all the GMing tips I've read on designing an adventure make it clear to avoid empty rooms.

Catacombs of Wrath are an abandoned ancient complex with a few weird survivors knocking about. It needs empty rooms to add that feel.

The glassworks is usually a thriving business but on that day everyone has been killed by the goblins. Empty rooms in a usually busy place = creepy sense that something has gone terribly wrong.

If I remember correctly, all of those empty rooms are not even 'empty' rooms. They don't contain combat encounters but that does not mean they are empty. If you find an office with the table overturned and the safe thrown open and emptied; that is not an empty room, it's a clue to what has happened, a growing sense of dread, a reason to investigate further...

Most APs feature buildings with rooms that do not contain encounters with creatures, NPCs or traps. They can set the tone and mood, they can be rest places for PCs, they can contribute to verisimilitude and much, much more.

Edit: Just an added thought, if you never have empty rooms then you're setting up for TPKs or weird buildings. The guards in room B can usually hear the fight in room A, they send two people to get reinforcements and the rest dive into the battle... by round four or five you're fighting everyone in the dungeon/castle/temple/whatever.


This is one of the few irksome things about this adventure, in my book. After all the empty parts of the dungeons before hand, my PCs just didnt explore thistletop or the catacombs at all, managing to stumble into Nualia with relatively little effort. I tried to force the issue in Foxglove manor, luring the PCs into haunt after haunt (which in turn sent them running throughout the house), but that just made the haunts all the more frustrating for my players. The best advice I can give you is to reveal your monsters room by room, and use the darkness rules in the Catacombs and give them the sense something is stalking them in the shadows.

However the best way to treat this, I find, is to run the dungeons a bit more dynamically. Have the monsters move around once the alarm is raised and chase the PCs. For example, have Tsuto roll Perception checks from downstairs each round of combat with the goblins to hear the sounds of battle (+10 DC for being asleep, +2 for the noise of the furnace, +10 for hearing through the stone floor, and at least +7 for distance makes even hearing the sounds of battle difficult for him, a DC 19 check. (it probably should be a little higher)

Once he hears the battle, he'll merely walk upstairs, bottle in hand, ready to roar at his minions to shut up, taking him 3 rounds to emerge from the basement. If he makes his check early enough he might be able to join the fray.

So, essentially, what Geraint said. Roll those perception checks and you raise the stakes! I find it easier to work out the DCs pre-game, as above. Hope this livens things up!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tsuto stumbling up into the fray makes me wonder something: assuming he walks into the room once most of the goblins are dead or on the ground, he bangs into the door, yells at the little green bastards to shut the hell up. Once he notices that all the noise is from the PCs killing the goblins, he stops, and there is a momentary silence as everyone stares at each other.

Now, I'm of the mind that Tsuto wouldn't jump into the fray (especially if it's obvious the gobbos are losing), but would rather turn around and run back down stairs to either A) find a dark place to set up an ambush, or B) just run out of the smuggler's tunnel.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
HangarFlying wrote:

Tsuto stumbling up into the fray makes me wonder something: assuming he walks into the room once most of the goblins are dead or on the ground, he bangs into the door, yells at the little green bastards to shut the hell up. Once he notices that all the noise is from the PCs killing the goblins, he stops, and there is a momentary silence as everyone stares at each other.

Now, I'm of the mind that Tsuto wouldn't jump into the fray (especially if it's obvious the gobbos are losing), but would rather turn around and run back down stairs to either A) find a dark place to set up an ambush, or B) just run out of the smuggler's tunnel.

Last time I ran it we had a chase through the tunnels, along the beach and up a cliff face before Tsuto was caught attempting to disappear into the woods.

We used the chase cards deck and I riffed on some of the descriptions to suit beaches and cliffs.

It was awesome.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my game, Tsuto heard the fight in the Glassworks, and joined the battle. I'd rebuilt the character as a single-class rogue with the "fast stealth" talent, so I had him sneak around taking potshots at the party. They couldn't figure out who was shooting at them, but then they spotted and cornered him, forcing him into melee. He botched his attempt to Acrobatics his way out of melee, and was quickly subdued.

Regarding the OP: I had a six-character party, so I added a few additional monsters (and a bit of treasure) to the Catacombs, including an Iron Cobra, and...

Spoiler:
setting up a mechanism that would allow Koruvus to raise up the zombies in the zombie pits to attack the PCs. I also put six skeletons in the Cathedral of Wrath, but the cleric pretty much zapped them all in round 1.

Andoran

laughmask wrote:
I'm preparing for Rise of the Runelords and noticing that there are a lot of "empty" rooms in the Catacombs of Wrath in the first part. The torture chamber, a staircase leading to no where, the prison rooms in the study. Even in the Glassworks almost the whole building is empty. Is there a reason for this, because almost all the GMing tips I've read on designing an adventure make it clear to avoid empty rooms.

It is up to the GM to keep things moving and hand wave when needed. Life is short. These rooms exist for atmosphere, don't let them become tedious.

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