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Given that both Xukasus and the Stone Spike will given your fresh level 1 players a ton of troubles, I would find it rather improbable for them to manage to futher proceed in the Hold without losses (which I guess you will probably try to avoid, given that they are still too fresh into D&D to start swapping characters; they will have a plethora of opportunities for that later in life).
Thus, you could teach the very, VERY valuable lesson of 'don't try your luck, for you may end up dead' that most players tend to forget most of the time.
Also, should you wish to NOT level up your players, you can always provide them with an NPC companion that will be scheduled to meet the sharp end of the Stone Spike's appendage before anyone else, thus sending your party scurrying up the elevator for safety (and some Jzadirune cleaning).


Thank you Darkmeer for the feedback.

Using the Gulthias Tree as inspiration for the Tree of Shackled Souls what I was trying to link also, and the apples' ability to weaken the body also came in handy as an assassination tool (such as the murdering of the Pelorite command in Cauldron, which is mentioned at the HC).

As for the necromancer... I guess one could be added at the story (via notes to Belak) without any changes other than inventory ones; he/she could even be one of the Thirteen Cagewrights.

As a side note, the fact that both the Malachite Hold and the Sunless Citadel feature bands of hobgoblins led me to create a joined hobgoblin tribe, by also adding at the storyline the 'A Dark a Stormy Knight' (a WotC published module) and the 'Hobgoblin Outpost' (the MM 3.5 Web Enhancement).

At this point in the merging of modules with SCAP-HC, my biggest issue comes with XP allotment, for having non-core adventures played by the party can result in making the core adventures easier (a.k.a. less challenging for the players).


While trying to expand the Shackled City Adventure Path, i came upon the old Sunless Citadel module, published way back in 2000. However, i cannot manage to connect the two storylines. Maybe Belak the outcast is a member of the Ebon Triad, but then, he is an evil druid, not a cleric. I guess i could forge some kind of connection between the Gulthias tree and the tree of shackled souls, however it all still evades me.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated...


Well, wouldn't you agree that the large wooden gear hanging from the ceiling in room J36 of Jzadirune could very well be a portal to the plane of Mechanus? One could open/close the portal by using the metal rods scattered all over the complex, and maybe even stage a small side-quest type adventure at Mechanus.

Well, what do you think about this? And more importantly: could you recommend any published adventure for low-level characters taking place at the plane of Mechanus?


Reading the backstory of Jzadirune made me wonder about a small little thing. How did the Grell end up there? Given that there is not any direct passage to the Underdark from Jzadirune (and especially from the northern part of the complex), it stands to reason that the Grell came up from the Malachite Fortress. However, since "...not long after the gnomes left a Grell took residence here...", one could assume that the Fortress was still maned by the dwarves at the time of the Grell's arrival. Thus, I think that it would be reasonable to assume that:

1. the Grell arrived via the Underdark to the Fortress below Jzadirune,
2. managed to navigate/escape the fortress and end up at the elevator,
3. used the elevator to reach room J63 in Jzadirune,
4a. managed to open all locked doors (even though it does not have the ability to do so) between rooms J63 and J36 or,
4b. managed to discover all secret doors (even though it does not have any ranks at the search skill and its Intelligence is a mere 10) between rooms J63 and J36 AND managed to escape the Raggamoffyn at J31 while using this road.

Hmmmm, wouldn't it be easier if there was a direct route between the Underdark and the northern part of Jzadirune? I would suggest a simple mention of a collapsed tunnel (so as to prevent potential further intrusions from the Underdark) probably at the north or the northwest corner of the J27 room. The passageway could lead to area M8 a few hundred meters away from the Malachite Fortress's entrance, and could have been digged by the gnomes prior to their departure using the Automaton in J27 so as to bypass the Fortress. Players navigating Jzadirune would probably not understand the meaning of the collapsed tunnel, but hints could be dropped while they explore the area outside the Malachite Fortress, where they can find the other end of the bypass tunnel.

Let me know what you think!!!


Having the Stormblades collapse the way to the Underdark is probably IMO, as already mentioned, the best way to both introduce the Stormblades to your party, and to force your players to look for Jared's Hut, a couple of chapters down the road, in order to reach Zenith's whereabouts.

As far as the issue of taking Terrem away from the church (of St Cuthbert) is concerned, there are literally tons of opportunities to do so without even informing the party about it. It is very probable that the church will not keep Terrem locked in a room for ever, so... there you go... you can easily snatch him up from the market, say for example at the Umber Hulk event.

Concerning the Last Laugh investigation, you can probably get your party to meet Artus the broker a bit earlier than expected (chapter 3). Also, if you use the Hardcopy, your players will probably get to interact with Jil in the second chapter very soon. You can stage a small raid into a LL-safe house that will boost their confidence, and maybe even some kind of retaliation so as not to overextend themselves. Maybe you can trick them into thinking that both Drathkar's Way (chapter 2 of the HC) and the Kopru Ruins (chapter 3 of the HC, chapter 2 if you use Dungeon magazine issues) are Last Laugh strongholds. Either way, it is my opinion that at the end of the day, your players will probably become more concerned about moving on with the core plot than pursuing various sub-plots.

Just my two pence.


Well, just to add my two pence on the subject,
I recently started the campaign (in D&D 3.5), and what my players and I decided upon for character creation was this:
The player rolls 1 set of attributes, using the roll-5d6-drop-2-lowest method, then a single d6 (that indicates the reroll), then a final 5d6-drop-2-lowest for the possible substitution of the stat. Attributes are assigned the way they are rolled, i.e. the first one goes to Str, the second one to Dex etc.
This method provided us with some tough character choices, given that there were moments we were really begging for the dice to provide a high INT or CHA score so that we get some kind of arcane caster.
This system is a bit strenuous for the players, since one's preferred class may not be a realistic choice for the rolled stats. On the other hand, rolling 5d6's is a very very good deal, guaranteed to provide with a couple of very high ability scores at the very least.


Please keep in mind though that the original adventures, first published at the respective Dungeon issues, underwent some changes when they were published by Paizo in the Hardcopy. Also, an extra adventure was added between the first and the second chapters of the story.