Rappan Athuk? Where to start?


Product Discussion


I'm going to pick up Rappan Athuk, but outside of the main book, I have no idea what else I need. There are expansions, addendums and cyclopean deeps! Are these separate? Collected? Unnecessary?

Thanks.


Dotting for interest.


Borderland Province is nice to have if you want your PC to travel teh EastReach Province where RA is. Cyclopean deeps I think is not necessary as you will find enough crawling for a PC lifetime or rather multiple PC short lifetime.

Have a nice time with Rappan Athuk and go down the well!

Other will tell you not to go down the well... don't know why ;)


First I've heard of Borderland Province. Thanks for letting me know. I like my campaigns to be very complete with a lot of options.


Tomb of Horrors Complete is nice to have. It is an extended bestiary, and even Paizo draws from it occasionally. Tomb of Horrors IV is also useful.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:

Tomb of Horrors Complete is nice to have. It is an extended bestiary, and even Paizo draws from it occasionally. Tomb of Horrors IV is also useful.

Yes, they are! I agree completely. I actually do have both of those, along with the Advanced Bestiary and Freeport Bestiary.

I have been considering the Rappan Athuk Bestiary and the Blight Bestiary. I think there are a couple more.

Thanks for the suggestion!


@thedmstrikes

Where are you!?!


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Did someone just Summon THEDMSTRIKES?

I is running Slumbering Tsar these days...no one was interested in testing out the Dungeon of Graves...cowards...errr... smart players... Anyway, to answer your original question:

If you are okay doing your own converting, I believe the 3.5 set of three PDFs are available free (or at least they have been giving them away on the last couple of kickstarter campaigns). Bear in mind this thing has been converted from edition to edition, so there are a couple of things that did not translate as well as they were originally intended (darkness spell ambush, I am looking at you!). The original book(s) are a minimum of level five just to get through the front door (so to speak). In answer, they developed the Expansion, which includes something called the Mouth of Doom, which lets the PCs start off at first level without TPKing on the first encounter. It may or may not also contain a couple o side entrances to the main dungeon too. There are also some one off dungeon levels that are nice to have, but nowhere near critical for the (what passes for a) story line and certain pathfinder expanded rules, such as kingdom building, horror (surprisingly), and others are not supported by content as is, so you will have to find conversion points to integrate it all. Between the main book and the expansion, there is a good deal of fleshed out above ground material so you do not need to do a lot of random encounters initially. Most of the addendums, like the specific RA bestiary are not worth your effort as it is nothing more than extracts from the main book or expansions. If you decide to make it a campaign, then as mentioned it can be placed in borderland provinces, but it is actually not that far from Bard's Gate in the lost lands and there are a couple of full on adventures that are located nearby, including Slumbering Tsar. In fact if you check out their discord (tenkar's tavern) someone recently posted a map that shows where the different published works are in the area. Finally, the Tome of Horrors books mentioned above are nice to have, but are in excess of 600 pages combined, so it is a heavy lift and not really necessary since the stats for anything other than pathfinder bestiary monsters have full stats in the books (at least once, so the tomes can help with page flipping). Got any specific questions? Spoiler requests (PM me)?


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I would get the Expansion. It gives you some nice additions to the dungeon, one of which is a nice Goblin infested castle that your PCs can take over early in the campaign and turn into their base of opperations.


I'm starting my RA campaign off in The Lost City of Barakus. While certainly not necessary it is giving my players (who are old veterans of 3x/Pathfinder RPG but haven't been dungeon crawling in decades) a good primer for what's coming.

While this isn't a necessary step it is certainly helpful. Another aid that came in handy when one of the PCs wanted to be a paladin is the Cults of the Sundered Kingdoms. There's some great detail there about monsters, new magic items and lots of different cults (obviously) including some plot hooks for a certain undead-focused demon lord.


Since I've never run RA and have been looking into options for running an open table: Does RA lend itself well to that? What's the expected level for characters starting out in the place? I'm assuming that it's higher than 1st given that everybody always talks about what to do before the dungeon.


blahpers wrote:
Since I've never run RA and have been looking into options for running an open table: Does RA lend itself well to that? What's the expected level for characters starting out in the place? I'm assuming that it's higher than 1st given that everybody always talks about what to do before the dungeon.

Yes, the core adventure is a minimum level five to enter the dungeon without true risk of TPK. The biggest trick to drop in gaming would be restocking the dungeon each time they go back through areas they have "cleared". The dungeon has been successfully killing PCs for generations, so the monsters have to be replenished somehow...


Note that the book has lots of areas outside the dungeon itself, offering challenges for different levels. This can start a new group off. That said, it definitely doesn't hurt to give them a few other adventures first and let them build their bonds and tactics before they try the Dungeon of Graves. Having read most of the book, I'm confident in saying they'll need it. XD


Cool, thanks.

Level five, eh? Gonna have to think about how that works seeing as how the players will likely rotate in and out a lot and have characters with different experience levels. Wonder why it starts at 5th level? Was the concept simply not realizable if the initial areas of the dungeon itself were 1st level? I'd like to have something to do if a bunch of new players arrive around the same time with lower level characters, and I'd like that thing to not violate the open table invariant. (Not all players are expected to have sufficient system mastery to just roll a 5th level character from the get-go.)


Probably because Rappan Athuk is such a meat-grinder that it would be a bit much to have brand-new characters going in. XD .....Note that there are some very low-level sections of the dungeon. It's not like it couldn't be done... but it really will go better if people are more familiar with their characters and what they're capable of.


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DanyRay wrote:
Have a nice time with Rappan Athuk and go down the well!

Definitely second going down the well. One of my all time favorite character moments is from having done that.


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blahpers wrote:

Cool, thanks.

Level five, eh? Gonna have to think about how that works seeing as how the players will likely rotate in and out a lot and have characters with different experience levels. Wonder why it starts at 5th level? Was the concept simply not realizable if the initial areas of the dungeon itself were 1st level? I'd like to have something to do if a bunch of new players arrive around the same time with lower level characters, and I'd like that thing to not violate the open table invariant. (Not all players are expected to have sufficient system mastery to just roll a 5th level character from the get-go.)

It grew out of a first edition dungeon - which was intended not for starting characters but as somewhere to go once they had a few levels under their belt.

That said, they've been adding low level content to it over the last few years - there's basically one entry designed for starting characters and the "Rappan Athuk Expansion Volume One" includes some low level content set in the areas around the dungeon.

Harking back to the 1st edition roots - the concept you mention here of "the initial areas of the dungeon itself" is not strictly appropriate. There are many entrances - some well known and some less so. Each of them deposit the players in areas of differing levels of difficulty (the most famous being "down the well" is definitely not for new PCs). It really is a sandbox in which you're expected to always be ready to run away if you blunder into something beyond your level.

My experience with it is solely using AD&D rules (so I guess they may have pathfinderized it in approach, rather than just translating stat blocks) however, my understanding is that they tried to preserve the feel - which means battles are not always strictly "level appropriate". It's an important thing for the players to know, in my experience - years of playing 3.5 has conditioned some of my players to the view that "if we encounter it, we're expected to be able to beat it" and that just isn't always the case in Rappan Athuk.


Frog God Games believes that knowing when to run is a valuable skill for players to have... and Rappan Athuk was not designed to be fair to the foolish. XD


Steve Geddes wrote:
blahpers wrote:

Cool, thanks.

Level five, eh? Gonna have to think about how that works seeing as how the players will likely rotate in and out a lot and have characters with different experience levels. Wonder why it starts at 5th level? Was the concept simply not realizable if the initial areas of the dungeon itself were 1st level? I'd like to have something to do if a bunch of new players arrive around the same time with lower level characters, and I'd like that thing to not violate the open table invariant. (Not all players are expected to have sufficient system mastery to just roll a 5th level character from the get-go.)

It grew out of a first edition dungeon - which was intended not for starting characters but as somewhere to go once they had a few levels under their belt.

That said, they've been adding low level content to it over the last few years - there's basically one entry designed for starting characters and the "Rappan Athuk Expansion Volume One" includes some low level content set in the areas around the dungeon.

Harking back to the 1st edition roots - the concept you mention here of "the initial areas of the dungeon itself" is not strictly appropriate. There are many entrances - some well known and some less so. Each of them deposit the players in areas of differing levels of difficulty (the most famous being "down the well" is definitely not for new PCs). It really is a sandbox in which you're expected to always be ready to run away if you blunder into something beyond your level.

My experience with it is solely using AD&D rules (so I guess they may have pathfinderized it in approach, rather than just translating stat blocks) however, my understanding is that they tried to preserve the feel - which means battles are not always strictly "level appropriate". It's an important thing for the players to know, in my experience - years of playing 3.5 has conditioned some of my players to the view that "if we encounter it, we're expected to be able to beat it" and that...

Yes, the new low level material is mostly in "expansion volume one" and it also leads into the dungeon once you wander all the way through it. That said, when they updated it through the editions, it did not change, only the stat blocks and other necessary rules updates. Which means there are a couple of things that will seem...off when encountered. No spoilers, but when you read through it, keep in mind that it burgeoned from an older edition when some encounters would have been a different experience just because of a particular spell or environment that changed along the way.

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