Help! My Players Got to Skull's Crossing Very Early!

Rise of the Runelords

Help! My PC's went straight from Fort Rannick to Skull's Crossing. My question is:

when should I have Black Magga break through the dam? They've just engaged the ogres on the top of the dam. Should I have them see Black Magga approach and crash into the dam from up there? Should I wait until they're negotiating with the pit fiend below and just have them hear a terrible crash and have the entire dam quake as a result? They run out and see this massive monster floating down the river toward Turtleback?

If Black Magga breaks through the dam while they're up there, it will be eight hours or so before they can get to Turtleback Ferry. But if I have Black Magga break through the dam after they've already been up there, then they'll feel as though they went to the dam to stave off it's breaking, succeeded in stopping the ogres, and then failed anyway because some random monster that has never been properly established wrecked all of their efforts.

Any help would be hugely appreciated, thanks!

Dark Archive

These are all good ideas.


One idea would be to let the PCs be lucky by stopping further damage on the dam and get the flood gates working. And as they are leaving, have the BM swim by in the lake side (think Loch Ness). Allow the PCs the feeling that they dodged a bullet by not letting this massively powerful creature loose into the waters and town below.

Many thanks for the reply, ckdragons! So you're saying...

just have them succeed at the dam and skip the entire flooding of Turtleback Ferry? I'm trying to think off the top of my head if that interferes with story in any way. I don't think it does, does it?

Thanks again!

Dark Archive

I don't believe so either.

BM attacking TF is supposed to be the hook that leads them to SC. Though I would still award the PCs the experience as if they had that encounter in TF, if you're using XP to level. Maybe add it as bonus when they finish SC.

Ok great. Then maybe. . .

skip Black Magga altogether? Seems like a bit of a red herring if I simply show her to the party without having them engage her. Unfortunately I never really set her up so they will have no idea what she's there for and will probably want to fight her assuming that, "If the DM showed her to us, she must be beatable."

Thoughts? I appreciate the help, thanks again. I've been running this AP for awhile but I'm still very green.

Dark Archive

I would make her appearance more narrative reveal piece.


"As your group emerges from inside Skull Crossing, you quickly look out to see the flood gates working, controlling the release of water from the lake beyond. You come to realize that your actions had just saved the lands to the south and Turtleback Ferry. If the ogres were allowed to continue, they would have caused the dam to collapse, flooding the environs below, and killing countless innocents.

As you take satisfaction in your achievement today, you also notice something immense swimming just beneath the surface of the lake, moving by silently. Stretching over 60 feet long with a long serpentine neck and a body of a wriggling mass of tentacles, the creature swims past the dam, seemingly inspecting it, only to disappear a moment later back into the depths of Storval Deep."

It's a great AP. I'm currently running it a 2nd time myself.

I did things a little differently, with the town sending the party up to the dam because they were concerned about the lack of water coming down. They encountered the ogres at work, and Black Magga then attacked the ogres and group, and the PCs killed all of them. Of course I also was using Mythic rules so it was a more interesting fight.

Given your group isn't Mythic? If they went up there on their own? Reward them by not needing them to fight Black Magga. Award them XPs for "encountering" her but that's more for being proactive :)

It's no problem at all if some of the parts of this chapter are skipped. My party never went into the Shimmerglens, for example. I don't think Black Magga has any effect on the story, you can safely skip her entirely, or somehow force her in if you think it's a cool encounter for your PCs. All you need is to make sure that by the end of this chapter the PCs know Sandpoint is in danger of a giant attack. The AP assumes you do this by somehow bringing the party from Skull Crossing to Hook Mountain, beating Barl and finding his note, but there are countless other ways to do this. Let the story play itself and make sure they find a note or interrogate an ogre/giant before they leave the whole region.

Thanks for the thoughts and input, Lawrencelot and Tangent101! Both very helpful. I think I'm going to do just that. . . suggest that there is something lurking within the Storval Deep but not highlight Black Magga enough to entice the group to go after her.

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