Archive for April, 2010

How to Train Your Golem

I missed last week, so I’ll be working on putting two shorter encounters up next week to make up for it (blame the Detroit Red Wings, if they would win in fewer than 7 games it wouldn’t be an issue). These latest two have been three-encounter adventures and they’re quite time-consuming, but both ideas only seemed to work as a series of encounters.

Also, not that I’m not proud of my other adventures, but I am less proud of them than this one. I think I’ve finally started to get a feel for levels of complexity and detail needed to keep players entertained without overwhelming them – this week’s adventure has just the right amount of stuff-to-worry-about and stuff-that-doesn’t-matter, and I hope it’s more enjoyable for both the DM and players.

How to Train Your Golem is a collection of three short encounters designed for five adventurers of 12th to 14th level, taking place on the small and remote island of Brak. After arriving on Brak, the players will be tasked with training a golem with the skills necessary to defend the island’s inhabitants from dangerous dragonspawn. First, the players will train their golem to move against small and quick dragonspawn. Then the players must teach their golem to fight, practicing against a pack of larger, more volatile dragonspawn. Once the golem has been properly trained, the players will test it out in battle against a cunning group of lurking dragonspawn.

Isolated from higher society, the island of Brak sits alone, its erratic weather and currents deterring most passersby who would trade or visit. Some settle on the island for this very reason, seeking solitude and peace—an escape from the overcrowded cities and selfish wars found so often on the mainland. Here, the inhabitants find simple lives, enjoying the calming tranquility of Brak’s lush valleys and pristine shores.

Although free from the petty squabbles of kings and countries, Brak is not without its problems. Surviving on the island can be difficult; weather is harsh, monsters are large, and lives are short. Left alone for centuries, several species of dragonspawn have made Brak their home, breeding and thriving. The creatures have no fear of humanoids, seeing them as nothing more than a convenient food source. These dragonspawn—found in nearly every shape and size—frequent the settlements of Brak looking for an easy meal, hoping to find a full stomach.

To combat this threat, the island’s residents turned to an accomplished artificer named Cuciph, who, limited by Brak’s few resources, brought the terrain itself to life as stone golems. Controlled by magical amulets, these constructs are big, sturdy, and powerful, and should be more than enough to defend the settlements—once properly trained, of course.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Deathdusk Passage

Sarah Darkmagic and NewbieDM have kicked off their downloadable delves, found right here. I wanted to contribute something that could work as a full dungeon delve instead of a single encounter, and here’s what I came up with.

Deathdusk Passage is a collection of three short encounters designed for five players of 1st to 3rd level, taking place in an ominous underground tunnel that connects any two locations of your campaign. After entering the tunnel, the adventurers will become trapped in a hallway where they must fight off oozes and attempt to escape. Next, they will discover a dangerously deep pit; while attempting to cross, monstrous bats will descend upon them and attack. Finally, as they near the exit, statues surrounding an ancient gate come to life, attacking the players as they try to make their escape.

Appearing at first glance to be the entrance to an ornate, stone crypt, the Deathdusk passage has existed for centuries as a shortcut for those willing to brave its darkness. Its craftsmanship is of dwarven origin—no other stonework would have endured so long—though the purpose of its construction remains a mystery.

Just inside, stairs descend into the darkness, masking the presence of hungry monsters, just waiting for a party of inexperienced adventurers. What lies beyond the entrance in uncertain; few have seen and survived the dangers of Deathdusk passage, and they refuse to speak of what lies below. But even without credibility, stories surrounding the passage are plentiful. Tales of endless pits, deadly traps, and forsaken travelers, now waiting in the deep to embrace new adventurers and pull them into the dark.

Whether from fear of such stories, or just simple superstitions, most people ignore the passage entirely, choosing instead to follow the slow and winding mountain trail to their destination. Such a choice is wise, and those who make it nearly always reach their destination unscathed; those that enter Deathdusk passage, on the other hand, are more likely to disappear than reach the other side. Most sneer at the few who dare to attempt the tunnel and lose their lives, but to some, those brave, adventurous few—the journey itself has always meant more than the destination.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Burrowing Bounties

This encounter introduces the Forever Endeavor Trading Company (say it outloud, muhaha), a group of profit-seeking merchants with outposts all over the world, specializing in exotic goods and monsters–the kind of goods an adventurer like you might be hired to find.

Burrowing Bounties is a standalone encounter designed for five 2nd to 4th level adventurers.

A mine infested with kruthik has caught the eye of the industrious Forever Endeavor Trading Company, who is looking to hire any adventurers brave enough to sign a contract and exterminate the pests below. The PCs will face off against mutant kruthik, strange eggs, and the mysterious forces of cadbarium gems—all in the name of a little profit.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Molten Mischief

Molten Mischief is a standalone encounter designed for five adventurers of 3rd to 5th level.

Settled on the edge of a forest with ties to the Feywild, the town of Yaviras has become accustomed to the harmless trickery of gnomes and faeries. But when a practical joke goes awry and a portal to the elemental chaos is created, fiery elementals begin to cross over, creating a living inferno that threatens to consume the forest, town, and anything else in its path.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)