Archive for September, 2010

Mind & Iron

I ended up expanding A Life, Deconstructed into a full short adventure of three unique encounters for my own group, so I thought I’d fix it up and share–I’m really happy with how this came out. Also, this is the second 3-encounter adventure in two weeks, which means I’m caught up with my missed weeks. Hooray, self-imposed quotas!

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)

Mind & Iron is a short adventure designed for five 7th to 9th-level adventurers. The rural farming village of Casai was not prepared for Movasi and his Magnificent Mechanicals of Mind and Iron, automated mechanisms that have begun replacing the villagers, one by one. The players will fight off a pride of hungry lions, then follow the clues to Movasi’s shop, where they will fight some of the new mechanicals he has created, then confront Movasi himself, fighting him in the heart of his factory.

I won’t post the story again, since you can find it in another post, but here’s a summary of the adventure’s encounters:

Though they are presented in a particular order, the encounters can vary or be used wherever they might fit within your narrative. There are several hooks provided to move the adventure along, and each encounter includes flavor text to transition into the next area.

Encounter 1: The Plains of Casai
The players stumble upon a small pride of lions that have just killed a young girl; the beasts attack the intruders to defend their prey.

Encounter 2: The Showroom
The players enter Movasi’s shop, and are attacked by an assortment of mechanicals from the artificer’s display area.

Encounter 3: The Assembly Line
The players corner Movasi in the assembly line of his shop, and must defeat him and the mechanicals defending him.

Updated Wheel of Fate

Thanks for all the feedback on the Wheel of Fate! A lot of people weren’t happy with the effects and thought many of them were either unclear, hard to narrate, or just plain terrible. 😉 I compiled suggestions from everyone and remade the wheel to be a little more consistent (though equally evil).

Special thanks to enworld for the always-useful criticism, and Chris Sims, who helped redesign a lot of the effects and clarify the language of the effects.

The links have all been updated, but here’s the download: PDF

Notable changes:

Two tiles grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn.

Two smaller tiles have been added: one lets you reroll the original attack, and the other loses a healing surge.

Fall Prone has been changed to Move 1d4 Squares or Fall Prone.

Blind or Slowed (player’s choice) was basically slowed, since that’s all players would choose. Updated to reflect that.

End Your Turn has changed to No Actions until You Spend a Minor, which is basically just losing a minor action.

Reroll Attack Against Nearest Ally in Range was meant to only be a basic attack, and though I mentioned it in the post, it wasn’t clear on the wheel; this has been changed to a static 5 damage per tier to the nearest ally.

Take Damage Equal to Your Level is now just a static 5 damage per tier.

Wheel of Fate

The Wheel of Fate is a fun way for your players to deal with critical misses when attacking. If the DM can’t think of anything particularly fitting that should happen, then the player spins the Wheel of Fate to determine the effect.

Download: PDF

A lot of people prefer not to penalize their players for critical attack misses, but I think it adds a little fun and challenge to a game routinely dominated by powerful PC synergy. If you do use critical misses and want to give the Wheel a try, I’d recommend not applying it to dailies, as many dailies still deal damage and effects on misses (and missing a daily is punishment enough most of the time). If you want to use the Wheel for encounter or daily critical misses and it lands on the “Reroll attack against nearest player in range” effect, just have the player reroll a melee or ranged basic attack instead – this was the original intent, I just couldn’t fit it on the wheel tile. 😛

Most of the time as a DM there’s some obvious effect for a critical miss; if they’re balancing on a beam while attacking, they fall; if they’re throwing something, it hits someone else; and so on. The Wheel is primarily for when, as a DM, you really can’t come up with anything that seems to fit. Tell the player to give it a spin and then narrate the effect into your game.

Besides being fun to spin and watch, I had a super secret reason for making the Wheel: to reduce stress, irritation, and animosity at the table. When a player rolls a critical 1, they often expect a punishment from the DM, who has to come up with an effect on the fly – one that usually is ill-received and often argued. The player can often feel like the DM is picking on them personally, and the DM deals with a little bit of stress while determining whether to take it easy or not. When the player spins the wheel themselves, they 1) have a chance of landing on “No Effect”, and 2) inflict their own punishment – they don’t get upset or angry at the DM for singling them out or ‘screwing them over’.


I’ve been busy lately and missed the past two weeks, but this week’s adventure has 3 full encounters and 5 quick and easy skill challenges, all wound together in a thrilling chase. Each encounter has a full map to cut out and use, and there is full flavor text for every scene, skill challenge, and chase contingency. Enjoy!

Unmasked is a short adventure for five 3rd to 5th-level players, taking place during a masquerade festival in a crowded city. The players will engage in a fast-paced chase through the city’s streets, facing a series of short skill challenges and quick encounters in an attempt to keep up with and apprehend a masked villain.

The city of Illodaunt has always been a strange town, shrouded in mystery. Founded centuries ago by an assortment of exiled magical folk and creatures, the city quickly exploded into a haven for exiled or displaced wizards, sorcerers, and unusual creatures. Nothing is quite what it seems when traveling through Illodaunt, and that’s how its residents like it.

The crooked streets and winding alleys reflect the features of such inhabitants; arcane-powered lamps float above the cobbled roads, buildings twist and turn as they move and change each day, and alleys seem to vanish as fast as new ones appear. Accompanying these oddities is an assortment of illustrious and mysterious merchants known as the bazaar; no magical item is too rare or expensive for them to offer.

But for all its wonders, the city is rarely visited by the curious folk that might most appreciate it. The majority of Illodaunt’s residents were ostracized or discriminated against by non-magical beings, and are quite unfriendly toward such visitors; those stubborn enough to ignore the warnings and enter the city have often been attacked, killed, or disappeared entirely.

However, once a year, Illodaunt opens its gates to the whole world, inviting both magic and non-magic folk into its streets for a week-long celebration known as A Thousand Masks. For one short week, everyone in the city is considered equal; both residents and visitors are given festive masks and together they revel in the streets with drink, dance, and—of course—magic.

During this time, the outsiders are permitted to buy and trade with the bazaar, a privilege that draws in all manner of interested parties. The bazaar, aware of this, saves many of its best items for the festival; its carts line the streets, offering a taste of magic to the eager buyers. One can find nearly anything among their wares, though—more often than not—they will wish they hadn’t.

Download: PDF | PDF (no map)