Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rescue At Rivenroar Revised, part 3

So, now that I'm actually back to running my game after a bit of a hiatus, it's time to get back into detailing the changes I've made to Rescue at Rivenroar.

Fresco Chamber: This was another encounter that I completely swapped out. As I think I mentioned before, I was on a quest to eradicate the gnome presence from Rivenroar and that meant that these had to go. The rats were still appropriate to the dungeon, but quite honestly Dire Rats are kind of boring creatures, whether they have a disease or not. They don't have a lot of interesting powers or abilities. So off they went as well. My new vision of the area/encounter was this. One of Sinruth's spellcasters, a goblin named Gomd, was given what amounts to a tome of magic by Dulan, Sinruth's necromancer ally. Gomd was ordered to study the tome and learn the death magics within so that he could help create Sinruth's undead army. Gomd took over the fresco chamber as a place to study in relative quiet and moved in with his pet drake and his guardian statue. Gomd appropriated one of the prisoners to have someone to experiment on and kick around. Sinruth ordered Nork, a kind of loony goblin, to watch over Gomd and the prisoner. So with all these changes, I've taken a kind of meaningless fight that had no real purpose in the original module except as bags of XP for PCs to earn and given it story and a reason for existing. This is important to me. I don't like combat for the sake of combat. There needs to be a reason behind it. Digression over. Now on to the combatants.

1x Gomd, Goblin Shaman. Gomd began life as High Shaman Sancossug, a level 3 solo from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. I simply dropped him from a solo to a regular enemy. That should have been fine, in theory, but if you're going to do the same thing in your game you really really should adjust Gomd's defenses downward. Probably by at least 2 across the board and even 3 wouldn't go too far. When I ran this encounter, Gomd only had 46hp but he had the defenses of the solo and players had a hard time hitting him. This made his multiple big damage, big area blast attacks that much more dangerous because he stayed alive to use them often.

1x Nork, Goblin Bodyguard. Nork started off as a Norker Berserker, a level 4 elite. Like Gomd, I simply dropped him to a regular enemy first, then I dropped him to level 3. Unlike Gomd, Nork does not need any adjustment to work perfectly fine as is.

1x Spitting Drake. Straight out of the monster builder, no adjustment made or needed.

1x Stonefist Defender. Also straight out the monster builder, no adjustments.

Tactics: Gomd is going to blast the crap out of stuff, even his allies (though he'll try not to blast his pet drake too much). Anytime more than a couple of PCs group up, Gomd is going after them. His Stonefist Defender (in the shape of an idealised goblin warrior) stays next to him at all times so Gomd can take advantage of Misdirection. Nork hurls himself into melee and goes after a random selection of targets (he's a loony as I mentioned earlier and the random targeting keeps players guessing). The drake stays near Gomd if it can and spits at PCs who get too close to Gomd.

Mushroom Chamber: If you've guessed that I've done a complete swap for this encounter, you would be correct. My thinking was very simple. If this is a room called the mushroom chamber and it's got lots of little mushroom things around... why aren't the enemies things like oozes, plants, and fungi? Why are there rage drakes? So away went the drakes, in came more "appropriate" enemies. I think they're more interesting enemies too, honestly. More variety of creatures, more variety of powers. The only question this raises is one that most players (and DMs) aren't going to ask. That question is "how do Sinruth's guys get past the monsters to drop off the prisoner?". My answer is that they'd throw a haunch of deer or some other animal to distract the critters for a while while they moved through. Anyway, on to the creatures.

2x Fungal Bloodthorn Vine - Only a Bloodthorn Vine from the monster builder, just with a different name.

3x Myconid Gas Spores - Straight out of the monster builder, no adjustments.

1x Grey Ooze - Also straight out of the monster builder.

Tactics: They're not exactly the Roman Legions here, so it's straight forward. The Vines try and grab players, trying to take advantage of PCs who are slowed and going through concealed squares. The spores don't even do that much, just moving into combat with the nearest PC. The ooze is a bit of a surprise at first, as it moves above the group of PCs and drops down on them in the first round.

Von Jallach Crypt: This encounter as written has a gnome. So of course I'm changing the whole thing. This was actually pretty fun to come up with. I liked the needlefang drake swarms in general, but I had something different in mind for the room. This is the room with Serd, the infamous Goblin Buttmonkey. I decided that Serd is kind of the whipping boy for Sinruth's group. They all treat him badly, bully him, pull pranks on him, and assign him crappy duties. Which is why he's here, in a room that will zap the crap out of you if you trip and fall in the wrong way. Serd is so pathetic and emo that he's attracted fell taints from the rest of the crypt who enjoy the atmosphere around Serd. This could and should be a pretty hard fight. Serd is the group Buttmonkey, but in this room he's very dangerous. Onto the monsters now.

1x Serd, Goblin Whipping Boy. Serd started off as a Goblin Acolyte of Maglubiyet, a level 1 controller. I bumped him up to level 2 because he was just too fragile at level 1. I removed the Maglubiyet references from him (ex. Maglubiyet's First became Fists of Fury) and called it a day.

1x Fell Taint Wisp - Straight out of the Monster Builder

1x Fell Taint Defiant - Again, no adjustments here.

1x Fell Taint Cold Darter - Slight adjustment here. This is a regular Fell Taint Darter brought up from level 1 to level 1 and renamed.

Tactics: Serd will start off with the Fists of Fury, dragging 2 PCs into the zappy runes and he'll continue to drag PCs through them as often as he can, using Hand of Force until Fists of Fury recharges. If a PC closes with him, he'll use Life Scourge to get back to range and continue sliding PCs. The Fell Taint Defiant tries to get right in the middle of the PC group or to the rear where ranged characters are hiding. The Fell Taint Wisp stays near the Fell Taint Defiant to help make it tougher. The Cold Darter lingers the edges of the fight, moving in to attack isolated PCs or PCs that it can flank.

Von Adrez-Kauthin Crypt: This is actually one of the rare encounters that I didn't mess around with, not even a little bit. It's themed appropriately to the dungeon and should be a solid combat encounter. It admittedly may not be the most wacky, memorable, or unusual fight, but it serves a good purpose as it is so I left it alone.

Honor Guard Crypt: Two untouched encounters in a row. I know, it's odd, but what I said for the Von Adrez-Kauthin Crypt goes here too. It fits the goblins/undead theme of the dungeon that I want and although it may not seem to be an encounter that will be incredibly memorable, it's solid and fits. It can actually be made memorable if you play the ghouls right. With their high Stealth check, they could very easily lurk around, attack a PC for a round or two, then run away to hide again. If you want to highlight that feeling, I suggest ditching the zombies though. Pair the Ghouls with another good Lurker like a Griefmote or Shadow Stalker.

That's the end of part 3. In the next part, I'll go into my changes for the final four encounters left with Rescue at Rivenroar.