Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rescue At Rivenroar Revised, part 4

Time for the 4th and final part of my rather extensive retooling of Rescue at Rivenroar. I'm hoping that people found something to enjoy about it. I hope that new DMs will see how you might change a published module to fit your own story. New DMs also might take away information about encounter design, I'd hope. Everybody else, I hope found it interesting to watch me revise so much about a reasonably well known adventure module. I'll continue posting my encounters from my game online, but it won't quite be the same as what I've done here. Now, onto the changes.

Sinruth's Abode - Originally, Sinruth's Abode has just 1 monster in it: Sinruth himself. I admit that in 4e, solos rarely seem to work as well as I, and probably the designers, would like. They rarely make the kind of epic, interesting encounter that they're meant to. They're getting better, but Sinruth is an old school solo and so needed changes. Dropping him to an elite allows me to add many more monsters to the encounter. Shifting the site of the encounter would also help make things interesting. As written, Sinruth starts in room 21 which is frankly dull and not interesting. Room 20, with the damaging menhirs, makes a much more dangerous and fun battlefield. To accomidate all the changes, I've bumped the encounter up to 715xp from 625xp, which makes it a level 3 encounter.

1x Sinruth, Hobgoblin Elite - Originally, Sinruth was a level 2 solo soldier. I've changed him to be a level 3 elite soldier. He's got about 70 less hp, 1 less action point, and weaker saving throw bonus. But he's got slightly better defenses and attacks so he actually feels somewhat more of a threat as an elite than as a solo.

1x Ferak Draconian - One of the representatives of Sinruth's allies, he is completely unchanged from the monster builder. I love using draconians. They're fun monsters. Dangerous when they're living, but just as dangerous to kill.

1x Hobgoblin Warcaster - Another unchanged monster, but one that will work very well in the menhir battlefield. Gives the enemy group some needed ranged capability.

3x Hobgoblin Grunt - I like minions and these provide a little danger. But more importantly, the Phalanx Soldier synergy with each other and Sinruth is important.

Crypt Guardian Chamber - This encounter was tied with the Portal Room in WTF factor when I read it. It's so ridiculous. Wererats magically run out of the next room at precisely the right time, happen to know how to let go the trapped demon, and the demon doesn't attack them as well as the PCs? There are so many problems here that I honestly didn't know where to start. So I just took the entire encounter out. It serves no real purpose and quite frankly, Rivenroar could stand to lose an encounter or 2 anyway. I prefer to think that instead of the demon, this room held construct guardians that the goblins had to smash to get to the chapel beyond. You can describe the room as having parts of golems and other things scattered around it. An alternative is that the demon is still there, trapped behind the magical barrier that nobody living or dead can bring down anymore.

Shrine of the Obelisk - Gnomes ~and~ wererats as written, so you know that I was never going to let this stand as is. That said, I really wasn't sure that there needed to be an encounter here. In my home game, I dropped it entirely. I'm planning on playing up the light absorbing properties of the obelisk and making the players expect an undead attack at any time like I did in my revised Portal Room, but in the end nothing will happen. For people who want an encounter here, I'll elaborate. I designated this as the living quarters for Sinruth's personal guard and most trusted advisers. In my game, these people are already with him at the moment the players are exploring. If you want an encounter here, instead Sinruth's personal guard is a little bit bigger and some of them are here too. My version of this encounter is 476xp instead of the 450xp listed as written.

1x Hobgoblin Subcommander - Straight out of the monster builder. A nice monster with some interesting leader abilities.

2x Hobgoblin Mercenaries - Also right out of the character builder. Can stay back and shoot arrows decently from behind cover at range before charging in with swords.

2x Hobgoblin Grunts - Straightforward, but surprisingly difficult, minions.

Rivenroar Audience Chamber - Actually, as written, this isn't a horrible encounter. I just wanted to shake things up a bit and I needed a place for Dulan, the Death Priest ally of Sinruth. I'd already used a wight earlier, so it was easy enough to switch that out. I also thought that this encounter would benefit from the same environmental effects that I used in Spiderweb Landing, namely the necrotic mist that provides cover and is difficult terrain for living characters. So scatter some patches of it around the room and make it random and fun. I again bumped the XP value of the fight, from 500 to 562. Nothing major, but worth noting.

1x Dulan, Death Priest - Dulan began as an Emerald Claw Necromancer, a level 3 artillery. I bumped it up to level 4 to get Dulan, but really made no other changes.

3x Decrepit Skeletons - Untouched. The encounter as written actually has 5 of these, but I dropped it to 3.

2x Pack Zombies - Straight from the monster builder. I added these purely for fun and to add some variety rather than have so many skeleton minions.

1x Skeleton Trooper - Out of the monster builder. A solid monster, though nothing tremendously special. Mostly worth the look on players face when they whack what they probably think is a minion and see it still standing.

1x Dread Protector - Another monster untouched. I really like this creature and wouldn't mind having players encounter similar ones at higher levels. It really forces the players to work hard to get to and defeat Dulan since they almost certainly have to put the Dread Protector down entirely first.