D&D Encounters, Season 3 - Ask the Author

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Since I don't have my adventure with me, what was the treasure for Encounter 2-5?  Spoiler block the answer just in case, but I have been picking treasures rather than just saying it's a "level x weapon" or whatever.





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It was a suit of level 5 magic armour of your/players choice.
Out of curiosity (asking here since folks are actively discussing it obviously) any chance KotBL will be released in full after the event, pay or free?

That is a frequently asked question. I wish I knew the answer.

I haven't seen any of the other Encounters games made available for purchase or download. 

I have heard it mentioned before (unofficially?) that the adventure is something of a perk for the DMs who have gone through the WPN registration process and are giving of their time to run the adventures. 

< soapbox >

Some greedy people are selling it, and the other Encounters adventures, on eBay and some fools are paying ridiculous prices for them. Please do not be either of those two types of people. Wizards gave us these materials to run a series of promotional games to introduce new players into the hobby. Selling it to collectors before you run it is abusing the intent of the "gift", imo, plus you are potentially hurting the hobby by denying new players access to the Encounters program.

< / soapbox >

Is it Ok to post the Encounters and Game Day Modules on a 4Shared or some other site? That would undercut the ebay market and allow everyone to use the modules after the event is over.
That's probably a copyright violation
I know this is late in asking about this, but:

Under the features of Encounter 2-6: Strong Fire, the description of the Lift is incomplete, cut off after "The" in the last sentence.

< soapbox >

Some greedy people are selling it, and the other Encounters adventures, on eBay and some fools are paying ridiculous prices for them. Please do not be either of those two types of people. Wizards gave us these materials to run a series of promotional games to introduce new players into the hobby. Selling it to collectors before you run it is abusing the intent of the "gift", imo, plus you are potentially hurting the hobby by denying new players access to the Encounters program.

< / soapbox >


Well, just for posterity to re-explain why I even asked, was oddly because my actual WPN rep implied I could see if I could acquire a copy online.

And I quote:
"As for D&D Essentials.  If you are unable to run it on Wednesday night in a retail store than you will not be able to get a kit.  Once it starts you might be able to find the adventure on line somewhere posted by a fan, but this would be the only way to play it privately."

So, that said, I'm not looking to undercut anyone here, I was simply asking for asking sake.

Thanks for all the answers!

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

I came in to play, but the GM didn't show up. Since there were other people who wanted to play, I wound up running the first session sight-unseen, with like five minutes of prep. We had a lot of fun, and they elected me to continue running the adventure.

I want to emphasize that last point: So far, we're having fun within the limits of the adventure, and I appreciate the author's creative work!

Once I got home and read the background, I was a little nonplussed, and now that I've read the GM materials for Chapter 2, I'm a bit concerned. These posts draw out some of the issues, without putting too fine a point on it:

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Approximately when in the overall story of this season does the real bad guy get revealed to the players? I'd like to be dropping a few clues to raise the players' suspicions that not everything is as it seems, but I don't want to go too far if the reveal isn't until several more chapters.


I wouldn't give them any clues. 
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In my experience, players are extremely sensitive to any sign of betrayal.  In my own game, when Benwick told the PCs about his spy amidst Ronnick's guards, someone asked how a priest knows about hiring spies.  The bell has been rung, and now the party feels railroaded working for one guy they don't trust, searching for another that hasn't wronged them in any way.



I'll conceal my comments out of respect to the above:

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Cleric B is treating the characters like pawns. I'm fine with that. Bad guy trying to frame up a rival engages the party to find the planted "evidence" and take down said rival. Awesome. What bothers me is that the entire adventure so far hinges on the players and the characters being chumps.


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If not, it sounds like someone you're playing with is too sensitive for whatever reason.



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In my view, it's completely legitimate for players to be suspicious about things like this-- and if they weren't already, they certainly should be after this adventure!

How could we fix it? For one, give Cleric B a stat block from day one [neither Chapter 1 nor Chapter 2 includes his stats, in the published version, and the denouement of Chapter 2 makes it clear that nothing the players do can protect banker R from B's plans]. If he's such a great bluffer, let's see the bluff skill a PC would have to beat in order to get a hunch that something is amiss. And in the edge case that the players just don't like him, what are his contingency plans-- how could he escape? If cornered, what are his tactics then?

As an introduction to the hobby, it seems distasteful to present the players with so many elements they can't interact with in a meaningful way. And even more-so to have them punk'd by their patron from day one, under the presumption that they had no choice.


Okay, okay. I realize that the adventure is designed for different players to cycle in and out of the game, and so railroading is a major design constraint. I get it. I just think it would be better to put it frankly: "Your in this dungeon. That's tonight's adventure."

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I have a group of players who are pretty intuitive, and I think it will rub them the wrong way when they find out they were duped without any possibility of resistance (especially since they already have suspicions too). A more concrete answer to Karl's question would be very helpful: Can you post a very general outline of the adventure, like in bullet points fashion? That could give us a sense of what impact player choices might have on the story. It would also help to see a list of the other major NPCs and their goals-- I don't mind making stuff up, but I'd hate to have our story rendered invalid by the subsequent chapter kits.


Thanks for all your creative work on this project, and for your willingness to respond to questions and feedback!

warm regards!



Come to think of it, I have one more question-- it's about Session 3 of Chapter 1:


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What is Benwick's motivation in setting up Pressure Cooker?


Good idea: Plant evidence that you want the PCs to find in Ronnik's house and create a disturbance that will bring the delvers running!


GRRREAT idea: Plant flammable evidence that you want the PCs to find in Ronnik's house and summon some fire elementals to burn the place down.

Uh-oh, wait...


Was Benwick drunk or something? Why did he think this was going to work?




We're running this session next week, because we had to postpone the game. 
A thought:
[spoiler]
Benwick knew that the party would defeat the Elementals long before the bank went up in flames completely; the fires all go out as soon as the elementals are defeated after all. So, even though the map is made out of flammable material, the desk it was in never would have caught fire. Also, finding a map that almost was destroyed in a fire would give the party a bigger sense of urgency. They'd feel like their right on Ronnick's heels and would want to take off as soon as they can to catch up. Leaving no time to ponder why Ronnick would have conveniently left a map laying around for anyone to find.
[spoiler]
I'll conceal my comments out of respect to the above:


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Cleric B is treating the characters like pawns. I'm fine with that. Bad guy trying to frame up a rival engages the party to find the planted "evidence" and take down said rival. Awesome. What bothers me is that the entire adventure so far hinges on the players and the characters being chumps.

In my view, it's completely legitimate for players to be suspicious about things like this-- and if they weren't already, they certainly should be after this adventure!

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It's extreme for characters to be suspicious of a person who is apparently a decent, well-liked member of an established community, and who comes off as a good-hearted cleric of mainstream deities. His apparent motivation for using fresh faces for his work is also reasonable. This point of view becomes even truer when almost all evidence points to Benwick being right about the plot. Everything about him seems reasonable or better to people in his world.

As with all good lies, only one small element of the plot is untrue. Far from being total chumps, the characters are doing good--they’re removing the cult of Tiamat. That this removal also favors the villain and is part of his double intent, but it’s still a service to the respectable folk of the area. If the characters are killed doing the dirty work, the villain also benefits. It’s win-win.

Even in the absence of statistics, a DM could allow hard or harder Insight checks. The truth is, though, that a few successful Insight checks shouldn’t blow the villain’s cover. Maybe such checks are enough to actually make the characters, in contrast to players, suspicious. Further investigation in the town, however, supports the apparent circumstances, rather than PC suspicions, as does all the work the adventurers do, since most of it is legitimate heroing and the illegitimate sort seems legitimate. Direct questions to the villain can be answered with mostly truths about worry over the political situation in the keep and what the lord might do. (Again, very hard Insight might reveal the villain is holding back, but that’s all. And again, the statement itself, and the holding back, could be seen as reasonable.)

Suspicion of the sort we’re talking about--paranoia in the face of the bulk of evidence budded from the mind of a player rather than a character--is really metagame thinking. Suspicious players can make checks to see what their characters sense. If their characters sense nothing suspicious, why would the characters be suspicious? This tack is far from railroading.

The Bluff bonus you’re looking for could be different in the final edited version, but I put it at +12. Like I’ve said, though, he doesn’t need to Bluff much. Almost all of what he says is true, and his emotional state toward the major thread of the plot (the cult) is almost the same as it would be if he were who he appears to be. His deflections are sure to be mostly true, too. That means, if anything, he should gain a bonus to any Bluff check he has to make, placing the DC to detect something suspicious at around 26. Certainly, a trained and highly talented character might succeed on such a check, even at 1st level, but odds are against it.

That said, I’d reiterate that any questions the characters pose could be met with cool redirection filled with words that are mostly true. The villain does want the Tiamat cult eradicated, he does dislike Ronnik and want the banker brought to justice, and he does have concerns on the political situation in the keep between the forces of the inner bailey and outer one. There’s more truth to his machinations than lie at this point, and that’s the root of my own points.

As for what happens after this adventure, I’ll still stick with the above. It’s extreme to be suspicious of a patron that has the qualities I mention, especially when you’re the newcomer in the area and all evidence points to your suspicions being illegitimate. If the midgame rubs players the wrong way, it should. It’s meant to make the latter parts of the adventure cycle more poignant. If players decide to make a few more pointed Insight checks after the experience, I fail to see that as a bad thing. Most of the time, those checks should garner them little, as they should in this case.

If I, as a player, were suspicious of a patron or ally, but nothing my character knows could possibly lead me to act against that NPC, I (the player) wouldn’t feel misled when the truth came out. I’d feel a little clever for being suspicious, then roleplay my character’s feelings on the actual betrayal. In the game I’m currently in, that situation already exists. I made my Insight checks and I have my theories, as well as a better reason to be suspicious in character of this NPC, but my character has no concrete evidence.



Okay, okay. I realize that the adventure is designed for different players to cycle in and out of the game, and so railroading is a major design constraint. I get it. I just think it would be better to put it frankly: "Your in this dungeon. That's tonight's adventure."

Well, that very style of play has garnered complaints in the past. We decided to try something different. Sure, it’d work better as a published adventure with several angles, but the format doesn’t allow that. I don’t see how anything here is truly railroading. The players/characters can decide not to help, just like they can in any published adventure. The format does demand a linear plot, but that’s not the same as railroading.

Also, the arch of the plot is clear and its major players, from what I’ve seen, in the first chapter. An outline might make it clearer, but I doubt anyone is going to run afoul of the story if they follow the basic gist of it from the beginning. Also, the danger of my making such an outline is that, as I already know, some changes in the published work might make my outline incorrect. I don’t have a copy of the final versions of the modules.

I’m also not sure the Encounters program is meant as an introduction to the hobby. It might be one for some players, but my understanding is it was intended to give a weekly D&D fix to existing players. A lot of those people already understand the game, at least from playing in the past. I can say with certainty that this season was not written with the mindset that it is an introduction to the hobby.

I'm very thankful for your challenging points, and even more thankful that you're playing. I've only blathered on at length on the subject in response to your admirable enthusiasm. I'll do my best, with the resources I have, to answer further questions and chellenges. Thanks again.

A thought:

Exactly my thinking in the design.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

I might have to eat my words. We got a new player last night, and another couple came by and showed a lot of interest in joining us. The existing players, being busy parent-types (like me), don't have the chutzpah to go off the rails, with respect to the time and energy that might entail. They have their suspicions, but for now they are content to play through the series of challenges as presented. As a light pick-up game, and using pre-generated characters, they aren't as invested in the fiction as they might otherwise be.

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Far from being total chumps, the characters are doing good--they’re removing the cult of Tiamat. That this removal also favors the villain and is part of his double intent, but it’s still a service to the respectable folk of the area. If the characters are killed doing the dirty work, the villain also benefits. It’s win-win.


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I'm unfamiliar with the D&D pantheon, and I pored through Wikipedia while reading the adventure overview after our first session.

Still, it honestly never occurred to me that wiping out the followers of a religious movement was "doing good"-- even if it was socially acceptable. The player of Sola in my game is motivated to do just what you've said, though, in service to Pelor. This blood for the sun stuff reminds me of the Aztecs.


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The truth is, though, that a few successful Insight checks shouldn’t blow the villain’s cover. Maybe such checks are enough to actually make the characters, in contrast to players, suspicious.


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It also never occurred to me that suspicious players would stop at Insight checks or cursory questioning of the locals, but that's exactly what has happened so far. But it wouldn't be too hard to have Ronnik's bank watched, for instance, and see the villain go in to perform the ritual; following the script, the adventurers were busy, but it would have been reasonable and plausible to hire a local hobbit to keep an eye out.

In that alternate path, barring machinations of GM fiat, they could have cornered the villain in Ronnik's bank, making Pressure Cooker a very different experience. What would the villain have done then? Obviously he's a slick operator and he might be able to talk his way out of it: "Yeah, I saw these elementals and I was just trying to corral them back into this circle and banish them. You heard me say 'in the name of Zehir'? Sorry, I sneezed-- I meant 'Sehanine'.

But there's a good chance that a somewhat sanguine party might try to subdue or even kill him. What then? The villain might be so tough that he rips them to shreds at their current level, or mind-blasts them into submission. I have no idea what his abilities, tactics, or contingency plans are.

That's just one alternate scenario, stemming from a reasonable and plausible and very minor deviation from the script. They could have also heard the hobbit's report and waited, put out the fire, pretended to leave town, and then killed the villain in his sleep.

I've had players who would come up with far more creative and even more plausible scenarios than what I've proposed here. My sense is that the current players are intentionally being conservative, but that could change. At this point, I don't see how we could stay within the scope of the published adventure if they decide to go off the clearly-defined rails of the campaign. Maybe it won't happen.

There are plenty of foregone conclusions in the adventure text that, to my mind, show immense scope for creative and resourceful player choices to swing events in a very different way. I'm still troubled by the fallout of Chapter 2, which dismissively says that Ronnik finds his way to the noose no matter what. Really? It seems to me that a party of four or five heroic-tier adventurers would stand a pretty good chance of protecting him if they had the intent, even if it meant hiding him out of town.


It's quite possible that my concerns aren't relevant to the style of play people will expect coming into this. If so, what a relief! If they indeed follow the adventure path as laid out, it looks like it will be a fun ride!

The format does demand a linear plot, but that’s not the same as railroading.


"Railroading" might carry unintended meaning. When I talk about "rails", I mean something like the original Super Mario Bros game: When you beat level 1-1, you go to level 1-2, and so on until you reach Bowser and dunk him into the lava. Whether you stomp every goomba and find every 1-up along the way or not is up to you. Resident Evil 4 is pretty much the same way-- there are plenty of optional things you can investigate, and you don't have to shoot every plague-zombie, but if you keep playing, there is only one path the story can take.

In both of those games, the fiction provides a thin veneer for a series of challenges, and that's a totally legitimate and totally accessible creative agenda for play. It's possible that I've considered the story-like elements in this campaign too open-ended, when in fact they can't, and shouldn't be expected to, accommodate a game in which creative twists and turns in the fiction emerge from actual play rather than being pre-determined.
We ran Encounter 1-3 last night, and I had one question about the Skill Challenge:

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"Marring the signs" in the magic circle is listed as one way to mess up the magic fueling the fires, but the associated skill in the published text is Thievery. I couldn't see the connection. How is thievery connected to rubbing out a sigil?
How about, because you have to rub it out carefully so that you don't cause an unwanted reaction when you rub the wrong rune? Theives had to be really good at disable traps in past editions in order to disable magical traps, it's kinda along the same vein...
Is this an editing error about the larger story plan:

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Chapter 2 ends with what I took as a fairly definite statement that Ronnick(if he survived) is hanged, shortly after the adventurers return to Restwell. Chapter 3 though states that he might have been executed yet and the characters have a chance to save him.

Am I the only one who at first took it as a given that Ronnick would be dead, or was the original intent of Chapter 2 that potentially saving him from unjust death was part of the story?
Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

I agree with your possibilities, but the format isn’t really conducive to allowing for all the possibilities. However, using the Encounters stuff as a basis for a complex home campaign sounds awesome to me.



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The one who starts the problem in pressure cooker looks like Ronnik, because he’s one of B’s changelings. A spy for the characters would see no one but Ronnik. If the PCs corner that villain, they corner a changeling. See my reply to KarlSamwise below for more aout Ronnik.


We ran Encounter 1-3 last night, and I had one question about the Skill Challenge




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Thievery is a general skill about carefully messing up or disassembling something to reduce or end its function. This sort of use for Thievery has a lot of history in 3e and 4e.



Is this an editing error about the larger story plan:




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Ronnik is imprisoned and awaiting hanging at the end of the  second chapter, assuming the PCs spare him and turn him over to authorities. They can save him from the noose later, if they have the wherewithal to do so. So just keep him locked up for now.
I had a fun experience at D&D Encounters last night, the finale of chapter two.  Chris Sims, author of the adventure, visited our store near Seattle Washington.  We had a pizza party and then Chris stuck around to watch the adventure play out.  We had four or five tables going.  It was a good time!

Chris, you must have been excited to see so many people having a fun time playing your adventure.  Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.  Also thanks for spending the time to visit us and support the program.  My players and I are having lots of fun.

I had a fun experience at D&D Encounters last night, the finale of chapter two.  Chris Sims, author of the adventure, visited our store near Seattle Washington.  We had a pizza party and then Chris stuck around to watch the adventure play out.  We had four or five tables going.  It was a good time!

Chris, you must have been excited to see so many people having a fun time playing your adventure.  Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.  Also thanks for spending the time to visit us and support the program.  My players and I are having lots of fun.



You lucky son of a ..... hobgoblin!

Hey Chris it was very good to meet you last night.

Im picking up DM duties from Goldpiece fot the rest of the season and I have a question about 3-11

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In the information players could recieve from "G" in the chapter a specific pair of magic gloves are mentioned. Are these
A. Extra possible treasure for the players?
B. the "place holder" for the Level two arm items?
C. Extra treasue that would be claimed by Gorn as a family heirloom? Which could end up in player hands still?"
I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

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I've given a read over of chapter three and I'm interested in removing the betrayal by Benwick. The party has been a useful group of rubes for him as well as Gordi and Sal.

Also, I've got a player that has been distrustful of the entire thing from the start. By playing a high-DEX, thievery-trained character, he stashed the Serpent's Eye as soon as it was found without any other PCs taking notice. Later, he easily bluffed that they had not found it. The other characters also were unaware of its location.

Later he went to Chendera alone and made this statement, "I'll give this to you since you are a representative of Avandra. If I see it in the hands of anyone else, I'll come back here and kill you."

under the strange threat, Chendera responded, "Under those terms, keep the gem; it is not mine to keep. I must deliver it to the rightful owner." She then went directly to Lord Drysdale and called upon him and his elite, inner bailey guards to arrest this threatening individual for theft and extortion.

When the player balked, he decided that the character broke her own neck while imprisoned with the added oddity of stating to the guards, "You have no honor!"

If the end of chapter three ends up with, "I knew all along that this was a terrible guy! We never should have trusted him! We should have killed him the first night and then killed Gordi and then killed Sal!" honestly, I'll just want to quit serving as DM.

Besides all of that, there now exists a story about how Benwick starts the next chapter with the Serpent's Eye that involves the suicide of a former ally while under arrest, and 'oh, by the way, she had taken it without any of your suspicions being aroused about it at all.'

How much of a troubling issue would it be to swap the final encounter of chapter three to a group of really pissed and well-informed dragonborn and kobolds? I'd like to have Benwick, Gordi, and Sal continue to show zero signs of untrustworthy behavior to the group of heros. Not only that, I don't want to include the guardsman, Gorn Hammerfell as another villain there at Restwell.

I want something to throw in his face eventually to simply say, Guess what?! It was all above board. You could have trusted all of those NPCs, but you just wanted to play the outcast character concept that never trusts anyone. Guess what else, your character concept is boring; it isn't heroic."

In fact, I'm a bit sick of the idea that the world is such a dark and evil PoL consept that the very individuals which represent traveling friars, guards, and whoever else are infact the villains that can always figure out how to get the heroic PCs to do their bidding, but can't figure out how to keep from being discovered/keep from revealing themselves.

So, what are some ways to maintain the credibility of these individuals they've been working closely with in order to reduce the incident of meta-game thinking which seems to lead more than a few players to assume that every NPC they ever make contact with will be their enemy (best to kill them before they betray you)?
Chris, you must have been excited to see so many people having a fun time playing your adventure.  Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.  Also thanks for spending the time to visit us and support the program.  My players and I are having lots of fun.

Thank you for DMing and playing. It was very exciting to see people playing what I wrote (with a lot of help, see the credits), and to know that similar groups are playing like this all over the world.

Hey Chris it was very good to meet you last night. I have a question about 3-11

Thanks! It was great to meet all the players and DMs.



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In my brief perusal of the book, I can’t find what you’re talking about. It makes a good story, though, if those extra items are for Gorn. None are included in the original because Gorn won’t get to keep them.



I’m interested in . . .

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That’s your prerogative, but I don’t recommend it. If anything, your player can easily find out the way the unchanged scenario went, maening your changes won't prevent that knowledge. The villain you mention has a role to play in other parts of the scenario, but you can remove that if you’re up to reworking a few encounters. Here are some possibilities.

• Having the characters find Benwick (and perhaps his allies, Gordi, Sal, Venn, and Jarell) captured and Gorn slain in 3-12. The enemies can be Tiamat cultists as you say. The hook of Benwick’s capture leads the PCs to Chapter 4.

• The characters might rescue Benwick from the dragon or find him slain. If they can rescue him, that can be exciting, because he can be an ally in the battles of Chapter 5. You’ll have to make him up as a companion character of sorts. See Chapter 5 when you can.

• If the characters let the dragon of Chapter 4 live, then the two dragons described in Chapter 4 serve as your villains in chapter 5. One can appear, as shown, in Encounter 5-19. The other can replace the villain of 5-20. If one dragon is already dead, then you have the problem of needing a villain for the final encounter of Chapter 5. It’s better if the characters recognize the villain rather than it being someone out of the blue. Perhaps the surviving dragon turned his sibling into a zombie for encounter 5-19, and then he is the foe for the final encounter.

• This all leaves the problem of the real villain's motivation and knowledge. If he’s still bad, did he hope to provoke the dragons, who serve Tiamat, into a battle against the keep that might allow him to seize power later as a “hero”? If he’s really good, who’s the mastermind behind the events of earlier chapters? You might have to make that villain up, or let Ronnik be just as guilty as he appears. Or could Lord Drysdale actually a Tiamat worshiper? (That requires more reworking, but it could be exciting.)

Oops more info inside Chris
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Page 16 second paragraph under the Roleplaying Greysen heading refers to him giving up details on his most prized possesion the Gauntlets of Blood Hidden in one fo the Columns. These are the Items I was asking about.
[quote author=57194628 post=473958909]
Chris, you must have been excited to see so many people having a fun time playing your adventure.  Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.  Also thanks for spending the time to visit us and support the program.  My players and I are having lots of fun.

Thank you for DMing and playing. It was very exciting to see people playing what I wrote (with a lot of help, see the credits), and to know that similar groups are playing like this all over the world.

Hey Chris it was very good to meet you last night. I have a question about 3-11

Thanks! It was great to meet all the players and DMs.



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In my brief perusal of the book, I can’t find what you’re talking about. It makes a good story, though, if those extra items are for Gorn. None are included in the original because Gorn won’t get to keep them.



I’m interested in . . .

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That’s your prerogative, but I don’t recommend it. If anything, your player can easily find out the way the unchanged scenario went, maening your changes won't prevent that knowledge. The villain you mention has a role to play in other parts of the scenario, but you can remove that if you’re up to reworking a few encounters. Here are some possibilities.

• Having the characters find Benwick (and perhaps his allies, Gordi, Sal, Venn, and Jarell) captured and Gorn slain in 3-12. The enemies can be Tiamat cultists as you say. The hook of Benwick’s capture leads the PCs to Chapter 4.

• The characters might rescue Benwick from the dragon or find him slain. If they can rescue him, that can be exciting, because he can be an ally in the battles of Chapter 5. You’ll have to make him up as a companion character of sorts. See Chapter 5 when you can.

• If the characters let the dragon of Chapter 4 live, then the two dragons described in Chapter 4 serve as your villains in chapter 5. One can appear, as shown, in Encounter 5-19. The other can replace the villain of 5-20. If one dragon is already dead, then you have the problem of needing a villain for the final encounter of Chapter 5. It’s better if the characters recognize the villain rather than it being someone out of the blue. Perhaps the surviving dragon turned his sibling into a zombie for encounter 5-19, and then he is the foe for the final encounter.

• This all leaves the problem of the real villain's motivation and knowledge. If he’s still bad, did he hope to provoke the dragons, who serve Tiamat, into a battle against the keep that might allow him to seize power later as a “hero”? If he’s really good, who’s the mastermind behind the events of earlier chapters? You might have to make that villain up, or let Ronnik be just as guilty as he appears. Or could Lord Drysdale actually a Tiamat worshiper? (That requires more reworking, but it could be exciting.)




I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

Thanks for the ideas. I'lll watch for Chapter 4 when that arrives to help me decide if/how much I'd like to recreate. I've got two other homebrew campaigns already.

I've become a bit tired of the group which seems to believe that the only good NPC is a dead NPC (unless they are bar wenches serving free drinks and food for the adventurers, who are most certainly the coolest thing to visit Restwell Keep in three ages Undecided and entirely deserving of accolades and keys to the inner bailey armoury filled with artifacts of great power regardless of how little they've done to help the greater Nentir Vale around them). That particular player type diminishes the fun of DMing for me.
Hey Dan
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I played kotb the first two chapters before being needed to DM and my lawful good Dwarf Knight was a bit suspicious of Benwick but no where near the extent of your parties thief. In fact Im guessing with the vehemence they are spewing I think it quite likley that player either read spoilers here or a copy of the adventure. It sounds like they are trying to intentionaly derail the game at the expense of the other players and Id keep a suspicious eye on them.
Thanks for the ideas. I'lll watch for Chapter 4 when that arrives to help me decide if/how much I'd like to recreate. I've got two other homebrew campaigns already.

I've become a bit tired of the group which seems to believe that the only good NPC is a dead NPC (unless they are bar wenches serving free drinks and food for the adventurers, who are most certainly the coolest thing to visit Restwell Keep in three ages  and entirely deserving of accolades and keys to the inner bailey armoury filled with artifacts of great power regardless of how little they've done to help the greater Nentir Vale around them). That particular player type diminishes the fun of DMing for me.



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Chris, thanks for participating in this thread. I had a question about future sessions based on something that happened at my table in session 8.

Session 8 Monkey Wrench?

Keeping things short, Ronnik managed to make good an escape from my players. In order to keep things as far in line with 'Ronnik gets killed by the party or hanged several days later' I'm pretty sure I (Benwick) have convinced the party that Ronnik's plans are crushed and he fled the Chaos Scar area.
Is that going to be satisfactory for the rest of the plotline?

Oops more info inside . . .

Ah, I can't say for sure, but given the reward table, that seems to be an extra reward for character actions.

Chris, thanks for participating in this thread. I had a question about future sessions based on something that happened at my table in session 8.

You should be fine. This just means that an option in Chapter 5 is no longer an option, unless you create a way to bring the option back to life. That works, because it could have been that way anyhow if the players defeated the person you name.

We're running Encounter 2-5 this week, and I have another practical question:

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What the heck is an Ooze Talker? I have no idea how to narrate its ranged attack or its Encounter "Whisper" power. What is it doing for the ranged attack, like blowing bubbles by dipping a bubble wand in a nearby ooze? Is it a breath weapon? If another DM can chime in before Chris gets a chance, how did you describe the Kobold Ooze Talker's attacks and abilities?


Thanks in advance! 
After perusing Chapter 3 a third time, I think I've got some ideas for altering Benwick's placement. I'm still going to wait until Chapter 4 is mailed out to get a really good look at that before making any sort of serious change.

I recently adapted Halaster's Lost Apprentice for a convention; that was really fun to rebuild using a slightly altered story and new encounter goals. I wouldn't mind doing a bit of work on Season of Serpents, but don't want to set myself up for a huge bit of homework over something that I could get over.
We're running Encounter 2-5 this week, and I have another practical question:

Show
What the heck is an Ooze Talker? I have no idea how to narrate its ranged attack or its Encounter "Whisper" power. What is it doing for the ranged attack, like blowing bubbles by dipping a bubble wand in a nearby ooze? Is it a breath weapon? If another DM can chime in before Chris gets a chance, how did you describe the Kobold Ooze Talker's attacks and abilities?


Thanks in advance!


I figured this out based on feedback at ENWorld, and I doubt more information will be forthcoming before the game tonight. Anyway, I found what I needed, thanks!

Got a late start on reading the adventure for tonight and had a question:

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Who is Bertak? is that a error and should have read Benwick? Don't see that named mentioned anywhere in Chapter 3, unless I'm totally missing it.


Thanks.

Founding member of the Star Wars Adventure Writers Guild Organizer of the NorCal Star Wars Gaming League Avatar image by artist Steve Criado of Fandom Comics PST (GMT-8) Evening and Weekend Gamer VTT: Fantasy Grounds

Not the author but
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Bertak was the Tiefling paladin that ended Greysen Ramthane's reign of terror. I read it in the Dungeon source material on the background of the Chaos scar its not in the adventure.  Big oops What DML said a Half-orc that ended Greysen's bandit gang. 
Got a late start on reading the adventure for tonight and had a question:

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Who is Bertak? is that a error and should have read Benwick? Don't see that named mentioned anywhere in Chapter 3, unless I'm totally missing it.


Thanks.



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Bertak
See chapter 3, page 9, under a DC 16 History check.


Bertak
See chapter 3, page 9, under a DC 16 History check.





Thanks for the quick response... ah okay, I only just skimmed page 9, so ya, I missed that. Thanks! Tongue out

Founding member of the Star Wars Adventure Writers Guild Organizer of the NorCal Star Wars Gaming League Avatar image by artist Steve Criado of Fandom Comics PST (GMT-8) Evening and Weekend Gamer VTT: Fantasy Grounds

Thanks for helping out, Kedrith and DeathMutantLives.
This week in the role play section Benwinck hears a noise from above and says that it is Drysdale's men. Then we cut to the combat block where Benwick tells the players that he is now disposiong of them. Lord Drysdale's men are not mentioned again. Are they really there? Is it a fake out to give Benwick a reason to ditch the PC's? Were they orignally supposed to crash the party? How should I handle the questions the player will raise regarding Benwick's motivations at this stage?
This week in the role play section Benwinck hears a noise from above and says that it is Drysdale's men. Then we cut to the combat block where Benwick tells the players that he is now disposiong of them. Lord Drysdale's men are not mentioned again. Are they really there? Is it a fake out to give Benwick a reason to ditch the PC's? Were they orignally supposed to crash the party? How should I handle the questions the player will raise regarding Benwick's motivations at this stage?



My take:
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Either it's the sound of Venn and Jarell approaching, or it's a surreptitious auditory illusion on the part of Benwick or his acolytes. Either way, the fake is meant to distract the PCs while Gordi, Sal, and Gorn prepare for battle, and generally create confusion.
This week in the role play section Benwinck . . .



My take:
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Either it's the sound of Venn and Jarell approaching, or it's a surreptitious auditory illusion on the part of Benwick or his acolytes. Either way, the fake is meant to distract the PCs while Gordi, Sal, and Gorn prepare for battle, and generally create confusion.

Occam is mostly right . . .
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The noise is the approach of Benwick's allies. Benwick merely uses that as part of his ruse. As for Benwick's motivations, the players can ask all they like. Their characters have no way of knowing Benwick's full motivations, so they can be left with whatever information they glean from the adventure's conclusion.


 Session 4-16
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Not a question but a Wow! Very nicely done. Love the lair set up Vermastyx should be giving the players a ton of grief (and fun) in that layout. I'm a bit worried about the outcome but I'm going to play it tough a dragon deserves no less.  Well no one has died at my tables to date and they are pretty darn resourceful.
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 Session 4-16
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Not a question but a Wow! Very nicely done. Love the lair set up Vermastyx should be giving the players a ton of grief (and fun) in that layout. I'm a bit worried about the outcome but I'm going to play it tough a dragon deserves no less.  Well no one has died at my tables to date and they are pretty darn resourceful.

Yeah, the artist did a great job. I like that, although the artist used tiles to build these maps, this map is detailed in ways that the tiles alone cannot match.
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