Ask the Author (Fury of the Wastewalker)

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Hey Nick, thanks for making yourself available.

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Can Ralo be killed?  Should be make his death saves if he gets knocked out, and roll a 20 at the end of the fight?  I figure the enemies in 1-4 should be focusing on him until he is down, it will buy the players some time to deal with the encounter, but I don't want to kill off an important NPC.
What makes me sad - no more compiled magazines: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/27580349/Dungeon_and_Dragon_Magazine_PDFs&post_num=24#495423645
On Ralo

The only important details of Ralo's existence are that he is a wanderer and an arcanist. Otherwise, he's yours to create.

He can be killed, that's why i included his HPs and defenses.
 
This adventure is really starting to build up, and the players are really getting into the setting. Thanks again, Nick, for an intriguing storyline!

My Silly Session 1-4 Questions


. What does Ralo's headdress look like?

. How did you envision Ralo bestowing the Mystery of the Hidden Veil? I have a feeling he will be at death's door, whispering something to the two characters with his final breath.

. The Poisonscale Magus is an agent of the Wastewalker, right? Am I correct that he fights to the death, as he is way more afraid of the Wastewalker than anything else?

I'm going to have the Poisonscale Magus sit back and watch the fight for a couple of turns, thinking his DDs can handle the situation. Then, should the party start to get the upper hand, have him enter the fray.

 
Nick, could you tell me what is the Dungeon Tile set you used for chapter 2, other than Caves of Carnage?
Nick, could you tell me what is the Dungeon Tile set you used for chapter 2, other than Caves of Carnage?

Tilesets for Chapter 2

DU3: Caves of Carnage
DT6: Dire Tombs
 
FYI, you do periodically see old tile sets for reasonable amounts. First, check your favorite local gaming store - it can be a nice surprise to find out what old sets they have on their shelves. Second, if you make a practice of scanning Amazon for the tiles you will eventually find them at original prices. It takes persistence, but I've found two copies of every set other than the first for original price or better. You can sometimes get lucky on E-Bay, but that is much harder.

(All of this assuming you don't want to just use the provided map)

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Nick, could you tell me what is the Dungeon Tile set you used for chapter 2, other than Caves of Carnage?


Tilesets for Chapter 2

DU3: Caves of Carnage
DT6: Dire Tombs
 



I haven't tried setting it up yet, but is 1 set of each enough for chapter 2?

Thanks! 

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Tilesets for Chapter 2

DU3: Caves of Carnage
DT6: Dire Tombs
 



thanks, nick.

FYI, you do periodically see old tile sets for reasonable amounts. First, check your favorite local gaming store - it can be a nice surprise to find out what old sets they have on their shelves. Second, if you make a practice of scanning Amazon for the tiles you will eventually find them at original prices. It takes persistence, but I've found two copies of every set other than the first for original price or better. You can sometimes get lucky on E-Bay, but that is much harder.

(All of this assuming you don't want to just use the provided map)



yeah, i'm just starting to get into the dungeon tiles, as i've found that i can get them for a ridiculous deal at Borders with my weekly Borders Rewards email coupons.  this week and last week my coupons have both been 33% off msrp, so i've picked up Arcane Towers and Caves of Carnage for $6.67 each and Harrowing Halls for $8 (plus tax on each, of course).

after opening up Arcane Towers & CoC, i was kinda shocked to find that those were all i would have needed for last season.  this got me wanting to pick up what i need for this season and start using them for the encounters sessions (your pics of your 1-4 setup made me all the more excited to do it, as well).

so i'm planning to get Desert of Athas and the other tile set i need for chapter 2 next.  atleast i know i have what i need for 2-1 & 2-2.  hopefully i can find the other set before 2-3.
Hey Nick,

Couple questions regarding Encounter 1-5:

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Black Sand
Having seen the article for Sunwarped Flats, would it be too much of a stretch having this area be that kind of terrain, or is it more important that it stay as defiled black sand? I guess the reactions of the Ssurans to black sand would preclude it stay as such, but what are your thoughts on this?

Controlling critter 'A'
How did you envision this battle of control playing out? There's nothing indicated in the text to clue the PC's into thinking they can even do such a thing. How would they come to this conclusion? Also, HOW is Nature used to direct its actions? Should the Nature Checks be standard actions? Minor?
 
I asked somewhere else but i was wondering how the characters were designed?

were they designed before or after the module was written?

how much of the character designs and roles was written into the module since it refers to them by name and theme?

i was curious because at sometimes during this module it seems like the characters have no connection to the encounters at all.
Ugh, my original reply got eaten by the forum somehow. I'll try to reproduce it.

Clarification for Encounter 1-5

Black Sand - It makes more sense, story-wise, than the Sunwarped Flats. The ssurans are already sunwarped, but they fear defiled areas. Black Sand appears in the Dark Sun guide; it's not something i just made up.

Creature 'A' - Simple Nature check (moderate DC) to discover that the anhkeg is wild and a potential ally. Contested Nature checks should be minor actions (both for assisting and the actual check itself). I would give a bonus for good roleplaying (banter with the ssuran and such). 

Ssurans - Also, these ssurans have been sunwarped (though they don't have the cool template; i wasn't allowed), so describe them as such. Blistered flesh, brillant colors, weird minor mutations, etc. 

PCs and story - The PCs were designed to fit the story, but i tried not to tie the story too directly to them because i knew that a certain number of players would bend the "rules" and bring their own. DMs should adjust the story where they see fit to make the characters more prominent. Also, players should find ways to present their characters as part of the story as they interpret it. Storytelling is a collaborative process.


I hope that helps! 
i guess the only real problem is our dm believes that you should follow the modules directly and do real little editing, not something i agree with. he eventually sorta changes it as in 1-4 after we die we immediately get ressurected as from a short rest seeing as how we all died in the first turn, poor castri had only 11 hp rest his soul
i guess the only real problem is our dm believes that you should follow the modules directly and do real little editing, not something i agree with. he eventually sorta changes it as in 1-4 after we die we immediately get ressurected as from a short rest seeing as how we all died in the first turn, poor castri had only 11 hp rest his soul

i would suggest humbly directing your DM to these forums for help preparing the adventure. There's a lot of great info being shared, as well as general tips for how to DM 4th edition. 


Clarification for Encounter 1-5

Creature 'A' - Simple Nature check (moderate DC) to discover that the anhkeg is wild and a potential ally. Contested Nature checks should be minor actions (both for assisting and the actual check itself). I would give a bonus for good roleplaying (banter with the ssuran and such). 

Visually, physically, how did you envision the players using these nature checks to manipulate Creature A? I'm having an akward time realizing how this should play out at the table in a role-playing/interaction sense beyond just saying, "Roll a contested nature check, if you succeed, you can make 'A' attack the lizards."

Ssurans - Also, these ssurans have been sunwarped (though they don't have the cool template; i wasn't allowed), so describe them as such. Blistered flesh, brillant colors, weird minor mutations, etc. 

Cool, didn't realize these ones were warped like the Wastewalker. Will have fun with this...






he is already here you know him as Lucian_Ravenclaw :P
I started looking over Chapter 2 and had a question there.

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As most of the PCs only have weapons & armor listed on their cards, I don't see any equipment or powers that act as a light source, and none in the new chapter apart from the two rooms with lightable terrain.  Is that an intentional omission, or should there be something there?

For now, I plan to let the sorcerer be able to create short bursts of light, basically a strobe effect during the first encounter, and have the materials to make a torch or two amongst the bodies.
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There's mention in the module of being able to fashion about 3 torches out of their supplies.

Don't know why they'd wanna do that considering they have 4 adventurer's kits between them, each of which has 2 sunrods. They're should be just fine for light I think. : )
 
Nick, could you share what tile sets you used for chapter 3 so i can start looking for those?
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There's mention in the module of being able to fashion about 3 torches out of their supplies.

Don't know why they'd wanna do that considering they have 4 adventurer's kits between them, each of which has 2 sunrods. They're should be just fine for light I think. : )
 


Thanks.  I clearly looked too hastily over the character sheets.
Nick, could you share what tile sets you used for chapter 3 so i can start looking for those?



I believe Nick said earlier, that chapter 3 uses the Deserts of Athas tile set again.

[sblock Chapter 3]
After reading how chapter 2 ends it will probably use more of the greener ones, as well as water as water instead of silt.
[/sblock] 

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I have a few questions as we get ready for Chapter 2.

spoiler for disease:

Nick, is the intention that the Sun Sickness attack be used on a PC that lacks Survival Days once per day/chapter or once per encounter? The wording for chapter 2 suggests it is run once only at the beginning of chapter 2 (which is all in one single day, I believe).

Secondly, I am assuming that a PC that is "hit" by Sun Sickness would get a saving throw (as they would "end the encounter" where this attack took place) and only if both hit and then failed the save would they "have sun sickness". This reflects my understanding of diseases (you get hit, you save at the end of the encounter where you were hit, you then suffer initial effect only if you failed the save).

Then, I am assuming they will as usual for a disease make their Endurance (or heal from another PC) check at the end of Chapter 2 when they get an extended rest. They may be cured or worsen along the track depending on the roll. This state should be recorded as they will start with it in chapter 3.

Does that sound right?


Spoiler for second question on chapter 2 finale:

On p. 8 it says in boxed text "As daylight fills your eyes, you smell the familiar dusty air of the surface world once again".

Are they still in the mountains and not in the Forest Ridge? Beyond the Verdant Passage and other sources describe the forest as being incredibly humid (at least as compared to the dry and dusty Tablelands). Just looking for guidance on how best to portray the surroundings so the players get a good sense leading into chapter 3.


Spoiler for question for encounter 2-1 (6):

What is your intention for the pit? If a PC falls in it and is missed, should they just be placed in a square adjacent to the pit? Or should they be on it but considered not to be in it? Not a big deal, just curious.


Spoiler for question for encounter 2-2 (7):

What is your thought on how a PC discovers what can be done with the crystals? Per Customer Service, knowledge checks are free actions. Free action on their turn? Should a DM prompt PCs for this? Nature or Dungeoneering? Or Arcane? DC? Or do they automatically know?


Spoiler for question for encounter 2-3 (8):

For the trap, the squares containing the dart throwers are not specified. "P" marks pressure plates, but it says a PC adjacent to the dart throwers can disable them or reduce their range. Is the idea to pick three squares that are the sources, or should there be more and any 3 disarmed shuts the whole thing down?

Personally, I like the feel of this encounter a lot, though I really am a fan of traps that involve minor actions instead of standard actions. I feel this is especially true of the pressure plate disabling or the half-range blocking. Standards are just too high a cost for this. This is especially true with no PC trained in Thievery (though the reward card could give a +2 to the untrained check).


Commentary for encounter 2-4 (9):

This seems like an especially challenging encounter. Just sayin'. Then again, Hejkin were always mean creatures... For the DMs reading this, I would prep this encounter with extra care.


Question on overall mystery:

Finally, the chapter overall will raise a lot of questions from players as to what is going on. Who built this area, what are the NPCs talking about, of what plot are they finding themselves a part? I hope the answers are coming in chapter 3, but if there is anything we should add in terms of history/culture/hints (such as something being from the Green Age, etc.), it would be good to lay some additional seeds or help reduce any letdown if information is not forthcoming. The more we can make it about Dark Sun, the better.


Thanks! Having finally read through it, it looks pretty cool.

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Nick, could you share what tile sets you used for chapter 3 so i can start looking for those?



thanks nightwalker, but i'd really like a more definitive answer from nick (like exactly which tile sets and how many copies of each).

More details on Chapter 2 / answers for Alphastream1

Sun Sickness: As per the rules on DMG page 49 (under the heading "Infection", the disease will make an attack against the PC (in this case, at the beginning of Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, if necessary). If the attack hits, the PC immediately suffers the initial effect. There is no save for environmental effects that cause disease. If you're hit, you're infected.


Under the section "Disease Progression" at the bottom of page 49, it states: "Once you're infected, make an Endurance check after each extended rest to see if you improve, worsen, or maintain your current condition."


Chapter 2 finale: They actually emerge in the cloudless, dusty, barren side of the Ringing Mountains.


Encounter 2-1 pit: It's listed in the pit stat block: "Miss: The target returns to the last square it occupied and its move action ends." This means if they fell from the bridge, they end up back on the bridge. If the bridge fell too, they end prone on the top of the nearest cliff face.


Encounter 2-2 crystals: I would say moderate DC Dungeoneering check, unless a player has another interesting idea. An example interaction might be: 


DM: "There are some crystals here that faintly glow purple and occasionally shimmer brightly."


Player X: "I examine them closely, are they arcane?"


DM: "No, they don't appear arcane at first glance, but if you know anything about underground passages, make me a Dungeoneering roll."


You get the idea...


Encounter 2-3 dart throwers: Pick any three squares along the edge of the room.


Encounter 2-4 challenge: This is another encounter where the PCs might use a diplomatic approach to solve this encounter. Grabbing one hejkin and negotiating from a position of power might work to the PCs advantage here. They aren't the smartest creatures, so they might be easily mislead by creative ideas from the PCs.


Overall mystery: There are really two main goals to the story of this Chapter. First, to provide a sense of history to the world of Dark Sun. Long ago, during the Green Age, great empires of men ruled over a verdant world and built tombs to honor their dead. This is one of those lost tombs, and it houses restless spirits tied to Athas and awaiting a return of the balance of primordial forces that shaped their world ages ago. They know about the defiling and preserving arcane forces and believe the preservers hold the key to the future of Athas. They also know of the Wastewalker from their connection to the escaped elemental  flame spirit, with whom they have a magical connection. The spirits try to convince the PCs that the Wastewalker is misguided and can be reformed rather than merely eliminated. 


Second, and secondarily, the tomb is a place where other adventurers have explored and died. It is filled with the necrotic energy of the dead explorers, which has made it a restless place and all the more dangerous. Small relics litter all the passages of the cave and lower tomb, like fuel for the necrotic powers that animate the dead. It is a restless place that wants to be found, but only by those who might help revive Athas, not by those who seek to gain fortune for themselves.



I hope this helps and you all enjoy Chapter 2!


That helps, especially on the overall mystery. Thanks!

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That was beautiful, Nick. THANK YOU.

Here's where Nick replied earlier on Tile Sets.

Info on future Dungeon Tiles

Chapter 3 uses the Desert of Athas tiles. I don't remember how many sets you need to make them. I think i limited it to two.

Chapter two uses both the Caves of Carnage and Dire Tombs. I realize the latter is out of print, but c'est la vie. I also don't remember how many of each set i used; I think one of each. 
 



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thanks nightwalker.  i really appreciate it. 
what i was really wanting to know was

if any additional tile sets were used, in conjunction with Desert of Athas (like maybe Sinister Woods for the Halflings lush valley, if we end up there).  i couldn't really tell one way or another by his earlier post.

i guess i'll infer from his unwillingness to address my recent questions that's he feels already given all the information needed, which means it's only Desert of Athas for chapter 3.  thanks again!
tilesets for Chapter 3

2x Sinister Woods
2x Deserts of Athas
 
tilesets for Chapter 3

2x Sinister Woods
2x Deserts of Athas
 



Oh noes..  Hmm hopefully by next month,  i can talk the wife into letting me get a couple more..

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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tilesets for Chapter 3

2x Sinister Woods
2x Deserts of Athas
 



thanks nick!  that's exactly the info i was looking for.  i had the store i run the program at order me a couple copies of DoA and was able to pick them up last night.  now i just need to locate 2 copies of the other one in the next few weeks.
tilesets for Chapter 3

2x Sinister Woods
2x Deserts of Athas
 



Oh noes..  Hmm hopefully by next month,  i can talk the wife into letting me get a couple more..

I could be wrong, but i'm erring on the side of extra sets. It could be 1x and 1x.
I could be wrong, but i'm erring on the side of extra sets. It could be 1x and 1x.



well,
i know where to find

one set of Sinister Woods.


is there anyway for you to find out for sure how many sets are needed?
Would it be possible for the author to contact his WOTC contacts and ask them if they can consider changing the format the modules are printed in.  i.e print them like the LFR modules

This would make it much easier on new DM's and experienced DM's alike. 
Nick regarding chapter two tile sets
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Im ordering Dire tombs from online is it one or two I need and same for caves of carnage
I'm second from the left in the picture.


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looking at the maps, it appears to be one just of each of those,
but may i ask

where you're getting Dire Tombs from, as i've been unable to find it?
Would it be possible for the author to contact his WOTC contacts and ask them if they can consider changing the format the modules are printed in.  i.e print them like the LFR modules

This would make it much easier on new DM's and experienced DM's alike. 



The LFR format is very different than the standard WotC format. I suspect they will not change. They seem to really like splitting up the encounter setup and the actual combats. I share your disagreement with the format.

looking at the maps, it appears to be one just of each of those,
but may i ask

where you're getting Dire Tombs from, as i've been unable to find it?


I got in the habit of searching Amazon every week. I was surprised to find every now and then one of the tile sets I would need would be on there from a third party for a reasonable price (at or below the original cover price).  Every now and then I would also score a reasonable bid on E-bay or on another book site, but it is hard to have that work. Unfortunately, it takes time (until the new Master tile sets come out).

Edit: Just scored Hidden Crypts, for which I had been loking for a long time.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

Would it be possible for the author to contact his WOTC contacts and ask them if they can consider changing the format the modules are printed in.  i.e print them like the LFR modules

This would make it much easier on new DM's and experienced DM's alike. 



The LFR format is very different than the standard WotC format. I suspect they will not change. They seem to really like splitting up the encounter setup and the actual combats. I share your disagreement with the format.

looking at the maps, it appears to be one just of each of those,
but may i ask

where you're getting Dire Tombs from, as i've been unable to find it?


I got in the habit of searching Amazon every week. I was surprised to find every now and then one of the tile sets I would need would be on there from a third party for a reasonable price (at or below the original cover price).  Every now and then I would also score a reasonable bid on E-bay or on another book site, but it is hard to have that work. Unfortunately, it takes time (until the new Master tile sets come out).




Yeah I know its different than their Standard format.  I am just saying that going to the LFR format at least for Encounters would help out new and experienced DM's alike. 

While i think the discussion of adventure formatting is a good one, please remember this thread is intended as a Q&A with the author (me). Please keep your posts on topic and if you wish to discuss other topics, create a new thread.
While i think the discussion of adventure formatting is a good one, please remember this thread is intended as a Q&A with the author (me). Please keep your posts on topic and if you wish to discuss other topics, create a new thread.



Actually the question was posed to you originally.  To see if perhaps you could send the idea up the chain to your contacts.
Would it be possible for the author to contact his WOTC contacts and ask them if they can consider changing the format the modules are printed in.  i.e print them like the LFR modules

This would make it much easier on new DM's and experienced DM's alike. 



I run LFR every week and am not 100% in agreement with you on this.... PLEASE, be more clear in what specifically you want changed to be more like LFR.
Links that I find very useful, will be added here. http://community.wizards.com/vinciente/blog/2010/02/24/useful_damp;d_pageslinks