Dungeon 184 - Lord of the White Field: An Adventure for Levels 6-8

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Dungeon 184
Lord of the White Field: An Adventure for Levels 6-8

by Daniel Marthaler

Ghouls howl for flesh as they stalk the corpse-strewn streets of Hampstead.

Talk about this Adventure here.




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I read through it during my lunchbreak, and I was very impressed. I like the tone and feel, and I would love to stretch my CoC legs again as a DM in the DnD system.  With all the nerdrage I have been experiencing in the last days, it is great to see a DDI output that I am just happy about. While I am not going to run the adventure in the near future, the way that it handles the encounters is a great resource for DMs wanting to run horror themed games. Two thumbs up! 
Mad Scientist
This was one of the best 4e Dungeon adventures that I've read.  Bravo to the author!
Tim Eagon My DDI Articles Follow me on Twitter @Tim_Eagon
I haven't read a Dungeon adventure in a long while that made me want to immediately run it.  But this one did.  And that's awesome.
Wow. I agree with the other posters. This is really well done, and I wish we could see a lot more content like this instead of a Chaos Scar "delve" however many times a month.

Great adventure. Makes me want to integrate it to play up Doresain's role more in the H1 - E3 adventure path.
WOW great adventure. I really liked the tone and the atmosphere of the adventure and how it put the PC in tough situation. The only downside i could say is that it's a little heavy on Ghouls. Ok, the monsters differ in abilities, but the PC will still faces hordes of Ghouls after Ghouls etc...But it's also what makes it a themed adventure. It's the thematic here. So it's redundant only in names....hope players will get to see this.

A word to the author:

Daniel, i really wish you do break into the RPG industry really. You have good writing skills and a good sense of the game. Good luck brother.

Plague




Reference:

About the Author:
Daniel Marthaler is an avid gamer with soaring delusions of
grandeur and dreams of breaking into the industry. Despite
being 6’ 3”, he has a peculiar love of the wee races that populate
the game, most notably gnomes and kobolds.

I agree that this was a quality article and it makes me hope the author has other works in the pipe.  I'm running a horror-themed game currently and there are all sorts of goodies in there for me.

Sadly, I already ran my group through the Dead Before Dawn Chaos Scar mod, so I'm worried that they'll kill me if I have them go up against ANOTHER group of implacable undead...but if maybe it were some humans twisted into aberrant monsters by Far Realms energy instead.... 
I know I've complained recently about the poor quality adventures that Dungeon has been churning out over the last year or so, so I'd just like to pop in and add my kudos to an adventure that looks well done and interesting.
Two things:

1. Great adventure!

2. It's an adventure! It's not a delve. It's no a three-encounter puffing up of Orc & Pie. It's an adventure. Perhaps there is hope for the DDi version of Dungeon? (Of course, there isn't. We'll be back to our content-free Dungeon by next month and Christmas will be used an excuse.)
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Does anyone know what a "Bloated Lacedon" is?  It is mentioned in Encounter H4: The River LeBe.

My guess is that it is a minion version of a Lacedon but there are no stats for it.  Also there is no entry in the compendium..

Otherwise a very interesting adventure!
Just wanted to add my agreement with everyone else in this topic.
I'm running a low level party through mid heroic tier at the moment and this came along at the perfect time for me to include.

The writing is excellent, the encounters are varied and well thought out (despite the intentional abundance of ghouls) and the unit feels great.

More articles of this quality are greatly appreciated =)

Blinkey.
Wow!  This is an excellent article and I would like to see a lot more like this. It has just the right length and the attention to tone and flavour is the kind of writing I'm looking for in an adventure.

Please publish more adventures like this, and most certainly contact the author and ask him to keep on writing. Good stuff!
Started this adventure last night, and it was awesome! The players didn't advance past the ghoul-filled farmlands before we ran out of time for the night, but the encounters were very intense. 

The highpoint was definitely the battle in the farmland. The players chose to distract the ghouls hiding in the field while the family tried to make it across the field unseen. The players managed to score around 10 attention points each round, but that meant they had to stand alone in the field, cut themselves and be prone.

The first ghouls showed themselves during round two, and they started fighting. The warlock lagged behind to blast the ghouls from a safe distance (earning attention points for standing alone) when suddenly 3 more of those nasty field ghouls appeared right behind her on the edge of the map! After almost ending up as ghoul-lunch, she managed to teleport halfway across the field to what she thought was a safe spot. But to her dismay, three ghoul minions were hiding only a few spaces away! The cleric had to come running to save her and destroy the ghouls, but meanwhile those three field ghouls had set their sights on the fighter battling the fourth lone field ghoul. 

In no time, the fighter and the monk's giant ant were surrounded by ghouls trying to eat them. And they almost did, until the sorcerer and the cleric tagteamed to blast the ghouls into oblivion with an avalanche of radiant damage. 

Meanwhile, the family had managed to cross the field to safety, but now more small ghouls started to pour in from all edges of the field. The party went for the better part of valor and managed to make their way to the edge of the forest in safety as well, where they spent a considerable amount of time getting their heal on. Now, Hampstead awaits...
Svendj, great play review. Can you keep us updated on how this adventure plays out? I'm planning on running it in the near future and I'd like to see how you did it to get some ideas of things to do/not do in my own game. This adventure has really got my interest and reading your review has made me want to run it even more. Thanks!
My god.

MY GOD.

A quality adventure in Dungeon, with high quality maps (that are available online untagged!) and great overall theme! So well done to the Author. Please WAY more of this. Way less delves with Dungeon tiles.

PLEASE.
Let me add my kudos. I was creating a divine-themed party just to kick around on my own, and I saw this adventure, which was just the right level. My husband glanced over and saw one of the maps. "What's that?" he asked. "Looks like a great D&D map." "Uh, that's what it is," I said. Our Dark Sun group is going to take a break to do this as a one-shot with the group I designed.

I've run the first two encounters so far, and the fight in the farm house was intense, even for me running it solo.

Wow! Keep it up, guys. And Daniel, if by any chance you are reading this, keep writing adventures. I want to see lots more like this.

Off to run the field encounter. I hope my group does as well svendj's.
Svendj, great play review. Can you keep us updated on how this adventure plays out? I'm planning on running it in the near future and I'd like to see how you did it to get some ideas of things to do/not do in my own game. This adventure has really got my interest and reading your review has made me want to run it even more. Thanks!


Thanks, will do! We continue Monday December 6th, so hopefully I'll be able to do a small write-up next Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The fight in the farmhouse was pretty cool too, with a TOTAL lack of room because of the monk's giant ant standing in the middle of the room! In this fight, the warlock teleported outside the house, only to be ambushed (again!) by 4 ghouls who were climbing the walls. She quickly teleported back inside, hiding behind the giant ant. You'd think she would've learned her lesson then...

Another memorable moment came when gramps (the old man with the rusty sword) tried to defend one of the windows by himself. He got bitten by two little ghoulified children from the farm next door, which cost him his hand. Fortunately, the party's cleric managed to heal the wound and remove the infection, making sure gramps didn't turn into a ghoul as well.
awesome adventure!

more!  more! 
As frustrating as clicking on new content has been lately for this site, an adventure like this has renewed hope for me as well.

Simply put: the article ADDS VALUE.  Thank you.
Note to WotC: Look at how happy your customers/fans are when you actually use Dungeon to publish an adventure rather than a delve.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Long time lurker, first time poster here.  I never thought I would break my lurking status, but I wanted to post and acknowledge what a quality written adventure this is.  This brings back memories of when I would buy actual copies of Dungeon and couldn't wait to get home to plan and plot on how to use the cool adventure ideas I've just read and spring them on my players.  Lord of the White Field does a fantastic job in reminding people why we even play RPGs in the first place:  To have fun.  
I really hope someone from Wizards is reading this thread and noticing the absolute universal praise here and thinking "We should do this more often and not terrible delves!".

I can hope.
Yesterday, the party entered Hampstead to see what all the commotion was about. 

First off, Ghoul Town. This skill challenge is pretty fun if you flavor it correctly. Some memorable moments:
- The sorcerer thought he knew the lay-out of the town, so he climbed a fence to see what was on the other side. Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, a ghoul was waiting for him there. (failed streetwise check)
- The cleric looked around the streets to see if he could spot any ghouls. He didn't see any, so he crossed. Unfortunately for him, he didn't check the roofs. Two small ghoul children were hiding there and jumped him. (failed perception check)
-  The warlock thought about borrowing a page from Shawn of the Dead. He tried impersonating the ghouls to safely cross the street. Amazingly, it worked! This gave the rest of the party some relief. (warlock wanted to try a bluff check. I thought this was awesome but also incredibly difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, she beat a DC 23 check, so I gave the rest of the party a +2 bonus to their next rolls)

After they managed to succesfully hide and rest in the church, they went to the wizard's tower. This party isn't the brightest bunch, so when they found the recording device they immediately activated it. This drew a lot of ghouls. 
The fighter blocked the stairs so the ghouls couldn't get to the top floor that way, but at the start of the second round they came flooding in through the windows! They beat up the sorcerer pretty badly, so he encircled himself in a flame spiral. At that moment, the small ghouls entered through the windows. After the first one burst into flames when rushing the sorcerer, the rest thought it'd be wiser to keep their distance for a few seconds. 

When they got out of the tower alive, the party returned to the church for another extended rest. By this time, the sun started to set. They knew they had to cross the bridge in the center of the town, so that's where they headed next.
The sorcerer blasted the ghouls on the other side of the bridge to pieces, but didn't spot the lacedons hiding under it until one of them climbed up and grabbed him! It jumped over the railing with the sorcerer slung over its back, but the warlock wouldn't have that. She teleported the sorcerer back to the bridge, taking his place in his lacedons arms! She blasted the surprised ghoul and before he could grab hold, she teleported back towards the bridge. 

Meanwhile, two of the three other lacedons were apparently suffering from a bad case of decomposition in their arms. They failed to climb onto the bridge (one even for two turns in a row!) dropping back into the water with a huge splash, much to the hilarity of the players.
You see, the lacedons need to make an athletics check DC 15 to climb the bridge. They have a +12 bonus to athletics, but somehow I managed to roll three 1's in a row. This made the combat significantly easier for the players, but also a lot more hilarious. 

After crossing the bridge, they went to the Harwick home where they encountered an enraged Beth-ghoul in the cellar. A pretty standard fight ensued, the highpoint being the moment Beth punched the cleric out of the house with a direct uppercut from the cellar! She has the Smash Aside power which slides the target four squares and knocks him prone. She used it from the cellar so I thought this would make for a nice uppercut. 

Wednesday, the heroes will make their way to the farmstead of Darien in the fading daylight...
-  The warlock thought about borrowing a page from Shawn of the Dead. He tried impersonating the ghouls to safely cross the street. Amazingly, it worked! This gave the rest of the party some relief. (warlock wanted to try a bluff check. I thought this was awesome but also incredibly difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, she beat a DC 23 check, so I gave the rest of the party a +2 bonus to their next rolls)


coolness
I find this very well done! Im planing to use it in the heroic series of The H1-H3. Just after the H2 if they want to. Much beter than that Bad werewolf one in the dungeon article 185. Oh and also, Wheree's these Dungeon maps? Are they printable at a site?
CENTER]IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/9.jpg)[/CENTER]
Oh and also, Wheree's these Dungeon maps? Are they printable at a site?



They seem to release the art one month after the e-zine release.

Keep checking the archives.

Wednesday, the heroes will make their way to the farmstead of Darien in the fading daylight...



Thanks for the notes, i definetely inted to run this adventure.

Can you post the rest of the report on the adventure?

After safely reaching the other side of the bridge, the heroes made a break for Darien's farmhouse, trying to dodge the ghouls but unable to prevent an ambush. After a short but bloody fight, they came upon the ruined home of the former farmer (heh). 

Once inside the house, most partymembers searched the entry room for clues. The halfling monk, however, decided to search the rest of the house. There he came upon a bed which held the corpse of what was once a pretty girl. 

In the meantime, the sorcerer decided to inspect the insane writings scribbled all over the walls. That's when all hell broke loose - the heroes started getting visions of blood, teeth and torn flesh. Suddenly, their partymembers started to look very tasty... 

The halfling suddenly saw a spirit rise up from the body of the girl, which seemed to conjure up feelings of hopelessness and despair. But he succesfully countered them and fled through the house towards the others. The moment he came upon them, however, they were all assaulted with the terrible visions of what happened here. The visions lasted for what felt like an eternity, but was only a few seconds in reality. 

After the heroes came to, they stared upon a horrid visage: the spirit of the pretty girl the halfling saw earlier had turned into a flesh-eating ghoul. And as if that wasn't enough, more ghouls came running from the back rooms! The heroes fought valiantly, but were surprised and horrified to see the ghoulish woman stand up time and again after they had struck her down, seemingly resurrected by the powers of the mansion. One by one, the heroes managed to flee the house, but not without sustaining severe damage. 

(the players failed the skill challenge badly, 4 failures after 5 rolls. The woman and the ghouls kicked their butts and they managed to escape the house with only a few healing surges left. This would prove to be an interesting bossfight!) 

Once outside the house, the heroes were overcome with a dreadful feeling of premonition: whatever lived inside this house once had been alerted by their meddling and was coming for them! The screams of the ghouls inside the city had magnified and they knew it would only be a matter of time before they had to face their leader. 

Seeing as how the farm lied on the outskirts of the town, the heroes wisely chose not to return to the city but instead choose an open field for the showdown with the undead monstrosity. The sorcerer hid in a tree, with the priest and the warlock standing behind it. The dragonborn fighter stood like a mountain in the middle of the field, while the sneaky monk skirted around its edges. 

Despite the warnings and their preparations, the blood froze in their veins once the Chosen of the Ghoul King entered the field. A small horde of ghouls traveled alongside him, as well as a man completely covered in what can only be described as skin drapings. The man spoke of the Chosen of Doresain and the feast of flesh that was soon to follow. With those words, the ghouls charged. 

When the Ghoul King closed, the heroes saw to their horror that their own flesh slowly started peeling back. This must be the influence of the beast, getting ready to devour them all. (this was my description of his vulnerable 5 all aura) Despite this, the fighter bravely engaged the Ghoul King, while the monk ran at an almost impossible speed towards the shouting figure.

But while the massive ghoul and the dragonborn were duking it out, the warlock suddenly appeared between them and shrouded the whole area in an impenetrable arcane darkness. This gave the heroes time to quickly finish off the horde of ghouls, who were that much more dangerous due to the influence of the Ghoul King (the minions are multo dangerous if the players have vulnerable 5 all!). 

After a while, the darkness lifted. The Ghoul King quickly looked around him, only to see the monk deliver the final blow to the former priest of Tempus who he had so skillfully managed to convert. No matter, the beast thought, I will take them down myself. 

At that moment, the fighter, monk and cleric charged him. But they unwittingly played right into his hands. He opened his mouth to unleash a horrible scream, and while the three heroes were stunned, he took a ravaging bite out of their bodies. (this was his encounter power, which hit like a ton of bricks!)

But with their superior numbers, the heroes were slowly but surely wearing the beast down. The priest and the sorcerer rained down holy energy upon it, and the fighter and monk flanked him, striking where he was most vulnerable. Then, just as the Ghoul King turned around after trying to claw the halfling monk, the dragonborn released a giant roar, lifting up his sword and delivering a deathblow that cleaved the skull of the Ghoul King. Finally, the battle was over. 

In the minutes that followed, the heroes saw ghouls run from the town, mostly chasing and eating each other in a wild frenzy of unleashed hunger. The heroes fled the carnage as quickly as they could, eager to return to the peaceful town of Brunswick to deliver their report. There, they were received and honored by the townspeople. Although they never asked for any rewards, the local clergy saw it fit to give them some of the holy relics of Tempus as a prize for destroying the abomination. But what the consequences of the ghoul infestation will be for the rest of the area, nobody knows...
After safely reaching the other side of the bridge, the heroes made a break for Darien's farmhouse, trying to dodge the ghouls but unable to prevent an ambush. After a short but bloody fight, they came upon the ruined home of the former farmer (heh). 

Once inside the house, most partymembers searched the entry room for clues. The halfling monk, however, decided to search the rest of the house. There he came upon a bed which held the corpse of what was once a pretty girl. 

In the meantime, the sorcerer decided to inspect the insane writings scribbled all over the walls. That's when all hell broke loose - the heroes started getting visions of blood, teeth and torn flesh. Suddenly, their partymembers started to look very tasty... 

The halfling suddenly saw a spirit rise up from the body of the girl, which seemed to conjure up feelings of hopelessness and despair. But he succesfully countered them and fled through the house towards the others. The moment he came upon them, however, they were all assaulted with the terrible visions of what happened here. The visions lasted for what felt like an eternity, but was only a few seconds in reality. 

After the heroes came to, they stared upon a horrid visage: the spirit of the pretty girl the halfling saw earlier had turned into a flesh-eating ghoul. And as if that wasn't enough, more ghouls came running from the back rooms! The heroes fought valiantly, but were surprised and horrified to see the ghoulish woman stand up time and again after they had struck her down, seemingly resurrected by the powers of the mansion. One by one, the heroes managed to flee the house, but not without sustaining severe damage. 

(the players failed the skill challenge badly, 4 failures after 5 rolls. The woman and the ghouls kicked their butts and they managed to escape the house with only a few healing surges left. This would prove to be an interesting bossfight!) 

Once outside the house, the heroes were overcome with a dreadful feeling of premonition: whatever lived inside this house once had been alerted by their meddling and was coming for them! The screams of the ghouls inside the city had magnified and they knew it would only be a matter of time before they had to face their leader. 

Seeing as how the farm lied on the outskirts of the town, the heroes wisely chose not to return to the city but instead choose an open field for the showdown with the undead monstrosity. The sorcerer hid in a tree, with the priest and the warlock standing behind it. The dragonborn fighter stood like a mountain in the middle of the field, while the sneaky monk skirted around its edges. 

Despite the warnings and their preparations, the blood froze in their veins once the Chosen of the Ghoul King entered the field. A small horde of ghouls traveled alongside him, as well as a man completely covered in what can only be described as skin drapings. The man spoke of the Chosen of Doresain and the feast of flesh that was soon to follow. With those words, the ghouls charged. 

When the Ghoul King closed, the heroes saw to their horror that their own flesh slowly started peeling back. This must be the influence of the beast, getting ready to devour them all. (this was my description of his vulnerable 5 all aura) Despite this, the fighter bravely engaged the Ghoul King, while the monk ran at an almost impossible speed towards the shouting figure.

But while the massive ghoul and the dragonborn were duking it out, the warlock suddenly appeared between them and shrouded the whole area in an impenetrable arcane darkness. This gave the heroes time to quickly finish off the horde of ghouls, who were that much more dangerous due to the influence of the Ghoul King (the minions are multo dangerous if the players have vulnerable 5 all!). 

After a while, the darkness lifted. The Ghoul King quickly looked around him, only to see the monk deliver the final blow to the former priest of Tempus who he had so skillfully managed to convert. No matter, the beast thought, I will take them down myself. 

At that moment, the fighter, monk and cleric charged him. But they unwittingly played right into his hands. He opened his mouth to unleash a horrible scream, and while the three heroes were stunned, he took a ravaging bite out of their bodies. (this was his encounter power, which hit like a ton of bricks!)

But with their superior numbers, the heroes were slowly but surely wearing the beast down. The priest and the sorcerer rained down holy energy upon it, and the fighter and monk flanked him, striking where he was most vulnerable. Then, just as the Ghoul King turned around after trying to claw the halfling monk, the dragonborn released a giant roar, lifting up his sword and delivering a deathblow that cleaved the skull of the Ghoul King. Finally, the battle was over. 

In the minutes that followed, the heroes saw ghouls run from the town, mostly chasing and eating each other in a wild frenzy of unleashed hunger. The heroes fled the carnage as quickly as they could, eager to return to the peaceful town of Brunswick to deliver their report. There, they were received and honored by the townspeople. Although they never asked for any rewards, the local clergy saw it fit to give them some of the holy relics of Tempus as a prize for destroying the abomination. But what the consequences of the ghoul infestation will be for the rest of the area, nobody knows...



I liked the report. Thanks Svenji!
Anyways.. I found the maps in the archive and saved them. This looks like an great adventure to grind in a party.
CENTER]IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/9.jpg)[/CENTER]
[Report of the adventure]


Thanks for the report, it seems it really deliver on what it promissses.

Any after-game notes, some things that could be changed to improve the experience?

Im thinking of using the Vor Rukoth ruins side of the map for the village, and making the rest with tiles, unless i can get a way to cheaply print the original maps. 

Im REALLY looking forward to play this one, but the party is still much behind and i have a few things to setup first anyway

Let's see, what would I change...

- I'd come up with a good reason the church has been slaughtered, but is now safe. While the ghouls can attack anywhere else, why don't they approach the church? (which they know the heroes are in because they either saw them enter or hear their racket)
- In the combat in front of the church, don't give the players too much ground between them and the ghouls. Otherwise the ghouls will charge, stop just short of the players and get chopped to pieces.
- READ UP ON THE RULES REGARDING GRABBING AND MOVING WITH A GRABBED TARGET! I didn't, and missed out on a lot of opportunities to drag the players off, which the adventure specifically says you should do. You should mostly do this with the minions, since they're so numerous.
- Don't roll for the lacedon's Athletics checks, but make them climb the bridge automatically ;)
Let's see, what would I change...


Nice, will take those into consideration when running the adventure.
What an outstanding adventure!

Can't wait to queue up the theme from "28 Days Later" as the party begins to explore the camp.  Everyone who has DMed in my group has tried his hand at a waves-of-zombies encounter or two, but this one does it better than I've ever seen and is a full-fledged adventure to boot.   
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