White Plume Mountain Skill Challenge

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I am in process of converting the classic White Plume Mountain to 4th edition for my gaming group.

I am looking at the giant mud room with the hanging disks that the characters have to cross.

Seems like this could be a cool Skill Challenge.  Just fishing for any ideas on best way to run this room. 

oddly enough, i was thinking about white plume mountain just this morning--in fact, this very room--but i don't recall the specifics sufficiently well to make any really useful contributions.

do however consider making perception a secondary skill to permit better-timed jumps (+2 to athletics checks?). and i can't help thinking endurance might be useful--those discs are suspended over lava or something, right?

Wizards did a 3.5 conversion of White Plume Mountain several years ago. Not sure if you can still find it on the WoTC site. Luckily I downloaded and saved the PDF.
EDIT: Found it! www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/200...

For this room they used “jump” checks to move from one disk to the next using the following results (no running jumps except for the first disk):

Check Result
14+ Success. The character has landed safely in the middle of the next disk.

12–13 Partial Success. The character has landed on the disk, but it is wobbling dangerously. The character must now succeed on a DC 15 Balance check (+5 modifier for a slick surface included) or slide off (treat as a result of 10–11).

10–11 Marginal Success. The character didn’t clear the gap but can grab onto the edge of the target disk with a DC 15 Reflex save. If he succeeds, he can pull himself up with a move action and a DC 20 Climb check (+5 modifier for a slick surface included). If the save fails, or if the Climb check fails by 5 or more, the character falls (treat as a result of 9 or below).

9 or below Failure. The character misses the next disk entirely and falls into the mud below unless secured by a rope to an outcropping or another character (see above). The fall deals 1d6 points of lethal damage and 2d3 points of nonlethal damage (just like falling into water), but the character then takes 10d6 points of fire damage per round of immersion in the hot mud.

You could set up something like this using Athletics checks in place of the “jump” checks and Acrobatics in place of the balance checks and reflex saves. Maybe rather than having the "9 or below failure" mean instantly falling into the mud have the first two failures cost a surge each, with the third meaning you fall into the mud and take a boat load of damage?

From the map of the room, it looks like there are 9 disks, so you could use 9 successes to cross safely. I guess you could do this for each person trying to cross, or using group checks. Though it seems having more than one person on one of those disks at at time would be sketchy at best and likely increase the DCs or add a check penalty.

Roping up could increase the chance of crossing safely (maybe a +2 to Acrobatics checks to keep from falling), but might increase the chances of a falling character pulling others with him/her. I like blake_marlowe's Perception check idea (make it a minor action). And maybe you could use Endurance checks after a certain period of time, say after two rounds you have to make an Endurance check or lose a surge because its hot as **** in here. You could or could not count those successes and failures against the total.

For the mud geysers, they had some erupting every 5th round and others erupting every 3rd round. I would treat each of those like a trap with a level appropriate burst attack. You could have them erupting regularly or randomly or a mixture of both. On a hit Damage plus some rider/ongoing damage? or requiring of an Athletics check to avoid slipping?

The disks are 4 feet in diameter with about 3 feet between each. I would say treat each disk as 1 square and the space between as 1 square, but treat them all as difficult terrain. If you did that, a character with speed 5 or 6 could cover three discs per turn with a double move. Speed 7 could cover four discs. That would mean taking 2-3 rounds for characters to cross all 9. You could have a failure result in movement stopping as they recover their balance/hang on for dear life.

Just some ideas to get you started, obviously they need to be fine tuned.

Here is what I ended up doing.  I opted out of a skill challenge.  Instead, it is just a hazard.  Skill checks determine how long it take to pass through the hazardous area.  The longer that they are in range, the more often they are attacked.  I totally removed the fall to your death option, but falling characters will have to spend movement point climbing back up the ropes which will keep them getting attacked longer.  

I don't like that the characters will have to go through this again to get back.  Any ideas on a different way of handling the return trip?

This chamber requires the characters to negotiate an unusual bridge over a lethal boiling mud pit.

Beyond the door is a ledge—a short extension of rock placed high on the wall of an enormous natural cavern. Far below, a vast mud pit boils and bubbles. A series of wooden disks, each suspended from the ceiling by a massive steel chain, forms a set of “stepping stones” that lead across the cave to another ledge on the far side.

The ceiling averages 50 feet above the level of the platform.  About 50 feet below the ledge is a deep pool of boiling mud.

The Disks
Each wooden disk is about 4 feet in diameter and hangs about 3 feet from its nearest neighbors. Each is attached to its chain by a giant ring fixed in its center.  The disks swing freely and tilt when any weight is placed upon them. The disks and chains, as well as the walls of the cavern, are covered with a wet, slippery scum of algae that live on the water and nutrients spewed up from the geysers. This coating gives off a feeble phosphorescent glow (the equivalent of shadowy illumination) that provides dim light throughout the room.

Characters can cross the cavern by stepping (or leaping) from one disk to the next. Moving safely from one disk to another requires a Athletics (Jump DC 10) check. A running jump (which cuts all target numbers by one-half) is impossible except to reach the first disk.  On a failed check, character needs to make a saving throw to grab the edge of the disk.

Because of the slippery conditions of the disks, any movement on a disk requires a Moderate Acrobatics (Balance) check.

The PCs can rope together to improve their chances of crossing safely.  A character that falls off can climb back up with an Athletics (climb) check, DC 10.

The Geysers
The slippery platforms aren’t the only threat this cavern has to offer. Points A and B mark the locations of hot mud geysers. Make sure to track the passage of game time, starting with the round the door is opened.

Mud Geyser Level 9 Blaster
A geyser of super heated mud explodes from the pit.
Hazard: The geysers attack every round they erupt, on their initiative.
Perception      DC 28: The character detects the geyser before moving within 6 squares of it.
Nature      DC 24: The character recognizes the danger of the geyser before moving within 6 squares of it.
Initiative +3
Trigger Geyser A spouts on every fifth round (round 5, 10, 15, and so forth), while Geyser B spouts on every third round (round 3, 6, 9, 12, and so forth). 
Attack Standard Action      
Close burst 3
Targets Creatures in burst
Attack: +12 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d8 + 4 fire damage.  
Anyone hit must do make an Acrobatics check or be knocked off the disk.
Miss: Half damage.
Acrobatics DC 28: A character in the burst can minimize the damage of the geyser with a successful check made as an immediate interrupt before the geyser’s attack. With a successful check, the character takes half damage if the geyser hits and no damage if it misses.
Looks pretty cool. I think your approach of just making it a hazard makes more sense. Have you run anyone through it yet? I'm curious as to how long it took/will take a party to move through it. Do players that fall off take any damage from plunging into the mud? (or are you assuming they will rope up and not fall all the way to the bottom?)

In regards to the return trip, maybe a one-way secret passage that brings them back to the hallway before the platform? (Seems kind of cheezy I know.) One-way teleporter? Something that activates an invisble "force" bridge for a short period of time? Or raises a stone bridge from the mud below?

Also, I was thinking about what I would do as a player facing this challenge. One thing I thought about was stringing a second rope (the first being tied around my waist) through the chains on the way across to serve as a handrail for following characters and to ease the return trip. If your players did this, you could make the return trip a series of easy checks (or give a significant bonus to jump checks) and hopefully it will take much less time.

I'd be interested in hearing about how your players do if/when you run it, and your thoughts on how it all played out. I love White Plume Mountain and have thought about converting it to 4e.

Have you tackled the inverted pyramid with the altering stone and water layers? I would be interested in seeing your take on that too. Good luck!
I have not had a chance to play it yet.  I am planning to run it for 2 different groups.  One is a bunch of experienced players and one is a group of 8-12 year old kids.  I imagine that it will be quite different between the 2 groups.

The inverted ziggarat is pretty much the same as in 1st edition.  I just changed out the creatures a bit.  I did not include the chutes included in the 3rd edition version.


This room offers a wide variety of challenges.

 Unseen light sources illuminate a vast chamber. A set of ledges ringing the room creates a stairstep effect, with wide ledges leading down into a central area about 40 feet below. Strange creatures roam around each ledge.

 This enormous room is constructed as a set of concentric, rectangular terraces descending in 10-foot increments to a floor 40 feet below the entrance. The top level (26A) is bare and featureless, but each additional step holds hungry creatures bent on devouring the PCs.  Two of the terraces (26B and 26D) are filled to the brim with water, like gigantic tanks. A door leads out from the far wall of the bottom level (26E).

 Each terrace is surrounded by a 6-inch-thick wall and ceiling made of magically treated iron that has been rendered transparent. This arrangement effectively turns each terrace into a 10-foot-wide, 10-foot-high hallway ringing the chamber.

 26A. Empty Terrace

This level contains neither creatures nor points of interest.

 26B. River Terrace

 This terrace appears to be a mighty flowing river constantly circling the room in a clockwise movement.  The river bed seems to be made up of large rocks worn smooth by the constant flow of the water.

This level is entirely filled with water.  The crayfish remain invisible while waiting for prey to enter the water.  The begin the encounter roughly in the center of each side of the terrace.  A character in the river is slid 6 squares clockwise any time that he begins his turn in the river.

 Creatures:  Lurking in the water are 4 giant crayfish.


Giant Crayfish

Level 8 Soldier

Large aberrant beast (blind)

XP 350

HP 90; Bloodied 45

AC 26; Fortitude 25; Reflex 20; Will 19

Speed 2, swim -2

Initiative +10

Perception +6

Blindsight 10


Natural Camouflage

If the crayfish begins its turn underwater, it becomes invisible until it moves or attacks.

Standard Actions

m Claw • At-Will

Attack: +15 vs. AC

Hit: 4d8 + 3 damage.

M Double Attack • At-Will

Effect: The crayfish makes two claw attacks. If both attacks hit a single target, the target is grabbed. As long as a target is grabbed, the crayfish can’t make claw attacks (but see pincer crush).

M Pincer Crush • At-Will

Attack: +13 vs. Fortitude

Hit: 4d10 + 8 damage.

Effect: Targets a creature the giant crayfish has grabbed.

Bloodied Rage • Encounter

Effect: While the crayfish is bloodied, it takes a –2 penalty to attacks and defenses but gains a +5 bonus on damage rolls.

Skills Stealth +12

Str 22 (+10)

Dex 18 (+8)

Wis 18 (+8)

Con 18 (+8)

Int 3 (+0)

Cha 7 (+2)

Alignment unaligned     Languages —


26C. Desert Terrace

A thin layer of sand covers the floor of this arid level, and desiccated bones lie scattered about.

 Creatures: Three monstrous scorpions roam this terrace.


Hellstinger Scorpion

Level 13 Soldier

Large immortal beast

XP 800

HP 130; Bloodied 65

AC 28; Fortitude 26; Reflex 26; Will 25

Speed 8

Resist 20 fire

Initiative +12

Perception +9

Tremorsense 5

Standard Actions

m Claws (fire) • At-Will

Attack: +20 vs. AC

Hit: 2d6 + 4 damage, and a Large or smaller target is grabbed (until escape). A grabbed target takes 10 fire damage at the start of the hellstinger scorpion’s turn.

M Hellish Sting (fire, poison) • At-Will

Attack: +18 vs. Fortitude

Hit: 1d8 + 4 damage, and the target takes ongoing 10 fire and poison damage and is weakened (save ends both). The hellstinger scorpion can use this attack against a target it has grabbed.

Triggered Actions

M Reactive Sting • At-Will

Trigger: When an enemy grabbed by the scorpion escapes.

Effect (Immediate Interrupt): The hellstinger scorpion makes a hellish sting attack against the enemy.

Str 19 (+10)

Dex 19 (+10)

Wis 16 (+9)

Con 18 (+10)

Int 1 (+1)

Cha 13 (+7)

Alignment unaligned     Languages —

 26D. Ocean Terrace

 This water in this terrace constantly crashes with large waves seemingly coming from nowhere.  The breaking surf makes it impossible to see past the surface of the water, but occasionally large fins break the surface hinting at what dwells below.

 This level is entirely filled with water.

 Creatures: Three sharks swim through this terrace.  They attack on sight, moving about the terrace to surround intruders.


Flesheater Shark

Level 10 Brute

Large natural beast (aquatic)

XP 500

HP 128; Bloodied 64

AC 22; Fortitude 23; Reflex 21; Will 22

Speed 1 (clumsy), swim 8

Initiative +8

Perception +9

Low-Light Vision



While in water, a fleshtearer shark gains a +2 bonus to damage rolls against any creature without a swim speed.

Standard Actions

m Bite • At-Will

Attack: +13 vs. AC

Hit: 2d8 + 7 damage.

M Lockjaw Charge • At-Will

Requirements: Usable only while the flesheater shark is not grabbing a creature.

Attack: The shark charges and makes the following attack in place of a melee basic attack; +14 vs. AC

Hit: 2d8 + 7 damage, and the target is grabbed. When the grab ends, the target takes ongoing 5 damage (save ends).

M Shredding Teeth • At-Will

Effect: No attack roll (Targets a creature grabbed by the flesheater shark); damage.

Triggered Actions

Feeding Frenzy • At-Will

Trigger: When the flesheater shark starts its turn within 5 squares of a bloodied cerature.

Effect: The shark must make a bite attack against a creature adjacent to it. If the shark is grabbing a creature, the grab ends.

Str 21 (+10)

Dex 16 (+8)

Wis 18 (+9)

Con 18 (+9)

Int 2 (+1)

Cha 15 (+7)

Alignment unaligned     Languages —

 26E. Center Terrace

 This terrace is littered with gnawed bones, and deep grooves in its stone walls bear silent testimony to the wrath of some beast that resented its confinement.

 Creatures: Two manticores live in the center of the room.  Their wings are clipped, so they cannot fly up to engage the party, but they will fire spikes at the party during their descent.  Make sure to account for cover and line of fire.



Level 10 Elite Skirmisher

Large natural magical beast (mount)

XP 1,000

HP 210; Bloodied 105

AC 26; Fortitude 24; Reflex 24; Will 22

Speed 6, fly 8, overland flight 10

Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1

Initiative +12

Perception +13


Standard Actions

m Claw • At-Will

Attack: +15 vs. AC

Hit: 2d6 + 5 damage.

R Spike • At-Will

Attack: Ranged 10; +15 vs. AC

Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage. Hit or.

Miss: The manticore shifts 3 squares after making the attack.

R Manticore’s Fury • At-Will

Effect: The manticore makes a claw attack and a spike attack (in any order) and shift 1 square between the two attacks.

A Spike Volley • Recharge 3 4 5 6

Attack: Area burst 1 within 10; +15 vs. AC

Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage.

Skills Stealth +15

Str 21 (+10)

Dex 20 (+10)

Wis 17 (+8)

Con 17 (+8)

Int 4 (+2)

Cha 12 (+6)

Alignment chaotic evil     Languages Common


Looks good. One question though, it looks like you kept the invisible walls and ceilings separating each tier, but you said you did away with the chutes between levels. How were you envisioning the players moving between tiers? Do they have to break through the walls? Or do they drop automatically after each level is cleared of monsters? Also, wouldn't the walls keep the manticores from firing tail spikes as the player descend?

I don't have my 1e module infront of me now, but am I correct in thinking that it did not have the invisible walls and ceilings? I think I like the "open air" approach better to the 3.5e enclosed one. That way you have to dodge manticore spikes the entire time and could possibly jump over the water tanks or fly straight down, ...ect.

Thanks for posting your conversions! Hope you don't mind if I "borrow" them if/when I ever take a stab at running S2 in 4e.
I was planning on going back to the 1st edition set up.  It had invisible walls, but not ceilings.  Manticore could only take pot shots at characters as they are either changing levels or on the lips.

No problem with you using it.  I have the entire thing set up as a rtf file, but I don't know how attach a file through here.  I took the pdf of the revisit and adjusted things from there.  Kept some of their changes and got rid of others.  I liked the idea of the mimic for the turnstile, but I added a portculis trap there too, so that the mimic attacks the last character and drops a portculis to prevent rescue.

The monsters, I just pulled equivalents out of monster builder or leveled them up or down a bit to fit.

I guess that I could just post it all, but that seems awful big.  Let me know if you want a copy. 
I would love to get a copy. Thanks for offering. I'll send you a PM with my email address.
I also would like a copy. Thanks.
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