Scepter Tower of Spellgard - 3D Paper Terrain (Spoilers!)

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I'm a paper terrain junky, and I'm about to run the Scepter Tower of Spellgard. 

 Here's some samples - 


IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/119836_CN_GL.jpg)
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2188.jpg)
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2190.jpg)
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2194.jpg)
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2202.jpg)



There are presently 44 pix in the gallery - check them all out here: photobucket.com/sceptertower?albumview=s...
(I tried embedding the slideshow, but photobucket shows them all out of order...)



Wow thats amazing!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Looks awesome!
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56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
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Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
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D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
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Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
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Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
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112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
Just completed the most complicated room: T9 - Master Archanist's Quarters...

 

See all the new pics here: s1099.photobucket.com/home/frandallfarme...

See the now complete tower here: photobucket.com/sceptertower?albumview=s...




Thanks for posting these, frandallfarmer, and reminding me how lacking in talent I am!

Seriously, this is great stuff. Thanks for sharing. 
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
 Seriously, this is great stuff. Thanks for sharing. 



You're welcome! And today we begin the play sessions. I'll be crossposting some of the play pics here in the coming weeks.


The party stopped off at the Monestary of The Precipice for a little social Roleplaying before heading toward the Scepter Tower. They weren't yet sure of their approach, so exploring th e surrounding area seemed to be in order.


As prep, I prepared recordings ot the 2nd, 7th and 12th Analects of Kuryon - which I'll share below - feel free use them for your game:

IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/Analects12plaque.png)

First- I had the 12th Analect posted as a "Dedication Plaque" just inside the main entrance. I established that the tradition when referring to the Analects was to have them read by someone in the room - preferably a monk, but it's not a requirement:

One of the lesser (unnamed) adepts read the dedication plaque:

The Reading of the 12th Analect

When discussion gets around to the history of the Monestary - who built it, and why - I had Thurr Gargengrim read it (at the request of Sister Cherra - who knows that though he is a skeptic, he still loves the history and poetry of the Analects):

The Reading of the 2nd Analect

Here's a photo of the ruins where they fought the homunculi...
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2275.jpg)


And the 7th Analect was solemnly read by Master Allendi after the party returned with the alabaster pillar.

The Reading of the 7th Analect


The ruins look great.

Are these all custom creations or do you design your own?

There is a chance that my next campaign is going to start in Loudwater and basically follow the FRCG mini-adventures and then Sceptre Tower so I was wondering: did you do any updating of the monster stats or other re-design work to make Sceptre Tower a better adventure?

I really like the synopsis and some of what I have read but I understand that it suffers from some bad design decisions - specifically those relating to grind - that most early 4E adventures suffered from. Has this been your experience as well or is it all working out well for you?
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
My build for the models is made from materials from several sources:
1) The Ruins map from the module is the base, unmodified.
2) On top of that is a sheet of acrylic to hold it flat and allow me to use glue-dots to set down the walls.
3) The papercraft is from several sources:
  a) Some of the walls are from Fat Dragon Games - EZ Dungeons Deluxe and its Expansion #3 and the Winterhawk Ruins. I kitbashed the expansion 3 wall textures onto the ruined-wall geometry to get a matching ruined wall for that set.
  b) Lord Zsezse Works - two kits E & I Walls set #1 (there is a free sampler on RPGNow) and Ancient Worlds (the temple thing in the center and the platform)

 Here's a shot from another angle to see more detail of the ruins:
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2277.jpg)


As to the adventure itself. I had the same "grindiness" fears when I first purchased it, so I'm slimming it way down. As written, there is hook to skip most of the nonimportant encounters entitiled: Alternative: Taking the Tower.  It starts -

The PCs most likely fight the wererats in the ramparts first, then descend into the catacombs before working their way up through the tower. However, it’s possible for them to wind up in the heart of the tower right from the start—whether on purpose or by
accident.


I've taken that to heart - they are starting this adventure at 3rd level and I only need them to reach 4th to meet my needs - so during the very first session they've already determined the true crisis at hand. Instead of a dungeon slog to ask some mystic a question about their future, they have quickly that they have a role in preventing a great power shift in the land. [As described in my previous post.] A single combat encounter to recover a pillar, and NPCs at the Monastery plus some strange dreams on the way there, and voilà! you cut out a bunch of time eating encounters. Feels more like and episode of Lost than of Lost in Space.

After a little more detective work, they are likely to head directly to the tower. I have the upmost confidence that they will be up to the challange.

So, I've already cut out: [Book 1] The first Ruins enounter , likely all of the semi-random encounters with other seeker-parties, all random encounters, and [Book 2] the ramparts, catacombs and probably the lower 3 floors of the tower (though that's not certain yet - I might channel them downstairs before going up...)

So, I'm guessing somewhere between 10 and 15 encounters at most (5-7 sessions) - and some of those will be handled with no combat, I'm sure.

That's plenty for my money. 

If I need to stretch, I can add more ruins encounters after they clear the tower and complete the task (avoiding spoilers here as much as possible.)

I've changed the monster stats by modding them using the Adventure Tools Monster Monster Builder, moslty just updating the damage to the lastest math, which is a single click operation.








 

Thanks for your reply.

I thought I recognised some of the pieces but the creativity is all your own. Well done.

Cool - that sounds exactly like the way I would run it and I hope to do so next year. Once I'm finished running my Neverwinter campaign I think I will be starting a new campaign in Loudwater that will eventually involve confronting the Netherese. Sceptre Tower fits that plan perfectly... but I will be making much the same changes that you have made.

I hope to see and read more!  
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Thanks for your reply.

I thought I recognised some of the pieces but the creativity is all your own.



The nice thing about building wall as components is that I was able to put the the ruins incounter out of stuff I'd already built! Some of them were walls from the Crypt of Col Fen which I'd run before. All the pieces were part of other builds. :-)

Thanks for the praise - I really appreciate it.


Well and truly awesome stuff there... pity I have no talent for that sort of thing.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Too bad that the original 4E adventure is incredibly boring...
Too bad that the original 4E adventure is incredibly boring...



SPOILERS AHEAD!

My players are anything but bored. This adventure (and the power to ask a question about the future) lead them to complete their chararcter histories (which 3/4 hadn't done for 3 levels...)

There's been more role-playing than combat (only two major combats in 8 hours of play. Plus two minor ones (5 minutes each)

Here's the outline:
Session 1
Journey:
  Three visions to different PCs over different nights: A ghostly woman speaking urgently to "you". A ghostly woman smiling. A ghostly woman being painfully bound by arcane energy strands.

Day 1:
  a) Arrive at the Monastery of the Precipice
  b) learn the history of the region
  c) Discover the identity of the woman in their visions (without sharing the details of visions...)
  c) meet the NPCs (monks and seekers)
  d) [My addition] Look at the Registry of the Future (a voluntary-contribution record of the questions asked and the ultimate disposition.)
  e) Hear readings of the 12th and 2nd Analects of Kuryon.
  f) Role play interactions with the NPCs learning their motivations and making friends/allies. Bard performs to an appreciative audience. Romance blossoms between Thurr and Cherra.

Day 2: 
  a) Explore the ruins and encounter (combat) the guardians of the pillar.
  b) Return to the Monastery with the Pillar and the body of the dead Dark Creeper.
  c) Hear the fearful reading of the "Doom of Sharael" - the Seventh Analect.
  d) See a painting of the 7Th Analect (Encounter T10 illustration with three pillars photo-shopped out of the scene.)
  e) Recall more detail from the final dream - the arcane energy-bonds are coming from the pillars shown in the painting, but there are 4 more.
  f) Learn that they have been touched by Saharel and may be part of the reason this monastery was built 40 years earlier.

(Session 2):
Evening of Day 2 

  a) Socializing (role-playing) with the other Seekers:
     i) Learn from Yannik that there may be tunnels that lead to the tower, but that they are probably full of monsters. Kobolds for sure.
    ii) Learn from Sister Cherra about an "angry" former monk "Thoran" who was obsessed with the Analects and left calling their mission "foolish"
   iii) Milek the Thrush absconds with the Dark Creeper's body, only to return an hour later disguised as one.
   iv) The Rogue/Trapsmith Goblin member of the party works with Brother Turnagal and his apprentice to upgrade a horse-cart to have a false bottom to hide the alabaster pillar. The player draws a detailed cut-away view of the details including the trap descriptions on a 3x5 card.
IMAGE(http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g393/frandallfarmer/Scepter%20Tower%20of%20Spellgard/IMG_2302.jpg)
   v) The Bard seduces Milek with a plan to steal the outfit so that the parties Goblin-Rogue can use is as part of a ruse to enter the tower.
   vi) The Paladin refuses to share their plans to Rollio, who is obsessed with 'doing somthing The Lady will notice". Rollio storms out into the night. The Paladin leaves a few minutes later in an attempt to bring him back to his senses.
  vii) The Artificer spends the rest of the night working to upgrade her Mechanical Owl (Obedient Servant) to have low-light vision using an eye she recovered from the Iron Cobra in the encounter that day. 
  viii) The half-elf Paladin finds Rollio face down, sobbing about his failure in the ruins. He give a short speech about the proud history of the Tieflings, and how he should "toughen those horns!", intimidating him to his feet and promising to show Rollio some secret fighting techniques as they return to the monastery.

 b) Combat: Rollio and the Paladin encounter a Dark Creeper near the monastery and a partially rejuvenated Rollio charges in to the fray. They easily subdue it and bring it, bound, back into the building - after most of gone to bed (an the Bard never made it back to his own room.) Rollio enthusiastically agrees to guard the Dark Creeper overnight as it is restrained back in the work-shed attached to the stables.


Day 3 - The Scepter Tower. 
   a) Before dawn, the Bard leaves Milek's room, leaving behind a poem, but taking the dark creeper clothing.
   b) As people wake, they learn of the prisoner. The Goblin is worried that it might be a spy, and hides in the upper compartment of the cart which is parked deeper in the stables.
   c) The questioning:
      i) The creeper was following their tracks from the last known position of a pillar. The monastery is now in danger.
     ii) They learn what a Dark Creeper sounds like (much making fun of me holding my finger under my nose, blowing as I gave a squeeky voice)
    iii) They confirm that Thoran is in the tower and is collecting pillars, and has collected at least 3 recently.
    iv) The ask what would happen if they destroyed the pillar, the only response is "You have it? Let me see it!"
     v) The party confers outside the forge area that the creeper might be a spy. Rollio volunteers to go back and slay it.
  d) Minor combat: Surprise! The Creeper has teleport-like powers and wasn't actually restrained - it runs full speed through the stables in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately, the cart is parked in there, and the rogue uses a poison blowgun to slow it down enough for Rollio to slay it with a thrown dagger.
  e) The party now has two Dark Creeper clothing sets and a cart with the pillar hidden within.
  f) Upon returning to the main hall, the bard sees Millek who looks betrayed - he apologizes profusely, gives her a gift from the goblin's collection of "shinies", and invites her to join an assault on the tower. She accepts all three.
  g) The Trapsmith and Br. Turnagle secure all the exits and windows because their enemy might attack. Rollio volunteers to help with the defense.
  h) The pillar is not safe there any longer, they will take the cart with them when they leave.


The Assault on the Scepter Tower:

  a) Not interested in the long-underground route, they set off with Millek and the Goblin dressed as creepers chained to the cart with fake quick-release manacles - playing the part of prisoners while the rest of the party leads the horse-cart toward the tower.
  b) The artificer uses her mechanical owl and some flight capability she has to scout the tower, learning about all the external defenses.
  c) The final plan is hatched - kick up a lot of dust and simulate a fight between the creepers escaping and the other party members. The non-creeper members would lose the fight falling down "dead" just behind some rocks, with the cart and horse running off (after the pillar is secretly removed via the bottom hatch in the dust storm.
  d) The creeper-players (Milek and the Goblin, both rogues) carry the pillar up the stairs to the entrance and bluff their way through the doors and past the outer defenses stating that they just barely escaped. This distraction (as observed by the fliers) allowed the rest of the ground party to sneak onto the stairs and head up.

Major Combat 2: The Main Hall
  a) The bluff continues into the main hall - Two other creepers grab the sides of the pillar to help carry it into the heart of the tower.
  b) The 4 creepers (two fake) knock at the door into the next room, just as
  c) The rest of the party charges in from the stairs (and flies in from hiding under the battlements.
  d) The real creepers do their vanishing trick and leave the fake ones with the pillar at the internal door, which they quickly block with the pillar and say "Fight! Stay in there" and jam the peephole shut for the duration.
  e) A big fight - two strikers, two leaders, and a defender - well equipped. The defender dropped to 0 once, but they were victorious in the end. So much for my capture plans...
  f) A voice comes from behind the door "What's going on out there? Did you handle it? Should I raise the alarm?"

Session 2 ended.

I guess there's a reason I like to think of myself as the OldSchoolDM. :-)



Very cool! Wish you played via skype/maptools, sounds like a fun group!

The tower/cart drawing are both awesome, good work!
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