Mines of Madness: not so tough

Yesterday several of my players didn't show up, so we run MoM instead of ongoing modified Reclaiming Bligdenstone campaign. We had only 3 players, pre-gen cleric, paladin and wizard. The only change I made to the module is sacrificial chamber: as we had 1 less player than supposed to, I ruled that they didn't have to sacrifice one of them, but only donate a large amount of blood, imposing a penalty on all rolls.

The party pretty much rolled through the dungeon. Most of the traps were either triggered by a dead goblin body on the rope (they completely bypassed Hug Hug, so noone had any problems with such a... usage), which they were throwing in front of the party, or 'disarmed' by Dex saves and plenty of healing. They did have a lot of fun with door-related traps (smiling, open mouth) and reverse gravity room. The latter, btw, was 'disarmed' by casting of rope trick - extra-dimensional pocket acted as spatial achor for the rope.

Poor monsters didn't stand a chance against some tactics and natural sadism: dwarf skeletons were vaporized en masse by flame sphere of the wizard, skeleton lizards bathed in acid (after learning that lime dust turned to acid when mixed with water, party poured as much water as they can through the Happy Ride chute... and that was even before they knew where it lead, they did it 'just in case'), rust monsters were tanked by robe-armored wizard (>_<) and they were clever enough not to provoke giant bat; poor piercers mostly died by themselves, trying to hit 19ac paladin; purple worm wasn't fast enough to catch the party; Abracadamus didn't have time to speak his clever riddles because the party readied some attacks on him as soon as paladin sensed undead beyond door (he was trying to sense undead in each and every room of the dungeon and was very happy that he finally have some targets), and dragon survived whole 3 rounds, being blocked in his room by meat-shield paladin (19AC + piercing resistance due to gel form + lay on hands + healing from cleric across the room).

Of course the party didn't receive the Forever Stone, but they were quite content with other rewards and proclaimed that their characters will brag about ridding the world of 'evil lich'. All in all, the module was very fun, but:
1) don't expect the level of deadliness of Tomb of Horrors, like the impression I somehow had
2) do expect that players will attack your precious quest-giving NPC (actually, that applies to DnD in general; I asked players, would they have accepted a goblin into their party, they asked in return: 'Did he have 20AC to survive first round?')
3) 'solo' monsters are not deadly enough. Purple worm was hard-countered by Command of cleric (Wis mod -4 didn't help) and dragon didn't have enough DPS to be a danger to the paladin 4 levels lower than his.
Since the PW has Tremorsense 120 I think it would have been fair to rule that Command (requires the subject to hear) wouldn't work.

Without some limitations such as 'hear and understand' I think Command may end up being problematic for most encounters with less enemies than PCs.  
I just ran the dungeon today. Even though my friends never heard of the module, they ran through the dungeon the fastest I've ever seen. They didn't stick around to keep an eye on anything. When they went up against certain traps they literally dismantled them.

When they came to the oaken doors with the hallway they set the doors on fire and made sure the magic died with them.(The door almost auto shut so the dwarf outside of the trap cleaved through it with a battle axe). When it came to the Unlock door before the end, I didn't know how they were supposed to know the code phrase so I just had HugHug(which they never met at the cockatrices) jump out of no where and tell them.

When they were asked to sacrifice someone else for the Crypt thing, the Ranger immediately slit HugHug's throat. Which was suprising, but since they already killed the Rogue to get past the altar its not suprising.

The Cleric after dipping in his hands for the forever stone felt really evil. Since he was dedicated to the Goddess of Light and Goodness. He had killed two people in his own party to get the forever stone.

Quick run down of where the party went:

  1. Cocktrice nest.

  2. Dwarven Miners

  3. Eastern Oakdoor

  4. Hammer

  5. Door

  6. Gargoyle

  7. Altar

  8. Golem

  9. Bat

  10. Worm

  11. EndG ame

There is no other way faster that will gain you the forever stone I think. 
Ant Farm

The Cleric after dipping in his hands for the forever stone felt really evil. Since he was dedicated to the Goddess of Light and Goodness. He had killed two people in his own party to get the forever stone.


Some of these playtest reports are pretty entertaining. 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
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