Running Vault of the Dracolich - DM only (spoilers)

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Here's a thread to ask questions about running Vault of the Dracolich. I didn't want to clutter the other thread and give away spoilers.



  • Do characters start with 150 gp or more because they're 4th level?


More to follow. Just getting the ball rolling.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

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1. On page 6 when it refers to the dracolich appearing for the first time does it mean the simulacra? If so then the initial location will be the portal closest to the most recently discovered idol correct?

2. Later on the text says

When he appears again at any later time, his arrival and movements are kept secret from the players.

I don't understand the point of keeping track of his location on the poster map then. You put up the cling for the first apperance and just leave it?

@feetz_grande on Twitter

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In the Vestry (room 6, page 10), a player can find a scroll that teaches them how to properly use the portals, so they can get to any portal from any other portal; they need to make a DC10 Intelligence check to decipher this info. Can players communicate this to the other players in their group? Do the other players also need to make DC10 Intelligence checks to understand the information, or is the check just for the first player to learn it?

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1. On page 6 when it refers to the dracolich appearing for the first time does it mean the simulacra? If so then the initial location will be the portal closest to the most recently discovered idol correct?

2. Later on the text says

When he appears again at any later time, his arrival and movements are kept secret from the players.

I don't understand the point of keeping track of his location on the poster map then. You put up the cling for the first apperance and just leave it?

1. It is always his simulacrum appearing in the dungoen until the final encounter. So to answer your question, yes.

2. His arrival and movements are kept secret up until the players encounter him. Then the organizer can place the cling, and use it to track his location, so that the rest of the groups can see where he is and either converge on or avoid him. In one of R&D's playtest sessions, we had a group get divided into three, in which case having the dracolich cling helped. 

D&D Producer

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In the Vestry (room 6, page 10), a player can find a scroll that teaches them how to properly use the portals, so they can get to any portal from any other portal; they need to make a DC10 Intelligence check to decipher this info. Can players communicate this to the other players in their group? Do the other players also need to make DC10 Intelligence checks to understand the information, or is the check just for the first player to learn it?

The intent is that only the player who deciphers it is capable of operating the portals. You're the DM, though, so you can always decide otherwise.

D&D Producer

Here's a thread to ask questions about running Vault of the Dracolich. I didn't want to clutter the other thread and give away spoilers.



  • Do characters start with 150 gp or more because they're 4th level?


More to follow. Just getting the ball rolling.


Nope. Just 150. And given the high quantity of treasure in the dungeon, it shouldn't matter much.

D&D Producer

Thanks Greg!

@feetz_grande on Twitter

As I was making magic item cards I noticed an issue with the Scrolls of Identify.

The spell Identify in the current playtest document requires 1 hour to cast. This seems inconsistent with the sense of urgency the adventure is trying to portray. I'm going to be using the older version of Identify which requires a casting time of 1 action.

I'll also be using the older 10 minute short rest for this adventure.

Edit: I looked over the Magic Items doc. I guess it doesn't matter because casting a spell from a scroll is an action regardless.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

How many spells do level 4 magic users start with?

Thanks for a stupendous adventure!
How many spells do level 4 magic users start with?




(Taken from the Elf Wizard Pregen in the latest packet)

"Spellcasting: You can prepare up to seven spells per day, one of which must be 1st-­‐level and one of which must  be 2nd-­‐level. You have four 1st-­‐level spell slots that you can use to cast 1st-­‐level spells you’ve  prepared, and three 2nd-­‐level spell slots that you can use to cast 2nd-­‐level spells."


"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

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While I appreciate your attempt to assist, that's not starting spells; That's spell slots.

My question is how many spells does a level 4 magic user get to choose for their starting spellbook?
As I was making magic item cards I noticed an issue with the Scrolls of Identify.

The spell Identify in the current playtest document requires 1 hour to cast. This seems inconsistent with the sense of urgency the adventure is trying to portray. I'm going to be using the older version of Identify which requires a casting time of 1 action.

I'll also be using the older 10 minute short rest for this adventure.

Edit: I looked over the Magic Items doc. I guess it doesn't matter because casting a spell from a scroll is an action regardless.

Yes, I recommend just treating the use of the scroll as one action.

D&D Producer

While I appreciate your attempt to assist, that's not starting spells; That's spell slots.

My question is how many spells does a level 4 magic user get to choose for their starting spellbook?



For Wizards it's 6. They are the only magic user that uses a spellbook.

See Spellbook on page 46 of the Classes document for the breakdown.

@feetz_grande on Twitter

Sorry, misread the question.

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

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In the Vestry (room 6, page 10), a player can find a scroll that teaches them how to properly use the portals, so they can get to any portal from any other portal; they need to make a DC10 Intelligence check to decipher this info. Can players communicate this to the other players in their group? Do the other players also need to make DC10 Intelligence checks to understand the information, or is the check just for the first player to learn it?

The intent is that only the player who deciphers it is capable of operating the portals. You're the DM, though, so you can always decide otherwise.


I personally think this is a good way to encourage players to share information. In interactives it can be fun when one group gets to show how they accomplished something. That certainly happens with the idols, but can happen in other places in this adventure.

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- Communicating information about how certain groups of dungeon inhabitants dislike others, so other groups can use that.
- Communicating resources found that another group could use. I think the final version of the adventure removed a few cursed items, but you could allow the remove curse scroll to remove detrimental effects from the idols.
- Providing warnings about traps or denizens others may encounter


Along those lines, having one group share the information and allow the portals to work for everyone could be a nice meaningful contribution for that group. You could even require every table to be at a portal when the group that found the information manipulates the powers of the portals - all groups must do it (however many there are) for the ritual to be effective. Again, completely up to you based on what will be fun for your groups.

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).

A note for DMs. Last night I found three missing monsters from the VoD Bestiary.

I spoke to Greg and he may be able to correct the bestiary. If you already printed it you could just print these out of the normal bestiary.

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- Vrock are possible foes in the summoning chamber
- Depending on the die roll, a PC can come back as a Wight
- Wraiths can possible turn a PC into a Specter.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
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And, a note that you can find a printable map of the Dalelands with the location of the Vault here. Wizards also provided the image as a desktop or mobile device wallpaper.

Lastly, this article on the art design was pretty cool.

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).

A note for DMs. Last night I found three missing monsters from the VoD Bestiary.

I spoke to Greg and he may be able to correct the bestiary. If you already printed it you could just print these out of the normal bestiary.

Show

- Vrock are possible foes in the summoning chamber
- Depending on the die roll, a PC can come back as a Wight
- Wraiths can possible turn a PC into a Specter.



Two of those monsters aren't in the bestiary.

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Vrock and Specter

Suggestions

  1. Replace them with another level appropriate demon or spirit

  2. Reskin another monster.



@feetz_grande on Twitter

Two of those monsters aren't in the bestiary.



They are, just hard to find.
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Vrock is in the main bestiary as "Demon: Vrock".

Specter is in the A-Series bestiary.

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).

I will be updating the bestiary around 12 PM (PST) today.

D&D Producer

One of the DMs for our store in Portland created these very cool table tents you can print out. They are especially helpful should any PCs swap tables.

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).

A quick note that the revised bestiary does make a level change to one of the previously missing monsters. Because of that, please print out at least that page from the revised VoD bestiary, not the original one.

Have fun! I look forward to hearing the reports and learning from your experiences.

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).