Dungeon 156 - Scales of War - Rescue at Rivenroar

130 posts / 0 new
Last post
Rescue at Rivenroar
by David Noonan

The world has never been a safe place. Bastions of civilization populate a dark, menacing world -- islands of order and reason exist in a land otherwise overrun by dark cults, vile monsters, creatures from the dark edges of the imagination, and worse. As deadly as the world is on a normal day, something has begun to stir on the fringes of the civilized Elsir Vale. Formerly the site of an attack by an army known as the Red Hand, the Vale has known several years of peace since brave adventurers stormed into the teeth of the approaching Hand and sent them scurrying back into the darkness.

Discuss the article here.
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

just skimmed through it... and i have to say...AWESOME!!!

now i just have to keep this away from my second group....

KOTS shadowfell for 1 group,
and SOW for my second group....
The ogre is going to freak them out!! haha
I really like the references to earlier adventures in the DnD mythos. I hope they will continue because it makes the game that much richer for me. Can't wait for the first tie in to the War of the Spider Queen.
I downloaded it, but I'm going to try to convince one of my players to DM it. I just checked this thread to see if readers gave it a thumbs up, which it appears they have.

KotS actually has a lot of things that fit into what happened to my 3.5 campaign, so I'm running it using the descendants of the adventurers. Would this path be better in a completely new campaign, or does it have a lot of fluff similar to KotS/take place 'just down the road'?
It's a bit "messy," as far as sidebars go at least. At least two are in the wrong place, and another mentioned elsewhere in the text seems to be missing entirely. Otherwise, good stuff.

The Greendale Campaign

 

I was there at the dawn of the Third-and-a-Halfth Age of Dungeons & Dragons. I saw action during the Crisis of Infinite Foundations, stood on the ramparts of the Citadel of Mirth, delved deep into the debauchery of the Forum of the Adult, and fought alongside the Infernal Bovine on the fields of the Eberron War. I weathered the Ponystorm. I witnessed as the orcs came for the wizos, and I wept mightily. I saw the realm crack as the Fourth Age came upon us, and I witnessed the eldritch tendrils of the dread Gleemax. Now I watch as the winds of change sweep the land as the Fifth Age is dawning. I have walked these Boarderlands for many a long year, and bear many scars in my soul. Yet I remain the White Sorcerer, ever in your service. TWS out.

Looks like a great start. I've read through most of it and I like it. One of the first things I did was insert a wack of bookmarks for better navigation.

Really minor item - looks like the map of the bar doesn't match the building labelled as bar on the ogre tactical. Doesn't affect the encounter in any way though.

Like someone else mentioned, a few reference issues for tables or sidebars but easy enough to figure out.
I've only read about a third of it so far. A few tables, charts, and explanations are not in their logical place, but the story so far looks good. I'm going to prepare to run it tonight for my group as an alternate. The other DM is running us through KotS right now, so that's our main story arc.

rooster
Skimmed it so far, looks really good certainly plan on running it for my group.

One fault spotted so far.

Page 10 (end of the second paragraph)

"If you want to jump straight into the action, see the Kicking Off the Action Quickly sidebar for details."

Couldn't find the Kicking Off the Action Quickly sidebar, it can't have been cut for space surely?

The map of Brindol appears at first glance to be just the one from the Red Hand reused, (the war and the earlier raid, doesn't seem to have left any lasting scars on the city?). The numbers on the map are in the same location as well, but no key (map with numbers but no key, very disappointing).

It's not the same though there is an extra bridge across the river, a wharf to the west and area 16 now has a big new building that wasn't there before. I'm going to guess this is Brindol's Great Hall of Valor that stands were Cathedral Square use to be. It's almost identical but if you look closely you can tell it's redraw.

It does raise a question though.

How are these raiders getting into a walled city? If the map had shown the wall broken in several places due to the war and then the earlier assault I could understand how these enemies might be getting in. Considering the city withstood a full on Red Hand invasion less than a decade ago, and then another smaller attack a few days ago you would think they would be on high alert and these raiders might have a bit more trouble getting into a walled city. This is the sort of question my players are immediately likely to ask.
Couldn't find the Kicking Off the Action Quickly sidebar, it's can't have been cut for space surely?

I sure hope there's no space requirements on an Emagazine

rooster
I sure hope there's no space requirements on an Emagazine

rooster

You would think but they left out a key for the map of Brindol as well. Why redraw the map, put the labels back on and then not provide the key?
Yeah, I forgot about that map key.

I remember looking at the map with the numbers and wondering...but I forgot as I read further along.

I hope they fix all this stuff before the download is ready.

rooster
And where is Rivenroar castle? It's not on the map.

I am very disappointed in the first adventure. Very little background information. Little or no information on Rivenroar castle itself. I guess the PC's just magically appear at it's entrance.

Looks very rushed and or edited to save space. And there is no wow factor at all. A pure dungeon crawl with goblinoids.
Hadn't got that far, but yes no indication as to where Rivenroar is on the map or in the text as far as I could find. Shocking omission.

Here's some minor ones I discovered.

First sentence of the conclusion (page 24) shouldn't that read "to Brindol" not "to Rivenroar".

Also last sentence (page 41)

"a map of Brindol (similar to the one on page 8, but with the Hall of Great Valor),"

If the new building on the map on page 8 at location 16 isn't the Hall of Great Valor (because it's not marked) where is it? And what's that? It use to just be an empty square in the original Red Hand of Doom map.
I also saw a point where it was like "Look at the information on the sidebar:" (I remember the colon) but the sidebar was like one or two pages before that sentence.


Despite some editing snafus, it seems to be an excellent adventure.
I just gotta figure out a way to motivate my evil-inclined PCs to run a rescue adventure; I suppose I can change it into an assassination run. Still, certainly not an issue with the adventure; it looks like a lot of fun. The large bar-brawl is a nice cliche-touch, and I love the ogre encounter.
We've got an update - it seems the map is missing it's key, here's a temporary one for those needing such information.

Here's a temporary key until WOTC gets around to updating the pdf.

You're getting it straight from the horses mouth since I was the cartographer for both Brindol maps.

1. City Gates
2. The Stone Wyvern (Tavern)
3. Axenhaft Security (Guard Service)
4. Shank's Shivs (Weapon Shop)
5. Brindol Market
6. Thirsty Zombie (Tavern)
7. Red Magic and Sundries (Magic Shop)
8. Shrine of Yondalla
9. The Craven Raven (Tavern)
10. Velorian's Playhouse
11. Brindol Academy
12. The Laughing Manticore (Tavern)
13. Kaal Manor (Noble Estate)
14. Teskerwill Manor (Noble Estate)
16. The Hall of Great Valor *
17. Cathedral of Pelor
18. Brindol Keep
19. Haskin Mansion (Noble Estate)
20. Brindol Cemetery
21. Temple of Wee Jas

* Note that tag #16 has changed from "Cathedral Square" in RHoD to "The Hall of Great Valor" in RaR.

Hope this helps.
Mike

WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Yondalla and Wee Jas, eh? What happened to the temles of Erathis, Ioun, Sehanine, Bahamut, and Avandra mentioned elsewhere in the PDF?

The Greendale Campaign

 

I was there at the dawn of the Third-and-a-Halfth Age of Dungeons & Dragons. I saw action during the Crisis of Infinite Foundations, stood on the ramparts of the Citadel of Mirth, delved deep into the debauchery of the Forum of the Adult, and fought alongside the Infernal Bovine on the fields of the Eberron War. I weathered the Ponystorm. I witnessed as the orcs came for the wizos, and I wept mightily. I saw the realm crack as the Fourth Age came upon us, and I witnessed the eldritch tendrils of the dread Gleemax. Now I watch as the winds of change sweep the land as the Fifth Age is dawning. I have walked these Boarderlands for many a long year, and bear many scars in my soul. Yet I remain the White Sorcerer, ever in your service. TWS out.

comparing this to the original RHoD - without a context, timeline, over-arching plot narrative, this adventure in itself falls flat for me.

Yes - some welll organised set-pieces that nicely show-case the new rules/ games design aspects of 4e..... but without a little more on npc motivations etc... it all becomes hollow.

I'd rather attempt to 4e-ify RHoD than play this.

Oh well.

Archmage Mescalin
I don't know - I've skimmed through this. Looks like a very surface level attempt. Not much detail in terms of background and the like. They could have developed a lot of this better than they did. A few interesting interactions in town, and then a fairly basic dungeon crawl. Or so it seems on initial skimming/reading. I'll read it in more detail when I get a chance a bit later.
I've written up some first impressions in the Dungeon General forum, so I won't repeat myself here. Below are some of the errors I noticed while reading through the adventure:

(Spoiler Alert)
Show
p 30, the ettercap webspinner's Webbed Terrain ability is marked "recharge z"

p. 37, the tactics section indicates that the goblin hexer uses its incite bravery ability when he thinks his allies are going to die. However, this power can't be used because none of his allies have goblin tactics, which is the trigger for incite bravery. (And he can't trigger it himself because they're both immediate actions.)

p. 43, the tactics section indicates that the gnome arcanist will use reactive stealth to escape if he's too hurt. But this ability can only be used at the beginning of the encounter.
Like most of you I also noticed the minor annoyances with things like the map of Brindol not having the map key and the sidebars being somewhat misplaced. The errors found with the game (hidden in last post)... are a FAR cry fewer than the multitude of errors found in some of the **** poorly edited 3.5 adventures written while some of our favorite writers were moonlighting with 4th edition (and we were all still in the dark). So all in all not a bad effort.

I have a few concerns... for the life of me I can not identify a plot line that will carry over into 30 levels of playing... This small time punk bad guy can not possibly be the root of all evil. Like the first chapter of a book the plot should at least hint or ellude to the "meat" of the story... I have not yet identified that. Granted I am not a writer... just a DM that enjoys the game (since 1978) and works like most of you.

Every edtion of D&D has had its "Jewel" of adventure. This is speculative... however I am of the mind set that Red Hand of Doom was one of (if not the)... crown jewel of 3.5 Adventures. Shadows of War will need to employ some of those things that made RHoD successful. A thick Plot with a unique point sytem that enabled you to determine the Strategic success of your actions as welll as a "feel" that what you did really mattered to the outcome of the "War". I doubt the "real" Bad guy has been introduced yet.... but I sure hope it comes soon so we don't end up with a patch work quilt Adventure only loosely connected with each other and the various writers not communicating in any real depth. The Brindol Map thing and the fact that the guy which says he wrote it had no clue about the new 4th Edition "Pantheon".. does not bode well. I think Wizards REALLY needs this to be successful in order to avoid the "see I told you so" they are bound to hear if it does not. Like the recent Indiana Jones film which people really wanted to work out for nostalgia fell flat of the hopes of its fans. Shadows of War will be judged on its predicessor not its edition.

That said... my group ran through the first two encounters last night... I found it a good jump start to action and the group really enjoyed itself. Expectations are high.. WOC don't screw it up! Most of us have already been playing since early last month... and depending on how often or long you play most characters in your groups might already be 5th level or so. That is too high for SOW so I will run a second group just for SOW.
The city action in this is fun. The map of Brindol is excellent, as is the map of Elsir Vale. The encounter in the Antler and Thistle is fun, but the map is not very interesting.

The Rivenroar dungeon is very bland and uninspiring. It is a weak map that could have been generated with a random dungeon generator, and the encounters are okay, but not great, and sometimes appear to be just random as well. The dungeon segment is just plain bad. Bad!

Overall a real mixed bag here. Keep everything before the dungeon. Remap the dungeon and rewrite the dungeon encounters and it would go a long way towards making this adventure worthwhile.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm still having trouble trying to figure out how a first level party is going to survive these encounters...

I mean, the whole adventure looks really rushed, and very poorly edited, but my primary complaint is that the difficulty is set way too high. I've run Kobold Hall and Escape from Sembia with groups and they've both ended with near TPKs. This looks as bad/worse as either of those.

The adventures they've produced so far as "official" all seem very, very lethal for 1st level PCs.

I've also noticed in the adventure that in several places they listed the Encounter level wrong or got the XP total for the encounters wrong.

I'm still not sure whether they are really thinking these through very well.

Is anyone else running into this?

MI
So far my group had a near TPK with KotS, but that was mainly because we were incorrectly interpreting our daily powers which nerfed us. To many 3x rules assumptions were in our heads.

rooster
Pretty shoddy first effort when you put this side by side with the old dungeon adventure paths... or pathfinder.. but then again... it's a different crew and a different edition.

Errors aside, there's a lot of holes and definitely not enough backstory information. Seems to me WOTC can only produce encounters, when it comes to rich locations and settings they've been falling flat with their 4e offerings. Perhaps that's why they nerfed the Realms, there was too much fluff and flavor for them to pay attention to.
Question- the opening hobgoblin attack, i sthat the first attack or have there been some others in recent weeks?

Just cant make out if the people have been kidnapped already or they get napped when the inn encounter kicks off.

Anyone clear this up for me?
I think they are nabbed as part of this attack.

rooster
I think they are nabbed as part of this attack.

rooster

Yes, but no, but yes, but no.

Show

Page 6 in Adventure Synopsis
"The recent attack has the locals unnerved, and early in the adventure, the PCs witness firsthand that the kidnappings are not an isolated incident. To sow more fear and uncertainty, more of Sinruth’s Hand continues raids on the town."
(implies the PC's encounters are after the recent attack)

"emphasize that these ..... people have been held prisoner by hobgoblins for four days"
(Indicates the prisoners were taken before the first encounters they player's experience, otherwise they could not have been held for that long, if the players set off immediately)

and yet.

Page 15 (in the Aftermath section)

"The next morning, the full extent of Sinruth’s attack is known, including the captives taken and the treasures stolen from the Hall of Great Valor."
(indicates they were taken in the attack the players were involved in.)

and yet... Page 45 (the note)

At the time of writing the note it seems he has the captives, but hasn't yet raided the Hall of Great Valor, but should do so at night.

Unfortunately for the outside encounter with the Ogre during the raid they haven't mentioned the illumination so you don't know if it is at night or not.


To me taken together it seems poor editing.

I would go with Adventure Synopsis, the captives and items being taken in an earlier attack, and nothing taken in this attack, because otherwise a fast party would logically be able to intercept the raiders on there way back to Rivenroar.
We've got an update - it seems the map is missing it's key, here's a temporary one for those needing such information.

Yet oddly the two locations where events happen in the city that involve the players don't appear on the key.

And two of the temples are to gods that no longer exist in 4th Ed.
cheers that makes sense now, ta
Was Logue involved in this adventure?

I jest, but all I could think was of page 6 in Crown of the Kobold King where we see the 5 children that were kidnapped, their individual descriptions, then the plot of how to find each one lost in the dungeon.

I do admit, the tie to RHoD is nice, my players did that adventure on their now retired characters and one of them set up residence in Vorath(sp?) keep. So, this new group will have ties to the land and a great lead in.

"The turning of the tide always begins with one soldier's decision to head back into the fray"

It's gonna take 18 monthly issues to see this Adventure Path. That's a full year and a half; not to even mention each adventure is gonna take several sessions to finish (we're still learning the new rules, so we're taking our time). If we can complete this AP though, we'll be solid. We play twice a month, once every other week. Talking about it last night, we're gonna give Scales of War (as an extended campaign) a go. Seeing the proposed scope of it though, I hope we have the attention span for it ;).

The previous APs were only 12 issues, and even then, we had to make a concerted effort to keep at it until finished. In fact, Shackled City we never finished (played about half), Age of Worms we missed entirely (I think it sounds interesting), but Savage Tide was memorable through and through (so everyone was glad they stuck it out).
/\ Art
This looks very promising.

I'll be waiting until the final version is posted in the full "issue" before printing it, but this is very impressive.
fo diggity Twitter: www.twitter.com/fodigg Comic Books You Should Have Read: http://tinyurl.com/ycxe9l7
Also could we not use numbers for the both the room key, and the Rivenroar Overview?

Could the Rivenroar Overview if it needs to be labelled (I see no reason why it needs to be) use letters instead.

I look at the map and see my players are entering room 11. I look for a big 11, in the text and it says 11. Honor Guard Crypt oh hold on that's for rooms 17,18 and 19.

The 11 for Honor Guard Crypt doesn't appear to be used anywhere but there so it only adds confusion and not utility.
This looks a lot less overpowering than KotS.

That said, the dungeon portion of this, as someone else has said, is pretty lame. The city is quite cool, but then you get to the 15 room dungeon which feels straight out of NWN or something similar. 15 rooms and nothing really all that exciting about them; the terrain is okay, but it just looks like a long (very long, 3+ session) slog through a dungeon.

The city portion is quite cool, but there's little to the rest of it.

The gnomes working with the goblins is never really explained, nor are the ettercaps. Not even to the DM. Its just kind of a random large dungeon.

I might also add that the encounter list being numbered but the rooms also being numbered was confusing; you should have made one letters and one numbers.
I've been reorganizing the dungeon quite a bit, as I am going to try running this AP as a PBP game on rpol.net. Since having so many rooms and potential encounters is probably too much for a PBP game, I am trying to consolidate it into fewer, more interesting encounters, which make sense thematically. I probably will stick with the map, but the encounters will extend over 3 or 4 rooms, instead, depending on how monsters and the PCs move.

Show
I don't really mind having the gnomes, I got the sense that Sinruth and his allies are supposed to be strange bedfellows, but I think the ettercaps don't really fit, and I might just dispense with the gnomes, since they don't really add anything to the flavor of the encounters that couldn't be done with different goblinoids. I think the main alliance that probably should be stressed here is between Sinruth and the Rivenroar undead.

I also want to play up the crypt guardian features a bit more, so I might add some more weird summoned creatures to the mix.

It would be nice if they put out a web enhancement (of sorts, since everything is on the web now) to just give DMs a brief synopsis of the plot. That way, I can avoid blindly making changes now which create much more work for me later.
I think I'm going to move the Inn encounter to a place half a day ride from the town. That way once they deal with the threat they can stroll in to town find out it was hit too, talk to the townspeople, etc. Just seems to fit for me more.

The adventure overall looks pretty good, pretty standard dungeon crawl with hints from the kidnappees which is fun. I agree I'd like to know a little of why the gnomes and ettercaps are hanging out with the hobgoblins. Maybe next month when they give us character backgrounds they'll have information about the happenings in the area?

Has there been any word about the Scales of War next module or story arc and what it is about? I ran the Ashadarlon 3.0 Ed series from 1 - 20 and that one didn't really have the continuity to make it feel like a continued story.

On a related note, I picked up the H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth which also seems to be a rescue some townsfolk adventure and I hope future adventures in the Scales of War are less conventional. I think after the second adventure to save peasants it might get old.
In which world does the AP take place ? Greyhawk ?
It really needs some backdrop articles on the region to help with the story. A campaign overview would be a good start. As someone mentioned above, it's a little too close to "crown of the kobold king". It also reminds me of the beginning of "burnt offerings".
In which world does the AP take place ? Greyhawk ?

Propably in the wondrous world of Generika, which is a name I just made up for the core setting of D&D*.

*That's right, I called it "D&D" and not "4e." You got a problem with that? Well, tough. Sucks to be you.

The Greendale Campaign

 

I was there at the dawn of the Third-and-a-Halfth Age of Dungeons & Dragons. I saw action during the Crisis of Infinite Foundations, stood on the ramparts of the Citadel of Mirth, delved deep into the debauchery of the Forum of the Adult, and fought alongside the Infernal Bovine on the fields of the Eberron War. I weathered the Ponystorm. I witnessed as the orcs came for the wizos, and I wept mightily. I saw the realm crack as the Fourth Age came upon us, and I witnessed the eldritch tendrils of the dread Gleemax. Now I watch as the winds of change sweep the land as the Fifth Age is dawning. I have walked these Boarderlands for many a long year, and bear many scars in my soul. Yet I remain the White Sorcerer, ever in your service. TWS out.

The core setting of D&D 4E is "Points of Light", of D&D 3E (and ancient Adventure Paths) is Greyhawk.

So my question was where the new Adventure Path does take place?

The answer is probably "Points of Light".... :D