Dungeon 157: Depths of Avarice

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Depths of Avarice
by Tim Hitchcock

[INDENT]An inheritance should be something you enjoy, but not for Valmour Tessount. His father’s mine stopped producing long ago, and only an unexpected discovery in his father’s papers has the estranged son eager to explore his new acquisition. But then miners went missing, and Valmour is doing anything he can to salvage the situation. But more importantly, what lurks in the depths of Tessount’s Folly, were it to get loose, could cause problems for more than the mine’s owner.[/INDENT]

This adventure is designed for PCs of level 13.
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Good background and a good story, I think. Why can't this kind of attention to detail go into Scales of War? I'll finish reading through the encounters of the adventure. But, so far I like the idea and theme of the story.

-------- Don (Greyson) --------

Non-smoker, White, Non-golfer, U.S.-American

Given the level of the adventure the DC levels for most of the perception checks seem extremely low. Level 13 characters vs. DC 10? Or worse yet... DC 5? There are a lot of these. Why even have the check?

The Errata has DC levels as follows:
13th–15th Easy: 11 Moderate: 18 Hard: 23

A DC of 5 is funny, given the mechanic. Who fails these? Started with an 8 and haven't adjusted it toons? They're looking at a positive value in their skill +X by level 13 due to the +6 from leveling.
Mediocre at best.

Almost feels like the whole thing was built around the idea of an Indiana Jones-esque mine cart chase.

IMO one of the weakest offerings so far in the 4th Edition online Dungeon magazines.
/completely disagrees with the above poster.

One of the best offerings from the new Dungeon. I just love the twist in the story- the PC's aren't stopping the villain, they're fixing his mistake.
I liked it a lot. How many adventures are about putting the stolen loot back in the dungeon?
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Something about this module just says that it started off as a low level adventure, and then the encounters got beefed up to 13th level. That might also explain the low DCs.

Still, I think busting up cultists in a mine is a little low-level for 13th level paragons. Whatever happened to the fate of nations?
Almost feels like the whole thing was built around the idea of an Indiana Jones-esque mine cart chase.

That is exactly the impression I got when I was looking at it. I think I'll pull that aspect out and add it to a custom game at some point.
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First, yeah, theme-wise this is a heroic, not paragon, adventure.

I like the concept, and I disagree that it's all about the minecarts, but this one could've used another shot with the old editor pen. Here's what I noticed:

As noted, the check DCs are often out of whack for the level.

The sidebar showing the disease effects of Twisted Domination has the flavor text from Cackle Fever.

The Ossuary encounter claims that the map shows where the 5 foot and 10 foot pits are, but it doesn't.

The Ossuary treasure list includes a +3 Pact Blade Falchion. That's not possible, because a Pact Blade can only be a light blade, and falchions are heavy blades.
Hmm. There's potential here storywise. A creative DM could very much make this a "oh, this sounds easy" adventure that turns out to be anything but. But how do you give the sense of a world shaking event when they're underground in a mine?

Involve the underdark? Add some sort of earthquake event that, once the PCs leave the mine, has decimated nearby lands, but hopefully hasn't completely destroyed them?

Hmm. In FR they have that continent-sized hole to the underdark when an entire nation collapsed. We could weave that concept into this adventure somehow.
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Aye, this adventure, although seems interesting to me, seems quite rife with problems.

Here's the part that worries me a bit though, as now the mistakes I've seen make a bit more sense. The following is a quote at the very end about the Author, not the full quote but it's still the main part all the same.

"This is his first 4th Edition adventure, which he designed with unfinished core books."

This can lead to be bad in some form, not sure if it can speak for forgetting to place the specific bone areas with 5ft-10ft pits however.

In the Encounter: "Rescue Party", with Gairg, it seems he's not a wise addition to the encounter. As for one, he's 18th level, which means he'll be very hard to hit, and will basically hit the PC's often, less than rolling 10 often I'd imagine. I could be wrong of course, but it's in a form, a way to get a elite equivalent monster in standard form. From what it looks to me.

Also, I'm trying to figure out the logic of the Necromancer, of why he'd attack the PC's. When he could just as easily let them handle the miners, and run off with the skull. Otherwise, what would he do if he escapes after the mine cart race? Where would the necromancer go, out of the mines or what.
We played this in a delve-style adventure, and (as DM) I thought it was just OK. I actually had high hopes for the adventure, drawn in by the mine cart chase and nifty storyline. But yes, it took a lot of finagling: changing DCs, swapping monsters.

I think it would be quite a bit better as a lower-level adventure, with the encounters changed around. I also didn't like the 5 pickfighter encounter - tactically boring with having 5 of the same in the room. The bone naga encounter was similar, though not as bad.