SoW DM Notes

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Hello everyone! Since we currently are sans AP synopsis, I thought it might be useful if we got together and worked out some ways to foreshadow coming adventures in previous ones, to better chain the modules together. Plus, we can find areas of plot/module inconsistency and get some brainstorming done on how to fix them up. I went ahead and read the first three modules and compiled some notes along the lines above, noting people, locations, a general adventure synopsis, and some areas that I'd change to better flow with the next modules. I haven't gone past the third one yet, but I'd love feedback on both what I've done so far, as well as what you guys suggest for future modules. Enjoy!

Rescue at Rivenoar



NPC

  • Kidnap Victims -
    • Jalissa - female acoltye of Ioun, very scared by kidnapping
    • Sertanian - old castellan of Hall of Valor, former soldier, hates hobgoblins
    • Thurann - young son of captain of Guard, fearful father is dead
    • Mirtala - female cook, contracted filth fever after capture
    • Zerriksa - old crone, rumored to be a witch
    • Adronsius - dwarven alchemist, badly beaten by hobgoblins
    • Kartenix - captain of Guard, father to Thurann, sacrificed

  • Brindol Councilmen -
    • Eoffram Troyas - half-elf councilman, known for outlandish ideas, wants to use adventurers to help Brindol


Notes

  • Include rumors of war to the West, interrupted by Rescue at Rivenroar
  • Have the first encounter involve the goblins attempting to tear down old Red Hand Banner to better tie with rest of adventure
  • Include mention of Freeriders not being available to help out due to Orcs to the East
  • Include mention of Alys (see Den of the Destroyer), to produce a better reaction at her introduction later
  • If you dislike the random seeming assortment of enemies you can:
    Show
    • Replace Gnome Skulks with Goblin Blackblades (Level 2)
    • Replace Ettercap Fanguards with Chillborn Zombies (Level 4)
    • Replace Ettercap Webspinner with Deathlock Wight
    • Replace Wererats with Skulk Zombie
    • Replace Evistro with Offalian
    • Replace Gnome Arcanist with Bairwin, Cult Leader

  • Have the platinum longsword, Amyria, detect as magic and offer limited communication to the PCs (see Den of the Destroyer)


Synopsis

Hobgoblin warband seeking to gain fame and fortune is urged by mysterious Emissary to attack town of Brindol, Hobgoblin band attacks, stealing relics and kidnappings townsfolk, plan on sacrificing townsfolk to cement undead's aid at homebase of Castle Rivenroar


My thoughts on this module were that the presence of several monsters simply weren't well explained. The townsfolk were kidnapped supposedly to be sacrificed to the undead, yet the only one killed was given to ettercaps? And why are gnomes and wererats involved at all? So I tried to up the undead/goblinoid presence and removed the gnome/wererats. Also, I think I'll start SoW off with a call to arms out west in Overlook with the PCs heading that way. Stopping at Brindol, they'll get wrapped up in RoR before continuing on. Should help things flow better.


Siege of Bordin's Watch

Location



NPC

  • Enemies

    • Tusk - underage orc warleader whose army is marching on Bordrin's Watch, has ogre blood
    • Myrissa - shadar-kai witch, lover of Tusk, obtained dark one scouts for Tusk's army
    • Iranda - dark one weapons dealer, has agreed to aid Tusk's army in exchange for exclusive sellers rights

  • Overlook Council of Elders - all dwarven, presumed rulers of Overlook

    • Elder Cadrick - youngest elder of the Council
    • Morgoff Stonefist - head of the Council, wants to retire

  • Groups in Overlook

    • Farstriders - well accomplished group, known for slaying a black dragon, ousting a nest of kobolds, and even travelling to the Shadowfell
      • Edgar Sommerfield - a famous warlord, known to have fought in many battles
      • Uulath and Reiner - twin elven rangers
      • Jen - a half-elf warlock
      • Corben - a human fighter, overly impressed with his skill

    • Freeriders - group formed six month's ago in Elsir's Crossing, defeated a cabal of cultists in Beacon
      • Megan Swiftblade - scarred warrior woman, overly protective
      • Ragnum Dourstone - priest of Moridin, functions as the heart and center of the Freeriders
      • Sylen Leafrunner - elven ranger, companion to Megan but embarassed at dallying with a human
      • Ghena Tenson - wizarding woman, has great self-esteem, beleives she is destined for greatness
      • Madrick - gnome rogue, fled the Feywild with his pet racoon Bandit

    • Lost Ones - thieve's guild in Overlook, based in Tradetown
    • The Green Hand - adventuring company in Overlook to help
    • Company of Wolves - adventuring company in Overlook to help
    • Slayers - adventuring company in Overlook to help

  • Noted Overlook Personages

    • Rufus Crumley - human necromancer who lives in Shantytown, disliked but too powerful to be driven off
    • Yerrin Davoley - halfling innkeep of Clean Sheets, smuggles drugs and poison into Overlook
    • Reggen - dwarf innkeep of Mountain's Hearth, runs inn like clockwork, has resisted Lost Ones offer of "protection"
    • Kyle Rester - former adventurer, barkeep of Pig and Bucket
    • Myra Edgerton - portly half-elf shopkeep of Dungeoneer's Survival Emporium, will reveal wondrous items if flirted with, really doppleganger assassain laying low
    • Forsworth Clangman - proud dwarven brewmaster of Deergan's XXX Brewery, 12th generation owner
    • Mikal Rensfield - enterprising human merchant, runs Stonehome Treasures, sells weapons, armor, and some magic goods
    • Rory Teng and Ruth - human and half-elf, eldery couple who run Belden's Rest, secretly followers of Asmodeus
    • Krunk - hobgoblin barkeep of Salty Mug, simply collects bodies left over from fights to sell the next day
    • Riley Swifttoe - shopkeep of Merty's, knows artificer able to make custom items
    • Haelyn - elderly female keeper of Shrine of Erathis, knows a handful of rituals of curing
    • Chef Drebben - chief chef of the Coxcomb Spirits, has a ghost cornered in the cellar but fears negative press for clearing it out
    • Durkik Forgeheart - high priest of Moradin at Stone Anvil, has become corrupted with power, now greedy and avracious
    • Kalaban Whisperwind - eladrin innkeep of House of Sleep, dotes on his customers, makes sure each room's kitchen, lounge, and bedroom in good order
    • Wendell the Sott - overly drunken innkeep of Cadrick's Boarding House, doesn't remember who Cadrick was

  • Monks

    • Kalad - the only survivor of the Monastery of the Sundered Chain, determined to make sure Nexus is sealed


Notes
  • Include random wilderness encounter with Orcs, introducing Freeriders shortly afterward
  • Include random urban encounter with Lost Ones to tie in with later Lost One storylines
  • Include the Happy Beggar as a location of mention (see Shadow Rift of Umbraforge)
  • Play up the superior weapons the orc army is using to better tie to Sinruth (see Shadow Rift of Umbraforge)
  • Iranda has a brass key to the Shadowfell (exceptionally important!)
  • Allow players to overhear arguments over Mordra's trustworthiness to introduce him earlier (see Shadow Rift of Umbraforge)


Synopsis

An orc army marches on Bordrin's Watch and Overlook, scouts report they've discovered hidden dwarven paths, Farstriders dispatched to seal one set of paths with the party going to the Monastery of the Sundered Chain to seal another, Monastery found overrun with only survivor insisting the Nexus be checked, at Nexus find Farstriders slain, kill warchief of approaching army and seal passages.


Holy hell, this was a lot of work jotting down notes on all of Overlook. Still, I suspect at least *some* of these NPCs will come back at another point (and indeed, Reggen is mentioned next module so I'm already proven right ...)

This module didn't strike me as too problematic, except that the relation between the underground passageways and the structures on top was rather hazy. Also, not much is made of the fact that the orcs have superior weaponry and shadow creature help. Considering that the PCs are expected to chase Mordra to the Shadowfell for vengeance it might be a good idea to start riling them up now.


The Shadow Rift of Umbraforge

Location

  • Overlook - see Siege of Bordrin's Watch
    • Happy Beggar - pious almshouse run by Prashant and Asuma, a pair of married retired paladins

  • Umbraforge - a military encampment in the same position as Overlook but within the Shadowfell


NPC

  • Enemies

    • Mordra - one of Sarshan's lieutenants, struck a deal Sarshan felt too risky and when it fell through, ran from Sarshan's punishment
    • Sarshan - leader of arms smuggling operation, seeking to kill Mordra

  • Ally

    • Reniss - sister of Jen, was sent the name Mordra before her sister died
    • Prashant and Asuma - retired married paladins, they run the Happy Beggar together
    • Brenat - elderly man at Happy Beggar, advises hunting Mordra down, actually Sarshan in disguise
    • Leena - former agent of Mordra, broke with him when he went behind Sarshan's back


Notes
  • Meet Haelyn (see the Temple Between) in Tradetown at or before going to the Happy Beggar
  • Overhear gnolls in Sarshan's tower about Fangren and the Wicked Fang (see Den of the Destroyer)
  • In Sarshan's chamber at the top of Umbraforge Tower leave a note detailing the discovery of something called "Blood Chaos" in the Sea of Fire and a linked portal ritual


Synopsis

Mordra attempts to slay PCs to obtain brass key to return to Shadowfell thus attracting PC interest, PCs track Mordra to Shadowfell gate and follow him through, in Shadowfell Mordra tries to sabotage Sarshan operation but stopped by PCs, PCs meet Sarshan but escape when volcano erupts


The Lost Mines of Karnak

Location

  • Karak Lode - a legendary site of untold wealth, lost sometime ago
  • Thornwaste - dry thorn filled scrublands in the south of the Vale
  • Dunesend - a small village at the edge of the desert south of the Thornwaste



NPC

  • Enemies

    • The Warden - demonic gnoll scourge in charge of collecting tribute from Dunesend
    • Queen Shepatiah - a naga who discovered Karnak by accident, works for an unknown mysterious group

  • Ally

    • Kalad - the paladin from the Monastery of the Broken Chain, now a sergeant with the Overlook watch
    • Bram Ironfell - actually an agent of Sarshan, urges the party to seek out the Karak Lode
    • Mag Blackthorn - ranger protector of the Thornwaste, can become hostile if challenged
    • The Birdman - an addle minded prisoner, or more than he seems? Mysteriously vanishes but provides a clue to the Queen's true location

  • Residents of Dunesend

    • Lotho Elberesk - owner of Dunesend caravansary, village elder, and de facto leader of Dunesend
    • Bede - a halfling baker, and the lone non-human resident of Dunesend
    • Darkus Comahni - human blacksmith, can efface any repairs needed
    • Fawma Bruth - aged human priestess of Melora, tends a small shrine in Dunesend




Notes

  • This one seems tangentially related to the AP so far, not sure how to link



Synopsis

The party is approached and told of an abandoned mine in the southern desert. Venturing there, they find the mine under the control of a mysterious Queen. After killing her duplicate, the party follows a group of would-be assassins into a secret section and slay the real queen.


Hrm, what to say? This section seems very disconnected from the rest of the series so far, although it is likely the unknown group that was financing the Queen is Sarshan or someone from his organization. The Birdman is a mysterious figure who may appear again, but really I'm drawing a blank on how to intergrate this with the rest of the series as a whole. Of course, not every adventure really needs to advance the storyline. A one-off helps break up the narrative.


Den of the Destroyer

Location
  • Fortress Graystone - abandoned githzerai fortress in the Giant's Shield mountain range, built to defend a natural thinning between the World and the Elemental Chaos


NPC
  • Enemies
    • Thorn - bounty hunting elf who initially pretends to be an ally only to turn later
    • Fangren - leader of Wicked Fang gnoll pack, seeks to infuse himself with Yeenoghu's power
    • Kyrion - shadar-kai weaponmaster and envoy from Sarshan to the Wicked Fang tribe

  • Ally
    • Alys - a messegner from Brindol, in Overlook to deliver a message to the party
    • Zoram Splintershield - a dwarf on patrol looking for the gnoll bandits in the area
    • Amyria - the platinum longsword! recovered in the Rescue at Rivenroar, asks to be transported to Fortress Graystone

  • Kidnapees
    • a Wealth Landowner - kidnapped for experiments by the Wicked Fang
    • a Curate of the church of Pelor - kidnapped for experiments by the Wicked Fang
    • a Retired Sage - kidnapped for experiments by the Wicked Fang



Notes
  • The Retired Sage could be Falrinth (see Beyond the Mottled Tower)


Synopsis

The party is summoned by the longsword found in Rescue at Rivenroar. It reveals it is trapped in longsword form and needs the use of a planar portal opened by gnolls to the north. Traveling to the gnoll stronghold, the party defeats a gnoll trying to infuse himself with Yeenoghu's power and release the imprisoned being (Amyria).


I've read that this is the most dungeon-crawly module yet, and that is pretty apparent. Very few new characters introduced, but many plot-points revealed to the players. Kyrion knows Sarshan is behind both the Wicked Fang and Sinruth from long ago and reveals both. Plus, Amyria promises to likely be important to future adventures. Very solid; I'm excited to run this one, although it is likely months away.

One minor complaint however; the three prisoners rescued from gnoll captivity don't seem to be detailed at all! Obviously the author felt these guys weren't important, but that doesn't mean we can't give them a name and make them a recurring character.


Thanks go out to contributors PDS and Lindharin. Thanks a lot for contributing guys!

Thanks Codegeass! I finally got to the spot to understand what you were suggesting!
*Reserved for Paragon Adventures*
*Reserved for Epic Adventures*
Well that's all I have so far. Please, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. And if anyone wants to compile some notes like this for future modules, feel free. Less work for me. :P
Good job chap.

I'm not running SoW for a good 6 months I would guess (still running SCAP). I really think this will be a useful thread which lots of people should contribute to.

I'll read it with great interest!
Blakey
Currently running the first module here, and here are some things I've done:

1. I'm using a slightly modified of the Player's Guide that was posted on here by Jeremy Sager. That fills in the player's background info wonderfully. I modified it to play up some mention of farms being raided to the north-east of Brindol near one of the villages up that way (forget which one just at the moment) because I believe that will be relevant in the fourth (?) adventure, the one with gnolls I believe. I also played up the arrival of dwarven messengers from Overlook over the last few weeks, having closed-door sessions with the council (about the possibility of war) that the public has not been informed of, so the players know something is going on over there.

2. In the first scene, I had the goblins attacking the tavern split their attention three ways: some attacked the PCs, some scattered the other patrons, and a few went to pull down and take an old Red Hand war banner that was decorating the far wall of the tavern. The players found this very intriguing, and once they heard about the relics taken from the museum, it made their first encounter really tie in to the adventure more. Without that, why are 20% of the attacking force grouped up and just happen to assault the one tavern that the PCs are in? This really made it part of the story, especially since...

3. When the PCs talked to the councilman, they focused on the thefts as the motivation for the raid, and in the conversation about that they discovered that the attackers knew where all the relics were that were publicly displayed (the museum, the tavern, etc.) but didn't necessarily know where private collections were. They quickly figured out that the raiders must have a contact or spy in town who was able to find the publicly displayed relics, and directed the raiders to those locations.

4. When the PCs found out that the respected leader of the guard was captured / disappeared, and it just happened that his son was gone too, they have a working theory that he might be the spy! :-) They've toyed with investigating whether the boy disappeared before the raid or during it, but decided they didn't have time and that they need to focus on the rescue. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to incorporate that idea (adding a further moral dilemma to what they tell the boy when they find him), or have them discover that he was just a victim of poor timing.

5. The way the prisoners are scattered around seemed odd to me, but I decided that they goblins didn't want to give them to the undead yet - they're holding on to them as bargaining chips, will trade one at a time for favors, etc. So they didn't want them grouped together to prevent the undead from finding them all and having an all-they-can-eat buffet. And the prisoners are mostly guarded by non-goblins because, well, the goblins were tending to beat them up too much (especially the dwarf) and the leader didn't want to risk losing any of them "accidentally". I'm going to have the dwarf give that info to the PCs when they find him.

6. I don't mind the gnomes, but that is due mostly to a prior history between those races in my personal campaign. One of my players is closely tied to the Feywild and I'm going to be bringing a lot of fey issues into the campaign. In my world, the goblin race is a fey race, originally from the Feywild like the elves, eladrin, fomorians, etc. Many of them have moved to the natural world and lost much of their innate magic (like the elves, as opposed to the Eladrin), although many goblins remain in the Feywild (per the Manual of the Planes) and I'll make them more magical like eladrin and gnomes. Anyway, the upshot is that the goblins get along fine with the more evil gnomes, with a common history and background, so I wasn't thrown by the gnomes helping them in this adventure. I am much less certain about the inclusion of the ettercaps, and I may replace them with undead as the OP suggested.
I am currently just finished with SOW 3. Here are a couple of the things I did to link the adventures:

Rescue at Rivenroar:
The party started out in Rhest near the swamps and practiced and trained there. One of my PCs got a message one day from an old friend in Brindol, Alys (the same Alys who brings message to the party in Overlook in SOW 5.) She asked for him to Brindol and find her at the Antler and Thistle. This allowed for them to save her in the tavern and gain an ally in town and someone who they will remember. Later on when she is beaten from the Lost Ones they will be more emotionally attached.

Eoffram mentions that the Freeriders are usually the group that helps them out in a time of need but that they are away investigating rumors of orcs on the rise.

Siege of Bordrins Watch
The party decided to visit the Mountain's Hearth as their first destination in Overlook. They saved Reggen from a group of lost ones here. (I made sure that one of my PCs got into a personal fight with the Mage and I also made sure the Mage escaped.

Once at the Monastery the party found that the orcs were using shadow weapons, while these didnt give extra ability, they were very nice weapons. too nice for savage orcs to have forged.

On their way down the secret passage to the dwarven hall at the monastery, one of the PCs that can understand Giant hear an argument that involves the name Modra.

When the party goes up the ladder in the Nexus, they are found in a small cavern at Bordrin's Watch by Madrick, the gnome from the Freeriders. He tells them that Megan is upset they were given the Monastery job (playing on her jealousy in the Temple Between and The Mottled Tower.)

Umbraforge
During the city crawl, the party had an encounter from Siege named mysterious killers. These were dopplegangers that had a list of the parties names and some of the Freeriders names. The twist I put in was that the dopplegangers were diguised as two goblins and Sinruth. This was a big surprise when they saw this. This will come back into play in SOW 5.

They also had the lost ones encounter where the mage returned and they finally did away with him and found a letter from Modra on him.

They also met Haelyn from the Temple Between in Tradetown right before going to the Happy Beggar.

When they get to sarshans tower they will hear the gnolls having a conversation about fangren and something called the wicked fang.

In sarshans chamber at the top of Umbraforge tower (if they go there) they will find a note on his desk detailing his discovery of something called "Blood Chaos" in the Sea of Fire and they will find a linked portal ritual.

More of my ideas for the next few adventures when I can post more...gotta run right now. I think this thread is a great idea by the way!
what about making the "retired sage" appearing in “Den of the Destroyer” we rescued Falrinth,the sage in Talar who appear in "“Beyond the Mottled Tower”".
what about making the "retired sage" appearing in “Den of the Destroyer” we rescued Falrinth,the sage in Talar who appear in "“Beyond the Mottled Tower”".

And after you save him - TWICE - you would still need a skill challenge to retrieve information from him. :D
Welcome to the thread guys! I'm glad you all are finding this useful! :D

Lindharin,

Thanks for the recommendation for the excellent write-up. (Here's a link to the post in case someone can't find it). I like your ideas about giving the goblins a bit more of a purpose for attacking the inn. It cuts down on the dumb luck aspect of the heroes just being in the right place at the right time.

PDS,

Lots of good ideas here! It sounds like you're laying groundwork far in advance, which I love! Hopefully I can get a writeup similar to what I have for the first three done for the fourth soon; when I do I think I'm going to go back and integrate some of your and Lindharin's ideas, if neither of you mind.

CodeGeass and Mike_Conno,

You guys are too far ahead of me for me to understand what you mean. I take it this sage is strangely ... obstinate? :P

Thanks again everyone for reading and participating.
I like your ideas about giving the goblins a bit more of a purpose for attacking the inn. It cuts down on the dumb luck aspect of the heroes just being in the right place at the right time.

Yep, that was one of the things that jumped out at me when I first read the module. Why was a significant fraction (yeah, mostly minions but still...) of the raiding force hitting this one inn and trying to burn it down. Giving them a goal like stealing a relic of the old Hand just felt much more satisfactory, and tied it in to the overall adventure much better.

when I do I think I'm going to go back and integrate some of your and Lindharin's ideas, if neither of you mind.

That's fine for my stuff.
Hey, thanx for this. Overlook was a bit much for me (had to jump into this as DM on very short notice). Nice concise notes help a TON!

Thanx
Oh My Lord! This thread is exactly what I need!!

I love the idea of an Adventure Path, since I just do not have the time to develop one myself. However, this first foray into the realm of AP by Wizards needs a little TLC to make it flow correctly. There are too many mistakes that, if not noticed and corrected, would really hurt the game play at the table.

Thank you for this thread.

If I might offer a suggestion it is to just edit your first post based on suggestions of other DM's - that way the community as a whole could develop our very own "DM's Troubleshooting and Suggestion Guide to The Scales of War Adventure Path" in a single place and not scattered about with hindered different (and possibly conflicting) suggestions. As this thread grows it will become harder and harder to read and decipher if this is not done.

Take, for example, what the World of Warcraft community on Blizzards Forums - they often have one person who writes a Class Talent Suggestion or Optimization thread. Then he alters his thread (which is always on the first page) based on information and suggestions from others (which can get into the thousands of suggestions over hundreds of pages).

This is what this thread needs - and I nominate Xcaliber to lead the way.
Don't anyone fret that I've abandoned this thread! Life's just been kicking me in the teeth; I think everyone knows how that is. This weekend I'm going to do a writeup for chapter 4, and edit my first couple of posts with some of the suggestions brought in since I threw this thread up the first time.

Anyone out there with some suggestions on interlinking the series together, keep contributing. I'd like this to be a useful thread for everyone.

For everyone who's read so far, thanks for stopping by!
Much as I love this thread a wiki seems like a better choice to be honest.

You could post here when you update the wiki.
Much as I love this thread a wiki seems like a better choice to be honest.

You could post here when you update the wiki.

I don't disagree with you actually Cailte. I looked around for a wiki along this line for some time, to be honest, but couldn't find one anywhere. I unfortunately also lack the resources to setup a wiki, although if you would like to volunteer to host something like that, I would be happy to move my work there.



Finally, I've worked some of the suggestions presented into this thread into my list up above. A death in the family prevented me from working out the fourth module this weekend past, but I hope to tackle in soon. Next Thursday I will be starting the SoW campaign for my group, so I need to get moving soon!
I love this thread. I hope other DMs contribute to this as I will be taking a couple months off DMing as me an another who I game with Swap every few levels. I hope there are great ideas to tie in Karak, Den and Temple!
Nice editing. I actually like the post just the way it is. Just keep editing the original posts and let us know when there's an update. I'll throw a few things in tonight from work if I get the chance
Thanks for this thread! Too bad I didn't have it when I started. We just finished SoW 1 and begun number 2 last time. They're on their way to Overlook and was ambushed by some bandits on the road there (they were short on exp :P ). I will consider dropping some Lost Ones on them during their stay there.
I don't disagree with you actually Cailte. I looked around for a wiki along this line for some time, to be honest, but couldn't find one anywhere. I unfortunately also lack the resources to setup a wiki, although if you would like to volunteer to host something like that, I would be happy to move my work there.

I have the resources to do this

Will take a look at some options in the coming weeks and get back to you.
Content was removed as it promoted activity against the Code of Conduct. http://forums.gleemax.com/community_coc.php

Thank you
Content was removed as it promoted activity against the Code of Conduct. http://forums.gleemax.com/community_coc.php

Thank you

Ah well, I suppose that idea won't fly.

Glad to see people are still interested in this thread. I plan on trying to tackle the fourth module this weekend; I look forward to adding any contributions you guys throw in there while you're at it. If anyone has some comments/suggestions regarding the format I've been using, I'm all ears.

Cailte,

Awesome, that sounds cool. Let me know what you come up with.
Xcaliber

Great job on the summary!

I felt it was necessary to join this thread as I too have had some frustrations at the linking and playability of the Scales of War! I do believe that, overall, it has Huge potential to be a dynamic adventure path to keep the PCs interested for months to come...but there is also alot to hash out and correct and link for everything to flow together smoothly, in otherwords to just make sense!

I have read the modules from Rescue at Rivenroar to the Dens of the Destroyer...again the ideas and concepts are there, but it needs to be fleshed out properly and reworked...

So I stopped reading any further to attempt to reorganize the jumble presented to us..unfortunately it has become quite the daunting task and it has caused me to almost redo the entire first module!!!

I really liked the beginning of Rescue at Rivenroar module...all the way until the actual discovery of the catacombs... where is this place?...and is it just a big hole in the ground with steps leading down?

I also did not like the catacombs themselves...no rhyme nor reason...the function...didn't make sense...a mushroom room?..the portal?...to goofy for me along with the odd alliance with the ettercaps and gnomes...and of course Sinruth knowing all of the secret "protectors/guardians" of the tombs...the prisoner idea? neat but it too did not make sense...why separate them all and why haven't they been "fed" to the undead yet...especially after four days!! Time should been of the essence here and the PCs should know it!!! Also, returning to the undead...why would the undead even form an alliance with the Hobgoblin chieftain?..just look at all those yummy level 1 minions and fodder running their halls...not too mention why would the wight lord let these goblins defile their resting place?...haven't the goblins already looted the sarcophogi? Destroyed their burial chambers? So....I have set out to redo the entire catacombs adventure...

I like the concept behind the looting of items from the museum and also the taking of prisoners, but my thoughts run along the lines of...Sinruth needs more space in his newly found base, "The estate of Rivenroar", which includes the shell of the old manor, the grounds, the stables, gatehouse and, of course the family mausoleum.

Sinruth has taken these stolen items and prisoners to obtain three goals...to rally more troops to the old banner, to gain the confidence of the emissary thus work a deal into obtain better armanents and creatures into his army and finally to goad the town into sending some adventurers out to him...hopefully to do what he couldn't do himself (he lost many followers in his attempt!)..to clean out the "haunted" east wing of the crypt; where the wight lord von Urstadt and his entourage dwell!

Sinruth has had goblin scouts shadowing the adventurers and has told his troops to allow them free passage into the heart of the Rivenroar estate. "Make like we are overconfident..." he tells them.." and not worried of intruders!"

He will leave obvious clues as to some of the prisoners whereabouts...the wagon used to transport them and the corpse of the captain of the guard at the mausoleum entrance. Once inside he will sacrifice a few of his troops to take the prisoners into the east wing and then seal it behind them.

I think that this could make for a really heartpounding and interesting adventure...the PCs will have the choice to do as they wish...they can seek out the goblins in the compound and ignore the "bread crumbs"...or they can railroad themselves as they see fit...either way it will be a fantastic escape from the estate with the prisoners in tow...and the goblins attempting to rally behind them.

I am really excited with this change and look forward to creating the battlemaps and tactical encounters...the denizens have already been selected, representing one of the two sides...the lords of Rivenroar..or Sinruth's goblinoid forces...

What do you think of that idea?...Do you have any ideas to add to it? I have also been looking at the old module for 3.5 "The Red Hand of Doom", to insert some references to the personalities in there. The beginning of this module says that this could occur 10 years after the war...but I think that is far too recent and needs to be a distant memory, with few alive that remember those dark years!! (Like Sertanian)..

I look forward to anyone's comments...I know that this is quite the large change to the adventure, but I feel that it makes more sense to me as to answer all the "Whys?" I had before...

Thanks...
Like you Gobi, I found some of the layout of the dungeon at Rivenroar a bit strange, as you can tell from my notes.

I like your ideas for how to alter the adventure; they certainly sound like they'll make for an exciting run through the dungeon!

My own take is that the undead within Rivenroar are somehow trapped (cursed?) within Rivenroar, and thus see Sinruth and his followers as their best chance to satiate their hunger for the living. And of course, if Sinruth fails to deliver, they can eat him and his followers. :evillaugh

In my game, Sinruth will not have fed all the prisoners to the undead yet because he wants to portion them out, to make sure he gets the most bang for his sacrifices.

Thanks for the contribution!
Gobi - that looks great.

It also kind of helps me solidify what I am doing which is turning the dungeon into a skill challenge, with set pieces relating to the prisoners. Using a bunch of ideas scavanged from the "How to run a skill challenge" articles in Dungeon.
I've added the Lost Mines of Karnak to my list up above. To be honest though, there wasn't really much there that I noticed. Far more than the last three, Karnak seems pretty disjoint from the storyline as a whole. This isn't a complaint though; it's nice to have a break from the story at times, to give things a feel of movement in the background.

If anyone has some ideas (or insight) into how Karnak ties into previous or future adventures, let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Fwiw, we skipped the Rivenroar adventure completely. I had originally half an idea to run the AP but was put off by bad reports of the first couple of modules and went off to do other stuff instead (chiefly, "Forge of the Mountain King" by Goodman Games). That was a few months back, I have now read more favourable things on the AP and have been persuaded to come back to it. With my group not wanting to start anew though, and me not wanting to make massive alterations to the encounters etc, that essentially means skipping the first adventure (my PCs are almost fourth level).

I had the raid on Brindol (actually Penhaligon in my Mystara game) go ahead without my PCs getting involved (it occurred while they were away on this other thing) but they will pick things up as the main protagonists with Siege of Bordrin's Watch. I also adjusted the GG module somewhat to bring it into the AP line, including a note from an Emissary figure.

I was going to completely ignore the Rivenroar adventure but, on reading ahead, I saw that the items recovered from Sinruth's abode, some of them at least, have an importance later on. To get this in now, I had the PCs stumble across a triumphant band of goblins as they were heading homewards (both the PCs and the goblins). A fight ensued, the PCs prevailed and the subsequent looting included, lo and behold, the likes of a dragonhelm and a platinum ceremonial longsword.

From what I have read, which is everything up to and including The Temple Between (excellent btw), I don't think RaR is essential, over and above the things I have mentioned.
Welcome to the thread DNH. So far I've run one session of Rescue and it hasn't been all bad. My party's lack of interest in ascertaining what they just agreed to do was ... strange however. Ah well, I should be used to it with these guys by now.

I've just finished Den of the Destroyer and I think this is one of the strongest modules int he AP yet. Good, exciting, logically setup encounters with a fair number of tie-ins with previous modules and a few obvious hooks for future modules to hang off of. Plus, a large absence of difficult sounding railroad set pieces (see Shadow Rift of Umbraforge). I have to say I'm excited about Den of the Destroyer, even though it is really far out in the future as of now.

Anyway, thanks all you guys for enjoying the work I'm doing. Hopefully this is a help to you too!
I haven't read this one yet. Was planning on it tonight. So, one of the NPC's is from the church of Pelor, huh? One of my players is a cleric of Pelor. Suppose I'd better introduce this NPC right away then. We just finished SoBW. Is this NPC from Overlook or elsewhere?
I haven't read this one yet. Was planning on it tonight. So, one of the NPC's is from the church of Pelor, huh? One of my players is a cleric of Pelor. Suppose I'd better introduce this NPC right away then. We just finished SoBW. Is this NPC from Overlook or elsewhere?

I assume you're talking about the Curate from the Church of Pelor ... one of the prisoners in Den of the Destroyer. The fact is, aside from his occupation (see directly above) absolutely no details are presented about any prisoners. , I know. It is implied the prisoners have been captured from the outlying northern villages in the Vale though, so there is something there. Maybe he is a traveling healing man of Pelor? Or he could be someone in Overlook who was just traveling in the wrong place at the wrong time?

It is pretty much up to the DM to give the prisoners any personality they'll get.
the Curate from the Church of Pelor ... it is pretty much up to the DM to give the prisoners any personality they'll get.

In a previous 3.5e campaign, one of my players played a cleric of the Church of Traladara (this is Mystara, remember) who was sent to Verge. He was to replace the local priest who had been killed when a recent goblin raid had damaged the church building. The player played it well, taking on the rebuilding work, hiring craftsmen etc, until the hooks for The Sunless Citadel started kicking in and he joined a party to go off and investigate that. When he got back to Verge, there was another priest in his place and he was ordered to return to the capital and report to his superiors. He did so and was given a right lambasting!

This all happened about three years ago, real time, but only a few months in the campaign world (we don't play too often ;) ), so I might make the above-mentioned curate this player's former character!
In a previous 3.5e campaign, one of my players played a cleric of the Church of Traladara (this is Mystara, remember) who was sent to Verge. He was to replace the local priest who had been killed when a recent goblin raid had damaged the church building. The player played it well, taking on the rebuilding work, hiring craftsmen etc, until the hooks for The Sunless Citadel started kicking in and he joined a party to go off and investigate that. When he got back to Verge, there was another priest in his place and he was ordered to return to the capital and report to his superiors. He did so and was given a right lambasting!

This all happened about three years ago, real time, but only a few months in the campaign world (we don't play too often ;) ), so I might make the above-mentioned curate this player's former character!

That's pretty cool
Ok made a wiki intended to hold this sort of stuff.

http://scales-of-war.pbwiki.com/

I'll try and get some of the initial content from here plugged in, but others are welcome to do so rather than wait for me.

Anyone can read the site, and anyone who signs up can edit (at least).
I've been running Rivenroar for a couple sessions now and have noticed a few issues concerning general lack of information. The randomness of the kidnappings was a big factor for my group not to mention why a town, described as having a trained military force 200 strong, hires 5 strangers to do their work, let alone is unable to protect the town from a gorilla raid. The fact of the D&D world now being a points of light setting and the original Red Hand events taking place not too far in the past, didn't help any.

To explain this I did some quick brainstorming, though I wish I had thought of this stuff before we started.

To bring the group together I had a player hiring the others to help handle a simple problem outside of town. I based this on the cave bear encounter provided. Basically the council had given the player leave to put together a team to remove a wild bear which had been terrorizing the livestock of the farmers outside the walls of Brindol. Flyers were posted and those interested met at the inn to discuss the terms.

I set the original Red Hand events about 100 years ago, allowing for time to pass and a sense of complacency to develop in the town. In the case of Sertanian being a soldier during the original Red Hand events, I kept that and made him an elf to explain the extended life span. This complacency combined with an assault occurring at each gate and random fires being spread helped to explain, at least to some extent, the lack of defense

As to why the adventurers were being hired as opposed to using the current militia, that was a little more difficult. Sure the adventure points out that the council has begun hiring adventurers to handle certain issues, but not enough logical reasoning behind this decision is mentioned. To help, I established that Brindol pays death benefits to its militia as an incentive to compensate for a life spent training and protecting the town. As such, the expenditure of benefits to the families of those who would lose their lives in an attempt to recover the victims, let alone route Sinruth, is extreme in comparison to just hiring, for lack of a better term, expendable resources to handle the issue.

When it came to the victims, I provided what I believe are relatively simple seasons for each kidnapping.

For Jalissa and Sertanian I had them taken for their knowledge of the original Red Hand events. I assumed that a acolyte of Ioun, god of knowledge, would have as part of her training a knowledge of history among other things. As to Sertanian, his involvement in the original event and him being the castellan of the Hall of Great Valor makes his knowledge obvious. I had Sinruth using them to instruct his followers on the greatness of the Red Hand and its grand history.

Adronsius was taken for his knowledge of alchemy and the beatings he has taken involve both a hatred of dwarfs as well as an attempt to force him to use his skills to aid their efforts.

Zerriksa was relatively easy. Using her already mentioned efforts to convince them of her dark powers, she was taken for a similar reason to Adronsius. Sinruth believes she will eventually turn to his side as she is a miserable crone that his informants believe even the citizens of Brindol didn't trust.

Kartenix was taken for his knowledge of the town's defenses and his son, Thurann, was taken as leverage.

Mirtala was basically a impulse kidnapping. She was watching Thurann at the time of the assault and attempted to stop them from taking the boy. This explains her condition being the worst of the lot, save for the dwarf perhaps, as she is the most expendable and really worth no value to Sinruth at all.

Currently my players are getting a bit frustrated with the lack of reward after each encounter. The treasure in this adventure seems so spread out that I can see them going several encounters without finding anything, and then when they do we're talking a potion and some gold. In my case I am reworking the parcels, using the guidelines of the DMs guide where it says 10 parcels for every 8 to 10 encounters. By my estimation, based on the odds of them leveling after a certain point and the 17 encounters and 2 or 3 skill challenges, I am using the Party Level 1 and 2 parcel sets instead of the parcels given and then spreading them out in a more regular fashion, every two encounters at the longest.

This may seem treasure heavy, but its a compromise. Some of my players are relatively new and not into the roleplay aspect of the game as of yet while the others are. The roleplaying contingent knows that too much rp will make the new people uncomfortable so have toned it down, but it has made it a bit more difficult for them to explain why they would care about any of the others. The increased treasure is basically my attempt at giving them all a quick and easy reason to be together, without needing deep roleplay to establish connections and personal involvement. Hopefully this will keep both sides happy.

That's where I am at so far and hopefully it will all work out.
I just started the first adventure, Rescue and Rivenroar. My particular campaign started with the adventure and setting in the back of the DMG. Brindol was replaced with Fallcrest. After Kobold Hall, converted an old module from a previous edition (Dragonfiend Pact) and played that. Used a Wererat as the BBEG who did stuff to weaken the defences of Fallcrest. When the PC's defeated him in a secret underground tunnel, they emerged to the surface to find the town already under attack.

I kinda spilled the beans too early about some town members being kidnapped, so they ended up giving chase. (Lost some non-combat RP'ing time as a result. ) The tracked the goblins to their lair and completed the first encounter at the entrance before we ended last session.

I used another dwarf NPC that they already met in place of the dwarf prisoner. Other prisoners remained the same. I also wanted to make this not a kill everything not a prisoner, so my idea was that the gnomes have been enslaved by the hobgoblins. They reluctantly stay because the prisoner in the magic circle is their clan elder who was captured when the clan of gnomes were enslaved. This gives some opportunity for the players to make allies instead of just killing everything the come across in the lair. I'm hoping that they do not shoot first, but you never know.

My players are not so into constant combat, so I am taking out the encounter at the portal and the web creatures (forgot what they are called). There seems to be no point to these encounters. I'm also removing the dead prisoner as I can do without him.

I have Keep on the Shadowfell, so I plan to tie this adventure in with that. I already set a little bit of it up after the Kobold Hall adventure in the DMG. My idea was that the three shields when put together and decoded provided some information to help open the rift to the shadowfell. That is the reason for the attack. The note will change to reflect that. When the PC's reach the altar room, they will have interrupted a human wizard (who replaces the gnome) trying to decipher the information on the shields.

The wererats fit perfectly as the previous adventure had a wererat BBEG. He would have been part of this group.

I hope this information is useful even though I'm not sticking strictly with the SoW adventure path. I haven't looked at the others, but will likely use them at least partially. I certainly found the information here interesting and helpful.
<\ \>tuntman
Hey everyone! Hope no one thought I had abandoned this thread; I've just been super busy in the real world (stupid real world spoiling my fantasy world time, grumble mumble ... :D)

DNH,

That sounds hilarious! And a good twist, tying things together.

Cailte,

Thanks for the wiki! I haven't had a chance to go check it out yet, unfortunately (again with the RL) but plan to as soon as I get a chance to do some more forward looking at the AP. If you haven't ported over the info in this thread to there yet, I'll do so at that point as well. Thanks again!

Snarky,

Not bad thinking providing a reasoning for each prisoner in RoR. For my part, I've just taken the module's reason (for the undead they share their home with) and run with it. I run session 4 of RoR tomorrow; I'll give some more details on how its gone in my next post.

Stunt,

That's an AWESOME idea regarding making the crone a gnome leader, which is why the gnomes are working with the hobgoblins. I wish I had thought of that! I've actually been deviating from my initial notes for the gnomes actually; I just used the gnome stats and said they were goblins. No one really noticed anyway, and it was easier on my part. I'll probably keep some of the new stats though ... I'm glad the variety of creatures works for your back story though.
Ok, so I'm on session 4 of RoR this week. So far things have gone pretty well; the initial attack went well and the ogre actually dropped way faster than I expected (despite the two front line combatants charging in! I thought they were goners for sure).

The party was less interested in talking with the council man, or even the prisoner, than getting to the action and so the RPing was short and swift (although they also didn't get a very good deal on returning the townsfolk/stolen goods).

Session 2 I saw my first death vs the needlefang drake swarms. The druid ran up to melee them and was knocked prone. When he activated next round they simply tore him to shreds, dropping him straight past negative bloodied. Very shocked, if you haven't gotten there yet, watch out. The drake swarms are very strong for their level.

Session 3 I saw my next four deaths as the characters raced after the two retreating goblin sharpshooters, jumping over pits like an old game of Pitfall. When the hobgoblins from the room responded to the goblins cries for help, the party found their avenue of escape very difficult and several were cut down (or tumbled into the pits!) as they tried to flee. Definitely unexpected as well.

Tomorrow we'll be adding four new characters in, hopefully some more level headed guys.

As for the changes I've introduced: I've decided the prisoners were kidnapped to appease the undead sharing their lair with the Red Hand Army. So far, after killing a group of hobgoblins and retreating, I've had the hobgoblins reanimated on the group's return as sneak zombies. This cost the Red Hand Army one captive (this is why the guard captain is dead). If they continue fighting and retreating captives will continue to be sacrificed to "pay" for the raising of dead goblins ... I wonder how long before they start disposing of their fallen foes bodies?

For the one gnome they fought, I just called it a goblin when describing it and used the same stats as a gnome. No one really noticed; they just assumed it was a special type of sneaky goblin. 4E makes it much easier to just reskin monsters, even on the fly.

Thanks again for coming and participating in the thread. Hopefully I can rustle up enough time to get you guys some more notes this weekend. (Hopefully my party doesn't completely wipe by then!)

For treasure, I wrote up these treasure parcels. So far they haven't managed to find any of them, but they're getting close (or at least, they WERE getting close.) Note that I have 7 players, so I've increased the amount of treasure accordingly ... sorry for not having it broken down into parcels so you guys could adjust it easier for your smaller/larger groups...

Treasure


Room 5
1: +1 Gambler's Light Blade - Adventurer's Vault, Goblin Blackblade
2: Gravespawn Potion - Adventurer's Vault, Goblin Blackblade
3: 10 GP - Alcove

Room 7
1: +1 Reproachful Weapon - Adventurer's Vault, Kartenix's Corpse
2: 100 GP Residuum - Silk Bag

Room 9
1: +1 Symbol of Divinity - Adventurer's Vault, Altar of Bane
2: 100 GP, 200 SP - Assorted Hobgoblin
3: 100 GP Amber, 80 GP - Sarcophagi

Room 15
1: Gravespawn Potion - Adventurer's Vault, Hobgoblins
2: Potion of Healing, 70 GP, 30 GP Arcana Reagents - Hobgoblins
3: +1 Stanching Leather - Adventurer's Vault, Hexer

Room 17
1: Circlet of Second Chances, Hunter's Flint - Adventurer's Vault, Skeleton

Room 21
1: +1 Reinforcing Plate - Adventurer's Vault, Sinruth
2: Feyleaf Vambraces - Adventurer's Vault, Sinruth
3: 290 GP, 30 SP - Sarcophagus

Room 23
1: Potion of Healing, 70 GP - Goblin Cultist

Room 24
1: +1 Lifedrinker Weapon - Wall of Throne Room
2: +1 Shared Suffering Armor (heavier) - Adventurer's Vault, Wall of Throne Room
3: 170 GP - Piled by Throne
That's an AWESOME idea regarding making the crone a gnome leader, which is why the gnomes are working with the hobgoblins.

It struck me as being unusual for gnomes to be working with the hobgoblins. When I picked up the PHB2, the gnome fluff said that they used to be enslaved by larger races. That gave me the idea of the back story around why the gnomes were there.:lightbulb
<\ \>tuntman
Slight Spoiler alert!

Like Stuntman I've woven the Nentir and Elsir Vale adventures (mainly because I had access to KotS before I joined DDI). I think that the existence of the shadowfell rift in KotS ties in nicely with the later reveal that Githyanki raiders are initiating an all out war on this region of the mortal plane due to the prevalence of inter-planar portals. Stuntman should be aware that in the Umbraforge adventure in SoW, the party enters a portal to the shadowfell buried within town of Overlook. That fact could be inconsistent with the fact that the KotS rift is supposed to lead to Orcus' shadowfell realm as outlined in that module. The two shadowfell locations may not be able to coexist as close to each other as their mortal-world counterparts (depending on how close you put Overlook and Winterhaven). That is, the Umbraforge encampment's placement in the shadowfell may not realistically be able to thrive so close to what is supposed to be a very scary realm of powerful undead. I avoided this by accident when separated the two towns by about 1000 miles before I realized what I had done. Oh well. Apparently the Githyanki invasion in my world will be quite massive.
Good luck.
Thanks, for the head's up, Cbehre. What level is the Umbraforge adventure? I don't have a long term plan on my campaign yet. I usually plan just one adventure or so ahead. I'm not sure how much of the SoW material I plan to use as I have other things I want to do as well. I may end up just picking out things here and there from the SoW adventure, mixing and modifying stuff to suit my game.
<\ \>tuntman
Thanks, for the head's up, Cbehre. What level is the Umbraforge adventure? I don't have a long term plan on my campaign yet. I usually plan just one adventure or so ahead. I'm not sure how much of the SoW material I plan to use as I have other things I want to do as well. I may end up just picking out things here and there from the SoW adventure, mixing and modifying stuff to suit my game.

The third module in the adventure involves a trip to the Shadowfell (check the first post in this thread, the Shadowrift of Umbraforge). Really though, I don't think I'd assume two portals heading to the Shadowfell would need to link to two areas in the Shadowfell separated by the same physical distance they're separated in the World, so I wouldn't sweat it too hard.
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