The Next Delve Presents: Invasion

 

A D&D Next one-shot adventure scenario for 4 to 5 adventurers of 1st or 2nd level.

 

T H E    S I T C H

The Host of the One Eye blitzed through the Screaming Caverns of Woah and overran the kobolds of the Scales of Tiamat, scattering them throughout the Halls of the Duergar Thane. The surprise attack was as effective as it was relentless for the great goblin Horde of Bargrivyek was crushed by orcish savagery in only a few days. Boss Wart and his retinue fled into the Crypts of the Gray Dwarves Eternal.

 

The Undercity of Kaun - once a dwarven enclave that fell to duergar and later to drow, known by brave and foolhardy men who plumb its depths as The Delve - is a war zone as monstrous denizens vie for dominance. All the realms of men can do is get out of the way, ceding ever more territory to the forces of evil.

 

It is an Age of Darkness.

 

That the Host of the One Eye will be successful in their crusade is certain. All that remains before the civilized races abandon the Valley of the True is to recover the ashes of the Archmage Gulliver Tean. The alacrity of the orcish invasion of The Delve has complicated matters and now the three urns that hold his remains are deep inside hostile territory. With these ashes, Tean can be revived and may help turn the tide of destiny. Without them, humanity may very well face - no doubt after many decades of misery and genocide - total annihilation.

 

Enter the heroes.

 

 

O B J E C T I V E

 

Obtain the three urns containing the ashes of the Archmage before the Host of the One Eye overruns The Delve.

 

 

P R E - G E N S

 

Peachy Keen, half-elf fighter

Sister Wanda Curelight, human cleric

Vanciana La Fey, elf mage

Weensy Guile, halfling rogue

Lady Damechick, tiefling bard

 

 

N O T E S

 

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The first few posts of this thread will be a complete adventure for D&D Next for your review and gaming pleasure - maps, random encounter tables, the works. I'd like for the community to critique it, play it if you like, and provide feedback on your play experience. My goal is to create a simple one-shot adventure format for use in my own campaigns and pick-up groups. The idea is that you can slot in three set-piece encounters and three random encounter tables and be good to go for a session of play.

 

I'm particularly interested in getting feedback on what you think of the choices the players will be making with regard to the route and pace in between the set piece encounters. I'm looking for the choices to be optimal situationally, but for there to be never one perfect way of choosing route and pace. The replayability of the format (if not the specific adventure) is an important design goal. I'll get into the specifics of the format in the next post.

 

Special thanks go to poster Jerico_Mason, one of my regular players, who assisted me with tweaking the math. Also, I've used maps designed by Kristian Richards. Check out his blog for all kinds of maps like you'll see here, all neatly organized into Google+ photo albums and perfect for slotting into this format. The art is courtesy of numerous artists in the Deviantart community whose images I found via Google Image search. I will endeavor to find the artists' names and post them here as soon as possible. This adventure was not produced for commercial purposes. Please don't sue me. If there's an issue, contact me via PM and I'll rectify it immediately.

 

I have this adventure completely ready to play in Roll20. (Images in this thread are screenshots of the game.) If I "know" you, I'm willing to set you up as a GM in the campaign for you to run for your group (or a pick-up group) if you're interested and are willing to provide solid feedback. Contact me via PM to discuss.

 

For a D&D 4e version of this adventure, click here.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

 

O V E R V I E W

 

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The three sections of the dungeon that contain the urns of the archmage are Balance of the Scale, Blood for Blood, and Needle in a Haystack. These sections are connected abstractly by three main routes that wind their way through the Delve: The Halls of the Duergar Thane (yellow, medium route), The Crypts of the Gray Dwarves Eternal (red, short route), and The Screaming Caverns of Woah (green, long route). Players can choose to go to any of the sections by following these routes. They can choose any route to the first section they visit. Thereafter, their choices to go to the other routes will be more limited. (Sections connected by a dashed line are not traversible.) They can also choose their pace as per the D&D Next dungeon exploration rules (see DM Guidelines playtest packet) - slow, moderate, or fast.

 

Route lengths are measured in turns rather than feet. Long routes are 1d4+4 turns in length. Medium and short routes are 1d4+2 and 1d4 turns in length, respectively. Pace modifies this. A fast pace cuts the number of turns in half (rounded down, minimum 1). A slow pace maximizes the roll. A moderate pace does not modify the length at all. Managing the routes and pace are important because there is a countdown. At the end of the countdown, the adventure scenario is over. If the characters have not prevailed by that time, they fail. The countdown is 15 + 1d4 turns. This should be rolled at the start of the scenario and the players should be made aware of it so they can plan their choices accordingly. In this scenario, the countdown marks when the Host of the One Eye completely overruns The Delve.

 

The longer the route, the less chance of random encounters. The faster the pace, the greater the chance that a random encounter will be combat. (The players should be told this.) Each turn, check for random encounters. A random encounter in a long route occurs on a roll of 20 on 1d20. A medium route is 19+. A short route is 16+. On the random encounter chart, you will see that "exploration" and "interaction" encounters are on the low end of the chart whereas "combat" encounters are on the high end. If a random encounter is called for, roll on the chart with a modifier for pace: +0 for slow, +5 for moderate, +10 for fast. Readiness DCs and the other rules for exploration phases and tasks apply as per normal D&D Next rules.

 

Additional notes:

 

  • Short rests take 6 turns. There is no need to roll for random encounters during a short rest.
  • Whether the characters succeed or fail in a set-piece encounter, the lead-up, the scene, and the aftermath takes 1 turn in addition to the travel time it took to get there.
  • If the characters want to avoid a random encounter, they can do so at the cost of 1d4 turns.

The basic interaction should be thus:

 

  1. DM rolls for countdown.
  2. Players choose their first destination, route, and pace.
  3. DM rolls for route length.
  4. DM checks for random encounters.
  5. Set-piece encounter.
  6. Go back to #2 and repeat for other destinations until scenario is complete.

And of course, that's just the framework. Do your usual DM and player stuff and be creative along the way. Much of this dungeon is left abstract so that the DM and players can fill in the blanks with evocative imagery and character interactions.

 

O P T I O N :    N I G H T M A R E    M O D E

 

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Starting at the end of the 10th round of any set-piece encounter, roll 1d20. On 11+, 1d4 orcs arrive from a randomly-determined entrance point. The orcs are added to the initiative order and pursue/attack the closest creature unless circumstances suggest otherwise. They fight to the death and have one roll of Pouch Treasure between them. Players should be made aware of this option at the start of the game so they can plan accordingly. Once orcs have arrived on the scene, do not make any further checks to see if orcs arrive.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

 

E N C O U N T E R    N O T E S

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Monster Objective

Catalysis and Hydrolysis believe (wrongly) that the urn of the archmage contains reagents necessary for the creation of an elixir of life which will help them rebuild the Scales of Tiamat after their crushing defeat at the hands of the Host of the One Eye. Thus, they try to use their alchemy lab to shut down the repulsion field as described below. One makes the primary check while the other uses an action to Help. If they can get the urn or be convinced the urn isn't going to help their cause, they flee. Otherwise, they fight to the last.

 

Breakdown of Threats

Catalysis and Hydrolysis are Kobold Alchemists. Aegis and Bulwark are Kobold Dragonshields. The remaining monsters are (normal) Kobolds. See the Bestiary for stat blocks on these monsters.

 

Features of the Area

How the Scales Work: When the rusty levers are used to unlock the floors, they act as a scale. For every 250 lbs. of weight placed on the floor of the north or south "round" chamber, that chamber descends 5 feet. If the opposite chamber is not balanced, it rises 5 feet. When 500 lbs. is placed on the floor of the chamber, it reaches its lowest point, with the chamber 10 feet below the normal level and the opposite chamber's floor flush with the 10-foot-tall ceiling. When 500 lbs. are placed on the floor of both chambers, it triggers a mechanism which causes the copper pillars to turn. This shuts off the energy powering the repulsion field around the archmage's urn.

 

Alchemy Lab: The kobolds have set up a fairly impressive alchemy lab here. The reagents can be use to make a potion of healing or short out the repulsion field long enough to grab the urn. Complications: Draconic Formulas (DC 10), Disorganized Mess (DC 15), Caustic Reagents (DC 10), Threat of Explosion (DC 15). Failure: The PCs get the potion or can short out the repulsion field, but there is an explosion in a 20-foot-radius that inflicts 1d6 acid damage to all creatures unless they make a DC 11 Reflex saving throw (success: half damage).

 

Bronze Plaques: Inscribed in Dwarven, "Balance the scale, the screws will turn. A thousand pounds to release the urn."

 

Collapsed Doorway: The collapsed doorway is choked with rubble. If the rubble is cleared away, a hidden chamber is revealed where a padlocked treasure chest can be found. This chest contains 1800 cp, 145 ep, a pouch of nine assorted agates worth 10 gp each, a vial of universal solvent, and a potion of healing.)

 

Copper Pillar: These copper pillars run floor to ceiling and are threaded like a screw.

 

Repulsion Field: The archmage's urn is protected by a field of repulsive energy created by a ring of strange metal. No creature may pass through its bounds while it is active. It arcs with electricity. Any creature that touches it while it is active must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 12) or take 3d6 lightning damage (successful save: half damage).

 

Rubble: Difficult terrain.

 

Rusty Levers: These rusty levers require some muscle to budge. They lock or unlock the floor of the corresponding area.

 

Stone Blocks: Each of these three stone blocks weighs 250 lbs and are marked with Dwarven runes indicating as much. There were once four blocks, but one has been reduced to rubble.

 

Unstable Floor: This obviously unstable floor falls away into the Screaming Caverns of Woah if a Medium-sized or larger creature ends its turn here. Such a creature must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 12) or fall 20 feet to the cavern floor, taking 2d6 bludgeoning damage and falling prone.

 

M A P    O N L Y

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

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E N C O U N T E R    N O T E S

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Monster Objective

Boss Wart and his retinue are holed up here waiting for more goblins to regroup and begin guerilla attacks on the Host of the One Eye. They use the font of blood as a source of food, but are too superstitious to mess with the warding pentagram. If Boss Wart falls and 50% of the goblins are killed, the rest will flee. Boss Wart is not unreasonable and might allow the PCs to do what they need to do here if offered something he can use in his battle with the orcs. The ghouls only emerge if the warding pentagram trap is set off or they are attacked or disturbed while in their sarcophagi. Crazed by preternatural hunger for living flesh, they fight until destroyed.

 

Breakdown of Threats

Boss Wart is a Goblin Leader (Boss). All others are (normal) Goblins. Morbid, Grisly, Sinister, and Macabre are all ghouls. See the Bestiary for stat blocks on these monsters.

 

Features of the Area

How the Warding Pentagram Trap Works: In order to safely move through the area bounded by the pentagram and get at the urn, one must first take blood from the font as prescribed by the inscription and place it in the cups held by the diabolic icon. This satiates the two ghouls that are resting in the sarcophagi in the northwest chamber. Unfortunately, a cave-in has destroyed the diabolic icon in the southeast chamber so the blood cannot be offered - those ghouls will have to be dealt with some other way. If the trap is activated, portcullises drop from the ceiling and become locked with padlocks where shown and ghouls that have not been satiated emerge to devour the interlopers.

 

Collapsed Wall & Ceiling: This chamber has seen better days. The walls and ceiling have collapsed in the northwestern corner, smashing the diabolic icon in this chamber. Bits of it can be spotted easily. There is no way to make an offering to the ghouls resting in this chamber.

 

Diabolic Icon: A blood-stained statue of a winged and horned devil holding two cups outward toward the sarcophagi. The cups are covered in dried blood, scabs, and gore as if having been filled repeatedly with blood. A Dwarven inscription on the base of the statue reads, "The dead sleep soundly when their cups runneth over."

 

Font of Blood: A large pool that rises 3 feet above the ground, filled with warm blood of an unknown origin periodically ripples. An inscription on the basin (in Dwarven) warns: "Give before you take and offer a secret to the Lord of the First."

 

Portcullises: Three portcullises are set into the ceiling (visibly so) at the south doorway of the northwest chamber, the west doorway of the southeast chamber, and in the northwest doorway of the circular chamber.​

Rubble: Difficult terrain.

 

Warding Pentagram: Bounded and powered by blood, any living creature passing into or touching the pentagram or touching the urn activates the trap. The archmage's urn is affixed to the ground with sovereign glue.

 

M A P    O N L Y

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

 

E N C O U N T E R    N O T E S

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Monster Objective

The orcs here will give no quarter nor ask for it. They are here to kill and loot and don't even know about the ashes of the archmage. They fight to the death (and sometimes afterward!). Flush with fresh booty, all the orcs have Pouch treasure. Green Hilda is the second-in-command of the Host of the One Eye and a consort to the Orc-Wight commander, Grimgaunt. She has maps and battleplans on her detailing the orcish incursion. This allows the PCs to add 1 turn to the countdown and might be useful intelligence for some future scenario. If Green Hilda's Relentless trait is activated, she uses that extra time to consume the battleplans before dying, rendering them useless. The centipedes are content to ignore anyone on the opposite side of the gap, but attack anyone who sets foot on "their" side of it and fight until dead.

 

Breakdown of Threats

Green Hilda, Razgor, and Sangot are all (normal) Orcs. The centipedes are Giant Centipedes. See the Bestiary for stat blocks on these monsters.

 

Features of the Area

How to Find the Urn: Anyone adjacent to the urns can search up to four of them as an action with a DC 10 Intelligence (Search) check. Success reveals whether or not any of those four urns contain the ashes of the archmage. Failure eliminates two possibilities (DM's choice). The urn the PCs are looking for should be determined ahead of time. (It is marked with a faded green circle on this map.)

 

Centipede Nest: Mostly junk and refuse, the centipedes have collected a few valuables and made it part of their nest. Pouch treasure can be found here in addition to a potion of healing. The nest is difficult terrain.

 

Escarpments: The areas of elevation are at 5-foot increments. The lowest point (other than the gap) is the mineral water which is 5 feet below ground level.

 

Mineral Water: Drinking this water as an action grants temporary hit points equal to a maximum roll of the creature's Hit Die. The shallow puddle contains only enough mineral water for 8 creatures. A creature can only gain this benefit once per day. The temporary hit points fade after a short rest.

 

Rubble: Difficult terrain.

 

The Lucky Ones: The bones of those who died long before this Age of Darkness descended upon the world. The bones are difficult terrain. A creature standing in the four squares at the center of the pile of bones gets advantage on melee attacks.

 

M A P    O N L Y

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

R A N D O M   E N C O U N T E R S

Roll 1d20 + Pace (+0 for slow, +5 for moderate, +10 for fast)

 

The Halls of the Duergar Thane 

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1-5. The PCs stumble upon the Brewery of Tomar Kegstand, a dwarven master brewer. With some effort, the PCs can make a few mugs of Restorinbrau. Drinking this allows them to gain the benefits of a short rest. Complications: Scarce Ingredients (DC 10), Ancient Machines (DC 15), Arcane Process (DC 15), Noise (DC 10). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means the Restorinbrau is produced, but it takes an extra turn.
 
6-10. The Thane's Secret Passages, used by the duergar elite to move about the halls and spy on rivals. PCs take 1d6 turns off their travel. If that reduces the route to 0 turns, they arrive at the destination.
 
11-15 The Ghost of Hatta Widebeard a duergar who was killed by drow while praying at an altar to Laduguer. Her soul cannot pass onto the Infernal Battlefield of Acheron without some help. If the PCs can provide that help, she can tell them where to find anything in the Halls on their next turn. Going to that place adds a turn onto the overall journey to the set-piece, but does not require a random encounter check. Complications: Distrust of the Living (DC 10), Thirst for Revenge (DC 15), Unfamiliar Religion (DC 10), Dead Power (DC 15). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means Hatta is sent to the afterlife, but her passing is noisy and draws unwanted attention. Add +2 to the next random encounter check.
 
16-20. Fire beetles (5), descendants of beetles that were once put in cages to light the halls. (Secondary: Lemures (5), bound to a nearly-erased summoning circle.)
 
21-25. Bugbear and some goblins (5), routed by the orcs. Pouch treasure. (Secondary: Agaphilus, an imp, seeking a way back to the Nine Hells.)
 
26+. Gelatinous cube containing the black dragon scale armor of resistance and Pouch treasure. (Secondary: Choose 16-20 or 21-25 result.)
 
The Crypt of the Gray Dwarves Eternal

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1-5. A Desecrated Shrine to Dumathoin. Reconsecrate it and gain the benefits of a short rest. Complications: Cracked Altar (DC 10), Cursed and Tainted (DC 10), Proof of Knowledge (DC 15), Complex Ritual (DC 15). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means the shrine is reconsecrated, but this angers the undead in the crypt. All undead have advantage on attack rolls on their first attack against the PCs until the end of the scenario.
 
6-10. Cryptkeeper's CorridorTake 1d4 turns off your travel. If that reduces your trip to 0 turns, you arrive at your destination.
 
11-15. Guy Lyrique, a rival adventurer (and bard), dying and on his way to rising as a wraith. If saved or put out of his misery, he can tell the PCs where to find anything in this area on their next turn. This won't require a random encounter check. Complications: Old Rivalries Die Hard (DC 10), Hallucinations (DC 15), Necrotic Flesh (DC 15), Last Rites (DC 10). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means Guy's feverish instructions are unclear, adding an extra turn to finding anything in this area. Neither turns require a random encounter check.
 
16-20. Duergar skeletons (5), given to snuffing out the living. (Secondary: Orc, kobold, and goblin zombies (5), hungry for brains.)
 
21-25. An orc and a giant lizard, advance skirmishers for the Host of the One Eye. Pouch treasure and a pie. (Secondary: Human berserkers (2) and human warriors (2), sell-swords in service to the Host.)
 
26+ A wraith jealously guarding its prized possession in life - a dancing axe (as per dancing sword). Chest treasure can be found in its sarcophagus. (Secondary: Choose 16-20 or 21-25 result.)
 
The Screaming Caverns of Woah

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1-5. An EarthnodeDraw upon the strength of the earth to gain the benefits of a short rest. Complications: Strange Radiation (DC 15), Intense Gravity (DC 10), Potential Cave-In (DC 15), Offering to Entemoch and Sunnis (DC 10). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means the PCs can draw upon its strength, but it costs them additional offerings in the form of metal, gems, or stone valued at 50 gp per PC.
 
6-10. Abandoned Mineshaft. Take 1d8 turns off your travel. If that reduces your trip to 0 turns, you arrive at your destination.
 
11-15. Chanterelle, a myconid druid. It tries to communicate with the PCs via its spores which triggers a bad trip. If the PCs can manage to maintain, Chanterelle can provide information on what's in the area, allowing the PCs to go there on their next turn without a random encounter check. Complications: Jumbled Senses (DC 10), Melting Faces and Bugs Everywhere (DC 15), Snake from the Ancient Lake (DC 15), Creeping Insanity (DC 10). Success on all four before 3 failures is required. Failure means flashbacks happen for the rest of the scenario. Readiness DCs increase by 2.
 
16-20. Stirges (5), hungry for the taste of blood. (Secondary: Burrp, an albino bullywug who hides in a pond and tries to snatch a tasty meal that passes by.)
 
21-25. Kobold dragonshields (2) and urd kobolds (5) trying to find a way out of this place. Pouch treasure. (Secondary: Troglodytes (3), stinking up the joint.)
 
26+. Lady Noir, a drow riding a giant spider, recently arrived from the Underdark. She wears a drow signet ring which is a ring of protection. She also has Pouch treasure. (Secondary: Choose 16-20 or 21-25 result.)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

this is awesome, but i don't think i'd want to run it from the forum page.

 

got a link to a standalone file?

 

also, it looks like you have some sort of travel system that's referenced but not detailed in your post. it looks like something i might like if only i knew how it worked.

trebor_rjf wrote:

this is awesome, but i don't think i'd want to run it from the forum page.

 

got a link to a standalone file?

 

also, it looks like you have some sort of travel system that's referenced but not detailed in your post. it looks like something i might like if only i knew how it worked.

 

Thanks! I'm basically just pasting it in from my Roll20 campaign page, so I don't have a Word document or pdf for it. I'll consider making one. That would just require copying and pasting really.

 

Yes, there is a travel system that will be discussed in the Overview section. That'll go up today as well as details on the set-pieces. I didn't get it all in last night as I started kind of late.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

The overview has been added which has the rules for routes, pace, countdown, and random encounters. This is the area where I seek the most feedback, so I'm much obliged for any thoughts on the matter anyone may have.

 

I'll be adding the details on the set-pieces throughout the day.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Done and done! The entire adventure is posted. I welcome your feedback. If you run it or play in it, have fun!

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

If you're not dead-set on set piece encounters, a 3-6 man rogue run will mop this right up. 

 

Split party and move simultaneously. 

Sure! I set this particular format up to mix what D&D Next is supposed to be good at - a mix of grid/tactical and Theater of the Mind play. If you wanted to replace the set-piece gridded encounters with TotM scenes, I think it would work fine too and be faster on the prep end. Splitting the party would be an interesting way of doing it. I'd like to see that in play.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

This is definitely interesting. I have to get the band back together and give it a run through.

 

 

Monica

Thanks, I hope you get the chance to give it a try!

 

I'm currently working on a set of pre-gen characters for it. The concepts in my head:

 

Peachy Keen, a half-elven swashbuckling fighter

Sister Wanda Curelight, a human battle cleric

Vanciana La Fey, an elven wizard

Weensy Guile, a halfling rogue

Lady Damechick, a tiefling bard

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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P E A C H Y    K E E N

A noblewoman turned privateer, breaking hearts and faces across the High Seas and beyond

 

 

Half-Elven Fighter 1 (Noble)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I like her.

S I S T E R    W A N D A    C U R E L I G H T

A chosen disciple of the Goddess of Life and Light, fighting to drive off the darkness

 

 

Human Cleric 1 (Priest)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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V A N C I A N A    L A    F E Y

Obsessed with uncovering and preserving knowledge... and never losing her spellbook

 

 

Elf Mage 1 (Sage)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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[quote="iserith"]

Obsessed with uncovering and preserving knowledge... and never losing her spellbook

[/quote]

It's all connected!

 

This looks like great fun, btw.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

This is some very inpressive work. I'll take my time reading it in more detail and ask my questions if I have any at a later date.

Thanks guys.

 

@emwasick: That's how you know this world is real - a mage can lose her spellbook if she's not careful. If you look closely as well, you'll see that anything that can be locked in this adventure is locked by a padlock. These forums are great inspiration for fantasy.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

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W E E N S Y    G U I L E

Dangerous gifts come in small packages

 

 

Halfling Rogue 1 (Guild Thief)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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One of these foxy ladies needs to tell a bad vaudevillian joke every session.  Something like, "Three tomatoes are walking down the street -- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and squishes him... and says, 'Ketchup.'"

 

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

Yeah, perhaps that'll be Lady Damechick (tiefling charlatan bard), who I'll be posting soon as our fifth and final adventurer!

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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Way too "board game" for me but I have to say, nice work overall and for people who want to run a quick'n dirty one shot, that'd probably be a nice one.

 

There's one thing I feel might be missing however, is a more present feel of urgency related to the invasion itself. To keep with the board game design of it, maybe add something like possible advanced parties of orcs coming onto the board as turns advances, and rules to determine how they themselves start taking over the various set pieces.

 

For example.

- On turn 5 and every 2d4 turns afterwards, one advanced orc invasion party will enter one of the random set piece and d6+2 turns later, they'll have it secured.

- While it's being secured, the orc party is another encounter on the board that the party might have to deal with (which could lead to alliances with the inhabitants, 3 way battles, etc).

- Once it's secured, PCs have a set amount of time to get the item back before the orcs bring it back to their main forces or something. This could even be added as an option in the travelling random encounters.

- A final set piece for part of the Orc invasion camp, should PCs try to get back any urn missing. Very difficult of course, almost suicidal, but for a one-shot, having PCs sacrifice themselves for the greater good (providing distraction for others to steal and escape with the urns) is something that's heroic, lots of fun and simple to do.

 

Just an idea really, but reading through the concept, I really felt that the threat should be the orcs moving in, not really whatever's in each of the set piece, and that's something I felt might be missing.

 

Otherwise, nice one.

Virtual Table Topping with D&D Next

D&D Next blog with campaign session recaps, various house rules, new monsters and other various RPG and VTT stuff.

 

Fighter, Path of the Warlord (first draft)

Tainted Drahie (legendary creature concept)

mutonizer wrote:
Way too "board game" for me but I have to say, nice work overall and for people who want to run a quick'n dirty one shot, that'd probably be a nice one.

 

Thank you. One reason it might seem "board game" to you is that it is just a framework with lots of blanks to be filled in by the DM/group. In actual play, it feels like any other dungeon adventure with a bit tighter pacing than the traditional "crawl." It's a bit more abstract as well such that there are no "you come to an intersection - which way do you go" situations, though those could be fictionally described if one wanted.

 

mutonizer wrote:
There's one thing I feel might be missing however, is a more present feel of urgency related to the invasion itself. To keep with the board game design of it, maybe add something like possible advanced parties of orcs coming onto the board as turns advances, and rules to determine how they themselves start taking over the various set pieces.

 

In the original draft, in addition to the regular countdown, I had a countdown in the set-pieces. At the 10th round, an orc or two or a dire wolf the orcs were using for tracking would show up with more coming in on subsequent rounds on a roll of 16-20 on d20. This is similar to how I ran it in D&D 4e where nasty minions would start pouring in if you didn't achieve your objective and get out before a certain time. (This is a D&D Next version of that adventure, more or less.) My concern was that given the D&D Next "adventuring day," we're already beyond what is expected of PCs with just the three set-pieces, not to mention the odd random encounter. So I took it out. Perhaps I can add it back as an optional "Nightmare Mode" for those who want an additional challenge.

 

mutonizer wrote:
For example.

- On turn 5 and every 2d4 turns afterwards, one advanced orc invasion party will enter one of the random set piece and d6+2 turns later, they'll have it secured.

 

I like the idea, but I'm not sure of the implementation especially in light of my concern above about it getting out of hand for the relative strength of Next PCs. Perhaps someone can weigh in on this based on their experiences with pushing PCs to the limits. When I ran "Trope," I felt like the PCs couldn't handle too much. We did a couple of "tough" encounters and the characters were chewed up, the players not too keen on pushing into the dungeon without a long rest.

 

mutonizer wrote:
- While it's being secured, the orc party is another encounter on the board that the party might have to deal with (which could lead to alliances with the inhabitants, 3 way battles, etc).

 

The scene would be cool, but again, implementation is a concern for me. I don't want to be monsterbating. If there was a more abstract way of dealing with it, I'd strongly consider it.

 

mutonizer wrote:
- Once it's secured, PCs have a set amount of time to get the item back before the orcs bring it back to their main forces or something. This could even be added as an option in the travelling random encounters.

 

I think this is doable even without the other changes. At some point, any of the creatures (and especially the kobolds) could get away with an urn and then it'd be a simple matter of just putting them on a random encounter chart. The routes, pace, and charts are set up so that players can try to "fish" to get certain things. For example, if you wanted a shot at getting a short rest without spending 6 turns on it, you could take a slow pace in the short route, giving you a max of 4 turns of travel and a better chance of finding the desecrated altar of Dumathoin. So in the case of a creature escaping with an urn, I could add it to the random encounter chart and players could choose fast pace on that route (which increases their chances of a random encounter being a combat one) and hope to run into them. Perhaps skill checks and the like could swing it further in their favor.

 

mutonizer wrote:
- A final set piece for part of the Orc invasion camp, should PCs try to get back any urn missing. Very difficult of course, almost suicidal, but for a one-shot, having PCs sacrifice themselves for the greater good (providing distraction for others to steal and escape with the urns) is something that's heroic, lots of fun and simple to do.

 

I think this is outside the scope of this scenario. I don't expect every group who plays it to succeed and if they don't and want to build on it with an additional adventure to get into the orc camp that'd be a fun scenario to build and prepare on its own. I ran a scenario similar to this in D&D 4e for six or seven different groups and only a couple of them managed to get all three urns. If we had played it as part of an ongoing campaign, I could certainly see doing an "invade the camp" scenario. I certainly welcome anyone to add to this thread with an adventure of their own to build on what I have here! The same basic format works for just about any kind of adventure, not just dungeons.

 

mutonizer wrote:
Just an idea really, but reading through the concept, I really felt that the threat should be the orcs moving in, not really whatever's in each of the set piece, and that's something I felt might be missing.

 

You're right. I'll definitely add in the optional "Nightmare Mode," and will consider how I can involve the orcs in more of the set pieces. Perhaps adding more chances of encountering the orcs in the random encounter tables would be good enough.

 

mutonizer wrote:
Otherwise, nice one.

 

Thanks again.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
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With the how the scene dictated the engagements it was better to be a heavy armored classes then the skirmishers. Unfortunately, we had a two too many skirmishers. If we had of been standard trope fighting man with a shield it would have gone a lot easier. Skirmishers are at a disadvantage in most of the scenes since being at range wasn't much of an option and there were a lot of benefit in positioning.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

True - would you say that will also be the case in the set-pieces above, given the relatively close quarters or do you think the terrain would give you some advantage by moving about and taking cover and whatnot? What would be your "Dream Team" for defeating what you see above as handily as possible?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I'll have to post later if someone else doesn't giave an answer. On my way to DM encounters this evening.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
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Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

L A D Y    D A M E C H I C K

The heir apparent to the throne of Fabriqos... to hear her tell the tale. But she's no lady.

 

 

Tiefling Bard 1 (Charlatan)

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I was reading your back-drop, a war torn location with two forces opposing each other, sounds very challenging. The PC's are not siding with either faction which is what struck me as most compelling. Is the idea based off any particular story?

Prom wrote:

I was reading your back-drop, a war torn location with two forces opposing each other, sounds very challenging. The PC's are not siding with either faction which is what struck me as most compelling. Is the idea based off any particular story?

 

It's three forces actually (orcs, kobolds, goblins - nobody in league with anyone else), but yeah, should be challenging. I don't think I based it on anything in particular but my ideas had to come from somewhere so probably just an amalgam of things that I've picked up from here and there. I've already written this adventure for 4e in a "delve style" that I use for that system. Basically if you replace the random encounters and routes/pace with skill challenges that "bridge" one set-piece to another, you'll have what I do for 4e one-shots in tha style. I've written 8 of those for the Heroic tier. I didn't like the linear, boring delves that were presented in late 3.5e and throughout 4e and came up with my own thing.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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iserith wrote:
I've already written this adventure for 4e in a "delve style" that I use for that system.

 

Perhaps impolitic to post this here, but, as someone with no interest in switching to Next but a committed interest in what you're doing here and elsewhere, I wonder if you might share those at some point.

Sure. Which one would you like to see first? I'll put it in the 4e forums in a week or so.

 

1st level: "Living Dead Girl." Zombies and hillbillies in a swamp.

 

2nd level: "Smells Like Tean's Spirit." The precursor to the Next version in this thread.

 

4th level: "Dust in the Wind." Survival in Dark Sun.

 

6th level: "Take the Money and Run." Breaking into House Kundarak vaults in Eberron.

 

8th level: "Dogs of War." Gnolls attacking the last bastion of man, kind of WW1 inspired.

 

9th level: "Princes of the Universe." Mythical, Greek-inspired creature feature.

 

10th level: "Black Magic Woman." Witches take over a town on the Harvest Moon. Fairy tale-esque.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

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iserith wrote:

True - would you say that will also be the case in the set-pieces above, given the relatively close quarters or do you think the terrain would give you some advantage by moving about and taking cover and whatnot? What would be your "Dream Team" for defeating what you see above as handily as possible?

 

In my exeriences with level one it seems like shield using fighters, paladins and clerics work particularly well.  It be nice to have at least two people that use shields and heavy armor in the party.

 

The DM sort of dictactes the effectiveness of skills and stealth so rogues can be hit or miss. I would take a wizard for the exact same reason; spells can't be gloss over like skills so they provide insulation by being a known commodity. Wizards tend to get the benefit of the doubt with their skills; the opposite is normally true for rogues.  Based on my brief experience and your comments on forum, I wouldn't bother with a rogue at all since their benefits will get glossed over.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
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My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

iserith wrote:
Which one would you like to see first?

 

They all sound intriguing, of course, but I'm probably most interested in the precursor to this (Smells Like...) and then Black Magic Woman. Thanks again for the tremendous inspiration!

sleypy wrote:
In my exeriences with level one it seems like shield using fighters, paladins and clerics work particularly well.  It be nice to have at least two people that use shields and heavy armor in the party.

 

The DM sort of dictactes the effectiveness of skills and stealth so rogues can be hit or miss. I would take a wizard for the exact same reason; spells can't be gloss over like skills so they provide insulation by being a known commodity. Wizards tend to get the benefit of the doubt with their skills; the opposite is normally true for rogues.  Based on my brief experience and your comments on forum, I wouldn't bother with a rogue at all since their benefits will get glossed over.

 

Hmm, I'm quite a fan of skills usage for resolving conflict so I'm not sure why a rogue's benefits would be glossed over. The hiding rules are pretty clear as far as that goes - just do what you got to do and make your check to gain that advantage. As for any other skill, state a goal, we judge whether it's in conflict, and if it is, offer a solution and roll the appropriate skill to resolve it. My stage name is "Mr. Skill Challenge," so yeah, bring on the skills usage.

 

darkwarlock wrote:
They all sound intriguing, of course, but I'm probably most interested in the precursor to this (Smells Like...) and then Black Magic Woman. Thanks again for the tremendous inspiration!

 

Okay, and thanks for the kind words. My only concern is that I won't be able to post the stat blocks and I refluff them a bit so figuring out what monster it was might be a challenge. I'll do my best though.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

iserith wrote:
My only concern is that I won't be able to post the stat blocks and I refluff them a bit so figuring out what monster it was might be a challenge. I'll do my best though.

 

Not a worry in the least. I tinker with nearly everything myself anyway to fit the challenge to my group. And my thought is to level this up to 6 anyway. I'm more interested in how you frame the travel, skill challenges, etc. than actual stat blocks (though seeing what you had in mind is certainly interesting too, of course).

@iserith I mean more the traps and locked door not skill challenges in general. If there are only situationally appropriate skills challenges you normally have enough spells to get through that, it requires an almost excessive number of traps and locks for rogues to start standing out.

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Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke

Okay, I see what you mean. There are a few opportunities in this scenario for the rogue to do his thang:

 

In "Balance of the Scale," (1) Manipulating the scale, (2) bypassing the repulsion field, (3) opening the padlocked chest. In "Blood for Blood," (1) disabling or unlocking the portcullises, (2) setting something up to prevent the ghouls from emerging from the sarophagi, (3) maybe doing some trickery with the idols and the font. There's not much in "Needle in a Haystack" for the rogue to do on this score.

 

I would have liked to include some traps in the random encounter tables, but the playtest material didn't include any examples of traps so I left it out.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

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There were traps in vault of the dracolich. I could provide them for you, but they are pretty much one line of text.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke