[4E] Expert Dungeon Master Competition #5: Populate This Map!

150 posts / 0 new
Last post

Expert Dungeon Master Competition #5
Populate This Map!



Welcome to the fifth Expert Dungeon Master Competition! The primary purpose of the Expert Dungeon Master Competitions is threefold:
  • To create a resource for new Dungeon Masters drawing on the vast talent pool of the experienced Dungeon Masters of this forum.
  • To create a fun and vibrant competition that is sportsmanlike and friendly.
  • To showcase the creativity and talent of Dungeon Masters like you.


As a new tradition for the competitions, every other fifth competition (i.e., any competition whose number ends in “5”) shall be a “Populate This Map” competition. Delving into Wizards of the Coast’s Map Gallery, we will select a map from the gallery and ask contestants to populate a portion of the map with a series of encounters. The goal is to create a coherent and exciting series of encounters within a larger dungeon complex.

The map to be used in this competition can be seen in the spoiler block below:


In order to enter the competition, your entry must fulfill the following required elements:
  • Name your entry
  • Establish a recommended party level for your encounter (assuming there are 5 PCs of that level).
  • Describe encounters for three, four or five contiguous encounter areas on the map, identified by the number used on the map.


In addition, the entry must meet at least three of the following ten optional elements:
  • Negative consequences befall parties that do not complete the encounters or dungeon within an established deadline.
  • No encounter area contains humanoids.
  • One encounter occurs only if the PCs fail a combat or skill challenge in a prior encounter.
  • One or more encounters contain a NPC that can be convinced to aid the party.
  • One or more encounters contain a unique form of terrain that affects movement.
  • One or more magic items are included as treasure, and every one of them may be used by NPCs against the party prior to the party obtaining them as treasure.
  • One or more skill challenges grant successes for use of the Streetwise skill.
  • One or more skill challenges must be accomplished during combat.
  • The encounters get progressively more difficult no matter what order the PCs encounter them.
  • The entry describes adjustments to be made if the party takes an extended rest after completing at least one, but not all the encounters described in the entry.


For purpose of this competition, please consider the following:
  • “Contiguous encounter areas” means numbered encounter areas on the map between which adventurers can travel without using magic and without passing through an intervening numbered area.
  • You may add terrain, traps and/or creatures to any encounter areas.
  • If you choose to include terrain, traps or creatures from one of Wizards of the Coast's Fourth Edition publications, you do not need to reproduce the entire stat block. Simply supply the name of the terrain, trap or creature as found in that publication and the name of the publication in which it can be found. If that terrain, trap or creature is to be modified in your entry, you may either produce a new stat block or simply describe the changes made to the published stat block.
  • If you own the supplement in which this map was originally published – P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens – do not use the encounters described therein. (If you don’t own this supplement, it is extremely unlikely you would accidentally populate the map with the creatures used therein.)
  • You are welcome, but not required, to give background information for the dungeon complex as you envision it for your entry.


Following are some general rules of the Expert DM Competition.
[post=16059666]>>>You can read the complete contest rules here<<<[/post].


  • Code of Conduct. All entries must comply with the forum's Code of Conduct.
  • Contest Duration. Contests usually run for two weeks, beginning with the post announcing the competition. The Coordinator may extend the duration of the contest at his discretion after consulting the other judges for that competition. However, such extensions should be done very rarely.
  • Edits After 15 Minutes Prohibited. Applicants may not edit their entries more than 15 minutes after submission. This includes editing done by forum moderators, unless the moderator specifically states that the entry had not been edited prior to the moderator's action. If the entrant submits an entry before the contest closes and then edits the entry after the contest closes, but within fifteen minutes of submission, the edits will be considered valid. Entrants should use the forum’s “preview post” function or an off-line text editor to check the entry before posting. Once winners have been announced, entrants may edit their entries.
  • Multiple Entries Prohibited. Each applicant may only submit one entry prior during the period in which entries may be submitted. Submitting multiple entries disqualifies all entries. Additional entries may be submitted after the competition closes, but they will not be judged.
  • Multi-Post Entries Prohibited. Each entry must be contained within a single post. The judges must ignore any subsequent posts.
  • Outside Links Prohibited. Entries may not include material hosted on a website other than the post on which the entry appears. Images hosted on, or links to, other websites will be ignored by the judges when scoring.
  • Plagiarism and Previewing Prohibited. All entries must be the original, exclusive work of the applicant. Entries found to be copying the work of another, or that have been posted for review prior to the close of the competition, will be disqualified.


The contest will run from today through Friday November 21, 2008. All entries must be submitted no later than 12:00 midnight on that day (Eastern Standard Time). The judges of this contest are BraveBoudica, Decapitus, Whitman and wrecan and the coordinator of this contest is wrecan.

Good luck and have fun!!

Questions & Answers
(reserved for questions posed by potential entrants)



Q. For purposes of required element C, can an encounter span multiple encounter areas?

A. Yes. The entry must use three, four or five encounter areas, which must contain more than one encounter among them.



Q. For purposes of required element C, can multiple encounters occur in a single encounter area?

A. Yes.



Q. For purposes of required element C, when is an encounter area part of an entry?

A. If the party might enter the enconter area during the detailed encounters, it is part of the entry. If encounters might enter from an encounter area, it is not necessarily a part of the entry.



Q. For purposes of optional element 1, is the "dungeon" limited to what is seen on the map?

A. No. If you so choose (and explain in your entry), the dungeon may extend beyond, above or beneath the complex seen on the map.



Q. For purposes of optional element 5, what makes a terrain "unique"?

A. The terrain must be invented by you, or must be an original modification to a published terrain.

Entry List



  • [post=17293943]TelinArtho's Stone Giant Tears[/post] [highlight]Gold medalist![/highlight]
  • [post=17245025]dulsi's Seal of Kingu[/post] [highlight]Silver medalist![/highlight]
  • [post=17233670]Exultation's Realm of Rust[/post] [highlight]Bronze medalis![/highlight]
  • [post=17295580]SteelMirror's Faerie Enclave[/post]
  • [post=17296459]Eini's Forsaken[/post]
  • [post=17296577]Barmp's The Old Blind Green[/post]
  • [post=17296584]Lord Ventnor's The Brotherhood of Thanatos[/post]


  • [post=17294190]Veok's Cloudsanctum Ruins and the Sundered Vale[/post] (disqualified for late edits)

Medalists

The Bronze Medal Goes To...

Exultation with "Realm of Rust"!


The Silver Medal Goes To...

dulsi with "Seal of Kingu"!!

The Gold Medal Goes To...

TelinArtho with "Stone Giant Tears"!!!

Congratulations to all of you! The gold medalist, TelinArtho, is eligible for the custom title of "Heroic Dungeon Master" (if so desired). Also, dulsi, having won a second medal, is also entitled to the custom title of "Heroic Dungeon Master". Both of them are also now eligible to judge future competitions! If they win subsequent competitions, their custom titles can be changed to "Paragon Dungeon Master" and then "Epic Dungeon Master". Thanks also to my fellow judges, BraveBoudica and Whitman, who did a great job of judging the competitions. I am so very grateful to them for volunteering. Again, congratulations to everyone for such wonderful entries and thanks for making the XDMC a continuing success! I must note, however, that two of the entries received a Themes score of zero because they neglected to specify the recommended party level, which was a required element to the competition. One of those entries even received two bonus points form the judges, so it was certainly well-regarded, and may even have medaled or won, had all the required elements been met. Please don't let that discourage either of you from entering future competitions. Just a word of caution that people should be careful to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's. I should also note that, not including the entries penalized for missing required elements, the difference between the highest and lowest scores was less than five points, which means it was an incredibly tight competition. Everyone should be very proud of their entries. Stay tuned for XDMC #6 to begin (hopefully) in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy the carefully tabulated scores below. [b]CONSOLIDATED SCORES BY RANK[/b] [b]Entry Creat'y Adpt'y Themes Rules Clar'y Bonus Total Author's Entry[/b] 3 11 7 3/5 8 1/3 5 5/6 3 5/6 0 36 2/3 TelinArtho's Stone Giant Tears 2 11 1/6 7 1/6 8 1/3 5 5/6 3 2/3 0 36 1/6 dulsi's Seal of Kingu 1 10 1/3 6 1/2 7 1/2 5 1/2 4 0 34 Exultation's Realm of Rust 5 9 5/6 7 1/6 7 5/6 5 1/2 3 0 33 1/3 Eini's Forsaken 4 12 3/5 8 0 6 1/2 3 1/2 2 32 3/5 SteelMirror's Faerie Enclave 7 8 5/6 7 1/2 6 1/6 5 1/3 3 2/3 0 31 1/2 LordVentnor's The Brotherhood of Thanatos 6 10 1/4 7 0 5 5/6 3 0 26 Barmp's The Old Blind Green [b]CONSOLIDATED SCORES BY ENTRY[/b] [b]Entry Creat'y Adpt'y Themes Rules Clar'y Bonus Total Author's Entry[/b] 1 10 1/3 6 1/2 7 1/2 5 1/2 4 0 34 Exultation's Realm of Rust 2 11 1/6 7 1/6 8 1/3 5 5/6 3 2/3 0 36 1/6 dulsi's Seal of Kingu 3 11 7 3/5 8 1/3 5 5/6 3 5/6 0 36 2/3 TelinArtho's Stone Giant Tears 4 12 3/5 8 0 6 1/2 3 1/2 2 32 3/5 SteelMirror's Faerie Enclave 5 9 5/6 7 1/6 7 5/6 5 1/2 3 0 33 1/3 Eini's Forsaken 6 10 1/4 7 0 5 5/6 3 0 26 Barmp's The Old Blind Green 7 8 5/6 7 1/2 6 1/6 5 1/3 3 2/3 0 31 1/2 LordVentnor's The Brotherhood of Thanatos
Now this looks interesting. I guess I better take a hack at it.
Great, i really liked this seed for a Competition. I do not own the original adventure, so I'll have a free mind. I'm just curious if it would be a good idea to have a look which creatures where here originally to avoid them..
Mostly they were creatures designed for the module, so if you're using the Compendium to find appropriate creatures, just avoid creatures found only in P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens.
questions:
1) can i change the map (via description) for unused or redundant parts in my entry?
(example: room 6-13 is considered to be only one room since i use more areas before that?, or room 6,7,8 contain a combined assault which would not make sense for each to be handled alone as a single encounter?)
reasoning: if i make an encounter use 2 or 3 areas at once, because it would make sense from the setup, i won't be able to use more than one or two additional encounters. (and i'd like to do all 14 rooms for that matter :D)

2) optional #5 does not have to be a reinvented terrain, does it? something from the dmg would be sufficient?
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
Oh no, I'll never finish my comments on #4 now ;) .
Interesting.
And 4 Judges! I thought it was starting to get cold outside.
And 4 Judges! I thought it was starting to get cold outside.

that's probably the reason, no more lying in the sun instead of judging or entering...


hmmm judging and entering... sounds like a criminal charge to me *lol*
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
1) can i change the map (via description) for unused or redundant parts in my entry?

I think you're misreading Required Element C.

"Describe encounters for three, four or five contiguous encounter areas on the map, identified by the number used on the map."

If you have one encounter that occupies areas 6, 7 and 8, you have created an encounter for three contiguous encounter areas. (Since the requirement uses the word "encounters," however, you need to supply at least two encounters.)

In short, pick three, four or five contiguous "encounter areas" and populate them with as many encounters as you deem appropriate (as long as it's more than one)

i'd like to do all 14 rooms for that matter :D)

That would violate Element C. Use no more than five encounter areas.

2) optional #5 does not have to be a reinvented terrain, does it? something from the dmg would be sufficient?

No. It must be "unique" as in "unique to your entry". If the terrain can be found in a rulebook somewhere, it's not unique. However, you may modify an established terrain to make it unique.
I think you're misreading Required Element C.

"Describe encounters for three, four or five contiguous encounter areas on the map, identified by the number used on the map."

If you have one encounter that occupies areas 6, 7 and 8, you have created an encounter for three contiguous encounter areas. (Since the requirement uses the word "encounters," however, you need to supply at least two encounters.)

In short, pick three, four or five contiguous "encounter areas" and populate them with as many encounters as you deem appropriate (as long as it's more than one)

so: make either your encounters less interesting, or do less encounters. imo this is not really helping to make encounters/entries more interesting. i was thinking along the lines of a large-scale drawn-out battle within the building, which is just not possible along the lines of those competition rules.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
That's right. It's not. We're not looking for large-scale encounters. As stated above, "The goal is to create a coherent and exciting series of encounters within a larger dungeon complex."

That's why it's called a "challenge". :P
In addition, the entry must meet three of the following ten optional elements:

Is the meaning exactly three, or is it at least 3 as before?
Is the meaning exactly three, or is it at least 3 as before?

i'm sure, its at least three, as usual.

--

@wrecan:

about the large-scaly thing: i'm not amused about this, but i might just post what i had in mind no matter what the exact rules are, as i believe that requirement to be craptastic.
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
It's at least three. I'll change the first post.

@whitebaron.
I'm sorry this is not the competition you want. You're welcome to post your entry, but keep in mind that if you don't meet the required elements, you will receive a zero in Themes.
I agree with Whitebaron a little bit. The contiguous (a word I did not know until today) element chafes me. While I don't think they're craptastic, I find them a bit stifling, unlike the optional elements. The title of the EDMC is "Populate this Map", not "Populate some small portion of this Map". I can understand that massive entries are burdensome on judges, but I'd prefer to see the encounter limit rather than the contiguous encounter limit.


1) Are we to consider the map itself the entire dungeon, in which our contiguous encounters will occur? Or, can/does the entire dungeon extend beyond our individual map?

My query revolves around this: If we consider the actual presented map as the entire dungeon, those who choose to have 5 contiguous encounters will consume roughly 1/3 of the map's areas. By taking up 1/3 of the entire dungeon you can't help but have a major effect in the overall theme of the dungeon. And having a major impact on the theme of the dungeon affects Adaptability, because it requires a lot of alteration to fit into another DM's dungeon. It seems to me that would tip the scales in favor of 3 contiguous encounters, who have a little more room to work within the confines of a transposible dungeon.

2) Can two of the contiguous encounters occur at the same encounter area, or do they need to be spread out amongst 3 distinct encounter areas?
Resident Shakespeare
Dang it. This one looks interesting but I am doing NaNoWriMo this month and will have little free time.

I'll have to see if I can squeeze the time out, though.
The title of the EDMC is "Populate this Map", not "Populate some small portion of this Map".

The latter, while more accurate is too long and unweildy. The point of the exercise is to create a geographic diversity of possible encounters. Since every entry will choose three to five encounter areas, the various entries will not all be taking place in the same geography (unless everyone happens to choose the same encounter areas). This leads to a greater diversity among the entries.

If we limited it solely by number of encounters, the entries themselves could begin to appear similarly from a tactical standpoint. I suggest that once you choose three to five encounter areas, you should pretend that's all that exists on the map... as if we had only given you a partial map for the contest.

As an example, an entry that chooses encounter areas 1, 2 and 4 would have an effective map like this, and would be almost an outdoor series of encounters:

An entry with encounter areas 10, 12 and 13, would have a more typical dungeon feel:


1) Are we to consider the map itself the entire dungeon, in which our contiguous encounters will occur? Or, can/does the entire dungeon extend beyond our individual map?

It can extend beyond the map shown here. For instance, the chasms might lead to additional dungeon levels.
2) Can two of the contiguous encounters occur at the same encounter area

Multiple encounters can absolutely occur in a single encounter area.
Honestly, the 3-5 areas point was really confusing before you explained it again wrecan. Just so we're clear, we can use any 3-5 areas that we can draw a line through (like say, 4-5-6-9-10) with a non-specific number of encounters in those areas. Right?

We don't have to use 14 at the bottom of the chasm, but if we wanted to we would have to forgo area 10. Or am I missing something.
I have the DMG and the PHB for 4e now, but no monster manual. (I couldn't quite afford all three) Will I be deducted points if I use 3e monsters tweaked for 4e?
@wrecan:

about the large-scaly thing: i'm not amused about this, but i might just post what i had in mind no matter what the exact rules are, as i believe that requirement to be craptastic.

It would be a tragedy if you should submit an entry not capable of competing. May i suggest that you write out your whole adventure, submit a small part that fits the competition requirements. After the judging you could add the missing elements that you wish.

I am thinking along those lines myself. Studying the map for half an hour fired off all sorts of linked encounters and an entire adventure. I'll go with the competition first and may drop in the whole adventure when we finish judging.
I wonder... could we take ideas from earlier Expert DM contest entries? Well, our own at any rate... Like say, could I use Yaratolzat (my entry in EDMC #4) in my entry?
Pit 5 is the max, i wonder how much stuff i can pack into 5 areas.

I assume we can create new monsters if we wish?
Just so we're clear, we can use any 3-5 areas that we can draw a line through (like say, 4-5-6-9-10) with a non-specific number of encounters in those areas. Right?

Yep. As long as it's more than one encounter.
We don't have to use 14 at the bottom of the chasm, but if we wanted to we would have to forgo area 10. Or am I missing something.

Nope. That's right.
Will I be deducted points if I use 3e monsters tweaked for 4e?

Nope. As long as the creatures are appropriately statted, you shall be fine.
could we take ideas from earlier Expert DM contest entries? Well, our own at any rate... Like say, could I use Yaratolzat (my entry in EDMC #4) in my entry?

Material is supposed to be original and not previously submitted for review.
I assume we can create new monsters if we wish?

Absolutely!
I have the DMG and the PHB for 4e now, but no monster manual. (I couldn't quite afford all three) Will I be deducted points if I use 3e monsters tweaked for 4e?

You could convert 3e monsters with the 4e DMG monster creation rules. You could use monsters in the free issues of dragon/dungeon. You could use low level Monster Manual creatures that are viewable throught the DDI compendium. You even use unviewable creatures and not worry about there abilities and just create encounters based on xp/role suggestions.

Identical Games

D&D Published World foums at The Piazza (Dark Sun, Mystara, Spelljammer, Planescape, and more); Core Coliseum; D&D Material including my Master/Expert DM Competition entries

A serious question. The map is rather open to multiple areas. The details of encounter areas need to cover 3-5 continuous map areas, that is clear. As the area is so open, can an adjoining or overlooking encounter area not included in the entry be used to offer threat or influence(such as reinforcements and the like).

For clarity...... If my encounter ends in area 13 but has a potential through noise or sight to bring in an encounter from area 15 because of open plan living the map conveys, does it nullify my theme. My thought is that if noise or sight brings a threat into area 13 then for consideration of the rules it becomes a part of the area 13 encounter.
For clarity...... If my encounter ends in area 13 but has a potential through noise or sight to bring in an encounter from area 15 because of open plan living the map conveys, does it nullify my theme. My thought is that if noise or sight brings a threat into area 13 then for consideration of the rules it becomes a part of the area 13 encounter.

using that reasoning would be exactly like my proposed room-merging. better make it some extra-dimensional rift, because you're not allowed to use more rooms
Here be dragons: IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cydyvkj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c54g6ac/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/csw6fhj/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cbxbgmp/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cz7v5bd/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/ccg9eld/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/c8szhnn/.gif)IMAGE(http://tinyurl.com/cp68b5u/.gif)
56767308 wrote:
Sadly, I don't think this has anything to do with wanting Next to be a great game. It has to do with wanting Next to determine who won the Edition War. [...] For those of us who just want D&D Next to be a good game, this is getting to be a real drag.
57870548 wrote:
I think I figured it out. This program is a character builder, not a character builder. It teaches patience, empathy, and tolerance. All most excellent character traits.
can an adjoining or overlooking encounter area not included in the entry be used to offer threat or influence(such as reinforcements and the like).

Not exactly. You can say that if the party does x or Y, then the following encounter will enter to confront the players. You should not detail the encounter area from which they come -- just the entranceway from which they would enter. Whether that encounter lives in the adjacent room, or some other area is up to the DM who decides to use your entry.

Again, once you choose your encounter areas, just pretend that the map outside that area is undefined.
Again, once you choose your encounter areas, just pretend that the map outside that area is undefined.

Sweet. So 12 Orc Raiders and a hippopotamus enter stage left in ballerina skirts. Got it.
I look forward to grading your entry, Eini. ;)
Sorry, been away from my computer for a while (rediscovering Basic "Red Box" D&D...). Good luck, one and all. My first contest was one of these, including a goblin who painted on the cave walls in his own poop. Happy days...

Anyway, you've got a cool map to play with. Let's see something special!
Sorry, been away from my computer for a while (rediscovering Basic "Red Box" D&D...).

Red Box - how cool! Can I be "the Elf"? ;)

Discuss classic D&D version of 4E Classes/Races - Includes warlord and warlock class suggestions.

Eberron in older editions - Includes suggests for Warforged class. Not exactly what I would do but interesting.

Identical Games

D&D Published World foums at The Piazza (Dark Sun, Mystara, Spelljammer, Planescape, and more); Core Coliseum; D&D Material including my Master/Expert DM Competition entries

So... we should provide a scenario for why the PCs are there, right? Seems like a moronic question, but I'd just like clarity.
If you feel it necessary. That's really up to you.
I'm going to enter the third edition contest instead, as I have those books. When the contest is done, I may give my idea anyway and see if anyone will help me make it a useful entry.
This looks like an interesting competition. I have two questions:

1. Can I detail an area without it counting as an encounter. For instance, suppose I have some text describing signs of a struggle in area 3, but the area is otherwise empty (no monsters/skill challenge/hindering terrain). Is that considered to be an encounter, or just extra flavor? Or should I avoid detailing extra areas to prevent confusion?

2. What exactly constitutes area 14? Is it the bottom of the chasm, or is it any use of that particular chasm? For instance, suppose I have an encounter in area 9 in which the antagonists attempt to push the PCs into the adjacent chasms (area 14 and the unspecified one). Is the encounter then taking place in area 9, or areas 9 and 14?
1. Can I detail an area without it counting as an encounter.

If your PCs might enter the encounter area during the course of the encounters, it is part of your entry. If encounters merely enter from those areas, it is not.

2. What exactly constitutes area 14? Is it the bottom of the chasm, or is it any use of that particular chasm? For instance, suppose I have an encounter in area 9 in which the antagonists attempt to push the PCs into the adjacent chasms (area 14 and the unspecified one). Is the encounter then taking place in area 9, or areas 9 and 14?

The existence of the chasm itself can be noted without making it party of your entry. As stated above, even if encounters emerge from the chasm, it is not an encounter area unless the PCs might enter it in the course of the encounter. (Pushing PCs into the chasm would constitute an entry, however!)
How did this ever find it's way to the second page?????
Well, here goes:


Realm of Rust


Introduction

Sir Bellmourne was quite the adventurer in his day. Along with several good companions, he looted ancient tombs, rescued lost princesses, slew horrific monsters, and did everything else heros traditionally do. It brought him great rewards: fabulous wealth, a knighthood, a collection of strange and mysterious items, and great command over the powers of magic. Adventuring is a young man's game, however, and eventually he and his companions decided to leave it to others. Sir Bellmourne used his wealth to build a sizable manor house several miles from the nearest city, and settled down there.

It didn't take too much simple country life before he was bored out of his skull.

For lack of anything better to do, he devoted his time to magical research. He had accumulated quite the collection of magical curiosities in his days as an adventurer, and some of them had capabilities he still wasn't certain of. Sir Bellmourne made it his task to examine, classify, categorize, and catalog every aspect of these strange items. He was no fool. His laboratory was equipped with every precaution he could think of, and he did not act recklessly. Nonetheless, in the end he was not cautious enough.

The item that proved to be Sir Bellmourne's undoing was listed in his ledgers as "mottled iron sphere (1)" and had never before done anything interesting, save from giving off a faint magical aura. Perhaps it simply needed the right time, or the right combination of words or actions or spells. Perhaps it was the accumulated magic of so many experiments in the laboratory. Whatever the reason, the sphere suddenly leaped into the air, spinning madly and giving off a high-pitched shriek. Arcs of brilliant energy flew from it, rending the earth asunder wherever they struck. The ground shook, and people were knocked off their feet even miles away.

Sir Bellmourne eventually managed to get the sphere under control, but by then the damage had been done. The strange artifact had not only torn the earth apart, it had rent asunder the fabric of reality itself. The rifts in the ground had no bottom, but opened out into somewhere else, some deep part of the elemental chaos that even Sir Bellmourne had never before heard of. A place utterly alien to normal life.

Within moments, something came through. Sir Bellmourne looked on in horror as a... thing rose out of the rift in his laboratory. It looked like a rusted iron chain, as big around as his thigh. However, entwined through the links were what appeared to be living sinews and veins. At the end of the chain sat a fleshy lump with a mouth like a lamprey's, surrounded by seven large blades or talons. The chain-thing wove back and forth like a snake, then suddenly darted forward and grabbed Sir Bellmourne's apprentice, dragging him screaming into the rift.

More chains followed. Sir Bellmourne fought bravely, but his powers had been spent in calming the sphere. He was soon overwhelmed by the chains and dragged into the rift. The other members of his household soon followed, save for those who had fled when the sphere first activated.


The Things in the Rift

When it activated, the sphere opened several portals to a nightmarish realm as yet unknown to mortal scholars. The strange inhabitants of this realm are a bizarre combination of flesh and rusted metal. Several of the realm's inhabitants have slipped through the open portals, notably the chain beasts.

The chain beasts are one of the primary predators of the other realm, and when considered as a whole are not unlike an anenome in basic form. The core of the creature is anchored to a solid surface, and has the creature's primary maw. Attached to this hub are dozens upon dozens of chains, some of them merely feelers, some of them with secondary maws on the end. The feeder chains both drain fluids from prey, and carry it back to the primary maw. The inhabitants of Sir Bellmourne's manor were slaughtered and eaten by a single chain beast, which sent numerous feeder chains through the portal.



Getting the PCs involved

This scenario is designed for five players of level ten, and can potentially be set near any city or town in which the players find themselves for a few days. It is best set in spring or summer months.

The first sign of anything out of the ordinary is a fairly strong earthquake. Earthquakes are not at all common to the area, and no one in the town can recall any earthquakes in living memory. The players are likely to be curious, as are the rest of the townsfolk, but no answers are immediate forthcoming.

It takes several days for the news to spread (faster in a small town): there has been a disaster at Sir Bellmourne's manor! Two of Sir Bellmourne's servants escaped the carnage and made it to town. Their lurid descriptions of lightning tearing the manor apart are soon the talk of the town. This is particularly true once several days have passed and no one else has come from the manor, even on a normal trip to buy supplies.

From here, there are several ways for the party to get involved:

First, the mayor of the town is likely to organize an investigation and rescue party. Sir Bellmourne was a prominent resident of the area, and it's important to know if some disaster has befallen him. The players may volunteer to join this party, or may be asked by the mayor to join if they have made a good impression of themselves.

Second, the players may know Sir Bellmourne or one of his old adventuring companions. In this case, they will have their own reasons to want to find out if something has happened to him.

Third, if the players are more interested in money than curiosity, they're likely to overhear that Sir Bellmourne amassed a sizable amount of wealth in his career as an adventurer. If he's gone, his fortune may be up for grabs. Several members of the local underworld may already be planning a look themselves.


Sir Bellmourne's Manor

The manor house is located in the wooded hills several miles from town. As the party gets close to the manor, they will notice that some of the walls have crumbled, and that there are many large rifts in the earth in the area, as described by the servants who escaped.

Nearer the manor, the players are likely to notice another oddity: the leaves on all the nearby trees are turning an orangish-brown color, despite the season. A leaf taken between two fingers will quickly crumble into brownish dust. Upon closer examination, this is revealed to in fact be rust.

The following encounters are keyed to the map:


Area 4: Blood in the Water
Encounter Level 9 (2000 XP)

The earthquake has left a depression in the path here, which the nearby stream has turned into a sizable pond. To one side, the water falls into a large chasm, which is deep enough that the bottom can't be made out. The pool is filled with some type of plant you haven't seen before, large silvery fronds drifting in the current. It almost looks like dozens of blades floating just under the surface.

The path leads through the pool of water, and between the chasm and the cliffs, there is little choice but to go through it. The silvery fronds in the water are blade fronds, a parasitic type of life which has come through the rift and quickly spread. The resemblance to blades is more than appearance-- the edges of the fronds are razor sharp. Further, the fronds are greedy for blood. Should a hero be wounded, they will wrap themselves around his legs and attempt to pull him down. The pool full of blade fronds constitutes terrain for this encounter.

Terrain: Blade Frond Pool
The water in the pond is not deep enough to qualify as difficult terrain in itself. However, the razor-edged blade fronds are challenging terrain. In order to safely pass through, a character must make an Acrobatics check (DC 21). A success means that the character treats the blade fronds as difficult terrain. On a failure, the character suffers 2d4 damage and contracts Rust Rot. A character may choose to move through the fronds as though they were not difficult terrain, but will take damage as though he had failed his Acrobatics check. If a character is bloodied, the DC of the Acrobatics check increases to 24, and the character always treats the blade fronds as difficult terrain.














As the party makes its way through the pond, the disturbances in the water betrays their presence to a chain beast which has established a presence on the other side of a portal in the nearby chasm. It will send up several of its chains to investigate and to drag down anything edible it finds.

There is an odd clattering noise, and suddenly something rises from the large chasm beside you. It looks like a rusted iron chain, as big around as a man's arm. Intertwined with the links of the chain are what appear to be living sinews and veins. The chain ends in a long blade. For a moment it sways back and forth in the air, like a snake about to strike. Then it is joined by more chain-things. Two of them are bigger around, and end in large lumps of flesh, with five long talons surrounding a ring of teeth like a lamprey's mouth. The chains sway there for a moment, then suddenly surge towards you!

Combat Encounter
2 Feeder Chains
8 Sensory Chains

The chains will start at the edge of the chasm. The feeder chains will each choose a nearby target and attempt to drag it down into the chasm, with a preference for larger targets. The beast in the chasm is very singleminded, and the feeder chains will not change targets even if marked. The sensory chains will attempt to deal additional damage to the targets of the feeder chains, or attempt to go after those attacking the feeder chains. Characters dragged into the chasm are drawn into another plane and devoured.

[deck=Feeder Chain --- Level 10 Skirmisher]
Medium Elemental Beast (blind) XP 500

Initiative +9 Senses Perception +12, Blindsight 10
HP 108; Bloodied 54
AC 24; Fortitude 24, Reflex 22, Will 20
Speed 6; see also Sudden Strike

Grasp (basic melee attack; at will)
+15 vs. AC; 2d6+4 damage, and the target is grabbed (until escape) and shifted one space.

Gorge (standard; at will)
Affects a target the Feeder Chain has grabbed; +13 vs. Fortitude; 3d6+10 damage, and the target contracts Rust Rot and is shifted one space.

Sudden Strike (standard; encounter)
The Feeder Chain shifts 6 squares and makes a Grasp attack.

Leading Edge The Feeder Chain's figure on the battlemap represents only the head of the chain. The chain itself stretches from the figure to the chain's origin, and may be attacked normally.

Alignment Unaligned Languages -
Str 24(+12) Dex 18(+9) Wis 16(+8)
Con 20(+10) Int 2(+1) Cha 8(+4)
[/deck]


[deck=Sensory Chain --- Level 10 Minion]
Small Elemental Beast (blind) XP 125

Initiative +9 Senses Perception +12, Blindsight 10
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion
AC 24; Fortitude 22, Reflex 22, Will 20
Speed 6;

Lash (basic melee attack; at will)
+15 vs. AC; 7 damage

Leading Edge The Sensory Chain's figure on the battlemap represents only the head of the chain. The chain itself stretches from the figure to the chain's origin, and may be attacked normally.

Alignment Unaligned Languages -
Str 20(+10) Dex 18(+9) Wis 16(+8)
Con 18(+9) Int 2(+1) Cha 8(+4)
[/deck]


Area 5: Silence at the Gate

As you approach the gate of the manor, the scent of death is thick in the air. And something else as well-- the smell of rust. The doors to the manor lie on the ground, torn open by some mighty force. The flyblown corpse of a riding horse lies just outside the doors, still in saddle and harness. As you approach, there comes a loud clanking noise from inside the manor. Another large chain with talons and maw at the end snakes through the open doors, then stops, its terminal end poised above the dead horse. Without eyes, you can't tell if it senses your presence.

[deck=Don't Move a Muscle]
The chain doesn't have eyes. It might not sense your presence if you don't move.
Setup: In order to escape detection, the players must attempt to stand perfectly still. Every player in the party must make a check for every minute they remain stationary.
Level: 10
Complexity: 4 (Requires 10 successes before 5 failures)
Primary Skills: Endurance, Stealth

Endurance (DC 18): You attempt to hold your body still through sheer force of will.
Stealth (DC 16): You're used to standing silently, and you let your training take over. Standing completely motionless is a bit harder than you're used to, but still doable.
Stealth (DC 23): You try to move in a very slow and measured fashion, hoping the chain-thing isn't able to detect you. A success on this check counts towards the challenge, and also allows the player to move up to half his speed.
Acrobatics or Athletics (DC 16): Very slowly, you assume a posture that puts less strain on your muscles. A success on this check does not count towards the challenge, but gives the player a +2 bonus on their skill check to remain motionless.

Success: After a few minutes of silence, there comes another loud clattering noise from within the manor. Several smaller chains wrap themselves around the large one. It writhes for a moment, then withdraws. Dozens of smaller chains then lash out to sink into the corpse of the horse, dragging it into the manor.
Failure: The chain seems to sense your presence. It emits a high-pitched keening noise, then suddenly darts down to grasp the corpse of the horse, dragging it into the manor.
[/deck]

Players may also attempt to attack the chain, or to otherwise abandon the stealthy approach. Normally this should be treated as a "Failure" result, as above. If the players are able to get to the chain quickly, or if they move up to it stealthily, it will stay and fight. In this case, treat it as a combat encounter with 1 Feeder Chain. The chain will start in the gateway just above the stairs.

Beyond the gate lies what was once a grand entrance hall, with many columns supporting the ceiling. A large section of the room has collapsed, however, including the stairs to the second floor. A trail of blood leads through the western door.


Area 6: The Tangle
Encounter Level 12 (3500 XP)

This enormous room is the great hall of Sir Bellmourne's manor. Once great feasts were held at the high table here. Once trophies of Sir Bellmourne's adventuring days decked the walls. Now the hall is a ruin, the floor cracked, the entire room scattered with wreckage.

If the players succeeded on the skill challenge in Area 5:
From the far reaches of the room come several strange noises. A tearing sound, as well as the clattering of chains that you have come to be wary of. Drawing near, you can make out the source of the noises: it appears to be a large ball composed of dozens, perhaps even hundreds of smaller chains. The horse's corpse lies before it, and half a dozen chains are tearing the corpse to pieces. It seems to be feeding.
The Chain Tangle will spend the next hour or so devouring the corpse of the horse, after which it will be sated for at least a day. It will not attack unless the players attack it or come within 10 feet of it.

If the players failed the skill challenge in Area 5:
There is a clattering, scraping noise from within the room, and it grows louder. In the dim light, you can make out a large shape approaching you. It appears to be a large ball composed of dozens, perhaps even hundreds of smaller chains. It half-shambles, half-rolls towards you, chains snapping in every direction.
Combat Encounter
1 Chain Tangle

The Chain Tangle is driven by pain and overwhelming hunger, but it is still wary of this strange realm. It will attack until it is dead, or the party dies or retreats past Area 5.

[deck= Chain Tangle --- Level 12 Solo Soldier]
Large Elemental Beast (blind) XP 3500
Initiative +6 Senses Perception +12, Blindsight 10
Snapping Chains aura 2; the Chain Tangle makes a basic attack as a free action against each enemy that begins its turn in the aura.
HP 615; Bloodied 307
AC 28; Fortitude 28, Reflex 20, Will 24
Saving Throws +5
Speed 4
Action Points 2

Lash (basic melee attack; at will)
Reach 2; +18 vs. AC; 1d8+5 damage.

Flail Frenzy (standard; at will)
The Chain Tangle makes three Lash attacks.

Engulf (standard; at will)
The Chain Tangle attacks one or two Medium or smaller targets; +16 vs. Reflex. On a hit, the target is grabbed and pulled into the Chain Tangle's space; the target is dazed, contracts Rust Rot, and takes ongoing 20 damage until it escapes the grab. A creature that escapes the grab shifts to a square of its choosing adjacent to the Chain Tangle. The Chain Tangle may move normally while creatures are engulfed within it.

Threatening Reach
The Chain Tangle can make opportunity attacks against all enemies within its reach (2 squares).

Alignment Unaligned Languages -
Str 20(+12) Dex 14(+4) Wis 16(+8)
Con 20(+10) Int 2(+1) Cha 8(+4)
[/deck]

The Chain Tangle is actually one of the chain beasts in its larval form. Normally it would find a solid surface to anchor itself to while it grew. This one passed through one of the portals while in its mobile phase and found itself here.


Area 9: The Heart of the Matter
Encounter Level 13 (4000 XP)

This room was once Sir Bellmourne's laboratory, and it is clear that this was the center of the cataclysm that shook his manor. The floor has broken away into a large chasm in the center of the room. And from that chasm, weaving throughout the room, stretch a dozen or more of those damnable chains.

Combat Encounter
6 Feeder Chains
8 Sensory Chains

The chains start around the edges of Area 14. There are too many chains covering too much area for the players to hide this time. The chains will move to attack as soon as the players enter the room. At the DM's discretion, they may actually attack just after the fight with the Chain Tangle, before the players have had a chance to rest. This is recommended only if the players have had an easy time of things up to this point.

The Feeder Chains will attack in pairs, attempting to drag nearby targets into the chasm (Area 14). This chain beast has a degree of canniness, and will shift targets if marked. The Sensory Chains will attack targets farther back, or act to defend the Feeder Chains. Once all the Feeder Chains have been defeated, a shrieking noise will echo upwards from the chasm, and any remaining Sensory Chains will be withdrawn. Characters pulled into Area 14 fall into another plane and are devoured.


Wrapping Things Up

The scenario concludes with the defeat of the chain beast feeding through Area 14. Having found more pain in this realm than food, it will send no further chains through the rift. Exploration of the other parts of the manor is encouraged, but is beyond the scope of this scenario. While the bulk of Sir Bellmourne's treasure has probably been lost through the rifts, some of it is still likely to remain.

As to the gateways that still remain open, three options are suggested:
1. Sealing Ritual: The characters must research a spell to close the portals, sealing the way between the worlds.
2. War of the Worlds: This world is simply inimical to the strange life from the other realm. Within a week, the creatures are all dead and rusted away. In time, the portals close as well, as the fabric of the world heals itself.
3. Open Gate: The gates remain open. Who knows what bizarre things might come through? Or, for that matter, what characters might find if they seek to journey through the portals themselves?

A Note on Resting

This scenario assumes that the players will make their way through in one session, without stopping for more than five-minute rests after each encounter. Some parties, however, may wish to take a full rest. If so, consider making the following adjustments to the scenario:

If the players rest before reaching Area 5, the dead horse will long since have been dragged away, and the skill challenge will not be present.
If the players rest after Area 5, but before the rest of the manor, the Chain Tangle will be hungry again, and the Area 6 encounter will occur regardless of success or failure on the skill challenge.
Resting within the manor is essentially impossible. The chain beast in Area 14 is able to reach anywhere within the manor, and will quickly find them. If players rest within the manor, the Area 9 encounter will occur wherever they are, even if they have not yet reached Area 9.


Scenario Information

This scenario uses the following areas: 4, 5, 6, 9, 14.
This scenario uses the following optional elements:

2. No encounter area contains humanoids.
3. One encounter occurs only if the PCs fail a combat or skill challenge in a prior encounter.
5. One or more encounters contain a unique form of terrain that affects movement.
10. The entry describes adjustments to be made if the party takes an extended rest after completing at least one, but not all the encounters described in the entry.
Sign In to post comments