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So I'm reading through madness at gardmore abbey, as I always like to know what the entire adventure is about before running it for my players. But I've come across a strange possible glitch.
First (rant), let me say, these books are not very well lined out. The 4 books are like a spiders web of intermingled reading. You're flipping back and forth through all 4 books just to figure out what's going on... And that's not just between books. You're moving back and forth inside each book while flipping between books...
Anyways, Book 2 outlines the quests and major story arc that guides the players through the adventure. Early on, after you've met Berrian Velfarren, he asks you to learn about his dad. It says this information is only in encounter 10. ...
Now, the hill is rather open world, and the party is likely to have hit encounter 10 before they meet Berrian. Heck, the adventure has them scouting the entire land before they're even told to make peace with the fey. Now, the encounter talks about failing the roleplaying challenge and the party killing the nymphs. But if the nymphs die, so does the party's ability to complete that quest which they get later. I'm not going to shoehorn my party to save the nymphs if my party decides to fight. If there is regular banter, the nymphs are supposed to affect the players negatively, and who wouldn't fight back if there's no reason to hold back? Then there's the fact that anyone who has played D&D before has about as much trust in shiny beautiful signing creatures as a they would have if faced with a knife wielding maniac.
So there's likely pretty good odds that these nymphs are going to die before the party even knows what they're meant for.
Even if the nymphs do survive, it seems like a bit of a stretch to assume these nymphs know the answer to the quest. It's obvious to me as DM cause I've read the adventure, but players might not make that connection that they can get an answer by telling their own secrets. That's assuming they even go to Encounter 10 at all.
This portion really feels like an old school adventure video games like myst. You need to make the same crazy leaps and conclusions that the designer did, or you're left doing trial and error for 12 hours.
Now obviously I can make junk up on the fly, but doesn't this seem a bit short sighted that the quest chain can be broken so easily and relatively early into the adventure?
For me the beauty of Gardmore Abbey is how open the Adventure is designed to be. There are actually several occasions where the players can miss a quest, or solve a problem before they are tasked to do so.
For our group the nymphs were quite non-threatening. The whole secret idea is RP gold. Also, we had cleared out the watch tower and found Berrian's fathers sword before even meeting with Valferren. Was it the ideal path into the adventure? Probably not. But it was the one chosen by the group, and that is the beauty of such an open world.
If you are uncomfortable with the nymphs giving the party the information, then don't. They can find out about Berrian's father in some other encounter, by finding some other item or clue.
Also, I agree with the four books jumping around like crazy.
The evidence you need for Berrian to find out about his father is in the groundskeeper's cottage. And the proof of his final fate is found in the watchtower to the south. The nymphs only point the way.
After killing the beholder, any wretches that are still alive revert to their original forms. Berrian's pappy is one of those wretches. Still, his corpse would revert after the beholder dies, if the group is as bloodthirsty as you claim. There weren't too many eladrin in the abbey back in the day (I get the sense from my reading that Berrian's dad was the only one). So, presented with the book from the cottage, you'd satisfy the proof of claim quest. To find the final fate of Berrian's father, though, all you have to do is kill the beholder. The corpse would be proof, but actually saving him would, of course, be preferable.
Just don't discount the nymphs. Man, I had fun with these. I wrote down the characters' secrets they told the nymphs, and I plan to make these secrets come back to haunt the characters later on. Plot hooks for future adventures! It's gold, Jerry! Gold!
Agree (mostly) with the 4 books.
One one hand, it is nice that I don't have 1 uber-book that I have to page through and get worn out. On the other... flippity flip and cross fingers that the reference is in that book.
However, I have to completly disagree with the *spoiler spoiler spoiler* nymph part. My group didn't raise a finger and I personally think that encounter alone was worth the effort of shoehorning this adventure location into my campaign.
Also, I didn't have any problems with the whole Berrian plotline. My players did it WAY out of order (it was what I used to lure them to the abbey) but it all worked out fine.
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