Goodman Games

DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord
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Author:  docplutonium [ Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Hey All;

I am just about finished with your DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord and I have to say, without a shadow of a doubt, it is the single greatest adventure you guys have ever published. Honestly, lots of hack and slash for the fighters, traps for the Rogues and Puzzles aplenty for the more mentally inclined.

The Overlord is challenging and VERY unique not to mention the story EXCELLENT!

I incorporated it into my weekly campaign and although the treasure is low, there is not a single gripe from my players about it. They have just completed the vault this week, and because I made the adventure part of a greater campaign, now they are lost trying to figure out just who to give the sceptre to... At this point there is hardly anyone they trust, especially the King's regent ruling in the interim until the new King can be found. I have NEVER seen my players almost shell shocked upon leaving a dungeon until could SEE the collective sigh or relief when they stepped foot back up to the surface again. Alas, their poor rogue now lies bound hand and foot after he failed to find the trap on the Case housing the Sceptre and went permanently insane... Even tried to knife the fighter but it all came to naught.. awwww....

In my campaign I made the Overlord's Assassin construct keyed to the sceptre. And now that it has surfaced from the vault, he's bee-lining to the heroes to get it back. This is all the MORE awesome because one of the heroes has just left the group to enter the city to call upon a trusted NPC who they hope will give them some guidance...

Imagine their surprise when the construct approaches disguised as the absent hero to reclaim what is his...

So Yea, Absolutely 10/10 for this module. If anyone reading this needs more of an endorsement, consider it given.

My only sadness is that there will NEVER be a better module than this one...

Thanks All

Author:  goodmangames [ Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Glad to hear you liked it so much. I guess we have a bar to exceed now. :) Personally I always loved the rotating map - such a clever idea and the way it worked on the inside cover was awesome. I want to try something like that again sometime.

Author:  stonjohn4 [ Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Any competent rogue will simply use the Open Lock skill to unlock the 3 locks on the pedestal, potentially bypassing the entire module. Or Lady Aborn would have simply cast Knock and retrieved the prizes herself, making the module irrelevant. Solutions:

Author:  losloris [ Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Must agreed; reading the overlord now makes me want to mash it into the mud sorcerer. I am a big fan of tricks and traps like this, where there is a fair chance for success and failure.

Are there other modules like this?


Author:  losloris [ Wed May 02, 2018 2:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Right, back at this module for our next step, this time with a minor DM question.

The chap who wrote the initial post here mentioned the assassin construct was bee lining to the party in order to get the sceptre back. Working from the assumption that in this case the Iron Overlord is now dead would that make the assassin's goal, of serving his master, (hm) mute or meaningless? If it's master is dead does it not lose its function?

As to our story we have determined that the ultimate badguy, who now knows of us, has the ability to control our minds. That is because he is the mind flayer found in speaker in dreams. We are heading to the Vault to retrieve the Iron Overlords aluminium caps (which are the only thing I can think of that protects someone from mind control and him being an overlord of iron he can shape things with ease). Are there other convenient protections from mind control?


Author:  losloris [ Sat May 12, 2018 8:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Just wondering, now that I am having a big look at this module, did you find it an advantage to have those two other groups of adventurers go into this challenge ahead of your players? I wonder because I am not certain how that would fit into a storyline, and, how much do I need to bother about consistencies. For example, if two groups both got past the initial Gorgon why are there no statues and why does it have full hit points? How did two groups get past the black pudding (nicely designed trap, that one).

Also, did it matter where the circle started on the dial? I am thinking to change the lever affects to just 1, 2 or 3 clicks, not 12 or 9.


Author:  losloris [ Sun May 27, 2018 4:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

One of the tricks to running this module is figuring out how to inform the party that using the activator does something. Just making a noise is relatively meaningless as there is no impact and no indication of what one should be looking for.

We got to the second room with the Gorgon, flipped the switch, heard the noise. Back into the first room I made the engraving on the floor disappear.

Through subsequent rooms and activators, noises and the sensation of something having changed. (The carillon room was a constant menace as I had each player roll their dexterity twice to successfully scale up or down, and, there were several fails along the way). We passed through everything, including the black pudding trap which I thought was a very fair trap, and came back to the door at 1-9.

When we got this one open it turned out that by the activators we had or had not switched we locked up exactly with 2-1. To demonstrate how this was an achievement i described how this passage was like two space stations would join, which is quite different from a regular doorway. We did circle back to 1-1 and see the first and second rings on the wall model were now lit up, and that way the key they needed to confirm their suspicions and the wording on unlocking the tower.

We stopped at that doorway.


Author:  losloris [ Sun May 27, 2018 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Hooking them in;

For our story line we needed a specific treasure: aluminium caps to protect us from mind control.

Cardinal McKracken is a constantly appearing/disappearing NPC and an ally who left the safe confines on our keep while we were out adventuring. We needed him and so in looking through the stuff he left behind we found, in effect, a Card of Dworkin that allows for communication and transportation (he can pull us through). He did and we found ourselves outside and walking briskly away from the Castle of Arisdan. McKracken was fully aware of our situation (how was not explained) and had just failed in negotiating with king Arisdan for his collection of aluminium caps. Said caps were in his Iron Tower, a maze/treasure vault he and queen Annabella had created as they were getting on in years and wanted a suitable test for the next king of the land/family treasure vault. insert the Iron Overlord here. Also, due to the poor situation between Arisdan and the Iron Overlord Arisdan was rue to let anyone enter his private vault, regardless of any reason. Really angry at the suggestion that others could 'fix' something that had gone wrong under Arisdan's watch. So, the plan was to have McKracken use his abilities to establish a cone of undisturbance so the party could go in and steal the caps. Great plan. As it is, due to how the dice fell, our lead fighter accidentally cut off his shield arm at the wrist (love my current critical fumble chart) and our monk was turned to stone by Liliantra the Medusa. New plan has us going in to steal all of Arisdan's loot and ransom it back to Arisdan (a high level magic user) in exchange for a stone to flesh spell.

So far I am enjoying this module and am trying to have a consistent policy regarding the spinning rings. Maybe I am loose in the head, but;

do the rings move counter wise if they are unclicked? You know, flip the switch left it goes this way, right it goes the same in reverse, or just keeps going.
Do all the rings move as you activate the switch in ring two and three, or just the inner rings.

Personally, I like the idea of having everything move along the way, largely so that the way out is not a given. Too often I find myself just giving the party the way out without challenging them, and having to work your way out would be an easy challenge.

Also, I took out a few encounters in the outer first ring as I wanted the challenge to be figuring out that the ring moves (see previous post). This, of course affects how the party may encounter the three incarnations of the Iron Overlord. It would have been choice to have him appear in the outer ring but aso too much for the party to work with.


Author:  losloris [ Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

Going thru this again in prep for our next session. The second ring has the wonderful painting of the realm (which I think I will have to consider as far as having everything in the painting in that area of our world).

Not the point. As you see/read the map the module says basically, these five locations are good and those three are bad. Those three have things like cloakers waiting to moan at the party - a good use of cloakers.

Other than identifying those three images on the painting/map thing as perhaps having a different hue to them, is there some other way they could be marked(?) so that someone looking long and hard enough could discern those three are different than the five?

I want to make it possible to catch, that even after everything the party could look back at that map and see there was a difference, but not too easy.


Author:  losloris [ Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

We are back at this adventure this coming Saturday for an all day/night event and I would appreciate some insight.

I have never DMed a Mind Flayer. Tips in its attacks would be greatly appreciated; how did you play one and such, including; how does psychic damage manifest? If I mind blast a few characters, what actually happens? I'm thinking a failed save and you are stunned. Do you take hit point damage? How much psychic damage can you take? Will this reduce your intelligence and/or wisdom?


Author:  losloris [ Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

This has helped in providing ideas on running a mind flayer.

My thing is to base attack/defense on this and make the MF much more like The Mule from Assimov's Foundation series; particularly, once I have you mind you are mine. This goes inline with the idea that MFs are true aberration, not part of a fluid colony.


Author:  losloris [ Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

We play in two days, a full day session. I really enjoy playing this game and the DCCs are great tools to work with.

Anywho, prepping and all and just noticed this curiosity; your help is appreciated.

Page 7, talking about the second stage of the Iron Overlord; it says 'Steam venting: 10d6 of fire damage.'

What am I missing here?


Author:  losloris [ Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

This is a really nasty module and looking at the pretend I would venture DCCs have a high death toll in your campaigns.

Area 2-3: touching the glide should create an area of affect and grab the whole party. Having a solo PC hover about looking back at the party from within the globe does not make sense. And, they risk catching the attention of the mephitis.

But, what the?!? They enjoy a permanent overland flight affect at 9th level caster ability? Permanent is a little too long for me.


Author:  losloris [ Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

We played yesterday, got all of the way through, and, everyone had a blast - always the most important thing.

So, here's the cant: you have to figure out before you run this adventure, what moves when an activator is activated, how are you going to make it possible for the party to know this, how long does an activator stay in the just activated position. These are key.

I started by having there be a noise on the first ring.
The activators turned the rings inner to the ring it is on.
Once the party got to understanding that something moved and their progress was dependant on properly lining things up, I allowed a perception check which, if they got only those players could have a second perception check to determine how many spaces were moved. So, activate this one, everyone roll perception, yes you know it went clockwise, check again, yes you noticed it went five clicks.

When we accessed the door for the third ring and were facing a blank wall because of not being properly aligned, I gave the party an accurate clock position to help them mark off progress. They could have determined it over time but it would have taken time - I was keener on encouraging progress.

In the first ring I allowed an activator to be pressed and then pressed again. This was not a good choice. I later allowed the plunger of the activator to unplunge after twenty minutes.

The whole ring movement management is key to running this adventure.


Author:  losloris [ Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: DCC#50 Vault of the Iron Overlord

To wrap this up, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that my party had a great time going thru this adventure. I like finding puzzles in the DCCs and this had several good ones. The block challenge was amazing for us; there are three players who are quite distinct and for this puzzle the whole group had a part to play in the solution that would not have happened without each person's part.

They liked the rings that helped determine the size and shape, and, they blanched when the iron overlord reappeared to spray them with steam.

High-fives were liberally tossed when this was done which is the highest praise possible.

Considering the (now) many DCCs I have used this one is in the top three, with #3 Mysterious Tower, and, #7 Smugglers Cove.


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