Goodman Games

DCC#26 The Scaly God
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Author:  Angulimala [ Mon May 08, 2006 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  DCC#26 The Scaly God

Hey! I just finished reading DCC#26 The Scaly God today and want to mention how much I like it.

Pre-dungeon delve, it's got an interesting and creative plot. Once in the dungeon it features a archetypal crawl made unique by lots of new monsters, magic items, and situations ... AND it ends with a confrontation with a dragon. :)

I appreciate the author's notes to the DM along the way as well.

Looking forward to playing it!

Author:  JediOre [ Mon May 08, 2006 10:25 am ]
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Grr, still waiting for A to Z Comics to get it in.

Looking forward to reading it. Your comments only heighten my interest.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Mon May 08, 2006 6:50 pm ]
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Glad you liked the adventure, Angulimala, I'd love to hear your experiences when running it! The only thing better than writing a DCC is hearing the war stories. :)

I welcome any comments, questions, or battle tales here ... post away.
If any readers have questions about the adventure, what was running through my head when I wrote a certain section, or what-have-you, feel free to ask.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Tue May 09, 2006 6:23 pm ]
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Please note the following stat updates/corrections for Yona (Appendix 3: Pregenerated Characters):

Spells Per Day: 6/7/5

Known Spells:
0-level – acid splash, daze, detect magic, disrupt undead, flare, ray of frost;
1st level – feather fall, grease, magic missile, spider climb;
2nd-level – glitterdust, mirror image.

Author:  JediOre [ Wed May 17, 2006 2:58 pm ]
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I'm about half-way throught reading this module.

It is enjoyable. I really like the lead in to the main plot. Well done.

The lead in part (up to the second level of the caves) reminds me of the old AD&D modules UK2 & UK3. I can't say why and I haven't read them in years so I'm at a loss. Any way, in my book any module that reminds me of "old-fashion goodness" has something going for it.

One question, why a sub-race of the main monsters instead of the "stock" version? Just curious.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Thu May 18, 2006 2:01 pm ]
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JediOre wrote:
One question, why a sub-race of the main monsters instead of the "stock" version? Just curious.

To keep the adventurers on their toes of course! I love trogs, personally, I have since D1, but one must update the old chestnuts every so often to keep the players sharp! :twisted:

Glad you're enjoying the book!
I have a decent knowledge of the old modules, particularly the Gygaxian fare, but I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I don't really know the UK TSR modules. I bought one or two back in the day -- one was "Eye of the Serpent" or "The Serpent's Eye" or some such and the other was a huge mega-adventure (can't remember the name) -- but I recall not liking the art/map style of the UK adventurers at the time and I didn't purchase any more after that. But as you say, if it hit the "old-school notes" then I completed my mission!
Poring over many floorplans of actual castles and strongholds (English, Welsh, and French mainly) and reading about Roman strongholds fueled my brain to create Whitefang and inspired my plotline, as did trips to a few castles in the British Isles years ago (I would often sketch out interesting castle details after such visits). The cave part of the adventure was inspired by RPG games of old! :)

Author:  JediOre [ Thu May 18, 2006 5:05 pm ]
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Well I finished it just now.

I like it.

Concerning UK2 and UK3, they seemed to be a series of mini-adventures rolled together to create a greater whole (if my mind serves me.) It is the stronghold and the lead in to the trogs that reminded me of them. I really enjoyed them.

You being familiar with Gygax's work is evident in this module. I see his influences in your writing. The lower caves have a S4 flavor, and I could see your module being used as an introduction to that old school AD&D module. The secret room is great. That "creepy forgotten temple" encounter Gygax used with great results is showing through here.

However, I'm not saying you slavishly following E. G. Gygax's examples. This module has a flair of a different writer -- you.

I like most of all your inclusion of goblinoids. To me you can't get enough of them. Having a dragon as the finale is the topper.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Thu May 18, 2006 5:41 pm ]
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The secret room was one teaspoon Gygax and two H.P. Lovecraft, or at least that was the feel I was trying to evoke. I always hope that my own unique "voice" shows in my writing however.
I loved the mystery of the old modules, not everything was explained and odd side rooms were always there to discover. I'll never forget that lich (Asberdes?) in D1 just sitting in his little cave, as if waiting for a bus ... except this fellow could blow most PCs to dust (and he had nothing to do with the overall plot). Beautiful.

As far as goblinoids, well, they're the bread and butter of fantasy RPGs! Besides, they breed like rabbits, so they tend to get into most dungeons. :wink:

Author:  Grasshoff [ Wed May 31, 2006 7:28 pm ]
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Hi Rick,

You did a fine job writing this adventure. I haven't read the whole thing yet, just flipped through it and read some parts.

I plan to run this adventure with some new players, and some player who haven't played for a long time. We're all pretty busy these days, so it will be nice to have the pre-generated characters all ready to go. I plan to make up some backstory about how the characters met and some of their history together. Maybe this is something that should be added in future adventures. I wonder how often the pre-generated characters are used.

Descar the Ranger is lower level, but has better stats and magic items. That was a nice touch.

I was surprised to see that none of the characters have a magic melee weapon. I bet this is rare for a party of level 4-6.

Some of the magic items that the characters start with have a very high gold peice value. Gem of Seeing is 75,000 GP, Ring of Evasion is 25,000 GP, and scabbard of Keen Edges is 16,000 GP. But no +1 weapons? Odd.

What really stood out is that the characters have a Necklace of Fireballs with 7 fireballs, and a Wand of Magic Missiles with 27 charges. Putting these powerful re-useable damage-dealing items in the hands of pregenerated characters in a one-shot adventure will be really weird. They will have no incentive to save some of their firepower for the next adventure, they'll blast everything in sight.

If someone has recommendations for re-working the mix of magic items for the pregenerated characters, please chime in.

Another thing that stood out is the GM's note on the aurumvorax encounter. I see the aurumvorax is CR9, and the Rathulagon the blue dragon is CR8. With the bridge trap, the boulder-rolling trick, and the flying around the cavern breathing lightning on everyone, the dragon will be very tough to beat. Even if the party wisely avoids the arumvorax, they have a good chance of being defeated by the dragon at the end of the adventure.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:50 am ]
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Thanks Grasshoff for the kudos & commentary! :D

Grasshoff wrote:
I was surprised to see that none of the characters have a magic melee weapon. I bet this is rare for a party of level 4-6.

This was personal preference on my part, partnered with the way the adventure flows. The pre-generated PCs (or the average 4-6 level party) should have little trouble handling most of the inhabitants of Whitefang, and thereafter there are magic weapons to find. My first intent was to design a provided party that worked well with the adventure, rather than one that strictly represented the "average" PC party of that level.
(If the party feels weak for your players' style of play, feel free to add one or two minor magic weapons to the mix. Alternately, you could always replace the wand or necklace with a +1 dagger if you think your players will have too easy a time of it.)

Grasshoff wrote:
With the bridge trap, the boulder-rolling trick, and the flying around the cavern breathing lightning on everyone, the dragon will be very tough to beat.

Exactly! No dragon should be a push-over! :)
Rathulagon was meant to be a real challenge if played properly. As mentioned in the GM notes in the module, this is an adventure of attrition. There are few "safe havens" in the caves, and PCs flopping down to rest in any old cave will be subject to wandering monsters, etc. Thus, if a PC is fast & loose with those fireballs (etc.) early on, they will find themselves ill-prepared for the final encounter. Defeating Rathulagon is worthy of a bard song, at least!

Author:  Angulimala [ Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Going to DM The Scaly God


Currently I'm a player in my D&D group, but before long I'll be taking a turn at DM when our party members hit 4th to 5th level ... which means they'll be well suited for 'The Scaly God'. :)

I won't actually be running it until September probably so over the course of the next couple months I plan to post questions here and will be very interested in your (and others') input on how I plan to run and enhance the adventure. Please make suggestions!


For starters, I like to provide as much art as possible when running a game. Usually, I prep images of any creature the party could encounter (buying miniatures, if possible, for them as well) and show them whatever images I can from within the adventure booklet. I also try to accumulate pictures of NPCs and locations as well.

I'd really like to provide an image of Whitefang when they '...turn that corner' and see it for the first time. If I end up trying to draw this myself, I'll post the sure-to-be-pitiful results here.

Getting the players started...

Right now I'm planning to go with your first suggested hook for getting the players involved: leader of Orden hires party to investigate. I'll have the leader provide the adventurers with very limited and sketchy details, explaining, as the adventure text suggests, that he doesn't want to risk his own forces whilst he knows so little about the nature of the threat.

During the scene, I'll have his Master of the Guard (MotG) present so that he overhears the conversation. The MotG will take the players asside following he encounter with the leader. At this time he'll profess his disappointment at the leader's refusal to send him and his men then ( the tavern...after his guard shift is complete) I'll have him go on to relay the details found under the heading "Background Story - Whitefang". That stuff is too good for the players not to hear it!

Hmmm ... now I have to find a way to relay the story of Rathulagon and The Tribe. Seems like only Ssustre is going to be capable of providing that.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:47 am ]
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I look forward to hearing your battle stories!

Alas, I wish a had a good picture of Whitefang (but I have yet to figure out how to print out the one deep in my head)! Definitely post your image of the stronghold, I'd like to see it.


I love the MotG idea. I could imagine him "biting at the bit" and jealous at the PCs for getting to go in his stead. You could always begin him at an initial attitude of "Indifferent" and let the PCs work him upwards from there, getting extra additional details (perhaps talk of the hobgoblin tribe lurking about or the weird three-toed footprints) if they are successful. Getting him to "Helpful" might reveal the rough last-known location of the Censer.

As far as the tale of Rathulagon and the Tribe, that's for the GM's eyes alone; it's far better if the player's have no idea and piece things together gradually -- it'll make the lead up to "big blue" that much more exciting as the PCs find the murals, etc. Ssutre might spill the beans, but keep in mind his position of power (not to mention survival) depends greatly on the myth he's spinning ... he would have to be hard pressed indeed to reveal his secrets!

Do keep me posted; I'm sure that my fellow DCC authors would agree that the one thing better than writing a DCC is hearing tales of the PCs that "lived" it!

Author:  Maliki [ Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:16 am ]
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This looks like a real good module, I had it worked into a homebrew, but now I'm waiting to see it in DCC World, either way it will be part of my next campaign.

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:21 pm ]
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Maliki wrote:
This looks like a real good module, I had it worked into a homebrew, but now I'm waiting to see it in DCC World, either way it will be part of my next campaign.

Thanks Maliki. I look forward to hearing your experiences with the adventure. Nothing beats detailed war stories!

Author:  Angulimala [ Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:46 am ]
Post subject:  Prepping The Scaly God

Rick Maffei wrote:
I look forward to hearing your experiences with the adventure. Nothing beats detailed war stories!

Hi Rick ... Angulimala here. I'm still prepping The Scaly God and haven't yet run it for my group. I'm waiting for the average party level to get up to the appropriate range. This is fine for me, though, as it's allowed me to really flesh out the adventure. The last time I posted you and I discussed ideas for adding RPG-encounters to the beginning of the module … I’ve put that together now.

The party will begin the adventure traveling along an old dwarven trade road (that leads to Orden) when they are ambushed by a group of goblinoids that is larger in number than they can really hope to defeat. After battling them for a few rounds, a group of humans on horse back will ride up and rout the ambushers (btw, this will be the last time a ‘cavalry’ comes to their aid). The leader of the humans will be Captain Tervith: Lord Orden’s swordsman. An RPG-encounter will follow and this will lead to the party being escorted back to Orden and eventually an audience with Lord Orden regarding the town’s recent crisis (the defeat of Whitefang and the fear of possible loss of the Censer).

I’ve got character sketches and images for Captain Tervith and Lord Orden prepared. I’ve also got a hand-drawn and colored town map of Orden ready and personalities and images ready for the standard NPCs a party usually seeks out (town wizard, cleric, merchant, inn keeper, etc.).

I’ve spent a good amount of time prepping images, descriptions, and enhancements for the entire module.

I’ve scanned, enlarged, and printed many of the included images and players handouts … and added more so that I have a picture of every type of creature encountered. I drew (a pitiful version of) Whitefang stronghold. I’ve also got a physical description on-hand for every creature.

I created a to-dnd-miniature-scale battle map of Whitefang’s encounter room 2-2. I plan to make this key scene a fun tactical battle for the group. I’ve got color counters for the tables, chairs, suit of armor, etc. and actual goblin, hobgoblin, orge miniatures ready.

At this point, with the exception of creating the outline of a possible RPG-encounter with Bruzbid, I feel I’m thoroughly prepared for the portion of the adventure up to and including the ‘Mountainside Paths and Caves’. I’m ready to start working on the ‘The Entry Caves (Level One)’.

I do have some questions for you though.

In the Whitefang stronghold, on the ground floor, was it your intent that once battle begins –all- the creatures on the floor quickly join in? I realize that you’ve set it up so that there is a good reason why the second floor creatures don’t come down to the first floor, but every monster already on the first floor appears to be within ear-shot of any ruckus occurring there.

Within the caves this also seems like it would be the case where the Troglodyte lair is concerned. All the rooms (2-2 through 2 - 8 ) seem close enough that, if a battle started, all the inhabitants could hear and should empty out to join the fray. This would result in the party being forced to take on a pretty large group of trogs.

How did these areas play out in when the adventure was play-tested?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

-Angulimala (Jeffrey)

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Sat Sep 30, 2006 7:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Angulimala,

Thanks for keeping me posted on your evolving campaign. It sounds like you have done a tremendous amount of prep work—your players are fortunate to have such a hard-working GM!

The “battle join-in” factor has always been a hard design decision for me when creating dungeons. Logically allied creatures within earshot would probably come running, yet if they all do this you end up with a tremendous (and often deadly) battle followed by a succession of rooms with no occcupants.

I usually have reinforcements arrive in waves, and sometimes let various creatures stay in their areas depending on their motivations.


Motivations: The bugbears generally view (and treat) the goblins as second-class citizens, allowing them to do most of the grunt work and take the risks. They will allow the goblins in 1-1 to fight for a round or two before heading that way. The goblins in area 1-4, as alluded to in the text, probably remain at their post regardless—orders are orders.

In my final playtest the intrepid PCs fought goblins in area 1-1 that were soon joined by bugbears. Two goblins from 1-4 eventually showed up near the end of the fight to investigate and the other two remained at their post but overturned the table and threw javelins from behind cover when the PCs finally arrived. The worgs, being mainly loyal to their bugbear masters on the level above, remained in their area and attempted to ambush the PCs when they entered. (This last fight very nearly cost the party a PC! Before that the PCs had a fairly easy time of it, although a sharp-eyed goblin sent a few crossbow bolts their way via arrowslits shortly before they entered, weakening the party a bit before the first big fight.)

Bugbears enjoy sneak attacks, so any bugbear in the complex can be played with some latitude. These fellows consider the goblins expendable and view the ogre as a blunt tool to be wielded and manipulated; keep that attitude in mind when deciding their actions and you’ll have fun with them. (The bugbears and worgs both have good Hide and Move Silently bonuses, so I figure creatures with such skills won’t always wade right into combat.)

As far as the trogs go, the play-test PCs were soon boxed in by the trogs in 2-2 and 2-3, soon joined by Kinhul. Sathsar stubbornly held his ground. The shaman remained in his cave, but once the closer shriekers sounded he went into ambush mode. The females purposely remained to guard the eggs.

As GM I purposely stage things out a bit, so feel free to go with the flow and have your goblinoids and trogs behave in the manner you feel makes the most sense!

BTW, I like your lead-in. Are the goblinoids (the larger force mentioned) from Whitefang or are they the hobgoblin force (later routed by Rathulagon) or simply other humanoids from Aurora Pass?

I look forward to any future reports and wish your players luck on their quest (by the time they get deep into the caves, they’ll need it)!

Author:  Jengenritz [ Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm running my group through TSG now. They're pretty new to dungeon-crawling, so this is their introduction to it.
I've scaled down some of the encounters because these guys are only 2nd level with 1 NPC level.

Spoilers Below! (for several DCCs)

The Heroes of Ander's Farm vs. The Scaly God, report I

Having bested Toth-Ror, the minotaur bandit lord (#35, Hall of the Minotaur), the peasants-turned-heroes of Ander's Farm are journeying south to Hath Hall to return the body of Sir Galwaith to his ancestral home.

Thanks to their new horses, gifts from the mayor of Ander's Farm, the going is smooth at first, but one night a purple, bearded star streaks by overhead (#10, The Sunless Garden), spooking the horses. They run off, leaving our heroes on foot with a cart containing the dead body of the knight.

The next few days, it rains heavily and non-stop, coming in from the coast, BUT they know that about a day's travel ahead is Whitefang Keep, where Her Ladyship maintains a garrison of troops to guard Aurora Pass (relocated for our game) and to levy taxes on road traffic.

Approaching Whitefang Keep, the party ignores the clues I give them about there being no watchfires or interior lights of any kind, and march right up. Then the resident halfling rogue manages to Spot (in the dark, through the rain, from pretty far away...I couldn't believe it) a goblin lounging in the ruined portcullis. She hails them in Goblin, and they open fire on her through the conveniently-placed arrow slits. The human fighter moves in, hugging the wall, and ends up RIGHT NEXT TO a slit. He takes a bolt in the chest. The tax assessor/hireling cowers behind the cart and the heroes move in.
Elf ranger makes a lucky shot and makes the first kill. Now the goblins are shouting for help. Human fighter gets through the portcullis and stumbles into a bugbear (called into the fighting from the captain's room). The party figures out where the other arrow slits are, and manage to avoid them on the approach.

The party clears the courtyard, and the human cleric casts a light spell so they can see enough to loot. He gets peppered by crossbow bolts from goblins lurking in a open doorway that leads into the keep (the guys from the guardroom). Then one riding a worg runs into the courtyard, and the fight continues!

At the end of the day, the party had to fight the entire 1st level at once because they used no stealth. Still, they survived, and managed to drop the goblin who broke to warn the 2nd level.

They examine the courtyard a bit, and notice that some of the Keep's damage seems to have been inflicted by lightning (ah, but it's been raining heavily lately! a double-bluff on my part, as you'll soon see!). They loot the first floor, and are really curious about the small, heavily-fortified room that was apparently broken into.
In the lieutenant's room, they find a small ledger that talks about caravans that have passed through here and when others are due to arrive. They learn that the Rensman caravan is due to arrive in two days (this is an inside another campaign, the party pretty famously failed to save the Rensman caravan, who were wiped out).

They again make enough noise shuffling crates and yelling at their hireling that they alert the bugbears at the top of the stairs to their presence. Up they go and down come the molotov cocktails (a bit of deviation from the actual module here). The front two ranks take some fire damage, then they charge. More great fighting and the human fighter almost bites the big one, but the bugbears go down.

Afterward, they hear arguing voices and harsh laughter coming from behind a door. Boldly, they throw it open and see the dining hall. Like I said, this party was way below level, so I cut down this area to just the ogre and one goblin. It didn't matter. Somehow, strangely, the ogre won initiative. He moved in and swung his axe through the doorway at human fighter. Even accounting for cover, he rolls a natural 20, which I confirm. With an axe. Ouch. One disembowled human fighter later, things look grim. Elf ranger is running low on arrows, and halfling rogue isn't much of a fighter. Still, they cleverly keep the ogre on the other side of the doorway, and my dice go cold.

(I roll my dice in my home game like I do in the tournament...all rolls are public so my players know I don't fudge for them one way or the other.)

Elf archer fires a poisoned arrow recovered from their last adventure, but the ogre makes his Fort save. Eventually, however, the ogre goes down, and then they rush the goblin sniping at them from behind an overturned chair. The bugbear cook actually puts up a pretty good fight, and the dwarf bard takes some pepper to the face. Halfling rogue eats some goblin food and gets sick.

The party is really, really confused by both the crude, broken axe they found on level 1 and the dead trog body they find on level 2 (I removed the rot grubs). "Where are the trogs?" they think. "Ha-ha!" I quietly cackle to myself.

Since the human fighter was killed (and we were still at the early part of the weekend) I took that player aside we quickly came up with a new character. More on him in a bit.

Looting the room, they manage to find the hidden ring. Heading upstairs, they remember to Listen at the door to the captain's office, where they hear the bugbear leader interrogating someone. They try the door, the captain hears them, and the halfling rogue (who speaks Goblin, we've determined) tells him that dinner is ready (remember the cook?). Her Bluff beats his Sense Motive, so he unlock the door and the party JUMPS HIM.

The captain quickly backs out of the ambush and puts his back to a wall, and it looks like he may take the party out on his own, when the captive (who is a warlock) shatters his weapon.

I forget he's got a javelin, so he withdraws up the tower, chased by the party. In the next, he hangs out and tries to topple a bookcase on the party as they move after him, but he fails his Strength check. On the top level, he grabs a rock to use as an improvised weapon, but by this time he's done for.

And thus the party conquers Whitefang Keep!

To be continued...

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Jengenritz wrote:
To be continued...


I love the bookcase bit. I do so love a well-played villain!
The second level of Whitefang seems like a great place to lose a PC, between the sergeants in the watch room and the great hall (or so it went with my playtesters)...

Great recap ... keep 'em coming.

Author:  Jengenritz [ Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yeah, the everyone had fun with the running fight up the tower. Ah, but the BEST part was yet to come!

SPOILERS BELOW (for a few DCCs)!

The Heroes of Ander's Farm vs. The Scaly God, report II

Having purged all goblinoids from Whitefang Keep, the party set out burying the dead guardsmen and their own (except they inexplicably decided to burn their own dead....I have no idea why).

They found the chaplain's room and the blue scale there, and elf ranger took the rooftop walk to find the other blue scale. Now, although most of the players know a blue dragon is likely involved (and they can see the module's cover), none of them have any ranks in Knowledge (arcana), so no one has a clue.

They find the captain's book and the mention of the Censer of Weal, which the human cleric has heard of, including some of its powers (insanely high K: (religion) roll), so now the party is committed to finding it. They figure it may have something to do with the three caves referenced in the handout.

The new guy is a warlock, played by the guy who lost his fighter to the ogre. The warlock was traveling north along the road and was taken by the bugbears, who had just moved into the keep. The goblinoids knew that the human guard was going to be replaced, but didn't know when, so they tried interrogating their captive, who held out for two days (by which time the party arrived).

The next day the party decides to look for the Censer of Weal. They leave behind the henchman to guard the keep, and make their way along the northernmost of the trails. As they travel, they catch sight of something large and leathery-winged moving through the clouds overhead (the mama wyvern). Their trail is very narrow and slippery, especially because of the recent rains, which have not let up for two days (more on this in a minute).

Creeping along the edge, carefully, they approach the cave mouth. Halfling rogue creeps up to the cave's mouth (blowing her Move Silently roll, by the way), and peeks in to see a juvenile wyvern chowing down on the body of an elk. She wins initiative and gets out of Dodge, and the wyvern launches itself off the cave mouth and into the air.

Now begins a pretty cool fight. The wyvern can't hover or make sharp turns (poor maneuverability), so it spends a turn making a turn, then moves into melee to attack, then has to move out of melee. The party is in a line along the slippery path, and has to make Balance checks if they get hit by the creature (raining, narrow path).
So it's a round of missile combat, followed by a round of melee at one end of the line, then a round of missile, then a round of melee at the other end of the line.

Elf ranger gets hit by the tail and takes a ton of Con damage, almost dying. The player thinks to use her cloak of the wolf (from Hall of the Minotaur) because her wolf form has more Con than her as an elf. The dwarf bard, however, totally forgets about his helm of the dragon (same adventure).
With elf out of the fight, the party is down their main missile combat person, but the warlock does a fair job against it, and the dwarf manages to cause it some hurt when it gets close enough. TWICE during the fight, the dwarf makes a Fort save against the wyvern poison ONLY because of his racial bonus.

In good time, the party manages to drop the wyvern, casting its body down the chasm below. The elf makes her second Fort save, and they high-tail it back to the keep.

The party lays low that day, but about nightfall they hear a terrible roaring up in the mountain paths. After a bit, the halfling goes out on the rooftop walk and spies the momma wyvern sniffing their trail back toward Whitefang Keep. I play it up a lot for fear effect, but in the end a wyvern has neither Survival nor the Track feat, so she can't make their scent out in the rain. The party is safe, but they spend every moment out-of-doors watching the sky for momma wyvern.

That night, after momma wyvern is gone, the Rensman caravan arrives. There is a pretty comical scene when the halfling rogue and the human (puny) cloistered cleric try to open the damaged portcullis and can't, but eventually they get in and get the whole sordid story.

Otto Rensman, the caravan master, also tells them other stories, like how Her Ladyship is calling heroes to Hath Hall to help out against the Scourgelands, how tensions are high because goblinoids and other foul creatures are being seen further and further south, and about the horrible storms - hurricanes, even - battering the port city of Argalis (#21, Assault on Stormbringer Castle) . The rains over the last few days were spawned by those storms.

When asked about the pair of scales, he says that it's like those that ol' Pyraxus in the Trolltooth is supposed to have (#6, Temple of the Dragon Cult), but the wrong color. Finally, Otto bemoans the dangers of traveling nowadays, what with all the raided caravans near the Great Swamp (#17, Legacy of the Savage Kings).

The party takes the whole next day to rest, recover, and purchase goods from Otto, then sets out again for the caves in search of the Censer of Weal... be continued...

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Jengenritz wrote:
After a bit, the halfling goes out on the rooftop walk and spies the momma wyvern sniffing their trail back toward Whitefang Keep. I play it up a lot for fear effect, but in the end a wyvern has neither Survival nor the Track feat, so she can't make their scent out in the rain. The party is safe, but they spend every moment out-of-doors watching the sky for momma wyvern...

Great minds (or is it evil GMs?) think alike; I too played up the fear effect.
(I already had them frightened, as I often kid my group by dropping a mean-looking figure on the table and replacing it a moment later with the real opponent but this time I placed the wyvern down and they said, "He's kidding. Er, you are kidding, right?...)

After a hard, well-fought battle against "Junior" my players spotted a flying form in the distance and hastily -- very hastily -- headed away from the cave (right to an even more dangerous cave holding a certain badger-like critter, but that's another tale). :twisted:

Author:  Chuul Killer [ Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Rick Maffei wrote:
Jengenritz wrote:
(right to an even more dangerous cave holding a certain badger-like critter, but that's another tale). :twisted:

A Leucrotta?

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Chuul Killer wrote:
A Leucrotta?

HINT: Think of a certain multi-legged beastie that made its first appearance waaaaaay back in S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks...

Yes, that one. :twisted:

Author:  Chuul Killer [ Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

Rick Maffei wrote:
Chuul Killer wrote:
A Leucrotta?

HINT: Think of a certain multi-legged beastie that made its first appearance waaaaaay back in S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks...

Yes, that one. :twisted:

oh the aurumvorax or "golden gorger", nice. :wink:

Author:  Jengenritz [ Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:57 pm ]
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Funny you should mention the aurumvorax...


The Heroes of Ander's Farm vs. The Scaly God, report III

[Adrian's note: as I stated in the first report, I scaled back several encounters because the party was beneath recommended level. Other encounters I removed entirely because this is a long adventure and I wanted to finish it over the course of a full weekend of gaming.]

Rested and resupplied, the heroes of Ander's Farm set out to explore the lower-level caves, leaving the caravan guards and their tax-assessor-turned-henchman behind to ward the keep.

At last the rain has started to abate, but it does little to lift the party's spirits. They know momma wyvern is out there, and they've already lost one of their party, so they're nervous.
This serves them well when the reach the first cave. Halfling rogue creeps ahead of the party, and spies the multi-legged dingo-looking ferocious beast near the cave mouth.
I play up how insanely territorial this thing is, growling and snarling with barely controlled fury (hopefully getting them to realize that it will DE-STROY THEM if they mess with it). The warlock makes the check to know what it is, and gets some of the details, sufficiently scaring the party enough that they start thinking of ways to get past the cave without getting it to chase them.
After much discussion, they decide the run or jump past the opening. I rule that's sufficient to bypass the auromvorax (but award no XP), and they continue along the path.
Arriving at the entrance to the trog caves, they clamber over the rocks and get into the mite tunnels. Halfling rogue goes down a side tunnel, leaving the party in the main tunnel (and directly underneath the trap, which no one has noticed!). Halfling rogue, who is carrying a torch, alerts the mites stationed in the first guard post. They trigger the trap. Two mites attack the halfling in the small tunnel, the rest swarm the party in the main tunnel. All the pesties flee to the king.
Elf ranger and dwarf bard get tagged by the trap, and then the party gets all spread out in the tunnel, so when the mites show up, they're interspersed with the party members. A pretty fun fight happens as the party wipes out the mites, who I play to comic effect (to lighten the dread from earlier).
At one point, the warlock shatters a mite's club, so it decides to grapple halfling rogue (who has rejoined her party) even though it is outmuscled and lacks the Improved Grapple feat. It makes the touch attack, halfing rogue misses with her AOO, and the mite wins the grapple check. It was a riot as this savage goblin just JUMPS ON the halfing!
The halfing fails to break the grapple several times, so I have the mite bite at him (doing next to no damage). Elf ranger offers to shoot into the grapple, but halfling insists he has the situation under control, so the rest of the party just stands back and watches hafling get whupped by the mite.

Finally, halfling wins and elf ranger drops the mite before it can run away. They heard the pesties earlier, so the whole party squeezes into the smaller tunnels to track them down, splitting up in the process.

Dwarf bard and elf ranger eventually emerge in the king's chamber. Cloistered cleric is one cave back, and warlock and halfling rogue are still in some tunnels.
The pesties and female mites jump dwarf bard and elf ranger while the king gets off his throne and sorta bides his time in the back, hoping for a surprise sneak attack later.

Elf and dwarf manage to make short work of several goblins. I'm not playing the goblins as tactical geniuses...they're leaving themselves open for AOOs and occasionally running away until they get yelled at, but there are still several left and the heroes are stuck in a choke point.
Warlock makes it to the fight and shatters the king's club, but he commands a goblin to surrender his own.
At this point the battle starts to turn. The king uses Intimidate to demoralize the dwarf bard (could NOT believe that worked). The heroes got too far ahead of their healer, and he can't get into the fight. Dwarf bard has been carving a path through the goblins with his fancy new dwarven axe from the juvenile wyvern cave, but now he's surrounded and the king (with rogue levels) has him flanked. The elf ranger fails twice to hit the pestie giving the king the flank, and the warlock fails to shatter the king's replacement club.
The king hits the dwarf bard with a massive sneak attack, taking him to -10 hp on the round BEFORE the cleric could get to him. Dwarf bard dies, and the rest of the party shows up in time to wipe out the last of the goblins.

The party returns to Whitefang Keep and rests up. They manage to hire one of the NPC caravan guards to serve as a meatwall retainer, and reassaut the caves the next day.
This day goes far better for them. They clear out the rest of the upper caves pretty handily, spotting the poisonous spider in the helmet before it bit anyone and making short work of the impalers.

Descending further into the mountainside, they found the shrieker and used a silence spell to prevent it from sounding an alarm.
Then they backtracked and made a series of left turns, avoiding the slippery slope encounter but running into the ooze. That was a fun fight as I had the ooze on the ceiling, so it would improved grab people up to it, then when they escaped the grapple they fell to the floor (not far enough a fall to do any damage, but it made the fight more interesting). The ooze managed to confuse the halfling, who attacked the hireling, who wanted to know what kind of crazy adventuring group this was!

The party looted the amethyst (? maybe some other mineral...I forget) cave, decided against going further down and backtracked to where the shrieker was (no wandering monsters were encountered this entire time).

They took the cave branch that led to the mural. I called for Listen checks all around (and secretly made some for the troglodytes in the mural room), and the party completely blew their Listen checks (while the trogs did not).
So one by one as they entered the mural room in marching order I called for Spot checks to notice the camouflaged trogs, and everyone one of them failed (darn that racial bonus in underground settings!).
The entire party was surprised by the trogs in the room, and I managed to crit the warlock. I need to point out that the guy playing the warlock is the same guy who had been playing human fighter, who had been killed by a crit from the ogre previously in the adventure. I saw his face fall as I confirmed the crit, but when I rolled damage (all my rolls are public), it lit up again as I rolled abysmally low. The warlock survives!

The trog captain from a nearby room hears the fighting and moves in, but it's not enough. In a hard-fought but not desperate battle, the party overcomes the troglodytes (I even missed with the blinding spittle).

It was right about there that we called the game for the weekend. We spent 12 hours gaming on that Saturday and another 6 on that Sunday, reaching our agreed-upon stopping point. Sometime in December we'll finish the adventure and I'll post the conclusion.
The group is having a blast with this adventure despite losing two members of the party. It's a pretty good time, and I can't wait until they face Rathulagon!

Author:  Rick Maffei [ Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:25 am ]
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Thanks for another detailed battle report—great stuff! I get revved up to GM again soon just reading it. I'm glad your players are enjoying it; nothing inspires an adventure writer like detailed adventure reports.

Great mite fight! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that one. I like what you did with the ooze as well. A superior GM uses terrain to change a "standard" encounter into something extra-special. I tried hard, in writing this adventure, to make the underground terrain and atmosphere a major element—play it for all it's worth!

I eagerly await your next report—the dwarf bard may have well company before it's all over!

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