1. In Area 1-1a it says the Fire Beetles have a close blast 3 fire attack, but it doesn’t say that it only targets enemies, and it doesn’t say that the beetles are immune to fire. Is this right? It sounds like the beetles will kill each other with their blast attacks?
Error on our part. While the beetles are *not* immune to fire, they do not suffer damage from the fire blast.
2. In Area 1-1b it says the secret door closes of its own volition, possibly trapping the PCs (like the dead dwarf). Is there any way to open the door from inside, or can the door be broken down?
The door cannot be opened from the inside, but can be broken from the inside, with a successful DC 27 Strength check. Alternately, you can rule that a PC hammering from the inside with an appropriate weapon (hammer or mace) can wear it down over time, but a non-magical sword or axe is simply not up to the job.
3. In Area 1-17 the distances are confusing. It sounds like it is 60 feet from the floor of the room (1-16) to the broken stairs at 1-17. Then it looks like a further 30 feet up to the door to 1-17a. That would make a fall from 1-17a to the floor of the room 90 feet, but the text at 1-17a (under “The Trap”) says the fall is 50 feet, which I don’t understand.
It isn’t terribly clear from the map or the handout, but the rise/run of the stairs isn’t 5 ft. per square. These are dwarves, after all, and the riser between each tread is noticeably smaller than that of human design. The fall should really be 70 ft. … *but* be aware that this could be near for your 1st level PCs.
Our playtests erred on the side of lethality and if this isn’t the style of game, feel free to adjust accordingly. Perhaps the PCs land on elevated rubble at the base of the pit (reducing the fall distance) or are granted a saving throw to leap to safety, before taking the long plunge.
(All that said, the 1 round delay should give the PCs time to retreat to safety, but in playtest it often seems that the deadliest threat to any PC is … himself.)
4. Area 1-18 includes an orb that inflicts 1d6 damage to anyone holding a metal object within 10 feet. All of the undead in the room are holding metal weapons, and their descriptions do not say that they are immune to fire. The description says that whichever crypt is open will cause the undead from the other crypt to emerge and attack (running past the fire orb). The Honor Guard are all minions so it sounds like they will emerge, run towards the PCs, then collapse into bones as they are hit by the fire orb?
Again, our error. The undead are immune to he fire orb’s effects.
5. In Area 1-20 the text says that the slab is protected by “an arcane trap that magically resets every round”, but the text does not say what the trap is?
Thank you again for the close read. Trap is a misnomer. So long that the ward is in place, it prevents heat from melting the silver. Prior to any attempt to melt the silver, thereby releasing the slab to be lifted, the ward must be disabled by speaking the command word “Raxim.”
6. In Area 1-24 the text says that Master Gimbolge knows of the secret passage from 1-20a and will send captured PCs to explore it. But the text of Area 1-20 says that Ivinrax is unaware of the passage from 1-20a, and he thinks the Forge must be below the slab. Is this a mistake or has Gimbolge kept this information from Ivinrax for some reason?
Yes, Master Gimbolge is jealousy guarding his knowledge of 1-20a from Ivinax, but in fairness, neither of them know that it leads to the same place. The dwarf (rightly) has no trust for the black magician and is only keeping him around long enough to lift the seal in the floor. (This racial mistrust plays out significantly in as-yet unpublished Mountain King adventures. The realm is threatening to tear itself apart from the inside, and all it would take is a party of PCs to start the fire.)
While does Gimbolge feels pressed to explore the side passage blocked by the stone, he doesn’t have a means of doing this without sacrificing his own faithful … until the PCs show up.
A review/fix of Forges
would not be complete without calling out perhaps its most significant flaw: the map is too small. Way too small. There are good reasons for this, but they’ve been noted before. Suffice it to say that you should consider doubling the size of most of the areas (1-25 excluded) to make allowances for more dynamic battles.
Thank you for the close read of Forges
! I hope it is enjoyable for you and your players.