A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #541
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    Pyrophilios's Avatar

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    In case Ali doesn't destroy the armor,
    Armariel tries to dispel the second blade
    (1d20+6)[7]

    Edit: What a waste of a perfectly good spell slot
    Last edited by Pyrophilios; 2022-12-16 at 01:05 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #542
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Feel free to post what you're going to do while we wait for the post for Ali also.

  3. - Top - End - #543
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    You may need to post for Damian as well.

    Bretheamh hasn't been on in 5 days.

    So far it looks like the Blade may get another attack in.

  4. - Top - End - #544
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Done - hopefully containing the force blade with a force barrier

  5. - Top - End - #545
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    A good try, but unfortunately, not effective. Is that a small sphere surrounding the blade, or something larger that divides the room?
    Quote Originally Posted by Black Blade of Disaster
    The blade can harmlessly pass through any barrier, including a Wall of Force.

  6. - Top - End - #546
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Small sphere - though would you allow a quickened dispell after using a spell from a magic item?

  7. - Top - End - #547
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    It depends. Does the magic item produce an effect, or does the magic item let you cast a spell?
    You can't cast a non-cantrip spell on the same turn that you cast a non-cantrip spell as a bonus action.

  8. - Top - End - #548
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    The staff of power uses charges to produce a spell effect with a fixed level - I don't know if that counts as casting.

  9. - Top - End - #549
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    No.
    #1
    While holding this staff, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast one of the following spells from it,

    #2
    using your spell save DC and spell attack bonus
    As opposed to a fixed effect like a Wand of Paralysis that always has the same "it's not quite a spell" effect with a set DC

    I think either reason is enough to differentiate.

  10. - Top - End - #550
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Alright - in that case, slice away

  11. - Top - End - #551
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Guys, I'm so sorry I haven't been paying attention. Between being sick last week (just bad cold or something, nothing life-threatening) and the holidays coming up making work and family stuff just all over the place and crazy I've barely had time to breathe.

    Let me catch up here and I'll get a post up when it's my turn asap.
    Spoiler: My Homebrew
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    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    Town Square execution.

    Fistful of Fate character: Aereck Tarrinsen

  12. - Top - End - #552
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Sorry, I made an uninformed decision with your character in your absense

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrophilios View Post
    Sorry, I made an uninformed decision with your character in your absense
    No no! That's fine. J-H made the expectations for consistency pretty clear. That one's on me for not posting in days.
    Spoiler: My Homebrew
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    78% of DM's started their first campaign in a tavern. If you're one of the 22% that didn't, copy and paste this into your signature.

    Town Square execution.

    Fistful of Fate character: Aereck Tarrinsen

  14. - Top - End - #554
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    No problem, it is the season for everyone to travel and share diseases.
    I'm a little surprised nobody in my house got sick after Thanksgiving.

    What is Damian going to do? <- waiting on this
    Last edited by J-H; 2022-12-21 at 02:46 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #555
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Abi's cloak is in effect to force disadvantage, though unless they roll a nat 1 they'll always hit (16 AC babyyyy), and the disadvantage will only apply 'til she takes damage anyway, so kind of a hail mary to save her some health her.

    (1d20)[5]
    (1d20)[11]

    Yeah didn't think that'd work.
    Last edited by Amnestic; 2022-12-23 at 09:22 AM.
    DMing:
    Iron Crisis IC | OOC
    Brightmore IC | OOC
    Cyre Red IC | OOC
    Cyre Blue IC | OOC

    Playing:
    OotA IC | OOC

    Master Homebrew Index (5e)

  16. - Top - End - #556
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Thanks for helping test this everyone! I have some post-run questions, and will also append enemy statblocks here for those who are curious.

    Questions
    1. How was Jasper?
    2. Was the exploration component good? Did it feel like you had meaningful choices?
    3. Should the treasury area have more signage or signaling above or under water to better indicate the side hallways?
    4. Are there any areas that needed more or better descriptions?
    5. Did some of the fights feel like you were in a zombie movie?
    6. Was the combat adequately challenging? Was it too challenging?
    7. Would this be suitable for a lower level party (12)?
    8. What was your favorite part?
    9. What was your least favorite part?
    10. What should I name this adventure? Would having something about Ghouls in the title let players know in advance what to prep for?

    Changelog
    I moved the Doresites to the cliff above the trail after running the ambush, so they come from both sides, and added jumping to some of the ghouls, so that flyers aren't immune unless they're high up.

    Statblocks
    Spoiler: spoilered for length
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    Jasper Hill
    5th level rogue (simplified)
    Medium human
    Armor Class 17 (Studded Leather +1)
    Hit Points 38 (5d8+12)
    Speed 30 ft., Climb 30’
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    12(+1) 18(+4) 14(+2) 14(+2) 11(0) 12(+1)
    Saves Dex+7, Int +5
    Condition Immunities Disease (Periapt of Health)
    Senses Passive Perception 13
    Skills Acrobatics +10, Athletics +4, Investigation +3, Perception +3, Stealth +10
    Actions
    Short sword. Melee Weapon Attack, +7 to hit, 5’, 1d6+4 piercing damage, +3d6 sneak attack if an ally is adjacent to the enemy or if Jasper has advantage on the attack roll.
    Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack, +7 to hit, 80’/320’, 1d6+4 piercing damage, +3d6 sneak attack if an ally is adjacent to the enemy or if Jasper has advantage on the attack roll.
    Bonus Actions
    Cunning Action. Dash, Disengage, Hide
    Steady Aim. By forgoing his move action, Jasper can stand still and gain advantage on his first attack roll this round.
    Reactions
    Uncanny Dodge. Jasper takes half damage from an attacker he can see, he can use his reaction to halve the damage.

    Fortress Beaver
    This looks like a beaver, but the size of a horse, with fur that looks like steel wool, front teeth the size of hatchet blades, and a tail you could surf on.
    Large Beast
    Armor Class 17 (Natural Armor)
    Hit Points 115 (11d10+55)
    Speed 30 ft., Swim 50 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    20(+6) 14(+2) 18(+4) 3(-4) 11(0) 6(-2)
    Damage Resistances Cold
    Senses Passive Perception 13
    CR 6
    Actions
    Multiattack. The Fortress beaver may bite and tail slap on the same turn, but not against the same target. If it is in the water or partially in the water, it may slap its tail against the water instead.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +9 to hit, 5’, 3d8+6 piercing damage.
    Tail Slap. Melee Weapon Attack, +9 to hit, 5’, 3d8+6 bludgeoning damage.
    Tail Slap (Water). The Fortress Beaver slams its tail against the water with a thunderous crack, producing a shockwave of water enhanced by the creature’s natural magic. All non-Fortress Beavers within 15’ take 2d6 thunder + 2d6 bludgeoning, and fall prone on a failed save. A DC 15 Strength save halves the damage, and negates the prone condition.

    Fortress beaver hides are useful for enchanting and tough, warm clothing. It takes 2 hours, 2 PCs, and a successful Nature or Survival check to skin a Fortress Beaver. The DC to remove the skin intact is 16, or 12 if one of the workers has Leatherworker’s tools and is proficient with them.

    Mob of Ghouls
    An entire pack of ghouls is running at you, hissing, snarling, and drooling!
    Huge undead swarm (15’x15’)
    Armor Class 12
    Hit Points 132 (35d8)
    Speed 30 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    13(+1) 15(+2) 10(0) 7(-2) 10(0) 6(-2)
    Damage Vulnerabilities Area of Effect damage
    Damage Immunities Poison
    Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 10
    CR 4 (PB +2)
    Mob. The mob is not a valid target for single-target effects such as Command, grapple, shove, or Telekinesis. The mob can move into and occupy the space of other creatures. Hostile creatures who start their turn within the mob’s space have their speed reduced by 10’. The mob may make an unlimited number of Opportunity Attacks, but only one per enemy.
    Actions
    Mob Multiattack. The ghoul mob makes attacks against each target within or adjacent to its space, based on the total number of targets. Attacks on targets within the mob’s space are made with advantage.
    1 target: 4 Claw, 4 Bite attacks
    2 targets: 2 Claw, 2 Bite attacks each
    3+ targets: 1 Claw, 1 Bite attack each.
    Claws. Melee Weapon Attack, +4 to hit, 5’, 2d4+2 piercing damage. If the target is a living creature not an elf, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +4 to hit, 5’, 2d6+2 piercing damage.


    Greater Ghoul
    This undead, its skin an unnatural pallor, has bloodstains all around its mouth. Unlike many of its kind, its muscles are swollen beneath skin so tight it has split in a few places. Its eyes gleam with a cunning light.
    Medium undead
    Armor Class 15
    Hit Points 70 (10d8+30)
    Speed 40 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    18(+4) 15(+2) 16(+3) 7(-2) 14(+2) 6(-2)
    Saves Str +6, Wis +4
    Damage Resistances Necrotic
    Damage Immunities Poison
    Condition Immunities Charmed, Disease, Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 15
    Skills Athletics +7, Perception +5, Stealth +5
    CR 5 (PB +3)
    Dense Muscles. The greater ghoul adds its Constitution modifier to its AC.
    Leaper. The Greater Ghoul’s strength modifier is doubled for vertical jumping, giving it a vertical jump distance of 11’ with a 10’ run-up, or 5’ standing. It can reach another 7’ up when jumping, allowing it to attempt to grapple or grab creatures up to 18’ in the air.
    Actions
    Multiattack. The ghoul attacks twice with its claws and then once with its bite. Alternatively, it replaces one or both claw attacks with Grapple attempts to grab an enemy that is flying. In the case of Lacedons, they prefer to grab enemies and pull them underwater.
    Claws. Melee Weapon Attack, +7 to hit, 5’, 1d6+4 slashing damage. If the target is a living creature not an elf, it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +7 to hit, 5’, 2d6+4 piercing damage. The victim must make a DC 14 Constitution save against Disease. On a failed save, the victim suffers disadvantage on saving throws against disease, poison, and paralysis until they complete a long rest or are treated with Lesser Restoration or Remove Curse.

    Doresite Ghast
    This ghast looks like a greater ghoul, except that its skin is pale white.
    Medium undead
    Armor Class 18 (Natural Armor)
    Hit Points 112 (16d8+48)
    Speed 40 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    20(+5) 17(+3) 16(+3) 14(+2) 14(+2) 8(-1)
    Saves Str +10, Wis +6, Cha +3
    Damage Resistances Necrotic
    Damage Immunities Poison, B/P/S from weapons that are not silvered or magical
    Condition Immunities Charmed, Disease, Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 15
    Skills Athletics +8, Perception +5, Religion +5, Stealth +6
    CR 9 (PB +4)
    Blessing of Doresain. The ghoul god smiles on this creature, granting its natural weapons +1 to hit and damage. Its natural weapons count as magical.
    Dense Muscles. The Doresite Ghast adds its Constitution modifier to its AC.
    Leaper. The Doresite Ghast’s strength modifier is doubled for vertical jumping, giving it a vertical jump distance of 14’ with a 10’ run-up, or 7’ standing. It can reach another 7’ up when jumping, allowing it to attempt to grapple or grab creatures up to 21’ in the air.
    Foul Stench. Any creature that starts its turn within 15’ of the ghast must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be Poisoned until the start of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to this ghast’s stench for 24 hours.
    Turn Defiance. The ghast and any other ghouls or ghasts within 30’ have advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead.
    Actions
    Multiattack. The ghast attacks twice with its claws and then once with its bite. If it moves past an enemy, it can use Clothesline as a Bonus Action. Alternatively, it replaces one or both claw attacks with Grapple attempts to grab an enemy that is flying. In the case of Lacedons, they prefer to grab enemies and pull them underwater.
    Claws. Melee Weapon Attack, +10 to hit, 5’, 1d6+6 slashing damage. If the target is a living creature not an elf, it must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +10 to hit, 5’, 2d6+6 piercing +2d6 necrotic damage. The ghast heals for ½ the total damage done by its bite attack.
    Bonus Action
    Clothesline. If the ghast uses its movement to move within 5’ of an enemy and then away from that enemy in the same turn, it may make an Athletics check (+9) to knock the enemy prone in passing (opposed by the defender’s Athletics or Acrobatics check). The defender may not make an opportunity attack as the ghast moves out of range.
    Reactions
    Leader’s Command. The ghast uses its reaction to grant itself and all other ghouls and ghasts within 60’ who can hear it advantage on a saving throw.
    I think I only used this reaction once

    Ghoul Priest of Doresain
    This ghoul’s skin is carved with sigils of claws, teeth, and skulls.
    Medium undead
    Armor Class 16 (Natural Armor)
    Hit Points 84 (14d8+28)
    Speed 30 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    13(+1) 15(+2) 14(+2) 9(-1) 14(+2) 10(0)
    Saves Con +5, Wis +7
    Damage Resistances Necrotic, B/P/S from non-magical/non-silvered weapons
    Damage Immunities Poison
    Condition Immunities Charmed, Disease, Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 15
    Skills Perception +5, Stealth +5
    CR 7 (PB +3)
    Magic Resistance. The priest has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
    Ritual Tattoos. The priest’s tattoos give its skin additional toughness, increasing its armor class to 16.
    Actions
    Multiattack. The ghoul priest casts a spell, then makes a melee attack.
    Claws. Melee Weapon Attack, +5 to hit, 5’, 2d4+2 slashing damage. If the target is a living creature not an elf, it must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +5 to hit, 5’, 2d6+4 piercing damage.
    Spellcasting. The Ghoul Priest’s spell save DC is 13, and its spell attack roll is +5. All spells are at will, and target a 30’ radius circle, visually manifesting a translucent red ghoul skull at the centerpoint of the circle. The skull casts a faint reddish light out to the edges of the area of effect.
    Spell effects last until the beginning of the priest’s next turn.
    Quick Charge. All ghouls and ghasts who start their turns within the area of effect gain a 20’ increase to their move speed.
    Hunger’s Blessing. All ghouls and ghasts who start their turns within the area of effect gain +2 on attack rolls.
    Blood Flows Faster. All living creatures who are below maximum hit points take 6d12 necrotic damage, Con save half, as their partially-healed wounds open further.
    Hardiness. All ghouls and ghasts who start their turns within the area of effect gain 10 temporary hit points that expire when the spell does. Mobs gain 30 temporary hit points.
    Create Ghoul. Unlike the other spells, this one simply causes a humanoid corpse within 30’ of the priest to immediately rise as a Ghoul. (Maximum 2/day)

    Hungering Warlord
    This undead’s eyes burn with an unholy flame, and its mouth is unnaturally wide, full of bloodied teeth. It is clad in bloodied spiked armor. In one hand it wields a skull-headed mace covered in spikes, and in the other it bears a shield made out of a wyvern’s skull.
    Medium undead
    Armor Class 24 (Full plate +2, Shield +2)
    Hit Points 210 (30d8+90)
    Speed 30 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    20(+5) 16(+3) 16(+3) 14(+2) 14(+2) 18(+4)
    Saves Str +11, Wis +8, Cha +10
    Damage Resistances Necrotic
    Damage Immunities Poison, B/P/S from weapons that are not silvered or magical
    Condition Immunities Charmed, Disease, Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 15
    Skills Athletics +8, Perception +5, Religion +5, Stealth +6
    CR 18 (PB +6)
    Ghastly Items. The Warlord’s spiked full plate, mace, and shield are +2 items when used by undead.
    Turn Defiance. The warlord and any other ghouls or ghasts within 30’ have advantage on saving throws against effects that turn undead.
    Actions
    Multiattack. The warlord attacks three times with its mace, uses either Bite or Spittle once, and uses Aura of Hunger.
    Aura of Hunger. Living creatures within 30’ must make a DC 18 Charisma save. On a failed save, they take 4d6 necrotic damage, and must use their reactions to move up to half their speed towards the closest living target and make their normal melee attack against it. On a successful save, they take 2d6 necrotic damage. A creature reduced to 0hp or killed by this aura will immediately rise as a Greater Ghoul upon dying.
    Mace of Drinking. Melee Weapon Attack, +13 to hit, 5’, 1d6+7 bludgeoning + 4d6 necrotic damage. The Warlord heals for ½ the necrotic damage dealt.
    Bite. Melee Weapon Attack, +11 to hit, 5’, 2d6+5 piercing +6d6 necrotic damage. The Warlord heals for ½ the total damage done by its bite attack.
    Spittle. Ranged weapon attack, +9 to hit, 30’. The target must make a DC 17 Constitution save or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.
    Reactions
    Resilience. The Warlord uses its reaction to reduce the damage taken from one spell or attack by half.
    Equipment
    Cape of the Mountebank. The Warlord uses this to cast Dimension Door once per day as an action, bringing one minion along with him. He may attack once and use his aura upon arrival at his destination.

    Lacedon Variants
    Greater Ghoul & Doresite Ghasts do not suffer disadvantage on attack rolls when underwater. The range the Doresite Ghast’s stench is doubled underwater, but it only affects creatures that are breathing water.

    Skeletal Mammoth
    Huge Undead
    Armor Class 11
    Hit Points 126 (11d12+55)
    Speed 30 ft., Climb 30’
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    14(+7) 13(+1) 21(+5) 3(-4) 8(-1) 5(-3)
    Damage Vulnerabilities Bludgeoning
    Damage Immunities Poison
    Condition Immunities Exhaustion, Poisoned
    Senses Darkvision 60’, Passive Perception 9
    Trampling Charge. If the Mammoth moves at least 20’ straight towards a creature and then hits it with a Gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 18 Strength save or be knocked prone. The mammoth may make a Trample attack against a prone target as a bonus action.
    Actions
    Gore. Melee Weapon Attack, +10 to hit, 10’, 4d8+7 piercing damage.
    Trample. Melee Weapon Attack, +10 to hit, 5’, 4d10+7 piercing damage.
    This was for use at DM discretion if the party wandered off the path. Examining the bones would reveal a bunch of scratches and bite marks where it was devoured before rising as a skeleton.

    Arcane Ooze
    This huge ooze spills forward and sticks to walls, glowing with an inner green light that flashes and flickers as it interacts with sources of magic.
    Huge ooze
    Armor Class 8
    Hit Points 180
    Speed 20 ft., Climb 20 ft., Swim 20 ft.
    Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
    18(+4) 6(-2) 18(+4) 1(-5) 6(-2) 1(-5)
    Damage Immunities Acid*, Cold, Fire, Lightning*, Necrotic, Psychic, Radiant, Thunder
    Condition Immunities Blinded, Charmed, Deafened, Exhaustion, Frightened, Prone
    Senses Blindsight 60’ (blind beyond this radius), Passive Perception 8
    CR 9 (PB +4)
    *Arcane Healing. When struck by a spell that deals acid damage, the ooze gains temporary hit points equal to ½ the damage that would have been dealt. When struck by a spell that deals lightning damage, the ooze is instead Hasted for 1 round, gaining double move speed, +2 to AC, advantage on Dexterity saves, and one extra attack.
    Actions
    Multiattack. The Arcane Ooze uses its Spell Siphon ability, then uses its Pseudopod attack. If it is grappling a target already, it may Constrict that target and use Pseudopod against a different target.
    Spell Siphon. Any arcane spellcaster with line of effect within 60’ of the Arcane Ooze must make a DC 16 Constitution save or have one available spell slot of the highest level available to him consumed. For each spell slot consumed, the ooze gains temporary hit points equal to 5 x the level of the slot.
    Pseudopod. Melee weapon attack, +8 to hit, 10’, 3d6+4 bludgeoning damage + 1d6 acid damage. On a successful hit, the target must make a DC 16 STR save or be Grappled.
    Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack, +8 to hit, 10’, 3d6+4 bludgeoning damage + 1d6 acid damage. Escape DC 16 (Athletics/Acrobatics).
    Ambush predator ported over from 3.5.

    The Treasury Trap
    When unlocked, the doors open inwards suddenly, as water rushes forwards from the flooded hall into the room. Anyone between the rockfall and the door must make a DC 18 Strength save to grab something, or be carried 20’ into the room, slamming into the far wall and taking 1d6 falling damage plus being knocked prone.

    Air bubbles out into the corridor, and the room floods to 5’ deep in a matter of moments, but stabilizes at that level, rendering everything difficult terrain.

    However, at the intrusion of water and the PCs, the two armored suits draw their blades. The suits then stop moving, but the blades move about freely – for they are Animated Black Blades of Disaster. They act at Initiative 10, each blade attacking twice at +18 to hit. The blades will pursue any intruder until the intruder is all the way back in the entry room.
    The blades must be Dispelled (as against a 9th level spell, individually), or the armor suits that created them can be destroyed to disable the blades. The armor suits have AC 18 and 60hp each.
    This was really a fancy trap rather than a true combat encounter
    Last edited by J-H; 2022-12-23 at 10:26 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #557
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Thanks for running this for us - I had a blast

    1) Jasper wasn't particularly remarkable for me - a typical lone survivor. Might be improved if he himself was protecting someone - like his old mother or little sister. That way he could show more interaction then the basic traumatized civilian
    2) I liked the exploration, though the focus on only two meaningful locations in the starting village made it feel a bit forced. Maybe a bit of scenery description with signs of what people were doing just before the attack came would be good (It would help to give color to the scene and for the PCs to quickly grasp what happened there - did the Ghouls rush in and over the walls, or did they sneak in in the dead of the night...)
    3) Definitely some indications in the description of the corridors - fancy murals or reliefs to indicate that this was an important location.
    4) The entrance to the dwarven temple could use a bit more description so you understand what the flooded area used to be.
    5) Especially the fight in the tavern with the swarms - the only thing missing, was a little siege scene where the group has the chance to hold a door or a room against the horde outside.
    6) I'd say it was just right for our level
    7) You might want to reduce the rate at which those hunger spells hit the party
    8) I loved the big end fight
    9) The ambush was a bit lack luster compared to the rest (but by no means bad)
    10) "The Dead Hunger" would be my suggestion

  18. - Top - End - #558
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Thanks for helping test this everyone! I have some post-run questions, and will also append enemy statblocks here for those who are curious.

    Questions
    1. How was Jasper?
    2. Was the exploration component good? Did it feel like you had meaningful choices?
    3. Should the treasury area have more signage or signaling above or under water to better indicate the side hallways?
    4. Are there any areas that needed more or better descriptions?
    5. Did some of the fights feel like you were in a zombie movie?
    6. Was the combat adequately challenging? Was it too challenging?
    7. Would this be suitable for a lower level party (12)?
    8. What was your favorite part?
    9. What was your least favorite part?
    10. What should I name this adventure? Would having something about Ghouls in the title let players know in advance what to prep for?
    Takin these in order:
    1. No complaints here. Both at the time and in hindsight with his stats below it seemed/seems like if we'd managed to recruit him he'd have probably died, so I'm kinda glad we didn't try!

    2. I would've maybe liked one more 'notable destination' in the original town - we had the inn and the church (empty) but 3 is the magic number. This could be as simple as moving Jasper from the roof of the inn over to something like a Town Hall or barricaded in a guard building, so we've got the church (altar clue), tavern (fight) and Jasper at another location. This isn't mandatory mind you - the current version is more streamlined, this is just an impression I had.

    The beavers were a good, relatively simple encounter that I'm glad we avoided fighting. Protect nature!

    3. It's fine if people don't find everything, I think it was fine as is. I'm not sure if you had a passive perception DC to "emphasises" the side passages but if not and you are concerned, you could set that at a reasonable DC (20?). If no one has it that high, give them a normal description, if they beat it, give them an extra hint in that direction sorta deal?

    4. The room with the stairs where the zombies dragged a bunch of us into drowning definitely seemed to have some confusion on the exact layout/water level height, at least on my end. I thought the platforms were much higher above the water, so they weren't "at risk". The exact nature of the doors/platforms in the big warlord encounter room wasn't super clear at first but I understood after a reread.

    5. Mm, kinda but kinda not? Might just be my preference/impression of zombie movies but to me they're a "creeping tension, survival" style of genre for the most part whereas this was definitely more action focused. I think it'd be hard to get my version of a 'zombie movie' at 14th level though, so that might be on me more than the actual module. There could've been more swarms if you wanted more of a 'action' zombie movie vibe fighting off the hordes.

    6. So, as above on (4), the room where we got dragged under felt a bit unfair how they jumped seemingly out of nowhere immediately and dragged us under before any of us had a time to really react. I liked the fight with the warlord - it was big and dynamic and I definitely could've seen it going worse if we hadn't had a few things like Synaptic Static or Wall of Force to lock things down. Abi was basically tapped out of resources by the end of the day, so I'd call that 'solid' for exhausting her at least, I didn't track other people's remaining resources though.

    7. I think a 12th level party would struggle but if they had a resurrection or two in their back pocket they'd manage. There's a definite risk that they'd TPK on the black blades if they didn't understand to target the armours and rolled poorly on their dispels - we got very lucky that the first dispel worked and that Abi's fey+Tagar ate two hits, because they were averaging 70 damage/turn easy, that's enough to drop one character a turn, if not more due to their expanded crit range. On the other hand, doing 60 damagex2 to AC18 armour is pretty trivial for a party of level 12s or 14s. If we'd focused on damage instead of dispels we'd have cleared it faster on this test run - 1 or 2 rounds tops, so again it's a matter of the party intuiting "smash the armour", since the dispel DC is pretty high otherwise. It might be too deadly for those who don't understand it, but it's up to you if that's acceptable or not.

    From your notes it says the black blades won't chase people beyond the room - I don't think that part will ever come up because of the squeezing into the room, and difficult terrain slowing them down. They'll go all in, rather than risk trying to flee when they don't know the BB won't follow them.

    Likewise I think the warlord fight would be a real struggle for a 12th level party as written with the big AoE damage from the casters+the warlord aura, but if they had their big hitters and targeted appropriately they'd manage. I will admit that I could've tried Banishing some of the enemies on this fight and chose not to because I didn't want to just be banish spamming.

    Blood Flows Faster being 'damage, save for half when injured' and Aura of Hunger being 'damage, save for half' means that it's guaranteed that anyone who gets within 30ft of the warlord is going to start taking hefty damage from BFF. One alternative to consider might be the damage on BFF starts lower (say, 3d12) and ramps up the lower HP the creature has - say 4d12 at 75%, 5d12 at 50%, 6d12 at 25%, that sorta thing. Might be annoying to track though. Alternatively switch aura of hunger be save negates instead of save for half.

    8. Definitely the warlord fight! I felt like Abi contributed a lot to it even though her spell selection/build wasn't really tailored to fighting undead (Tagar's bonus action attack with poison was never going to be super useful, Telepathic could have been a different feat that worked better, even if it was just Telekinetic to let her do some battlefield shoving.)

    9. As above, the 'drowning' fight, though again it might have been alleviated with some alternate descriptions.

    10. "Trail of the Dead"

    Hope that helps! I had a good time with this, thanks for running it.
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  19. - Top - End - #559
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Questions

    1. How was Jasper?
    I think mostly unremarkable. Given the state we found him in, it would not have occurred to me to recruit him. However, it also seemed weird to leave him to travel the road on his own, so bringing him along kind of makes sense.

    2. Was the exploration component good? Did it feel like you had meaningful choices?
    I think I mostly felt this actually at the dam, and maybe at the very beginning when we chose which buildings to inspect.

    Apart from that, it seemed pretty linear because we're mostly following the drag marks of the altar. And linear is fine too. But as far as choices, when we got to the dam I felt there was actually a few ways we could try and get across.

    3. Should the treasury area have more signage or signaling above or under water to better indicate the side hallways?
    I think it's okay if not everything is found. If I were in my group, we would probably explore everything before moving forward. But if it is important then there may be indications that something is there like Pyro mentioned.

    4. Are there any areas that needed more or better descriptions?
    I got a little lost when we encountered the traps. It might have been a misunderstanding about what was underwater and what was above. I thought at first I was underwater, then after a description I thought I was above water. I made my attacks, then saw J-H mention I have disadvantage for being underwater and thought "ok, so I'm missing something because I AM underwater". That could be entirely on me of course lol, but that area was a little tricky for me.

    I agree that the ghouls leaping out of the water and grabbing someone and dragging them under seems un-intuitive. The visual I got was the ghouls leaped like 10 or 15ft above the water onto the platform we were on, wrapped their arms around us, and jumped back in the water, which seemed weird, but that's how I was imagining us relative to the murky water. If we were right near the water and the ghouls swam to the surface and grabbed an ankle and yanked us in, that would make more sense.

    That said, I was feverish and sick during the ghoul fight so I may have misread it.

    5. Did some of the fights feel like you were in a zombie movie?
    I think the zombies dragging us underwater definitely felt like a zombie movie (despite this probably never happening in any zombie movie lol), because it felt tense, dangerous, and claustrophobic, especially depending on the ruling about verbal components underwater.

    I would say the zombie rushing Armariel from the basement stairs also evoked a certain zombie feel.

    Apart from those instances I think it felt like D&D. Just spitballing here but maybe the mob immobilizes instead of reduces speed (a grab rider on their attack or even just by sharing their space). Maybe if more than 1 mob is on you, you are also knocked prone? Maybe that's too much but I think it would evoke the bodies pressing in on you feel.

    6. Was the combat adequately challenging? Was it too challenging?
    I think it was about right for us. I think I might have made it more challenging because I'm not used to playing spellcasters and I might have been hoarding my resources.

    7. Would this be suitable for a lower level party (12)?
    Hard for me to say. I think it might be a bit difficult for lower level.

    8. What was your favorite part?
    I thought the scene where we were dragged underwater was great, as well as the final fight.

    9. What was your least favorite part?
    I don't have one. I might have enjoyed more time exploring the town though. I felt like we might have rushed through there as a party.

    10. What should I name this adventure? Would having something about Ghouls in the title let players know in advance what to prep for?
    Inground Swimming Ghouls!


    Thank you for running this J-H, it was enjoyable .

  20. - Top - End - #560
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    I think we may have lost Xav. Hoping for more feedback from Brei, but in the meantime I can start making changes. Thank you everyone for playing, and for the feedback.

    Action items:
    Jasper 2/3 feedback was that Jasper was a bit weak. He's a 5th level rogue. My thought was to give the party a scout if they lacked one, although his Perception and Int aren't great. I didn't want him to be strong enough to overshadow the party. What do you think of upgrading him to 8th level? That would net Uncanny Dodge and a feat, maybe Observant, to help him survive better.
    I want him useful enough to bring along, but also weak enough to create a secondary objective, for those who choose to take it on, of "Don't let Jasper die!"

    I test-ran a bit of this when we had a no-show in my IRL game, with two 16th(?) level characters. They went up in the inn instead of down, and struggled more with paralysis. They failed the checks to persuade Jasper to come with them, so intimidated him into coming. I skipped the ambush for time reasons. They chose to go up the hillside and descend down the cliff to the flooded temple entry, with Jasper moving in front as a scout. Jasper found the Doresite Ghast sentry (the one with the Ring of Water Walking) and got saved with about 3hp left. After that, they let him leave.

    Exploration
    I need to fill out the town of Eastram more.

    For the Dam, I do actually have multiple crossings written up. If you just swim across, nothing happens. If you go underwater, you find an old bridge and remnants of the old road that crossed, but there are no enemies.
    Going across the cliffs nets you a risk of snakebite, and a potential fall for a few d6s of damage.
    Going up the hill on the east and descending lets you run into the Doresite there early, removing a potential back attack in the entry room.

    Treasury Signage
    Someone mentioned that's is okay to not find things. Had you spent time searching the inn's upper floor:
    Spoiler
    Show
    Spending 20 minutes searching through baggage and discarded belongings will reveal 1 Potion of Healing and 37 gold pieces. A DC 15 Investigation check will also locate a concealed safe in the larger bedroom. The safe is locked, requiring a DC 18 Thieves Tools check to open. Inside the safe is a bag of small gems worth 300gp and some documents related to ownership of several properties. The documents are no doubt valuable to the right people, but will require legal wrangling to be of use.

    the documents exist to help create future plot hooks


    I'll add some more murals or something for the treasury. I thought of it as another encounter to be done before the boss area to consume more resources. In exchange, though, you get spell components for raising the dead and some more magic items, all of which could be useful in the final battle.

    Descriptions
    The flooded entry room was apparently an area where my descriptions were lacking. I tried to copy/paste directly from the module text, so I'll need to revise it and add more clear descriptions of water lapping at the edges of the two ledges.

    Zombie movies
    I was hoping the mobs of ghouls climbing walls and grabbing at people in the final fight had that effect as well.

    The mobs already do -10' and get an opportunity attack (with weak to-hit) that could paralyze. What about, instead, requiring an Athletics check vs DC... 11 (PB+2, Str +1) to push your way out of the mob? Martials can shove their way out, but those without Athletics are going to struggle to push through the bodies.

    Challenge
    Sounds like I got it about right. Forum games tend to show a higher level of optimization than RL play. As a DM I have definitely learned that if I'm worrying an encounter is too difficult, my players will find a way to beat it anyway. I assume that's true for most tables, especially where people aren't just playing the book campaigns.

    The DMG recommends a dangerous to deadly trap do 10d10 to 18d10 (55 to 99) damage. The black blades are on the high end, but also can be disabled fairly easily. I felt like the armors drawing the black blades would create enough of a link that players shouldn't need their hands held too much. Being down two actual players also meant that resources weren't getting expended as quickly to actually destroy them.

    The ambush was a lot of fun to pull off but also required looking some things up relating to paralysis and casting. I'll review to make sure I've included info about that in the document for DM reference. The final fight was also fun to run, although I was very disappointed that the BBEG basically got walled up and never really got to go to town with a full attack or his blinding spittle. That's life as a DM, you make a big bad guy and then the players never let it show off! Even with that going on, having plenty of meaningful minions means it was a tough fight.

    If the party had long rested before the final boss fight, my recommendation would have been 2 more doresite ghasts, as they're the mobile / knockdown type enemy to go for a fully refreshed back line.
    I'm a big fan of using conditions, mobility, and non-attack roll options to deal with high AC characters.

    I may knock the Blood Flows Faster damage down from d12s to d10s. It's fun having a spell that players have never seen before, though.

  21. - Top - End - #561
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Hey Amnestic, your PM box is full

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    Hey Amnestic, your PM box is full
    Nah it's just turned off 'cos I kept getting weirdo PMs from...well, weirdos. You can ping me on discord though.
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  23. - Top - End - #563
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Addition to Eastram:

    The Barracks is located off of the main road about 150’ south of the Town Square.

    The Barracks building is a two-story stone building, approximately 80’ long x 40’ wide. It has narrow, defensible windows, and one heavy door on each end – although both doors appear to have been shattered in their frames. A sign along the road proclaims it to be the City Watch headquarters.

    If the party enters the barracks, they will find bloodstains near both doors, as well as broken or discarded weapons (primarily spears and shortswords).

    The first floor of the barracks contains some bunk rooms and a meeting hall, plus a small training area. There are plenty of beds and gear stands, but almost all of them are empty of useful equipment – whatever happened, nobody died in his or her bed.
    A single spiral staircase in the center of the building leads up to the second floor. The floor at the base of the staircase and the first few steps are blackened with gore and dried blood. A few bones remain here, including a sharp-toothed humanoid skull impaled to the floor by a crossbow bolt.
    Religion DC 14: This looks more like a ghoul than a vampire skull.

    The stairs going up to the second floor are chipped and damaged in several places from battle, but are still safe to climb. They emerge to a large open room that covers most of the floor. Desks and tables were pushed together here to form temporary barriers, but the evidence of a bloody yet unsuccessful defense stains the floors and walls.

    Near one end of the floor are a few doors that gape open; they lead to offices for the captain and officers of the watch, and appear to have already been ransacked for anything of value.

    At the other end of the floor are what must have been jail cells. Their doors hang open, hinges squealing any time they are bumped.

    Investigating the floor for anything of value takes 10 minutes. The party may find and recover a 14 usable crossbow bolts, daggers, and short swords, as well as two shields and five bags of caltrops.
    A 13 or higher on the Investigation check will reveal a crossbow with a broken string shoved halfway under a desk.

    This is a +2 Light Crossbow, built of a dark-colored wood with steel reinforcements. On the side is an inscription in the metal:
    From war captain to guard captain
    In recognition of many years of service
    This bow is enchanted especially
    For Darrien Brightwater and his heirs


    DM’s Choice: One of Darrien’s children could be living or adventuring elsewhere.

  24. - Top - End - #564
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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    I have completed all changes:
    -Jasper is now 8th level (he took Mobile for his feat)
    -Added Barracks to Eastram as noted
    -Added additional descriptive text to make it clear that the water is barely inches below the wooden walkways along both sides of the flooded entry room
    -Added a DC 15 check in the flooded entry to learn that the side hallways exist
    -Included a disclaimer than 12th level or below parties may struggle
    -Tweaked the text around the treasury for after the doors open and it's only partly flooded.
    -Zombie mobs now require a DC 11 Athletics check to move out of their space.

    I now have it uploaded to the DM's Guild, and it should be live soon!
    For everyone who played (or spectated), PM or send me your e-mail address if you're interested in getting a review copy. It would help a lot to start off with a couple of 5* reviews. People rarely ever review anything...

    thanks again!!
    And it was fun :)

    Edit: What are your thoughts on crediting the 5 of you as playtesters using your forum names?
    That could be enough to track it back to these forum posts, so it's up to you if you want to be listed or not.
    Last edited by J-H; 2022-12-29 at 06:38 PM.

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    I'd be happy to be named a playtester - also you've got a PM

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Anyone else want to weigh in on getting named as a playtester or not?
    And reviewing?

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    Default Re: 14th level test drive OOC

    Hi J-H, happy to leave a review as well. I'll PM you; still getting adjusted after the holidays lol. Need to post in my other game as well.

    Hope everyone enjoyed the new year!

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