Travel distance in the North Sword Coast

I needed a quick travel way of determining how far a party would be able to travel around the Sword Coast area. The internet and the sources I have available is pretty vague on the actual distances, and different maps give different measures. I’ve based the following distances on the Sword Coast map from 4E. Night’s End is a village of my own design that lies a couple of days east of Luskan along the River Mirar. The following tables is in kilometers:


Port Llast
Night’s End
0 112 190 96 334 654 380
Port Llast
112 0 80 208 224 544 492
190 80 0 286 144 464 570
Night’s End
96 208 286 0 430 750 284
334 224 144 430 0 320 714
654 544 478 844 320 0 1034
380 492 570 284 714 1034 0

The typical walking speed per day if lightly encumbered is around 5 km/hour. With a few breaks that ends up around 30km / day. It can be pushed up to 40 km / day but with with the risk of injury or fatigue. A cautious party would travel half the normal speed at 15 km / day. The quick table below shows time between locations when moving at 30 km / day:


Port Llast
Night’s End
0 4 6 3 11 22 13
Port Llast
4 0 3 7 7 18 16
6 3 0 10 5 15 19
Night’s End
3 7 10 0 14 25 9
11 7 5 14 0 11 24
22 18 16 28 11 0 34
13 16 19 9 24 34 0

The numbers are rounded down and is a little bit on the positive side as it does not take elevation, weather, encounters, or road conditions into consideration. I would be assuming that the adventurers would be on the road 6-7 hours, have a lunch break, setup camp and have time to do a little foraging/hunting if environment allows it.




Falcon’s Hollow

I am currently preparing to run the three pathfinder modules Hollow’s Last Hope, Crown of the Kobold King, Revenge of the Kobold King and finally Carnival of Tears.

I really love the region Darkmoon Vale that the adventures are set in. Very dark and moody with fey, werewolves and evil druid cults. It is also enhanced by the brutal Lumber Consortium that operates in the area and that rules the tiny lumber town of Falcon’s Hollow. The colourful setting opens up for memorable encounters and moral choices.

I am going to use the first D0 Hollow’s Last Hope as an introduction to the campaign and get the players familiar with Falcon’s Hollow and the surroundings. The adventures themselves lack encounters with the actual Lumber Consortium so I’ll engineer a few encounters to introduce the various NPCs, get everyone up to speed on just how oppressing and controlling the consortium is.

I will however run the campaign in D&D 5e rather than Pathfinder. The actual conversions from Pathfinder to D&D are very easy to do quickly and requires little preparation.

I’ve used to create a first map for the players to get an appreciation of the region.


The hexes represent approximately 6 miles. I’ve left it intentionally out of the map to be able to fudge the distances a little during play. I’ll add more locations as the players discovers them.

Temple of Deneir: Sleeper’s Rest

My dear adventurers have come across an ancient tome of unknown knowledge. The text seems to be in ancient abyssal, which none of the adventurers masters. Where do they go. They have heard that there is a Temple of Deneir called Sleeper’s Rest that have scribes capable of translating any text.

Sleeper’s Rest

The towering temple of Sleeper’s Rest is found on the top of the hill known as the Tranquil Rise. The square shaped temple is constructed of tan granite and at its apex reaches almost 40ft (12m). Its exterior is elaborately designed with intricate carvings and sculptures of religious stories related to Deneir, the One-Who-Sleeps and Oghma. The interior of the temple building are dominated by numerous bookshelves from floor to ceiling containing thousands of books and scrolls. The interior is sparsely lit, but orbs of continual light illuminates the main temple areas. Administering its services are the High Priest Serald Faraldin (7th level Cleric) and Fria Kinai, Master of the Library (6th level Monk). They are assisted by a dozen scribes. The venerable paladin Graut Hillsblade (6th level Paladin) and his six temple guardians (2nd level Fighters) are responsible for defence of the temple.

The temple of Sleeper’s Rest is dedicated to the deity of Deneir, The First Scribe. The temple scribes are constantly translating and copying texts from various languages. For a suitable donation to the temple, it is possible to have any text translated.

Small Calico cats (predominately white fur with patches of other colours) are seen moving around and inside the temple at all times.

Temple Services

Translations – the translation time for a scribe is usually 1-3 pages per day depending on the complexity of the language being translated. The usual donation would be 1gp per page translated.

Copy service – a scribe can copy an existing text at the pace of 15-30 pages per day depending on the complexity of the text and language. The usual donation would be 30s per page translated.

 The One-Who-Sleeps

Beneath the sanctuary are the catacombs famous (requires successful DC 16 Religion check) for housing the One-Who-Sleeps. The temple is a place of pilgrimage and there can usually be found 1D6-1 pilgrims that have come to visit the One-Who-Sleeps.

For the last 200 years the One-Who-Sleeps has slept. Once he was a renowned scribe and teacher at the temple, until one fine day, when he rose up in front of his students and announced. “It is time for me to sleep now. When I awaken, all the secrets of this world, and every other, will be known to me. I will share all that I have learned”. And with that the Sleeper lay down and closed his eyes. The sleeper lays on a wooden bed behind a locked door in the catacomb. The room is maintained and kept warm by the High Priest Serald and the temple scribes. The nature of the sleep is divine in nature, and thus the sleeper requires neither food or water.

Defence and Layout

The now venerable paladin Graut Hillsblade (L5 Paladin) serves as the chief guardian of the temple along with six dedicated temple guardians (L2 Fighter) In the event of an attack on the temple, the scribes themselves are no strangers to violence as part of their daily routines include physical unarmed combat under the tutelage of Fria Kinai, Master of the Library .  There is always 1-2 temple guardians stationed in the Guard tower with a good view of the hill and the surroundings.

The temple encompass the following buildings:

  • The main temple and shrine, writing alcoves, library, priest and monk’s living quarters , guarded entrance to the catacombs.
  • The bookbindery workshop
  • Barracks of the Temple Guards
  • Guard tower with a great view of surroundings
  • Stables, storage shed
  • House dedicated for pilgrims and visitors, very humble

Adventure Hooks

The temple is known for its ability to translate almost any language. The adventurers could journey to the temple to get a text translated. It is up to the DM if the scribes are actually available or if the adventurers will have to wait for a scribe to become available.

The One-Who-Sleeps below in the catacombs must be transported to another temple of Deneir by order of the Deneir Priesthood. The adventurers are assigned to arrange the transportation.

The temple is attacked while the adventurers are waiting for their texts to be translated.

One of the pilgrims that is currently visiting the temple, is an assassin sent out to kill the One-Who-Sleeps. The assassin about to kill the sleeper is interrupted by one of the scribes who promptly gets killed. Gaut locks down the temple. The adventurers must help find the assassin before he strikes again.


High Priest Serald Faraldin – Serald is 49 years old. 5’7” tall, 100lbs., silver grey hair and beard, brown eyes. Serald is very calm and slow act, he prefers to listen rather than to talk. He holds his own council. He is admires Fria greatly and values her friendship. Graut and Serald are old friends and usually share dinner.

Cleric (AC: 12, 7th level, HP 38, speed 30ft, Proficiency: +3) STR 13(+1) DEX 11(0) CON 13(+1) INT 13(+1) WIS 15(+2) CHA 11(0)). He wears white robes with glyph decorated tan lining, bracers of defence, Masterwork Dagger and a large tome. 23gp 19sp in pouch.
Skills: Religion +5, Arcana +4, Investigation +4, Perception +2
Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Gnome, Celestial
Spellcasting: 7th level cleric. Spellcasting ability wisdom, DC 12 (+5). 9 prepared spells. Channel divinity to Read Thoughts

Cantrips (at will): Guidance, Mending, Spare the Dying, Thaumaturgy
1st Level (4): Command, identify, Cure wounds, Protection from evil
2nd level (3): Zone of truth, lesser restoration, Augury
3rd level (3): Spirit guardians, dispel magic
4th level (1): Guardian of Faith, Banishment

Fria Kunai, Master of the Library – Fria is a beautiful half-elf woman at 5’8, athletic build. Her auburn hair is drawn into a tight pony tail inlaid with coloured ribbons. Her bare shoulders and arms are tattooed with various circular patterns snaking around elven letters. As Master of the Library she takes personal care of the writings in the temple. Every sunrise she trains the scribes in unarmed combat outside the temple. She is very content with working at the temple and enjoys the company of Serald.

Monk (AC: 16. 6th level, HP 25, speed 40ft, Attacks: #2, Proficiency +3) STR 11 (+0) DEX 16(+3) CON 9 (-1), INT 11 (0) WIZ 14 (+2) CHA 9 (-1). Fria wears a loose plain white pants, a tan tunic, a ring of protection +1, Quarterstaff +1 w. light
Languages: Common, Elven, Celestial, Gnome, Draconic
Skills: Acrobatics +5, History +3, Insight +3, Perception +2
Ki points: 6, Unarmed damage 1D6+3 (+6 to hit), Flurry of Blows (ki 1): 2 extra unarmed attacks as bonus action , Patient Defence (ki 1): Dodge as bonus action, Deflect missiles: reduce missile damage 1D10+9, Stunning strike (ki 1): DC 13 Con or stun, Ki-empowered strikes: unarmed strikes counts as magical

Graut Hillsblade – Graut is an old (65 years) Paladin that has sworn the Oath of Devotion. He has retired from his wandering years and now serves as the First defender of the temple. His six temple guardians are handpicked, and he has strong bond with each one of them. Despite continuous healing and divine energy, his age begins to show. The armour is getting heavy to wear, and he finds himself handling his short sword more often than his greatsword. He resent people who mock his age and will challenge those to random contests of strength and skill. He has a strong sense of loyalty to the Temple and the other inhabitants. He would give his life protecting the One-Who-Sleeps.

Devotion Paladin (AC: 18 Full Plate, 6th level, HP 37, Speed 30ft, Attacks #2, Proficiency +3) STR 16(+3) DEX 11(0) CON 16(+3) INT(+1) WIS(+2) CHA(+2). Graut usually wears a white tunic with symbol of Deneir over his polished full plate armor, he carries his large Greatsword of Vengeance +1 on his back, and a short sword +2  at his side. 15gb 29sp
Languages: Common, Goblin
Skills: Athletics +6, Intimidation +5, Perception +5
Spellcasting Save DC 13, Spell Attack +5, 5 spells prepared

1st level (4): Cure wounds, heroism, Shield of faith
2nd level (2): branding smite, Aid
Aura of Protection, Immune to disease, Lay on hands (30hp), Divine Smite, Sacred weapon

Temple Guardians (6), Fighter (AC: 17 Chainmail and shield, 2nd level, HP 17, Speed 30ft, Proficiency +2) STR 12 (+1) DEX 11 (0) CON 15(+2) INT 9 (-1) WIS 10 (0) CHA 9 (-1). The Temple Guardians all wear chain mail under their tanned tunics marked with the symbol of Deneir. They are armed with spears and shields and  they all have a light crossbow with 10 quarrels. The lieutenant is also armed with a rapier and draped in a white cloak. They have 4D6 sp on their person
Languages: Common; Skills: Athletics +3, Perception +1
Combat: Spear +3 (1D6+1), Light Crossbow +2 (1D8), Rapier +3 (1D8+1)

Scribes of Deneir (10), Monk (AC: 12, 1st level, HP 8, Speed 30ft, Proficiency +2) STR 9 (-1) DEX 12(+1) CON 10(0) INT 10(0) WIS 12(+1) CHA 9(-1). The scribes are all dressed in simple tan robes and sandals. They have a number of pouches with scribing equipment and inks. They all carry daggers in their belts along with 3D6 sp
Languages: Common, all known languages spread out between them
Skills: Religion +3, Arcana +2, Investigation +3
Combat: Unarmed damage +3 (1D4+1)

The Unscrupulous Wizard: Message

There are countless spells that an unscrupulous wizard can abuse. Lets have a look at the cantrip Message.

Message, Cantrip, Range: 120ft

You point your finger toward a creature within range and whisper a message. The target (and only the target) hears the message and can reply in a whisper that only you can hear.
You can cast this spell through solid Objects if you are familiar with the target and know it is beyond the barrier. Magical Silence, 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood blocks the spell. The spell doesn’t have to follow a straight line and can travel freely around corners or through openings.

The Stalker

Today in the modern world the cell phones can be quiet annoying. People sending SMS or calling at weird hours. If you have ever been the target of a stalker, you also know that after just a short while this becomes very irritating and even scary. Luckily for us we can block numbers or turn off the phone. There is no such ward against Message. Also there is nothing stating that the target will actually know it is originating from the wizard. An unfamiliar whisper can be hard to recognise. Furthermore there are no ways to avoid it or save against it and since it is a cantrip, the lowliest of low wizards can cast it all night long. That gives me the shivers.Gríma_Wormtongue

The wizard could potentially sneak around the unsuspecting victim at night and send whispers. Granted, the wizard have to be nearby but 120ft still leaves a good margin to skulk around. And it is more fun to see the victim slowly turning mad. How many days would it require to totally break down someone with whispers around the clock. Not long I would imagine. The poor victim would have to seek out a Wizard or perhaps the village priest for help, a potential adventure hook.

What could an unscrupulous hope to accomplish?

Drive the victim mad or even slowly implant certain thoughts combined with a Deception. A slow but methodical brainwash. “Sell the house, leave the house, marry your daughter with a suitor, kill someone”?

And how would a target react to have these whispers while sleeping?

This cantrip in our own world would be extremely powerful in the wrong hands and could be used as such in a fantasy setting.

Now lets have a look at the next cantrip in the Unscrupulous Wizard’s repertoire: Minor Illusion.

Minor Illusion, Cantrip, Range: 30ft

You create a sound or an image of an object within range that lasts for the Duration. The Illusion also ends if you dismiss it as an action or cast this spell again.

If you create a sound, its volume can range from a whisper to a scream. It can be your voice, someone else’s voice, a lion’s roar, a beating of drums, or any other sound you choose. The sound continues unabated throughout the Duration, or you can make discrete sounds at different times before the spell ends.

If you create an image of an object – such as a chair, muddy footprints, or a small chest – it must be no larger than a 5-foot cube. The image can’t create sound, light, smell, or any other sensory effect. Physical interaction with the image reveals it to be an Illusion, because things can pass through it.

If a creature uses its action to examine the sound or image, the creature can determine that it is an Illusion with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. If a creature discerns the Illusion for what it is, the Illusion becomes faint to the creature.

Whisper is a powerful cantrip to mentally terrorise someone, and Minor Illusion is even more so even if the range is slightly limited to 30ft. There is no mentioning in the spell description if the spell requires line of sight. I would assume that the wizard can place it pretty much anywhere within range, especially if it is a sound. Its duration is only a minute but being a cantrip it can be recast again and again to properly frighten the target.

The Minor Illusion can be used to strengthen the effect of Message with a visual component. If the wizard knows what the target is afraid of, or abhors, that can be used to create even more powerful illusions. For example the target keeps a clean house, add maggots, lice, mould dirt to already cleaned areas. This will likely send the target scrubbing and scrubbing all night. It won’t take much of an effort for the target to start doubting his or her sanity.

The spell is also excellent in discrediting someone of shifting blame. For example there has been a murder in town, add the illusion of a bloodstain appearing on a target. Even if they figure out it is not real, doubt has been planted; perhaps it is a manifestation of guilt? Even if a target sees through the illusion, they will most likely not know it is a spell and who cast it unless a successful arcana check is passed. Highly unlikely unless adventurer or highly educated.

What if that precious item of your suddenly starts to whisper, attract spiders and cockroaches – perhaps it is time to sell it or bury it deep in the backyard!

Minor Illusion does not require any verbal commands, so this one is even more stealthy than the Message cantrip.

Keep them up all night with dancing lights:

Dancing Lights, Cantrip, Range: 120ft

You create up to four torch-sized lights within range, making them appear as torches, lanterns, or glowing orbs that hover in the air for the Duration. You can also combine the four lights into one glowing vaguely humanoid form of Medium size. Whichever form you choose, each light sheds dim light in a 10-foot radius.

As a Bonus Action on Your Turn, you can move the lights up to 60 feet to a new spot within range. A light must be within 20 feet of another light created by this spell, and a light winks out if it exceeds the spell’s range.

The Cantrip Dancing Lights also allows a unscrupulous wizard to keep a target awake during the night and seriously doubt their sanity. A dancing light in the corner of the ceiling in the shape of head is bound to create a scare and combine it with Message and Minor Illusion for stronger effect.

There are a few more cantrips:

Mold Earth – allows to do create shapes or writing in the stone that lasts up to an hour. Potential uses: write short scary messages such as “Leave” or “Yield” or whatever suits the desired outcome. Subtle dire symbols, monster shapes can be used. Relatively short range but very stealthy as it requires only gesticulation on the wizard’s part.

Prestidigitation – Allows the wizard to do many interesting things such as making a targets food or drink taste like pee, blood or similar. It is relatively short range, only 10ft (should be enough in a Tavern) so that would limit its use slightly if the wizard wishes to remain undetected.

The above spells combined with Stealth, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Deception can create a very nasty novice wizard. Sometimes it is not about direct confrontation – since most cantrips would kill a non-adventurer in one or two strikes and with very little material evidence. 

It would be interesting to create a very interesting low-level wizard NPC that bullies and deceives a small village. The effects on the villagers could be huge.



Kings of Neverwinter: Session 1

”Hey wake up! Is he alive?” A voice boomed not far from him.
He heard the voice shout something like a warning followed by a hissing sound and an extreme heat that rolled over him. The smell something burning. Something old. He just hoped it wasn’t him or his beard. The fatigued and malnourished dwarf lifted his head and saw a figure burning on the floor in front of him. One of the undead walkers. Green lightning crackled in the air and another creature fell down smoking and twitching beside the burning copse. The smell of decay and burning flesh was almost overpowering.

Sorry looked around, he was still in the chamber that he had been kept prisoner in for several days. The three latest arrivals were breaking out of their cages, and they had managed to take down their undead custodians. Magic no doubt. Their prison was a large stone chamber, broken and cracked flagstones on the floor. Mayhap the old ruins of an underground or sunken temple of some old forgotten god. Two wooden pillars reached up to support the ceiling far above and Sorry the dwarf was chained to one of them in a pair of rusty manacles. If it wasn’t for his weakened state, he would have been able to break them for sure. Two large metal cages dominated the opposite wall. In the left cage was a lone half-elf trying to break out and in the adjacent cage was a large, red-scaled dragonborn and behind him a horned tiefling in ornate robes. One end of the chamber ended in a decrepit stone wall, while the other continued over a deep chasm bridged by a makeshift bridge of wooden boards. The whole chamber danced in a dim greenish light from a unnatural fire sconce somewhere behind him.

With a loud crack the half-elf broke the rusty cage and slipped out; quickly followed by the dragonborn and the tiefling breaking out as well. The large dragonborn scurried around looking for his gear, while the tiefling moved up to Sorry. He said something illegible and seemed to grow taller and dominate the chamber. Sorry shrunk back against the pillar, he did not want to challenge this one. He reeked of arcane energies. Dark and old energies. Dangerous.

With a crack, Sorry’s manacles broke and the dwarf fell to the floor thanks to the tiefling. He was dressed in rags, at least his rags were whole.

Sorry could hear the dragonborn rumble around in the chamber corner, exclaiming loudly “My sword, and my armour!” Sorry picked himself up from the floor. The tiefling was still talking to him, and Sorry just mumbled out a “I am Sorry, so sorry”. The tiefling shrugged, giving him no more attention. Sorry was used to being treated like dirt. He actually preferred being treated like that as it allowed him to go about his own business. Like he was invisible. He moved up next to the Dragonborn who looked at him suspiciously as he was rifling through a large chest. Sorry noticed a sturdy mace in the chest and went for it. The dragonborn looked at him and said “Hey, that is mine”. Sorry gave his standard reply “I am sorry, so sorry” and looked up at the dragonborn as meekly as he could. The reptilian stomped off with a shrug. He was free and now he was armed. Time for someone else to be sorry for a change.

“We have company” the half-elf announced. He had been scavenging another chest and had picked up a bow and arrows. He looked competent with it, a ranger. Two more undead came shambling across the bridge, clad in rags not completely unlike his own garb. Pieces of rusty and dirty armour covered both custodians. The dragonborn rushed to meet the enemies at the bridge, bull rushing into the first one and sending him into the chasm below. The half-elf ranger fired arrow after arrow into the second one, forcing it off the bridge and into the depths as well. The battle was over just as quick as it had started.

They searched the two smoking corpses and the tiefling smiled as he held up a big iron key. Sorry could taste the freedom, but instead of sharing the joy he kept muttering “I am so sorry, so sorry”. He could feel contempt from the half-elf and tiefling. They were talking to him again, asking him where they were. As if it mattered. They were prisoners to the derro and now they were making a break for it. The three adventurers started to talk excitedly about the chasm and pointed down. Sorry moved up and looked down. The bottom of the chasm was almost three meters down, where shallow water rushed along. Right below the bridge was a large almost transparent cube, one of the custodians sticking halfway into it. The gelatinous cube had the custodian engulfed and slowly dissolved him. Sorry was admiring the cube’s appetite as he heard the dragonborn move up next to him dragging a large metal cauldron. It was filled with greenish liquid that was burning. It was most definitely not oil. It didn’t seem to stop the persistent dragonborn who dumped the burning green slime over the cube. The burning slime splashed over the cube burning it and melting it down. The stupid thing made no attempt to extinguish the flames. Perhaps it wasn’t even aware of that it was burning.

The group, led by the half-elf moved up to the door. They smiled as they unlocked the door and left the chamber. Sorry took one last look at his prison. Freedom. He smiled and then glanced around and not sure if anyone caught his smile he muttered a little louder “Sorry sorry. I am so so very Sorry”.

Campaign update: Prisoners

Today we played our first session in the new Neverwinter campaign. I choose to start the adventure in medias res to quickly reintroduce the concept of the mechanics quickly instead of starting with (the usually) awkward describing the characters to each other.

For inspiration I’ve used Runehammer’s excellent video on room design, more specifically Prisoners of Molok. In our version the players have been captured by a mad alchemist – Vivecca the Scarlet Alchemist and her seven derro. In their underground lair they are using an unholy machine that uses gelatinous cubes to dissolve trolls in to a very potent slime that can be used to reanimate the dead, and if further distilled as a somewhat disgusting but useful Potion of Regeneration.

Vivecca the Scarlet Alchemist herself is connected to the Thayans in Neverwinter as the player will find out as they make their escape through her various underground laboratories. Her dungeon is a couple of stringed room encounters designed to help the new players understand the rules, get some action and use their wits to manage. The combat encounters themselves was not especially dangerous – yet proved lethal when one of the characters decided to go toe-to-toe with a gelatinous cube as a level 1.

Following is a quick outline of the encounters that I used:

1. Prison Room

The players start out as prisoners, naked and without any equipment. They are shackled to a wall in rusty manacles and as they wake up from unconsciousness they witness a tall pale skinned woman dressed in a scarlet robes observing them from a distance. Gathered around her are seven dwarves, that upon closer inspection actually are derro. She orders the derro to handle the latest batch of prisoners, singling out humans, dwarves and halflings to be brought to the labs, while any other species are to be disposed of. Still weak, the players watch the woman along with the derro leave. Two ghoulish servitors approach the party. They grab an elf NPC, and drags him screaming towards a deep and drop him down a deep cleft. They turn towards the PCs.. ROLL INITIATIVE!

The players need to figure out how to escape their cages and prepare to fight the ghouls unless they want to be killed or worse. Scattered around the chamber are chests and crates containing some of the players equipment. They are able to retrieve their armor, their primary weapon and a few random item. I also introduced an NPC here that survived to help the party along and to feed them information.

This encounter is a directly inspired from Runehammer’s prisoners of Molok.

My players approached this encounter very carefully. Being slightly underpowered in the initial fights made them fear the ghoulish servitors even when they had retrieved their gear. This led to a very interesting approach, trying to use the environment and other smart solutions to defeat the enemies.

2. The Troll Room

The players free from their prison follow the sound of screaming through twisting corridors to a large chamber. In the middle of the chamber is a troll suspended in chains from the ceiling. Below the screaming troll is a large pool containing a gelatinous cube that is already enveloping his lower body and slowly dissolving him. Positioned around the pool are ghoulish servitors that scrape off the gelatinous cube to allow the troll to regenerate. A lone derro stands upon a balcony overseeing the operation. The tormented screams of the troll makes stealthy approach possible. Metal pipes are connected from the pool leading out into the next chamber.

A straight up combat encounter that introduces elevation and difficult terrain into the mix. The lone derro will try to flee when detecting the party, but must first manage to unlock a door with his key. If he escapes he will alert the two derro in the next room. There are a few chests in the room allowing the players to scavenge for equipment. I used equipment such as flint & tinder, rope etc.

This is as far as my group got on the first session. Room 1 took about an hour and the second room about 45 minutes. The players was trying lots of different things, exploring the chambers instead of quickly advancing. The party managed to stop the derro from fleeing into the workshop but they did kill the troll by releasing him from his chains into the pool with the gelatinous cube. In its weakened state the troll was engulfed and dissolved quickly. With the silence of the troll, the nearby derro’s in the workshop started out to investigate… 

3. The Workshop

Two derros are busy and bent over what seems to be an alchemist laboratory. They are filling up a greenish slime (refined troll-gel) into small vials. The players will be able to get they by surprise if the Troll is still screaming. If they released the troll – or killed it, they will go out to investigate if it fell silent.

This is an easy combat situation and is mostly about the players figuring out the connection between the slime and the regenerative troll blood. They will be able to find a six-pack of troll juice (will regenerate 1D4 HP / round for 5 rounds) if they have the stomach to drink it. In our campaign I’ve also placed a few letters to tie Vivecca with Neverwinter and the Thay faction.

4. Machines of Vivecca

The large chamber is smokey and have thick rotting sweet smell in the air. Two large machines dominates the center of the chamber and thick pipes connects them to each other and to the previous troll chamber. The machine are making loud noises, and belches noxious puffs of smoke now and then. In front of each machine is a derro operating the machine. Two ghoulish servitors are duly feeding the machines with coal.

Once combat starts in here, roll 1D4 and use it as a timer. After rolled number of rounds, one of the machines belches out a large toxic cloud. Players caught in it will need to succeed a DC12 constitution check.

This encounter is directly inspired from Runehammer’s second Molok video – Machines of Molok

5. The Turning Room

This chamber is filled with apparatus, tubes and barrels along the walls. The far end of the room is separated by large metal cage. Inside the cage are two ragged humans chained to the wall. Two ghouls have the first prisoner in an iron grip, forcing his mouth open while a derro dressed in a dirty leather apron with a large sack on his back is forcing a tube down his throat. The tube is connected to the sack on his back and with the player entering he starts to pump something into the prisoner. This is another use of the troll juice. It kills the prisoner who then reanimates as a ghoulish servitor. The remaining prisoner screams for mercy.

The derro and his ghouls have locked themselves into the cage. The players will have to force the cage or use ranged attacks/magic to save the prisoner before it is too late. Use 1D4 as a timer.

6. Barracks, Kitchen, Latrine, Living Area and Library

This area is the living area of the Derro. It is dirty and nasty and not really anything exciting is here. It can be used to find some equipment or more information about Vivecca and her minions. Investigation is a useful skill here. The library contains several coded books on Viveccas research written in undercommon.

7. The Giant Skeleton

This very huge chamber contains a large skeleton of a giant suspended along the wall. A balacony runs along the walls two meters up. The balcony is reached by a set of stairs in the other end of the chamber. Two derros clad in leather aprons and troll juice backpacks flanks the giant skeleton on the balcony. As the players enter the chamber they both starts to hose down the skeleton with the juice. It is only a matter of rounds before the giant skeleton turns into a giant and very dangerous ghoul.

On the ground floor are four large coffin like machines along each wall. They start to hum and crank and from a random (roll 1D4) machine emerges a ghoulish servitor merged with various metal plates and weapons (e.g. blades instead of hands) every other round. These ghouls will lumber slowly toward the closest target and attack. The ghouls will keep spawning until the machine it self is destroyed. Now where will the players focus their attention?

The giant will be animated in 8 rounds…

This room encounter is inspired by The Tabletop Terror’s channel invasion of Runehammer, an excellent video.

8. Vivecca the Scarlet Alchemist

The last encounter is a chance for the players to fight Vivecca herself – a potent caster. I have not yet determined the design but I hope to make it memorable as well. Most likely it will be Vivecca as a spellcaster with a meatshield of ghoulish servitors.


Final note. It was extremely fun to run the first two encounters for the group. I imagine that we’ll handle another two encounters on the next session and after that we need to step up the actual role-playing a little bit to make sure it doesn’t get too combat focused.

A Neverwinter Campaign

In our Session Zero the other week I prodded my players about their interest and aspirations for the game and we started the character creation. Based on the session I decided to go with the 4E Neverwinter campaign setting. The Neverwinter city itself and the surrounding area have many interesting highlights ripe with good story elements, but what I really like is the composition of the various factions along with the suggested character themes. It is a sureway of getting the characters integrated early on into the campaign, and I really like the story to be about the characters and not just a villain and a setting.

We will be playing 5E so most of the character theme mechanics will be wholly dropped – it is all about the fluff and the roleplaying. In our follow-up session, the warlock character naturally selected to go with the Devil’s Pawn theme and it looks like the Dragonborn Paladin or Half-elf ranger might go for the Spellplagued Harbringer.

I am now in the middle of getting up to speed on the setting, planning and preparing the first adventure. I’ll use an adapted version of Runehammer’s Prison of Morlok to start the campaign in medas res… Once that is going I’ll focus more on the Neverwinter setting and the actual campaign.