Followers

The Death Domain for Forgotten Realms 5th Edition

In the PHB for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons it lists a number of Divine Domains for Clerics: Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery and War.

However they left out one very important domain that governs clerics who worship gods of death. Like Myrkul for example, the Forgotten Realms god of the dead, aka the Lord of Bones. Not to be confused with Bhaal, the god of murder. And since clerics of Myrkul play a role in my Monday Forgotten Realms game, I am forced to create a Death Domain.

Thus to help round out the villains of my Monday Forgotten Realms campaign it has necessitated me creating a Death Domain. I have kept it simple and on par with the other Divine Domains, you will notice that some of the powers are basically the reverse of the Life Domain or variations of abilities of other domains.

Death Domain Spells
Cleric Level
1st - Ray of Sickness, False Life.
3rd - Ray of Enfeeblement, Speak with Dead*.
5th - Animate Dead, Vampiric Touch.
7th - Death Ward, Phantasmal Killer (PK)**.
9th - Raise Dead, Slay Living***

* There is a shortage of appropriate level necromancy type spells in 5th Edition D&D, thus since Speak with Dead is useless in combat I felt this was a suitable substitution which would allow clerics of Myrkul to interrogate the dead.

** Again, a shortage of necromancy spells although it is the correct level. PK should be considered to be both illusion and necromancy.

*** There is no Slay Living spell in 5th Edition. It is the reverse of Raise Dead. You will notice that in 5th Edition that got rid of various instant death type spells. Even PK doesn't kill any more. It does make sense however that a cleric of a god of death should have access to Slay Living.

Slay Living
5th-level necromancy
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a black gem worth at least 500 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous

Negative energy encircles a living target and ravages it. The target makes a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save it suffers 8d10 necrotic damage. On a successful save it suffers half. If the damage is sufficient to reduce the target to 0 hit points, it dies instantly.

Notes
  • Slay Living has no effect on non-living targets.
  • With its range of 10 feet it should severely limit how often this spell can be used.
  • With the expensive spell component, casting this spell regularly would become prohibitively expensive. DMs should definitely enforce the spell component cost.
  • Casting this spell is an evil act. Only evil priests who worship a god of death should have access to it.
Anywho, back to the Death Domain...

Death Domain Bonus Proficiency
When you choose this domain you gain proficiency with Embalming Tools. Using downtime you can reinforce Zombies and Skeletons you create to have +1 hp per Hit Die. Also applies to Bone Golems and Flesh Golems you create.

Disciple of Death
Starting at 1st level, each time you cast a divine spell that deals damage it deals +2 necrotic damage. This bonus damage is also reduced if the spell involves a save for half damage.

Channel Divinity: Injure Life
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to badly injure your enemies. As an action, you present your unholy symbol and evoke negative energy that can damage enemies equal to five times your cleric level in hit points. Choose any creatures within 30 feet of you, and divide those hit points among them. The spell has no effect on undead or constructs. Victims of the effect get a Constitution saving throw for half damage.

Channel Divinity: Death God's Blessing
At 6th level, when a creature or ally within 30 feet of you successfully hits and deals damage, you can use your reaction to add +5 to the damage, using your Channel Divinity. You make this choice after you see the damage roll, but before the DM says whether the target dies or not.

Death Strike
At 8th level you gain the power to infuse your weapons with the power of death. Once on each of your turns, when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Master of Death
At 17th level, you gain the ability to command undead and denizens of the underworld. You can use a bonus action to verbally command what each of those creatures will do on its next turn.

Thoughts on the Death Domain presented above? Post your comments below.


D&D Types of Fire

There are three main kinds of Fire available in Dungeons and Dragons: Normal Fire, Magical Fire, and Dragon Fire. And possibly also Divine Fire and Hell Fire.

Normal Fire - Usually the result of wood or oil burning, or any other normal burnable objects. Some monsters are immune to normal fire. This includes normal Alchemist's Fire.

Divine Fire - The result of good clerical fire spells, like a good priest casting Flame Strike. In this scenario the fire is considered to be both Magical and Holy. Some creatures (like demons) may be vulnerable to Divine Fire. Some creatures also deal Divine Fire damage, like a Phoenix.

Dragon Fire - Considered to be both magical, but also extremely hot. So much that it melts stone and metal. Can harm both demons and angels.

Hell Fire - The result of evil clerical fire spells, like a evil priest casting Flame Strike. In this scenario the fire is considered to be both Magical and Unholy. Some creatures (like celestials) may be vulnerable to Divine Fire. Some creatures also deal Hell Fire damage... like Hell Hounds.

Magical Fire - Effects creatures which are immune to normal fire. Some creatures may even be immune to magical fire too, like certain kinds of celestials and demons. Alchemist's Fire that is enhanced magically would also fit into the category.

But what if there were other types of fire in use? And what would its properties be?

Chaos Fire - Like magical fire, but more random and unpredictable. Replace each 2d6 with 1d12, or each 2d4 with 1d8.

Order Fire - Like magical fire, but orderly. Replace each 2d6 with 7, or each 2d4 with 5. Damage is completely average.

Faerie Fire - Looks like real fire, but can be a variety of colours - but doesn't actually deal any damage. It is illusionary fire.

Black Fire - Like magical fire, but channels negative energy. Half of the damage will heal undead creatures and creatures from the negative energy plane, including shadow demons.

White Fire - Like magical fire, but channels positive energy. Half of the damage will heal living creatures and creatures from the positive energy plane.

Supernatural Fire - Like magical fire, but from sources like ghosts, supernatural beings, ancient elder gods - and creatures that can create such fire are also vulnerable to it too.

Elemental Fire - Fire conjured from the Elemental Plane of Fire, counts as magical. Can melt para-elemental ice (which is immune to normal fire).





Custom D&D Character Sheets, Artistic

Found these randomly on Google Image Search while looking for something else. So awesome I am thinking of doing something similar for my Adventurers League ranger character Wrathgar.

Whomever Jillian of Midgard is, they should be selling these in a book and making custom character sheets for people.







5th Edition D&D Charging and Body Slam House Rule

Charging House Rule Vs the Charger Feat

Under the House Rule, Dashing in a straight line 15 feet or more allows the individual to use their bonus action to make one melee weapon attack or to shove a creature 5 feet.

Depending on the circumstances the DM *may* also give you the individual Advantage on their attack or shove.

The Charger Feat allows the individual to to charge 10 feet in a straight line, but also gains +5 on their damage if their attack succeeds, or they can shove 10 feet instead of the usual 5.

An individual with the Charger Feat also has the option to do a Body Slam Attack, which both shoves the opponent and deals damage. To do a Body Slam, they must succeed at both hitting their opponent, and successfully shoving them. If the attack misses, the shove automatically fails.


5 Ways to make D&D Combat more Challenging

The post below is written for 5th Edition D&D, but it can be adapted to other editions. Simply replace Disadvantage with -4 to Hit or possibly a percentile dice roll for an auto-miss chance. Difficult terrain slows movement to one half.

#1. Fog, Mist and Thick Smoke/Heat Mirages gives Disadvantage to Range attacks (including ranged spell attacks) for specific areas of the battle map.

"The smoke and heat mirage confuses your shot. You completely miss."

#2. Difficult Terrain slows down movement. Rocky terrain, small cliffs, lava pool and puddles, icy floors, flooded, swamp, extreme winds slowing movement, etc.

"You move slowly around the puddles of lava bubbling up from the cracks in the earth."

#3. Give the enemy higher ground AND cover. (And if the party flies, add a swarm of stirges, bats, other flying critters which attack any flying person.) The PCs need to climb or use a stairs / bridge to get to the upper level. Flying attracts too many stirges...

"As you fly upwards to get a better angle at the enemy a pair of opportunistic stirges swoop down to attack you from behind, aiming for your neck."

#4. Add a ballistae (or two) that is attached to the architecture. The enemies use it to shoot at anyone who is visible / out in the open. Give all attacks with ballistae advantage and they ignore / damage armour. This forces all of them to use stealth and cover. (Trying to take the ballistae with them should be extremely difficult and give them only 2 ballista bolts.)

"The ballista bolt rips right through your shield and armour. Your AC drops 2 points. You will need to get those repaired."

#5. Dangerous Obstacles / Traps DURING combat. Explosives Runes, falling rocks, pit traps, lava flows, falling trees that are on fire, the bridge collapses, smoke inhalation, rapids and rocks, etc.

"You charge forward towards the orcs when suddenly the ground beneath you collapses. Is it an earthquake? You land on sharpened stakes and realize you've fallen into a pit trap. The orcs laugh and cackle."


The Killer Campaign and Character Deaths

To those DMs and D&D Players who have ever ran or been in a killer campaign, you know there is a special kind of mix of fear/relief/joy when your character survives a deadly encounter or trap.
I have been in both, having had multiple PCs die in killer campaigns and running a 5 year killer campaign.

Here are some of my observations:

Most character deaths happened between levels 1 and 4.

By the time PCs get to levels 5 to 8 they have smartened up and take less suicidal risks with their characters.

TPKs really only happened at lower levels.

After 5th level raising the dead becomes more financially viable.

After 9th level even if a character dies, they get raised fairly quickly in game time.

We referred to a player having their first character die as "having their cherry popped". This oddly enough helps them to get over the sting of character death, because we consider it a rite of passage.

While it is possible for players to get upset about character death, we haven't had that problem. I think this is because my group are older players in the 30s, 40s and 50s. In my experience getting upset about character death is something people in their teens or 20s do.

Sometimes characters would die doing foolish things. To which we would joke about it. Eg. "The only thing that can kill Bogdan is Bogdan."

Other times a character might die in a funny accidental way and their character name becomes a joke. Eg. "Remember Zlatgar? He was nice and all until he got squashed by that dead mammoth and became Splatgar."

At higher levels character death becomes very rare. The players have become very cautious and canny about traps. They know how to prepare for the potential for danger. They have gotten really good at tactics and at problem solving.

When I ran Tomb of Horrors in 2016 they got through the entire dungeon without a single character death. Looted the whole place. Killed every monster. Aced it.

Being in a killer campaign for 5 years changed the players. They are wiser. More experienced as players. Veterans.



...

In my current campaign (started in August 2016) I have actually taken death off the table. They are playing children now and going through an origin story similar to Batman Begins / Smallville / Gotham.

By starting as children they have lower stats, but since they don't know I have removed death from the table I find my players behave no different. They channel how their previous characters responded to traps and danger. They still behave like experienced and cautious adventurers - like they are reincarnations of their previous characters.

My goal in this new campaign is to let them go through the aging process using downtime between adventures. The characters are bonding via childhood friendships. Part of this is I introduced Childhood Nicknames as part of the character sheet, which was an important part of their character design and identity. They also chose the professions of their parents, which allowed me to integrate them into the village population. As they age they will become local heroes, but at some point my goal is to have them realize that their actions have consequences for their families - via family death they will realize that they need to wear disguises or masks. If I manage to do it correctly they will come up with this idea on their own. Thus the end goal is that each character will later need to add a codename as their characters become more like Zorro, Robin Hood, Batman, etc.

Only when they reach adulthood will I be reintroducing character death. By then they should have already have donned masks, capes, and disguises.

Two sessions ago they found a crate full of fake wigs and fake mustaches. So the seeds of disguises has been planted. Given time and subconscious hints they will eventually come up with disguises on their own...

And then with the deaths of their fellow villagers the need for them to wear disguises will become clear.

It will be a truly rare and unique thing I believe to run a campaign in which PCs go through their origin stories and enter a new phase of the game where they are not adventurers per se, but masked vigilantes instead.

Some of the players think the game is more like Harry Potter. But what they haven't realized is the dark twists and turns ahead - including possibly party death and the death of NPC villagers they have become attached to - and how these deaths will influence their need to keep their identities a secret.

For now the villagers are having the Annual Catfish Derby this Friday. During which events will be set in motion during the festivities... including a murder.

Rerolls, Inspiration, Etc for Dungeons and Dragons

For the past 9 years I have used several different systems for allowing players rerolls. Below are the different ones I have tried during Dungeons and Dragons games.

Version I

In the first system I used PCs started with 6 rerolls at level 1 and gained 1 new reroll every time they went up a level. This made rerolls rare and precious - and sometimes forgotten about. Added to this a PC could also do something to earn a bonus reroll which could be cashed in later (similar to Inspiration in 5th Edition).

"Oh yeah. I forgot we had rerolls."

Version II

The next system I used was based on Charisma, which made Charisma a more important stat. PCs got 1 reroll per session, plus a bonus reroll per session for having higher Charisma of 12, 14, 16, 18. A PC with an 18 Charisma gets 5 rerolls per session. This made rerolls quite common. (As a bonus players also got Double Rerolls whenever our Friday game was on Friday the 13th.)

"Bah, I will just use a reroll. I have 4 of them!"

Version II B

This adaptation came later in which rerolls could also be burned to add +4 to a d20 dice roll or +/- 20% to a percentile dice roll.

"Hmm. Barely missed. Screw it. I will burn a reroll so I hit the demon."

Version III

This is my current system for my Friday game. 1 reroll per session. No burning rerolls. This makes rerolls more rare, but players are less likely to forget that they have them now because they are so accustomed to having them.

Version IV

(This one is still in the design process.) My goal is to make a Deck of Reroll cards. Each reroll card can be cashed in for different things.

Reroll Saving Throw
Reroll Skill check
Reroll Ability check
Reroll Attack
Reroll Damage
Reroll Anything (more rare)

In a 52 card deck there would be 10 of each of 5 basic reroll cards and only 2 Reroll Anything cards, making them almost as rare as jokers.

Players would get to draw 1 card per session at the start of the game and could earn bonus cards during gameplay (similar to Inspiration).

Version IV B

My last idea is similar to IV, but using a regular deck of cards. Each suit has a different effect. Instead of rerolls the cards provide a bonus.

Spades - bonus to damage.
Hearts - bonus to saving throw.
Diamonds - bonus to skill or ability check.
Clubs - bonus to attack roll.

Ace to 10 - bonus of 1 to 10.
Jacks, Queens or Kings - gain Advantage on the roll. Reroll and take the better of the two.
Joker - Can be used to reroll anything twice. Choose the best of the 3 (aka Super Advantage).

Unlike Version IV in this version they keep the card from session to session and can end up getting a maximum of 5 of them. Some of them (like Aces and 2s) would like be used fairly quickly and not saved, but Jokers, 9s, 10s and face cards would be useful to save for boss fights and rainy days.

Thoughts on these? I know not everyone is into Rerolls or Inspiration. Leave your comments below.

D&D Campaign Idea: Neolithic / Stone Age World

Looking for a new campaign idea for your D&D? Tired of Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Eberron, Ravenloft and other campaign worlds?

How about a Neolithic / Stone Age World...


I ran something similar to what you see below for 5 years. It was a very successful campaign too.

All the weapons / armor are made of wood, flint, obsidian, leather, stone age materials. The elves know how to make leaf/wood armor. The dwarves make stone armor.

Society is mostly tribal and nomadic. Agriculture exists, but is subsistence. Architecture is Mud Huts or Neolithic structures and wooden forts. Dungeons are usually caves.

One's Tribe is an important part of character design. Similar to Background in 5th Edition. Each tribe is unique and has specific skills. The Tribe indicates starting equipment for individual classes.

Tribal leaders play an important role in each tribe and indicate level and power. PCs who reach specific levels and rewarded with leadership roles (opportunity for roleplaying) and followers.

Each tribe has their own branch of magic. Conjuration, Illusion, Evocation, etc and users of such magic are called Mystics and specialize in one branch of magic. They have no spellbooks and instead store their knowledge of magic inside a mystical object (staff, wand, gem, bone, etc) which they commune with to recharge their mystical energies. Learning new spells mean they find a mystical object and transfer the knowledge from one object to another, which is time consuming. Some tribes (eg. Dwarves and halflings) also avoid magic entirely, and instead have magical resistance.

Magical items are imbued with mystical energies but have a set duration. Even swords and armor have their energies depleted over time. Nothing magical is permanent.

Currency does not exist. Players must trade items via barter (roleplaying). Prices for items are not listed so value is subjective.

There are signs of ancient architecture and strange artifacts from a past era - suggesting this world is post apocalyptic. But it is so far removed that so little of the past still exists and even the oldest of dragons say anything from the past is just fanciful nonsense. The ancient artifacts are important because unlike magical items which lose their power over time, artifacts never lose their power.

A secret cabal collects and studies the ancient artifacts, and uses their strange powers to gain control over others to do their bidding - in an effort to mine for more artifacts. Even dragons fear the cabal, as they hoard and hide such items and the cabal sends dragonslayers to seek out their hoards and hidden artifacts. Often the artifacts found are mostly useless. A music box. An object made of strange hard material. But othertimes they are a weapon or a device with potent magical powers. (The cabal has discovered that artifacts recharge their powers in moonlight.)

Badlands dot the landscape. Places which make people sick or even mutate. Some believe the sickness can make people strong. Others believe those lands are just cursed. Staying in the Badlands too long has many strange effects.

Food and water are important resources. Each PC has Food Points (FD) and Water Points (WD). In addition to rest to prevent exhaustion, they need to eat and drink or else they suffer effects of starvation and dehydration. If food and drink are plentiful these are not tracked, but if traveling through Badlands then they are tracked. Rival tribes, humanoids and monsters may steal food and water when passing through the badlands. This should be a common occurence. Different tribes have their own methods for protecting their food and water. Raiders from the Badlands will also invade more fertile territory, sometimes just to steal food and water - but othertimes to encroach on that territory and claim it for their own.

The gods of this world are things people can see. The moons, sun, the 4 elements, and totem animals are the gods people choose to worship. In my world the silver moon and the red moon were the most important of the two gods. Fire and sun was combined into a singular elemental god.

...

I ran a very successful 5 year campaign that started in the stone age of my world and later became the bronze age cusp. My current Friday campaign is later in the timeline so it is now the iron age / dark ages.

My campaign world is called Korovia and centers on one kingdom within that world. I have been running it since September 1999, with each campaign being part of a different period in the timeline. See Korovia.com to learn more about the world.

If WotC wanted to buy the license for my world however I would have a caveat however. They must make it free-license so that authors can write and self-publish stories set in the world. That would be my condition.

Adventurers League Dungeons and Dragons - Logbook

Yesterday I joined Adventurers League, an offshoot of Dungeons and Dragons which hosts organized events of D&D.

#1. January 3rd 2017.

The quest the first DM ran was: Secrets of Sokol Keep. The game ended up being a bit rushed because the store was closing at 10 PM and we needed to pack up in a hurry and rush the ending of the game. Got some nice gold from the quest, 450 XP and leveled up, but that was it. The quest was essentially a "find the missing people" goal on an island with an ancient lighthouse.

The game was hosted at Dueling Grounds (1193 Bloor Street West, Toronto).

#2. January 4th 2017.

Since I wanted to dive into this whole experience I immediately went back for more the next day, this time going to a different location: Face to Face Games (2077a Danforth Ave, Toronto).

This time a different DM ran a series of 3 adventures from Treasure of the Broken Hoard, which is a longer quest that is split into 5 parts. We completed parts 1, 2, and 5. Not that much gold this time around, but I did gain a Healing Potion, 300 XP (100 XP for each of the three parts we completed), a few small non-magical items, and "Blooddrinker the Bear".

As you can see Blooddrinker is essentially useless in combat because she is the little bigger than a kitten, but might be useful for other things - like fetching items. I am thinking of training her to become a dancing bear. I am undecided. Dancing seems more like an embarrassing punishment for a bear that used to eat people, but is now cursed and shrunk into a tiny version of her former self. It is a shame I am not playing a wizard, I could have taken Blooddrinker to be my familiar. Oh well.


Clearly this bear is being punished.


The next game I am planning to go to is on January 10th, back at Dueling Grounds again. Followed by another game on Jan. 11th at Face to Face. I shall try to remember to update this page in the future on January 12th after attending those two games.


UPDATE


So the game on January 10th was cancelled because the DM apparently felt he didn't have time to be running it. So they didn't have enough DMs for the extra players, and so no game for us.


#3. January 11th 2017.


Back at Face to Face again. This time with a different DM. Our group arrives at an abandoned village. We kill some worgs and some goblins. The combat took a lot longer than expected.
We looted part of the place. Found a strange woman hiding upstairs in the inn. Found a chest with dwarven armour and gems in it.


#4. January 18th 2017.


Still at Face to Face and still at the village. Destroyed a ghost-type undead. Killed more goblins. A group of riders arrived in the village. We don't know who they are but they seem powerful and suspicious. We are in no condition to fight them so we rest for the night. We awake in the morning and discover that they have executed the town guards who were hiding in the keep... clearly we should be doing something to stop these people. Just then a giant pack of orcs attack the town. My character Wrathgar raises the drawbridge partially but some of them still get in to the town. Combat ensues. We were grossly outnumbered by the orcs but manage to hold our own thanks to the drawbridge. The strange riders shoot arrows and help us, but it is becoming pretty obvious that they are actually Zhentarim. And we should probably arrest them for murder or kill them if they resist.

 #5. January 24th 2017.

One of the players in a group at Dueling Grounds dropped out and I got a seat there.

Thus I joined a slightly higher level group of adventurers as they were journeying from one town to another. On the way we encountered two hill giants and five ogres. We also found a giant mythral spear tip that weighs 75 lbs. Oh and I gained a riding saddle. But no horse. But I did use Animal Friendship on a buzzard, so I now have a 2nd pet for the time being. The spell wears off in 24 hours, but perhaps I can keep casting it regularly and feed it so it sticks around.

To be continued...

The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (in Toronto)

The posting below is partially for my own personal use - mostly for the purposes of record keeping.


This morning I googled the following words:

haunted halls of eveningstar toronto

Small surprise my campaign postings on Meetup.com came up. (Now that doesn't mean that my campaign is the most popular version of The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar in Toronto - far from it. That honour will always be held by Ed Greenwood (who also lives in Toronto), who created the Forgotten Realms and wrote the original THHoE module. But my campaign is hopefully in the top ten*.)

* I am operating sort of a "drop in" style game which is open to everyone, allowing people to drop in to the game, pick up a character sheet or make their own, and just play. I have the regulars who are there every session (or nearly every session) and others who are less frequent. Each player gets added to a mailing list and invited to future sessions. Thus, by sheer numbers, you could argue my game has the most players Toronto has ever seen playing The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar - with the exception of Ed Greenwood's game itself.

I find the drop in method of running a game is well suited to THHoE because the PCs can return to Eveningstar at the end of each session (unless it ended on cliffhanger), rest, and then return to the dungeon the next session.

While the module I am using is from 2nd edition, I have converted everything to 5th edition for my "Monday Night Modules" game which I run roughly every 3 weeks.

SESSION POSTINGS ON MEETUP.COM

June 27th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session I)

July 18th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session II)

August 8th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session III)

August 29th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session IV)

September 19th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session V)

October 3rd Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session VI)

October 24th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session VII)

November 14th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session VIII)

November 28th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session IX)

December 12th Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session X)

And then there is next week's session... Which is now 1 week away. I am excited to return to the game after an almost 1 month hiatus for xmas holidays. (The game is full, but to those people interested in joining future games you can message me via Meetup and ask to be put on my Mailing List.)

January 9th 2017 Session - The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Session XI)


SYNOPSIS OF THE FIRST TEN SESSIONS

Synopsis of Session I
  • Individual PCs encounter Purple Dragon Knights on the outskirts of Eveningstar looking for a wanted man with mustaches and a hooked nose. They don't say the nature of his crimes, but do say he is very dangerous. They offer a reward for information leading to his location and capture.
  • The PCs gather in the tavern where they meet Wrathgar, a human ranger, who has previously gone to THHoE and lost his entire party to a room filled with green slime. He says he is looking for people to join him so that they can finish exploring THHoE. Plus he has an Adventuring Charter (which is expensive), so if they want a job in this line of work, they really need his charter.
  • Party kills a dire bear in a cave south of the entrance to THHoE.
  • Party enters the foyer, explores.
  • Party finds a privy, encounter a strange creature inside a hole behind the privy, and find 3 potions. End of session.
Synopsis of Session II
  • Party explored the dungeon towards the NE and ended up yanking on Ed Greenwood's chain. (People who know the joke will understand this.)
  • They encounter wolves kept in kennels and zombies kept in the last kennel. End of session.
Synopsis of Session III
  • Party continues exploring the NE of the dungeon.
  • They meet an old blind man making chili (a seer working for necromancers evidently).
  • They also find a key hidden in a secret cubby hole inside a privy.
  • Party was attacked by undead coming out of columns in a room with a pool. Found a footman's mace in the pool. End of session.
Synopsis of Session IV
  • Party explored towards the west end of the dungeon, towards the throne room.
  • Party managed to get past the lightning statues, eventually figuring out that BEW ~ means BEWARE of lightning.
  • Killed an undead bear.
  • Chipped a painting out of a wall.
  • Returned to Eveningstar. One party member nearly drowned during a random encounter en route. End of session.
Synopsis of Session V
  • Party sold the painting for 20 gold bars (worth 500 gp per bar), divided up the bars and then made some purchases.
  • On the way back towards the Haunted Halls, they stopped to investigate some old ruins hidden behind trees and ended up being waylaid by a huge spider in the woods. Injured, they went back to Eveningstar to recover.
  • Days later, the party returned to the Haunted Halls and explored in the NW corner of the halls, encountering a stirge, and later an undead spectre obsessed with keeping the party away from her mirror. They defeated but did not destroy the spectre, found a valuable necklace, and decided to leave that chamber. End of session.
Synopsis of Session VI
  • More exploring. (I think this is the session where the party decided to explore the Kobold Keep and ran away... I am not sure. My synopsis notes are incomplete.)
  • Party returned to THHoE, explored a section to the N of the throne room, killed a stirge.
  •  When exploring the hallway with statues they got attacked by an unknown source.
  • The session ended with the party at the north end of the hallway with the statues.
Synopsis of Session VII
  • Party discovered that what had attacked them last session was a strange shapeshifter disguised as a statue. They promptly killed it.
  • Later they found a musty and moldy library, with 6 chests in a corner. Having become wary of strange chests they decided to shoot it. When it bled grey slimy blood and turned to face them with teeth bared, so did the other 5 chests. The party later ended up fleeing from the swarm of Jumping Mimics as they proved too difficult to handle.
  • The party returned to Eveningstar, rested, caroused, and returned to the Haunted Halls once more.
  • In the foyer they found signs that another party had recently been in the halls, some of their weapons and equipment in the foyer. Two of the weapons were magical. End of session.
Synopsis of Session VIII
  • Party explored a southern portion of the Haunted Halls, finding a strange chest that appeared to be air-tight. They decided to open that later...
  • Door #1 would not open and a magic mouth informed the party the way was blocked.
  • Door #2 blinked a pit in front of the door and the party had to problem solve a way to rescue their teammate from the pit without falling into the blinking pit.
  • Door #3 dropped a large stone block on the person who touched the door. All of Elowyn's metal items were teleported to room 3.
  • Door #4 caused a spectre of a human woman to appear who informed the party of loot further to the west.
  • Party found a secret door and a corridor.
  • Door #5 revealed a short corridor, but also had a secret door at the end.
  • Party headed west, where they heard strange moaning in a room to the SW. They continued west to a dusty room and encountered a wraith. The wraith killed Varrick, who became a wraith 1 minute later.
  • The rest of the party promptly ran away. End of session.
Synopsis of Session IX
  • After setting up their tent in the Eveningstar marketplace, the party recruited 3 new adventurers (including Varrick's replacement, a dwarf) to help them delve into the Haunted Halls.
  • On the way there they found strange wagon tracks and a barrel of 50 black candles with wicks made of human hair. (They later learned these are used by priests of Myrkul, the god of death.)
  • Entering the halls they noticed a draft and found a secret door that had gone previously unnoticed. Opening it they found a room with draperies and a beautiful dead red-haired woman with a fancy dagger in her woman, the victim of an apparent human sacrifice.
  • The party returned to the Haunted Halls, with Estrel now carrying a lantern, fully healed and having acquired a mostly empty spellbook. She now owes Elowyn 80 gp.
  • Continuing onwards, the party went to the throne and then NE, into the antechamber with all the corpses. The warlock Zulm decided to eldritch blast one of the corpses and woke up a sleeping carrion crawler. Battle ensued. The sounds of battle also woke up a nearby sleeping kobold behind the crossbow slits, it fired a shot and missed, then ran off to warn other kobolds that there are intruders in the halls...
  • The party continued onwards, later encountering a priest of Myrkul and an acolyte. They dispatched both of them, during which the dwarf got caught in a Hold spell. The party looted the priest's chamber and the acolyte's room, finding more black candles with human hair wicks. They also found 4 recently decapitated heads, a Speak with Dead scroll, some chunks of obsidian, and some Zhentarim gold coins. End of Session.
Synopsis of Session X
  • Four new recruits, drudged into service due to the fact that they didn't have an adventuring charter (without which they would be arrested for violating one of Cormyr's laws prohibiting the bearing of weapons), arrive at the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar.
  • Bolstered by new numbers the party returns to the dreaded library where they first encountered six mimics and bravely ran away. This time, girded by numbers they felt certain of their success...
  • And then the Mimics ambushed them from above. The battle was a mess and one of their number nearly died and was only saved by his lucky family heirloom (a demonic carved statuette). Towards the end the party managed to fight as a more cohesive unit, defeating 5 mimics...
  • But where is the 6th? Out wandering the Haunted Halls?
  • Later the party returned to the throne room where they explored to the south west and found a blackened and charred room, within they found the bones of a skeleton tangled around a stone warhammer, piles of dust in the corners, and two secret doors. They also found a third secret door behind the throne itself after Kiki the halfling druid noticed a draft behind the throne.
  • Beyond the throne the party found an ancient armoury, and in a pile of dust and rotting clothing in the NE corner they found a cheap bronze ring and a pouch containing a Magestar - which Estrel recognized as a very expensive and sought after magical item which allows wizards to heal themselves.
  • According to Estrel a Magestar can absorb any spell cast directly at it. The level of the spell is then converted into healing energy equal to 1 hp per level of the spell. Eg. Fireball = 3 hit points. However Magestars have an unknown capacity. They can only absorb so much and then they explode. So casting too many spells into the Magestar is clearly reckless.
  • Traditionally wizards would use a Magestar at the end of the day to get rid of any unused spells and then heal themselves accordingly. Magestars can only be *bound* and mentally commanded by an arcane spellcaster (or someone possessing arcane spell-like abilities). Once bound they fly around the owner like an Ioun stone, and then when mentally commanded (or if the owner falls unconscious) the Magestar will heal the owner the full amount.
  • Estrel estimates it is worth 20,000 gp as they are highly sought after by wizards and should fetch a good price. Also the methods of making Magestars have been lost, so no one has made any new Magestars in centuries. These days they are usually kept as family heirlooms. Some Magestars slowly die and lose their powers, but the one the party has found looks to be fully functional.
  • The party peered down the hallway to the SW. It is a long and dark hallway...
  • Note - They also didn't finish searching the blackened and charred room. End of Session.
UPDATES, 2017

Synopsis of Session XI

  • Three new recruits, drudged into service due to the fact that they didn't have an adventuring charter (without which they would be arrested for violating one of Cormyr's laws prohibiting the bearing of weapons), arrive at the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar.
  • There was much falling down slippery and slimy stairs, during which the gnome rogue Spork was attacked by a Stirge and nearly died. Fortunately his teammates managed to kill the Stirge become he could succomb to death and save his life.
  • The party encountered a regenerating skeleton whose bones began rattling back together and knitting themselves. During this the gnome Spork decided to push open a stone coffin, which burst open - throwing the coffin lid across the room. The dreaded mummy stood up within the coffin and the fight continued. It took awhile but the party eventually took down the mummy. The elf Elowyn got Mummy Rot and later paid to have a Remove Curse cast at the Temple of Lathander back in Eveningstar.
  • The human wizard Mar found a strange hole in NE corner of the room and opened a tiny tunnel going east. Later the elf Elowyn explored it and saw a floating skull in the room. The dwarf paladin Fargrim (aka Grim) explored the tunnel too and determined that the skull was actually dangling from a wire and there was no undead present.
  • After searching both the floating skull room and the mummy room, the party found a necklace with 14 rubies on it, a Manual of Stealthy Pilfering, a magical longbow, a magical shortsword, a chest full of gold, silver and 3 pearls (and pearl dust), and a gem encrusted scabbard fit for a shortsword.
  • The party returned back to town and did 3 days of resting / downtime. Various things were purchased, Elowyn had a Remove Disease/Poison, a Lesser Restoration, and a Remove Curse cast on her before finally removing the Mummy Rot. Various other things have yet to be sold. The Manual, Longbow and Shortsword were identified by Lady Thorne.
  • Lady Thorne offered to purchase the shortsword and was apparently deceptive about why she wanted to buy it. This made some party members suspicious about its value. The wizard Mar went through the process of also Identifying it and also decided he wanted the shortsword... "because it would be useful for, ah, casting magic..." Anyone familiar with this module will know there is a longsword in the module of exceptional value... no spoilers here. But suffice to say I changed it to a shortsword instead. Mar revealed to the two druids Nomuck and Kiki what the sword is, but the three decided to keep it a secret as a "get out of jail free card" for later.
  • While carousing Spork had a whirlwind romance with a gnome weapons merchant from Suzail. He hopes to see her again someday.
  • By the end of the session the party began the trek back towards the Haunted Halls of Eveningstar.



PERSONAL NOTES REGARDING THE HAUNTED HALLS OF EVENINGSTAR

One of the things I love about this module is that it allows the DM a lot of freedom to add their own things to the dungeon. Roughly half of the dungeon's first level is left blank, so that the DM has to come up with their own things. So I filled in the blanks with undead, traps, necromancers, priests of Myrkul and a plot involving Zhentarim smugglers. (Oh and 6 mimics...)

Beyond that it is also a classic dungeon crawl, a great way for first level characters to meet while seeking riches, and there is a lot of room for the DM to add extra plots. The whole Estrel vs the Zhentarim plot for example.

There is also the Kobold Keep above THHoE, and the lower levels - which has several ways it can be reached, and are left up to the DM as to how many lower levels there are, what they contain, and the shape of the dungeons within - although it is implied that the lower levels are significantly harder and PCs should return to this later. Ed Greenwood also lists a number of nearby places in Cormyr where PCs can also explore.

Estrel is now effectively a henchman - as is Wrathgar, who carries the Adventuring Charter. I am a big fan of using henchmen, hirelings and a variety of other NPCs to fulfill roles in the game. Everything from messengers, couriers, adventure hook providers, allies, possible neutral 3rd parties, and even people who might be allies now but later become villains or rivals.

The following books have been useful:

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Both the 1st Edition and the Revised 2nd Edition)
Forgotten Realms Adventures
Forgotten Realms Hall of Heroes
Cormyr (the accessory, not the novel)
Volo's Guide to Cormyr
Forgotten Realms Book of Lairs
Ruins of Zhentil Keep
Four From Cormyr
Ruins of Adventure
Curse of the Azure Bonds
Into the Dragon's Lair

There is also a number of Dungeon magazines I have found useful. Too many to list them all here properly.

THE FUTURE OF MY FORGOTTEN REALMS CAMPAIGN

I have read up on a number of other modules and adventures also set in Cormyr, not far from Eveningstar. I am trying for now at least to limit the campaign to that one region, and to a lesser extent the Dales, Sembia and the area around Zhentil Keep.

My goal is to run several of the modules listed above and various modules from Dungeon Magazine, as my goal for "Monday Night Modules" is to run a campaign that is fueled mostly by modules and requires very little work from the DM - excluding all the reading I have been doing to become an expert about all things Cormyr or the GCR, the Greater Cormyrean Region.

Part of my goal is to make Cormyr the central base for the characters so that the adventuring hooks keeps them in Cormyr, the Dalelands, Sembia and regions close to Cormyr. As long as I avoid adventuring hooks from other locations, and only rarely visit farflung locations for the sake of spicing things up, the PCs should become invested in the local flavour and politics of Cormyr. They will buy homes, build keeps, invest in businesses, clean out every dungeon in the region, take part in all the major events from the modules Ruins of Adventure, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Into the Dragon's Lair, Four From Cormyr and others. The result will be a very detailed experience, a world players can truly sink their teeth into, and by the end they will feel a sense of accomplishment and be bonafide experts in all things Cormyr.

Then maybe, and only then, will I expand the game (or possibly restart it) to a different region of the world.

I should also note my game is set historically before the Time of Troubles. Four years before it, as the game started in Summer 1354, and the ToT isn't until 1358. This means the PCs may end up living through the events of that rather interesting time period.

It is also only 2 years after the events in which Gondegal the Usurper King proclaimed himself King of Arabel and briefly conquered part of Cormyr before running away when his mercenary army fled. So there might be plots connected to Gondegal and stolen treasure looted by the mercenaries, as that happened only 2 years prior.

Ruins of Adventure should be approx. 1356 or earlier. It is basically a prequel to Curse of the Azure Bonds.

Curse of the Azure Bonds happens in 1357. Module is for 4 to 8 PCs of 6th to 9th level.

Time of Troubles, as mentioned above, in 1358.

There is also the Tuigan Horde invasion in 1359-60. Didn't actually reach Cormyr, but Cormyr did send troops and presumably adventurers. The Tuigans were defeated at Phsant, Thesk in 1360.

The Goblin War in 1370-71, invasion of Cormyr. (While referred to as the Goblin War, most of the baddies were orcs being led by a dragon named Nalavarauthatoryl.) The events of this is from the module "Into the Dragon's Lair", so evidently time would need to pass for the PCs to reach that module. They also should be approx. level 10 by then.

Civil War in Sembia in 1374.

The Spellplague in 1385. I would rather avoid the Spellplague entirely - I feel that whole thing was mistake made by Wizards of the Coast. Changing the maps / everything would be rather annoying. I prefer to use the original maps that are circa 1990. If the game manages to go through 31 years of game time I think I might have a plot involving the clergies of Cyric/Shar trying to rip a hole in the weave of magic, but the PCs will successfully stop them. Do that and I never to deal with that whole annoyance.

CAROUSING

The good news is the players in my game spend an odd amount of time carousing. They will regularly "rest and carouse for 3 days" before returning to THHoE for more adventuring. In theory carousing could be used to have the PCs carouse their way through months or even years of the timeline...

You carouse for 8 months. You wake up in an abandoned building with strange azure tattoos on your body... Tada! It is 1357 already. You don't remember how you got here.

I presume they will also use downtime between adventures in other ways too, as the game continues, but we shall see.

eg. They might decide to carouse their way through the Time of Troubles, thus avoiding it entirely. We shall see about that too.

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