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 Ruins of Adventure / Pool of Radiance campaign
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touc
Acolyte

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 28 Oct 2014 :  22:00:28  Show Profile Send touc a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Long time viewer, first time poster here. I've been scouring ideas to enhance our 5E Ruins of Adventure (aka Pool of Radiance) campaign. While I've hit about 150 pages of typed notes, maps, and so forth for my campaign binder, all is not yet done, and I'm a believer this setting has the potential to be an awesome structured sandbox, with intrigue, politics, and good old monster bashing.

Here's where I'm still looking for ideas:

1. Valjevo Castle. What's to stop a party from just climbing or flying into Tyranthraxus's tower, which as written is open to the sky (obviously)?

2. Assuming the party is 6th level and two players have read the POR novel (so they know there's a dragon involved), would you keep the storyline and use a CR-appropriate (albeit small?) dragon, or go with another possessed body?

3. Is the Pool of Radiance discoverable; if so did you put it in the castle or intend for it to be located in some future adventure?

4. Would you run Curse of the Azure Bonds after this, and if so, what are your thoughts on the bonds? I've read good and bad experiences on the more linear focus and being "compelled" (DM takes control) versus "motivated" (bad things happen long term if the bonds stay).

5. What about a Pools of Darkness campaign where Phlan gets stolen by Bane? I have ambitions, not yet fleshed out, and thoughts on somehow linking this all with the original Demonweb (Lloth) modules, which I know need some heavy work but were awesome in the day.

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31519 Posts

Posted - 28 Oct 2014 :  22:22:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Easy answer on the flying thing: add something to impede flight. Swarms of harpies or imps or something -- something that wouldn't bother a dragon, but that could prove overwhelming for a group of adventurers. Or the classic standby, magic wards of some sort. It'd really ruin a PC's day if his flight spell gave out when he was 150 feet above the ground.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 28 Oct 2014 22:38:34
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Seravin
Senior Scribe

Canada
852 Posts

Posted - 29 Oct 2014 :  02:07:44  Show Profile Send Seravin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
1. I would think low level characters would not have access to flying magic, mounts, or similar, something level 1-6? Not sure the 5E mechanics but it should match up.
2. I thought having a metallic, good aligned dragon be the bad guy was a nice touch. If you deviate from the formula, I'd stick with some inherently good creature that is twisted. A unicorn may be very interesting as a host?
3. Isn't it supposed to be hidden deep below the castle? I'd stick to the script for that but it could move once discovered and drained by Cardona?
4. Never ran a Curse module, I can see where lack of freedom/control of a PC would be not fun.
5. If the characters like Phlan, teleporting it into a deep cavern and having hordes of monsters attack it could be a neat campaign.
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touc
Acolyte

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 29 Oct 2014 :  23:31:26  Show Profile Send touc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe some perytons or gargoyles would explain why Big T leaves the back door open for any druid or 5th level wizard to stroll in. And, I could shake things up by replacing bronze with another color, though the CR8 bronze dragon plus a loyal peon or two fits well with the challenge.





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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6684 Posts

Posted - 31 Oct 2014 :  01:09:23  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Answer to first question:

Obstacles faced by the party include 1) the characters don't at that point in the adventure really know what is going on, regardless of the players' knowledge, and 2) they are feeble low-level weaklings who don't stand a chance against Tyranthraxus-in-a-dragon, let alone all the encounters positioned along the path.

Some of my players had also read the novels, and the 1E FRCA1 adventure, and played the CRPG (numerous times). I intermixed elements of the adventure and the novel, I changed things up a little to keep them off balance. Each PC generously started off with a minor magical item, one of these being an ioun stone which (after often being seen whizzing around a PC's head) became a troublesome enemy magnet. The overpowered heroic trio from the Pool of Radiance novel were featured as a nasty low-level undead encounter in Sokol Keep, sans twinky magical toys and loot. An intelligent dragonslayer sword was eventually acquired by the PCs - at tremendous cost! - but it turned out to only marginally effective when employed against a non-green and non-Evil dragon. A silver dragon, in fact, leading the PCs to fortify themselves (despite gentle DM reminders about the PCs' lack of in-character knowledge) against the wrong breath weapon variety. The Ancient Temple of Tyr Tempus Bane Talos brought much religious strife to the region which complicated things immensely. And good old Cadorna, the obnoxiously elitist paranoid dirtbag, was never seen without his personal guard of half-orc mercenaries - things took a bad turn when they attempted to recover "stolen property" after the PCs "raided" the Cadorna Textile House. A wee bit more organized military trouble, plus some magelings, contributed by the Zhents than outlined in the adventure, too. And a pretty little Red Wizard necromancer who needed to find a magical trinket which happened to be possessed by the PCs. The list goes on.

[/Ayrik]
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Brix
Learned Scribe

138 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  17:09:21  Show Profile Send Brix a Private Message  Reply with Quote
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
3525 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2017 :  18:07:08  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by touc



1. Valjevo Castle. What's to stop a party from just climbing or flying into Tyranthraxus's tower, which as written is open to the sky (obviously)?


Is this visible from the outside or is the hole in the ceiling / roof only visible from the air? If it's the former, I'd throw in some air defense such as Harpies or (my favorite) Gargoyles. If it's the latter, they won't notice the gaping hole until they're already inside, at that point it's moot.

quote:



2. Assuming the party is 6th level and two players have read the POR novel (so they know there's a dragon involved), would you keep the storyline and use a CR-appropriate (albeit small?) dragon, or go with another possessed body?


I'd go with the Dragon. Just because they read the novel, it should'd bleed into the campaign unless they're metagaming (and that's usually frowned upon). You could also take a lesser CR creature, re-flavor it as a dragon and give it a breath weapon.

quote:



3. Is the Pool of Radiance discoverable; if so did you put it in the castle or intend for it to be located in some future adventure?


From what I remember of the novel, the group discovers it and Evaine ends up destroying the pool. I'd have similar events occur, though give them a way to destroy the pool.

quote:



4. Would you run Curse of the Azure Bonds after this, and if so, what are your thoughts on the bonds? I've read good and bad experiences on the more linear focus and being "compelled" (DM takes control) versus "motivated" (bad things happen long term if the bonds stay).


I've only read the book, never played the adventure or video game. But I'd say go for it. Alias is a cool character, as is Dragonbait and Olive Rustkettle.

quote:



5. What about a Pools of Darkness campaign where Phlan gets stolen by Bane? I have ambitions, not yet fleshed out, and thoughts on somehow linking this all with the original Demonweb (Lloth) modules, which I know need some heavy work but were awesome in the day.



Sounds fun, though extensive and I'd say Marcus, the Red Wizard, would be a very formidable foe.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3594 Posts

Posted - 17 Jan 2018 :  17:26:57  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by touc

Here's where I'm still looking for ideas:

1. Valjevo Castle. What's to stop a party from just climbing or flying into Tyranthraxus's tower, which as written is open to the sky (obviously)?


Here is where you allow your party to climb away or even fly. However, without going through the rest of the adventure they may very well be slaughtered because they simply aren't ready to fight Tyrant Hraxus.

I've come to appreciate Gary Gygax's point of view: "Let them go where they will; but it doesn't mean they will come back."

quote:
2. Assuming the party is 6th level and two players have read the POR novel (so they know there's a dragon involved), would you keep the storyline and use a CR-appropriate (albeit small?) dragon, or go with another possessed body?


You can stick to the story if you want...but the Ruins of Adventure makes it so much more open than what is laid out in the novel. Allowing the party more time to explore the surrounding areas will allow them more fun instead of being railroaded through the adventure as written in the novel.

As for the Dragon...keep the dragon a Bronze Dragon. Remember though, Tyrant Hraxus is a possessing entity that could just as easily making the Bronze Dragon's breath weapon into "Fiery Lightning" which does fire and electrical damage.

quote:
3. Is the Pool of Radiance discoverable; if so did you put it in the castle or intend for it to be located in some future adventure?


I can't recall exactly my intention with this. I THINK I had planned for the party to find it. However, I ALSO planned for the party to free the dragon from Hraxus' control without killing it...and then the dragon would remain as a guardian of the POR.

quote:
4. Would you run Curse of the Azure Bonds after this, and if so, what are your thoughts on the bonds? I've read good and bad experiences on the more linear focus and being "compelled" (DM takes control) versus "motivated" (bad things happen long term if the bonds stay).


I was never a fan of the Azure Bonds line...I'm perhaps in a minority group on this one I'm sure; but for your particular line of play I don't even see how the two are related together.

Personally, I planned to move my party from Ruins of Adventure to the Bloodstone Lands with a few smaller adventures built in between that would allow them time to level up.

quote:
5. What about a Pools of Darkness campaign where Phlan gets stolen by Bane? I have ambitions, not yet fleshed out, and thoughts on somehow linking this all with the original Demonweb (Lloth) modules, which I know need some heavy work but were awesome in the day.


Here is how you could spin the Demonweb modules...because I've done it and it works:

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief is EASY to place in the Dragonspine Mountains. After your group helps restore Phlan, you can have the giants be raiding the outlying farmsteads that the town begins to sponsor.

So first step: kill the Hill Giants.

Next they go to the Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. Well, there are Frost Giants right in the Dragonspine Mountains; so again this is an easy one to place. Instead of the entire thing being a Glacier though, you can simply make it icy capped peaks during the winter within the Dragonspine Mountains.

The last one is the Halls of the Fire Giant King. It is a little harder to place in the Dragonspines...but having one of the mountains be a dormant volcano that awakens isn't unthinkable. I would have it actually erupt while your party is "little" and going through the Ruins of Adventure.

Simple to say that the Fire Giants have always lived there...hell, the Zhentarim actually use Fire Giant Mercenaries to guard one of their major fortifications...so we know Fire Giants live in the area.

After that, it would be easy to slip in the other Drow based novels as well...culminating in Lolth being interested in stealing Phlan instead of Bane.

However you decide to go with it, it sounds like it could be a really fun campaign!

AD&D for me!
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