Thursday, September 15, 2011

ToEE 4E DM Notes: The Moathouse

The Moathouse is a two level dungeon with an upper ruined area (that looks a little like something smashed up the keep from The Keep on the Borderland)s and a lower dungeon level that is not huge but is fairly nasty for low level characters. This is usually viewed as the "starter dungeon" part of the adventure and in my game I'm setting the ruins as a level 1 area and the dungeon as a level 2 area. By the time they finish clearing out the place I expect all PC's to be level 3. I added taking out the bandits as a major quest because it will get them noticed by the people of Hommlet - the first step on the road to renown!

Now I use the descriptions and flavor text from the original adventure so most of this discussion is 4E mechanics and the reasoning behind my choices - you have been warned.

One of the general rules discussed when 4E launched was that one encounter does not equal one room in a dungeon. I agree with that in general, but for this level and this map it pretty much does. The inhabitants are fairly well separated and spread out so that it's easy to make each one a spearate encounter and that's what I did. Remember, it's a starter dungeon so let's not overwhelm the new players (or the new DM) with complicated multi-stage, multi-room encounters just yet. Let's give them some straight-up fights and skill checks to ease them past the "which dice do I roll?" stage.

I did add a single optional encounter for each level and I use these as a strictly optional...option. If the party spends the night in the ruins, this is what might attack them. If they leave for a day or two and then return then this might have moved into one of the previously cleared areas. It's good to have an extra encounter ready, just in case. The original wandering encounter tabls have a lot of "strange noise" entries and those can be fun too - especially if only one character is on the ruins...

The Moathouse

Level 1 Major Quest - wipe out the bandits in the Moathouse, bring back evidence - 500 XP

Upper Level

Random Encounter (used if/as necessary)
4X Common Bandits [MV 170] 500 XP
Treasure 20 gp, 40 sp

1 The Pool - Level 1 encounter
5 Thornskin Frogs [MM3 Pg 90] 500 XP
Treasure: 100 gp gem inside one of the frogs (7)

2 Rotting Drawbridge
Ignore the fallthrough chance

3 Broken Gates
DC13 Perception Check to notice signs of human-sized footprints in the dust

4 Tower - Level 1 encounter
2X Deathjump Spiders [MV 302] 350 XP
1X Spider Swarm [MV 301] 150 XP
Treasure: 30 gp, 100 sp (10)

5 Littered Steps
DC9 Perception Check to notice signs of activity

6 Great Hall

7 Brigands - Level 4 encounter
1X Bandit Leader [FRCG 34] 150 XP
3X Common Bandits [MV 170] 375 XP
12X Human Goons [MV 170] 375 XP
Treasure: 100 gp gem, 100gp necklace, 20 gp, 100sp, potion of healing (5&9), +1 Deathstalker Bow (Lv4, AV p67)

8 Stairway Up

9 Littered Room
DC19 Perception Check to find Fine Broadsword behind bed
Treasure: +1 Luckblade (Lv3, AV p71)

10 Empty Bedchamber

11 Salon

12 Corner Room - Level 1 encounter
2X Deathrattle Viper [MV 300] 400 XP
Treasure: 130 gp, Potion of Healing (6)

13 Storeroom and Stariway - Level 2 encounter
6X Dire Rats [MV 298] 600 XP

14 Trophy Room

15 Domicile

16 Kitchen - Level 2 encounter
Instead of a giant tick:
6X Stirges [MV 259] 600 XP
Treasure: 50sp, +1 Armor of Acid Resistance (Lv 2, AV 41)

17 Barracks - Level 1 encounter
Instead of a giant lizard
Fledgling Black Dragon - use the fledgling White on MV 64, change all “cold to “acid”, breath does ongoing 5 acid instead of slow 500 XP
Treasure: 100gp, 150 sp (8), Power Jewel (Lv 5, AV 176)

The Dragon was recently wounded and has been hiding out here until healed up, which it is now, and is neither thrilled about the activity in the moathouse nor strong enough to do anything about it. If beaten down to under 20 hit points the dragon is likely to flee by flying out through the partially collapsed roof.

4500 Monster XP, 500 in am optional random encounter, 500 for the major quest.   - That's enough to get a 5-man party to 2nd level.

Dungeon Level

Random Encounter (as needed)
5X Dire Rats [MV 298] 500 XP

18 Stairway Arch - Level 1 encounter
3X Green Slime [MV 221]  525 XP
DC 13 to spot to avoid surprise

19 Door
DC 9 to notice new lock,  DC 13 to pick lock
Normal Gear as listed in text

20 Door
DC 9 to notice new lock, DC 13 to pick lock
Normal Gear as listed in text

21 Corridor and Cells - Level 3 encounter
4X Grasping Zombies behind the pillar [MV 293] 400 XP
10X Zombie Rotters in the 5 cells [MM1 274] 380 XP
Treasure: 100 gp gem in northernmost cell - DC 13 to notice loose stone 8A

22 Torture Chamber
DC 13 to notice recent use
DC 20 to detect secret door in pillar

23 Littered Storeroom
DC 13 to notice greased hinges

24 Large Room  - Level 1 Encounter
Lubash - Grizzled Veteran Ogre [MV 216 + Template on DMG2 127] 500 XP
(Effectively he becomes a Level 1 Solo)
Treasure 20 gp, 500 sp, Cloak of Distortion (AV151) 8b, Lv4

25 Oak Door
Prisoners are so happy to be relieved that no skill roll is required for gratitude. A DC 13 Diplomacy check will gain the stated reward from each. The merchants are from Sembia, the Gnome is from Myth Drannor and the ring could be a Harper pin to make things interesting (saved from his dead companion)

26 Undetected Trap
DC 20 to notice the portcullis is the party is looking up, otherwise they miss it.

27 Recruits - Level 4 encounter
4X Bugbear Thugs [MV159] 700 XP
1X Bugbear Backstabber [MV159] 200 XP
Treasure: 170 gp 7

28 Door
Sets off trap - see text

29 Odd Side Room - Level 4 encounter
Instead of Gnolls:
6X Orc Savages [MV 226] 264 XP
2X Battletested Orcs [MV 225] 300 XP
2X Orc Archers [MV 226] 350 XP
DC 9 Insight to realize their hearts aren’t in it, DC13 Diplomacy to negotiate, 100 or more gp offered give a +2 bonus to check, lead characters to passage, DC 20 gains info on master
Treasure: 30 gp, 300 sp 10

30 Pool - Level 5 encounter
1X Giant Crayfish (Chuul downleveled to 5th and then solo’d) 1000 XP
Treasure: 100 gp gem, 600 sp 6a

31 Burial Crypts - Level 3 encounter
4X Ghouls [MV128] 800 XP
Treasure: (31a) 10 gp + Potion of Healing 9

32 Passage Out

33 & 34 Room and Corridor and Barracks Chamber- Level 6 Encounter
Guards: 18X Human Goons [MV170] 558 XP change club to sword, otherwise equipped as in text
Sergeant: 3X Human Town Guards [MV171] 450 XP
Lieutenant: Elf Noble Guard [MV 113} 150 XP
The Master: Human Noble [MM2 148] 200 XP
Treasure: 400gp, +1 Staggering Mace (AV 78), +1 Mithril Plate Armor (AV 48), Boots of Free Movement (AV 126) 5

This is a tough encounter but a) the groups will engage in smaller chunks as outlined in the text and b) it’s the climax of the adventure so it should be big!

6779 Monster XP + 500 in another optional random encounter - more than enough to get a 2nd level party up to 3rd.


Dangerous Brian said...

Fanastic re-arrangement of the existing module. If you don't mind, I might be able to give it a play-test tomorrow. I played through Kobold Hall (with a few changes) on Sunday with a new gamer (who want's to continue the game for another session or two). I was going to use Keep on the Shadowfell for the next session. But, if it's allright with you, I'll use your adventure instead.

Jeremy said...

Very nice, having just finished putting together all the parcels and making sure they balance out for the next adventure for my family it makes me realize just how much math and research goes into laying out all the info you've got there.

Do the apprentices have their adventurers roughed out yet to give you an idea of what they'll need?

Blacksteel said...

Sure - it's a lot more atmospheric if you have the original ToEE so I hope you do.

I have already run the boys through part of the upper level (another post to come) and the two vipers, despite being only 400XP, are way nasty. Only having a 4-man party was part of it but that ongoing poison damage hurt, especially when they couldn't make a save to save their lives.

If you run it, let me know how it goes.

Blacksteel said...

J - It's not as bad as 3E and the main thing is that it seems to work really well.

As you can see, they have and we did and no one died but I'm still holding on to my "Druids just suck" theory because of the experience.

Dangerous Brian said...

Thanks Steel, much appreciated. I have the original and the 4th ed Hommlet module, but it's designed for 4th level characters. This will be much better. Many thanks.