Nations of the Forgotten Realms
The characters encounter one ghast plus two additional ghasts for every member of the party, not including sidekicks. Viantha Found When the characters find Viantha, read the following boxed text aloud to set the scene: A strange, mystical chanting in a dry, crackling voice and a rank smell come from a small clearing ahead.
At the center of this area, a robed woman with gray, cracked skin and red points of light where her eyes should be waves a wand made of bone in the air. Viantha Cruelhex is a deathlock mastermind see appendix A in the process of summoning more undead to harass Claugiyliamatar with a magical ritual. Before the characters can attack, Viantha summons specters to her side. There is one specter for every member of the party, not including sidekicks. Viantha and the specters fight until captured or destroyed.
Roleplaying Viantha. Before she can say anything else, the dragon undergoes a terrible change, which is conveyed by reading the following boxed text aloud to the players: Claugiyliamatar falls to the floor, and her whole body begins to shake violently.
The dragon foams at the mouth as a dark, swirling shadow flies into the cave and snakes up into her nostrils. Praise be to Myrkul! Rather than fight in such a state, Chardansearavitriol flees the lair, returning to Ularan Mortus in the Mere of Dead Men.
As the dragon leaves, a sword wraith commander see appendix A plus one sword wraith warrior see appendix A per two members of the party rounded down , not including sidekicks, invade the lair. The sword wraiths are loyal to Ularan Mortus and attack the characters, fighting to the death. Location Overview The dread cultist Ularan Mortus carried his acolytes over the sea in a cursed galleon imbued with the soul of a death knight.
South of Neverwinter, the vessel was spotted by a local cult of Talos, god of storms, who directed the beam of a magical lighthouse onto the vessel to lure it onto the rocks. When this magic failed, the cultists sent their champion, Fheralai Stormsworn, to capture the vessel. After a terrible sea battle, Ularan Mortus was forced to dive overboard and flee to shore. Unable to steer the dreadnaught, Fheralai crashed it onto the rocks. Once beached, she spoke to the grim soul of the ship and hatched a plan to appease it.
The spirit inhabiting the vessel hails from the lost city of Anauria, a realm swallowed up long ago by the spread of the Anauroch Desert. Learning that it longed for its old home, Fheralai kidnapped a local bard, Tarbin Tul, and forced him to regale the ship with songs from its lost homeland.
The ruse worked. Since then, the storm lord has kept the dreadnaught beached on the rocks as a staging post for her upcoming invasion of the Sword Coast. Doing so causes the dreadnaught to cast off from the rocks and return to sea. Travel to the Ship The dreadnaught is beached on rocks some twenty miles north of the town of Leilon, near an old lighthouse called the Tower of Storms see Dragon of Icespire Peak for more information on this location.
If the characters leave town on foot in the morning, they can reach the vessel an hour or two before nightfall. The windswept coastline of this region is lined with rugged granite cliffs and stacks of eroded rock. Arrival When the characters approach the vessel, read the following boxed text aloud: An armored dreadnaught made from metal and bones rests on a rocky outcrop in the bay.
Flames leap from a brazier mounted to its mainmast and its ragged sails are stitched from worn leather. Barbaric half-orcs patrol its decks and standby, ready to employ its deadly siege weapons. Over a dozen zombies are impaled on stakes set into the rocks around the vessel. Characters who attempt to sneak up on the vessel must succeed on a DC 15 group Dexterity Stealth check, with advantage if they attempt this task at night. On a failure, the cultists on the deck spot them and open fire with the siege weapons mounted to their vessel see areas D3-D5 and D7.
The characters are feet away from the vessel if spotted during the day, or feet away if spotted at night. Staked Zombies Twenty zombies are impaled on stakes driven into the rocks around the dreadnaught. These undead were sent here by Ularan Mortus to recapture his vessel and have been staked out by Fheralai as a warning. Each zombie is spattered with an unusual amount of dried bird droppings. The zombies writhe and moan on their stakes but are unable to move unless they are cut down. If freed, they attack the nearest living creatures.
Where is Fheralai Stormsworn? This champion of the Cult of Talos is onboard the dreadnaught when the characters arrive. You can place her anywhere on the ship or have her move between locations. If she learns that intruders are present, she moves to intercept them.
Read the following boxed text aloud if the characters encounter her: A towering female half-orc steps into view. Her muscles are like iron bands and her face is fixed in a bestial scowl. Under her boar-skin hood, you see eyes crackling with lightning.
She is one of the main villains of the story and is destined to return in Divine Contention, the conclusion of this adventure trilogy. If an attack drops Fheralai to fewer than half her maximum hit points or she feels outmatched, she tries to abandon the vessel and flee to safety.
As a sentient, undead creature, Emberlost can see and talk through the skeletal figurehead area D2 , his own corpse below deck area D17 , or the hellfire orb mounted on the mainmast area D4.
The death knight only serves creatures it chooses to obey. Fheralai Stormsworn appeased it by using a kidnapped bard to sing it songs from its homeland. At your discretion, the haunted soul of the death knight could be won over, using other means see area D17 for further information on this cursed creature.
Dreadnaught Locations The following locations are keyed to the map of the death knight-dreadnaught. Coastal Rocks The dreadnaught rests on slippery sea rocks that are regularly dashed by waves. These rocks count as difficult terrain.
During combat, any creature that ends its turn on the rocks must roll a die: on an odd result, a wave smashes into them and they must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or fall prone. Dreadnaught Features The death knight-dreadnaught is a galleon crafted from humanoid bones bound together by plates of iron and necromantic magic.
The lower decks of the vessel are cramped, with ceilings just six feet high. Creatures taller than this height must stoop to get around. The lower decks are lit by oil lamps that burn with eerie green flames. Unholy Presence. The dreadnaught is imbued with the cursed soul of a death knight. All undead creatures onboard the vessel or within 60 feet of it have advantage on saving throws against features that turn undead. This giant skeleton see appendix A cannot move and uses the following attack in place of a scimitar: Halberd.
The hatch can only be opened by creatures with a combined Strength score of 18 or more. Two anchorites of Talos see appendix A are stationed at the ballista, with an additional anchorite present on deck for every two characters in the party, including sidekicks. If combat occurs here, the anchorites on the forecastle and quarterdeck areas D5 and D6 respond immediately. Hellfire Orb The iron brazier mounted on the mainmast contains an ever-burning orb of flame.
Once per day, the death knight can hurl a magical ball of fire that explodes at a point it can see within feet of it. Each creature in a foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw.
The sphere spreads around corners. A creature takes 35 10d6 fire damage and 35 10d6 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Forecastle The front deck of the dreadnaught is fitted with a ballista mounted on a rotating platform. Two anchorites of Talos see appendix A are assigned to this weapon. When no threats are present, the cultists take turns daring each other to spit on the skull of the giant skeleton mounted under the bowsprit.
The wheel is the round, iron shield that Emberlost carried in battle. After taking this damage, the creature can safely hold the wheel and steer the ship without taking further damage. If combat ensues below, the anchorites move on foot to engage in melee or hurl lightning bolts down on the intruders. During naval combat, a bucket and winch are used to haul rocks up from the magazine to load the mangonels.
A character can climb down the chain to access the magazine at area D The old maps show the locations of dozens of long-lost barrows along the Sword Coast, indicating that the sailors came here to unearth something buried. Most of these tombs have already been looted or destroyed, but others could form the basis for your own dungeon-based adventures.
Ularan Mortus was hunting for the mausoleum of the black dragon Chardansearavitriol. He took the map showing its location with him before he fled the ship. Storage Lockers These lockers contain supplies for maintaining the vessel: spare rope, buckets, tubs of grease, and other mundane tools. A character who hides inside a locker gains advantage on any Dexterity Stealth checks made to evade the crew.
Anyone who searches the cabin and succeeds on a DC 12 Intelligence Investigation check discerns that a new resident recently reclaimed the room. A leather-bound journal lies open on the floor next to the bed. A note in the journal indicates that Fheralai may have kidnapped a bard to appease the spirit bound in the ship. A liquor cabinet contains ten bottles of rare spirits worth gp each. The historical tomes on the bookshelves have a combined value of gp but weigh a total of pounds.
As a member of the Cult of the Dragon, Ularan Mortus colluded with evil dragons to plot the downfall of the Sword Coast. He hopes to reanimate the soul of Ebondeath, a legendary black dragon, and petition it to steal a magical artifact from the town of Leilon.
Ularan Mortus sailed over the ocean onboard an undead galleon imbued with the soul of the death knight named Emberlost. Could bard win him over? Oar Deck This gloomy oar deck looks like the belly of a whale, with gargantuan ribs sweeping from the walls to form rowing benches for the undead crew. The deck underfoot is littered with humanoid bones to a depth of 1 foot. Two large, unmanned drums are positioned to the rear of the deck.
SC4.03: Axeholm, part two: word kept
It is a complete sandbox adventure, and does not have a ridgid narrative structure. The basic story is that your heroes are adventurers for hire, travelling the countryside, completing various missions.
This leads to your players leveling up and gaining items that will allow them to challenge a viscious White Dragon, that has been terrorizing the land. In a sandbox adventure, the player choose which direction they want to go.
Often this is done by placing a map in front of the players with several points of interest, and maybe a few scant rumors to guide the way.
In Icespire Peak, this is accomplished via a village message board that list the various missions available to the players. This method also keeps the players from getting in over their head, new messages are added only after the party reaches the level requirement to open them. For my campaign, I made an actual message board out of some scrap wood and twine. This adventure is also perfect for a Western Marches campaign.
Most campaigns revolve around the same band of heroes, week after week. And thus the same players, need to show up, week after week. But in a Western Marches campaign, the players can change from week to week, whoever shows up to play, plays. So far in our campaign, we have had a different roster of players for every session.
There are two key elements to make this style of play work: Each session needs to be a self-contained episode, essentially a one-shot dungeon. In Icespire Peak, each mission is playable in about 2 — 3 hours. The campaign needs to be based out of a central hub, for all the players to meet and journey out from.
In my campaign, following the events of The Lost Mine of Phandelver , the town of Phandalin created an Adventurers Guild in the abandoned home of the deceased Woodcutter. By adding the message board and the rampaging dragon to the Lost Mine storyline, you can create an absolutely epic campaign that should take players up to 8th level and beyond. In the maps section, I included an area map that despicts all of the locations found in both adventures. The Lost Mine of Phandelver.
One of the best intro adventures ever written. Adventure Resources This is a complete overview of our experience playing this adventure. The Charts — All of the charts and tables that I use to run the campaign. I include the adventure-specific charts and a blank copy if you prfer to make your own.
If you want a more in-depth analysis of the charts, check out my Dungeon Master Resource Page. The Player Maps have all hidden locations, traps, and secret areas removed. They are also great for a virtual tabletop.
I usually print the handouts using a variety of construction and specialty papers cut to fit my printer. They can be printed as is or used as a starting point for your own creative spin.
If there is anything else that you think I should have here to help you run your own campaign, please leave a comment.
Campaign Diary Session 1 — Having just escaped the circus, our merry zoo hides out in a gnoll seiged inn, and then almost eaten by the dragon. And Orcs attack!
The Charts Prior to every campaign, I give my players a folder for their character. The two pockets hold their character sheets, spell cards, handouts, and other PC related items. The center binder holds four important handouts. You do.
Go support your hobby and buy all the books! My players love this chart since it allows them the chance to completely obliterate an enemy at the risk of falling flat on their face or stabbing an ally. Thanks to Seth Skorkowsky see below for this bad-ass damage chart. Plus, it keeps the murder-hobos from killing your shopkeeps. Obviously, prices can be adjusted, based upon the availability of the item and the quality of the shop.
There are two files for these Equipment Lists. And no more role-playing the ever-exciting haggling encounter! This two-page Overview gives your players the common knowledge that a person living in the Realms would know. Welcome to Forgotten Realms And yes, there will be a quiz at the end. Up next are all the charts and tables for the DM eyes only. No peeking, you conniving, cheating, double-crossing, lily-livered, dice-fudging, min-maxed, hobo-murdering, meta-gaming PCs! For further explanation of any of these tables, go to my Dungeon Master Resource Page.
You can see it attached to my DM screen below. It helps me plan encounters and keep things balanced, especially when running things on the fly. Stay back! Everything on this side of the screen is mine. This puts all of the relevant combat data for every creature in the adventure all in one place. No more forgetting a special ability, or hunting through the book for a single stat, or flipping back and forth when running combat with two or more monsters.
This single page will make running the adventure ten times easier. This helps me keep track of every room at a glance; including Monsters, Traps, Treasure and Experience Points that can be found or earned in each room.
No more forgetting a cool trap or missing a key plot point because it was buried in the text. The new roster lists several more shops, class and level listings of the important NPCs, a few gossipy details, and a rundown of every combat-capable citizen just in case the village ever came under seige again, say by a band of fanatical Half-Orc devotees to Talos. My expanded map of the village of Phandalin, including more shops and townsfolk.
For the map key, see the Phandalin Village Roster above. For those of you who prefer to make their own lists, here are links to clean, blank versions of all these charts. If you prefer to type your own, you can recreate them using Microsoft Excel.
D&D Essentials Kit: the Disappointment of Icespire Peak
A battling retreat follows, into the chamber the ghouls seem to have occupied. Slamming the door and wedging it with his dagger Rich looks about.
Linc lights a new torch. The chamber is in poor shape, and unpleasant blobs of ghoul-spoor lie here and there. Soot marks around the big fireplace opposite the door suggest the ghouls paid it quite a lot of attention. Dak has a preliminary search while the others rest. But you have a warhammer Garth, so problem solved. He spots the merry gleam of gold… Uncoiling huge ropey limbs and yawning a gaping maw, a stalagmite-like creature beyond reacts!
Dak sends a shaft accurately past Garth but disappointingly, it merely bounces off, as though the creature were true stone. Garth jumps into the chamber — a decent size, not merely wardrobe-size — and hammers. The Ungart hammer nearly shatters the thing!
Rich charges in and adds a strike from his cavalry sword. Linc sends Puff in to give Garth advantage. The roper or whatever — these adventurers have never met such hammers away merrily, pounding both Universal gd handshake and Rich with bludgeoning limbs.
Then, crash! Ungart hammer demolishes it. It seems to have been guard over a brass-bound coffer about a foot long. A small pile of gold and silver lie near the coffer as though in offering. Short Rest some more — Garth finishes rolling his HD. Rich rolls 1HD and gets minimum. It is indeed the key. Spider Battle!
The adventurers ready themselves, Linc lights a fresh torch, and Rich and Garth heave the door open against web resistance. Rich cuts his way through a few feet of thick fresh webbing. Out in the passage he notes that the privy door is now open, but the passage itself is clear. As far as he can see the roof of the great hall is clear of spiders. All remaining giant spiders run along the passage roof, or squeeze through arrow-slits from the great hall.
As Garth charges he is in severe danger of being ganked by four of them! I believe in you! One spider remains, racing away across the great hall. Rich grabs his dagger out, and hurls it. Release the mouse button. Result: The distance in pixels appears at the bottom of the window.
If in step 2… Then… you found a distance in squares Divide the measurement in pixels by the number of squares. The result is the width of each square in pixels. Example: If you measured pixels between grid lines 6 squares apart, then each square is 55 pixels wide. Multiply this result by 5 to get the width of each square in pixels. The manse is really nice. Picturesque, dilapidated, with a bunch of possible entry points, and loads of rewards if your players are thorough.
Icespire Hold and Other Quests and Locations Some locations are not directly connected to any quests on the Phandalin board. Shrine of Savras. Two ways lead to exploring this location.
So, you know, it might be getting a little repetitive. The interior of the shrine is a bit empty, but you can find some nice treasure, and have a vision. So that part is cool at least. Some suggestions from the monster listings in the book: A lair of carrion crawlers?
A nest of giant spiders? That manticore if it survived? Or two manticores like the adventure suggests? Some people that got buried there and turned into ghouls? Some of those monsters in combination with orcs and ogres? Tower of Storms. Probably my favorite location.
Lost Mine of Phandelver and Dragon of Icespire Peak in Greyhawk
And any way you approach it can be a hook for the adventure: a sea elf friend, lost cargo or ship, evil influence taking over the lighthouse. The tower of storms introduces the anchorites, it gives you a micro-quest within the location for the crab and the banshee. It rewards exploring as well, as all five shipwrecks have great potential for treasure. You can even go for more rewards and consider giving your players one weapon off the crab and another if they dive through the wrecks?
But that might depend on the size of your group probably. The thing I complained about is that I am not a fan of the harpy fight. The atmosphere here is also very special. The view from the top of the lighthouse, the choppy sea, the sharks and the wrecks, too. This is another one of those maps and locations that can be dropped anywhere in your campaign, or used for anything with a little NPC switcheroo and adaptation. Falcon is the coolest NPC you can drop on your party.
Just look at how sexy he is! When it comes to it, make the fight for the Lodge memorable. Make the orcs climb the roofs or try to set fire to the buildings? Circle of Thunder. One of the two boss fights in the adventure, the climax of the orcs and half-orcs story. If your party is 6th level then the encounter on the way to the stone circle might be pretty easy. The circle fight might be epic, but I adapted it heavily.
This is where the foreshadowing of some half-orc NPC might pay out. Have they turned into an anchorite? Are they struggling with it and there is still time to save them? It worked well for my party. Make it dramatic! Let Gorthok show up at the most opportune moment for the boar, make it take a turn immediately, in that annoying fashion like villains often do in video games.
If the party is sixth level, they can take almost everything you throw at them. Icespire Hold. Hello, awesome fortress map! This is where the party faces off with the dragon, and the Stone-Cold Reavers. And nothing else, unfortunately. Or you should have dropped hints during the adventure. It can probably rough up any party badly, but the only proper danger comes from its breath weapon.
There is basically zero treasure. Was it a ploy for you to easily wrap up your campaign? There is even a crypt level, and there is no treasure there either. But if you see this map. It is an awesome map! A fortress in a mountain pass? Fallen many years ago, it hides a dark secret.
Dwarves and humans are retaking it and rebuilding it, but something goes wrong. A warlord is spreading chaos from this fortress.
All posts by J.R. Ramsey
An undead warlord? Orcs, like in this adventure, populate it. Or an army of goblinoids, led by some other monster. A host from Hells or the Abyss? It can serve any purpose you come up with. Can your party find that macguffin that your campaign revolves around in the crypts, while avoiding all the other monsters inside?
Can they close that portal that opened in the hold and is threatening the whole region? It seems like a good idea to mix them up if you like playing more during your levels and slowly building more of your campaign. But as long as it is levelsthat should be a pretty simple job. The expanded threat here are the goblinoids, and the Redbrands in Phandalin, along with the whole plot about the mine. What you get here is an improved Phandalin with more depth and more NPCs.