I think this is a good dungeon, ready for gaming. Just one small thing though; "The Players..." have not been hired for anything. They are sitting at a table with dice, sheets of paper and mountain dew. The Player Characters is the correct term, or; Heroes, Adventurer or simply The Party.
Nitpick, but still...
Otherwise: Sweet idea, well executed.
I nice simple one shot that can be good to showcase the rules of your favorite fantasy rpg to new players without worrying about them wandering too far off the expected path.
I am curious though what you meant though with the comment "So far, it has weeded out a few undesirables and scored a few keepers." What did you design into the adventure to weed out the undesirables with? (I'm guessing to check and see if the group lets the lizard men have the treasure or just slays them all and run off with the loot?)
First off, thanks for the submission. It’s obvious to me the amount of thought you’ve put into this (especially given that you don’t usually write things down). I’d have voted for it if my vote mechanism wasn’t wonky (I will repost when it gets fixed). I give you a 3.0 for the effort alone, and for the memories of those classic D&D adventures which this obviously gives homage to. In addition, the traps, creative Kobold, and visions of the Community Chest telling the heroes to “go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200” earn you an additional .5.
Now the (hopefully constructive) criticism. Two things stand out to me as disturbing. First is the seeming randomness of the opposition. I will admit that my D&D knowledge is quite rusty, but I seem to recall that Hags are solitary creatures, unwilling to work with lesser beings (preferring instead to eat them). So, I have to ask, what’s motivated her to make the change?
I realize this is also a failing of many of those classic pre-packaged modules, so I understand the limitation, but I simply am not satisfied with “Kill the monster, Steal its stuff” adventures any more. Plus, like you I enjoy throwing future plot hooks into current adventures so my PCs start thinking about what’s to come. So knowing her motivation might help me begin working on that.
Now you may argue that isn’t the point of the adventure. But I would counter that you’ve already made future adventures part of this. The sleeping dragon is obviously a hint of things to come, and it wouldn’t take but a couple of sentences to describe where this was going in your head.
Next, there’s the opposition itself. You described this adventure as an introductory type adventure. That says to me, inexperienced characters. In that light, this becomes quite a tough go. Kobolds, sure. Lizard Men, maybe. But Ogres, Hags, and gigantic Alligators? Ye-ouch. I can see this quickly becoming a TPK, especially if the tricky Kobold lures the PCs far inside then calls in reinforcements (which I can easily imagine him doing, given his creativity).
Finally I have some questions (besides the obvious Monopoly jokes) about the community chest. When you described in room two that it was half a chest, that was kind of jarring for me. Rather than simply moving on I had to stop and think about what you meant. Did they simply rip it in half like some slip of paper? If so, it’d probably have completely fallen apart. Alternately did they rip the lid off and put half the treasure in the lid? If that was the case, the PCs would be able to see inside. Or was it more metaphorical. Half the treasure was still inside the chest (which was intact but was only half the community chest)? I’d see some problems here because how do the PCs know what treasure was the villages and what came from the monsters in the cavern complex.
And while we’re at it, why were the Lizard Men burning the treasure? I was pretty sure they were sentient enough (and had traded enough) to know the coins were valuable. I understand why from a GM’ing perspective (forcing the players to act to save it all), but the story reason eludes me.
Anyway, that’s my 2.84593571954 cents worth.
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A very solid adventure, especially with the added detail in the comments. One question: shouldn't the optional room 7 be between rooms 3 and 5, rather than between rooms 2 and 5? I, too, liked the "oh crap" moment with the burning chest -- that and the chance for the players to see a dragon in an early adventure and still come out of it alive propels this from a solid 3 post to a 4 for me. Great job!
Sounds like a Koontz thriller. Could be just as easily placed in any setting so the idea core works well. I think because it is in a modern setting there is no need for a why or for what purpose is it happening. It is just, well, monstrous. In a fantasy setting there would be any number of supernatural or magical reasons for it.
Would make a fun thriller but harder to use in an RP.