The Halfling Horde (Levels 7-9; Old Tower]

The Halfling Horde (Levels 7-9; Old Tower]

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The Halfling Horde (Levels 7-9; Old Tower]


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The Halfling Horde is a Dungeons & Dragons Next adventure for four to six characters of 7th through 9th level. The adventure involves a nomadic horde of halflings coming into conflict with a town, Round River, newly founded in their sacred grounds. It takes place in a recently settled region of hilly wilderness grassland connected back to civilization by a river. The river has been named, as it plays an important role in the backstory of the adventure, but the wilderness itself as well as the nearby civilization have not, to permit easier inclusion into a pre-existing campaign setting.

The adventure is written with the assumption that a wizard, Oxidus, invites the party to Round River to help with the town’s woes, and provides magical means of transportation to reach this remote location. If the campaign setting renders this contrivance unnecessary, Oxidus can extend the invitation without offering his teleportation skills.
  1. seankreynolds
    The Halfling Horde

    The criteria I'm looking for are:
    (A) encounters that play up various party roles (martial, skill, magic, etc.)
    (B) whether the adventure sites have a reasonable ecology (what, no bathrooms?)
    (C) the narrative flow of the overall adventure.

    There is a LOT of read-aloud text in this adventure. Some players aren't going to want to sit through that much GM reading.

    This adventure puts the PCs in a really difficult position: negotiation on behalf of the townsfolk, when the townsfolk are mostly in the wrong. It wasn't their land to settle, the halflings had a previous claim, and the townsfolk handled the negotiations really poorly. The PCs are there to prevent a mess from happening, but I suspect a lot of lawful and/or good PCs might just tell the townsfolk to leave.

    The treant in area 4 knows the command phrase to deactivate the water weird, but states he doesn't know if the phrase still works. The area with the water weird doesn't mention the phrase, but does mention "the enchantments on [the water weird] have broken down over the centuries." So the reader (the GM) doesn't know if the author intends the phrase to work or not.

    The adventure also doesn't touch on what sort of conflict a halfling PC might have in this adventure, which would be an interesting aspect to explore.

    (A) There are some fights to play up to martial characters' strengths.
    There aren't really any negotiation challenges for skill-oriented characters to deal with—the results of talking with the townsfolk and halflings are pre-defined with specific paths (the townies won't leave, the horde won't leave, the horde will allow a delay or a trial by champions) but don't have any game numbers associated with them, so it all falls on how persuasive the player is, not the character. There's a skill obstacle to finding the entrance to the Stone Crown and to overcome its trap, but as you have to get into the Stone Crown to proceed with the adventure, eventually the PCs have to find it, even if the GM has to hand-wave it.
    There are many places where magic could affect the outcome, particularly by using mind-affecting magic to convince key players to be more accommodating (or, for example, to force them to return the kidnapped halfling), but the adventure never addresses this. Given that the adventure is for character levels 7–9, charm magic and the like is a real possibility.

    (B) I'm having a hard time imagining halflings gathering into a horde of 10,000 all in one place, just in terms of how much food they'd require without dedicated agriculture. That many humanoids in an area has a huge impact on the food and sanitation of the environment, even if they're nature-friendly nomads. That's the entire population of a borderline small/large city arriving at a place. I understand the desire to present overwhelming opposition that the PCs can't overcome with force, but the author could have accomplished that with just 1,000 people—enough to overwhelm the PCs or the town without being implausible. [Queue someone else replying with multiple historic citations of groups of 10,000-person nomadic groups living sustainably even in the winter...]

    (C) There's definitely a narrative flow in this adventure, but it feels more like a story that the PCs are passengers in than one they're driving. Unfortunately, it ends by saying, "you have to figure out how this ends based on what happened over the course of the adventure."

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