D&D 4th Edition So you want to run Keep on the Shadowfell


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    So you want to run Keep on the Shadowfell

    This thread is a master list of links to resources, advise and options for running Keep on the Shadowfell. There is also some info on other adventures in the same series of adventures.

    Before providing all the useful information, it's important to note that Keep on the Shadowfell is not a great adventure by itself. I discourage you from running it without any changes - it has led to many total party kills (TPKs) of groups, the adventure itself has too many fights, and the story is lackluster at best.

    Understand the adventure was the first for 4e, so its primary purpose was teaching the 4e ruleset. New DMs and DMs new to 4e might find that useful but even once you learn the rules, the adventure is lacking without some work on your part. If you're a new DM, that can appear daunting, as you're just learning to run the game, but changing modules is often a rewarding element of using a module in the first place. Also, there are many suggestions on how to change the adventure to suit things.

    There are better adventures for 4e, and better to start the game with. But if you're still reading, then you've likely set your sights on running the adventure. So let's get to giving you the useful materials.

 

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    There are many resources available on the internet to help run your game.

    First the adventure is FREE to DOWNLOAD from Wizards' website.

    WotC also has a FAQ with errata for Keep on the Shadowfell.

    Next, Firey Dragon has free printable tokens for download of all the Keep monsters.

    All monsters on a printable PDF. All magical items too.

    Next, full battlemaps of the Keep: encounters 1-5, encounters 6-8, encounters 9-12, and the entire second level. All maps have monsters, traps and secret stuff covered up.
    Last edited by Rechan; Saturday, 10th December, 2011 at 12:03 PM.

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    There is quiet a lot of advice out there on how to improve the adventure, in terms of story and encounter design.

    If you want to set KotS in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron, WotC has some suggestions.

    DMs routinely change modules to suit their tastes or their parties, and the variety can be really interesting. Here's how other DMs changed the adventure.

    And if you want some detailed assistance on improving the adventure from the ground up, this site is fantastic. (Warning, author has a poor view of 4e but his ideas are great).
    Last edited by Rechan; Sunday, 11th December, 2011 at 07:23 AM.

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    Just in case you want more encounters, skill challenges, or an optional variety of monsters:

    If your PCs decide to have an extended rest inside the keep, they can take a skill challenge to survive the night from the latent spirits and echos of the Shadowfell.

    If you want some more oomph to closing the portal once Kalarel is defeated, there's a skill challenge for that.

    Beyond the keep itself, there is room for some side-treks.

    Finally here are a bunch of new kobolds to offer some variety in those first few encounters.

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    Once you finish Keep on the Shadowfell, what next? There are a few options.

    If you feel compelled to continue on with the rest of the published modules in the H-E series, there are some resources for you. First, consider the efforts to tie all the adventures together very strongly. Next there are some helpful information about Thunderspire Labyrinth - for DMs experiences/thoughts, and some resources available like tokens et al.

    If you want modules but don't want the above route, Dungeon magazine (on Wizard's site) have various adventures set. Also Cairn of the Winter King (available in the Monster Vault box set) and Gardmore Abby are available and quite popular.

    You may instead want to branch out into making up your own games. One suggestion. The Nentir Vale (the region (where Winterhaven and the Keep are located) is described in brief in the DMG. That information is expanded in [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Vault-Threats-Dungeons-Supplement/dp/0786958383/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323514440&sr=8-1"]Monster Vault: Threats of the Nentir Vale[/ame], which details of various monster groups and organizations that inhabit the region.

    Whatever path you take, you may want Orcus to remain relevant in your campaign, a source of inspiration may be the Ashen Covenant, a PDF that describes factions within the largest, broadest Cult of Orcus.

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    Great thread!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rechan View Post
    Understand the adventure was the first for 4e, so its primary purpose was teaching the 4e ruleset.
    Quite frankly, that is no excuse. D&D had been around for over 30 years at that point. What makes a good module should not be a mystery. 4e presumably was in playtesting for a number of years. One would think they would do a bit of that playtesting on their first major module release. It should have been the best release, which would have sucked people in more (the system mastery would have come regardless).

    That said, it did provide some nice poster maps that I see in many games at Cons.

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    I'm looking for hi-res jpgs or something of the outdoor encounter maps. I resized them, but they're all grainy and jpeggy. Has anyone scanned or rebuilt them?

    Also, my wife and I are running this as a solo+DM NPC adventure after the quickstart guide's dungeon in the Harkenwold. I really have to scale the monsters and encounters down, is there a fast, quick and dirty way to do this? I'm using Asmor's builder, an that works really well. I mean something free like asmor's

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    Quote Originally Posted by unused_bagels View Post
    I'm looking for hi-res jpgs or something of the outdoor encounter maps. I resized them, but they're all grainy and jpeggy. Has anyone scanned or rebuilt them?

    Also, my wife and I are running this as a solo+DM NPC adventure after the quickstart guide's dungeon in the Harkenwold. I really have to scale the monsters and encounters down, is there a fast, quick and dirty way to do this? I'm using Asmor's builder, an that works really well. I mean something free like asmor's
    Man, you need to check the high-res maps done here: The Mad Mapper - Keep on the Shadowfell

    Should do the trick

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    This thread delivers!

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