D&D 3rd Edition / 3.5 Stonesky Delve - from OSRIC to 3.5 edition





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    Stonesky Delve - from OSRIC to 3.5 edition

    Stonesky Delve is a short GenCon tournament module, written by Joseph Browning. It was released in 2010. It features one of the most realistic cave exploration/spelunking maps I've ever seen in such a game; it uses both a top-down map as usual, as well as a side-view map to show the elevation of the caverns.

    I looked everywhere for a conversion, but I couldn't find one. The publisher, Expeditious Retreat Press, doesn't even have a forum for people to post corrections or expansions. So, here I am.

    The module was originally intended for 6 to 10 adventurers of levels 4 through 7. As I convert it to D&D 3.5 edition, I will target it toward a group of 4 or 5 adventurers at 5th or 6th level. There are 29 cave "rooms" that I need to convert. I will likely do a post for each one. Also, the author did not want to write read-aloud text for the rooms, urging DMs to wing it instead. I intend to compose (short) read-aloud text anyway. Muhahaha!

    Maybe when it's done, we can copy it all into a .doc or .rtf file for people to download. Oh! And if I leave the conversion mid-way, feel free to take over after a few days. We'll see how it goes.
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

 

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    As a nod to the author, I'll be using photos & videos of the Krubera cave system as inspiration for my read-aloud text.

    0. Player introduction

    The author does provide some read aloud text for the module introduction. I rewrote the whole thing, but I don't feel safe posting it as it contains at least some remnants of his copyrighted text. So instead, let me outline the big changes.

    1. The 2nd half of the 2nd paragraph begins "Each of you has mapping material...." If you're like me, you'll want to remove that 2nd half of the paragraph. Why? It tells the PCs that they have a bunch of gear which they may or may not actually have. It makes sense in a tournament module with pre-gen characters, but in my ongoing game, the players are responsible for picking out gear and they've only got what they've bought.
    2. In place of the text you just removed, add the flavor text below to help them visualize it.


    Read-aloud text


    So you stand at the side of this cliff-like opening, approximately 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall. The elevation is high; light snowfall rests in the shadowy pockets where the sun has not yet reached. Still, there is plenty of green grass and shrubbery on the ground surrounding you. Frigid water drips into the cave entrance, enabling moss and lichen to flourish on the walls. From the looks of it, the ground will drop sharply after just a few feet. It appears that this will be rough going; unless you have other means, ropes will be needed to rappel in.


    1. Cave mouth

    Read-aloud text

    The read-aloud text from the player introduction is describing the cave mouth, so there really doesn't need to be text here.

    Other

    • listen check DC to hear the bats' shrill noises deep within the caves: 10
    • spot check DC to notice the bat guano on the ground: 7
    • use rope DC to secure rope for rappelling: 10 (regardless of whether it is tied to an outcropping of rock, which is prevalent, or via use of a grappling hook; also note that according to the rules, this check should be rolled by the DM in secret so that the players do not know if the rope will hold them, though I prefer that they simply make the check once the first PC is halfway down; finally, note that a silk rope confers a +2 to the roll)
    • climb DC to get down a normal rope: 5 (due to sloping wall)
    • climb DC to get down a knotted rope: 0 (sloping wall & knots = easy)


    Note that climbing is at quarter speed which means anyone with a move speed of 30' will need to spend a full round to descend 15' (two move actions), and it will require 2 climb checks. Getting to the ground 45' below thus requires at least 6 checks! Therefore even though the DC is extremely low & easy, there are a lot of chances to roll badly. Don't forget that a player needs to miss the DC by 5 to fall. If they miss by 1 to 4 points, they're just failing to make progress.

    Example

    A fighter in full plate climbs at a -8 (offset by strength & ranks). Thus, a fighter using a knotted rope might seem like a sure thing, but it's not. Unless he has bonuses to offset the -8, he needs to roll an 8 or higher just to hit the DC of 0, and he needs to do it at least 6 times in a row. If any of his rolls are a 3 or lower, he falls. Because his movement in plate armor is reduced, his speed is likely only 20' normally, meaning that a full round of climbing for him only allows him to get 10' down. Thus, characters with a move speed of 20' need to make 9 checks (technically, 10 checks, but I let the players jump down the last few feet, as the rules provide no possible way to get hurt from a fall of just 5 feet).

    Notes

    Options to tie the heavily-armored types with a 2nd rope (and have someone above to hold that 2nd rope) to catch them if they fall would prevent falling damage. However, as with the 1st rope, I would expect them to make a use rope check at the time the PC falls to ensure that the 2nd rope holds. They cannot make the check beforehand. They don't get to know the outcome of their rope checks until it's in action.

    Falling damage is 1d6 per 10' of fall. Tumble checks can remove 10' of falling damage (effectively removing a d6 from the total damage roll).
    Last edited by aboyd; Thursday, 9th August, 2012 at 04:54 AM.
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

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    2. Smooth passage

    Read-aloud text

    Here the passageway levels off, and extends into darkness. Unfortunately, while it remains approximately 10' wide, the smooth ceiling is only 5' tall at its highest point. Those blessed with good height will need to hunch over. Down here sunlight is hard to come by, so your own light sources are needed now.

    Other

    Squeezing rules: You may wish to apply the squeezing rules to anyone who is taller than about 4' 9" as the low ceiling should cramp humans, elves, and half-orcs at least. This is a -4 to AC, a -4 to attack rolls, and each square counts as 2 squares for movement (effectively, movement speed is halved). Since there is no enemy here, it makes little difference, but it might make the players wary, which is fun.

    • listen checks for distant bat noises, spot checks for guano: same as room 1
    • chance to detect humidity increase: as per module
    • knowledge nature DC to note that the smooth ceiling is from the bats' flight paths: 11
    • raw intelligence DC to determine the same thing: 13
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

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    3. Mossy cave

    Read-aloud text

    You find yourself at an opening into the right side of a long chamber. The ceiling rises roughly 20' overhead, and the floor slopes steeply to about 25' below before leveling off. The walls appear to be discolored in red and green hues.

    Movement

    Whenever someone walks/runs on the slope (approximately the first 20' into the room), it should trigger a balance check. Unless the players have spotted the rubble (see "Other" below) or are otherwise taking precautions, the players should not be told about the poor footing until someone moves in and triggers the balance check.

    The balance DC is 7 for the first (surprised) victim, who is likely moving at normal speed with the expectation that it's normal ground. After that, the DC is 2 for anyone aware of the rubble and willing to move at half speed. Again, this DC probably appears to be very low, but anyone in heavy armor will likely have penalties so severe that failure is a real possibility. In addition, since a check is needed with each move action, and since it likely requires 2 move actions (at half speed) to get down to the level ground, there are 2 chances for failure. Falling at any point will cause the PC to slide down to the level ground. Assign 1d3 damage if they fall/slide from the upper half to the bottom. Assign no damage if they fall/slide from the lower half to the bottom. Regardless of where they started their fall, they end up prone at the bottom and have the usual penalties for being prone until they stand up.

    The level floor requires no balance checks, but it is also full of loose debris. I would treat it as difficult terrain.

    Other

    • listen for bats & spot for guano = same as area 1 (technically, being closer to the bats, it should be easier to hear them, but we're counting on the heavy moss to muffle the sound a little bit, thus maintaining the original DC)
    • spot DC to notice floor is unstable due to loose rock/rubble: 10
    • spot DC to determine that the red & green discolorations are actually moss: 10
    • knowledge (nature) DC to determine that the moss is harmless: DC 12
    • humidity check: as per module
    • spot DC to notice abnormally large amounts of bat skeletons while in the room/chamber: 12
    • spot DC to notice abnormally large amounts of bat skeletons once the PC is up in the initial flat part of the area 4 tunnel: 7
    • listen DC, once the PC is up in the initial flat part of the area 4 tunnel, to notice that the sound of twigs breaking underfoot are actually bones: 12
    • use rope DC to secure rope for rappelling: as per room 1
    • use rope DC to hurl a grappling hook up and catch it on an outcropping of rock: 10 +2 per 10' of distance
    • climb DC to scale the wall leading to area 4 (assumes free climbing, as no rope has been tied yet): 15
    • climb DC to ascend the wall leading to area 4 using a normal rope: 10 (wall actually inverts, making it more difficult than area 1)
    • climb DC to ascend the wall leading to area 4 using a knotted rope: 5 (inverted wall = hard, but knots make the climb easier)


    Note that for the last 3 climb checks listed, the checks must happen multiple times (once per move action). For a person with a move speed of 30' normally, make 5 checks. For a person with a move speed of 20' normally, make 8 checks. Don't forget that failing the climb check by 4 or less doesn't mean a fall; it just means no progress. Taking 10 on this climb should be possible; taking 20 should not be possible.

    Monster

    I used the Shrieker & Violet Fungus as a base, then tweaked the stats based upon size & the module description.

    Vampire Moss
    Large Plant

    Hit Dice: 3d8+9 (22 hp)
    Init: -1
    Speed: 10 ft. (2 squares)

    AC: 14 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +6 natural), FF 14, Touch 8
    Base Atk: +2 Grp +11
    Attack: +7 melee (attach)
    Full Attack: +7 melee (attach)
    Space: 10 ft. Reach 5 ft.

    Special Atk: Attach, blood drain, poison
    Special Qualities: Blindsight, swarm shape, plant traits
    Fort +6 Ref +0 Will +1
    Abilities: Str 20, Dex 8, Con 17, Int -, Wis 9, Cha 3
    Skills: -
    Feats: -

    Environment: Underground
    Organization: Solitary or patch (2-4)
    CR: 4
    Treasure: None (though it's victims would leave behind treasure as per their own monster entries)
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: 4-9 HD (Huge)

    Attach (Ex): If it hits with a normal melee attack, it inflicts no initial damage, but moves into the square of the victim and engulfs the victim in its red vegetation. The opponent is in the entangled state, similar to the Entangle spell. The opponent needs to use a full-round action to attempt a DC 20 strength check or DC 20 Escape Artist check to break free and move at half normal speed until out of the vampire moss.

    Note that large size vampire moss can occupy any 4 contiguous squares (see swarm shape), and may attack additional opponents on subsequent rounds. So long as it maintains a contiguous shape that includes the square of its victim(s), it does not have to give up anyone already entangled. Thus it is possible for vampire moss to engulf one medium creature during one round, and on the next round maintain the entanglement on the initial victim while engulfing a new opponent.

    Blood Drain (Ex): Vampire moss drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of constitution damage in any round when it begins its turn attached to a victim. Once it has dealt 12 points of constitution damage (total, not per victim), it detaches and moves away to digest the meal. If the victim dies before 12 points of constitution damage can be accrued, it detaches and seeks a new target.

    Poison (Ex): Vampire moss injects a powerful agent, dealing a DC 13 fortitude saving throw to any victim that experiences blood drain. (Victims need only make 1 saving throw; it does not repeat on subsequent rounds.) If the saving throw fails, the victim will enter a "maddened" state, using any weapon in hand to attack random targets within reach (other than the vampire moss). If a victim enters this state, he or she cannot do anything but attack and take attacks of opportunity from where he or she stands.

    The secondary damage is automatically saved, ending the effect.

    Swarm shape (Ex): Although it is not a swarm and does not typically have the traits of a swarm, vampire moss does have the ability to move in a fashion similar to a swarm. That is, unlike other creatures with a 10-foot space, vampire moss is shapeable. It can occupy any 4 contiguous squares.

    Plant traits (Ex): As per the Monster Manual, with one exception (see Blindsight, below).

    Blindsight (Ex): Although it has the plant type and gains the traits of the plant type as listed in the Monster Manual, this creature has no ability to see visually, and thus it does not gain low-light vision. Instead it gains Blindsight, as per the Monster Manual.
    Last edited by aboyd; Saturday, 11th August, 2012 at 04:53 AM.
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

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    4. Long Slide

    Read-aloud text

    The cave system meanders forward for a mere 25 feet, veering to the right, before dropping off into darkness again. Thankfully, you have about 8 feet of height in this passageway, and 10 feet of width. From what you can see, the colorations on the walls are reduced to scattered patches. The deeper you go, the smoother the walls become. Getting down in either direction will take effort -- the sheer drop behind you, or the extremely steep slide ahead.

    Movement

    On the flat area leading to the slide, it's safe walking. However, the slide itself is so steep and smooth that no balance check should work. It requires a creature to have a climb speed to ascend or descend naturally. Barring that, the group will need climbing kits, ropes, pitons, etc. The slide is 45' down and is steep enough to do regular falling damage (a d6 per 10' or 4d6 total).

    Other

    • listen check DC to hear the bats' shrill noises deep within the caves: 8 -- and if a listen of 12 or better is made, supply the additional note that they also hear the sound of falling water.
    • spot DC to note that the walls are so smooth that climbing will be more difficult: 12 -- and if a spot of 15 or better is made, supply the additional note that the good outcroppings of rock are all far back from the slide.
    • use rope DC to secure 50' rope near the slide, for rappelling: 15
    • use rope DC to secure at least 70' of rope far back from the slide where the outcroppings are good, for rappelling: 10
    • use rope DC to splice 2 ropes together (if needed): 15
    • climb DC to descend the slide leading to area 5 without a rope: 22
    • climb DC to descend the slide leading to area 5 using a normal rope: 7
    • climb DC to descend the wall leading to area 5 using a knotted rope: 2


    Climb checks: For a person with a move speed of 30' normally, make 5 checks. For a person with a move speed of 20' normally, make 8 checks.
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

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    5. The Gauntlet

    Note that from ground to ceiling is approximately 165 feet, which should be beyond most light sources and even darkvision. If your PCs somehow have enabled a way to perceive things that distant, you will need to modify the read-aloud text.

    Read-aloud text

    Standing at the base of what appears to be an extremely tall cavern, the jagged walls rise beyond your perception, up into darkness. Echoing from out of that darkness comes the high-pitched squeaks of unseen creatures. You have entered on the right side; the wall runs off to your left. Roughly 15' in front of you, the ground slopes upward to form a plateau that rises at least 10' above you. On that plateau, a large stalagmite nearby casts long shadows in the light you provide. At the far edge where light fades into darkness, another taller stalagmite rises.

    Waterfall

    Note that while the waterfall is in this room, and possibly could be mentioned in the read aloud text, I have omitted it for two reasons. First, it is roughly 100 feet away from the entry position. Second, it's falling at a trickle of 1 gallon per minute, and doesn't even appear to be free-falling (according to the top-down map it is running down the northern wall; according to the room text, it is dripping from the stalactite to the tall stalagmite; either way, it is running down stone instead of falling hard onto the floor). This is a light splashing at best, so I felt it would be correct to leave this as an (easy) listen check.

    Note also that I almost omitted the 2nd stalagmite from the read-aloud text. Torch light, the light spell, and darkvision would all fail to reveal an object 65' away from the usual entrance. However, elves, half-elves, and gnomes all have low-light vision, allowing them to see twice as far in dim lighting. This means that if the party has even one of those races in the group, they should easily be aware of the 2nd stalagmite right from the start. If your party doesn't have a character of those races, you may simply omit the last line of the read-aloud text and give it to them when they move around & discover it.

    Other

    DCs for anywhere in the room except the tall stalagmite:

    • use rope DC to secure rope (tie it to a reachable rock outcropping): 10
    • use rope DC to hurl a grappling hook upwards and catch it in place: 10 +2 per 10' of distance
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, without a rope: 15
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, using a normal rope: 10
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, using a knotted rope: 5


    DCs for the tall stalagmite, which is smooth & slick from water:

    • use rope DC to secure rope (tie it around the base, requires 90' of rope): 15
    • use rope DC to hurl a grappling hook onto the stalagmite and catch it in place (requires at least 80' of rope): 26 (it's slick and smooth, only the tip will catch a hook and hold it)
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, without a rope: 20
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, using a normal rope: 12
    • climb DC to descend/ascend, using a knotted rope: 7


    Other DCs:

    • listen check DC to hear falling water from entrance point: 5
    • listen check DC to hear echoing baritone from room 7: 18
    • spot check from the ground to see the lassoo monster normally: impossible (outside perception ranges)
    • spot check from the ground to see the lassoo monster if PCs have cast Daylight, or Dancing Lights moved up to the ceiling, or other long-range light spells: 27
    • spot check from the ceiling (via flight, climbing, or similar) and with a light source, to see the lassoo monster: 18
    • spot check DC from the ground to see #6 passageway: impossible (outside perception)
    • spot check DC from nearby (via flight, etc.) and with light source, to see #6 passageway: 7
    • spot check DC to see room #8 : obvious from the waterfall once they're in position to see it, no need to roll spots for this


    I'll add the lassoo monster in a follow-up post, as it's not quite finished. Thanks!
    Currently playing a bard in Kingmaker; running Vault of Larin Karr.

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