Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    I should mention it's near a swamp, right? So it's gonna be pretty damp wood.
    "Other cults said I was daft to build a manor on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp."
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    Sure, let them do that if they want. It's a sandbox. They won't get treasure, xp, or a good reputation in the town, but it is their choice.
    1. I don't have my copy with me at the moment, but any coins, metal items, or magic items should be unaffected by the fire and can be collected as treasure.
    2. Why deny XP for destroying enemies with fire?
    3. From the Saltmarsh and Environs map, the Haunted House is almost 5 miles outside of town. Would destroying a haunted house ruin the PCs' reputation with many people?
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elon Tusk View Post
    1. I don't have my copy with me at the moment, but any coins, metal items, or magic items should be unaffected by the fire and can be collected as treasure.
    If you wanna spend a week digging through the ashes, sure. Real interesting play opportunity, there...

    2. Why deny XP for destroying enemies with fire?
    For the same reason you don't give a 15th level character XP for killing a goblin - if it is too easy, or there is no risk to the character, they don't earn XP.

    Also, for reason that burning down the house doesn't actually guarantee anyone is defeated. In the classic module, there's a sea-cave underneath that bad guys in the building can use to escape. Did they remove that? If the PCs don't fully explore the house first, they don't know this, and the bad guys probably get away, losing a safe house, but knowing someone's out to get them. That'll turn out well for the PCs, I'm sure - and you don't gain XP for just making the opponents mad at you and ready to hunt you down in your sleep

    3. From the Saltmarsh and Environs map, the Haunted House is almost 5 miles outside of town. Would destroying a haunted house ruin the PCs' reputation with many people?
    How would you react if some strangers came into your town, and started burning things down? "Gee, it was five miles away - that's so incredibly far, I can't imagine they'd come back and start doing that to other buildings!"
    Last edited by Umbran; Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 at 04:59 PM.
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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elon Tusk View Post
    1. I don't have my copy with me at the moment, but any coins, metal items, or magic items should be unaffected by the fire and can be collected as treasure.
    2. Why deny XP for destroying enemies with fire?
    3. From the Saltmarsh and Environs map, the Haunted House is almost 5 miles outside of town. Would destroying a haunted house ruin the PCs' reputation with many people?
    1. Sure, if they want to take the time to wait for it to cool down then shift painstakingly through the rubble and ash (and face the wrath of anything that happened to be lurking underground and is therefore completely unharmed).
    2. Because the mission objective was to investigate the house. If the burn it down they have failed. I don't give out xp when the players fail to achieve something.
    3. Sure, the townsfolk will just love mysterious arsonists who breeze into town and destroy valuable real estate for no good reason....
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  5. #15
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    But But But Umbran we pushed the easy xp button. How dare you not give us xp. You an icky mean nasty dm.
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    Totally real, non-rhetorical question from my players: Why don't we just burn the haunted house to the ground?
    Last time I designed a haunted house adventure, the players did just that.

    In G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain, a considerable portion of the 8 pages of original text is devoted to just why the PC's can't successfully burn down the dungeon, and what unpleasant things will happen if they try to do so.

    So, in general, my advice is have a plan for what happens if the PC's turn arsonist right from the start.
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  7. #17
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    The thing with burning down the house is that as with any particular course of action the players consider, they are well-served to pass it through the filter of the goals of play. The game defines those goals as the DM and the players creating an exciting, memorable story of bold adventurers who confront deadly perils and having a good time doing it.

    So the question the players could stand to ask themselves in my view - separate and apart from whether the DM will grant them XP or make gathering the treasure time-consuming or whether there will be unforeseen consequences - is whether burning down the house is going to achieve the goals of play. It might. But then again it might not. To me, it's worth thinking about before proceeding.
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  8. #18
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    Spoiler:

    Quote Originally Posted by Elon Tusk View Post
    1. I don't have my copy with me at the moment, but any coins, metal items, or magic items should be unaffected by the fire and can be collected as treasure.
    Depends. Coins will likely survive, but could be difficult to find in the rubble. Soft metal objects - gold jewelry, copper items, pewter items, metal plated items - would possibly be fire damaged, and possibly reduced in value to their weight of metal. Most gem stones would probably be destroyed. Most magic items will likely be destroyed as well - potions will boil and explode, scrolls burn up, spellbooks incinerated, wooden hafted objects will become kindling, etc. Even things like magic armor or magic swords could be damaged to the point that they are not functional - leather fasteners would burn up, hilt wrappings could be destroyed, and so forth. While this might not completely destroy a magic item if the GM was generous, it might well require a quest to find someone that could repair the item (which would generally be someone that could have created it in the first place) - "Yes, this hilt wrapping is wyvern skin... very important to the proper functioning of the magic. Without it, the dagger is just a sharp but mundane instrument. I need a new square of properly tanned wyvern hide to get this working again."

    I don't remember exactly what the building contains to find, but my sense is that most treasure low level PC's are likely to find will be gone except coins, which will be buried in the ruins and harder to find than ever. Certainly I'm going to break out my old 1e item saving throw tables for everything that isn't obviously combustible and make it pass a saving throw versus normal fire.

    2. Why deny XP for destroying enemies with fire?
    Except things that can't move, very few enemies will actually be destroyed by fire. For those that can't move, I'd deny XP because they never represented any threat - it would be like shooting animals placed in a pit. For those that can move - snakes and insects and the like - they'd bolt and lair up near the house, and very likely move back into the rubble once it stopped smoldering. Intelligent inhabitants would simply flee down into the caves.

    3. From the Saltmarsh and Environs map, the Haunted House is almost 5 miles outside of town. Would destroying a haunted house ruin the PCs' reputation with many people?
    Not initially. But the smugglers will still want people to stay away from the area. They probably will happily lay quite if the PC's burn the place down, but as soon as someone comes snooping around again, they'll need to make very clear that hauntings are still going on, and that will harm the PC's reputation big time.
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Farquhar View Post
    1. Sure, if they want to take the time to wait for it to cool down then shift painstakingly through the rubble and ash (and face the wrath of anything that happened to be lurking underground and is therefore completely unharmed).
    2. Because the mission objective was to investigate the house. If the burn it down they have failed. I don't give out xp when the players fail to achieve something.
    3. Sure, the townsfolk will just love mysterious arsonists who breeze into town and destroy valuable real estate for no good reason....
    1. Sounds more inventive and less dangerous than the alternative. If the basement ceiling is wood, it would likely burn all the down and/or would collapse on the undead below trapping or killing them. "Hey guys, should we put this fire out and search for anything valuable?" "Nah, why bother."
    2. You are welcome to give XP as you want; I prefer benchmarks myself. The standard way in the PHB states: "As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges, he or she gains experience, represented by experience points. " I would count burning enemies inside a house overcoming a challenge just as I would burning them individually with magic. I don't punish players for doing the unexpected.
    3. "Hey, that haunted house down the road that was scaring visitors away from Saltmarsh has been razed. Cool, maybe a new Starbucks will go in." or "You know that haunted house was really just a front for smugglers. And they would have gotten away with it too if wasn't for those meddling kids."
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elon Tusk View Post
    1. Sounds more inventive and less dangerous than the alternative. If the basement ceiling is wood,
    It's not.

    2. You are welcome to give XP as you want; I prefer benchmarks myself. The standard way in the PHB states: "As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges
    Exactly. No challenge is overcome by burning down the house.

    I would count burning enemies inside a house
    The players don't know if there are any enemies inside the house, and if there were, burning it down wouldn't kill them.

    I don't punish players for doing the unexpected.
    Neither do I. But I don't reward them for failure either.

    3. "Hey, that haunted house down the road that was scaring visitors away from Saltmarsh has been razed. Cool, maybe a new Starbucks will go in." or "You know that haunted house was really just a front for smugglers. And they would have gotten away with it too if wasn't for those meddling kids."
    If the players burn down the house they will never learn if it was a front for smugglers or not. And Saltmash is a fishing village, not a tourist trap, no one wants visitors.

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