DDEX1-5 The Courting of Fire GM notes and discussion

Ricochet

Explorer
Originally posted by AlHazred:


Hi,

(Please note if you are a player in expeditions, this thread is not for you)

I was waiting for Tyranthraxus to make more threads for more Expeditions modules, but then it occurred to me I could just do it.

This thread is for discussion of the fifth Expeditions adventure, The Courting of Fire. I see it as a forum topic for us to talk what has gone right and wrong within the adventure, the combat tactics we use, the embelishments we made, the props we use and so on.

If you find links to maps, diagrams etc that you found useful when preparing to run this, please share them.

Please keep in mind this thread isn't for players' tales (unless one of your players broke open the scenario for you). They are purely for DM inspiration and discussion.

The reason they are in here, and not in the Dungeon Masters' area of the forum is that, we really just want discussion here from AL DMs as we have a certain toolkit to work with which other Dungeon Masters do not.




Originally posted by AlHazred:


For my games, I like to make props. The module opening mentions a wanted poster that says "Wanted for Thievery Most Cunning," mentions his crimes, and has "a caricature of a young male human... [with] protruding, rat-like ears and beady eyes." I'd love to make the poster, but I can't find a good caricature drawing to put on it. Anyone find something appropriate?


Spernik and Tibeem’s Room
[sblock]I note that, in the description of Spernik and Tibeem's room, it says "one of the dressers has a false panel." This seems bizarre since it's likely the furniture either came with the job, or was purchased in Phlan with the assumedly limited funds the two scribes had. When I ran this, I changed it so that the hidden stuff was sewn into the mattress of the lower bunk; a DC15 Investigate check revealed the strangely-lumpy nature of the mattress, leading to the items' discovery.


[/sblock]


Originally posted by DM_HEEGZ:


I suggest doing an image search for Dominic Monaghan, Nicolas Cage or Steve Buscemi. I also found this:

flierNYPDnys_0.jpg





Originally posted by HeresyDM:


Here's something I whipped up real quick from that:

Spernik_1.jpg





Originally posted by lieumorrison:


HeresyDM wrote: Here's something I whipped up real quick from that:
That is pretty sweet, Thanks!




Originally posted by AlHazred:


HeresyDM wrote: Here's something I whipped up real quick from that:
That is AWESOME!


Originally posted by Thank_Dog:


Nice wanted poster, thanks, I'll definitely use that.

Anyone done any maps? I used to be great at maps but ever since my Mac died and I've been forced to use a PC, I haven't the capability of making them... because PC's suck
smile.gif





Originally posted by Thank_Dog:


Is it just me or is this adventure really badly written?

The section on Sperkik (6 Circle of the Circle... which is a stupid title as well), for instance, contradicts itself constantly. He'll attack but he won't attack. He'll surrender but he won't surrender. It's like... bloody hell, make up your mind Mr. Writer!

Then there's some of the silly language he uses as if trying to impress and failing. He even manages to use "surpassing" incorrectly. Guh, I wish I'd chosen Dues or Scroll Thief to run :/




Originally posted by Uthrac:


Thank_Dog wrote:Is it just me or is this adventure really badly written?
I haven't read the adventure myself yet, but the Adventure Designer, Developers, and Editors are listed on the front of each adventure.

In past campaigns, as the adventure libraries grew, many DMs used this information to decide which adventures to run and which to avoid. Different Adventure Designers tend to write toward different play styles. Different developers and reviewers have strengths and weaknesses in varrying skill areas, etc.

I suspect that over time, players and DMs got to know my writing/reviewing style for LFR and knew what type of adventure to expect when my name was on the cover. (... and I suspect there was a good range from people who were excited and had high expectations to people who dreadded anything I touched.) And, of course, the 95% of people who have no idea who I am because they just wanted to play the adventure.
smile.gif





Originally posted by Skerrit:


Also, please note that there is a public google doc we have posted with spots for errors that you catch (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g6wYyw972Thm0J2_wvOTDcdzmE02VLW6vfz7ttNIH_A/edit?pli=1). Every so often, we download the doc, check the comments that people think are errors and update the adventure accordingly. It also means that if you have the ability to redownload an adventure for when you run it, its a good idea to do so. We also post the changes we know of to that document so that if you cannot redownload the adventure (or it hasn't been updated yet), you can always just go get the document. Now the changes are normally just grammar or other typos, so you can run it with an old copy, but a new one might flow a bit better when you read that boxed text!






Originally posted by Tyranthraxus:


In the Crypt room there are 2 ghouls and a skeleton, there is however no box to either weaken or strengthen this encounter? Is this on purpose?




Originally posted by Thank_Dog:


The first part of this adventure is an investigation however you have to improvise in order to get the PC's to the only clue that matters: the map to the stone circle. If you don't, then there is virtually no reason for the players to go to the store where it's found. The only clue is a very vague scribbled supplies list and some vague mentions that they were stocking up for a trip. All the other avenues of investigation are pointless dead-ends.

I had to mention Cockburn's several times before they finally decided that they had no other leads and so they thought they'd check it out. And I don't blame them in the slightest because as a player I'm quite certain I'd not consider the supplies store as a place to determine the whereabouts of the cultist.




Originally posted by HeresyDM:


The Lord Sage also gives info about the druid circle (it is part of the information that was changed in the forged books), they could get directions to the circle from there too. The map at Cockburn's is just a much more obvious bread crumb trail.




Originally posted by Thank_Dog:


HeresyDM wrote:The Lord Sage also gives info about the druid circle (it is part of the information that was changed in the forged books), they could get directions to the circle from there too. The map at Cockburn's is just a much more obvious bread crumb trail.
The only thing the lord sage knows about anything is that it's possible that maybe they've gone to somewhere in the Dragonspine Mountains. So no, he can't give directions. In fact, it would be pretty stupid if he could since that would negate the need for the entirety of Part 1 of the module.




Originally posted by HeresyDM:


Thank_Dog wrote:
HeresyDM wrote:The Lord Sage also gives info about the druid circle (it is part of the information that was changed in the forged books), they could get directions to the circle from there too. The map at Cockburn's is just a much more obvious bread crumb trail.
The only thing the lord sage knows about anything is that it's possible that maybe they've gone to somewhere in the Dragonspine Mountains. So no, he can't give directions. In fact, it would be pretty stupid if he could since that would negate the need for the entirety of Part 1 of the module.
The Lord Sage doesn't give directions to the circle but he provides the clues to find the information; the original books have what is needed (the Lord Sage points out what parts have been changed in the forgeries.) The book Lex Geographica has the information about the druid circle that the party could use to get there.




Originally posted by Pauper:


The implication is that Tibeem created the map from references in Lex Geographica and The History of the North -- not that either book itself contains a map. (Note the cartographic compass found at Tibeem's desk in the Scribe's Hall.)

A PC who is proficient with cartographer's tools could likely re-create Tibeem's map from the references in the actual books, though.

--
Pauper




Originally posted by AlHazred:


My players found the place where Tibeem put his map together, and just used a pencil to get one of their own.




Originally posted by sigfile:


Skerrit wrote:Also, please note that there is a public google doc we have posted with spots for errors that you catch (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g6wYyw972Thm0J2_wvOTDcdzmE02VLW6vfz7ttNIH_A/edit?pli=1). Every so often, we download the doc, check the comments that people think are errors and update the adventure accordingly. It also means that if you have the ability to redownload an adventure for when you run it, its a good idea to do so. We also post the changes we know of to that document so that if you cannot redownload the adventure (or it hasn't been updated yet), you can always just go get the document. Now the changes are normally just grammar or other typos, so you can run it with an old copy, but a new one might flow a bit better when you read that boxed text!
To that end, can we add a "last updated" date on the front page of each mod? That'll help us determine if we're using the current version or not.




Originally posted by Uthrac:


As a side note, Cockburns is a terrible name for a grocery store. Totally destroys immersion.

My players felt it should have been a brothel, for example.




Originally posted by Pauper:


It's actually pronounced 'COA-burns' (like the singer/songwriter for 'Last Night of the World'). I imagine the writer has a Coborn's near where he/she lives and wanted to put in a homage.




Originally posted by Kalani:


I have a problem. My party killed Spernik and returned his head to the Lord Sage, which is causing conflict with "Tyranny in Phlan" in that Spernik is dead and therefore cannot possibly stand trial. I am also lead to believe that Spernik makes an appearance in other adventures which is problematic.

I am wondering whether I should simply have Spernik be resurrected, or simply replace him with another character of a different name.




Originally posted by Skerrit:


Kalani wrote:I have a problem. My party killed Spernik and returned his head to the Lord Sage, which is causing conflict with "Tyranny in Phlan" in that Spernik is dead and therefore cannot possibly stand trial. I am also lead to believe that Spernik makes an appearance in other adventures which is problematic.

I am wondering whether I should simply have Spernik be resurrected, or simply replace him with another character of a different name.
Please see my response in the Tyranny thread.




Originally posted by Pauper:


Kalani wrote:I am wondering whether I should simply have Spernik be resurrected, or simply replace him with another character of a different name.
I suspect my table will do the same, so I already have a backstory planned where someone in a Black Fist uniform approaches the Lord Sage (or whomever else has the head) and demands it be turned over. Alternately, the person might be dressed as a Kelemvorite and request the head for proper internment. (In either case, the actual person is a member of the Cult of the Dragon in disguise, recovering Spernik's head so that he can be raised from the dead.)

I understand the need for an OP campaign to have canon -- if the world is one shared world, then there can only be one way certain events 'happen', after all -- but I'm also not a fan of telling my players, "You remember that thing you think you did? Didn't happen." Players might never have the time or interest to pursue an investigation into why things worked out differently in the 'real world' than they think it should have based on their actions, but I like to have an explanation ready all the same.

--
Pauper




Originally posted by Kalani:


As I did not want to undermine the PCs victory, and felt that resurrection was a cop-out, I ended up going with the following solution.


  • The players killed another cultist who was masquarading as Spernik (acting as a double), most likely to throw the Blackfist off his trail. As nobody within the Blackfist knew what the real Spernik looked like (or if any did, they had been recruited to the Cult), they assumed the PCs had killed the "real" Spernik and had closed the case, relying on the testimony of the PCs to confirm his identity. Nobody within the Blackfist followed up or confirmed the identity of Spernik with the Lord Sage or anyone from the Library.
  • Having heard through his contacts that the Blackfist believed Spernik to be dead (and had physical proof to validate this), Spernik grew overconfident, and sloppy. This resulted in him being captured several days after the PCs returned to Phlan following their victory in Courting with Fire. Cocky, and self-righteous, the real Spernik gloated about how he had fooled the Blackfist into believing him dead. This prompted the Blackfist to speak directly with the Lord Sage, who confirmed his identity.

By going this route, Spernik was captured as a direct result of the PCs actions (as he would not have gotten sloppy/overconfident had his double not been slain), thereby rewarding them for their efforts without requiring me to introduce a new NPC in place of Spernik, nor having Spernik somehow survive/resurrect from an obvious beheading.




Originally posted by Pauper:


Kalani wrote:As I did not want to undermine the PCs victory, and felt that resurrection was a cop-out, I ended up going with the following solution.


  • The players killed another cultist who was masquarading as Spernik (acting as a double), most likely to throw the Blackfist off his trail. As nobody within the Blackfist knew what the real Spernik looked like (or if any did, they had been recruited to the Cult), they assumed the PCs had killed the "real" Spernik and had closed the case, relying on the testimony of the PCs to confirm his identity. Nobody within the Blackfist followed up or confirmed the identity of Spernik with the Lord Sage or anyone from the Library.
  • Having heard through his contacts that the Blackfist believed Spernik to be dead (and had physical proof to validate this), Spernik grew overconfident, and sloppy. This resulted in him being captured several days after the PCs returned to Phlan following their victory in Courting with Fire. Cocky, and self-righteous, the real Spernik gloated about how he had fooled the Blackfist into believing him dead. This prompted the Blackfist to speak directly with the Lord Sage, who confirmed his identity.

By going this route, Spernik was captured as a direct result of the PCs actions (as he would not have gotten sloppy/overconfident had his double not been slain), thereby rewarding them for their efforts without requiring me to introduce a new NPC in place of Spernik, nor having Spernik somehow survive/resurrect from an obvious beheading.
It's an interesting idea -- it's a given that the caricature of Spernik on his wanted poster isn't detailed enough to identify him precisely -- but the 'you actually killed Spernik's double' explanation kind of turns all of this module into an idiot plot (in that, it only works if everyone involved is an idiot):



Show
[sblock]- Any character who has played Secrets of Sokol Keep has seen Spernik before, eating dinner with Tibeem and Ellison at the Laughing Goblin. Any PC who tried to interact with them before the bar brawl broke out, or who has a high Intelligence and/or the Keen Mind feat ("You can accurately recall anything you have seen or heard within the past month.") should at least get a chance to see through the double's masquerade.
- It should be noted that the reward is being offered by the Lord Sage, so it's likely the characters will turn Spernik over to him rather than the Black Fist to collect the reward -- and the Lord Sage, or at least those who work for him, should easily be able to tell the characters that the man they're turning in isn't the man he's looking for. Assuming the party turns Spernik in to the Black Fist (skipping the Lord Sage's reward), someone from the Black Fist would likely bring him to the Lord Sage, if only to pick up some easy gold, which is effectively the same problem.
- Lastly, why would Spernik equip a double with the hard-won information he and Tibeem gleaned from the Lord Sage's library unless he already knew that adventurers would be sent to find him, and they'd be successful in backtracing his trail? After all, if the double succeeds, then he, not Spernik, would get credit with the Cult, while failure is still on Spernik's shoulders (since the presumption is that Spernik wouldn't tell anyone in the Cult that he wasn't going himself). But in order for the double to fulfill Spernik's role in the module, the double would have to also be a cult fanatic...


[/sblock]
Of course, if your players are the sort not to go back and revisit old storylines with the benefit of new information (I understand some people really enjoyed the movie "The Prestige", for instance), this might work out fine.

--
Pauper




Originally posted by tjf:


What time of day/night did everyone use for the arrival time at The Standing Stones? This greatly affects the encounter as the Kobolds will have disadvantage during the day.
I'm planning on day for weak party, night for strong party but still up in the air on average party.




Originally posted by Alphastream:


tjf wrote:What time of day/night did everyone use for the arrival time at The Standing Stones? This greatly affects the encounter as the Kobolds will have disadvantage during the day.
I'm planning on day for weak party, night for strong party but still up in the air on average party.
I leave it to the players. I give them the time of day at various points, and if they really want to find every bit of info they probably end up arriving at night... unless they want to stay overnight somewhere (either in town or on the road) so they arrive by day.

It is a lot harder at night, for sure. Two things:

- You can expressly ask them what time they want to arrive if the party is weak, as they will probably choose to arrive during daytime.
- You can use tactics to make up for the decision. If fighting during the day at disadvantage and if that's too easy, the kobolds should work carefully to grant each other advantage (which cancels, for a normal attack roll). If they are at night, you can spread them out and have them be less tactical so they don't get advantage too often, if that would be more fun.






Originally posted by DaMacGuy:


Anyone figure out a substitute reference for the "red scale" that's suppose to be in the notebook (per page 8)? Or did you just leave it out?




Originally posted by Yokel60:


I just got home from playing this and we ran into an issue. We convinced the Half-Orc Fighter in our party to see what those puddles in the floor were, and up popped 3 gray oozes. He had metal armor and a metal sword, so he took some damage on both and we cannot find rules on how to repair the item. Does anyone know if there are rules for this?

Thanks for the help. I really enjoyed the adventure.

Yokel




Originally posted by janosicek:


Repairing costs half of the item price at the blacksmith. Destroyed item cannot be repaired.




Originally posted by Pauper:


janosicek wrote:Repairing costs half of the item price at the blacksmith. Destroyed item cannot be repaired.
Do you have a reference for this ruling?

--
Pauper




Originally posted by janosicek:


I saw it in some adventure, but cannot find where... Might be unofficial
sad.gif





Originally posted by ZHDarkstar:


As I'm about to run this myself tomorrow, the cost/mechanic of repair is something that may come up. I can't find any mundane means of repairing damaged items. However, one potential workaround that has some foundation by RAW would be one casting of Mending (a cantrip that has gained popularity at my tables ever since the infinite mundane ammo trick* was discovered) per -1 penalty. Since the penalties accrue via multiple contacts, it would be fair to rule each penalty as a separate break in the affected item. It's an easy ruling to go by that doesn't require rulings on mundane repair costs and how penalties reflect upon resale value, making it the option that has the least potential to create table-to-table economic variation.

*Players recover all expended ammo after combat, both broken and intact. Mending is cast on broken ammo in between encounters and during rests. Unless every arrow and bolt is splitting most of the way down the shaft, it's unlikely that the breaks in the arrows are bigger than one foot in any dimension. Rather than make a decision that discourages creative interaction with the game, I congratulated my players of finding a rules-legal means of reducing their upkeep costs and bookkeeping time. Even without this trick, X amount of ammo can last for X-1 encounters by RAW if only 2 shots are fired each encounter. The 50% back rule created a loophole that allows for 20 arrows to be fired 39 times before every arrow is broken, causing the price per use to be a little over half of the market price per arrow (0.256 sp vs 0.5 sp). Since it can observed that the ammo rules is a luxury tax scam that see diminishing returns based on frequency of use, there's nothing more American than using an even better loophole.
 

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Ricochet

Explorer
The Courting of Fire questions/comments (spoilers)

Originally posted by KippleSnacks:

I ran into a few issues while running Courting of Fire, though was able to run with it sufficiently enough that the group enjoyed the session (which is what matters), but would love some assistance for if/when I run it again.
 
1)  Within the XP rewards section, there is a list for a "Spy" and an enemy, as well as a rather burly Bandit Captain that does not appear to be used anywhere. 
 
2)  My players got super interested with that "Third person" Markoth saw Tibeem and Spirnik with, and without any further explanation for me in the adventure, had to adlib it.
 
3) As for finding the map to the circle of scales, the adventure states that if they have issues finding the map, the Lord Sage can tell them the way.  I see this as likely just upsetting players in a "Why didn't he just tell us?" sort of way.  My players didn't even think of scouring grocery stores (and seriously, we wouldent know how many there could possibly be in Phlan).  In the end, I let them combine an Investigation and a Cartography check between two characters to create their own map from the two books that got left behind, which wound up pleasing my players greatly.
 
4)  One of (though not the only) the most logical things for a good party to do with the scale at the end (especially believing it to be an artifact rather than a measely 300 gp art piece) would be to let the undead druid remain as a guardian and reseal the temple, however that is rough screwing the party out of 300 gp (as the adventure doesn't give very much otherwise)  for doing a right/logical thing (as they didn't trust the Lord Sage to keep it because he was dumped by the idiot that is Spirnik).
 
Otherwise, great fun, we had a warlock, a wizard, a sorcerer, two bards, and a cleric, so interesting to see problems get solved without any super brute force (well, at least after they decided to Leroy Jenkins the first zombie room...).


Originally posted by Skerrit:

KippleSnacks wrote:2)  My players got super interested with that "Third person" Markoth saw Tibeem and Spirnik with, and without any further explanation for me in the adventure, had to adlib it.
 
Its a reference to a DDEX1-6 The Scroll Thief. That should probably be noted in the adventure.


Originally posted by KippleSnacks:

Skerrit wrote: 
KippleSnacks wrote:2)  My players got super interested with that "Third person" Markoth saw Tibeem and Spirnik with, and without any further explanation for me in the adventure, had to adlib it.
 
 
Its a reference to a DDEX1-6 The Scroll Thief. That should probably be noted in the adventure.
 
Well, went and read through the scroll thief, seems much more coherent now then...  Though my party did have fun making Evelyn, Spirnik's sage friend who unwittingly helped with draconic translations, cry in front of the Lord Sage... They also made Spirnik cry before bringing him to Phlan... I think that party liked making NPCs cry.


Originally posted by OrganicDoom:

Were there any magic items gained from this mod. One 300gp scale split between th party seems pretty low?


Originally posted by Skerrit:

There is other gp and items beyond the scale.


Originally posted by KippleSnacks:

Skerrit wrote:There is other gp and items beyond the scale.
 
Absolutely, and nobody was very disatisfied (especially the guy who got the Ring of Fire Resist).


Originally posted by AlHazred:

Skerrit wrote: 
KippleSnacks wrote:2)  My players got super interested with that "Third person" Markoth saw Tibeem and Spirnik with, and without any further explanation for me in the adventure, had to adlib it.
 
 
Its a reference to a DDEX1-6 The Scroll Thief. That should probably be noted in the adventure.
Does that mean this should be run before Scroll Thief? I've got a pretty consistent group at my hobby store for game days, and Scroll Thief was going to be this Saturday's module du jour. If it will add something to run Courting of Fire first, I'll do that, I'd just like to know.

Originally posted by Skerrit:

Its doable either way, but in general, the adventures often reference each other (and so occur in a rough chronilogical order that occurs in the same order as their release). The references are small and matter really only if you are very invested (which of course we encourage) or if you are not good at suspending your disbelief since an event is occuring out of order.


Originally posted by Pauper:

AlHazred wrote:Does that mean this should be run before Scroll Thief? I've got a pretty consistent group at my hobby store for game days, and Scroll Thief was going to be this Saturday's module du jour. If it will add something to run Courting of Fire first, I'll do that, I'd just like to know.
 
Spoiler alert!
 

Show
[sblock]The three are actually noted, by name, in Secrets of Sokol Keep (DDEX1-2) as being in the Laughing Goblin prior to the bar fight. A suitably charismatic PC might even convince them to share their names, though the text of the adventure suggests they're only interested in keeping to themselves.[/sblock] 
Again, nothing wrong with running the adventures in any order, but running them in release order allows for little 'hey, remember that guy' moments like this.
 
--
Pauper


Originally posted by Uthrac:

We had fun with this adventure, however ...
 
1. Specific observation: My PCs felt bad for the escaped thief. He offered to return the books, turned over his treasure ... but it's pretty clear that returning him for his crime of theft (and guilt by association) is death ... so the PCs have the moral dilema of returning a 19-year-old thief to be executed and claim their reward or let him go and get nothing. We hate it when mechanical rewards are tied to roleplaying decisions. (i.e. If he could offer them a tip to a secreted stash worth the same as the reward, that would shift the focus away from getting paid.) What really dragged the adventure down was that, after going through the RP with the thief, the PCs meet the guardian ... and are immediately faced with another choice ... leave the undead guardians of a thing they didn't even know about, or kill him and take it back for cash. The two encounters were interesting, but being similar and back-to-back was overkill. 
 
2. General observation: Expedition adventures are becoming formulaic. Do some investigation, then dungeon crawl. It would be nice to see more variety (as in DDEX1-1).


Originally posted by akaddk:

I had two assassins in the party. They hung back out of the light's radius. Door that Spernik was hiding behind was opened. Dialogue started. Then... thunk, thunk. Two assassin's arrows with surprise came out of the darkness.
 
Sigh.


Originally posted by Pauper:

@Uthrac -- It does seem like many of the early adventures have a similar setup, but many of the Year 1 adventures in LFR were pretty formulaic as well, which is one reason they didn't get a lot of replay (at least in our area). Heck, I recall one 1-1 level LFR mod (IMPI 1-1) where the initial encounter had pretty much nothing to do with the rest of the adventure!
 
Still, I wouldn't mind seeing an AL module constructed along the lines of BALD 1-2 "The Night I Let the Undead Out" or CORM 1-1 "The Black Knight of Arabel" Even DALE 1-1 "The Prospect" got some replay, despite being a pretty simple module, because it led into an interesting story series.
 
Part of the problem might well be that we've basically only got one 'story area' right now, so the adventures for that story area are going to seem pretty same-y until the bigger plot becomes more apparent. After all 'investigating in Westgate' has a different feel from 'investigating in Waterdeep' or 'investigating in Baldur's Gate'; right now, pretty much all the investigations are in or around Phlan, which helps make the investigations feel same-y, because the same spots (the Stojanow Gate, the Laughing Goblin, Valhingen Graveyard) keep coming up. Some players may appreciate the familiarity and 'getting to know the area', but others may find it less interesting.
 
--
Pauper


Originally posted by TheDireOne:

Uthrac wrote:We had fun with this adventure, however ...
 
1. Specific observation: My PCs felt bad for the escaped thief. He offered to return the books, turned over his treasure ... but it's pretty clear that returning him for his crime of theft (and guilt by association) is death ... so the PCs have the moral dilema of returning a 19-year-old thief to be executed and claim their reward or let him go and get nothing. We hate it when mechanical rewards are tied to roleplaying decisions. (i.e. If he could offer them a tip to a secreted stash worth the same as the reward, that would shift the focus away from getting paid.) What really dragged the adventure down was that, after going through the RP with the thief, the PCs meet the guardian ... and are immediately faced with another choice ... leave the undead guardians of a thing they didn't even know about, or kill him and take it back for cash. The two encounters were interesting, but being similar and back-to-back was overkill. 
 
2. General observation: Expedition adventures are becoming formulaic. Do some investigation, then dungeon crawl. It would be nice to see more variety (as in DDEX1-1).
 
I really like the Expedition adventures flow. I ran 6 of them this past weekend and really loved piecing the bits together as I went along. The investigation really lends to the role playing aspect of the game. Gives a real meaning to skills and the rolls made. I do agree that 1-1 had great variety.  Also I really like the faction element. My defense of a caged fellow to be released in opposition to the party was another great RP moment. Its a great add to the normal party actions.


Originally posted by Alphastream:

When I read this adventure I was a bit worried with the investigations. In play, however, they actually work very well. The scenes are generally interesting to players and there are a lot of bits the DM can use to make the scenes fun. Several of the scenes can be used to short-cut the investigation if time is running low, or to lead to other scenes if things are going too quickly. I've ran the adventure about 5 times and really ended up liking it. 
 
There are some places where players can get dissatisfied. The map is one, but I think that's easy - if you need for them to just be able to get there, it is far better to have an action the PCs take trigger this. Any of the scenes could produce the actual map. Or, information that is just enough for the sage to be able to create a map. You never want the players to feel they wasted their time (and I don't think the adventure is meaning to suggest that happen. I think it is suggesting that the DM improvise if needed.). 
 
The ending is another. Here I again ended up liking that it is in my hands. Sometimes they want to murder the guy... and if that's great then I facilitate it. Sometimes I have him do some fast-talking, and then the kobolds turn against him... which is a cool choice for the PCs whether to now save him or continue the original plan. You can get some nice morals/alignment moments from this. I like to think of the scene having an invisible throttle on how much I let the PCs know that he might be saved/redeemed and it is a lot of fun. The very end is similar. Sometimes players don't want to open the door. If that will be satisfying to them, no problem, done. If they seem really hesitant and aren't enjoying that decision (but think they have to make it), that's where I'll provide some information or encourage checks that tell them some additional bits and make the decision more fun. For example, that someone seems to be involved other than the players here and will probably come looking. That the factions may want whatever is inside. I adjust to taste and keep the scene from being a disappointment. So far, every run has been fun even though the tables have made very different choices.
 


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