DMing Princes of the apocalypse

slanteds

Villager
Hi,
I'm brand new to this forum but was hoping to get some help with my current campaign.

In the 2nd half of princes of the apocalypse the players are to venture into the various elemental temples, the entrances of which are near each of the elemental strongholds. However, maybe I'm missing something but there seems to be no in-book way to introduce these temples?

The book has enough story catches etc to get the adventurers to visit each of the strongholds, but there seems to be very few clues to lead them to the temples underground. There aren't even that many clues about the prophets and elemental gods around.

How have people introduced these temples to the players? Currently we've been through the air and water strongholds, I was thinking about dropping a lot more clues in the earth temple since the mines are shady (there's an entrance there) and there's a lich that can tell them things. Also, how have people motivated the players to investigate the temples/prophets? They found a letter from Aersi in the Spire but that seems very weak story wise so far. I'm leaning towards a bunch of elemental disasters happening throughout the valley destroying towns but not sure whether or not that would mess anything up storywise.


Thanks for any help in advance.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Welcome, have some likes.

You will see that book listed here as PotA and there are several threads about how to make it better. Or, a google search will do. I started running this over the summer and only got to level 5 so far, so I'm not sure how much help I will be.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
In three out of four cases, the entrance to the Temple is part of the surface Haunted Keep, and in the fourth there is a conveniently placed spyglass that points the entrance out. This, combined with the missing dignitaries still mostly being missing, should suffice to make the PCs investigate further. The main issue isn't how to get the PCs to explore below, it is that the adventure intends for the PCs to hit all four Keeps before hitting the Temple, and if they go straight from e.g. Rivergard Keep to Temple of the Crushing Wave, they'll be quite a bit underleveled.

As for disasters destroying towns, I'd save that for later as the cults get more desperate and/or closer to summoning their Princes. It's intended to be part of the last third. Hitting the PCs with some local troubles is totally fair though.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
There's an "Enhancing" thread for this adventure, but it hasn't had much love, for whatever reason. It does have links to several other threads relevant to the adventure, however:


If you have any suggestions, I'd love it if you'd post there!
 

snickersnax

Explorer
My solution: The purpose of the Mirabar delegation is to carefully tread the delicate political landscape to warn Goldenfields ( the largest producer of food in the region) of the impending Apocalypse. Bruldenthar the sage has accurately predicted the Apocalypse and is aware of the deeper levels of the dungeon and is responsible for creating the Delegation in an attempt gather the necessary political support to prevent it or defend against it.

Once members of the delegation begin to be rescued, they can fill the Player Characters in on Bruldenthar's knowledge of the lower levels of the dungeon (basically that they exist and that there is concern that the elemental nodes have been activated) and his theory that there is an impending doom. Once elemental catastrophes begin to occur, the steps to try to prevent it should be obvious.
 

S'mon

Legend
My 7 strong group took the Scarlet Moon Hall, then followed the tunnel down in the cellar, talked their way to the Fire Prophet, killed her, talked their way out again... Meanwhile the party Kensai is sleeping with the Master of Feathergale Spire and they are planning a joint PC/Feathergale attack on Sacred Stone Monastery to get the missing delegates taken there. Forgotten Realms: Loudwater, Princes of the Apocalypse
The only real problem I had was that the group initially went to Scarlet Moon Hall at 3rd level and nearly TPK'd. A smaller party would have.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
I ran Princes to the end. It's a good adventure, but very tricky to run for new DMs.
The layout of the book isn't the best. I changed things here and there to make it more to my liking. As for the temples, my guys didn't have any problem accessing them. They understood the layout and how they were interconnected underground. Early on in Feathergale Spire I had the leader have a rough map of the region that dropped names of temples/prophets and general locations.

One of the bigger changes wasn't even the main quest, but the one about the tomb of the dwarven axe. Per the book it's far too simplistic, so I turned it into a 3 level maze with puzzles and golem guardians.
 

sim-h

Explorer
If they rescue Bruldenthar in the Sacred Stone monastery mine/dungeon, he knows that delegates were taken 'below'. As a dwarf historian he would also know about Tyar Besil.

Also there is the Strange Map starting hook but I guess if you're already partway through it's too late for that.
 

slanteds

Villager
Thanks for all the help guys. I'm trying to lead a somewhat linear campaign rather so I think I'm going to try and let Bruldenhar have as much info as possible without losing all the intrigue. From what I can tell most of you also just found ways to drop in extra info throughout the campaign. You'd think the book would just leave some more clues in the various letters/papers that can be found in the strongholds.
 

S'mon

Legend
Thanks for all the help guys. I'm trying to lead a somewhat linear campaign rather so I think I'm going to try and let Bruldenhar have as much info as possible without losing all the intrigue. From what I can tell most of you also just found ways to drop in extra info throughout the campaign. You'd think the book would just leave some more clues in the various letters/papers that can be found in the strongholds.
Yeah, I had a player ask to read the material on Vanifer's table, I basically gave a full rundown of the 4 Temples and the 4 Prophets in addition to the spell scrolls listed there. This isn't a mystery campaign so I pretty much think the more info the better, as long as the PCs are high enough level to deal with it and won't just run away crying for Elminster. :) I'd say keep things somewhat mysterious in Tier I (level 1-4) but by Tier II (level 5-10) they can handle any of the Haunted Keeps, and with reasonably careful play even any of the dungeons, which are not as much of an increased threat as the book indicates. Some of the worst stuff is very early on, like a full Black Earth Priest in the "level 2" intro adventure in Red Larch! For new GMs you might want to just start your group at level 3 while still using the chapter 6 intro material, since IME the deadliness ramps up very quickly and Tier I PCs can very easily sandbox in over their heads.
 

S'mon

Legend
Re disasters and reprisals, I am using 1 week/Tenday long rests and a set schedule where eg if the PCs hadn't trashed the Fire Temple by the Month of Flamerule the cult would have started using Devastation Orbs on the local towns. I'm doing roughly 1 escalation element per game month, ie

1491 DR
M7 Dire Tidings (pg 76)
M8 Reckless Hate (pg 76)
M9 Race to Destruction (pg 77)
M10 Downpour (pg 113)
M11 Burning Hills (pg 113)
M12 Tortured Earth (pg 113)
1492 DR
M1 Counsel of Despair (pg 113)
M1+ Haayon the Punisher (pg 114)

If you're using overnight long rests then 1/week or 1/3 days would work better.
 
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Nebulous

Adventurer
We found the water node to be a real long slog. I added a few encounters but we just didn't enjoy it altogether. Feathergale Spire was my favorite of all the scenarios.

EDIT - oh I remember another big change. The devastation orbs can be combined to form a super devastation orb, of which there were only a few. These were noted on the map taken from Feathergale. Basically it's a nuke, and Beliard was completely destroyed by an elemental something as the PCs fled for their lives. You should have seen their faces when I showed them the picture. The other orb gets stolen and that led to a huge side quest in Yartar.

 
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Nebulous

Adventurer
I guess over the course of the adventure I did change and tweak lots of things. For instance, Haayon the Punisher was moved to Red Larch where he and the orcs subjugated the citizens during the PCs long absences. And he was a death giant in my version. Maybe he was originally, I can't remember the details, it was years ago.
 
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Nebulous

Adventurer
And the lost people the PCs are hunting for were priests of the Elemental Princes of Good, as a direct fight against the evil elemental Princes, but the cults pretty much wiped them out.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
Session #1 – Red Larch
Session #2 – Berthunder’s Warehouse
Session #3 – Tomb of the Delvers
Session #4 – Terror at Lance Rock
Session #5 – Shallow Graves
Session #6 – Feathergale Spire
Session #7 – Lair of the Purple Wyrm
Session #8 – Escape from Feathergale Spire
Session #9 – Assault on Feathergale Spire
Session #10 -Deathtrap at Feathergale Spire
Session #11 – Rivergard Keep
Session #12– Beliard
Session #13 – Vale of the Dancing Waters
Session #14 – Return to Red Larch
Session #15 – Temple of the Howling Hatred
Session #16 – Queen Aerisi
Session #17 – Serena’s Deception
Session #18 – The Deception Continues
Session #19 – Sacred Stone Monastery, Part 1
Session #20 – Sacred Stone Monastery, Part 2
Session #21 – Sacred Stone Monastery, Part 3
Session #22 – Temple of the Black Earth
Session #23 – A Near Death Escape
Session #24 – Return to Black Earth Temple
Session #25 – Time to Leave
Session #26 – A Bullette Surprise & Future Plans
Session #27 – Air Temple Redux
Session #28 – Fane of the Eye
Session #29 – Guardians of the Earth Node
Session #30 – More Guardians of the Earth Node
Session #31 – The Medusa’s Node
Session #32 – Death to the Earth Node!
Session #33 – The Howling Caves
Session #34 – Death to the AIR Node!
Session #35 – The Lost Crown of Besilmer
Session #36 – The Looting of Black Earth Temple
Session #37 – Haayon the Punisher
Session #38 – Haayon’s Folly
Session #39 – A Doom of Ice and Fire
Session #40 – At the Halls of the Hunting Axe
Session #41 – The Lost Tomb of King Torild, Part 1
Session #42 -The Lost Tomb of King Torild, Part 2
Session #43 – Drannin’s Trap!
Session #44 – Return to the Vale of Dancing Waters
Session #45 – The Utter Defeat of Rivergard Keep
Session #46 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 1
Session #47 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 2
Session #48 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 3
Session #49 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 4 – A Coven of Hags
Session #50 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 5 – The Enemy Flees
Session #51 – Temple of the Crushing Wave, Part 6 – Copper Vat Sucker Punch!
Session #52 – Another Horrible Devil & a Lizardish Battle
Session #53 – Enter the Water Node
Session #54 – The Water Node, Part 2
Session #55 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 1
Session #56 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 2
Session #57 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 3 (A.K.A. – “Sick of the Water Node“)
Session #58 – Death of Gar Shatterkeel
Session #59 – Serena & The Book of the Exalted
Session #60 – Yartar Faction War
Session #61 – Lair of the Krakenspawn
Session #62 – Demise of the Cointoss Tavern
Session #63 – “Where the Flame Still Flickers…”
Session #64 – Temple of the Eternal Flame
Session #65 – Temple of the Eternal Flame, Part 2
Session #66 – Temple of the Eternal Flame, Part 3- Brass Golem
Session #67 – Fane of the Triad
Session #68 – Death to the Fire Node!
Session #69 – Retreat From the Fire Node
Session #70 – Battle of the Triad, Part 1
Session #71 – Battle of the Triad, Part 2
Session #72 – Escape from the Fane of the Eye
Session #73 – Symbol of the Fiery Throat
Session #74 - The Machinations of Imix
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
Session #53 – Enter the Water Node
Session #54 – The Water Node, Part 2
Session #55 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 1
Session #56 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 2
Session #57 – Assault on Shatterkeel, Part 3 (A.K.A. – “Sick of the Water Node“)
Session #58 – Death of Gar Shatterkeel


See, we were in that damn water node WAY WAY too long, just endless fights and stalemates.
 
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Nebulous

Adventurer
Oh, here's another big change. The Triad. I had dropped clues about this earlier in the campaign. It's a secret 5th elemental cult of The All Seeing Eye. The cabal is in the Fane of the Eye, and The Triad are three undead drow that casts spells as one unit, 3 spells a round. Each one specialized in a certain school of magic. They were sons of bitches and scared the party to death as a boss fight, one of the hardest in the game. The PCs never actually got to fight an elemental Prince. But the big bad finale a player was handed the statblock for IMIX himself and laid waste to a whole lot of shit. lol

Session #70 – Battle of the Triad, Part 1
Session #71 – Battle of the Triad, Part 2
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
These five session were also among my favorite, and these were homebrewed. This is where the PCs are trying to hunt down the stolen super devastation orb, a dirty nuke that any evil faction could use to hold the realms hostage under threat of annihilation (like how Beliard was wiped off the map). It was a really, really fun set of sessions that had mixed political agendas.

Session #59 – Serena & The Book of the Exalted
Session #60 – Yartar Faction War
Session #61 – Lair of the Krakenspawn
Session #62 – Demise of the Cointoss Tavern
Session #63 – “Where the Flame Still Flickers…”
 

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