Mini Encounter Contest: Heat Two

Select a winner for Heat Two

  • Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop

    Votes: 10 21.3%
  • Fires in Bisiv's Forge

    Votes: 5 10.6%
  • Enough to Drive you Batty

    Votes: 8 17.0%
  • Crocodile Tears

    Votes: 16 34.0%
  • The Trouble with Dryads

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Marshall Law

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • King Troll and his Pet Rex

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Jakob Stonewarren

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • The Endless Maze

    Votes: 2 4.3%

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First Post
I voted for Crocodile Tears.
But it was a hard choice. Almost all of them were interesting
and several were really good.
1,2,3 or 4 could have gotten my vote. It depended on my mood.

I wish the heats had been smaller. It might make voting

[*]Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop
[4]Fires in Bisiv's Forge --- great mystery
[2]Enough to Drive you Batty -- Loved the NPC
[1]Crocodile Tears --- I could build several adventures on
--- this alone and it made me think
--- of other options and twists
[3]The Trouble with Dryads --- Could be a great recurring
--- character.
[*]Marshall Law -- intresting NPC. And might use an idea.
[*]King Troll and his Pet Rex -- interesting possibilitie
[*]Jakob Stonewarren
[*]The Endless Maze (.zip file)


First Post
*Bump* Keep it near the top while I read the entries...
Last edited:

Skarp Hedin

First Post
Woo! It's 2:30 AM! What better time for a *bump*?
I'd think these contest polls should be in that always-at-the-top Announcement position, but maybe you can only have one of those at a time.


i have been lurking on this board for a while and only just figured out what bump meant, and well this needs a bump :)

glad to see that the polls for the contest are up and running again, cant wait to see when mine shows up. missed the first one cause i only spotted it on the news page after it had closed.


First Post
I prefered "Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop" and "Fires in Bisiv's Forge".

I won't say which I voted for because it could have gone either way.


The only problem with heats is that there were about 3 I prefered in this heat over the entries from the first heat. This would not be a problem except that there is going to be more than 1 winner.


I also thought this heat was a better one...

1. Uncle Bill's Pawn shop
I really liked the idea of setting up the PCs in this encounter. It also gave room for a lot of character intercation, with Jamis, Uncle Bill, Karl later on, etc.
A very good entry.

2. Fires in Bisiv's Forge
Another very good one. I will probably use the dome, and perhaps the whole encounter. The only thing I missed was perhaps a better description of the curse.

3. Enough to drive you batty
A kobold sorcerer that argues with his bat familiar? What could you want more? Another classy entry, and the one I voted for in the end.
The Neutral Kobold and the caves are both independently usable, I think, and the idea was just neat.

4. Crocodile's Tears
Another very good one, as I happen to like crocodiles, and the sunken temple idea was fitting. It was another close call, but in the end, Batty won out.

5. The trouble with Dryads
The thing I didn't like was that no map of the caves were provided. Also, a little more background towards the Dryad would have been nice; the detail tha the shambler is "in love" with her struck me as a great idea that should have been worked out a little more.

6. Marshall Law
I liked the NPC a lot. I still am not sure what the wagon trail has to do with the Marshall, and therefore I think the encounter wasn't well knitted together, but I will probably use the Marshall nevertheless. A bit more about the Torch would have been nice, too.

7. King Troll and his pet Rex
I honestly got confused by the bad style the adventure was written in. It was also a little to abrupt for my tastes, with little to no introduction or motivation notes. Also, the Rust Monster pet has no bearing. The weapons of the PCs are strewn around, but not destroyed? So King Troll doesn't feed his pet?

8. Jakob Stonewarren
A nice Idea, though I don't know how Jakob could survive in the mine that long. What was he living from? How did he fashion his armor from mithril veins? A dwarven drider, though, is neat.
The introduction was a little short, as well.

9. the Endless Maze
One thing that bugged me was the split pages. It only heightened the idea of seperating the three parts of the encounter, and I really lost any connection between these three. What is the encounter about? What happens, and why? Somehow it got lost.



First Post
Morrus said:

Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop
Fires in Bisiv's Forge
Enough to Drive you Batty
Crocodile Tears
The Trouble with Dryads
Marshall Law
King Troll and his Pet Rex
Jakob Stonewarren
The Endless Maze

An' interestin' list, to be sure....but there are only two standouts, in me ever-so-humble-opinion: "Crocodile Tears", an' "Enogh to Drive You Batty".

Both have strong character concepts an' good (believable) hooks. Neither smack of either "Railroading" or "Munchkiness". An' hey, they both followed the contest rules! How about that!

But I think Crocodile Tears has the stronger location, so I'm votin' fer it. Sorry, 'Batty.

As fer th' others:
*Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop is a great idea, but it's likely ta get th' player's dander up. I mean: hey, they're screwed, unless they're careful. ...But if they do take their time, they're likely ta by-pass the trap at the end all-together......<hint, hint>

*"Fires....." Neat idea, but doesn't do much fer me. Perhaps if the ghost starts pocessing PCs......

* "The trouble with Dryads" Les' jus' say that someone should.....<edit> ....jees, every response I write fer this one is likely ta offend someone, so I'll jus' keep me trap shut......

*"Marshall Law" As presented this is jus' too direct an' in yer' annoying. Players would figger out the "recurring villian" part pretty quick...... Maybe a talented DM could pull it off tho'.

*"King Troll and his pet Rex" Err, not sure where this one comes from. Seems to combine all the "Railroad the PCs" element-cliches I could think of. I hope yer players don't have their own weapons scattered about...'cause they're likely ta use them on the DM. An' why isn't the rust monster eatin' the weapons, again?

*"Jacob Stonewarren" Cool, but.....well....jus' combines my "I hate psionics" with "I hate drow". Sorry bud, can't vote fer it. (Where is that lawyer-type an' his "objective criteria" gone to....)

*"Endless Maze" Sorry kid, my work computer doesn't have an Unzip utility. Can't read it, can't vote for it.



Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I wrote and submitted Enough to Drive you Batty.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to win the heat... but at least you're giving me good reviews. I'm glad you like my submission.

I've been thinking about that kobold as a PC for some time, I just don't have the time to join the game I'd play him in. I based the way he talks on my daughter, Holly, who had the worst trouble with pronouns as she was learning to talk.
It wasn't until after the deadline that I suddenly realized that people might think I was basing his speech on Sesame Street's Elmo. That was a little scary. If I had based any NPC on a Sesame Street character, I would clearly have chosen my favorite... Ernie (who seems particularly well suited for a gnome).

By the way, do we know how many heats there are going to be? Six? One for each prize?


2. Fires in Bisiv's Forge
Another very good one. I will probably use the dome, and perhaps the whole encounter. The only thing I missed was perhaps a better description of the curse.

Thanks Berandor (since I put my name on it might as well admit its mine). I think that if I had about 6 pages I could have done the idea a bit more justice. As it was I had to edit out some other things to fit the curse onto the third page. I just liked the twin ideas of a overpowered commoner who is out of his depth and a ghostly plot for revenge. I thought the possible political intrigue that would result from one of the PCs having possession of the cursed weapon in a campaign to be fuel for DM expansions.


First Post
Wicht said:
The only problem with heats is that there were about 3 I prefered in this heat over the entries from the first heat. This would not be a problem except that there is going to be more than 1 winner.

I'm not completely done reading, but I'd have to disagree with this heat being stronger than the first (I'd go about equal). Of course I had two adventures in the first heat so I'm probably prejudiced enough that you should just count this post as a:



My take

Ok, this took way longer than I thought it would. After getting shafted out of the first voting, since the poll closed prematurely, I'll finally get to vote here. And, since my entry isn't one of the submissions, I'll actually have to think about my vote. :)

Now, some people seem to vote based on a strict interpretation of the rules. That's not very realistic, I think. I'm a DM first, frankly. Even though I'm not DM'ing now, I always think of things in terms of DM'ing. So, as I read these, I'm naturally biased in my reading since it is through DM-colored glasses. For me, the primary factor that will consider my vote is USABILITY - can I use it in my group, or in my case, could I use it with my previous group, or maybe one in the future. The second is, how much game material can I generate from it? This kind of goes along with how excited it makes me. Frankly, I've rans tons of D&D games, and I've seen a lot of stuff. It's hard to impress me anymore. So, if I read something and think, "wow, I could have fun with something like that", it's getting a good grade in my book.

The other thing you need to understand about my old group, and where I'm coming from is that my old group was pretty amoral, and mostly just "poke it with a pointy-stick, if it moves, we attack it" kind of a group. They liked good plot, challenging combat, and the occasional puzzle. Anything too cerebreal was just asking too much.

So, at any rate, with all that in mind, here are my reviews. This took way longer than I had expected. I read them all when Morrus first posted them, but read these all through again as a refresher.

Uncle Bill's Pawn Shop
When you run the "guards attack and take all your stuff" kind of encounter, it tends to make the PCs pretty mad. And it always has to be done at low-levels like this encounter is designed for, since after about 3rd, PCs are strong enough to not let it happen. But, PCs don't have anything worth taking at 1st level, anyway, so taking it away is just cruel and unusual. Nonetheless, the plot here is a decent one, at least in theory. It seems a little contrived to me, though. Haven't other groups ran into the same ambush and dealt with this problem already? In reality, Jamis might decide to try his trick on a group wearing fancy cloaks and shiny armor, and when the guards come in to "arrest" them, they realize they're trying to pull their con over on a group of 12th level PCs, and then the guards get the smack down handed to them. But, I'm being nit-picky now. As for the encounter, I'd like to have seen better stat blocks on the NPCs. The location is moderately useful, but not something that I couldn't have come up with on my own. And Jamis has some pretty good stuff for a 2nd level thief, including masterwork armor and a a brooch of glibness?? What's that? That seems pretty powerful for a second level rogue.

Fire's in Bisiv's Forge
I really like this encounter. The concept is really great and original, but has one major flaw - the PCs would immediately demand to know why Bisiv doesn't clear out his own forge. I can hear them now. "But, you're a powerful wizard who can forge magical weapons of great strength, how come you need a party of 3rd level adventurers to do this for you?" This encounter is only do-able by a party of this level if the DM fills the forge with maybe 1 of the lowest level salamanders, and maybe 2 small elementals. And even then the PCs are gonna have a real fight on their hand. In actuality, I think this encounter makes a lot more sense as EL 12 or something, and use REAL elementals with a Salamander or two. Then, even a powerful artificer would need outside help dealing with the problem. Anyway, back to the encounter... To me, the most interesting thing about this are the curse on the weapons. Even if PCs get greedy and kill Bisiv, and take the weapons, the plot stills goes on. So, to that end, it's very useable. Some other general comments - I'd like to have seen better stat blocks, and a map to the location would have made this that much better. In the end, with some tweaks, this makes a great encounter. A Salamander with a +2 longsword against a 3rd-4th level party makes me cringe in thought, but done a little better, this adventure can be the gift that keeps on giving, especially months later when they try to figure out why the paladin just killed the princess they rescued. Gotta love it.

Enough to Drive you Batty
I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I'm really not a fan of humorous encounters and modules. Maybe it was a bad experience with a Dungeon module about talking toadstools that left me scarred. But, this one just doesn't do that much for me. The encounter consists merely of "meeting" an individual having a quarrel with his familiar, which seems unlikely - I thought familiars served unquestionably? Then, as our location, we got a hole in the wall with a few bats, and then we learn a little more about the kobold. That's it. If I ran this for my old group, I could guess as to what would happen. They'd either just kill the kobold after a might minutes of dialogue (or on sight if they were feeling particularly mean that night) or, they might chat it up with the little guy for quite some time, creating maybe 15 minutes of funny, inspired role-playing, and then, like on a bad first date, there'd be a weird pause of silence between the kobold and the rest of the party. Until finally someone would say, "Well, Olly, take care, nice knowing you.", and everyone would go their separate ways. This encounter gives a DM all of maybe 15 minutes worth of game material to use. Not very useful.

Crocodile Tears
Honestly, I can't think of much to say about this encounter. It's well thought out, and well designed. I like how the author provides hooks from both angles - from a lizardman's perspective and the hobgoblin perspective. If the party just wanders upon this, they're likely to find it kind of boring, but that'd be robbing the PCs of an interesting story. What I would like to have seen is more detail on the temple itself, and maybe some more information on the hobgoblin god. And maybe something that gave me a better indiciation of which side was "good" in the ethical sense of the word, since Nyashk is LE, and lizardman (which are strangely called lizardfolk in 3E) are generally neutral. So, it seems reasonable that just killing Nyashk is the right choice to make in this whole situation. It would have been more interesting to turn the tables over - make it a sunken lizardman (folk if you're into political correctness) temple, and have the hogbolin be the last surviving guy of a clan that was devoted to eradicating the lizardmen, er folk. As it is, PCs are going to say, "Wow, Nyask, that's an amazingly compelling story, but signs says that you're evil, so you've got to die". And once that happens, shows over. I think with a bit of morality work on the DMs part, and maybe fleshing out the temple a bit more, this could make for a cool encounter. It could be worked into a longer campaign if there was a plot involving something with the temple. And I hate to burst the author's bubble, but a ranger can't gain a 7 Hit dice animal friend. Read the description - "Caster Level" A 4th level ranger has a caster level of 1.

The Trouble with Dryads
First, let me just say that unless this author speaks english as a second language, our nation's high schools are really failing us, and secondly - what? It has something to do with getting a dryad's egg back. Why the egg isn't in a tree (which seems logical for a dryad) is beyond me. There's also something about a power-mad lizardfolk (there's that word again) druid. Oh those power-mad lizardfolk druids! Actually, I was just getting over the fact that the last author named a Crocodile "Ripper", and then I'm forced to endure a Dryad named Bubbles. That's too much punishment. One quick final comment - I don't own MotW, so I can only guess as to what "infuse" means. I shudder at the thought.

Marshall Law
I think the author really took the contest literally here. Maybe too literally. The location and the NPC are so explicitly usable outside of the other that the two have nothing to do with each other! But you know what, that's ok, because there's nothing really wrong with either of them. Marshall is a perfectly interesting NPC that could add some grief to a party if done right, although it might just annoy players over time. And the location is perfectly usable as a caravan adventure, or a random encounter. It would have been neat to see it fleshed out more, but it looks like the author had a hard enough time getting into one page. Although, it does make you wonder what that one gnome is doing in that caravan. Hmmmm

King Troll and his Pet Rex
While the idea of a troll with a pet rust monster is interesting, I have to just say to the author - don't quit your day job. I'm guessing the author is Roger Martin (Regor Nitram spelled backwards). Please.

Jakob Stonewarren
This whole encounter basically involves the party running into a dwarven drider in a mine. The location isn't really that fleshed out, however, leaving pretty much the dwarven drider. Actually, I'd put this EL at 0, since a Dwarven Drider can't exist. A few other comments - maybe I'm jaded towards psionics, but psionics do not automatically make something cool. There is absolutely no reason for this guy to have psionics. I don't use psionics, and many others don't, so that limits the market right there. Also, spellcheck. Good grief. No excuse not to. Unless you're typing a message into enworld.

The Endless Maze
I think some people took the three-page thing a little too literally. But, that's ok. For those that can't read it - here's the low-down. A kyton attacks the party members as the wander through the endless maze of the Abyss. Is there more? No, that pretty much sums it up. I've seen this encounter before. It looks something like this :
Table 3.2 Wandering Monsters : Abyss/Endless Maze d20
8-12 Kyton

There, I just wrote that encounter, and it didn't take me three pages.

I haven't voted yet. It's really a tossup between Tears and Fires for me. Both have great long-term potential, but both also require a little bit of tweaking to fit just right into most campaigns. Will have to sleep on it, perhaps, and vote tomorrow.


First Post
"By the sword", won first heat, "Crocodile Tears" is in the lead. So far people seem to like "Swamp Encounters".

Actually both these encounters could be run in the same campane.

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