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D&D 5E Public Brainstorming a public High-Level Mini-Adventure

pming

Legend
Hiya!

The problem as I see it... you are basing it as a single "mini-adventure". A non-caster's primary edge over a caster is simple; more time, more commonality, more trust, more acceptance, less restrictions. This plays out over the course of play in a campaign...over YEARS of play. Not game-time, REAL time. You want to compare? Get half a dozen groups to run a set series of adventures over the course of 2 years. This should be concluded sometime around mid 2023 I guess.

Do that, then get back to us. ;)

What is presented here, "mini-adventure" is just "how can the player manipulate the RAW"; it lacks ALL the nuances of a full, rich, long-term campaign.

Sorry to be a bit of a Debbie-Downer on this...but I just wanted to put in my 2¢ as to WHY I don't think it's going to work.

PS: ...and Level 20? o_O Try the half way mark at level 10. Might be slightly more effective...maybe...

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
Hello, Mr. Ming!
The problem as I see it... you are basing it as a single "mini-adventure". A non-caster's primary edge over a caster is simple; more time, more commonality, more trust, more acceptance, less restrictions.
Perhaps, though I want this mini-adventure to display this edge, even if its just a peek. I want something, anything, that can be used as some sort of basis.

I also want to see if I run almost strictly close to RAW, if that helps at all. Rather than adjust any rules to compensate for anything and accidentally shifting balance, I want to see what the system has to say about its own balance.
You want to compare? Get half a dozen groups to run a set series of adventures over the course of 2 years. This should be concluded sometime around mid 2023 I guess.
I wish I had the time/resources for all that, but I'm afraid I'm stretching myself thin as it is. I agree such data would be almost undeniable but if we want to even come close to that, we should start somewhere.
What is presented here, "mini-adventure" is just "how can the player manipulate the RAW"; it lacks ALL the nuances of a full, rich, long-term campaign.
Yeah. Its not perfect but I'm trying to impart multiple instances of what a full campaign might entail, from previous rewards to access to different locations.
Sorry to be a bit of a Debbie-Downer on this...but I just wanted to put in my 2¢ as to WHY I don't think it's going to work.

PS: ...and Level 20? o_O Try the half way mark at level 10. Might be slightly more effective...maybe...
No need to apologize. Opinions are welcome in this thread. Though, I still want to do this for the sake of having something concrete.

Moving the level to 20 was deliberate. At the very least, DMs and players are intimidated by level 20 play and this experiment could give a hint at what that style of play actually looks like rather than guess.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

@Asisreo , ahh...ok then. Have at it! :) I hope that something useful comes out of it, even if that is just things learned that didn't work in order to create a more viable short-term, uh, experiment? I guess that's it. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
Okay, so a 5-room dungeon is listed as follows:

  • Entrance/Guardian
  • Puzzle
  • Setback
  • Boss
  • Reward
Due to the nature of the mini-adventure, I'm likely to simply omit the reward, but I also can just implement it somewhere.

I've been wanting something complex for each dungeon's entrance, but I ended up settling on the guardian simply being the ability to get in.

I'll have some NPC spellcaster who is designed/created explicitly to take the generals into the dungeon, which is located in a demiplane with a teleportation circle with a specific sigil sequence only the NPC knows.

They can retrieve the sequence through any means they deem appropriate, but the NPC is neutral to letting people in, so they likely won't have much resistance. In the case that the characters cannot teleport themselves, he also has access to the plane shift spell.

The NPC's for the Order and Chaos sides will act roughly the same. I also think they should be of Neutral Alignment just so it would make a little more sense for the NPC to not care either way.
 
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Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
For the puzzle, I think I want some thematically appropriate puzzles. It should be something that the 4 creatures would be able to do trivially but would require much more thinking to allow random creatures to be able to do.

This also gives slight hints about some key stat features that each of the generals have.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
Changed the title, referenced a thread that was basically dead. I'll still continue with this, though, and hopefully it becomes a nice, cohesive adventure to run by the end.

For the setback, I'm thinking...

I think the Chaos side setback will have an effect like the Symbol: Discord with an extremely simple puzzle inside a locked room that deals roughly 4d10 damage of cold, fire, lightning, and bludgeoning on rotation each turn. So first turn is cold, second is fire, etc.

The Order side setback might be that the entire dungeon is warded, and thus have one less room. If that's not enough of a setback, though, I could place a Mass Suggestion Glyph of Warding that commands the party to "Place all your items, worn and carried, on the floor and bow." This might be a bit harsh, though.

Wondering if I should keep it.

I'm also changing the Ancient Brass Shadow Dragon into an Adult Silver Shadow Dragon and I'll artificially change its alignment to chaotic. It will represent Wind since it has a native fly speed and many of its lair actions allow it to manipulate Wind.
 
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Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney

Chaos

Room 1: Entrance​

This 60x60ft room will contain the teleportation circle that the party arrives from. Immediately, there is a set of staircases 40ft wide in front of them made of immaculately crafted marble. The stairs will have about a 5ft vertical and 20ft horizontal. Upon walking up the stairs for about 100ft in the diagonal direction, they get led into room 2.

Room 2: Puzzle​

This is another 60x60ft room with four pedestals at the far end, as well as an empty space with a portal. At each corner on the wall are open portals assigned to a specific color: red, blue, green, and brown. These colors are associated with rooms 2.a, 2.b, 2.c, and 2.d respectively.

Room 2.a: Trial of Flames


This room is under the condition of "Extreme Heat" which forces a constitution save every hour unless the creature has fire resistance/immunity. The DC starts at 5 and increases every hour. The room itself is 100x100 ft with the red portal placing the party on one of the walls and it appears to be mostly empty outside of a red orb on a pedestal at the far side of the room.

There are 3 illusions in this area, though, as if made through a Major Image(DC 19). The first illusion is the very ground itself. The room appears to be long and flat but the ground after the first 20ft forwards is an illusion. Underneath is a 50ft drop into a pit filled with poisonous gas that acts like Essence of Ether (DMG 258). The second illusion is the red orb on the far side of the room. The third illusion is the wall behind the red orb illusion. Behind the wall is actually another room with dark red Demon Armor.

The real orb is located inside the pit filled with poisonous gas, to the wall nearest where the portal placed the party. Once retrieved, the orb transports any living creature in the room back into room 2.

Room 2.b: Trial of Winds

This room is under the Extreme Cold condition which forces a DC 10 constitution save every hour unless the creature has cold resistance/immunity or a source of warmth. This room is extremely large, 10x10 miles, and takes place entirely on the peaks of mountains. Therefore, creatures suffer the effects of High Altitude up to 20,000ft. The room looks infinite and has a random pattern of mountains, but the 10x10 mile boundary cannot be crossed. There is no natural light source in this room and it is filled with nonmagical darkness. There are no stars, no moon, and no sun. The ground is difficult terrain.

A castle made of clouds is located on the map (will create the maps later), and inside the castle of clouds is the green orb. The green orb transports every living creature in the room out.

Room 2.c: Trial of Lands

The 10x10x10 mile room starts the party completely surrounded by stone except for 4 10ft-diameter tunnels running through the far side of the wall, the right side, the left side, and the bottom. Each leads into a labryinth of tunnels that the party must navigate to find the location of the brown orb (located on map).

Every 5 minutes, the ground trembles and its as if an Earthquake(DC 19) spell was centered where they stood. The Earthquake has a 50% chance to collapse the tunnel where the party is going, dealing damage equal to a 10ft high structure and it caves-in their entrance. It takes a DC 20 Strength(Athletics) check to undo the rubble caused by the Earthquake.

Room 2.d: Trial of Seas

This 500x500x500ft room is filled with water up to 400ft, with a small 30x30ft platform that the party starts on. The room is brightly lit. The water is under the condition of Frigid Water and there are vortexes which acts as if they are under the Control Water: Whirlpool (DC 19) effects. The area is also under the influence of the Storm of Vengeance (DC 19) spell that lasts indefinitely and comes back after 5 minutes if dispelled.

The blue orb is located at the very bottom of the waters. After retrieving the blue orb, unlike the other rooms, the retriever of the orb must then swim back up to the platform.

Room 3: War Room​

This is a 600x600x3000ft room surrounded by stone/earth and has large bodies of water and lava both flowing through and pooling in different locations. The room is dimly lit and has large stalagmites/stalagtites that can be used as cover.

Inside are the Balor, Storm Giant, Adult Silver Shadow Dragon, and Purple Worm. They will begin to talk to the party (those that are able), questioning why they appear before them. The Storm Giant is patient and simply wishes to have them leave but the Balor wants to fight and kill them quickly. The shadow dragon patiently watches and listens and only speaks when he thinks his opinions are needed, otherwise he stays quiet. The Purple Worm waits patiently while moving through the earth until the Shadow Dragon commands it to fight.


Alot of refining needed but at least there's some coherency in the first dungeon. Also have to work on the actual map, but now that everything's established, that's the easy part.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
I was going to make the dungeon by hand using software, but I lost all my progress so I instead used Dunjon's Generator to make the dungeon for the Law side of the dungeon, which was always going to be structured as an old-school dungeon anyways.

Here's the dungeon map:

map.png
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney

Law

Room 1: Entrance

A 50x50x200 Square room where the teleportation circle transports them. There are 2 passages they can take, one immediately in front of them and one immediately behind them.

The passage behind them leads to a door. Behind the door is two left turns and an Illusory Script. The illusory message is written in Common and says "Those that seek audience with the Council of Order must obtain the four keys of Law!" The hidden message under it is also written in common and says "Be wary, for not all is as it appears within these walls."

The front passage leads into a closed but unlocked steel door. Beyond the door, the spell Guards and Wards is activated and will cover certain parts of the dungeon. (All warded areas will be displayed on the map below).
20210603_165510.png

The yellow areas are Guards and Wards. The Green area is Private Sanctum. The Red area is Forbiddance. The blue area is Hallow. It should be noted that abberations, celestials, fiends, and monstrosities are exceptions to the wards unless otherwise specified. The purple area is under the effects of Mirage Arcane.

Room 7: False Entrance​

Room 7 is 50x70x30ft and appears to have 4 iron keys on a rack in the wall, with a sign calling them the "4 keys of order." There is also a sign in the archway on the westside of the room that says "Audience Chamber." The archway is actually under the effects of the Guards and Wards Suggestion effect (DC 19) and the suggestion says "Go northward and Await the arrival of the Council of Order in the room down the corridor."

The iron door to the southern wall of room 7 is under the effects of Guards and Wards, needing a DC 19 Investigation check or physical interaction to discern it is an illusion. It can be physically broken with a DC 30 Strength Check or picking it with a DC 25 Thieves' Tool (dexterity) check. The DC decreases by 10 if the magic is dispelled or suppressed, this applies to all Guards and Wards affected doors.

The wooden door located on the eastern side of room 7 requires a DC 20 Strength Check to open. On the door is a Glyph of Warding (DC19) holding a Weird spell.

Room 9: Chamber of Contracts​

This 70x50x30ft room is under the Forbiddance spell. The room is split by three walls created from permanent Wall of Stone spells with 6in thicknesses. The walls create 4 10ft long divisions while the east side has a 30ft long section.

In the entrance section, the party sees a scale and three things on the floor. A pile of leaves, a pile of charcoal, and a crystal-encrusted platinum bust. On one side of the scale is a bag of money worth 50,000gp and the other side is empty. While both the scale and the bag of money is an illusion through the Major Image then Programmed Illusion spell, placing an object on the opposite side of the scale will tip the scale depending on the placed item. Any object placed on the empty side of the scale will be consumed and a Glyph of Warding (5th-level) will either be under the Explosive Rune:Fire (DC19) effect or the Spell:Cloudkill depending on the item placed on the scale. If the object is worth 50,000gp or less, the Wall of Stone is instead broken down and the party can proceed.

The next section is another scale-wall setup as the first section. The differences, however, is that the scale has a bag with the word "Soul" written on it in common and only 2 objects are on the ground: The skeleton of a humanoid which has been deceased for 2,000 years and a sword. Placing any object onto the scale activates a Glyph of Warding (9th-level) with a Feeblemind spell (DC 19). The only way to correctly bypass this section is to place any living creature onto the scale (creatures created from Conjuration spells count but not Illusion or Necromancy spells). Successfully completing this results in the opening of the next section.

The final section is a statue of the Fiend Mammon, who appears as a flabby Pit Fiend with wings that shine as rubies, with one eye removed. At the base of the statue, on a plaque, is the words written in Abyssal and translated in common: "An eye for an eye." The way to resolve this is to place either an eye of a creature that is either alive or once living, or to find the "Eye of Mammon" crystal inside of the dungeon and replace it back into the statue.

Finally, behind the third and final stone wall is a single document on a desk. The document is a written record of all the most despicable deals that devils had ever made with intelligent races across the multiverse, written in abyssal. Written in blood across the top of the document are the words "Fiendish Contract" written in common. This is the key of the fiend.

Room 2: Chamber of Truth​

In this 100x100 room, there is a Hallow spell effect throughout. The extra effect is Fear.

In three corners of the room are sections where the players must test their sense of Truth.

The first corner is a trial with 3 objects and a Magic Mouth that says "Once, a thief stolen an object from this temple. This very object represents their punishment, that which thieves deserve." Underneath the Magic Mouth is a Greatsword stabbed in a pedestal, an Olive Branch placed on a stand, and a miniature cage. The Greatsword and the Olive Branch are both Illusions under the Major Image spell and attempting to touch them activates Glyph of Warding: Blade Barrier for the Greatsword and Glyph of Warding: Polymorph (Eagle) for the Olive Branch. The true object is the miniature cage and touching it reveals a gable's handle underneath it. An Illusory Script states "The atonement for pettiness is neither peace nor violence, but sanctuary." This script is unintelligible to all but the creators and the Council of Order.

The second corner is a trial with only 4 Magic Mouths in it.
The first instructs those that approach it to "Dispel the lies and repeat the truth." The second Magic Mouth then states 3 statements: "Murderers are just. Thieves are just. Truth is just." If a character answers anything other than "Truth is Just," a Glyph of Warding: 7th-level Bestow Curse (Wisdom disadv.) activates and targets that creature.
Otherwise, the second Magic Mouth speaks and says "Law is order. Truth is Law. Peace is Justice." If a character answers anything other than "Law is order," a Glyph of Warding: 7th-level Bestow Curse (Disadv. against Solar) activates and targets the creature.
Otherwise, the third Magic Mouth speaks and says "This is the only true statement. This is a true statement. There are two true statements." The correct response is either the first statement or the last two statements. Answering anything else activates a Glyph of Warding: Flame-Strike (8th-level).
Finally, the 4th magic mouth states "Each must reveal your own weaknesses and you shall obtain revelation. But do not attempt to deceive, lest your death be imminent." The party is free to answer whatever they wish so long as it can be a genuine, perceived weakness. Attempts at lying activates a Glyph of Warding: Disintegrate (8th-level) on the target. Otherwise, they receive the gable's mallet head once everyone reveals their "weakness".

Room 6: Chamber of Time​

 
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