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D&D General Running "Kingdom of the Ghouls" (Dungeon #70)

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
I recently read the adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" in Dungeon #70, and am wondering about people's experiences running it. It's a sprawling mid-level "campaignlet", with opportunity to play politics, command fighting forces, and do some plain ol' dungeon bashing. Sounds like fun, and I'm thinking about eventually running this one (likely in 5e).

(minimal spoilers)
In the writeup, it's likely that the PCs end up amassing and leading a big motley force of Underdark refugees who want to take back their homelands back from the ghouls. To support this, there are rules provided to resolve conflicts between large forces. There are also numerous encounters in which PCs can persuade new recruits to join the army, manage the force, prevent infighting, and so on.

Some of the encounters are army-vs-army conflicts, pitting the party and its allies against dozens or hundreds of foes. Most encounters, however, seem to be traditional ones, scaled for a typical adventuring party.

TL;DR
I'm just curious to hear how GMs handled this adventure. Does it work well as written? Are there special considerations for juggling between the PCs as an adventuring party versus PCs as leaders of a force? Do the large-scale combat rules provided translate to 5e, or is there a better option for that?

Thanks for any insights you've got....
 

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beast013

Explorer
Supporter
I always looked at this adventure as a "geopolitical" adventure. The PC need to build the refugee force and then move to liberate their homelands. For the mass combat, I used the old AD&D Battlesystem rules for combat. It's a fun adventure with lots of hooks for the PC to address.
 

J.Quondam

90% grunts. 10% thews.
I always looked at this adventure as a "geopolitical" adventure.
It's definitely that. The adventure is only 30-ish pages long, but has plenty of opportuntiy to scrounge together forces, keep them in shape, cat-and-mouse with a superior enemy, do reconnaissance, perform "special ops" as a party. As written, it seems you can play it as superficially or as deeply as desired.

For the mass combat, I used the old AD&D Battlesystem rules for combat. It's a fun adventure with lots of hooks for the PC to address.
Right, I'd forgotten about that. And there was also the War Machine rules in BECMI somewhere. (That might even be the base on which the simplified rules presented in the module?)
Iirc, there's nothing in either of those mass combat rules that would really preclude using them for 5e? Will definitely have to dig those out.
 


beast013

Explorer
Supporter
Right, I'd forgotten about that. And there was also the War Machine rules in BECMI somewhere. (That might even be the base on which the simplified rules presented in the module?)
Iirc, there's nothing in either of those mass combat rules that would really preclude using them for 5e? Will definitely have to dig those out.
I'm not aware of 5e having any mass combat rules. Just tweak as needed for the Battle System. Enjoy!
 



grimslade

Adventurer
An amazing adventure. My experience with the ending was mixed. We tried to use Battlesystem but it was overly complicated for what our table wanted. We decided to hand wave the mass combat as more cinematic background while characters worked toward Doresain. The result was a draw with the Ghouls holding on to Kilenor but the Army of Hope keeping them penned in. I imagine the cloakers would have aided the ghouls and destroyed the remainders of the Army after the characters left. The party was off to the planes to visit the City of Brass after this.
 

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