D&D 3E/3.5 Sunless Citadel: Shadow(s), death and new ideas...

Ednoc

Explorer
Hi!

I'm running the Sunless Citadel for 5 players. Last night, the party went to the room 50, where they encountered a Shadow. Except... They didn't really win against it.

Our party composition :
  • Psion
  • Crusader/Barbarian
  • Druid (Deceased)
  • Factotum
  • Rogue
Things went really poorly. They didn't manage to damage it, since they only have 1 magic weapon and the psion missed his spell against the creature. (Rolled under 50%) The Druid wasn't really at the right place and I wanted to "scare her". But the thing is, this character didn't really have a good Strength stat and I ended up on shoting her "by accident". Then, the rest of the party flew away, but let Erky, the gnome, behind and he died too.

I tend to roll really well for monsters and these situations happen really often. Which is funny, because, as I player, I can't roll over 10 for like 3+ hours, for some reason...

So, the druid is dead, the fighter/cleric npc is dead... They cleaned up almsot everything else in the dungeon and now... I don't really know what to do, to be honest. Since humanoid killed by a shadow become shadow themselves, that would mean there is now 3 Shadows protecting the shrine.

Since a new character is going to be made, it's going to be behind in term of experience. Plus, I made some efforts in order to make the dungeon more... Alive. And I don't think Belak and his last minions would stay here, waiting for the PCs, doing nothing and don't even notice that... In fact... All the others are dead. (All the bugbears, undead, most goblins...)

What should I do ?
1. How to deal with 3 shadows at this level? (2-3) OR maybe should I do something else with them?
2. What to do with Belak & friends? Should I "spawn" some reinforcement into the dungeon? Could some goblin make it to the Fortress? Should the Kobolds chase the Goblins/Hobgoblins civilians away from the fortress? Could Belak replace the goblins with more Twig Blight? Or reanimate goblins/bugbears as undead? (Even if I have honestly no idea how he can manage to have undead under his control in the first place...)
3. Is having some more creatures a good idea? The module is going to be a bit longer, but I think it could be a good way to give the players more XP, especially for these who died. (Because this is not the first dead pc...) OR should I make the rest of the dungeon easier ?
I didn't change too many things, except update monsters stats from 3.0 to 3.5, nothing fancy... But I "pumped up" Belak, Bradford and Sharwyn a bit to make the fight a bit more challenging since I allow every book in existence for my players, it didn't seem very fair if, as a DM, I couldn't do that too.

Thanks in advance.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
For your first problem, the rule is specifically that the slain become a new shadow in the control of the shadow that killed it. Shadows are not very intelligent. It could send the new shadows roaming around, to search the rest of the party. Thus, they would be encountered alone in another parts of the citadel.

Also, for the new character, it’s quite alright for you to let them make a character at the same level as the others.
 

1st, why would new characters be behind? just have them make them the same level.
2nd, it went bad by suprise, now that the PCs know about the shadows let them find a way to work around them.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
The new Shadows could have minimum HP, be Resist: Non-Magic instead of Immune: Non-Magic, and use d4's for their attacks. Because they are new.

The PCs should be made aware that somebody back in town has a Magic Weapon or two which they could borrow for a while.
 

Ednoc

Explorer
For your first problem, the rule is specifically that the slain become a new shadow in the control of the shadow that killed it. Shadows are not very intelligent. It could send the new shadows roaming around, to search the rest of the party. Thus, they would be encountered alone in another parts of the citadel.

Also, for the new character, it’s quite alright for you to let them make a character at the same level as the others.
Hey, thanks for your answer. The thing is with 3.5 is most low-level / low cost spell to reanimate people cost the reanimated a level... So by doing that, it would be better to make another character than being revived. Which is not what I want to encourage my players to do.

Roaming Shadows could be interesting, I like the idea.
1st, why would new characters be behind? just have them make them the same level.
2nd, it went bad by suprise, now that the PCs know about the shadows let them find a way to work around them.

Hello. Thanks for your input too.

1st... Same answer. If I do that, making a new character would be significantly better since you won't lose a level.
2nd Yeah I guess you're right on that point.

The new Shadows could have minimum HP, be Resist: Non-Magic instead of Immune: Non-Magic, and use d4's for their attacks. Because they are new.

The PCs should be made aware that somebody back in town has a Magic Weapon or two which they could borrow for a while.

Hello, thank you too for your input.

Interesting ideas. Borrowing a magic weapon could be a fun thing to do and has some RP potential.
 

Voadam

Legend
Because 3.5 is so built around the concept of characters being equal level I would suggest letting new characters come back as equal to the others despite the RAW level loss for the raise spells.

Unless you are having everybody advance at different rates anyway for participation and such and people are already different levels.

In my experience 3e works better as a fun experience when the party is equal levels.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Hi Ednoc - Great topic. It’s been about 15 years since I last ran Sunless Citadel (I don’t remember the Shadow, but I do remember a Troll thing), but I’ve been DMing 3.5e all along.

My advice:
1) Don’t try to “scare“ a player or character. The game is scary enough as you discovered. At low levels, 3.5e is more forgiving than earlier edition, but less forgiving than later ones.

2) Shadows are the deadliest monster, in my experience. I’ve lost more PC’s to them than anything else. In one scenario, a pack of them could have TPK’d (Total Party Kill) and could have done the same to the monsters throughout the dungeon. My solution was to have old magic built into the dungeon to contain. That may help - though the wander off option may be better. Maybe the other dungeon inhabitants killed the new shadows to prevent being overwhelmed?

3) I wouldn’t give Bellak reinforcements, or weaken the dungeon either. It sounds like it might be too hard for them, but you perhaps disagree?

You could just add additional scenarios after Sunless Citadel to get them more XP if you feel that’s needed before whatever you want to run next. Dungeon Magazine is what I’m using a lot these days. I find it works to convert AD&D and 2e to 3.5e. Since Sunless Citadel and 3.5e are default Greyhawk setting, as was AD&D, it fits for me.

If you want to make it easier, maybe do the old school thing of letting the PC’s have help. Maybe from kobolds if they befriended Meepo - doesn’t everyone. Maybe mercenaries or soldiers from the local noble?

4) I agree with starting the replacement PC’s at first level, or at least lower level. That would be VERY hard for the end of this scenario, but earning all their XP is good, imho, and they’ll catch up.

5) Have fun, you’ll figure it out.
 

Jmarso

Adventurer
1. Any wandering monster encounters are a single one of the shadows.

2. New characters should start at first level- given what's happened, that'll heighten the tension even more.

3. Let the players figure it out. If they can't, they perish. :devilish:
 

Ednoc

Explorer
1. Any wandering monster encounters are a single one of the shadows.

2. New characters should start at first level- given what's happened, that'll heighten the tension even more.

3. Let the players figure it out. If they can't, they perish. :devilish:

Thanks for your input.

1. Good idea. I was thinking to make the new shadows roam in the Grove level anyway, otherwise, fighting 3 shadows at once would be impossible.

2. You're right about the tension. The thing is, level one is pretty deadly and they are going to face Belak anytime soon. My fear is to kill the lowest level too many time in a short amount of time... Which is not really a fun experience.

3. With the party I'm playing with, we all know the game can stop in a TPK situation. They are already aware of that. But it's a good reminder it can happen :D
 

I played in a one-shot with the 5E adaptation of the Sunless Citadel. Half the party died to shadows and the survivors decided to abandon the place. The DM also decided that the increased number of shadows led to them attacking several of the other living creatures left in the dungeon, resulting in the place becoming infested by the things.

My first 5E character also died to a shadow. Those things are no joke.
 

Ednoc

Explorer
I played in a one-shot with the 5E adaptation of the Sunless Citadel. Half the party died to shadows and the survivors decided to abandon the place. The DM also decided that the increased number of shadows led to them attacking several of the other living creatures left in the dungeon, resulting in the place becoming infested by the things.

My first 5E character also died to a shadow. Those things are no joke.
At least a Shadow is CR3 in 3.5... Not 1/2. Encountering a Shadow at first level seems way more scarier to me at level 1 than at level 2-3 by a mile. Even then, it is still pretty dangerous.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top