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D&D 4E Trying to Decide on Module Order for a 4e Campaign

Will Doyle

Explorer
There are plenty of adventures available that allow you to stay in the Nentir Vale for the whole of the heroic tier. The Fallcrest section at the back of the DMG has all the world building you need.

I'd recommend:

Level 1: The Slaying Stone
Level 2-4: Reavers of Harkenwold (great adventure, plus you get a load of monster tokens and battlemaps)
Level 4-6: Thunderspire Labyrinth
Level 6-10: Madness at Gardmore Abbey
 

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Jessica

First Post
I'm not feeling TMoP for my first adventure returning to actual DMing(compared to my mostly playtesting experience as a DM). It seems like there is more gap filling necessary. I'm leaning more towards doing Slaying Stone first(since if I do KotS then I want to do Thunderspire Labyrinth and Pyramid of Shadows afterwards*). Right now I'm leaning towards

Slaying Stone -> Seekers of the Ashen Crown -> (maybe Orcs of Stonefang Pass) -> Madness at Gardmore Abbey.

I don't know what level that will the PCs off at, but if it drops them off at 10 then I'm deciding between going straight to Tomb of Horrors(non-hardcore version) or finding a couple Dungeon magazine archive adventures to get them up to 12 and then running Revenge of the Giants.

*If KotS goes into Thunderspire which connects with Pyramid of Shadows then I feel like something is lost by not running them together for a lot of new players. If I do the story of one then I kinda want to run them all together.
 

I'm not feeling TMoP for my first adventure returning to actual DMing(compared to my mostly playtesting experience as a DM). It seems like there is more gap filling necessary. I'm leaning more towards doing Slaying Stone first(since if I do KotS then I want to do Thunderspire Labyrinth and Pyramid of Shadows afterwards*). Right now I'm leaning towards

Slaying Stone -> Seekers of the Ashen Crown -> (maybe Orcs of Stonefang Pass) -> Madness at Gardmore Abbey.

I don't know what level that will the PCs off at, but if it drops them off at 10 then I'm deciding between going straight to Tomb of Horrors(non-hardcore version) or finding a couple Dungeon magazine archive adventures to get them up to 12 and then running Revenge of the Giants.

*If KotS goes into Thunderspire which connects with Pyramid of Shadows then I feel like something is lost by not running them together for a lot of new players. If I do the story of one then I kinda want to run them all together.

I think the story arc there is pretty weak. There are some hooks that can lead you into Thunderspire from KotS, but its still a pretty much self-contained module. Decide what to run after that and simply rework the hooks a bit.
 

Balesir

Adventurer
*If KotS goes into Thunderspire which connects with Pyramid of Shadows then I feel like something is lost by not running them together for a lot of new players. If I do the story of one then I kinda want to run them all together.
Having run through all the H-P-E scenarios up to The King of the Ghouls I have to agree with Abdul, here. The strand linking the three H adventures together doesn't really become evident until late Paragon, and by then whether you ran through them in the same campaign or not is pretty moot. Thunderspire is not a bad adventure, but you will need to do some careful reading prep, because the relationship of one encounter to another is not always made too clear.
 

darkbard

Adventurer
Echoing the above, the "connections" between KotS, TL, and PoS are almost non-existent as written (though Myrdraak's rewrite that I linked to earlier rectifies that). If you *want* to run KotS, I wouldn't let your apprehension of having to follow it up with the latter two stand in your way, for it's a completely self-contained adventure.
 

Keep on the Shadowfell(1-3)
Pretty terrible. A deft hand can salvage it. Re-build Kalarel as a solo, and the other actual solos - and perhaps Iron Tooth - using the MM3 guidelines. It'll still be a fairly linear dungeon crawl and the waterfall encounter may still be a pain, but it won't be mechanically broken anymore.

Madness at Gardmore Abbey (6-8)
Played in part of this and it seemed good, heard good things about the rest.

Pyramid of Shadows (7-10)
Played this, goofy but not unbearable.

Scepter Tower of Spellgard (2-5)
Played through this, didn't much follow the story and the setting didn't make sense to me, but the challenges weren't effed up.

Thunderspire Labyrinth (4-6)
Best of the early adventures. Paldomar could do with a MM3 rebuild, a couple levels lower and/or as a solo.

Tomb of Horrors (10-22)
I know DMs who have mined this for useful material, but none that have actually run it.


Some of the Encounters adventures weren't so bad, either. Beyond the Crystal Cave was a stand-out. I'm still running a campaign that kicked off with it.
 

Jhaelen

First Post
I'd like to recommend something else if you're thinking about starting a 4e campaign:
Personally, I felt that Hammerfast was one of the best 4e products. It's not a 'ready-to-play' adventure module, but it's chock-full with intriguing npcs, adventure ideas, rumours, sites, and even a rough outline for a heroic tier campaign. It has everything that the HPE modules are lacking.
 

skelekon

Villager
Similar to some other suggestions here, for a Nentir Vale/Harkenwold campaign I would go:


[1-3] Some Assembly Required (Dungeon 208) (more traditional dungeon crawl)
or
[1] HS1 The Slaying Stone (sandboxy)


[2-5] Reavers of Harkenwold (DM's Kit)

(something to lead into MaGA - HS2 Stonefang Pass?)

[6-8] Madness at Gardmore Abbey

Could also start with Prey for Smiley Bob (Chris Perkins, Dungeon 205) as a mini adventure with 3 encounters. It's set in the Harkenwold, the same as Some Assembly Required & Reavers of Harkenwold.
 
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cimbrog

Explorer
This was a Game I Never Played so I don't know how much if it would actually work out, especially the exploration part, but I put together a pretty big writeup on the Chaos Scar on my blog. I takes up seven posts. It includes recommendations for adding other Dungeon adventures, glue to connect everything more thoroughly, a giant rumor table and lots of other stuff.
 


cimbrog

Explorer
They really shoulda released Reavers online eventually.

Technically it is available in PDF form, you just have to shell out $20 to get it along with the rest of the Dungeon Master's Kit on Dungeon Master's Guild. Same for Cairn of the Winter King included with the Monster Vault.

I always imagined WotC was attempting a stealth Essentials adventure path with the following:
Level 1: The Slaying Stone (HS1)
Level 2-3: Reavers of Harkenwold (Dm Kit)
Level 4: Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault)
Level 5: Orcs of Stonefang Pass (HS2)
Level 6-8: Madness at Gardmore Abbey

There was paragon level stuff in the form of Revenge of the Giants, Tomb of Horrors and Halls of Undermountain, but those started with level 12 so there goes that theory.
 


D'karr

Adventurer
The sad part about the DM's Kit and the Monster Vault as part of DTRPG is that they don't come with the tokens.
 

Jessica

First Post
I got my copy of The Slaying Stone in the mail today and I'm really liking it. I think it's almost certainly the adventure I want to run first. Although(maybe this is my less familiarity with post-MM3 monsters talking) that first encounter seems pretty deadly when I was glancing over the adventure. Is it going to be too hard for a party of 5 non-optimized PCs most of whom are brand new to 4e?
 

cimbrog

Explorer
I got my copy of The Slaying Stone in the mail today and I'm really liking it. I think it's almost certainly the adventure I want to run first. Although(maybe this is my less familiarity with post-MM3 monsters talking) that first encounter seems pretty deadly when I was glancing over the adventure. Is it going to be too hard for a party of 5 non-optimized PCs most of whom are brand new to 4e?

I don't think it's too bad. Also consider that the goal is the PCs escaping into the tower with some aid from Treona, not to fight to the death. Additionally, depending on how you want to give the quest out, the encounter is completely irrelevant to the plot. Treona and Alkirk could recruit them from anywhere, including a nice safe tavern in town. I think the reason that encounter exists is as a warm-up battle for new players that also immediately exposes the DM to the concept of alternate combat encounter goals.
 

jacktannery

Explorer
I always imagined WotC was attempting a stealth Essentials adventure path with the following:
Level 1: The Slaying Stone (HS1)
Level 2-3: Reavers of Harkenwold (Dm Kit)
Level 4: Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault)
Level 5: Orcs of Stonefang Pass (HS2)
Level 6-8: Madness at Gardmore Abbey

These are the best adventures for 4E. I've played through them as a GM. Madness at Gardmore Abbey is absolutely the one single best adventure ever produced by Wizards for 4E. It's brilliant. Reavers of Harkenwold is also pretty good, almost perfect. The rest are fine.

Note that they are also the latest adventures produced, so by then the developers were beginning to understand the system they had created.

If I was doing it all again, I would run Reavers of Harkenwold (start at level 1 and just provide loads of XP in the first 2 encounters to bump everyone to level 2, and carry on as normal) then skip directly to Madness at Gardmore, just bumping everyone's XP up to level 4 or 5. 4E can work ok if the party prepares for an uneven challenge ahead, and XP is earned fast.

Keep on the Shadowfell(1-3)
Thunderspire Labyrinth (4-6)
Pyramid of Shadows (7-10)
Prince of Undeath (27-30)

Avoid all of these at all cost. They are absolutely terrible. Thunderspire is the least terrible, but you still have to basicly rewrite the entire adventure and change all of the combat encounters to make them fun, so just don't go there.
 

I know it is a long time since the last post.... but.. How is your campaign going?

I am looking to introduce some friends to the D&D4e system and was thinking about the obvious H1-H3, P1-P3, E1-E3... but now after reading this long string, I am not so sure. I was even looking at using Myrdraak's conversion.

I love Cimbrog;s suggestion and have all of those modules! So if you could please enlighten me on this it would be great.

Also, I have the DDI subscription and was wondering if anyone would know of any good "hook's", sub-quests or side trek's that would go along with any of the Level 1: The Slaying Stone (HS1)
Level 2-3: Reavers of Harkenwold (Dm Kit)
Level 4: Cairn of the Winter King (Monster Vault)
Level 5: Orcs of Stonefang Pass (HS2)
Level 6-8: Madness at Gardmore Abbey

Thanks to you all! Looking forward to responses...

Mark
 

Dungeon obviously has a LOT of adventures, many of them in the heroic tier. The various 'Chaos Scar' adventures in particular are short and designed to hang together in some degree (they are all self-consistent and take place in a specific region), but are also short and intended to be mixed and matched as desired. So you could run a couple of those as fillers where needed. You can always look at LFR modules too, plenty of those are low level.
 

*If KotS goes into Thunderspire which connects with Pyramid of Shadows then I feel like something is lost by not running them together for a lot of new players. If I do the story of one then I kinda want to run them all together.
Frustration and Confusion is what'd be missing. ;P
Frustration with the botched combat designs in KotS, and confusion at the weirdness of PoS (though I admit I personally had fun with PoS, I don't expect a lot of other players to have felt that way).

Thunderspire, though, I remember as a being a really fun module to play through.

Don't discount the possibility of just coming up with your own stuff, either for a campaign or to bridge between modules that don't mesh perfectly in terms of story or expected levels. It's very easy to whip up a series of level-appropriate encounters in 4e, and only a bit more work to hack together a decent skill challenge.
 

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