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thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:00 PM
okay, so, i've started making some adventures, but most of them are mediocre and don't get past the first encounter. what i request is this:

1 good aventure to send my friends on.

1 good villain idea.

& 1 way to remember initiative

also, all the materials i own are those that came with the starter set, the map that came with the KINGDOM OF THE GHOULS adventure, and monster manuals 1 and 2. thanks!

NPCMook
2009-09-07, 04:03 PM
Use the quick start starter adventure, in the back of the DMG there are combat cards which you can use to record initiative, Current HP/Effects and so on for the PC/Monsters

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:06 PM
and if, say, i wanted to be unique? BTW, i didn't see something to record monster initiative.

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:09 PM
Well, why don't you describe some of your ideas for adventures? Maybe we can throw out some suggestions for improvements.

It would also help if we knew the level of your PCs.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:15 PM
OK, here's what i consider my best idea: the campaign starts in the middle of the human nation of 4 nations in the middle of a grand war. the other nations are that of orcs and goblins, that of the undead, and that of the horde (composed of stirges, kruthik, etc.). the PCs are drafted in the royal army and choose what order to attack the other nations in and lead the human nation to victory. the only other campaign i have involves demonic ressurection as a bone devil and an unwinnable first encounter.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:16 PM
also, the pcs would only go up to level 3.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:18 PM
An easy way to remember initiative.
Take a notepad.
Write down each person's initiative in descending order.
Start at the top.
Go down one.
Repeat until you hit bottom.
Go to top.


@campaign ideas- level 3 is a horribly low level to be leading kingdoms to victory over other kingdoms. You'd be best off with a town. A town that has a halfdozen different plothooks.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:20 PM
this wouldn't be heros vs army, this would be heros vs light forces of enemies.

Dixieboy
2009-09-07, 04:24 PM
this wouldn't be heros vs army, this would be heros vs light forces of enemies.

Heroes VS Army isn't really a thing you should be doing much of anyway.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:25 PM
this wouldn't be heros vs army, this would be heros vs light forces of enemies.My point stands. In a remotely believable world, your level 3 or less characters shouldn't be having that much of an impact on civilization via martial prowess.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:25 PM
hey, if the king is murdered so is the nation!

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:27 PM
hey, if the king is murdered so is the nation!...
...
...


if your king can be murdered by a level 2 rogue, the kingdom has more issues than trying to win a war.


Also no, not really, there's always succession unless our hypothetical rogue has either assassinated the whole royal family, or the king has no heirs for some reason, in which case there are usually regents and temporary measures to handle that sort of thing.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:29 PM
this king would be low level because he...erm...uh...ack....pfargtl.... was a bad ruler? worst comes to worst, he's a level four or five.

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:29 PM
That campaign does seem a bit generic. Sort of sounds like Gauntlet, but on a nation-wide scale. And a bit low-level.

Here's a generic adventure idea I had: the PCs go to visit a friend, who lives in a coastal town once noted as a pirate's haven and a community of Dagon-worshippers before a local hero drove all the undesirable elements out. They arrive at the same time as the mysterious appearance of a creature once regarded as a sort of "herald" of Dagon perhaps a demon of some kind, or a ghost. The creature might even invade the friend's home and the PCs must fight it off.

A cold, calculating stranger then arrives in town and tells them that they have incurred Dagon's wrath; the fearful townsfolk begins discussing a return to the old ways of ritually sacrificing villagers by drowning them in the ocean. Perhaps they even turn on the other strangers in town, the PCs, as possible sacrifices; perhaps the PCs can shame the townsfolk using a skill challenge.

They discover the creature's re-appearance is tied to the follower of Dagon, who is lurking in the catacombs beneath the town that were once used as a sort of storehouse by the pirates.

The wizard flees by diving into a watery pool, and the PCs discover that a tunnel at its bottom leads to an underwater temple located beyond the town. The heroes must battle past undead, low-level demons like dretches and a few mercenary followers of Demogorgon (since this is a temple of Dagon, they're allowed in). Ultimately, the PCs confront the wizard himself as he's about to activate an ancient artifact that will destroy the town with a tidal wave. Whether or not he succeeds is up to you.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:29 PM
this king would be low level because he...erm...uh...ack....pfargtl.... was a bad ruler? worst comes to worst, he's a level four or five.He's also unguarded? Or the guards are so bad that a level 2 rogue can sneak into the palace?

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:30 PM
the army just went to war because the king would execute them if they didn't. they'd probbably be HAPPY that poor excuse for a king died

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:32 PM
What was your campaign with the bone devil? I think unwinnable encounters are generally a bad idea, but pitch it all the same.

Here's another idea: a halfling colony to the south has not been heard from for some time. The PCs are recruited by a halfling riverboat captain to accompany him on an expedition to the colony.

Along the way, they attacked by lizard men (preferably the MM2 lizard men if you want to keep this low-level). They discover the halfling colony surrounded by the 'zards and must fight their way in.

The colony at one point traded with the lizard men, but a few months ago their behaviour suddenly turns violent. In a skill challenge involving the interrogation of a lizard man prisoner, the PCs learn that a new god-king recently came to power in the tribe, calling for the destruction of the nearby halfling colony. (Depending on whether they succeed, the PCs learn the god-king is backed by either devilish or elemental forces.)

The halflings dearly want to leave but are unable to do so while the siege continues. The PCs must infiltrate the lizard men's territory and strike down the lizard king at the ruined temple he has claimed as his lair. (The temple can belong to some generic ancient civilization.)

Mauril Everleaf
2009-09-07, 04:32 PM
Keeping in mind that a level 1 adventurer in 4e is already considered some sort of hero, it is not entirely unbelievable for level 3 PCs to be leading military forces.

In that regard, you may also consider looking at the Scales of War adventure path if you are needing adventure ideas. You would need access to Dragon Magazine, which is not bad idea anyway. DDI has a lot to offer and (if you can afford it) gives you a lot of goodies to play with, as a player or a DM.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:34 PM
the PCs are murdered by the first encounter, arrive in hell, and the shape-shifting ruler ressurrects them as bone devils. those that are willing get major allignment changes, and those that aren't burn in hell until they are.

Fri
2009-09-07, 04:35 PM
If it's a low level world, where the heroes are only level 3, a king murdered by level 2 rogue isn't really that strange. The guards would be minions and be very weak.

Cliche campaign are a good way to start your DnD life, my friend :smallredface:

And in an army vs PC game, try to make your Player Character not attacking the army directly, but attacking their commanders, their advisors, etc.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:41 PM
anyone gonna help with the encounters and such?

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:44 PM
the PCs are murdered by the first encounter, arrive in hell, and the shape-shifting ruler ressurrects them as bone devils. those that are willing get major allignment changes, and those that aren't burn in hell until they are.

I'm not crazy about that one; why waste everyone's time drawing up characters if they get murdered in the first encounter? You might as well just start them in the Nine Hells.

Also, what fun is it having a party where everyone has the exact same abilities and powers?

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:45 PM
ok then, scratch that idea.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:47 PM
If it's a low level world, where the heroes are only level 3, a king murdered by level 2 rogue isn't really that strange. The guards would be minions and be very weak.

Cliche campaign are a good way to start your DnD life, my friend :smallredface:
I'm still not sold really. The difference between level 1 and level 2 is a whopping 5% increase in overall efficiency and a few more HP. I'm really not seeing them go through the army to the castle to assassinate a king directly without major DM fiat involved. 4e isn't really the best system to model that sort of thing on.


@OP- as far as creating encounters goes. Open up your monster manuals. Pull out the monsters of appropriate CRs. Make a dozen or so generic areas that you can have them encounter soldiers. Make a half dozen or so different encounter groups from each kingdom. Roll randomly or season to your own amusement.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:50 PM
Low. Level. King. No. Reinforcements. End. Of. Story.

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:51 PM
A wartime campaign isn't too bad. But really, it should be one kingdom vs. one kingdom.

In the campaign, the PCs should have to complete several different quests. One could be a quest to gather intel on a planned attack by the enemy; one quest could be to recover a group of hostages taken by the enemy.

The final quest could be to actually assasinate said king of enemy nation.

My idea would be to have the PCs defend a town from the bullywugs in the neighbouring swamp. The campaign wraps up when the PCs defeat the slaad heading the tribe; use the flux slaad listed in the MM2, knock it down a few levels and maybe apply the slaad spawner template.

For encounters, you could have a mix of bullywugs, bloodthorn vines, stirges, giant rats and oozes. For hazardous terrain, use thick packs of mud that cling at the PCs' heels or even quicksand.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:51 PM
Low. Level. King. No. Reinforcements. End. Of. Story.
Alright.

King Deehem Feeyat is walking in his garden one day. He has no fear of assassins despite the fact that everyone in his kingdom hates him. A level 2 rogue walks into the castle and ganks him from behind. This mysteriously recalls the entire army and the rogue is crowned the new king ... until another level 2 rogue comes along...

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:54 PM
King Deehem Feeyat is walking in his garden one day. He has no fear of assassins despite the fact that everyone in his kingdom hates him. A level 2 rogue walks into the castle and ganks him from behind. This mysteriously recalls the entire army and the rogue is crowned the new king ... until another level 2 rogue comes along...

It's unrealistic, but who cares? So is D&D.

4E PCs are supposed to "speshul" anyways, so what does it matter? All that matters is that it's fun.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:54 PM
only one problem: NO SWAMP, NO SLAAD, NO BULLYWUGS, AND NO BLOOTHORN VINES! ONLY STARTER SET AND KINGDOM OF GHOULS MAP!

FoE
2009-09-07, 04:56 PM
only one problem: NO SWAMP, NO SLAAD, NO BULLYWUGS, AND NO BLOOTHORN VINES! ONLY STARTER SET AND KINGDOM OF GHOULS MAP!

Sounds like your options are pretty limited, then. Sorry, can't help you. You're on your own.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 04:56 PM
It's unrealistic, but who cares? So is D&D.

4E PCs are supposed to "speshul" anyways, so what does it matter?
I guess my suspension of disbelief as I pretend to cast spells and summon monsters can only be stretched so far. Who knew. :smallfrown:


@OP - Graph paper is your friend.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 04:57 PM
anyone gonna help make my war campaign?

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 05:14 PM
you wanna help kylarra?

Thajocoth
2009-09-07, 05:39 PM
We use initiative cards. One of the players holds the cards and flips through them each turn, saying who's turn is next. We have one card per player and "Monster" cards labeled Monster A, Monster B, ect... For generic use for others. Another player keeps track of status effects (via magnetic tokens). Once initiative starts, the actually initiative rolls cease to matter.

To make your game interesting... What's the terrain? Usually the terrain has the biggest impact on how fun the encounters are. Boring flat plains don't hold player's interest very often... For the most memorable 4e fights I've had, the terrain had an initiative card to do something.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 05:44 PM
i have some dungeon areas, a thing i can only ASSUME is magical darkness, a bridge of bones leading to an island of death, a thing that just might be able to pass as a washroom, and a throne room with a statue of orcus in back and a floor of souls.

The New Bruceski
2009-09-07, 05:57 PM
Tips for a good adventure:

--Match it to your players. If they want to sit down and do something in a couple of nights, don't make a huge dramatic arc. If they're fond of acting and diplomacy, a dungeon of mindless undead won't go over well. This is handled both in pre-game design, and in paying attention to how they react as the game goes on.

--Plan, but don't over-plan. This can be a difficult balance to find. You want to know what's going on, what could come up, but don't get so caught up in your story that you can't adjust if/when the players take the left fork in the road, or spot the doppleganger ten seconds after meeting him. One factor here is experience; as you adjust to your players you'll learn which paths they tend to take, and can plan those in more detail. The other factor is knowing your world as more than a series of events, so that even if you're thrown for a loop and need to rewrite things, you have some clue of what could happen so it's more "30-minute break, guys" than "game's over for tonight".

--I thought I'd have more, but they seem to have been covered in fleshing out my earlier points.

Something I've been doing in my head lately is designing my own "world" (more of a large island) that I could use for multiple campaigns. It's fairly simple, and isn't a Greyhawk-esque world where "anything" can be fit, but once I flesh it out it should be able to host a lot of different kinds of adventures, and that gives me a location and various other details to make the rest of the design fill out.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 06:02 PM
I'm not going to write up your encounters for you, but since 4e is a wargame.
You can just use schrodinger's kingdom.

Use graph paper to give yourself more terrain options.
Make 6-10 of these maps for outdoor use.
Write up a dozen or so CR appropriate encounters for each kingdom to represent groups of soldiers they might encounter.
After they pick a kingdom to attack, shelve the other two kingdom's encounters and focus on fleshing out the encounters for the first kingdom. You can still get away with a generic encounter or two in the first session.


Alternatively, just have them attack a necromancer of some sort and use your kingdom of ghouls or whatever maps.

Thajocoth
2009-09-07, 06:04 PM
I mean... What's the terrain do? Is there a lot of cover? Does anything move players around? Does the terrain hurt anything?

I've had a battle with a wave of lava filling the room at a rate of 1d4 squares of round. I've had one where two rows of floating platforms are the terrain, and move towards a dropoff based on a d10 roll (One row moves, both move or neither move 1 or 2 squares. When one platform falls off, another comes in the other side.) Or on a bridge covered in minions as it's being destroyed in random places by a giant hammer. Or a room with tiles, each of which can effect the person standing on it, based on what color the item in the center rolls on it's turn (or, if a player uses the item, what color they force it to.)

Of course, those were all in a Paragon Tier campaign... But it's things like that that are memorable.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-07, 06:32 PM
ive got some rubble, statues, alcoves, pits, switches and fires off the top of my head.

Katana_Geldar
2009-09-07, 06:42 PM
Your mintures and your terrain should NOT limit what you can do. If you are strapped for cash, there is nothing wrong with using grid paper and board game tokens until you get some decent ones.

You seem as if you really don't know where to begin, sometimes it's better to start with the END and work everything up to that point.

The best thing you can do is start small and be open for new ideas, your players will give you a lot of these.

Kylarra
2009-09-07, 06:46 PM
The best thing you can do is start small and be open for new ideas, your players will give you a lot of these.
Well, really the best thing to do is run a prepackaged adventure so you can get used to the system before everything relies on you.

Thajocoth
2009-09-07, 11:13 PM
Oh, and NEVER assume the PCs will do what you expect. I've found that they usually do not.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-08, 08:12 AM
i've got a great idea for an adventure. anyone wanna here it?:biggrin:

thefinalbattle
2009-09-08, 08:53 AM
OK, the pcs would basically be this police force, and they'd be hired to stop this series of seemingly unrelated crimes, and on the final one, they'd meet the BBEG: a common-speaking fen hydra. i'm getting some dungeon tiles too, so i might be able to make the final battle even better.

kjones
2009-09-08, 09:25 AM
Dungeon tiles, special minis, and the like are nice, but not at all necessary. A whiteboard with grid lines, or even a sheet of graph paper, will serve you just fine. Dice, coins, and whatever else you have at hand can serve for minis. If you have money to burn, though, go nuts,

Also, it's better to edit your first post than to double-post.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-08, 09:29 AM
i'm basically using a toy hydra as a fen hydra. it's purple and has feet, but otherwise is pretty good.

magellan
2009-09-08, 09:50 AM
Ok: tips for beginning DMs:

1) Don't be afraid to be generic. Have them meet in a tavern with a guy giving them a mission to kill the xs infesting place y. Of course if you can think of something better, go for it. But the true and tried stuff has been found to be true through generations of gamers trying it.

2) When writing something you can always go back to it to make it better. Or have a better idea, junk the older work and start anew. (Or any creative hobby for that matter) As long as its a hobby you do for yourself thats perfectly fine. But: If you do it as a DM you need to present the stuff to your players, so you *need* to finish, for the next session. A simple generic adventure this week is better than the uberepicblowsyourmindneverseenanythinglikeitneverw illagain next week.

3) Murder mysteries have some additional pitfalls (The bottleneck clue for example) that generic adventures don't. From what i read yours could have the "Villain sits in last room because that's what villains do" flaw. No problem in a Dungeoncrawl, big problem in a murder mystery. I'd put writing murder mysteries off for a little while, and at least run some made by other people before making your own.

4) Forget the word homebrew. Dont have it? make it up. It's been madeup by someone else anyway (would that be an office brew?). If one of your players complains about lacking corellation between your beasts and the "official ones" tell him that he is welcome to buy/lend you the books.

5) Don't be afraid to experiment, but think them through. Strong generica is preferrable to weak original stuff.

6) You are not writing literature, you are writing low grade fiction.

7) KISS (Keep it simple and stupid)

8) There is nothing to be ashamed of in the above 4

.... and i too thought i'd have more :)

Ohohohohoh:
9) Don't plan ahead too much. Got material for the session? you are fine. Don't need to have the next 5 years gaming in real time mapped out (It propably won't happen that way anyway).

ah:
10) take hints from your players. If they really want to go down there where you have nothing prepared, just wing it. If they really dont want to do roleplaying to day, throw a battle at them, if they really don't want to do a battle, have the opponents start negotiations. But don't serve either on a silver platter.

yeah... thats about it off the top of my head. Most important i guess is: Deliver. Nobody cares about the excellent adventure that you are rewriting for years.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-08, 10:03 AM
well, what SHOULD i do with the villain?(by villain i mean fen hydra.)

magellan
2009-09-08, 10:23 AM
In a murder mystery the villain is too busy running around leaving clues all over the place, to find any time to sit in a room. Those clues should also be exclusive (Clue A doesnt require Clue B to understand) and you should be able to season them according to group (Step them up a degree or 2 if the need arises/the players don't get it)

He also needs a motive and a modus operandi. But generally speaking it's all in the clues.

Oh: and two more:
steal, steal, steal, what ever you can get your grubby fingers on, steal it, if you can't steal it plagiarize it.

I find it helpful to have a little notebook i can get out quickly whenever the need arises to jot down an idea or two. You never know when they strike.

Hmm.... the local baron is entertaining a high ranking guest, and so the hunting on the delicious swamp rats has been at an all time high.
The fen hydra, no longer able to find any swamp rats comes closer to the city, and eventually enters the sewers. Sometimes it pokes out a head in the streets and tries to snatch a tasty citizen?

Thajocoth
2009-09-08, 10:23 AM
Shroedinger's Hydra.

Until the players have seen it, where it actually is is unknown. The players can, then, encounter it in many different places depending on where it feels right to place it. A good idea would be to have a few spare battles and such written down somewhere to throw at the players if they're either not where you expected & need to improvise (which will happen a lot) or if they decide to waste too much time in a dangerous place.

If your villain's whereabouts are unknown, the players can reach them from the direction you expect or from countless directions you didn't. Like... If he was gonna be in some distant cave, but the players would up in the city's sewer system... He can suddenly be in the sewer system instead, as it's only you who knew he was in the cave. Or, if yo told the players about the cave, there's a hole in the sewer wall that leads right to him.


Also... After a few sessions, when you've got a handle on the player's strengths... It's a good idea to forge battles with them in mind. If a battle has a lot of minions, for example, the party's wizard will probably be very important that battle. Also, you don't want anyone to feel like the monsters will refuse to attack them either. You don't want players feeling like their characters are useless to the party, and you still want them to feel that their characters are at risk. It takes a bit to do, but you should eventually be able to make very interesting fights for the players.

BillyJimBoBob
2009-09-08, 12:20 PM
We use initiative cards. One of the players holds the cards and flips through them each turn, saying who's turn is next. We have one card per player and "Monster" cards labeled Monster A, Monster B, ect... For generic use for others. Another player keeps track of status effects (via magnetic tokens). Once initiative starts, the actually initiative rolls cease to matter.A good system. We use a small (about the size of your average 19" monitor) magnetic bulletin board with initiative numbers listed along the left and right sides, and we have magnetic strips for each character and other that read "Monster group 1", "Leader 1", etc. The GM keeps track of status effects in his HP track for the monsters, players manage their own status.

To the OP: If you're new to D&D then despite your desire to run a unique setting I'd advise running a published module. You'll learn the rules, you'll see how things can be done, and then you can feel free to take off and make your ideas come alive with the perspective you've gained. If you play once per week and it takes 12 sessions to finish a module that's just 3 months invested in learning the rules for both you and your players, time well spent.

thefinalbattle
2009-09-10, 09:43 AM
how's this idea sound: the PCs awaken at an airship port and have amnesia due to inhaling the fuel. the elven airport lady tells them about the hydra they were running from. the ticket is already paid for, so they get on the poorly assembled airship and blast off. then they try to fly off to a new home, while avoiding goblin raiders, beasts of the sky, and dire rats attracted by them turning a cloud into cheese by pressing the wrong button.