View Full Version : player's report- Tearing of The Weave module 3.5 [SPOILER]

Kol Korran
2009-11-08, 02:37 AM
i'm playing in a group that just went through wizards' module of "Tearing of The Weave". we've finished it last night, and i thought i'd share my thoughts with you, in case someone is planning to run it. do take notice that i do this from a player's perspective, and that i do not have the adventure itself (i suspect my DM changed a few things) so the accuracy of this post is questionable.

if it wasn't understood by now, this post contains lots of spoilers.
lets begin, shall we?

the basics

the adventure is supposed to take 4 characters from 4th level to 9th level but they can miss a few encounters. we were 5 players (and at times another NPC) and got to 9th level one encounter before the end. i think we did all or nearly all encounters, and got between half to all of the bonus XP.
the setting is forgotten realms, starting in the middle of Cormyr at the city of Wheloon, and moving to the great swamp, and most importently- the plane of shadow.
this is the first of 3 adventures in the samce campaign path. i don't know who the two others are.
our group was fairly standard and not optimized: a dwarven fighter/ barbarian, an elf ranger, a human cleric (me, no DMM stuff), a blaster human wizard, and a rouge tiefling.
our DM i think went a bit easy on us at points, which i don't like, but them are the breaks.
basic plot: the party are hired to investigate a new temple to Mystra, which turns out to be fake- actually a temple to Shar. the temple subjugates casters and sends them to the swamp. the party follows, befried lizardmen who are attacked by shadow template undead lizardmen. they fight them, enter a portal to the shadow plane (still tracking the lost magic users) and go through a series of "mini dungeons" on their way to the central ritual- a tearing of the magic weave that is supposed to leave the shadow weave active. behind it all there is a large black dragon called Despayr- the main villain for this adventure.

general points

dungeons, dungeons, dungeons: most of the adventure encounters take place in some sort of structures. our DM tried to change that a bit with patrols and responses of our enemies, but still, the adventure feels like lots of dungeons. this may or may not suit your tastes. i really liked the undead mound dungeon and the stretching bridges over a canyon "dungeon" at the end.
not a whole lot of interesting choices: the adventure is VERY battle focused, a bit strategically focused, a tiny bit of investigation, and... almost nothing else. not much interaction, not much way to circumvent the enemy (there is one exception where you can get a boat and go around another dungeon), and by most chances you'll just be going from one enemy hold to the other. for me this was a light hearted game, and mostly roleplay focused, so this didn't irate on me too much, but it might on others. two of the dungeons (the undead mound and ebon dome) feel that they are there just to provide fight encounters for XP and loot. they do not actually progress the plot.
combats: i liked the combats, they showed a nice variety of enemies (simple minions, massive brutes, casters- mostly devine, demons, undead, and a few abberations) as to interesting environments- i'd say there is use of added conditions (terrain, effects and such) in about 25% of the adventure. i would have liked more, but it sufficed. i liked the mix.
The long Stretch: after the party finishes with the fake temple of mystra, they go the rest of the adventure WITHOUT GETTING BACK TO A CITY FOR 4 LEVELS! this means no spell components other than what you take with you (we couldn't identify at one point, and i couldn't use any more divination spells), and more importently- you can't sell loot and get rid of the load. i know, i know- we should have taken a bag of holding, but we really thought we were going on a short adventure and used out money on other things. stupid mistake, but even with a bag of hodling it could be a problem. our wizard used Tenser's floating disc about a quarter of the way.
climatic battles: most "bosses" don't have a good enough build up to them. many times you realise this gal (priestesses mostly) is tough only half way through the battle, and sometime you kill them before you know their name. there is a good build up with the dragon though, including a few fly by of him. it could have been done better though.
foreshadowing and plot: most of this is handledin the campaign through half finished letters info from prisoners freed. we also used divination spells (most notably speak with the dead) and interogated captives. the forshadowing and links to the next adventures are done well (to my opinion at least), and give a feel of a great scheme unfolding, though some parts of it you can guess fairly early on.

the fake shadow temple:

the beginning of the adventure: i think that the adventure should have really prepared for more avenues of investigations than there are. i haven't read the adventure, but i'm fairly certain that they expect the players to attend the ritual suggested by the fake priests. we did it differently- DMs, be prepared to improvise.
the temple is a nice start up. most time we got 2 encounters bundled into one, as many areas are close. one note to DMs- be sure to warn your party of the malfunctioned shadow portal in advance some how. one of us nearly died there in a very unclimactic manner.

the lost refuge:

again we got 2 battles bundledinto one most times. the battle at the yard with the shadar kai, priestess and the undead was torture. Ktssara (or whatever was the name of the half dragon) is a nice battle, thanks to the other shadar kai with her, but two fireballs or the like pretty much end it. i know she's supposed to be a caster? our DM got only one spell off.
the crocodile creature at the top of the stairs can be a really nasty surprise. our rogue sneaked up there, failed her move silently and nearly died there and then. i'd suggest a more interesting guardian.
Gathan the lizardman: we joined forces with this exiled lizardman, but he turned out to be more of an annoyance, drain on our healing resources, and nearly no help at all. i'd suggest maybe us a different NPC, or none at all. i don't know what was his purpose. maybe the DM added him up, but he says that he's written in the module.

the shadow swamp

we missed the boat from the shadowy refuge so i can't detail on the water route. the place is really atmospheric and i suggest you use it for random swamp based encounters. we met a hydra in the swamp and it was a nice (if nearly deadly) encounter.
i'm not sure if it's only our DM, or if it's like that in the real module- Despayr came and flew by us in the swamp. he breathed on us, chased our polymorphed wizard a bit , and... flew off (?!?) this happened again later at the canyon. this felt quite silly- why would a dragon just breath and retreat? especially if he can breath again? i suggest one of the two approaches: either don't have him appear at all (perhaps send minions somehow?) or have him fight till about 1/2 his hit points and then retreat. this owuld feel more like a dragon!

the undead mound

my second favourite dungeon due to the cramped conditions. our DM made some alterations with the undead, but they were really, really tough. DMs- make sure they are reasonable.
the warchief: this guy killed Gathan, and nearly 2 of our party. he's really strong. but then again, we met him fairly depleted.
general advice: the mound has several openings. i suggest to give the party reasonable chance to discover the other entries other than the main one. small sense of achievment.
Alerin: the drow fighter reminds me of another good rebel drow... she's a nice addition to the group, and could inspire roleplay (it did a bit with us), but i'd still suggest to create a more unique, interesting NPC for your group.

the ebon dome

not much to say- a redundent place other than for the discovery the party makes (black chronology and book of black reference). i'd really suggest to skip it somehow

the black rift

the rift is TOO LONG, especially when you're getting close to the climax. i'd suggest to bunch enounters together, and remove some. leave 4-5 encounters total (including Despayr)
i'd suggest to get partial magic disruption in areas close to Despayr's lair. that way the party will fell they are getting close, and will know better how to prepare. more importently- they'll feel the tear growing!
the gorgon encounter can be a game stopper. remember there is no town close, and the party doesn't necesserily have reached 9th level (for break enchantment). we found 3 scrolls of break enchantment. maybe they are in the module, but i highly suspect our DM pur it there.
the yoguluth with the cloudkill is another game stopper. here characters fell they should rush! not get bogged down by debilitating effects. (in my opinion at least). the demon isutterly redundent.
i LOVED the special effects in the rift (the plateau of skulls, the mushrooms with humanoid faces and so on)

to close things up
like many modules, it's but a basis for changes for the DM. however, if you're a light hearted group then it could fit as it is. i do suggest to shorten some things out, maybe add a village of shadow plane inhabitants in the middle to allow town interactions, and to try and insert more interesting choices.

i'd give it about 7.5-8. hey- i enjoyed the game, and that' all that matters.
i hope this wasn't too long of a read. feel free to discuss or ask questions.


2009-11-08, 03:58 PM
Interesting, though if you don't go to town for 4 levels, how do you handle character death?

BTW will you be playing the follow up sometime

Akal Saris
2009-11-08, 04:12 PM
Very interesting, thank you for posting this.

I've been mulling over running this module sometime. The "main" game that I DM is set in Cormyr, with the PCs as the rulers of various cities and territories within that kingdom, including 1 PC-turned-NPC villain who is a Shadow Adept and rules over much of the Vast Swamp. Even stranger, some of his last actions as a PC were to investigate into the new city of shadows that had appeared over Anauroch.

So the plot of the module already fits my campaign almost perfectly - but my concern has been that the quality of the module didn't seem very high from skimming the encounters, especially since with time restraints and our fondness for a balance between RP and combat, my PCs can rarely fit more than 2 combats into a single session.

Kol, how many sessions did it take you to go through the module (and about how much time in a session?) Did you come away from it feeling like your character had a significant effect on Cormyr or Faerun?

2009-11-08, 06:01 PM
The long Stretch: after the party finishes with the fake temple of mystra, they go the rest of the adventure WITHOUT GETTING BACK TO A CITY FOR 4 LEVELS! this means no spell components other than what you take with you (we couldn't identify at one point, and i couldn't use any more divination spells), and more importently- you can't sell loot and get rid of the load. i know, i know- we should have taken a bag of holding, but we really thought we were going on a short adventure and used out money on other things. stupid mistake, but even with a bag of hodling it could be a problem. our wizard used Tenser's floating disc about a quarter of the way.

Should have gotten a spell component pouch: that covers all non-gp items.
Or Eschew materials.

2009-11-08, 07:13 PM
Should have gotten a spell component pouch: that covers all non-gp items.
Or Eschew materials.

Doesn't cover costly material components, which are the really limited thing.

Kol Korran
2009-11-09, 12:12 AM
ok, lets see:
starbuck2: we did have spell component pouches, but as omegonthesane mentioned- it didn't cover costly material componenets. for example:
- pearls for identify (we started out with 10, but that wasn't enough)
- incense for cleric divinations such as augery and divination (really didn't take enough)

Akal Saris: it sounds that you can fit the module with your campaign, though do note that there is fairly little place for roleplay with NPCs, mostly between characters, and situations (i made a big deal of the depression that struck my character from entering the plane of shadow, missing the sun and so on. and more).

as to your question- it took us 13 sessions to finish this, about 5 hours per session (though we played VERY relaxed, a friendly game, not intensive one). we did about 3-4 encounters per session i think)

my suggestion to you is to take elements that fit your campaign, add a few roleplay encounters (like maybe a small town of shadar kai in the plane of shadow), and get rid of the unnecessery battles. keep the highlights.

Fenix_of_Doom: we couldn't raise any characters (except near the end where we found a scroll of raise dead), i think characer death is handled by having a new character join the party, probably one looking for lost relatives or such that were taken by priestesses of shar (we had one character join this way)

and yes, we do plan to play all the modules on the campaign arc, maybe i'll even make a journal here for the second part.

thanks for reading everybody.

Akal Saris
2009-11-09, 12:53 AM
Hmm...one of my PCs actually loves the shadar-kai, so finding a village of them would definitely make her day. 13 sessions of 4-5 hours at a slow pace isn't terrible - I'd probably cut the combats in half and shoot for maybe 8 sessions.

Well, it's something to consider for after I wrap up the current side campaign, which probably won't happen until summer at the earliest. Thanks again :)

2009-11-09, 01:07 AM
I've got this module, and I'm actually borrowing bits and pieces of it ATM. Problems with it: excessive railroading, and some of the boss NPCs are just poorly built and won't perform well enough to fill their roles (e.g. the head cleric in the false temple, supported by a handful of 1HD and 2HD mooks, is supposed to be a significant miniboss, but half her feats and spell slots are full of useless junk and her attack script relies heavily on her lowest-level spells, so she'll perform well below her CR).

I'm basically just stealing some locations and stapling them onto a homebrewed plot. Working well so far.

Kol Korran
2009-11-09, 01:34 AM
Akal Saris: i've just realised i forgot to answer one of your questions. as to sense of accomplishment? well, kinda... most of the other players just loved the tough fight with the dragon. i'm more plot oriented, and so i felt we've done something importent for Faerun, but... the entire set up could have easely be done better:
the black rift is too long. this is the last stretch and at those i love to have the party on a time limit. there isn't one here. also, when you get to the tear it's relatively tiny to what i've expected. i thought at least a few hundred yards (you could make more forgiving rules for the use of magic the farther you are from the center) also- a fight against casters who use the shadow weavweave while we're crippled (or handicapped) with the usual weave would have added to the reality of what could have happened. another thing could be to meet prisoners who have somehow escaped the rift, and who are "wrong" somehow (like the escaped child in the golden campus without his daemon. i'm sorry if i'm mistaking here)

at the end i felt that we might have well contacted a high level NPC to solve this- there was plenty of time to spare...
i do feel greater accomplishment at revealing the existence of the black chronology and the book of black, but that is beacaue, as i've said- i'm story oriented.

jiriku: the minibosses indeed felt underwhelming, especially Arthas, Uther and Ktsarra. (the last was more challenging, but still meh. the addition of the shadar kai there helped). you can indeed make better mini bosses.
as to railroading: i never felt i was pushed in one direction, just that there usually was only one direction. as i've said- lack of interesting choices.