Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A New Home

After much thought, this is the final post here at 5eGrognard. I will still be blogging. Follow along at

Sunday, April 2, 2017

White Plume Mountain Part 1, Blackrazor

First, lets update my various distractions from posting new content. My health continues to improve. Things are becoming routine. I've completed my round of tests and doctor visits for my three month checkups. Overall the doctors are pleased with my progress. I still have a clot in my leg, but it is opening and letting some blood flow.

I have gone thru all of my old Magic: The Gathering cards and found a nice stack that was worth a bit of money. I had sent off a pile of about 100 cards and used them for store credit to get a few battle decks, some deck boxes, and box of about 500 more cards. Nothing valuable, just some fun stuff to dig thru to add to some of my decks. A couple ideas for new decks in all of those, but nothing that I need to work on right away. I'm more interested in tweaking my existing decks. This was my first major influx of cards (besides a few random boosters recently) since probably 2002.

I continue to share my favorite posts from blogs I read over at Google+, and my 5eGrognard Facebook page is beginning to gain some followers. Either one provides the same great content of things my favorite blog writers are up to.

I've got things set up to run a solo play by post game on Tavern Keeper. To learn the site, I've joined a group as a player, and I really like what I've seen from Tavern Keeper to run games there.

This is the last play report from my backlog of tabletop play, though it will be broken up into three parts I've been dying to run the iconic White Plume Mountain, though the start of these sessions pre-dated the announcement to Tales From the Yawning Portal.

To help flesh out the surface area surrounding the mountain, I'll be pulling from Return to White Plume Mountain, all except for the Dead Gnoll's Eyesocket, where I will be using the version from Dungeon Magazine #212 in the adventure "Never Say Die" .

I did purchase and read thru the Classic Modules Today conversion. I found it somewhat useful. Most of the conversions are what I would have come up with on my own. I've looked over it before each session, and it's helped me. I have had it open during play, but have not really found the need to reference it at the table.

This report does cover a few sessions of play.

Our heroes did make it safely back to Orod'tal after exploring the ruins of the Shattered Tower.

Speaking of our group, they are all now 7th level and consist of:

Ash. She's a fire genasi valor bard with the entertainer background.

Tulgasora. Originally a half orc bull totem barbarian with the bounty hunter background. Since there are no orcs on Eska, but my son liked the half orc mechanics, we reskinned him as a "savage hobgoblin", and not from one of the organized troops.

Pyro. Aasimar celestial sorcerer with the tinkerer background.

After a short amount of Downtime, the players found that the party's adventures have gained them a certain amount of renown. They were invited to dinner with a prominent gray elf, Paxidor. As they had not yet earned admittance to the inner domed portion of the city, Paxidor did host them at a large house just outside of the dome.

After a sumptuous feast, Paxidor presented the party with a job offer. Paxidor was merely an agent representing a trio of powerful collectors from inside of the dome. It seems that each of the collectors had a powerful magical weapon stolen from them, with only a mysterious note left behind.

With promises of "nearly anything you want" as a reward for the recovery of Wave, Whelm, and Blackrazor, the group readily agreed. They were provided with supplies for their expedition, including a full company of hobgoblin infantry to escort them as far as the small human town of Tralen, the closest settlement within sight of the fabled mountain.

Traveling with such a large armed force made for a quiet journey. The hobgoblin troops had been given orders to fortify Tralen to keep them occupied while the group went on to their expedition. The hobgoblins began digging a trench and an earthen wall around the already existing wooden palisade.

Leaving their escort behind, our group crossed the Yellow Flow River and headed towards the Dead Gnoll's Eyesocket, with the idea of setting up a forward base in the caves there. This turned out to be a bad idea, as the group was soon surrounded by a gnoll war band (generated using the rules in Volo's Guide to Monsters). Vastly outnumbered, the group only managed to escape by a timely fly spell cast by Pyro. A single gnoll did grapple with Tulgasora, holding his leg as they rose into the sky. Tulgasora did manage to kick him off, with the gnoll falling to his death in the Twisted Thicket.

Having to abandon their camping gear in their escape, they decided to make their way straight to White Plume Mountain. They entered the cave and descended into the partially flooded tunnels. Five minutes in, their boots were soggy and caked with muck. "One of the things I'm asking for is a new pair of boots", complained Ash.

My group is into riddles, so they easily answered the one the sphinx presented them. After they were given passage, they chose the tunnel to the left...towards Blackrazor.

The heat metal hallway barely phased them, as none are wearing metal armor, while the ghouls beyond were easily dispatched. The Frictionless Room was navigated by some great Acrobatics rolls by Ash, who was able to secure a rope across the room. Tulgasora was ale to navigate using the ropes, but a series of bad rolls saw Pyro fall into both pits.


With the sorcerer badly hurt, they took a short rest before finding the stream.

Climbing into kayaks, they took a ride. On they other side they were ambushed by Sir Bluto and his men. All three were caught in nets, with Ash and Pyro pulled to one side of the river, and Tulgasora to the other. To make things more interesting, Tulgasora, being a bounty hunter, recognized Sir Bluto from his collection of wanted posters.

Escaping the nets, a fun battle was joined. The party's magic and Tulgasora's rage giving them the edge, even though they were outnumbered. Tulgasora picked up a net and started pulling thugs into the river, a couple of whom were swept away. Pyro threw some Aganazzar's Scorchers around, and Ash with burning hands. Our heroes quickly gained the lead, and one bandit made his escape downriver, Sir Bluto, cornered, attempted to use his boots of striding and springing to leap into the floating river to escape, but Tulgasora knocked him unconscious, wanting him alive to collect the bounty. They cuffed him, tied him up, and wrapped him up in a net.

Moving forward, they left the bound Bluto in the secret passage that led to the "Inverted Ziggurat".

Pyro fireballed and acid splashed the manticores at the bottom, killing one, and badly wounding the other. The group took incoming fire from the manticore's tail spikes. Wanting to skip over all the tiers, Ash dimension doors herself and Tulgasora down to the bottom, while Pyro uses fly. Ash and Pyro make for the door, while Tulgasora takes on the remaining manticore solo. The manticore claws at Tulgasora, but he drops the weakened creature with a couple mighty axe strokes.

While Ash and Pyro sheltered behind the door, Tulgasora noticed the safe in the wall. Curiosity getting the better of him, he attempts to open it, setting off the trap. A shatter spell goes off. Water, broken glass, and crazed beasts start pouring down. Ash, hearing the noise, opens the door, only to see a terrified Tulgasora running towards her! He barely makes it thru, as Ash slams the door. Thinking they were trapped, our trio proceeds down the hall.

They find themselves in a richly appointed bedroom. A gray elf, Quesnef, greets them. When questioned, he says that he was guard from a noble house, kidnapped when Blackrazor was stolen. At first they were friendly with Quesnef, but as usually does in WPM, they ended up fighting and killing him after he revealed his true self. After a thorough search, they find Blackrazor! Ash attuned with the sword.

After a long rest in Quesnef's quarter, our heroes decide to see if the exit thru the ziggurat is clear. They cautiously open the door and see a scene of chaos and destruction. Shards of broken glass litter the damp floor, a majority clustered around a partially clogged drain in the center of the floor. The giant scorpions drowned in the initial rush, and the giant crayfish have since died due to the lack of water. A couple bleeding and battered sea lions have feasted on the remains and sit satiated in the rubble. The group quickly moves past, back to the secret corridor where Sir Bluto is still manacled and gagged. 

Approaching their prisoner, a starving Blackrazor senses the sentient soul. Taking over Ash, Blackrazor leaps from its scabbard and buries itself into Bluto's heart. As the life is drained from him, another star is seen twinkling on the blade. Pyro and Tulgasora stand in horror at seeing their bounty reduced in value.

The end of this session has started a debate among the players of what to do now, which has lasted for quite some time. Ash likes Blackrazor. Pyro sees the potential power of having all three weapons. While these two are chaotic neutral, the lawful neutral Tulgasora wants to honor their agreement and return the weapons. Neither side has yet to budge on their positions, even after all three weapons have been recovered. I'm interested in seeing how this all plays out, and how it will shape the future of this campaign.

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Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

In Review: March 7th-19th

I should know better than to try to start something and call it the Week in Review. In what would have been week two of a new (hopefully) regular feature, I missed it. So let's just call it In Review and leave it at that.

If you follow me on Google+ or Facebook, you've seen these links before. But here I talk about them!

First, this picture came up on my Google+ feed. #itswizardtime

Next we will delve into some Dyson Logos' maps. 
First, Gateway to the Valley of Revelations, an entrance to a secret valley with stepped farms.

Gateway to the Valley of Revelations

The Fortress of Diane the Thrice Damned is a small fortress surrounded by water on three sides.

Fortress of Diane the Thrice-Damned

The Secret Codices of the Emerald Hawk Society is the headquarters of a "secret" organization that includes a "hidden" library that might hold the bits of forgotten lore your players are searching for.

Secret Codices of the Emerald Hawk Society

Dyson also took a break from mapping and gave us a collection of 5e magic items that he made for his table.

I have two from Tribality this time. Shawn Ellsworth gives us 16 Dangers of the Riftlands introduces some variable terrain types that I feel I could just slide right into my World of Eska.

Factions are part of D&D's Organized Play, Shawn also gives us a great article about Using Factions in Your Campaign, including some factions he made for his game.

I've also pulled a post from Kobold Press' blog, another from the Out of the Frying Pan series. The Fugitive of Hammerfall is a trio of encounters with dwarven slaves culminating in an encounter with a void dragon from the Tome of Beasts.

I've used products from Raging Swan Press in my games, and have even talked about them here before. They also put out tons of great random tables in their Free Resources. This time Creighton Broadhearst gives us two sets of tables, 20 Things to Find in a War-Ravaged Village, and 1,000 Abnormal Hill Giants.

I've been a big fan of the World of Farland. While I won't be running any games there, S. Baker produces plenty of usable content, and updates monthly. I'm a fan of this month's monster, the Burned Dead, a zombie variant that explodes when killed!

Speaking of monsters, here's a bunch of new demons to populate your Abyss, by DG Scott.

The last monster entry will be the Nightshades, from James Introcaso for his World of Enora. I have plans to run a game on Enora soon. While James seems to be focusing on creating content for the surface world, I plan to run a sky pirates game in the floating cities that escaped the undead hoards that have taken over. 

I've recently begun playing a play by post game over at Tavern Keeper. While still just getting started, I'm enjoying this alternate way to game, that fits in well with my schedule. To aid that, I found some great Play by Post: Advice on Characters from Joel Priddy.

I've also have become a fan of Johnn Four at Roleplaying Tips, though I am a bit behind. Spinning Up the Idea Machine talks about prepping for your next game based on asking your players what they plan to do next at the end of each session.

Speaking of DM advice, DM David gives us suggestions on What to Do When a Player Interrupts a Role Playing Scene to Start a Battle.

Jon Gazda at Medieval Melodies not only spells his first name quite well, but had two shareable posts. Sneak Through the Jungle, with an alternate take on group stealth, and he continues his breakdown of the classic Tomb of Horrors with Take Me to Church, which deals with the False Crypt. 

In our "That's Gamable!" category, I found an article on Mental Floss about a mysterious 19th century "princess" who fooled a town in England.

I'll end this roundup with a comic, from "Jester" David, at 5 Minute Workday

"I can also do this in dungeons, through crowded hallways as I ignore cover. And in a nice vaulting arc too despite the 10 foot tall ceilings in every chamber."

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Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Entering Orod'tal

Orod'tal, is the capital city of the Mith'edhel, or the gray elves of Eska. It was once the capital of all of Eska, before the Kinslayer Wars.

Dome Cityby Ishutani

Located in the upper reaches of the Earka'orod Mountains, it began as a grand domed city. As the capital of an empire, it flourished rapidly despite it's remote location. A vast city spread out around the original dome. As Orod'tal grew, only the grey elves were allowed to live in the dome proper, and only those non-Mith'edhel of high rank or special privilege are allowed entry.

The outer city is as bleak as it's surroundings, but the inside of the dome is almost another world entirely.

The entry to the dome is thru a tunnel of flowers. Even in the depths of winter, the tunnels feel like a warm spring day.
Inspired by the Wisteria Tunnel at Kawacha Fuji Gardens.

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Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Week in Review: February 27th - March 6, 2017

I'm going to try something different. I'm just not feeling like going thru old Dragons looking for crunch to convert. I have a play report half written, but I'm burned out on doing those. We've been playing a whole lot more Magic: The Gathering than D&D recently.

I have been keeping up on reading blogs and message boards, though. So here's a collection of my favorite blog posts this week.

If you follow me on Google+ or Facebook, you've seen these links before. But here I talk about them!

I'm going to start out today with some maps. I'm a huge fan of Dyson Logos' maps. I will reshare just about every one of his. It's just not the cartography, though. It's the little story that comes with them. Just enough to spark the imagination.

 Secret tunnels beneath the graveyard     The Breached Fortress of Anoros

 Crypts and Tombs Beneath a Graveyard     Behind the Fallen God

Tribality is one of my favorite pages to go to. Excellent team of writers that cover a breadth of topics. Brandes Stoddard's New Collection of Homebrew Content sent me down the rabbit hole!

That Tribality page added some to blogs to my feed. I ended up digging thru a bunch of pages of stuff at Kobold Press.
For a magic item, I really liked the Silver Hatchet, by Davide Quatrini, It's inspired by Baron Munchausen.
Trapmaster: The Woodpile, by Michael Allen is a classic "Think it Thru" trap. Deadly if you barge right in, harmless if you figure it out.
Out of the Frying Pan: Loyalty Beyond Death by James Haeck is a great collection of recurring encounters with an undead knight.
I'm also a big fan of random tables that make things interesting. 50 Treasures of the Southlands, by Richard Pett (part 1, part 2), has a nice collection of pseduo-Egyptian loot for your treasure piles!

Another new page for me was Tales of the Monkey King. Lee Hammock had a useful write up of barter-based economies.

Jeremiah McCoy's The Basics of the Game brought an interesting post on Rules for Spell Books. His examples of the Ivory Tome and the Scrolls of Ignatius have been added to my treasure list.

I've long had a fascination with the fey market, or the goblin market. I've been wanting to have a game set in the feywild for quite awhile, but it just never seems to happen. Stephen at System Sans Setting had a great three-part series on these mysterious bazaars with Come Buy, Come Buy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Middle Finger of Vecna consistently churns out crunch for 5e. Weird West is another genre that I hope to use someday. The Finger has posted a new class, The Gunslinger. MFoV also makes their stuff available as a PDF, which I am a fan of!

Black Shark Enterprises is known for their pirate and seafaring content, but this week Mark S. Cookman gives you another rabbit hole, with A Few Online Tools to Help You Run Your Game.

Trey Causey's From the Sorcerer's Skull is one of my long time favorites. His adventure idea for Strange Stars, The Wreck of the Golden Dawn, is fantastic.

I have saved the best for last, Hack and Slash's  Courtney Campbell's musings On the Dead.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook! and Google+
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Shattered Tower

My posting schedule continues to be erratic. Back to work after my recovery time, and my body is adjusting to being active again. I have my good days and bad days. I've lacked the motivation to work on crunch, and I still have a small backlog of play reports, so I want to catch up on those.

I've also been distracted by some other things gaming related. Magic: The Gathering has continued to replace some of our D&D time at home. I've also been working on various digital and online aspects of gaming.

First off, 5eGrognard now has a presence on Facebook! For those that follow me on Google+, it will be much of the same. I'll be promoting my blog posts, as well as posts from other bloggers. If it's something I would use at my table, it'll be posted at both places. Since I am new to the Facebook D&D community, I've yet to follow anyone there. Please, follow me on Facebook, and if you have a gaming presence there, or know of some communities that I could join, please let me know!

I also have an old desktop that finally died. No major loss, since it had been replaced with several Chromebooks in the house. That leaves a pretty nice monitor that is going unused. I've been playing around with Roll20 to use the monitor to replace the battle mat at the table. I'm still a novice at it, and have yet to use it during actual play.

Finally, I've been checking out Play by Post options. Those of you that have been reading here awhile may remember some of the Fellowship play reports that I had posted. Brian, my oldest friend and the one that introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons around 35 years ago, played some with him as the DM, and me playing a party in a Play by Post game. We used a shared Google Docs to play, but that had some limitations. He's been wanting to take a go at being a player. We live in different time zones, and have wildly different work schedules to boot (I work nights), as well as family obligations, so Play by Post works best for us. I've been checking out options there as well, and am starting us out at Tavern Keeper.

My tabletop gaming group is my three children. My 16 year old daughter and 11 year old twin boys. That's the play reports that I've been posting, both the Age of Worms and Eska groups are them. My daughter lives with her mother, and is only with us every other weekend. Those weekends she is not with us, my boys still want to play D&D. We've put together a few characters, and with our Session Zero, they decided they wanted to play as pirates. Simple sailing ships on the ocean wasn't enough for me. I wanted to turn that idea up to eleven. As luck would have it, James Introcaso over at the wonderful World Builder Blog has introduced his mini setting, Enora, the Bound Sky. I've been playing around at using his setting for my sky pirates. I don't know what kind of rules for flying ships James plans on using, but I'll be using modified Spelljammer ships. I'm still not sure how we are going to start off this group, but the time has come.

So, on to the play report. I have a fascination with towers in gaming. One of my favorite tropes. One tower I have been dying to use, is Dyson Logos' Shattered Tower. I filled it out my version of Abstract Dungeon's playtest adventure, The Broken Tower. Seems like The Broken Tower pdf is no longer available on their site. I'm not familiar with the Abstract Dungeon rules, but like most adventures, I found it fairly simple to convert to 5e D&D on the fly.

Leaving the Crypt of Memory, our group was headed back to Orod'tal.

Speaking of our group, they are all 6th level and consist of:

Ash. She's a fire genasi valor bard with the entertainer background.

Tulgasora. Originally a half orc bull totem barbarian with the bounty hunter background. Since there are no orcs on Eska, but my son liked the half orc mechanics, we reskinned him as a "savage hobgoblin", and not from one of the organized troops.

Pyro. Aasimar celestial sorcerer with the tinkerer background.

While on the road, they ran into a hobgoblin patrol. Seems like a landslide has blocked the main road back to the city. The patrol was backtracking and on their way to set up a roadblock to detour traffic onto a seldom used pass. They told the party that another patrol should be heading from Orod'tal up the other pass. Since the party would be the first group thru, that they should report to the second patrol the condition of the detour when they meet them. Eager to enhance their reputation with the powers that be in Orod'tal, the party agreed.

The journey was uneventful, until in the distance, they spotted a peculiar ruined tower.

The tower was shattered in the middle, with only what appeared to be a rope ladder connecting the top and bottom portions. Not wanting to pass such an obvious adventuring hook, they decided to investigate. The doors at the base were made of sturdy bronze, and resisted all attempts to open them. Pyro pulled out the group's Rope of Climbing and after a short debate, decided to send it up to the top of the tower, instead of the opening in the middle. Tying enough rope to the end, they had enough to scale the tower.

Most of the upper reaches were typical dungeon ruins. Hazards and traps to be negotiated. Some minor loot was found, including some clockwork body parts, but most interestingly, several silver keys with distinctive symbols. Ash gathered several of the clockwork parts.

Most of the lower reaches were likewise uninhabited, but towards the bottom they discovered the Great Hall. A grand dining table dominated the room, and sitting around it was five clockwork automatons, and a silver raven. Looking like the members on an adventuring party, our trio figured that each of the symbols on a key corresponded to one of these clockwork adventurers! Inserting and winding the keys, these clockworks came to life!

Seems that these are what remains of a centuries old adventuring group. Seeking immortality, they were able to transfer their consciousness into these clockwork bodies. Beldin, the wizard leader of the group thanks them for reactivating them, but tells the party they know too much! The clockwork adventurers attack!

This was a great fight, Pyro started throwing out his fire spells, and Ash complimented these with heat metal. Beldin used his wand of wonder, and the result...rain! A torrential downpour started in the Great Hall, cooling off the heat metal, and putting a perceived damper on fire spells. Tulgasora was going toe-to-toe with a clockwork dwarf fighter and a cleric, while Ash and Pyro were having a spell duel with Beldin, and a clockwork druid. A clockwork goblin rouge kept making sneak attacks, before hiding under the table with each attack.

Pyro cast earth tremor, which turned the floor to rubble, knocking down several of their opponents. Tulgasora, after destroying the dwarf, went to pursue the cleric that had disengaged and fell back to the others. The hobgoblin jumped up on the table. The ancient wood, already leaning because of the crumbled floor, broke under his weight! A loud crash, with the sounds of clanging metal and grinding gears spelled the end for the goblin rogue hiding underneath!

The momentum quickly turned towards our heroes, and they ended up leaving the five opponents in twisted, broken masses. Pyro claimed the clockwork raven, which operates as a silver raven figurine of wondrous power.

After the battle, the damage from the earth tremors, as well as the lower levels filling with rain caused the already damaged tower to creak and moan loudly. The great bronze doors, still stuck, thwarted their chances of a quick escape. The group was forced to run up several levels, while the tower began crumbling around them. They made it to opening in the middle, and each made the leap to their rope of climbing, still hanging in air beside the tower. They barely made their escape before the lower levels of the tower crumbled. The upper section still hangs, floating in midair.

For the clockwork adversaries, I used NPC stat blocks, and just gave them some damage and condition immunities in line with other constructs.

That brings up mostly up to date! The party now is a couple sessions into the iconic White Plume Mountain, which we are having great fun with.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook! and Google+
Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Crypt of Memory - Review

I was wanting to move onto doing some more crunch conversions, but I have a backlog of play reports that I want to get out. I've been doing much more playing than crunch work recently, and that is a good thing. Sure, I get more hits with my crunch, and it can also be collected to DM's Guild products. This blog also serves my gaming group's history, and that part requires the attention at this point.

I've almost always run published adventures. My creativity lacks the spark to come up with an idea to make a new creation, but I am good at taking something someone else wrote and changing it to fit my own purposes. As you no doubt seen, I like to pull from disparate sources to base my games on. I am going to do something a bit different this time. I'm not going with a play report, just a review of the product. I feel that a play report would give too many spoilers to the adventure.

Crypt of Memory

Crypt of Memory is a D&D 5e Adventure for a 5th level party set in the World of Farland. The adventure itself is genre neutral, though, and quite easily drops into whatever location you want.

I will start out by saying that I like Farland quite a bit. A dark world ruled by evil. Plenty of 5e crunch available on the website as well. I've pretty much lifted the Herbs and Herbalism rules wholesale for use at my table, though I've added other herbs and concoctions from around the interwebs.

The adventure starts off simply enough, with a single hook. The players are in a seedy town and witness an old dwarf being mugged in broad daylight. If rescued, the dwarf rewards the party with the object that the muggers were after, the map to the Crypt of Lazaghan, an ancient dwarf burial site.

The journey to the Crypt is straightforward as well. It's a week's journey, and a random encounter chart is provided. Once at the location, finding the entrance is not so easy, and requires a successful Nature or Survival skill check.

Upon entering the Crypt, you are presented with the obligatory undead encounter, though this one has a twist. A checkerboard floor with part of the grid magically trapped, and the zombies make use of the Shove action to push characters into the trap.

After this things start to get really interesting. The next chamber has two main doors, one leading to the treasure, and the other to certain death. A riddle on the wall explains the rules to making the correct choice, with six other doors leading to clues to solve the puzzle.

Each of the six clues lead to a featureless room that leads to a flashback of Lazaghan's life. I like the way the flashbacks are worded, so that each player imagines themselves in Lazaghan's shoes, while their companions are imagined as other dwarves. That way each player feels like the "star" of the flashback.

Each of the six flashbacks start the same way, "You see a bare stone room with a single stone sarcophagus at the far end. Then the scene suddenly changes. You find yourself...". While it gets repetitive, my players found it somewhat fun, reciting along with the narrative on the fourth, fifth, and sixth rooms. It ended up as as an inside joke by session's end, and is one of the lasting memories of this adventure.

Each of the flashbacks involves a milestone in Lazaghan's life, which the players had to solve. Succeed and you get the clue, fail and a wraith rises from the sarcophagus in the empty room who you have to overcome...who gives you the clue when you defeat it.

The six milestones provide a nice mix of challenges. Two combats, two mini skill challenges, a wrestling match, and a straight up riddle to solve. My players love riddles, and one of the two fights proved memorable. The wresting match and skill challenges gave each of the three characters I ran through an opportunity to shine and fell right into their strengths. Each player really got a chance to shine while collecting their clues.

The clues make solving the puzzle easy, though it requires the correct organizing of the clues, which all my players put their heads together to solve. With the correct solution, they chose the door that led to Lazaghan's sarcophagus. Once there, they find that Lazaghan is one of the restless undead, a new creature provided, a memory wraith. Lazaghan can be fought, but this adventure also provides a great role-playing opportunity. Lazaghan starts with a short monologue, which lets the players "talk him down" using the knowledge they gained in the flashbacks. My player's did, and Lazaghan found peace with their answer, and allowed them to take his treasure.

The loot is appropriate to 5e's scale. A decent amount of coins and gems, a potion, and a battleaxe +1. I expanded upon Lazaghan's Axe using the tables in the treasure section of the DMG, rounding it out and making it unique. Tulgasora now wields this axe in Eska.

Some further hooks are provided in the "Concluding the Adventure" section, if players are wanting to look for ruins of things they learned about in the flashbacks.

Crypt of Memory was a good length for a single session of play. Fills and afternoon or evening perfectly. A nice mix of challenges to overcome, hitting the Three Pillars of Play, socialization, exploration, and combat. Everyone in my group felt like they had a chance to shine.

It was easy to run. Layout was good. Fit the standard two column with boxed text format. Instead of monster stats, it provides a page number in the Monster Manual for reference. The artwork is minimal, and the cover is generic to all of the Farland Adventures. The book ends with a nice collection of maps to the adventure, as well as a player handout for the clues.

The only real drawback was that it was a railroad. Not much player agency to how the adventure proceeds. It is a small enough location that it doesn't really matter, though. Also the fact that you got the clue if you succeeded in the challenge or not was a bit cheesy. If I were to run it again, I wouldn't give up the clue if the party had to fight the wraith. The challenges are easy enough that they will have most of the clues, and maybe having to guess at one or two will only heighten the tension, and not detract from the game.

Overall we had a great time playing Crypt of Memory.

Please check out my DMs Guild titles!
Airs of Ages Past, Nine magical harps from the Forgotten Realms
By Magic Masked, Nine magical masks from the Forgotten Realms
Grognard’s Grimoire: Sorcerers, Player’s options for the sorcerer class.

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