Tutorials Archive | 11/12/2008
Article Header Image
Success Along the Adventure Path: 1
Rescue at Rivenroar
Robert Wiese

Dungeon Magazine 156 featured the beginning of a new Adventure Path called Scales of War. Broader in scope than previous Adventure Path series, these adventures take characters from 1st level all the way to 30th level. To enhance the fun of these adventures and make preparation a little easier for you, the DM, this series explores how to handle expected trouble spots in the adventure. In addition, you can find lists of suggested Dungeons & Dragons Miniature figures and suggestions on how to make the encounter maps using Dungeon Tiles products.

Pitfalls and Trouble Spots

The nature of dungeon crawls limits the ability of the PCs to branch into unmapped territory. Because of that, once the PCs get to Rivenroar, they have nowhere to go that you are not prepared for. Getting there allows some freedom, but the skill challenge for tracking the goblins channels them toward Rivenroar nicely. Thus, you need to keep only a few things in mind.

The Ogre
The adventure text addresses this issue, but it's worth repeating. The ogre is very dangerous for 1st-level characters. You can easily kill the whole party at the beginning of the adventure if you don't follow the tactics given for the ogre and respect its given limitations. If it gets loose from the cart, which the hobgoblin archers might think is an excellent tactic once the PCs attack, have it flee when bloodied or after several PCs have been downed. The point of this encounter is to highlight the danger that Sinruth's band poses to Brindol, not to end the adventure at the start.

Discovering More Information about Captives
Each of the captives knows something about where the other captives are located within the Rivenroar complex. However, they are not going to just volunteer this information unless they believe the PCs are going to attempt a rescue. If you have players that don't ask questions of enemies or freed prisoners or allies, then you might have some difficulty early on with getting the PCs through the complex to the prisoners in a short time. The reason this is important is that the prisoners are moved periodically to new locations in the complex, and thus the information that the prisoners have about the locations of the other prisoners might not be good after two or more extended rests. If the PCs take a lot of extended rests, feel free to have the next prisoner they find be dead when they find him or her, just to reinforce the urgency. You can also restock some of the rooms or move combatants around to different rooms if more than a day passes.

Once the PCs have found three or more prisoners, the later ones volunteer what they know. But the first two don't necessarily do so, and if the PCs don't ask, they might wander and fight a lot before finding another prisoner. If you want the prisoners to be less trusting at first, then you can use a complexity level 1 skill challenge similar to "Interrogating Morrik," though prisoners respond poorly to threats to their safety. If you don't care whether the PCs wander the place or go straight for the prisoners, then have fun restocking rooms and moving prisoners and confusing your players/PCs as to how extensive Sinruth's resources really are.

Sinruth's Abode

The PCs encounter Sinruth, the hobgoblin leader, in his personal quarters, and he is alone. The issue to be aware of here is that a lone classed humanoid, even in solo version, is likely to die fairly quickly, so the climactic encounter with the goblin leader might not be all that climactic. Sinruth's tactics state that he fights with reckless abandon, and he has some damage potential, but if your group is especially hard on monsters, then you might need to use a little less reckless abandon and a little more strategy. Menhirs in Room 20 provide cover from attacks even though they don't occupy the whole square, so if Sinruth needs to limit the number of PCs who can attack him at once he should make use of the menhirs and move around a lot. When using his action points, consider that his best damaging combination is to make a chain yank attack against an adjacent foe, and then use his action point to make a chain trip and jackboot stomp combination attack, and then move somewhere else because standing up doesn't provoke opportunity attacks. Sinruth uses such attacks on ranged attackers first if possible, but is happy to attack any PCs who mark him.

Visualizing the Game: Using Miniatures and Dungeon Tiles

The miniatures are selected from the most recent six sets when possible, but occasionally there is a call for an older figure. In some cases you need a lot of the same figure, and in others you might not have the figure suggested. If so, just substitute something that looks appropriate to you. That's what a good DM does, and you are (no doubt) a good DM.

The instructions for Dungeon Tiles assume you have access to all six sets of the tiles (and I recommend having two sets of Dungeon Tiles first set and Arcane Corridors). The empty dungeon floor tiles come from the first three sets: Dungeon Tiles, Arcane Corridors, and Hidden Crypts. You'll need a lot of them for these maps, even though you can take apart rooms to make other rooms as the PCs progress. Special tiles have their set source listed.


Encounter: Bar Fight!

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

The bar for this encounter is 15 squares by 14 squares. To make a big space like that, take the full page of squares from the first Dungeon Tiles set, which is 8-by-10 squares. Place the 4-by-8 piece on the long end so you have a space that is 8-by-14 squares. The easiest way to get the rest of the room is to duplicate the first part, and there are enough tiles to do this in the set, and make the bar 16-by-14 squares. It won't affect the battle at all. Make the two small rooms using the small 2-by-2, 1-by-2, and 1-by-1 tiles from the same set, with a door for each from Arcane Corridors. For the furniture, you need six 2-by-2 objects, five 2-by-3 objects, one 2-by-4 object, and a 2-by-6 for the bar. The sets don't have tables like the ones in the room, so you just have to pick pieces like the magic symbols and fire pits and such from Arcane Corridors.


Encounter: The Ogre Bombardier

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This looks like a very large area, but you can constrain the main fight to the area in front of the inn at the top of the map. From Ruins of the Wild, take the 2-by-8 grass piece, the 2-by-4 grass piece, two 2-by-2 curved road pieces, and the 1-by-2 piece with the downed statue. From the first set, use two 4-by-8 stone floor pieces for the main road (making it 5 feet wider), and 2-by-2 and 1-by-2 stone floor pieces for the door entry spaces. Use two 2-by-8 stone floor pieces for the cross street where the ogre is. Define the edge of your area as the building walls, and don't worry about mapping the rest unless the fight spreads out.


Encounter: Tracking the Goblins -- Cave Bear Optional

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use the 8-by-8 grass piece from Ruins of the Wild.


Encounter: Kruthik Ambush

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

In Ruins of the Wild, there are three 2-by-8 road pieces, which map the 24 squares of road starting at the top of the map. This includes the ambush area and a lot of the weak ground areas. Surround the road using the four 8-by-8 wilderness area tiles, the two 4-by-8 tiles (including the one with the giant skeleton), and any 4-by-4 wilderness tiles there are. For the ambush rock, use a 2-by-2 fire pit from Arcane Corridors.


Encounter: Fresco Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use a 4-by-8 floor tile for the large part of the room. The middle can be made from a 2-by-4 and a 2-by-2 tile, and then use a 2-by-8 tile for the right part. Use two 2-by-4 floor tiles to make the hallway connected to the left side of the room. Use Medium miniature figures for the four displacer beast statues, and the 1-by-2 altarlike tile from Arcane Corridors for the furniture object on the right side of the room.


Encounter: Chamber of Flame Unbound

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Make the main room using an 8-by-4 and a 2-by-4 piece for the 10-by-4 section, and a 4-by-4 and a 2-by-4 for the 6-by-4 section. These can be found in Arcane Corridors. So can the two 2-by-2 fire pits for the lamps, and two 1-by-2 double doors. Get the other set of double doors from the first Dungeon Tiles set. For the entry corridor, use the 2-by-4 stairs and a 2-by-2 floor square from Arcane Corridors.


Encounter: Goblin Warren

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Make the main room by using a 2-by-4 floor tile, a 4-by-8 floor tile, and a 2-by-8 floor tile. These can all be found in the first set. Get the two doors from Arcane Corridors (or the first set) and put a 2-by-2 floor tile to mark the corridor at the bottom of the map without a door. Make the long corridor using three 2-by-2 floor tiles, the 2-by-2 pit from the first set, the 2-by-2 pit from Hidden Crypts, one 2-by-8 floor tile, and one 1-by-2 floor tile. Use 1-by-2 floor tiles to mark the intersection and the bend in the corridor at the top of the map.


Encounter: Portal Room

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

From Hidden Crypts, use two 4-by-4 floor tiles with 45-degree angled walls. Set them up with a 2-by-4 floor tile between them to make the bottom part of the room. Use a 2-by-2 floor tile to make the hallway at the bottom of the map. For the top part, use the 2-by-8 lightning tile from Arcane Corridors for the portal area, but let the PCs occupy the squares. Place a 2-by-2 floor tile on either side of it, and use double doors from Arcane Corridors. Then get the six 1-by-2 floor tiles from the first set and from Arcane Corridors, and place them between the portal part and the angled part to complete the room.


Encounter: Von Urstadt Crypt
The magma claw looks basically like a Medium scorpion, and there is no specific figure for it.

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

To make Room 5, use a 4-by-8 floor tile from the first set and four 1-by-2 floor tiles. The double doors come from Arcane Corridors. Use a 2-by-2 floor tile for the corridor on the right side and a 2-by-4 and a 2-by-2 for the corridor on the left side. The passage to Room 6 is made from a 2-by-4 and a 2-by-2 floor tile from Arcane Corridors. The 2-by-4 stairs down come from Arcane Corridors, and then add a 2-by-2 to complete the passageway. Make Room 6 from a 4-by-4 floor tile and a 2-by-4 floor tile, plus three 1-by-2 floor tiles. You might not have enough of the 1-by-2 tiles, but you can just take one square off the bottom of the room without affecting anything. The two small rooms are 2-by-2 floor squares, with single doors from Arcane Corridors. Use a double door tile to divide them, pretending it's a wall.


Encounter: Spiderweb Landing
The new ettercaps are different than the old 3rd Edition ones, so you might want to use the Ettercap Webspinner for all three ettercaps in this encounter.

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This room is constructed from two 4-by-4 floor tiles and two 2-by-4 floor tiles. The 2-by-4 stairs come from Arcane Corridors, as do the double doors. Use a 2-by-2 floor tile to mark the corridor at the bottom of the room.


Encounter: Rivenroar Family Crypt

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Leave the room from Spiderweb Landing set up; it's Room 7. Starting at the double doors, place a 1-by-2 floor tile and then a 2-by-8 floor tile to make the hallway to Room 8. Make Room 8 using a 4-by-4 tile, a 2-by-2 floor tile, and three 1-by-2 floor tiles. The spiral stair tile is in the first Dungeon Tiles set. Room 9 is below Room 8. Use the same stair tile from Room 8, and then a 2-by-2 floor tile to get to the room. Use a 4-by-8 floor tile and a 2-by-8 floor tile to make the left part of the room, and a 4-by-4 floor tile, a 2-by-4 floor, and a 2-by-2 floor to make the right part. Use a 2-by-4 floor tile for the hallway out the left side of the room.


Encounter: Mushroom Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

  • 2 rage drakes: Rage Drake (Desert of Desolation #53)
  • Mushrooms: Deathcap (as needed, for terrain) (Demonweb #54)

Dungeon Tiles

Make the bigger chamber using two 8-by-10 floor tiles and two 2-by-8 floor tiles. This takes 1 square off the bottom of the room, but that should be okay. If you want to find eight 1-by-2 floor tiles, you can make it the depicted size. Two sets of double doors come from Arcane Corridors, and a 2-by-2 floor tile makes the corridor on the bottom of the map. Make the passage to Room 12 with a 2-by-4 floor tile and a 1-by-2 floor tile. Room 12 itself is made from a 4-by-8 floor tile and a 4-by-4 floor tile. This adds 1 square to the bottom of the room. Use a fire pit from Arcane Corridors to mark the symbol on the floor, but let PCs occupy the spaces.


Encounter: Von Jallach Crypt
Needlefang drakes have not been released in miniature format, so to capture the swarm aspect I suggest the demonweb swarm instead of a single creature.

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

The large room is made from a single 8-by-10 tile from the first set. This includes the alcoves on the top and bottom, so mark out appropriate areas between them with something convenient. Use four 1-by-2 floor tiles to make the alcoves on the left and right, and place a set of double doors from Arcane Corridors where indicated. The stairs can be made using a 2-by-4 stair tile and a 2-by-2 stair tile from Hidden Crypts. The corridor to Room 14 can be made using a 2-by-4 floor tile, a 2-by-2 floor tile, and a 1-by-2 floor tile. Make Room 14 with a 4-by-8 floor tile and a 4-by-4 floor tile. There is a 2-by-2 fountain tile in Arcane Corridors you can use for the fountain.


Encounter: Von Adrez-Kauthin Crypt
Nothing like the spitting drake is produced in the most recent few sets, so I suggest something that gives the idea that it's a Medium monster only.

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

The main part of Room 15 is an 8-by-10 tile from the first set. Use 2-by-4 and 2-by-2 tiles to make the sections on the left side, and double doors from Arcane Corridors and the first set (you need three). A 2-by-2 floor tile and the 2-by-4 stairs from Arcane Corridors makes the passage out the right side of the room, and a 2-by-4 stairs from Hidden Crypts makes the stairs behind the doors on the left side.


Encounter: Honor Guard Crypt

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Start by making Room 19 from four 4-by-4 floor tiles. The corridor to the left of this room is made from a 12-by-2 floor tile, a 2-by-8 floor tile, and a 2-by-2 floor tile. You need four double doors in total, so get two from Arcane Corridors and two from the first set. There is a 4-by-4 floor tile with a red skull and sickle on it that can represent the sunburst on the floor in Room 19. Make the corridor to the right of this room using two 2-by-4 tiles and a 2-by-2 in the intersection. Northward from the intersection place a 1-by-2 floor tile and the 2-by-4 stair tile from Arcane Corridors. A 2-by-4 floor tile suffices for the corridor south of the intersection. Room 17 requires four 4-by-4 floor tiles. You also need four 1-by-2 tiles for the alcoves. The section on the right is made from a 1-by-2 floor tile, a 2-by-4 floor tile, and a 2-by-2 floor tile. You can use the 2-by-2 claw pool tile from Hidden Crypts placed half off the area to depict the pool. The corridor north from Room 17 is made from one 2-by-8 floor tile and four 1-by-2 floor tiles. Use dice for the columns.

Starting at the south stairs into Room 18, use a 4-by-4 and a 2-by-4 floor tile to make the center part of the room. You can place the 4-by-4 pool tile from the first set over the center part of the room. On each side of the center section, use one 2-by-4 floor and one 1-by-2 floor to make the next parts of the room, and then a 1-by-2 and a 1-by-1 for the last outside parts. This is a total of two 2-by-4 tiles, four 1-by-2 tiles, and two 1-by-1 tiles. Use the 2-by-4 stairs from the first set out the left side of Room 18, and a 2-by-4 and 2-by-2 floor tiles for the corridor back to the top side of Room 19.


Encounter: Sinruth's Abode

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use a 4-by-4 floor tile, two 2-by-4 floor tiles, and a 2-by-2 floor tile to make Room 21. The two sets of double doors come from Arcane Corridors. Use a 1-by-2 crypt from Hidden Crypts for the crypt (you can put something in the third square to make a 1-by-3 if you want). Make the corridor to Room 20 with a 2-by-8 floor tile and a 2-by-2 floor tile. Make the bottom part of Room 20 using a 4-by-4 floor tile with a 45-degree angle wall from Hidden Crypts and a 2-by-4 floor tile. Above that place a 4-by-8 floor tile and four 1-by-2 floor tiles. This adds an extra set of squares to the room, but takes fewer tiles to make. You can black out the extra tiles with a couple of 2-by-4 black tiles from Hidden Crypts if you want.


Encounter: Crypt Guardian Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This room is made from a single 8-by-10 floor tile from the first set. Use four 2-by-2 floor tiles for the corridors on the top and bottom of the room. The two sets of double doors come from Arcane Corridors. Use a 2-by-4 floor tile and two 1-by-2 floor tiles to make the corridor on the right side of the room. Use the fire pit from Arcane Corridors for the fire at the bottom of the room, and place large d6s where the pillars are indicated. You can use smaller dice for the two circular pillars in the corridor on the right side of the room.


Encounter: Shrine of the Obelisk
There aren't a lot of gnome options, as it turns out.

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use an 8-by-10 floor tile from the first set oriented tallwise for the main part of this room. Then use two 2-by-8 tiles for the bottom part. This adds 1 square to the bottom edge of the room, but you need the 1-by-2 tiles (six of them) for the side extensions in the center part. Place a double door from Arcane Corridors and a 2-by-2 floor tile beyond for the corridor. There is a 2-by-8 tile with four pews on it in Arcane Corridors that makes one set of pews, and use four 1-by-2 caskets from Hidden Crypts to make the other side if you don't have a second set of Arcane Corridors. Use the 2-by-2 pyramid tile from the first set for the structure at the front of the room.


Encounter: Lords of Rivenroar Audience Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Place an 8-by-10 floor tile longwise. Use two 4-by-4 floor tiles with 45-degree angled walls (from Hidden Crypts), placed starting 1 square down from the top of the 8-by-10 tile. Use two 2-by-4 floor tiles and four 1-by-2 floor tiles to complete the room. Use 2-by-2 and 1-by-2 floor tiles to make the two corridors leading out of the room. Lie down some skeleton miniatures to make the piles of bones. Place a 2-by-4 floor tile where the dais area is, and use the 1-by-2 altar tile from Arcane Corridors to indicate the positions of the chairs.

About the Author

Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts camping trip. He was fascinated, so he delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there he progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR, where he studies mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same, and teaches physics at Truckee Meadows Community College. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda, son Owen, and daughter Rebecca.