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Success Along the Adventure Path: 4
The Lost Mines of Karak
Robert Wiese

The Scales of War adventure path began back in Dungeon Magazine 156, and with Dungeon 159 you have reached the fourth adventure in the series, "The Lost Mines of Karak." The PCs are now 6th level and well on their way to their epic destinies at 30th level. To make things a little easier, and to show you just how varied the D&D Miniatures collection is, this series suggests Dungeons & Dragons miniature figures to use, and explains how to make the encounter maps using Dungeon Tiles products. Potential trouble spots are also discussed.

Pitfalls and Trouble Spots

The PCs are sent on the adventure with little chance to side-track themselves, so the pitfalls of the last adventure are not present. The adventure itself, while it has little in the way of troubleshooting help, flows along pretty well once it begins. There are just a few possible DM trouble spots.

First Combat "Clan Rivals"

The combat itself with the clan rivals is fairly straightforward, but knowing where to put it is not. In little text in the description of the Through the Thornwaste skill challenge there is a note that says, "The PCs meet Mag Blackthorn (see below) after their second success or first failure (whichever comes first) in the skill challenge. The first combat encounter ("Clan Rivals," page 72) takes place after the party's fourth success or second failure." You just have to read carefully to know where to put this, but DMs skimming won't see it, so I am calling it out for you.

The Foiled Ambush

The encounter itself is fine, but the mechanic of the sandstorm to force the PCs to stay in the fortress might feel forced to you. And it is, sort of. It's a dramatic element that would be great in a story. If the PCs are inclined to stay in the fortress to explore further, since they have not actually found the way to the mines yet, then you don't need to introduce it at all. In that case, you can use it without feeling like you are forcing the PCs to do something. Just have it kick up in the evening as the first watch starts, and describe the fury of it if they look outside.

If they were inclined to leave, then you have two choices. First, you can use the storm to force the PCs back to the fortress as the text directs. Second, you can let them get some distance away and camp (since they'll have to camp somewhere), and then fling the storm at them and make them hunker down under whatever cover they can find. This should not be a skill challenge, since skill challenges take time and all that dice rolling will slow down the urgent feel of the storm. Be sure to make the storm interrupt their extended rest, since the Foiled Ambush in the fortress is supposed to do that. Then you can save the Foiled Ambush for when the PCs go back, or have the troglodyte and the chokers track the PCs before the storm and find them soon after that.

You might also feel that "any Perception check" to find the secret way into the mines after they totally failed before is not reasonable. And it's not. Give it a DC 10 or 15, and spread out the feathers so that following them is more difficult. Definitely remove any feathers in Area 29 and make them look there again the old-fashioned way. If you want to keep things as written, though, you can, but be prepared for the players to wonder or complain about a plot hook in their noses.

Visualizing the Game: Using Miniatures and Dungeon Tiles

The miniatures are selected from the most recent 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. You usually don't need more than eight of the same figure, though. If you don't have enough, or don't want clones on the battlefield, 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 sets of the tiles (and I recommend having two or three sets of Dungeon Tiles 1st 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. You can get any old figures that you don't have from various online resources or your friendly local gaming shop.


Encounter: Clan Rivals

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This map is 25-by-32 squares, and there are not any Dungeon Tiles that really are designed for it. But, we'll still make a map. However, I recommend some DM flexibility with this one. Start with grass tiles from Ruins of the Wild. The grass tile is 8-by-8, and there is only one. Assuming you take one row/column of tiles off, you need twelve 8-by-8 tiles to lay out this area. If you switch to dungeon floors, you can use 8-by-10s, and by reducing the area to 24-by-30 you can use only six 8-by-10 tiles.

A small chasm tile is in Ruins of the Wild, but it is 6 squares long instead of 4. Use it anyway. There are 4-by-4 and 4-by-6 boulder and mesa top tiles in Ruins of the Wild too. And two 2-by-4 forest tiles are in there as well, for the center forest sections. For the woods that border the map, I suggest that you use rock tiles from the early dungeon sets and put in the border of the forest, and just say that the forest extends to the end of the map from the border.

Your other choice is to totally change the map and keep to the spirit of the encounter, while using tiles you actually have. In this case, use all four grass tiles from Ruins of the Wild and put in only the center part of the encounter, where the enemies are. You can still use the boulders, forest, and mesa tiles, but you can also use the printed trees and bushes instead of some in the real map.


Encounter: The Warden

Miniature Figures Suggested

  • The Warden: Gnoll Demon Adept (Demonweb #28)
  • 1 behir: Behir (Giants of Legend #66)
  • 3 satyr rakes: Satyr (Underdark #22)
  • 12 villagers: Farmer (Desert of Desolation #11)

Dungeon Tiles

This village area is 29-by-24 squares. Since there are no ground tiles, you can either use dungeon floors (8-by-10) or grass tiles (8-by-8) for the base area. You need only six 8-by-10 dungeon floors, so that might be a better way to go. The large houses are 2-by-4 objects, and the small houses and the well are 2-by-2 objects. Hidden Crypts has a couple of wood platform tiles, some with stairs, and a green liquid-filled vat that can be used for large houses. Statues and fire pits from Arcane Corridors and set 1 can be used for the 2-by-2 objects. It won't look anything like the map, but it will accurately portray the combat area.


Encounter: Desert Patrol

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This area is 25-by-33 squares, and really there is nothing on it. And there is no real way to mark the ridge lines with dungeon tiles. I think you need to use a battle mat here, or else nine 8-by-10 dungeon floor and a marker that erases from the tiles.


Encounter: Gatehouse

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Areas 4-6 are above areas 1-3, so you need both these maps. To make areas 2 and 3, you need (for each) one 4-by-4 and one 2-by-4 tile for the bottom part, plus two 1-by-2 and one 1-by-4 floor tiles. Above that place a 4-by-4 floor, then a 1-by-2 floor sideways, and then one 2-by-4 and one 1-by-2 tile going upward. Place one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2 on the sides to complete the areas. Between them, place two 4-by-8 tiles and a double door in the right place. Also, place single doors as appropriate (doors from Arcane Corridors). There is one 1-by-4 stair tile in Hidden Crypts, so you might have to use 1-by-4 other objects to make the rest of the staircases.

Areas 4 and 5 can be made from one 4-by-4 tile and one 2-by-4 tile, plus three (four for area 5) 1-by-2 tiles for the alcoves. Going up from area 4 and 5, place one 2-by-8 and one 2-by-2 in a column, and one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2 on the outside on each side. Place one 8-by-10 floor tile between the columns. Use 1-by-2 rubble tiles to block off the appropriate squares on the top of area 6, and 1-by-1 squares to complete the top part of the map.


Encounter: Courtyard

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Hey, it's a simple room. Take two 8-by-10 floor tiles next to each other, and add one 2-by-4 at the bottom middle for the corridor. Place three double doors (from Arcane Corridors) There are statues in Hidden Crypts that can be used for the pillars. The sand pile is 10 feet tall, so it has to be marked on the map. Use the 4-by-4 red tile from Arcane Corridors; that should be enough sand pile.


Encounter: Guard Hall

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Starting at top right of the left map (the stairs leading to area 23), place one 2-by-4 stair tile, then one 2-by-2 floor tile and one 1-by-2 tile and one 1-by-1 tile for the landing, then a 2-by-2 stair tile. Two 2-by-4 stair tiles are in Arcane Corridors and two in set one, but you need only three plus the 2-by-2 stair from Arcane Corridors.

Unfortunately, the stairs are actually all 3 squares wide, so just add a 1-by-4 floor next to each (or a 1-by-2) to extend the stairs. Make area 23 using one 2-by-4 tile, one 1-by-4 tile, one 2-by-2 tile, and one 1-by-2 tile. You can use dice for the crates. Area 24 requires one 2-by-4 floor tile, one 2-by-2 floor tile, and a single door. Place a double door leading into area 25 in the appropriate location. Area 25 requires one 4-by-8 floor tile, one 2-by-8 floor tile, one 1-by-4 floor tile, and one 1-by-2 floor tile for the main room. Use the 1-by-4 stairs from Hidden Crypts and coffins from Hidden Crypts for the beds and table. The extension area requires one 2-by-2 tile for the connector hallway, then one 4-by-4 tile and one 2-by-4 floor tile for the room part.

Starting at the top of the stairs at the bottom right on the second map, place a 2-by-4 stair tile and a 1-by-4 extension on the side, then a 2-by-2 tile and a 1-by-2 tile and a 1-by-1 tile for the landing, and then another 2-by-4 stair and 1-by-4 side extension. Area 26 requires one 4-by-8 tile and one 2-by-4 tile, and a single door. Area 27 requires one 2-by-4 floor, one 2-by-2 floor, and one 1-by-2 floor tile, plus one 2-by-4 for the corridor extending off the map.


Encounter: Great Hall

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

This is a really fun area. Start with area 13 using one 4-by-8 floor tile. Place double doors at the top. Area 16 requires two 4-by-8 tiles and two 2-by-8 tiles, with area 13 centered at the bottom. Use a 2-by-2 for the dais area at the top, and a 2-by-4 stair, and one 1-by-2 rubble tile for the fireplace. The pillars can be marked with small dice, and the trees with 1-by-1 object tiles (there are several in Streets of Shadows). Place single doors to areas 14 and 15 as appropriate (from Arcane Corridors). Areas 14 and 15 each require one 4-by-4 floor tile, one 1-by-4 floor tile, and one 2-by-2 floor tile. See above for trees.

Place one 2-by-2 floor tile on the right side of area 16. To make area 17, you need one 4-by-4 floor tile, two 2-by-4 floor tiles, and one 2-by-2 floor tile, plus a single door into area 18. There is a 2-by-2 pool tile in Hidden Crypts. Area 18 is a single 4-by-4 floor tile with a 2-by-2 object for the tree.


Encounter: Crypts

Miniature Figures Suggested

  • 1 lesser berbalang: Ice Mephit (Night Below #34)

Dungeon Tiles

You have two choices for making this area. You can use nineteen 1-by-2 floor tiles, nineteen single doors, and the corridors, or you can use one 8-by-10 for the main area including cells, plus one 2-by-4 and one 2-by-2 for the top part. The second method is far easier, and you likely have the tiles for it. If you go the second route, put the 8-by-10 tile in a plastic sleeve and draw the cells and doors on it.


Encounter: Foiled Ambush

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

To make the main corridor of area 19, you need four 4-by-8 floor tiles, two 2-by-4 tiles, two 2-by-2 tiles, one 1-by-2 tile, and one 1-by-1 floor tile. Use 1-by-2 tiles for the arrow slit alcoves, and add single doors (seven total) where appropriate and a 2-by-4 corridor to the top left. For the left and right outside down corridors, use one 2-by-8 tile, one 1-by-4 tile, one 1-by-2 tile, and one 1-by-1 tile each. For each of the left and right inside down corridors, use one 2-by-8 tile, one 2-by-4 tile, one 1-by-4 tile, and one 1-by-2 tile. For the far right corridor where the troglodyte is, use one 2-by-4 tile and one 2-by-8 tile.


Encounter: Mine Entrance

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

The main top part of the map is a 5-by-5 square room, so use one 4-by-4 floor tile, two 1-by-4 floor tiles, and one 1-by-1 tile. Use a 1-by-1 object tile for the rock. The left corridor is formed from one 2-by-2 floor tile and one 2-by-8 floor tile. A single 2-by-4 tile makes the top corridor. For the right corridor, use one 2-by-4 tile and two 2-by-2 tiles to make the diagonal section. Use one 1-by-1 tile and one 2-by-4 tile for the small chamber with the impaler in it. The south corridor is made from one 2-by-8 floor tile and one 1-by-2 floor tile. Place a single door, and one 4-by-4 floor tile for the side room. The bottom room is made from three 2-by-2 corners (from Hidden Crypts) and one 2-by-4 floor tile.


Encounter: Chaos Mines

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use one 2-by-2, one staggered 1-by-2, and one 2-by-4 floor tile for the corridor entering at bottom right. Then use one 1-by-2 for the next squares, one 1-by-4 for the next column of squares, and one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2 for the next. Then place a 4-by-8 for the main part of that area. Use a 1-by-2 rubble tile in the bottom left corner. Then place one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2 for the next column of squares. After that place one 4-by-8 floor tile. Use a 1-by-2 floor tile for the south wider part, and a 2-by-8 for the south corridor. On the top side, place a 1-by-8 (or two 1-by-4s) on the left side extending upward as appropriate. Then place a 4-by-4 and a 2-by-4 to extend the room upward in the middle. Place three 1-by-2 rubble tiles on the right, and then one 2-by-4 floor tile above. Place one 4-by-4 floor tile on top of the current columns, then one 2-by-4 and one 1-by-4 to complete the top of this part of the room. Use three 2-by-2 floor tiles for the diagonal corridor. Use one 2-by-4 and one 2-by-2 for the next section of the room to the right at top, and offset one 1-by-4 above the rubble squares to the right of that. Then use one 1-by-1 (atop the 1-by-4 column), one 4-by-4, and one 1-by-4 for the main top right part of the room. The top small section can be made with one 2-by-2 and two 1-by-2 floor tiles. Use one 2-by-4, one 1-by-4, and one 1-by-2 to complete all but the diagonal extension at the bottom of this part of the room. Then use one 1-by-2 tile for the extension. Now go back and use rubble tiles and 1-by-1 objects for the rocks and rubble near the zombie.


Encounter: Queen's Retinue

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Start by making a 10-by-10 dungeon floor area out of one 8-by-10 tile, one 2-by-8 tile, and one 2-by-2 tile. On the bottom left, add a 1-by-1 floor tile. Going up that wall, skip a square and then place a 1-by-4 floor tile and a 1-by-1 tile. Skip another square and add a 1-by-2 floor tile for the top left alcove. Across the top, skip two squares and then place one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2. Get a 2-by-4 cavern tile piece from Lost Caverns of the Underdark that looks somewhat like a dead end and place it in the top middle for the top alcove. Going down the right side, skip one square and then place a 1-by-2 floor tile. Get a cavern tile that looks like an alcove and place it top right. Beneath the alcove section just completed, add one 2-by-4 and one 2-by-2 in a column, and next to them place one 1-by-4 tile and one 1-by-2 floor tiles. Add another alcove cavern tile on the right. Along the bottom, add a 1-by-1 on the right side and a 1-by-4 beneath the left side. Add a 2-by-4 for the corridor. Place dice for the three 1-square rocks, and two 1-by-2 rock tiles from Lost Caverns of the Underdark for the 2-by-2 rock. Use the 4-by-4 tile dragon skull tile from Lost Caverns of the Underdark for the dwarf skull pile. To make the fiery crevice, use two 2-by-4 fiery crevice tiles from Lost Caverns of the Underdark placed next to each other. They won't align with the other tiles, but at least you can represent the fiery crevice.


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.