Brainstorm - DnD 3.5.   Posted by DM Kindred.Group: 0
DM Kindred
 GM, 129 posts
Mon 13 Mar 2006
at 22:02
Brainstorm - DnD 3.5
The Bane from Khyber

A gray-bearded Shifter druid named Berannidamus summons the heroes to show them a new threat in the Demon Wastes. He gathers them around a stone cauldron bubbling with a blackened stew of berries, bones and blood, and chants into the choking smoke. In the fumes, the heroes see the shapes of unholy creatures in intricate formation, marching to an uncertain destination. They see two grim faces -- one a dark-striped rakshasa with ice-cold eyes, the other a distinguished human surprisingly similar in features to King Kaius III of Karrnath. They see trees falling, homes crumbling under an arsonists' blaze, and the bones of innocents filling the continent of Khorvaire.

What evil has risen from the dark folds of the earth? Have the Lords of Dust made a pact with a willing mortal to enable the release of one Khyber-trapped rajah? What does this new enemy represent to the nearby nation of Eldeen, or indeed to all of Khorvaire? What are the first steps to this villain's destructive plan, and what forces can the PCs marshal to help stop it? What hindrances will the PCs face, and what sacrifices will they have to suffer to overcome them?
 GM, 9 posts
Mon 13 Mar 2006
at 22:06
Re: Brainstorm - DnD 3.5
Karnnathi Command Tower:
A black onyx tower rises from the center of the battle like a macabre finger pointing to the sky. Its surface is covered in glowing red runes that glow and pulse with a sick ochre light. The top of the tower is crenellated like castle wall and from there you see diminutive figures orchestrating the battle from above. Four massive Hill Giants are bound with massive chains and they pull the tower forward to its destination.

Necromantic Might (General)
Undead you control gain benefits when they’re near you.
Prerequisites: Necromantic Presence.
Benefits: Whenever undead you control are within 60 feet of you, they are physically inspired by your necromantic aura, and gain a +2 enhancement bonus on their attack rolls and saving throws.

Necromantic Presence (General)
Undead you control are harder to turn when they’re near you.
Benefits: Whenever undead you control are within 60 feet of you, they gain a +4 bonus to their turn resistance.

Positive Energy Resistance (Monstrous)
You are resistant to the damage dealt by positive energy effects.
Prerequisite: Undead type.
Benefit: You gain resistance 10 to positive energy effects, such as cure wounds spells.
 GM, 10 posts
Mon 13 Mar 2006
at 22:37
Re: Brainstorm - DnD 3.5
Savage Species adventure.

Squad  : 10 privates (Goblin War 1) led by Corporal (Goblin Rogue 2)
Platoon: 3 Squads led by Seargent (Goblin Rogue 3)

Goblins are much more disciplined than orcs. They march to war in ordered ranks and attack in concert with each other.

Armaments: None, just the goblins.

Cliff DC: 15 to climb
Walls DC: 20 to climb, 15 with the use of a rope.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:00, Mon 13 Mar 2006.

 GM, 96 posts
Sun 3 Sep 2006
at 15:45

Get an Opponent

Our opponent will be the organized crime in Sharn (Boromar Clan). The mobsters have stepped up their game and now crime in the city is at an all time high. The watch is stretched thin and the Mayor has resorted to calling on the army for assistance in some areas of the city. They plan to discredit the Mayor, forcing him to resign as it will seem he has lost all control of the city, and put one of their own in power. Only then will the crime spree end.

Have a Plot

It will be the PCs job to discover this vile plot and put a stop to it. Organizations like the Boromar Clan or House Tarkanan (see Sharn: City of Towers) are the primary sources of thieves and assassins.

Hook the Heroes

The most obvious way is to have them frequesntly encounter one crime or another going down.


The PCs will have to use Gather Information and other skills to discover what is going on. This will include contacting rumormongers, interrogating the local theives and thugs to gain clues about the plot, how it operates and who is involved.

 - The Boromar Clan does most of the actual crimes in the city. Sharn pp. 61
 - The Boromar pay the crebes to riot or some shit.
 - The local watch leaders have been bribed or threatened into ignoring the crimes and to keep others from asking too many questions.


This adventure will take place in Sharns streets, the Cogs and possibly Drooam.

Little Pieces
I once found some advice that stuck with me in an online column (this one): Never write more than you actually need to. In fact, you should purposely avoid writing everything out in order to leave some mystery in the situation and some opportunities for expansion in other directions.

This advice is especially valuable in writing adventures. When you're working on a scenario, write only what you need for your next session, and let the rest wait. That way, when your players choose an unusual course of action, the adventure can't get too far off course.

Writing only what's necessary at the time has another benefit as well. It allows you to break a large, intimidating project down into more manageable chunks. When you finish one step, you can focus on the next, and then the one after that, and so on, until you're finished. Don't feel that you have to answer every question raised in the adventure right away.


Stuck for ideas? Here are some sources from which you can easily pull adventure seeds.

Ask Questions

When a campaign event that could spark an adventure occurs, write down all the information you already know about it, then fill in additional details. For example, you probably already know what happened, and where, and when. So ask yourself the following questions.

How did it happen?
Who did it?
Did it really happen the way it appeared?
Did anything else happen in conjunction with the main event?
What events led up to this one?
What happens next?

How will it start?

The PCs will spend a memorable evening with an NCP drinking and carousing until the early hours of the following morning. There will be drinking competions using Fort saves and poison rules (anyone taking enough "poison damage" will pass out drunk).

At the end of the night one of their companions will have gone missing and will stay missing. It will be up to PCs to locate and rescue said victim.

Gather Information Checks:
10 - For the past few months, transients and tourists and locals alike have been mugged, murdered or kidnapped, never to be seen again.

15 - They generally disappear/get mugged/murdered in the Lower Districts and sewer regions of Sharn.

20 - A prominent thief’s guild is said to be behind the kidnappings/muggings/murders and has the backing of a powerful faction within the city.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:56, Fri 08 Sept 2006.

 GM, 98 posts
Sun 10 Sep 2006
at 15:49
You see massive towers in the distance; you can tell they are miles-high. There is ALWAYS bustling activity in the skies. From a distance, one might compare it to a busy insect hive. Soarsleds, gryphons, hippogriffs, gargoyles, skycoaches, flying spellcasters, and even the odd Lyrander ariship constantly dot the skies of Sharn, and I imagine there's constant traffic in and out of the city, as it's one of the biggest trade hubs in Breland, if not Khorvaire itself.

A fight with some halfling mobsters in Tavick's Landing, or with Brelish Navy "recruiters" (read that as "press gang" - I hear they hire the occasional ogre or minotaur for the job these days) in Greyflood may kill some time, as well.

They could arrive in time to wager on the Race of the Eight Winds or witness a rough and tumble game of Hrazhak.

See SCoT pp.32-33

Originally Posted by Hellcow
A This is, in fact, the aforementioned issue I was thinking of tucking into a Dragonshard. As always, until such time as it does actually appear in a Dragonshard or other official publication, this is not official; it's possible that I will talk to James tomorrow and discover that he had something else in mind. However, for now, here's a list of some of the major bridges connecting the plateaus.

The Triangle
(These are three different sets of bridges, but the area is generally refered to as the Triangle -- so you have the Lower Triangle, Middle Triangle, etc.)
Terminus (LTL) to Boldrei's Hearth (LC)
Terminus (LTL) to North Market (LNE)
Boldrei's Hearth (LC) to North Market (LNE)

Tavick's Market (MTL) to Sovereign Towers (MC)
Tavick's Market (MTL) to Holdfast (MNE)
Sovereign Towers (MC) to Holdfast (MNE)

Silvergate (UTL) to Koran-Thiven (UC)
Silvergate (UTL) to Crystal Bridge (UNE)
Koran'Thiven (UC) to Crystal Bridge (UNE)

Center Bridge
Black Arch (LTL) to Center Bridge (LM)
Center Bridge (LM) to Granite Halls (LC)

Little Barrington (MTL) to Everbright (MM)
Everbright (MM) to Dragon Towers (MC)

Ocean View (UTL) to University (UM)
University (UM) to Highest Towers (UC)

Bridge of Lights
Dragoneyes (LTL) to Firelight (LM)
Torchlight (LNE) to Olladra's Kitchen (LC)

Cassan Bridge
Cassan Bridge (MM) to Kenton (MTL)

Griffon's Bridge
Daggerwatch (UD) to Highest Towers (UC)

Horizontal Lifts
These are similar to the magical lifts that travel up the towers, but move back and forth horizontally; essentially they are large skycoaches that operate on a fixed path. These can be shut down by any of the watch commanders or the Knight-Commander of the Citadel, allowing Central Plateau to be isolated from Dura.
Dava Gate (MC) to The Bazaar (MD)
Tradefair (MC) to Hareth's Folly (MD)
Deniyas (UM) to Twelve Pillars (UTL)
Clifftop (UD) to Shae Lias (UNE)
Crystal Bridge (UNE) to Pinnacle (UTL)
Korranath (UC) to Redstone (UD)

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:49, Sun 10 Sept 2006.

 GM, 98 posts
Sun 10 Sep 2006
at 15:50
Stat Block
Example NPC Stat Block.

CE Large outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, evil, tanar’ri)
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft., true seeing; Listen +38, Spot +38
Aura flaming body
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic; telepathy 100 ft.

AC 35, touch 16, flat-footed 28
hp 290 (20 HD); DR 15/cold iron and good
Immune electricity, fire, poison
Resist acid 10, cold 10; SR 28
Fort +22, Ref +19, Will +19

Speed 40 ft. (8 squares), fly 90 ft. (good)
Melee+1 vorpal longsword +31/+26/+21/+16 (2d6+8/19–20 and sever head) and
+1 flaming whip +30/+25 (1d4+4 plus 1d6 fire plus entangle); or
Melee 2 slams +31 (1d10+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Base Atk +20; Grp +36
Atk Options entangle, Cleave, Power Attack
Special Actions summon tanar’ri
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th):
At will—blasphemy (DC 25), dominate monster (DC 27), greater dispel magic, greater teleport (self plus 50 pounds of objects only), insanity (DC 25), power word stun, telekinesis (DC 23), unholy aura (DC 26);
1/day—fire storm (DC 26), implosion (DC 27).

Abilities Str 35, Dex 25, Con 31, Int 24, Wis 24, Cha 26
SQ death throes
Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (telekinesis), Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Bluff +31, Concentration +33, Diplomacy +35, Hide +26, Intimidate +33, Knowledge (any two) +30, Listen +38, Move Silently +30, Search +30, Sense Motive +30, Spellcraft +30, Spot +38, Use Magic Device +31
Possessions:+1 vorpal longsword, +1 flaming whip

True Seeing (Su): Balors have a continuous true seeing ability, as the spell (caster level 20th).
Flaming Body (Su): The body of a balor is wreathed in flame. Anyone grappling a balor takes 6d6 points of fire damage each round.
Entangle (Ex): A balor’s +1 flaming whip entangles foes much like an attack with a net. The whip has 20 hit points. The whip needs no folding. If it hits, the target and the balor immediately make opposed Strength checks; if the balor wins, it drags the target against its flaming body (see below). The target remains anchored against the balor’s body until its escapes the whip.
Summon Tanar’ri (Sp): Once per day a balor can automatically summon 4d10 dretches, 1d4 hezrous, or one nalfeshness, glabrezu, marilith, or balor. This ability is the equivalent of a 9th-level spell.
Death Throes (Ex): When killed, a balor explodes in a blinding flash of light that deals 100 points of damage to anything within 100 feet (Reflex DC 30 half). This explosion automatically destroys any weapons the balor is holding.

There’s a lot to say about this, though a lot of it appears in the DMGII and other places where we make extensive use of this new format. First and foremost, it’s not strictly a “block” of text any more—the stat block is broken back out into separate lines of text. So when you want to know the balor’s AC, you’re just looking down the start of the lines. All the headers are in bold type, just like in a monster entry, so it’s easier for that “AC” to catch your eye.

Quite possibly the most important aspect of this new format is the way we reordered the information and grouped related information together. You’ll notice the use of a horizontal rule—we separate information into five distinct sections. The first section tells you what the monster is and helps you start an encounter with it. Does it detect the PCs (senses)? If they try to talk to it, does it speak their language? When it’s time to start combat, what’s its initiative?

The next section tells you most everything you need to know about the monster when it’s the PCs’ turn. When they’re attacking it, you need to know its AC, its hit points, its saves, and the ways it has to resist those attacks. Damage reduction is right next to hit points, so you remember to reduce the damage it takes while you’re marking the damage off its hit points.

The third section tells you what you need to know when it’s the monsters turn. Here are all the things it can do, from its basic attacks to its spell-like abilities. The “Atk Options” line tells you weird things it can do with its attacks, while “Special Actions” tells you things it can do instead of attacks. And look! All its spell-like abilities are listed right there with all the other things it can do on its turn—for the first time in the balor’s 30-plus-year history!

The fourth section is stuff that’s usually not important in combat, or at least less important. It doesn’t matter that the balor has Weapon Focus (longsword), because it’s already calculated into its attack bonus. Who cares, once combat starts, that it has Diplomacy +35? You’ll look here once in a while, but less often than you’ll be looking in the second and third sections.

The last section is explanatory text. What does that “entangle” in the whip’s damage mean? You’ll find it down at the bottom.

What Feats Go Where?

Speed: Spring Attack, Ride-By Attack, Shot on the Run, Run
AC: Dodge, Mobility, Deflect Arrows, Two-Weapon Defense
Ranged Attack: Manyshot, Rapid Shot
Atk Options: Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Far Shot, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Disarm, Improved Feint, Improved Overrun, Improved Precise Shot, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Mounted Combat, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Powerful Charge, Precise Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Spirited Charge, Stunning Fist, Trample, Whirlwind Attack; metamagic feats (if the creature casts spontaneously)
Special Actions: Snatch Arrows
Spells Prepared/Spells Known: Spell Penetration

Blank NPC Stat Block.

Name CR
Alingment and Type Eg:CE Large outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, evil, tanar’ri)
Init +--; Senses eg Darkvision ; Listen +--, Spot +--

AC --, touch --, flat-footed --
hp -- (-- HD); DR --/type
Resist --; SR --
Fort +--, Ref +--, Will +--

Speed -- ft. (-- squares), fly -- ft. (manuevarability)
MeleeType +-- and Type +--; or
Melee Type +--
Space 1-- ft.; Reach -- ft.
Base Atk +--; Grp +--
Atk Options
Special Actions
Spell-Like Abilities (CL --th):

Abilities Str --, Dex --, Con --, Int --, Wis --, Cha --

Other abilities Explained!

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:02, Mon 21 Jan 2008.

 GM, 98 posts
Sun 10 Sep 2006
at 15:49
Adventure Writing
1. Write A Short Adventure

On the first page of your adventure, include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Also include the title of the adventure, the adventure level, and the total word count. For example:

Gwendolyn Kestrel
1600 Lind Ave SW, Ste 400
Renton, WA 98055
[email address]
[phone number]

“Ambush at Zephyr Ridge”
A D&D adventure for 6th-level characters
2,789 words

Adventure Level

You choose the level of your adventure, but do not submit an adventure for characters higher than 20th level.


Your adventure must include one or more encounters or areas to explore.

Chapter 3 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide discusses how to create appropriately challenging encounters and assign appropriate amounts of treasure per encounter. Please use it as your guide when writing the adventure.

Reference Materials

The adventure should be playable using just the three core rulebooks (Player’s Handbook v.3.5, Dungeon Master’s Guide v.3.5, and Monster Manual v.3.5) and D&D Miniatures. The adventure should not require a DM to own or reference materials other than those mentioned here.

Adventure Elements

A couple things to keep in mind as you sit down to write your adventure:

NPCs and creatures with class levels, advanced Hit Dice, or templates take up more room than generic creatures straight out of the Monster Manual. If your adventure has lots of classed NPCs or advanced monsters, you need to reduce the number of encounters to compensate for the increased word count.
Stat blocks for monsters and NPCs have a considerable “footprint” when it comes to word count. An average NPC stat block can run well over 300 words on its own.
Here are the specific elements that comprise the adventure:

Introduction (Mandatory)
The adventure’s introduction should begin with a “teaser,” a short paragraph that summarizes the theme and plot of your adventure and serves as a hook to catch the reader’s interest. Think of the teaser as your best chance to catch a DM’s eye, and come up with something representative of your adventure that encourages the reader to read the rest of it.

The second paragraph should indicate what level of characters the adventure is designed for. In addition, it tells DMs what books they need (in this case, the three core rulebooks) and provides up-front advice on how to run the adventure.

Adventure Background (Mandatory)
This section provides the DM with a clear summary of events leading up to the adventure, including any pertinent historical details and villainous machinations. The main thing to keep an eye on in this section is length. If you can’t present your adventure background in 500 words, it’s probably too complex and should be simplified.

Adventure Synopsis (Mandatory)
This section provides a clear, concise summary of the adventure for the DM. Outline surprises and plot twists here, rather than revealing them only during the course of the adventure. Introduce key NPCs here, indicate both what the central conflict of the adventure is, and detail the most likely way the PCs can resolve this conflict.

Adventure Hooks (Mandatory)
This section helps DMs lead the PCs into the adventure. Although it’s fine to structure the adventure so that one of these hooks is the preferred way to start the adventure, all adventures need at least three different hooks. At least one hook should be simple and straightforward (“Deliver this message to the high priest in Lathamere”). Others can exploit alignment, class, race, or society. Hooks should not presume anything about the PCs’ actions, nor should they follow the standard adventure hook that presumes they are mercenaries available to the highest bidder. The hooks don’t need to be associated with the adventure’s plot. Adventures for 1st-level characters should include some hooks that assume the PCs don’t yet know each other.

You should avoid hooks that rely on the coincidence of the PCs’ presence in the area for the adventure to start. The party should always have a reason to go on an adventure.

Encounters (Mandatory)
At the start of the adventure’s encounters, you can include additional sections that detail rumors, background information the players can uncover with research or by using bardic knowledge, the time of year the adventure takes place in, and other relevant bits. If the adventure is for higher-level characters, include information that can be learned by divination spells as appropriate.

The adventure itself consists of a series of planned encounters keyed to a map, a timeline, or both.

Each encounter can include any or all of the following sections: Read-aloud Text, General Description, Creature(s), Tactics, Trap(s), Treasure, Development, and Ad Hoc XP Adjustment. Do not include sections that are unnecessary for a given encounter. For instance, an area devoid of traps does not require a Trap section.

Each encounter should be rated with an Encounter Level (EL #) in the main encounter header, allowing the DM to quickly assess the possible threat to his or her PCs. The EL is the properly calculated CRs of all creatures and traps in a particular encounter (see the Dungeon Master’s Guide). A sample encounter header would appear thus:

3. Bugbears’ Cave (EL 7)
Certain encounters are structured so that the threats are not felt simultaneously. It’s one thing if the pit trap is in the center of the room and the hill giant keeps bull rushing its enemies into the pit—calculating the total EL by using the CRs of the monster and trap is expected. But if the trap is on a chest hidden in a closet and never makes itself felt during a fight, then reasonably that trap’s CR should not be figured into the EL (unless its CR is higher than the monster’s CR, in which case the reverse holds true). Likewise, if an encounter is designed such that NPCs initially encountered are friendly, but on a repeat visit are revealed as a threat, the EL in the encounter’s main header should not give the EL based on the second visit, because it is not true for the first visit to the encounter.

Dungeon Features (Optional)
Some dungeons (or wilderness regions, or demiplanes, and so on) have features that are common throughout. How high are the ceilings? How are rooms illuminated? What types of doors are prevalent? (This includes such information as door thickness and the material doors are composed of, which has rule-specific implications for hit points and hardness.) What about wandering monsters? Rather than repeat these details throughout the adventure, keep the information in this section.

Read-Aloud Text (Optional)
This section generally precedes the other entries of an encounter, although part of the general description might precede it if it’s important to the encounter. The read-aloud text is meant to be read or paraphrased aloud to the players at an opportune time. It also provides the DM with a description of the room and its contents. Read-aloud text provides a bare bones description of the encounter area; it does not make any reference to the viewer. Avoid phrases such as “you see,” “as you enter the room,” or other phrases that assume any action whatsoever on behalf of the players. Also avoid including descriptions of any creatures in the room, since their activities and positions in the room often depend on multiple factors (such as if they hear the PCs coming, if it’s night or day, and so on).

Read-aloud text for an encounter should rarely run more than a few sentences. (For reasons why, you might consider our recent Design & Development column, Undercover at Gen Con, Part 1.)

General Description (Optional)
This section provides the DM with information on interesting features, creatures, traps, and other specifics of the encounter that play off the read-aloud text. Unusual magical or environmental effects, the room’s purpose (if not obvious from the read-aloud text), explanatory text about unusual features described in the read-aloud text, and statistics for objects found in the room that are likely to be broken out into this section.

Creature(s) (Optional)
Any creature the PCs might encounter is described here. Provide a physical description of the monster or NPC, as well as general motivations and background info. If the creature has information to impart to the characters, include that information here, along with the creature’s starting attitude and what happens if the PCs use Diplomacy, Intimidate, or magic to alter its attitude.

Include the creature’s abbreviated statistics if it appears in the adventure almost exactly as it does in the Monster Manual. In this case, include only the number of creatures appearing, hit points, and special equipment, as well as a Monster Manual page number for easy reference. For example:

Bugbears (4): hp 16 each; MM 29.
Full statistics for creatures should only be included if the creature is significantly nonstandard from the way it appears in the Monster Manual (for example, it has class levels or advanced Hit Dice). Unique NPCs almost always require a full stat block.

Please use antagonists that can be represented by official D&D miniatures.

Tactics (Optional)
Use this section to describe specific and unique tactics the creatures take in combat. Even unintelligent monsters can take advantage of terrain in combat. If an NPC uses magic to enhance his statistics, indicate what spells and items he uses to prepare for combat, and show how those effects modify his statistics.

Reactions to the sound of combat from other creatures nearby should be noted in this section, as well as conditions that might lead the creatures to surrender or flee the encounter.

Trap(s) (Optional)
This section describes any traps that the PCs might trigger in the encounter. The section ends with a trap stat block (see Chapter 3 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide for sample trap stat blocks) for all traps found in the encounter. If the creatures use the traps in some way against intruders, you should detail those actions in the Tactics section but refer to those tactics here.

Treasure (Optional)
Any treasure the PCs can find during the encounter is described here, above and beyond any possessions owned by the creatures in the room (a creature’s possessions are detailed in that creature’s stat block).

Remember, the total treasure available for the PCs to find in an adventure should be reflected in the adventure’s level. Make sure to use the Dungeon Master’s Guide v.3.5 to determine how much treasure to include in the adventure, and remember that NPC gear counts as well as treasure detailed in this section when determining totals. You don’t need to adhere exactly to the totals given in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but you should stay as close as you can.

Some adventures feature a large number of magic items that normally cannot be used by PCs. Other adventures include creatures with Improved Sunder or other attacks that can ruin magic items. In adventures like these, it’s okay to give out higher amounts of treasure, since the PCs likely lose more of their gear than normal during the course of the adventure. Also, adventures with lots of NPCs tend to have a lot of treasure in the form of gear and equipment, and as a result should have a proportionally lower amount of treasure in these sections.

Avoid petty treasures, such as pouches of a dozen silver coins in a high-level adventure. Keeping track of minuscule amounts of treasure isn’t worth the time and effort, and only slows down the game. Give individual creatures worthwhile treasures or give them nothing.

Remember, if you want to give a specific encounter a larger amount of treasure, you can compensate by not giving out treasure in other encounters.

Development (Optional)
Sometimes the PCs’ actions can have unusual ramifications or affect later encounters. The PCs may find things have changed the second or third time they pass through the purple worm’s lair after they kill the monster the first time through, for example. This section details how the encounter “evolves” once the PCs finish it, and how this evolution can affect other encounters in the adventure.

Ad Hoc XP Adjustment (Optional)
As per the Dungeon Master’s Guide, certain encounters can place the creatures at a tactical advantage or disadvantage. In these cases, you may judge that the PCs deserve extra (or fewer) XP for overcoming a situation in which they have a disadvantage (or advantage) over the creature. Use this subhead in your encounter to note the XP adjustment for the encounter.

Likewise, not every encounter in your adventure should involve killing monsters or overcoming traps. Some encounters may be puzzles, mysteries, diplomatic situations, or roleplaying opportunities. A distraught merchant might have his business revitalized by a group of PCs using Perform to attract more customers. A green and blue crystal door might open only after a spellcaster has channeled twenty levels of spells into its glowing facets. A huge library might require several Knowledge checks and Search checks to fully explore and uncover hidden clues. The PCs should gain experience for completing any encounter that advances the plot of the adventure, and you can use this section to indicate what sort of XP award the DM should give the PCs for its successful completion.

Concluding the Adventure (Mandatory)
Describe the possible consequences resulting from the adventure’s success or failure, including rewards, punishments, and spin-off adventures for later gaming sessions. Most groups roleplay the consequences of a successful (or failed) adventure, and they should be provided with tools in this section to do just that.

Make the players feel as if they’ve accomplished something (or that their failures have had repercussions beyond their own damaged reputations).

Showing Your Work

When you include full stat blocks for NPCs and advanced monsters, you should indicate how you calculated skill point totals, and how a creature’s Armor Class, saving throws, and attack rolls are calculated. This explanatory text does not count against the adventure’s total word count.

It’s generally best to change the color of the text of your work so it’s obvious what’s a stat block and what’s behind-the-scenes-math.

There might be other occasions that also require you to show your work, though that is up to your discretion (only you know what sort of calculation went into a particular creation—if you’d rather demonstrate that your choice wasn’t based on simple fancy, then showing your work is a good idea).

Using Traps

Be careful about traps. If you sprinkle in traps randomly, the smart PC response is to take every room or area slowly and cautiously. That might be smart, but it’s boring. Some hint that the characters are entering a trapped area helps the players slow down and be cautious when they need to without slowing the whole game to a crawl.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide has more information about creating and using traps.

Things to Explore

Here are some things to explore when building encounters:

Tactical positioning of PCs/NPCs
Encounters you can “outsmart” (and possibly bypass)
Encounters that reward good planning
Roleplaying encounters (“Let’s make a deal…”)
Sonic attacks (for bard to counter)
Area attacks (so rogues and monks can use evasion)
Encounters where PCs should have to use abilities of their level (5th-level PCs can probably use magic to fly, so encounters should assume that at least one PC can fly)
Climbing, falling, and doing stuff in high places
Aerial attacks
Fear (so the paladin can shine)
Undead (for the cleric)
Traps (for the rogue)
Locked doors (for the rogue)
Secret doors (for elves and the rogue)
Normal animals (so the druid or ranger can use her wild empathy and animal-based spells)
Environmental hazards (darkness, fog, lava, and so forth)
Use of cover and concealment
Nonlethal damage
Situations in which skills and feats are more applicable than spells and items
Alliances (PCs with NPCs, PCs with monsters, NPCs with monsters, monsters with monsters, and so on)
NPCs that think like PCs
Multiclass/prestige classes
Monsters with class levels, or advanced monsters
Poison and disease
Gaze attacks
Spell enhancement (pre-cast spells on creatures)

Things to Avoid

Avoid stereotypical material. We’re looking for new ideas or fresh approaches to old ideas. Even the most tired cliché can work with a clever twist. Here are some stereotypical adventure ideas; think twice about using them unless you have a particularly good twist in mind.

Rescue someone’s kidnapped daughter
Solve a murder perpetrated by a doppelganger.
Retrieve an ancient artifact.
Battle a deranged wizard or sorcerer.
Repel a simple humanoid infestation.
Defeat an undead army.
The above list is not all-inclusive.

Do not write an adventure designed for evil characters or an adventure aimed at player character races other than those described in the Player’s Handbook.

Avoid excessively linear plots that force the story toward an inevitable conclusion or “railroad” the actions of the PCs. The adventure should be flexible enough for PCs to make choices and decisions that could affect the outcome of the story. Avoid rigid timelines.

Remember that the PCs are the protagonists and central figures of the adventure. Do not use NPCs to step in and eliminate all opposition to the PCs, lead the PC party, and accomplish the PCs’ goals for them. Set up the adventure to challenge the PCs, and let them make it on their own.

Do not submit an adventure involving the destruction of children or helpless persons, cruel mistreatment of animals, excessive gore or violence, descriptions of Satan or Satanism (boo!), or game versions of real-world figures. Explicit sex, the encouragement of substance abuse, offensive language, and bathroom humor should not be used.

2. Design a Map

Your adventure should include at least one original map. Please include hard copies of any maps (and diagrams, if appropriate) that accompany the adventure.

Your map(s) must be clearly and neatly rendered in ink. The map grid should be clearly marked without obstructing the map’s legibility. Scale lines may be used for outdoor maps. Use a straight edge to draw the straight lines, and darken solid areas (such as rock around a dungeon complex). Whenever possible, draw the furnishings or obvious features of an area. Use icons for beds, desks, ladders, trapdoors, statues, curtains, and so forth. Try to make your icons recognizable without a map key. Only use color to indicate important map features where the use of plain ink does not suffice.

Remember internal consistency when designing your map(s). Inhabited areas require provisions for bringing in food, water, light, and heat, a method for disposing of waste materials, and ways for the inhabitants to get around easily. Check your map(s) against the finished text. Make sure you’ve described all relevant areas and have not mislabeled anything.

Your map(s) should include a title, scale, and compass rose. For tactical maps, we strongly suggest that you use a “one square = 5 feet” scale.

3. Design a Game Element

In addition to the adventure, we’d like you to design one of the following:

A new feat, or
A new spell, or
A new magic item
In addition, we’d like you to cleverly work this new game element into the adventure that you’ve created. How you accomplish this is up to you.

We are looking for something that fills an interesting niche in the game. Avoid creating a game element that’s too derivative of something that already exists in the game (for instance, a protective vest that is functionally identical to bracers of armor). Avoid creating a new game element that renders similar game elements obsolete. For instance, a 3rd-level arcane spell that does the same damage as a fireball but deals force damage instead of fire damage is simply more powerful than the fireball spell and should be avoided.

When designing a new feat or spell, follow the feat or spell format given in the Player’s Handbook.

When designing a new magic item, follow the magic item format given in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, or use the expanded format introduced in the Dungeon Master’s Guide II (your choice).

Whatever game element you design does not count against the word count of your adventure. The game element you create can be as short or as long as it needs to be.
 GM, 106 posts
Mon 13 Nov 2006
at 14:06
Sword Coast South / Amn
The Cast
Drake Strongheart    Level 3 Cleric
Elyonna Shadowright  Level 6 Rogue
Jasmine              Level 3/2/3 Rogue/Ranger/Wizardess
Kaijn Tur'kin        Level 5 Wizard
Randall Hawksword    Level 7
The Adventure: Dragon Horde.

1) Just a Fight.

As the PCs travel through the contry-side they notice a lone Wyvern flying on high to the east. One of the beasts swoops down and graps a sheep from grazing the flock. The rest of the flock scatters of course and a lone shepard rushes to save his sheep from the beast, armed with only a staff and a light crossbow.

When the PCs defeat the Wyvern, the Shepherd rewards them with kind words and a secret bit on information. A dragon laired in these parts some years back and he was defeated by a group of adventurers during the Year of Rogue Dragons. The lone survivor later succumbed to his wounds in this very hut, but he managed to divulge the location of the dragons’ lair before he died.

He tells the PCs where to find it and asks only for 10% of the wealth. He also informs them that a tribe of Kobolds live at the same network of caves as the dragon; for they worshipped him as god and defend his lair as assiduously as the traps the wyrm left in place.

It will be easy enough to skirt the main settlement but the PCs will encounter a war party one way or the other.

Kobolds (12): HP 2 each;
Dire Weasels (2): HP 13 each
Kobold Sergeant : Kobold War3; CR3: Small humanioid (reptillian) HD: 3D10; HP 20; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; AC 16 (Touch 13, FF 15) Atk +2 melee (1D6-1, Half spear) or +4 Ranged (1D8/19-20, light crossbow); SQ Darkvision 60 ft, light sensitivity; AL LE; SV Fort +3, Refl +2, Will +1; Str 8, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10 Cha 10.
Skills and Feats: Craft (trapmaking) +2, Hide +9, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Search +2, Spot +2; Alertness, Dodge.
Possesions: Halfspear Studded Leather armor, light crossbow, 10 bolts, pouch with 15 gp.

Kobold Warleader: Kobold War5; CR5: Small humanioid (reptillian) HD: 5D10; HP 35; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; AC 18 (Touch 13, FF 17) Atk +8 melee (1D6+3, +1 short sword) or +6 Ranged (1D8/19-20, light crossbow); SQ Darkvision 60 ft, light sensitivity; AL LE; SV Fort +4, Refl +2, Will +1; Str 9, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 10 Cha 12.
Skills and Feats: Climb 1, Craft (trapmaking) +2, Hide +10, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Search +2, Spot +2; Alertness, Dodge, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (Short Sword), Weapon Specialization (short sword).

Possesions: +1 Short Sword, Studded Leather armor, light crossbow, 10 bolts, pouch with 145 gp.

The bad news is that Devor, the leader of the tribe is not there. He used hsi Sorcerous powers to disguise himself and went to a nearby town to sell some of the horde in a nearby town.

Treasure: There is a total of 983 GP in the tribes coffers. The PCs can learn of this in several ways and the party's rogue may sneak in and steal it.

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:47, Sat 18 Nov 2006.

 player, 30 posts
Tue 28 Nov 2006
at 01:27
Beginning of the NPCs
I just copied the blank template. I will begin working in it soon.

Name CR
Alingment and Type Eg:CE Large outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, evil, tanar’ri)
Init +--; Senses eg Darkvision ; Listen +--, Spot +--

AC --, touch --, flat-footed --
hp -- (-- HD); DR --/type
Resist --; SR --
Fort +--, Ref +--, Will +--

Speed -- ft. (-- squares), fly -- ft. (manuevarability)
MeleeType +-- and Type +--; or
Melee Type +--
Space 1-- ft.; Reach -- ft.
Base Atk +--; Grp +--
Atk Options
Special Actions
Spell-Like Abilities (CL --th):

Abilities Str --, Dex --, Con --, Int --, Wis --, Cha --

Other abilities Explained!

This message was last edited by the player at 01:28, Tue 28 Nov 2006.

DM Kindred
 GM, 218 posts
Mon 18 Dec 2006
at 20:06
Underdark Adventure
Test of the Demonweb - Adventure on the Wizards Website