Its been a while since I reviewed a module that my group has run. We only meet once a month so our game sessions tend to be pretty long 6-8 hours is the usual. Last time we played Den of the Destroyer from dungeon magazine #160 published in 2008. Dotd starts with a courier seeking the players in the city of Overlook. The courier has been captured by some of the players past enemies and is being interrogated and held in a run down temple. The first encounter takes place inside the temple with the kidnappers.
more after the bump
* the numbers in this review may not match the numbers of the room, this is the order my players took the encounters.
Encounter 1 - Kidnappers
Encounter Level 11 (3,050 XP)
4 Lost One kidnappers (K)
2 ravenous attack dogs (R)
Szagyn, Lost One underboss (U)
3 death squad assassins (A)
The way this encounter is setup the players arrive and the woman they are searching for in is tied to a chair on the far side on that large puddle of water coming a hole in the roof. My players rushed it to save her like the Good Guy Gregs they are. There are four Lost One kidnappers behind the frescoes, these enemies have a massive shift ability when they hit a player. The way our encounter played out is the kidnappers took turns shifting a single player far away from the rest of the group and pulled him into the side rooms with the assassins who proceeded to kick the shit out of that player. By the end of this encounter I had three of my six players laying on the ground bleeding out. This encounter is no joke, it comes to play.
Rating - Hard and well designed
Afterward the players travel to Brindol to speak with a npc they met in the first adventure. One of the artifacts they recovered from Rescue at Rivenroar that they thought was just a sword has suddenly started talking and asking for them specifically. The curator of the museum was the one who sent for the PCs. The sword tells them that a dark portal to the elemental chaos has been opened and the vale is in danger from a group of gnolls. It agrees to lead the players to the abandoned temple. Then a group of bounty hunters breaks into the great hall and tries to collect a bounty on the player's heads.
Encounter 2 -
The Hall of
Encounter Level 8 (1,750 XP)
1 bounty hunter snaremaster (N)
2 bounty hunter strongarms (T)
2 bounty hunter subduers (U)
In this encounter some bounty hunters throw fire in the window of the the great hall and proceed to try and trounce the players. The fire mechanic in the this room doesn't make much sense, if the players succeed in making 3 skill checks to put it out its out regardless of how far it spread. If they don't put it out it has far reaching consequences for the campaign. Not much to talk about with the bounty hunters, fairly simple setup melee and raged types. Late in the fight a NPC named thorn shows up to help the players, his intentions are less than virtuous but Ill get to that later.
Rating: Normal difficulty
The players travel to the ruined temple of the githazari and encounter some difficulties on the way. After succeeding the skill challenge to travel there they encounter some gnolls guarding the stairs.
Encounter 3 - The Stairs
Encounter Level 7 (1,500 XP)
2 Wicked Fang sentries (E)
2 Wicked Fang scouts (C)
1 stonewalker spirit (S)
If you visit this blog regularly you may recognize this map, I took some pictures of it during the session. The setup of this room is there are four gnolls that attack the PCs directly not much to them just two melee and two ranged. The interesting part of this encounter is the spirit. It inhabits the statues and brings them to life. The statues have low defenses and low hitpoints but do lots of damage. When the players kill one of the statues it ejects the spirit and crumbles and the spirit takes 1/4th of its hitpoints in damage. After killing 4 statues the spirit is dead. Its an interesting mechanic and was fun to play.
Rating: Normal Difficulty, fun to run
Encounter 4 - Githzerai Mind Trap
Encounter Level 8 (1,750 XP)
1 gnoll demonic scourge (D)
2 Wicked Fang maulers (M)
2 Wicked Fang lashers (L)
In this encounter there are 5 portals arranged around the room and each time someone steps into a portal the exit to the portal comes out at a different place. As a GM this one was annoying to run, figuring out which portals went were took up too much time. The main room has two gnolls with whips that can shift players into the portals. There are also some pictures of this room in that old post.
Rating: Easy, annoying to run
Encounter 5 -Marshaling Point
Encounter Level 8 (1,804 XP)
Kyrion, shadar-kai weaponmaster (S)
1 Wicked Fang warmaster (W)
8 Wicked Fang recruits (R)
2 gnoll huntmasters (H)
This room looks like it has tons of enemies but most of them ( 8 Wicked Fang recruits) are minions. Minions in 4th edition are cannon fodder, they only have 1 hitpoint and do a fixed amount of damage. Minions drop quickly to players area of effect spells. In actuality this room only has 4 real enemies. Kyrion has a special sword called wicked fang that does some interesting attacks and the warmaster has some fun attacks.
Encounter 6 - Thorn's attack
Encounter Level 11 (3,000 XP)
Thorn, bounty hunter
2 elderwood falcons
2 ironwood hounds
Thorn, who helped them earlier, is actually a bounty hunter who is looking to collect a reward. He plans to ambush the players sometime in the dungeon after they have exhausted a large amount of their strength. I chose to attack them here because of tactical elements of the room. the players chose to retreat instead of face thorn. He will show up later no doubt.
Rating: None players failed to engage
Encounter 7 -Training Chamber
Encounter Level 8 (1,850 XP)
1 ruin-touched beastcaller (R)
2 ruin-touched bloodwalkers (B)
3 slaughterfang hyenas (S)
This room has water running around it that pushes players and monsters when they stand in it. I have to admit that by the time we got to this encounter we were all very tired. It was about 4am and most players were falling asleep. I rushed through this one and didn't really do it justice so I'm not going to comment on how hard or easy it is to run. The large S's are hyenas that are ridden by gnolls that run around and attack the players.
Rating: No opinion
We aren't done with this module we have about 4 more rooms, Ill detail them after the next game sometime late in October