Friday, August 3, 2018

The Vampire's Tomb - A Simple Dungeon Module

The Vampire's Tomb - A Simple Dungeon Module

Welcome to the fourth installment of the "Simple Dungeon Module" series! As with the other two entries, this small encounter is made to be placed in any world made for adventuring and roleplaying! No specific rule system is expected to be used with this module, and you should feel free to manipulate the encounter any way you can imagine to make it more fun for you and your players.

As always, please feel free to comment and let me know what you think of the module!

This ancient tomb is inhabited by a long-dead Vampire Lord, recently awoken from his slumber.

Area 1: This entryway feels decrepit, moss is growing on the walls and the stonework is patchy. There are emblems embedded in the doors which your players likely cannot recognize considering it's the Noble heraldry of the House Darocar, to whom this Vampire Lord belonged in life.

There is a 25% chance that this room will be occupied by two passing bandits, thralls of the Lord of this tomb.

Area 2: This room acts as a bivouac area for the bandits turned thralls that the Vampire Lord is using as his personal slave army. They act as guards and go on raids to gain new victims and new treasures for the Vampire.

This room is occupied by two sleeping thralls.

Area 3: This room houses the sarcophagi of the Vampire's family. His brother, cousin, and two sons are housed in this room. The Vampire has not yet awoken these fellow Vampires for fear they will attempt to wrest control of his band of thralls from him. The Vampire Lord will wait until he has a larger following to begin his conquests and raise these younger Vampires as his Lieutenants.

The chest in this room is hidden from sight behind a sarcophagus and obscured by some rubble, dulling its metallic luster. It is hard to discover this chest. The lock is broken by the rubble, and the chest will open easily. Contained within the chest is a solid gold ring with a diamond in the center worth 100 gold pieces and 200 loose gold pieces.

Area 4: This area houses a dining room utilized by the Vampire Lord's thralls. The tables are filled with fresh food and show a lot of use from the inhabitants. The chest in the corner of this room is easily spotted and not locked. It contains 35 gold pieces, 50 silver pieces, 107 copper pieces, a handaxe, two daggers, and an old iron helmet.

This room is occupied by two thralls, one enjoying a full meal and the other standing guard at the hallway to area 5.

Area 5: This pressure plate activated spike trap is hard to detect, but once spotted can be easily avoided. If activated, this trap sends long spears from the walls on either side of the hallway into the square where the plate is located, dealing a moderate amount of damage(a combination of dice that can deal up to 3/4s of the player's health, is recommended.)

Area 6: This small antechamber contains the corpses of the Vampire Lord's victims. Three dead bodies with two small holes protruding from their necks, with blood dribbling out.

Area 7:  This area contains the sarcophagus and throne of the Vampire Lord. He spends his time brooding, planning, and feasting on his victims. His sarcophagus is covered with jewels and treasures his enthralled bandits have found for him. These treasures total up to a value of 500 gold pieces.

This Vampire is not a threat to be taken lightly. It is likely that this tomb has otherwise not presented much of a challenge to the party, this room is supposed to fix that. However you design this vampire, keep in mind that he is a major opponent and possesses potent magical powers. This monster carries an enchanted Rapier befitted his noble status.

Thanks for reading and happy adventuring!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Illrigger - a Lawful Evil Paladin variant for D&D 5e

When Dungeons and Dragons was still shiny and new TSR, the company founded by Gary Gygax that originally published D&D, started issuing a magazine called "The Strategic Review" to both market their new game and to allow them to publish new content for the burgeoning young game.

The Strategic Review was quickly replaced after only 7 issues by "Dragon" magazine, which quickly became a sensation among players, offering many rulings on long asked questions and vast amounts of new content for players of the young game.

Today we're going to be discussing one class variant from issue #106 of Dragon, the cover of which you can see below.

"Valshea" by Keith Parkinson

The beauty of it's cover art by Keith Parkinson aside(by the way, you can purchase prints of that art at Parkinson's own website, in addition to many other great pieces.) we're here to discuss the Illrigger class variant which was shown off only in Issue 106.

As you can tell by the magazine cover, this issue offered "Seven new 'Paladins'" among those new paladins were the Lawful Neutral "Lyan" and the Chaotic Neutral "Fantra" to name a couple. These paladins were all interesting in their own unique way but today we are going to focus on converting the Lawful Evil Illrigger to the Fifth Edition.

For starters, let me just say that much of the rules of AD&D 1st Edition don't exactly translate well into the Fifth Edition, but I did my best with this alpha test of the Illrigger class. If you have any feedback or ideas to make the class better, please let me know!

Table made using Homebrewery

The lawful evil Illrigger creates for his god a framework of evil on which to operate and subdue key proponents of good. He has crisply efficient assassination skills and maintains a functioning network of followers to precipitate his crimes upon the world. Should the Iillrigger ever commit a chaotic or carelessly disruptive act, his church will excommunicate him and he will become forevermore a normal fighter. Illriggers prefer armor and weapons of darkened metal. Plate mail and morning stars predominate. Illriggers wear great helmets bearing the symbols and war standards of their gods. Insignias of rank, each a subsymbol of the Illrigger's personal sigil, accompany every follower. Illriggers can use any magic item unless it has an intrinsic good alignment. An Illrigger with sufficient funds can build a stronghold at any time. The special abilities of an Illrigger are: 1. A continual emanation of a protection from good spell. 2. Immunity to all forms of disease. 3. The ability to attack on the Rogue's table for Sneak attack after surprising an opponent. The Illrigger follows no strictures other than the rigid rules necessary to maintain his church. Nearly all known Illriggers are devil worshippers.

Level Titles:
At 1st level, an Illrigger is known as an "Arch of Ruin".
At 2nd level, an Illrigger is known as a "Pillar of Sin".
At 3rd level, an Illrigger is known as a "Griefbringer".
At 4th level, an Illrigger is known as an "Evilforger".
From 5th level onwards, an Illrigger is known to the world as an "Illrigger".

Lay on Hands: 
Your blessed touch can heal wounds. You have a pool of healingpower that replenishes when you take a long rest. With that pool, you can restore a total number of hit points equal to your Illrigger level × 5.

As an action, you can touch a creature and draw power from the pool to restore a number of hit points to that creature, up to the maximum amount remaining in your pool.

Alternatively, you can expend 5 hit points from your pool of healing to cure the target of one disease or neutralize one poison affecting it. You can cure multiple diseases and neutralize multiple poisons with a single use of Lay on Hands, expending hit points separately for each one.

Protection from Good:
At 1st level, Illriggers permanently gain the effects of Protection from Evil and Good.

Disease Immunity: 
At 1st level, Illriggers gain immunity to all forms of disease.

Sneak attack:
At 1st level, Illriggers gain limited use of the Rogue's Sneak Attack damage table. Illriggers may only deal Sneak Attack damage when they have Advantage against a Surprised enemy.

Fighting Style:
At 2nd level, you may adopt any style of fighting as your specialty. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

By 2nd level, you have learned to draw on divine magic through meditation and prayer to cast spells as a Cleric does.

The Paladin table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells. To cast one of your Paladin spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

You prepare the list of Paladin spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Paladin spell list. When you do so, choose a number of Paladin spells equal to your Intelligence modifier + half your Paladin level, rounded down (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

For example, if you are a 5th-level Paladin, you have four 1st-level and two 2nd-level spell slots. With an Intelligence of 14, your list of prepared spells can include four spells of 1st or 2nd level, in any combination. If you prepare the 1st-level spell cure wounds, you can cast it using a 1st-level or a 2nd- level slot. Casting the spell doesn’t remove it from your list of prepared spells.

You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of Paladin spells requires time spent in prayer and meditation: at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your Paladin spells, since their power derives from the strength of your convictions. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a paladin spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Ability Score Improvement:
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack:
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Aura of Protection:
Starting at 6th level, whenever you or a friendly creature within 10 feet of you must make a saving throw, the creature gains a bonus to the saving throw equal to your Intellignce modifier (with a minimum bonus of +1). You must be conscious to grant this bonus.

At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.

Extra Feat:
At 7th and 11th levels, Illriggers can take a new Combat feat of their choosing.

At 15th and 20th levels, Illriggers can take any feat of their choosing.

Aura of Courage:
Starting at 10th level, you and friendly creatures within 10 feet of you can’t be frightened while you are conscious.

At 18th level, the range of this aura increases to 30 feet.

Cleansing Touch:
Beginning at 14th level, you can use your action to end one spell on yourself or on one willing creature that you touch.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier (a minimum of once). You regain expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Table 1: Illrigger Followers:

Dice roll Type of follower

01-08    1d10 1st level Rogues
09-14    1d8 1st-2nd level Rogues
15-19    1d6 1st-4th level Rogues
20-23    1d4 2nd-5th level Rogues
24-26    2 3rd-6th level Rogues
27-28    1 4th-7th level Rogue
29-31    1d4 1st-2nd level Barbarians
32         1 3rd-6th level Barbarian
33-35    1d6 1st level Wizards
36-37    1d4 1st-2nd level Wizards
38         2 2nd-5th level Wizards
39-40    2 1st-2nd level Sorcerers
41         1 2nd-4th level Sorcerer
42-46    1d6 1st-4th level Clerics
47-49    1d4 2nd-5th level Clerics
50-51    2 4th-7th level Clerics
52         1 5th-8th level Cleric
53         2 1st-4th level Bards
54-61    4d10 Men-at-Arms
62-67    1d10 1st level Fighters
68-72    1d8 1st-4th level Fighters
73-76    1d6 2nd-5th level Fighters
77-79    1d4 3rd-6th level Fighters
80-81    2 4th-7th level Fighters
82         1 8th level Fighter
83-84    1 Hellcat or Hell Hound
85         6d4 Kobolds plus females and young
86        1 Bheur Hag
87        20d10 Duergar plus females and young
88        20d10 Orcs plus females and young
89        30d10 Goblins plus females and young
90        10d10 Hobgoblins plus females and young
91        1 Blue Dragon
92        1 Ghost
93        1 Spectre
94        1 Wight
95        1 Wraith
96        2 Manticore
97        1d8 Fire Giants plus females and young
98        1d4 NPCs of any lawful evil class or subclass
99        1 Pit Fiend
100      DM's choice

I hope you can get some fun out of this class variant. Feel free to leave any feedback, advice, or criticisms as a comment here. I'm glad to learn and happy to respond to your comments.

William Cord,
Lord of the Stronghold

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Wizard's Tower - A Simple Dungeon Module

Having received positive feedback and helpful advice from friends and readers of my last article, The Kobold Caverns, I was inspired to draw and post my second module, The Wizard's Tower!

As with The Kobold Caverns, this simple dungeon is a self-contained experience. There is no full adventure, no plot hooks, and no special interactions with the world at large. The purpose of this Wizard's Tower, its effects on the world, and how players may come across or be lead here is entirely up to the Dungeon Master's choice.

And of course, please feel free to comment and ask questions about this module. I'm always happy to answer your questions!

Disclaimer: None of the inhabitants of this tower will attack without provocation.

Room 1: The first floor of the Tower. This area is inhabited by 1 Dwarf Forgemaster and his 3 Apprentices. The Forgemaster works hard bringing to life whatever new idea the Wizard upstairs has come up with. If killed, the Forgemaster will have a pouch containing 37 gp, 51 sp, and 66 cp. His assistants will all have 3d6+3 sp on them. Once thoroughly searched, this room will be shown to contain a 1 pound bar of Platinum. 3 1lb bars of Gold. 5 1lb bars of Silver. And 5 1lb bars of Copper. In addition, there is a small pouch hidden in one of the apprentices' beds containing 2d6 gp and a small diamond worth 25 gp.

Room 2: The second floor of this tower contains the sleeping quarters of the Wizard's two apprentices. These apprentices work long days helping the Wizard carry out his experiments and learning advanced magic from her. Evidence of many small experiments can be found in this room, including the remains of a half-charred rat as well as supporting documents explaining what the apprentice was attempting to accomplish. One apprentice will be in this room at any given time, sleeping or experimenting. If killed, the apprentice will yield 1d6 gp and 3d6 sp on their person. When thoroughly searched, this room will contain a sum of coins spread around the room equal to 6 gp, 10 sp, and 31 cp.

Room 3: The Wizard's chamber and laboratory. Contained within this room is the Wizard herself, as well as one of her apprentices. The Wizard may be carrying an experiment, sitting down to eat, or sleeping when the adventurers enter her chamber. The Wizard carries on her person 4d6+4 gp, 32 sp, and 50 cp, as well as a Bag of Holding. The Wizard may be a friend of the party or may prove an enemy, this is up to the DM and how they wish to utilize this module. As a friend, the Wizard will gladly cast Identify up to twice a day at the low cost of 5 gp per item. As well, she will allow the use of her resident Forgemaster downstairs, who can swiftly repair or resize any weapon or piece of armor for a nominal fee (1/4 base value of the item). As an enemy, this 7th level magic user can be a real threat to any party of young heroes.

Room 4: The roof of the Wizard's Tower offers impressive views of the surrounding area. If thoroughly searched, adventurers may find a scrap of parchment with a love poem addressed to the Wizard written on it, this paper was not signed by whoever wrote, nor was it delivered to the Wizard.

The Dwarf Forgemaster

"Blacksmith Dwarf" by Lkivihall on Deviantart

The Dwarf Forgemaster is a man of age, experience. He has spent many years perfecting his craft. You can expect to find Forgemasters in the great Dwarven cities, but it is not unheard of for them to be hired by Human cities, or even employed in a Wizard's Tower. These masters at there trade are sought after due to their speed and skill at all things pertaining to a forge. They don't work alone, typically employing at least one, but as many as a dozen, young apprentices. Apprenticeships with a Forgemaster are not easy to come by, and are costly on the family of the aspiring apprentice.

The Kobold Caverns - A Simple Dungeon Module

Welcome to the inaugural module from Stronghold Press Games!

In this first post, you will discover the Kobold Caverns. A large cave network dug out by a tribe of gritty Kobolds. This is a simple dungeon module for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons that is made to be dropped anywhere into your own world and used however you see fit. There is no full adventure that comes along with this map that would lead the heroes through a town, to hearing pleas from the locals begging for help, to discovering the cave and clearing it out to the praises of the village. How players come across this dungeon and what effect their actions within have on the world is entirely up to the Dungeon Master's choice.

I hope you enjoy what you find within this cavern and find a good use for it. If you have any questions or comments about what is held within this dungeon, please feel free to leave your comments on this post, I will be happy to answer them.

William Cord,
Lord of The Stronghold.

This dark and dingy cave gives off the unpleasant aroma that only a full tribe of unclean creatures can. You can smell this place from a hundred feet off.

Foreward: All Kobolds in this Dungeons are carrying 1d6-1(2) sp on them unless otherwise stated.

Room 1: This entry room contains a stairwell leading 10 feet down to a doorway guarded by 2 Kobolds standing guard on either side.

Room 2: This large antechamber contains 5 Kobolds taking a load off and drinking swill from the large cask at the center of the room. 1 of these Kobolds is too drunk to stand and will remain seated against the cask for the duration of the fight. If adventurers attempt to interrogate this Kobold he will begin shrieking to warn the rest of the cavern once he realizes what has happened.

Room 3: This small room contains a well armored Kobold(+1 AC), who wears a stolen holy amulet on his neck worth 25 gp. This room also contains 3 hidden doors leading to rooms 4, 5, and 6. These hidden doors are all a DC 12 investigation check to discover.

Room 4: Within this room is only a trapped chest requiring a DC 11 Investigation check to discover and a DC 13 Sleight of hand check to disarm, it is otherwise bare. If the adventurer fails to disarm this trap it will spray acid dealing 1d4+1 damage on the individual attempting to open the chest. It is a DC 15 Dexterity Saving Throw to dodge the acid. Within the chest is contained 1d10+5(11) gp and a small silver ring worth 15 gp.

Room 5: This room contains one malnourished and disarmed Kobold. If the adventurers discover him he will whimper and cower, begging for kindness from the heroes. If engaged in combat, he will attempt to flee, refusing to fight. If the adventurers calm this Kobold and speak to him he will inform them that he was forced into this makeshift cell because he disagreed with the chief and attempted to leave the caverns. He disagrees with the Kobold Chief because of his alliances with Goblins and Hobgoblins and his plans to begin raiding settlements nearby.

Room 6: This room acts as a secure vault for the Kobolds of this cavern. Within is a Gnome who works for the Kobolds, he will lie to the adventurers and say that he was forced into service here in the caverns and has not been able to escape. He will offer the adventurers access to the Kobolds stash of coins and inform them of where the chief hoards his wealth(room 9) if they can guide him out of this cavern.

Room 7: This pressure plate trap unleashes a scythe 5 feet above the ground when activated. It requires a DC 12 Investigation check to discover and a DC 14 Sleight of hand check to disarm. Kobolds, Halflings, Goblins, and other small creatures do not set off this trap.

Room 8: This room contains 4 beds possessed by 4 sleeping Kobolds. If the drunk Kobold in room 2 was not stopped from shrieking, these Kobolds will be awake. Beyond the beds there is a DC 15 secret door to room 9, the chief's treasure hoard. If the Gnome in room 6 told the adventurers the location of this secret room they need not roll investigation.

Room 9: The Kobold Chief's treasure hoard contains 93 gold pieces, 277 silver pieces, and 1,243 copper pieces as well as 1 Everburning Torch and 3 potions of healing.

Room 10: This is the Kobold Chief's small throne room. Within is Gruld, Chief of the Kobolds accompanied by 2 Kobold guards, as well as a Goblin and a Hobgoblin. The two Kobolds are waiting in the top of this room, drinking and sorting the chests and barrels in the small alcove. Gruld, the Hobgoblin, and the Goblin are seated around the table discussing matters of war and diplomacy over a map of the local region. If the adventurers enter this room without initiating combat, Gruld will speak to them in broken common, telling them that they need not die in these caverns. They may take what they've found and leave and they will be allowed to live.

If the Kobolds in room 8 are not dead, they attack the adventurers from behind after 1d4+1(3) rounds.

Gruld has many of the standard abilities of a standard Kobold. He stands over a foot taller than the average Kobold and is equipped with chain mail(bringing his AC to 15) and a longsword +1. The Goblin and Hobgoblin use their regular statblocks from the Monster Manual. 

After these monsters are defeated, Gruld will carry a sack containing 5d6+6(21) gp. The Goblin and Hobgoblin each carry 1d6+1(4) sp.

Room 11: This room acts as an arena for the Kobolds. There are 6 Kobolds in this room focused on the combat between 2 Kobolds in the arena. These Kobolds will not notice the adventurers unless they make a loud noise after entering the room. The Kobolds fighting in the arena will require 1d4+1(3) rounds to get their armor on and their weapons ready before they enter the combat.

Room 12: This room acts as a barracks to the tribe, it contains 2d4+2(6) Kobolds, half of whom are sleeping. There are weapons on racks to the left of the door. If thoroughly searched, this room will yield 32 gp, 51 sp, and 96 cp as well as 2 small gold rings worth 25 gp.

That's the dungeon, I hope you enjoyed it! If you're unsure of anything or have any comments please do ask, I will be glad to hear them.