Friday, August 8, 2008

B9 (Prisoner Pits)

This encounter has undergone some thematic alterations. The zombies are no longer simply hazards waiting at the bottom of a pit for a hapless PC to wander into. Not only would they be relatively insignificant threats absent a monster with the ability to push PCs with a power, but carrying out that isolated combat in a single 5' square would not be terribly interesting. And finally, once Koruvus is dealt with the zombies are a ridiculously simple threat to deal with. On that note, there are now only four zombies, all of which claw their way up out of their pits and into the room once they sense the untainted presence of the PCs in the room.

The prisoner pits are covered by thin, fragile wooden planks which instantly break should a creature move atop one. Allow the creature a saving throw. If successful they are able to leap aside, and land prone in the square they just left. If unsuccessful, they fall 20 feet to the bottom of the pit (a fall which deals 2d10 damage). Four of the pits' covers are already broken.

Place each of the four zombies adjacent to one of the pits with a broken cover. Koruvus begins at the back of the room, and immediately lumbers towards the PCs, utilizing his Alchemical Breath first and then engaging the nearest PC in melee combat. I suggest the following encounter for a party of five adventurers:

  • 3 Zombies
  • 1 Corruption Corpse
  • Koruvus
Total: 850 xp (Level 4 Encounter)

One of the prisoner pits contains treasure parcel 2 from level 2, amongst the bones at the bottom.

Stat block:

10 comments:

Antiquated Tory said...

A couple comments.
When you say "Allow the creature a saving throw," don't you mean that the pit makes an "attack" against the creature's reflex? It didn't seem too difficult to avoid so I gave an attack value of 15.
Second, PCs with powers that let them move opponents can use them to great avail in this room. Zombies have crap Reflexes.

Scott said...

I actually envisioned the pits more along the lines of a terrain hazard than an actual trap. The saving throw aspect was designed to clarify that being forced onto one of the plank covers was mechanically identical to being pushed over a ledge. It should be fairly obvious to the player characters that the planks simply cover holes in the ground, and would not hold up under the stress of someone walking atop them (in fact, the pits are made clear to the players in the room's read-aloud description).

In D&D 3.5 we did not have a defined mechanic for handling forced movement over ledges - such situations had to either be adjudicated on the spot or use trap stats (such as these pits in the original adventure). In 4th Edition, any forced movement over a ledge allows a saving throw to end movement prone in the space your just left (which is a minor change I'm going to make right after I post this). I didn't see any reason to provide trap stats for the pits, since they don't really qualify as traps, and probably will not come into play except when creatures are forced into their space (triggering the saving throw rule).

Antiquated Tory said...

In 4th Edition, any forced movement over a ledge allows a saving throw to end movement prone in the space your just left
Thanks Scott, this is a bit of the rules that I had missed.

Scott said...

No problem!

oldtimer-gamer said...

I don't see an attack value for Koruvus alchemical breath. Something like "+4 vs. Reflex"?

Scott said...

Ah, apologies! The attack line should read "+3 vs. Will". The Alchemical Breath attack is based on the altered monster power provided in Dragon #364's Alchemical Imbalance article. Thanks for catching this stuff! I'll correct it in the stat block.

Scott said...

Alchemical Breath now has an attack value.

Aaron said...

I love everything you've done in here! You're saving me a lifetime of wasted effort! That being said, I'm very curious as to why you made Koruvus the way you did.

In his 3.5 incarnation he had a small amount of fast healing(regeneration) and in both his picture, and in his statblock, he clearly wields a magical longsword (the same that was described by Shalelu), a handaxe, and a silvered dagger.

Your incarnation simply lists a basic attack with a Battle Axe and a single-use alchemical breath that has no way of recharging. That, to me at least, loses a lot of the flavor and errie horror that makes Korovus so great. I remember running this encounter (in 3.5) for a couple friends and I relished the look on their faces when I described Koruvus.

Now, I'm not here just to pound on you on your own blog, especially since you've done so much for us. Mostly, I'm curious as to why you made him like you did and if it would be out of the question to make him an elite and change the zombies to minions. This way I could give him attacks with all of his little mutated arms, give him a point of regen, and give him some way to recharge that alchemy breath (at least once when he's bloodied).

Do you think doing that would significantly change the encounter for the worse? Did you keep Koruvus as a standard monster because you didn't want to make Erylium a solo creature?

Scott said...

Koruvus is statted the way he is because I still, at this point in the conversion process, didn't feel all that comfortable with making my own monsters. If you compare stat blocks, he is identical to a goblin skullcleaver save the alchemical breath. That's where the battle axe came from.

You're right, though, as statted he would be incongruous with what the party should expect if they manage to link the monster found here with Shalelu's tale. This looks like a good encounter for me to go back and re-examine. I'd like to keep the zombies as standard monsters, but raising Koruvus to Elite status sounds like a fine idea, and it only raises the encounter level to just below 4th level, which is just fine for the 2nd-level party the adventure expects at this point.

I'll re-do it and note the change in the Recent Changes and Additions sidebar on the front page of the blog. Look for it in about a week or so.

Scott said...

Koruvus is now elite, and is more faithful to the original version of the creature.