Saturday, September 6, 2008

C6 & C7 (Gogmurt and Tangletooth)

Tangletooth growls menacingly at anyone unfamiliar approaching Gogmurt's lair. Have the goblin make a dramatic appearance by stepping through the bramble wall as it parts for him, igniting his dagger in supernatural flame in the process. The PCs should immediately get the feeling that this goblin is different from the others they've fought so far.

I suggest the following encounter for a party of five adventurers:

  • Tangletooth (use the Cave Bear stat block from the Monster Manual - note the errata increasing the bear's damage to 2d8 + 5)
  • Gogmurt, Goblin Druid
Total: 900 xp (Level 4 Encounter)

Treasure parcel 3 can be found at the back of the lair, amongst Gogmurt's alchemical supplies.

The cave bear makes a surprisingly good stand-in for a leopard in this fight (though you should still describe Tangletooth as a firepelt), and it is an elite monster to boot, making this an appropriately challenging fight. Gogmurt posed a few interesting design questions. No druid class currently exists in 4th Edition, but that's not really a problem. One of the best ways to approaching monster conversion in 4th Edition is to start by making a list of what might be called "signature" abilities. The list I made for Gogmurt included the following: a love of fire (he's a goblin, after all, and employs produce flame and flame blade in the original adventure), his ability to move through the bramble walls and, of course, his animal companion. I also wanted a chance to try out some of the new Kobold monsters presented in Dragon #364, and this looked like a great chance to try out the Kobold Wild Mage stat block (modified for a goblin).

I decided to start with the Scion of Flame template to bump Gogmurt to elite status. This makes all of his attacks fire-based (including all of his Wild Magic powers and his dagger). I removed the Body of Flame ability and Wild Teleport and replaced them with the ability to heal Tangletooth once and his free movement through the bramble walls. The random nature of the Wild Magic effects meshes well with the Pathfinder imagining of goblins, and Gogmurt should also feel plenty druid-like to the party.

Stat block:


Antiquated Tory said...

Hurrah! You're updating again.

Kevin said...

Yay! I'm happy to see you are updating again as well. I've been filching some ideas off of you for my own campaign.

Mind you, my players skirted right past the nettlewoods stealthily and jumped right into Thistletop, thus skipping encounters with the refugees, dogs & Gogmurt, so I guess I can contribute what I did for the bits of Thistletop that they explored.

They managed to eliminate all of the sleeping goblins without raising a general alarm, but Ripnugget was alerted to their presence. I ran that encounter with the following:

Ripnugget (Goblin Underboss)
1x Giant Gecko (lvl 1 soldier)
2x Goblin Warriors
1x Goblin Blackblade
1x Goblin Hexer

It was a relatively challenging encounter for my level 2 party with one PC missing (4 players)

The Gelatinous Cube I used as a stand-in for the Tentamort proved to be almost as deadly a threat for them, 2 of the 3 characters engulfed would die upon their next activation, when the Dwarven cleric who was the only PC outside of the cube finished it off with a greataxe crit (with a max roll on the high-crit die too)!

They're pretty spent at the moment, and looking for some respite. They might even retreat to Sandpoint to recuperate, so I'll have to come up with how Nualia & the goblins react to an empty upper-level.

Scott said...

Glad to hear that you're enjoying the AP in 4th Edition. I'm actually going to be doing a fair bit of custom monster creation for Thistletop, Ripnugget and Stickfoot included, but I like the idea of using a Gelatinous Cube as a starting point for the Tentamort's design. I'm sorry that this blog hasn't managed to keep up with your campaign. I'm paced by the progress of my own campaign, since I really prefer having at least the barest of a playtest done before I post the conversion notes. Maybe at some future point we'll catch up.

Jamie Lovett said...

So I ran the "Monster in the Closet" and "The Boar Hunt" encounters the other night. My players made short work of them, but they started the adventure at level 2 because we ran some of the first Scales of War adventure before switching to Pathfinder, so that's probably why. I saved the "Shopkeep's Daughter" encounter for later because the player I had that one planned for was taking the night off.

My players really enjoyed having some time to meet NPCs in Sandpoint though, and one of my PCs ended up sleeping with Shalelu. Probably the best session we've had so far!

Scott said...

Haha, good to hear.

Kevin said...

No worries about the not keeping up with my campaign; I want to thank you for doing this in the first place, it's a great resource for myself and others.

I stumbled upon this when my group was headed down to the catacombs of wrath, and at the time you were still covering events in Sandpoint leading into the Glassworks, so I think your group's pace is actually faster than mine.

I expect a little break in the action following Thistletop - throwing in a bit of roleplay of normal life in Sandpoint before the events of the Skinsaw murders start; highlighting some of the possible suspects in that case - so I'm sure we'll re-align with you at some point soon enough anyway.

Keep up the good work!

Scott said...

Okay, sounds good. For reference, I'll be beginning The Skinsaw Murders with a party of level 4 or 5 characters in mind, so if you'd like to take advantage of that material and your players aren't quite at that level by the end of Burnt Offerings, you might consider throwing a few encounters at them during the downtime to bump their experience totals a bit.

Jamie Lovett said...

Hey Scott! I had a few questions I was wondering if you could help me with:

First, a technical question: Do the Goblin Dog auras stack? i.e., if a character is standing within one space of two dogs, dot he get a -2, or is it still just -1?

Secondly, you mention using background music during a game in your introduction. Do you have any suggestion on particular music to use, either in general or specifically for RotRL?

Finally, where do you find the D&D miniatures you use? I'd like to add some to my game, but I've only seen them sold in random booster packs and that just seems like a pain.


Scott said...

Hi Jamie,

With regards to the auras, you can find the ruling on penalty stacking on page 275 of the PHB:

"Penalties: Unlike bonuses, penalties don’t have types. Penalties add together, unless they’re from the same power. If two monsters attack you with the same power and each causes you to take a penalty to a particular roll or score, you don’t add the penalties together; you take the worst penalty."

Since the penalties would both be accrued from the same effective power (dander aura), they do not stack.

I use the soundtracks to the Lord of the Rings movies. They are thematic, epic, and well-constructed. It also helps that they won a couple Oscars. There are plenty of other options, though. You can purchase fantasy-themed instrumental albums, mash together a selection of thematic tracks on your own, or even throw on some epic metal if it suits your style. Regardless of what you choose, having something playing in the background is a great addition to the game.

Regarding minis, you'll have to ask yourself if you're willing to start investing in them. If you are, you'll find yourself amassing a large collection very quickly, and eventually won't need to worry about the random nature of the packs. If not, and if you only choose to purchase a couple packs, you'll be hard-pressed to find appropriate minis for a lot of encounters.

Wizards has stated recently that they are planning on rolling out a line of non-random miniature collections, so that may be more to your taste. There aren't any details on when these packs will be available and what they'll contain, though.

My advice to you is to, if you're able, set aside about $100 and use that money to buy a bunch of miniatures packs. You'll start with a decent collection right from the start, and even if you don't have the right mini for the occasion you'll be able to put something on the table that "looks close enough". Your players will also have a handful of figures to choose from to represent themselves.

Then, every once in a while, pick up another pack or two. You'll enjoy having a few more options for your monsters, your players will think that the new minis look cool, and there's always a little bit of excitement opening up a new pack and seeing what's inside.

Kevin said...

This is a little late to the game, but when it comes to minis, you can also look up some sellers who sell individual minis.

If you don't care much about the collector's value, you can get the "common" and "uncommon" minis from the random sets for pretty cheap; plus you get the added benefit of hand-picking what you want.

One such place that I've found to consistently have good prices and service is Auggies. Just google that and you'll find it right away.

Lzygenius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lzygenius said...

I just ran this for my group last Tuesday and I loved it. Keep up the great work!

A note on minis: one of the guys in our group has tons of minis but he missed last session so I used chess pieces as a stand-in. We, also, typically use checkers pieces for the fighter's mark and area attacks that move.

Mysteria said...

I'm currently running this, plus the dog kennel, slightly adapted to my party as I have 6 people. In fact, I swapped out the goblin dogs for hyenas (6 in total). What has me worried though is this: My party managed to alert the druid by alerting the goblin dogs and instead of pushing forward chose to hang back and let the opposition come to them ... while standing right next to the howling hole. It'll be a very interesting battle, to say the least, if Gogmurt manages to slide on of them down there! O_O

self_evident said...

Thank you so much for this! I'm running my group through this now. They just got a glimpse of Gogmurt running down the bridge. Having been beat up by the dogs and Gogmurt et al, they decided to take an extended rest before assaulting the keep.

Scott said...

You're welcome!