#20 – Will of Orcus Plague – Dreadstorms Lost

Undead horde attacks 3 mounted knights
THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 20 OF MY CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST, FOR THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION GAME. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

The tricky part about Dreadstorms Lost campaign is the timeline. Once the ritual spell is started, it will increase in intensity each day. At each dawn the life draining wave kills more creatures toand reanimates them at dusk. The Will of Orcus Undead instinctively attack in hordes.

Depending on the party’s actions, like long or short rests, will decide where there are when a plague waves will happens.  

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5


Day 1 – At Dawn they Don’t Cometh – Insects

(Day 1 description copied from #11 – Bugs & Thugs)

Kazel is set up and has begun casting the ritual spell, Will of Orcus, several hours before sunrise.

First plague wave!

At dawn, those awake feel an odd moment of fatigue (*Life Drain). It quickly passes. Everyone needs to save vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 1]: CON save 5

-1 to Max HP on a failed save. If HP reduced to 0 by fatigue wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. Otherwise, a LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have one long rest ever 24 hours.

Dead Bugs

The first wave is fairly week and mostly effects insects: flies, caterpillars, small spiders, grasshoppers, moths, bees, and the like.
On a Perception of 16, an especially observant character will notice that there are no bugs buzzing/crawling/creeping about inside the town. There are dead bugs everywhere once a person starts looking. No live bugs within the wave radius area.

The wave has a radius effect centered around Kazel. His hidden lair underneath Berlstrum is roughly located under building #96 on the town map. This initial radius encompasses the Champions’ manor and a large portion of the town center. (See map below.)

Map of Berlstrum with plague area effect
Area of effect of the first wave of the Will of Orcus Plague in Berlstrum

At Dusk/Sunset on Day 1

Dead bugs rise in swarms, attacking any viable meat source in immediate area.

Zombie Bug Swarm 

Based on Swarm of Insects (5E Monster Manual pg 338) with a plague zombie template.

Hit Points 40

Movement 20ft, fly 30

Undead Template: +1 STR, +2 CON, -6 INT, -4 WIS, -4 CHA, Undead Fortitude, Poison immunity (damage type and condition)

*Life Drain: *If HP reduced to 0 by infected, target rises as zombie the following dusk; if not dead, LONG REST recovers lost max HP

Actions

Attack. Bites +3 to hit (swarm moves into target’s space). Hit 4d4 HP + Life Drain (DC7 Con or -1 to Hit Point Max ), 2d4 + Life Drain if half swarm

 


Day 2 of Casting the Will of Orcus – Small animals

(Day 2 description copied from #14 – Day 2 of Plague Wave)

Hidden underneath Berlstrum in his impregnable lair, Kazel continues casting the ritual spell, Will of Orcus. If the party is outside of the effected area (like on the farms), they do not need to make the CON save.

Second Plague Wave!

At dawn, those awake feel a moment of fatigue (*Life Drain) that lasts for 6 seconds. Everyone save vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 2]: CON save 6

-2 to maximum HP on a failed save. If HP is reduced to 0 by the wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. A LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have 1 long rest ever 24 hours.

Small Animals Drop Like Flies

The second wave effects small animals: rats, mice, cats, gophers, etc. The area of effect extends farther than it did yesterday.

On a Perception of 15, someone spots a dead rat (or other area-appropriate critter). Once they start looking, rats, mice, cats, squirrels and other smaller animals have all dropped dead. They very weak or ill people are also effected.

Berlstrum - Day 2 of Plague Wave
Blue circle shows the area of effect from the second plague wave, overlapping the red circle from day 1.

 At Dusk/Sunset on Day 2


Day 3 – Casting the Will of Orcus – medium size animals

At dawn, 24 seconds of fatigue (4 rounds); small children, medium size animals like dogs, deer, wolves, and giant rats (ROUs) are effected by the wave (some make their saves; most don’t).

On a Perception 12, spot a dead cat. Once they start looking and asking around, dogs, wolves, giant rats, and small children were affected when the wave hit. (A small percent made their saves.)

The radius effect continues to grow, centered around Kazel’s location. The area of dead extends outside of the city wall a ways, extending further out than the day before.

Third plague wave!

At dawn, those awake feel a moment of fatigue (*Life Drain) that lasts for 24 seconds (4 rounds). Everyone saves vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 3]: CON save 8

-2 to Max HP each round (4 rounds) on a failed save. If HP reduced to 0 by fatigue wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. Otherwise, a LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have one long rest ever 24 hours.

Dead puppies aren’t much fun

For those who don’t get the reference, listen to the song here on Youtube

People of Berlsturm react poorly to 3rd plague wave and the death of their children and pets…

Mobs

Scared, irrational packs of Berlstrum citizens roam through the town. Houses and business have been set on fire. Some on purpose by those hoping to stop the plague. If they see someone they recognize as a Protector, they will likely become demanding and/or violent.

A Swarming Mob of Angry Villagers

AC 10
The Mob consists of 50 individuals; each successful hit on the mob removes one person from the mob


Movement

Speed Normal 20; Frenzied 40

Surround: The mob will attempt to surround the target(s) of their ire. To avoid being engulfed by the mob, make a DC 15 DEX saving throw. On a successful save, target avoids being surrounded. The mob gains no swarming benefits.  If mob succeeds in surrounding a target, they have advantage on attack rolls against their target(s) and +4 to hit. There must be at least 3 villagers in order to surround a target. Divide the total number of remaining mob with the number of opponents. If there were 27 members of the mob still active, the most targets they can attack is 9.


Action

MultiAttack. The full mob of 50 makes 4 attacks on each enemy within range, +1 to hit unless they have successfully surrounded a target, then +4 to hit with advantage.  Each successful hit from the swarm does 1 HP subdual damage. If the mob makes all 4 attacks in the round, their damage is doubled. If the mob is brought below half its numbers, it only makes 2 attacks.

The mob can split up to attack multiple targets (at least 3 villagers per victim, but will try to herd everyone to the same spot.

Herd. If the mob successfully surrounds a target, the mob can force an opponent up to half the mob’s movement in any direction as a bonus action. STR save 15 to resist being push.

(Subdual) Knocking a Creature Out – Player’s Handbook, page 198,

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

The mob flows like water. Image that the swarm takes up 50 squares on a battle map. The mob can move through each other’s space to gain the best spot to surround and attack all targets. And because there are so many of them, they do not provoke attacks of opportunities when leaving a threatened square, unless the whole mob is frightened away.

  • 1-10 people subdued = 25% chance of the mob becoming frightened, causing the mob to breaking up and become individuals fleeing
  • 11-20 people subdued = 50% chance of the mob becoming frightened
  • 21-30 people subdued = 80% chance of the mob becoming frightened
  • 31-or more people subdued = 100% chance of the mob becoming frightened

Area effects on the mob, like cone of cold or fireball, will insta-kill the number of villagers equal to the squares the spell affects. Example a 15ft radius = 6 squares on battlemap = 6 dead villagers. (To help, this is an image of common spell shapes.) If an area affect is used on the crowd, they will instantly go into Frenzied Mob state.

Frenzied Mob of Terrified Villagers

If a member of the mob is killed (instead of knocked unconscious), there is a percentage chance that the mob will go into a frenzy. If an area effect takes out a bunch of them at once, they go into a frenzy.

If enough villagers are killed in individual combat, there is a chance that the mob will frenzy.

  • 1-10 villagers in mob killed = 25% chance of frenzy
  • 11-20 villagers in mob killed = 50% chance of frenzy
  • 21-30 villagers in mob killed = 80% chance of frenzy
  • 31-or more villagers in mob killed = 100% chance of frenzy

Frenzy Attack: The frenzied mob makes 6 attacks on each target within range. Each successful attack does 2HP damage and is no longer subdual. If all 6 frenzied attacks hit, damage is doubled.  A frenzied mob will keep attacking until each target within range is dead.

One-one-one with someone in the mob

An individual seperated from the mob has 0 bonus to all saves.

Action

Attack.  -1 to hit.  A successful hit does 1 HP subdual damage.

The Mob consists of 50 individuals; each successful hit on the mob removes one person from the mob

A Swarming Mob of Angry Villagers

Speed Normal 25; Frenzied 35

Surround: The mob will attempt to surround the target(s) of their ire. To avoid being engulfed by the mob, make a DC 15 DEX saving throw. On a successful save, target avoids being surrounded. The mob gains no swarming benefits.  If mob succeeds in surrounding a target, they gain a +4 to hit. Target is flat footed (loses DEX bonus on AC). And yes, that is a holdover from 3.5 edition.

Attack: The full mob of 50 makes 6 attacks on each target within range, -1 to hit unless they have successfully surround a target, then +4.  Each successful hit from the swarm does 1 HP subdual damage. If the mob makes 6 successful attacks in the round, their damage is doubled. If the mob is brought to half its numbers, it only makes 3 attacks.

(Subdual) Knocking a Creature Out – Player’s Handbook, page 198,

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

The mob flows like water. Image that the swarm takes up 50 squares on a battle map. The mob can move through each others spaces to gain the best attack spot to surround all targets. And because there are so many of them, they do not provoke attacks of opportunities when leaving a threatened square, unless the whole mob is running away.

  • 1-10 people subdued = 25% chance of becoming frightened, cause the mob to breaking up and individuals to flee
  • 11-20 people killed = 50% chance of frenzy
  • 21-30 people killed = 80% chance of frenzy
  • 31-20 people killed = 100% chance of frenzy

Area effects on the mob, like cone of cold or fireball, will kill the number of squares the spell affects. Example a 15ft radius = 6 squares on battlemap = 6 dead villagers. If an area affect is used on the crowd, they will instantly go into Frenzied Mob state. (To help, this is an image of common spell shapes.)

Frenzied Mob of Terrified Villagers

If a member of the mob is killed (instead of knocked unconscious), there is a percentage chance that the mob will go into a frenzy. If an area effect takes out a bunch of them at once, they go into a frenzy.

  • 1-10 people killed = 25% chance of frenzy
  • 11-20 people killed = 50% chance of frenzy
  • 21-30 people killed = 80% chance of frenzy
  • 31-20 people killed = 100% chance of frenzy

Frenzy Attack: Each successful attack does 2HP damage and is no longer subdual. If all 6 frenzied attacks hit, they still do double damage.  A frenzied will mob keep attacking until each target within range is dead.

Activities at Specific Locations During the Rioting

Town Hall

The mayor and several of the council are barricaded inside the town hall building (#82). Outside hundreds of people are yelling and throwing rocks at the building, angry that the town leaders closed the gates, trapping them all inside and demanding that gates be opened to escape this cursed town.

Inside Town Hall is:

  • Mayor Cobblekeep (Halfling)
  • Tomo* (1/2 Elf Druid, Aphodel’s mentor) has been wounded, but is currently stable.
  • Hammond* (Human, Farmer)
  • Mostrad (Human, Katrine Cafe #52)

Other Council members

Wabae (Human, Cleric Acolyte, runs Medical Aid) is at Sure Luke’s Pub with her nephew Serifo. Her sister Mamet is dead after her boarding house was set on fire by the angry mob. She went back in to save a tenant. Wabae was unable to heal her burns.  Wabae is doing what she can for the wounded holing up in Sure Luke’s.

Agosta Amagoste (Dragonborn)* and Xendric (dwarf) are helping to guard the library from looters.

R’dsché is at his church (#37), trying to keep the people seeking sanctuary calm and safe.

Grant Tan (1/2 Orc ) had his Survival Gear store overrun by frantic citizens. A fight broke out. While trying to break it up, he was stabbed to death.

*It is assumed that Amagoste, Hammond, and Tomo were successfully escorted back to the city by the party (#12 – Going to the Farm)

City Gates

The gates won’t open. Someone sabotaged the mechanisms! (In one game, a player ran a warlock with a fiend pact. The fiend was, of course, tied to Orcus. The warlock was given a solo mission to secretly sabotaging the city gates.)

Individuals are being crushed against the gate by the mob trying to get out. Some are trying to break down the gates, but so far have had no luck.

Churches

A large percentage of the population have gone to the churches (#6, #7, #8, #37) for protection and divine aid. All of the churches are packed to the max and have been forced to bar their doors from anymore coming in.

Council member R’dsché (Elf, Cleric) is at church #37 trying to keep the people there calm.

Docks/Harbor

Others in the town have tried to leave by the sea. The warf has only one ship remaining, which is completely engulfed in flames. Many ships have crashed upon the rocks in the harbor without a proper harbor guide. The harbor is full of wreckage and floating bodies. All the blood and fresh meat has attracted large water predators. Not to mention getting the Sea Hag’s sharks all excited.

The City Wall

Some citizens are trying to climb over the wall with their possessions on their backs. Not everyone makes the climb successfully.

Dragon’s Rest Inn

Somone started a rumor that the plague was coming from a rich visitor staying at the Dragon’s Rest Inn (#45). A mob stormed over there with torches, set the place on fire, and killed any who tried to escape the building. Some of the inn’s guest tried leaving by climbing down the cliff side, only to plummet to their deaths.

The mob has been roaming the city, setting fire to buildings they suspect might have plague barers.

Library of Esoteria

Many of the casters and scholarly types have set up a perimeter around the Library of Esoteria (#44), defending the building and its precious contents from crazed mobs and looters.

The council members Agosta Amagoste and Xendric are helping to guard the library from looters.

Champions’ Manor

A large group of people (~300) are gathered throughout the lower level of the champions’ manor (#122), waiting anxiously for the champions to return – in the dining hall, the gallery, the meeting hall, hallways, kitchen.

There’s an argument going on between 2 groups at the base of the stairs in the back. One arguing to search the upstairs area for something to protect themselves with and the other arguing that it would be disrespectful to invade the Champions’ private quarters.

Some people have heard that their is a secret door in the Champions’ manor and break into the building searching for the way out. Will the group help them leave Berlstrum via the secret door(s)? At some point, the scared citizens will find the back door leading into the forest. The hinges have been twisted, making it impossible to completely close.

Some of those fleeing carry wrapped bundles which you suspect are dead children or pets.

#19.5 – Gruber, The Mimic

Gruber_Chest

About Gruber

Gruber Background Wizard’s Pet / Guard

*Gruber is oddly intelligent, articulate, and social for a mimic. He’s been desperately bored and lonely being stuck in the treasure room with skeletons and 2 other “standard” mimics who don’t speak at all. He’s eager to make friends and have someone to talk to. Desperate. to. Talk.

*Gruber was raised by a wizard who recognized the unusual intelligence in this mimic and taught him to speak and read in several languages (never figured out how to write with that psuedopod). Gruber helped the wizard with his research and spell preparations. (Bard Lore levels) Unfortunately the wizard met a bad end when one of his deals with a demon became known to the local heroes.

*He hates Kazel. Kazel tricked Gruber, promising him an important part on his team guarding their treasure. Then literally stabbed him in the back with the magically enchanted blade attached to the wall anchor. No matter how Gruber changed his shape, he couldn’t dislodge the blade.

*Through smell, can sense demonic/devilish entities (they smell like cilantro)

*Has an extensive knowledge of furniture, boxes, and trunk designs and art styles

*A bit of a coward, but can fight if it has pressed

Here is a character sheet for Gruber using the ForgedAnvil D&D 5E Character Generator: Gruber the Mimic Character Sheet PDF

Link to ForgedAnvil character sheet download page: ForgedAnvil D&D 5E Character Generator 

GRUBER THE MIMIC’S STATS

5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide – pg 220 – Modified

AC 12 
Hit Points 61
Speed 15 ft.
Height Varies (avg 2 ft 10 inches) Weight 265 lb

STR 15 (+2), DEX 8 (-1), CON 14 (+2), INT 17 (+3), WIS 11 (0), CHA 8 (-1)

Damage Immunities acid
Condition Immunities prone

Senses Darkvision 60ft, Passive Perception 10, Passive Investigation 12
Languages Common, Undercommon, Draconic, Abyssal

Proficiencies Saving Throws Con +4
Arcana +7, Deception +6, History +5, Persuasion +1, Religion +5, Stealth +4


ACTIONS
Bites Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft  Hit: 1d8+2 piercing + (1d8 acid) Range: 5 ft

Psuedopod Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft  Hit: 1d8+2 bludgeoning. If the mimic is in object form, the target is subjected to the Adhesive trait (grappled)


SPECIAL, GENERAL MIMICS

Shapechanger. The mimic can use its action to polymorph into an object or back into its true, amorphous form. Its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn ‘t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Adhesive (Object Form Only). The mimic adheres to anything that touches it. A Huge or smaller creature adhered to the mimic is also grappled by it (escape DC 13). Ability checks made to escape this grapple have disadvantage.

False Appearance (Object Form Only). While the mimic remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary object.

Grappler. The mimic has advantage on attack rolls against any creature grappled by it.


Mimics in General:
Mimics are shapeshifting predators able to take on the form of inanimate objects to lure creatures to their doom. In dungeons, these cunning creatures most often take the form of doors and chests, having learned that such forms attract a steady stream of prey.

Imitative Predators. Mimics can alter their outward texture to resemble wood, stone, and other basic materials, and they have evolved to assume the appearance of objects that other creatures are likely to come into contact with. A mimic in its altered form is nearly unrecognizable until potential prey blunders into its reach, whereupon the monster sprouts pseudopods and attacks. When it changes shape, a mimic excretes an adhesive that helps it seize prey and weapons that touch it. The adhesive is absorbed when the mimic assumes its amorphous form and on parts the mimic uses to move itself.

Cunning Hunters. Mimics live and hunt alone, though they occasionally share their feeding grounds with other creatures. Although most mimics have only predatory intelligence, a rare few evolve greater cunning and the ability to carry on simple conversations in Common or Undercommon. Such mimics might allow safe passage through their domains or provide useful information in exchange for food.

To follow is some of the rambling, babbling dialogue of Gruber’s that happened while the group was resting, but had freed him in exchange for aid in finding Kazel:

  • So what’s your home like? Is it a castle? Is it nearby? How long will it take us to get there once you’ve done here? Is it dry? I am SO TIRED of being wet! Will I be inside a room? Out of the rain and snow, ya know, but still be able to see the sun and clouds?
  • This is going to be great! ::Changes shape to match one of the boxes, but with fancy flourishes:: Yup! For all those inconvenient enemies you need gotten rid of, I’m your Gruber!
  • Tap. Tap. Tap.
  • I am SOOOO hungry. Are you sure you couldn’t spare that squishy one over there? ::Waves his psuedopod at mage:: He doesn’t look very useful. If there’s a fight, I’ll be much more help with food in my belly!
  • So you know, I need my food alive when I eat it. And to keep me at top fighting condition, I should eat at least one humanoid a week. But the occasional kobold or giant rodent or whatever for snacks is great too. Oh! But water creatures make me sick. Some sort of fish allergy, I guess.
  • ::Changes shape again, this time to a large metal box with padlocks all over it::
  • Do you have dogs at your place? Or other pets? There was this time when my wizard made me stay in the barn. He got mad when I ate the dogs, but they kept trying to pee on me! I’m supposed to just stand there and and let those mangy beasts soil my beautiful self?!
  • One time this thing that was all eyes and mouth came wandering in here. I thought maybe with all those mouths that at least one of them could hold a decent conversation, but no … all they did was make horrible noises and slime up the floor. Wish the flood trap would have washed that nasty thing away!
  • Do you have a favorite style of container? A fancy urn or big vase or gold-leafed trunk? I have done some really beautiful artwork with myself, if I do say so myself! Which I DO!
  • Ya know, Kazel use to keep all of us right in front of his hidey-hole, but got tired of moving us around every time he wanted inside. He was so pleased with himself when he finished that stupid flood trap. Took him years.
  • So … food? …
  • Kazel’s old adventuring buddies used to capture critters and bring them here all the time. Then they’d brag about the good old days while chasing them around the tunnels, killing them. When Foreshot found out, she was so mad that she blew up a tunnel from the forest in just to keep them from smuggling more down here.

Once the group is ready to go, Gruber spouts hundreds of tiny legs underneath his carriage and starts shuffling off. Gruber is not a fast walker, and with his starving state, moves even slower than usual (10 ft). He does keep up a constant patter of chatter when you walk. And even if you tell him to be quiet, he’ll start up again after a few moments.


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#19 – Treasure Room Loot in the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 19 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

Between the skeletons and the flood trap, the treasure room can be deadly. But now our adventures have survived and enjoy the looting the many boxes of loot. Muwhahahaha. Did they really think it would be so easy?! 

Gruber, The Mimic

Gruber has become a favorite NPC for my second role playing group. They’ve made him part of their team and have found ways to cart him around regardless of the terrain and challenges of smuggling a talkative, curious monstrosity through civilized lands. It kinda warms my cold game master heart to see how they’ve taken to him … it’ll be so much fun when I destroy him … muwhahahaha! … I mean that I would in no way use the groups affection for this silly mimic to manipulate and/or cause them distress … now stop reading this if you’re one of my players. 

Stats, backstory and dialogue samples for Gruber are here.


Battle map with numbered items and minis
Battle Map: Treasure Room #8 mid flood trap

Part 4: The Treasure in the Treasure Room

(For Parts 1-3 of the Treasure Room go here.)

Stop the Trap from Resetting

Once the waters of the trap have receded, the rest of the trap resets itself: the trap door closing, the barriers to the hallways lowering back into their hidden pockets. If the party does not stop the trap from completely resetting, it will start again if someone touches one of the boxes of treasure. It’s likely that at least one member of the party is standing on one of the boxes.

  • A DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana, Dungeoneering, or Traps) DC 15 to realize if the party needs to stop the trap from resetting, or it will start again as soon as someone touches one of the boxes.

Flood Trap Rune (all treasure boxes)

  • DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) or Dispel Magic (DC 19) to disarm each Flood Trap rune on each box of treasure. There are 20 boxes. For each successful Intelligence (Arcana) check, the DC is lowered by 2 for the next box. Another party member with proficiency in Arcana can assist them in this check, thus giving them advantage on the roll.
  • In additions to the rune for the Flood Trap, many of the boxes also have a secondary trap, either magical or mechanical.

Most of these containers have standard locks on them along with the traps. Some of the locks are higher quality or in better shape than others.


Treasure #1 – A small 8 inch x 5 inch chest with delicate floral engravings

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When chest is opened/destroyed, the trap activates.

Effect. Arcane Trap: Magic Missile; 3d4 +3 force damage on nearest target.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check spots the magic missile rune. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the chest disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 19) cast on the chest destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

RING OF SPELL STORING
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 192)
Bronze Ring with a small, square reflective gem surrounded by delicate gold filigree;
When found, spells held: a Darkvision (2nd), Shield (1)

RING OF FEATHER FALLING
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 191)
Silver ring with small feathers engraved on it

RING OF RESISTANCE (FORCE)
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 192)
A gold ring with sapphire gem, you have resistance FORCE while wearing this ring.


Treasure #2 – 4 foot cube wooden crate

Trap

MIMIC – “Dense” – See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 220 for Mimic stats.
(Dense is the nickname Gruber has given this mimic)

  • Touching Treasure #2 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, the disguised mimic will attack.
  • If this mimic is touched during the Flood Trap activities, it will wait until the water is under 2 feet before attacking any nearby targets.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall seems to have had stone grown around it and it’s impossible to see where the actual anchor is.

Treasure #3 – wooden crate with water stains

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Kazel’s Experimental Potions

  • 4 Potion of healing (2d4+2)
  • 4 Potion of climbing
  • 3 Potion of greater healing
  • 1 Potion of fire breath
  • 5 Potion of resistance
    • 2 Radiant
    • 1 Acid
    • 1 Poison
    • 1 Psychic
  • 2 Potion of Heroism
  • 1 Potion of animal friendship
  • 1 Potion of growth
  • 4 Potion of water breathing
  • 1 Keoghtom’s ointment (4 doses) DMG 179
Roll percentile when using an experimental potions or ointment:

01 – Explosion (1d10 force within 5’)
02-08 – Effect doubled
09-15 – Effect halved
16 – Permanent Effect (negative)
17-25 – Opposite
26-40 – Normal
41-67 – Effect random person or spot
68-71 – Random odd effect related to spell
72-91 – Effects caster & nearest ally (same amount)
92-99 – Nothing happens
100 – Permanent Effect (positive)

Treasure #4 – 3-½ foot tall mahogany barrel

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Kazel’s Experimental Scrolls

2 – Mending
2 – Message
2 – Prestidigitation
1 – True Strike
1 – Detect Magic
1 – Feather Fall
1 – Identify
1 – Stone Shape
2 – Darkvision
2 – Dispel Magic
1 – Scroll of Protection: Fey (DMG 199)
2 – Scroll of Protection: Fiends (DMG 199)
1 – Scroll of Protection: Elementals (DMG 199)

Roll percentile when using an experimental scroll:

01 – Explosion (1d10 force within 5’)
02-08 – Effect doubled
09-15 – Effect halved
16 – Permanent Effect (negative)
17-25 – Opposite
26-40 – Normal
41-67 – Effect random person or spot
68-71 – Random odd effect related to spell
72-91 – Effects caster & nearest ally (same amount)
92-99 – Nothing happens
100 – Permanent Effect (positive)

Treasure #5 – 5 foot by 2 feet tall rough wooden crate

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

CRATE OF AMMUNITION
7d10 Bolts +1
7d10 Arrows +1


Treasure #6 – medium-sized, cherrywood chest with rounded lid

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Mechanical Blades Each Medium or larger creature within 5-foot-wide of the chest must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d6 slashing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Countermeasures. A DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals scrape marks and blood stains along the rim of the box. A DC 15 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools disables the lever.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

ROBE OF USEFUL ITEMS
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 195)
This robe has cloth patches of various shapes and colors covering it.

The robe has the following patches:

  • Dagger [1] 
  • Bullseye lantern (filled and lit) [2]  
  • 10-foot pole [1] 
  • Hempen rope (50 feet, coiled) [1] 
  • Wooden ladder [1] 
  • Potions of healing [4] (2d4+2)    
  • Rowboat [1]  

Treasure #7 – 3-½ foot tall mahogany barrel leaking water through small cracks

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

What might have once been a crate full of scrolls are now nothing but mushy pulp.


Treasure #8 – A long, narrow box, 8 feet x 1 foot

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap. A tiny, poisoned needle is hidden in the lock.

Effect. Mechanical Poison Needle The triggering individual must make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 4d6 poison damage and is poisoned for 10 minutes. While poisoned in this way, the creature is paralyzed. On a  successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t poisoned.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the needle, but only if  a character inspects the lock up close. A DC 20 Dexterity check made with thieves’ tools disables the needle, but a check result of 10 or less triggers the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 15 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

ROD OF MIGHTY DIVINITY
Rare, requires attunement (DMG 197*)
2 foot long gold rod with sunburst motif at the top, requires attunement by cleric, druid or paladin (*similar to DMG 197-Rod of the Pact Keeper). While you hold the Rod of Mighty Divinity, you gain a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throws DCs of your divine spells. In addition, you can regain one paladin or cleric spell slot as an action while holding this rod. You can’t use this property again until you finish a long rest.


Treasure #9 – An elegant silver box

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Brittle paper packets are stuffed around a statue. Many of the packets have disintegrated and no longer usable.

Note saying, “Congratulations on your union!

DUST OF DISAPPEARANCE 6 SMALL BLUE PACKETS
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 166)

33 copper coins

An 18″ tall statue of 3 goats in suggestive positions, weighs 50 pounds, has hidden mechanism to activate motion


Treasure #10 – 3 foot cube wooden crate (has rotten, leaky bottom)

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 10 / Break DC 15 STR

Loot.

Shards of broken glass swimming in mucky brown liquid.


Treasure #11 – A beautiful, multi-colored chest inlaid with delightful, artistic flourishes

Gruber_Chest

Trap

MIMIC – Gruber (Stats and more on Gruber here)

Note, Gruber is the key to the group finding Kazel and stopping him from finishing the ritual. He knows where the best spot is to get into Kazel’s hidden lair and what they need to get inside.

  • Touching Treasure #11 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, this disguised mimic does nothing, unless the party seems like the sort that might set him free. If they give the impression of 1) being anti-Kazel or 2) the sort that can be negotiated with, then he’ll try to give them “helpful” suggestions and/or negotiate his release.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save versus being pulled into the drain.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the Gruber the Mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall, stone stone seems to have grown around it and is impossible to see where the actual anchor is.
  • Pulling the barbed spike out of the Gruber will cause damage (3d6+4). The chain can be broken (AC 20, HP 20), but Gruber will walk slower if the spike remains in his back. (Normal 15ft – 5ft).
  • Gruber is an oddly intelligent, articulate, and social for a mimic. He’s been desperately bored and lonely being stuck in this room with skeletons and 2 other “standard” mimics who don’t speak at all. He’s eager to make friends and have someone to talk to. Desperate. to. Talk.

Things Gruber, the Mimic might say, while chained to the wall:

  • Whoa! Whoa! You don’t need to kill me. I can be helpful!
  • Goblins sweaty gonads!
  • I’m soooo hungry!
  • Bloody Baylor! (Gruber is quite fond of cursing. For more inspiration, check out my In-Game Cursing post.)
  • Whaaaat?! … I’m starving! Can’t you spare one? That guy doesn’t seem very useful.
  • I’ve been stuck down here for years!! Decades! I don’ know … a long bloody time!
  • Blech! All these undead nasties! Foul tasking and not at all filling.

Treasure #12 – 4 ft long, metal box

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the seal between the lid and the is broken

Effect. Arcane Trap: Sleep; When activated, this trap casts a sleep centered on the metal box using a 5th level spell slot.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check reveals the small rune on the underside of the lid lip. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 15) cast on box destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

GREATSWORD +3 (THE BLADE OF AUCKMAR THE DROW)
Weapon (great sword), Very Rare, requires attunement
The dark gray blade has silver sigils running up both sides and a silver hilt carved with the likeness of a screaming face
You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.

Devour Soul. Whenever you use it to reduce a creature to 0 hit points, the sword slays the creature and devours its soul, unless it is a construct or an undead or a fiend. The creature whose soul has been devoured by the Blade of Auckmar can be restored to life only by a wish spell.

As long as you keep the greatsword in hand, after it devours a soul, the Blade of Auckmar grants you temporary hit points equal to the slain creature’s hit point maximum. These hit points fade after 24 hours, when exposed to sunlight, or the greatsword is no longer being held in hand.

*As long as these temporary hit points last and you keep the greatsword in hand, you have advantage on attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks.

Curse.
If you hit an undead or fiend with this weapon, you take 1d10 necrotic damage and the target regains 1d10 hit points. If this necrotic damage reduces you to 0 hit points, the Blade of Auckmar devours your soul.


Treasure #13 – Large steamer trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the seal between the lid and the is broken

Effect. Arcane Trap; Acid Splash A bubble of acid explodes from the steamer trunk. Each Medium or larger creature within 5 feet of the chest must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d6 acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 15) cast on the trunk destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 25 STR

Loot.

DRAGON SCALE MAIL, GREEN
Armor (scale male), very rare, requires attunement (DMG 165)
Green scale mail armor, supple and lightweight

SHIELD +1 (SHIELD OF MISSILE ATTRACTION)
Armor (shield), rare, requires attunement (DMG 200)
Dark gray shield with web-like silver lines
Cursed


Treasure #14 – Average looking chest

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the chest is opened without the password spoken aloud (Gloryhound Omega)

Effect. Arcane Trap: Summon Poltergeist; When activated, this trap summons a poltergeist (DMG 278) that immediately attacks the individual that triggered the trap.

Countermeasures. A DC 22 Wisdom (Perception) check finds the small rune disguised as embellishment on one of the knobs. A DC 22 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 14) cast on chest destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

MEZMERIZER’S STONE, locked (DC 15) inside a small black box
Wondrous item, very rare
A hypnotically beautiful kaleidoscope gem. Upon sight, everyone must make a Wisdom save DC 16. On a failed save, you become hypnotized (charmed) for the duration. While entranced by this stone, you are incapacitated and have 0 speed. Effect ends when stone is out of sight. Each time it’s used, there is a 25% chance it will fail. Once used, even a failed attempt, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.

SENDING STONES – 1 PAIR, inside a small wooden box
Wondrous item, uncommon (DMG 199)


Treasure #15 – Crate

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

LOCK none

LOOT

15 feet of rusty chain


Treasure #16 – Chest

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Arcane Trap: Black Tentacles; Squirming, ebony tentacles fill a 20-foot square centered on the chest. Any creatures within the affected area for the first time  or starts its turn there, the creature must succeed on a dexterity saving throw 17 or take 3d6 bludgeoning damage and be restrained by the tentacles until the spell ends. A creature that starts its turn in the area and is already restrained by the tentacles takes 3d6 bludgeoning damage. These tentacles turn the ground in the area into difficult terrain. A creature restrained by the tentacles can use its action to make a strength or dexterity check (its choice) against DC 17. On a success, it frees itself.

The Black Tentacles remain until the trap is disarmed.

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 17) cast on the lock destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

HORN OF BLASTING
Wondrous item, rare (DMG 174)
Brass blowing horn with a repeating wave pattern


Treasure #17 – Large Trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Trap … TBD

Countermeasures. TBD …

Lock. Open Lock: DC 25 / Break DC 30 STR

Loot.

PLATE ARMOR-BLUE (OF VULNERABILITY)
Armor (plate), very rare, requires attunement (DMG ??)
Blue-tinged Plate Armor with Gold edging, AC 18, Stealth Disadvantage, 65lb, rare, requires attunement

Silver-Colored Plate Armor (DEMON ARMOR)
Armor (plate), very rare, requires attunement (DMG ??)
sliver with curved spikes coming out of the forearms/gauntlets and shoulders/spauldings), AC 19, Stealth Disadvantage, very rare requires attunemen
While wearing this armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC, and you can understand and speak Abyssal.


Treasure #18 – Small Trunk

TRAP

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. Anyone attempting to pick or open the lock triggers the trap.

Effect. Poison Needles; DC 20 Investigate; DC 15 DEX w/Thieves tools to disarm; Activated: 1 piercing damage and 2d10 poison. DC 15 Con or be poisoned for an hour (disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks).

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) …

Lock. Open Lock: DC 15 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

SUPERIOR ELVEN CHAIN

Woven Gold & White Chain Shirt armor, AC 15 + DEX mod (Max 2), 20lb, requires attunement

You gain a +2 bonus to AC while you wear this armor. You are considered proficient with this armor even if you lack proficiency with medium armor.


Treasure #19 – boring wooden crate

Trap

MIMIC – “Denser” – See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 220 for Mimic stats.
(Dense is the nickname Gruber has given this mimic)

  • Touching Treasure #18 will not set off the Flood Trap.
  • If this box is touched before the Flood Trap is activated, the disguised mimic will attack.
  • If this mimic is touched during the Flood Trap activities, it will wait until the water is under 2 feet before attacking any nearby targets.
  • If the mimic is used as an anchor during the Flood Trap draining sequence, its adhesive trait will give the player advantage on the save.
  • There is a large spike drilled into the mimic’s backside anchoring it to the wall. This gives the mimic a 10′ range of movement while chained to the wall. (Detect Magic will detect a magical aura around the spike in the back.) Where the chain attaches to the wall seems to have had stone grown around it and it’s impossible to see where the actual anchor is.

Treasure #20 – Sturdy, wooden trunk with silver-colored rams head handles

Trigger 1. When chest is touched, the Flood Trap sequence is activated. See Flood Trap Rune above for details.

Trigger 2. When the lid  is opened or destroyed.

Effect. Arcane Trap; Bigsby’s Fist (PHB 218) at 6th level is activated. AC 20, HP 80
The fist will attack the nearest creature within 5 feet of the chest (not including the mimics). +8 Hit, 6d8+8 force damage. If no one approaches the chest, the fist will remain on guard until defeated or dispelled (DC 16)

Countermeasures. A DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check finds runes, but only if  a character inspects the trunk up close. A DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check made within 5 feet of the box disables the trap, but a check result of 10 or less triggers it. A successful dispel magic (DC 16) cast on the lock destroys the trap.

Lock. Open Lock: DC 20 / Break DC 20 STR

Loot.

DWARVEN THROWER
Weapon (warhammer), very rare, requires attunement by a dwarf (DMG 167)
Beautifully balanced, burnished gold color with dwarven runes on the sides of the hammer)


Up Next: All about everyone’s favorite NPC, Gruber the Mimic

#18 – The Deadly Treasure Room of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Battle map with numbered items and minis
THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 18 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

Ideally, Room #8 will be the final room the team enters in this dungeon crawl and they’ve had a chance to do some leveling. The treasure room is brutal and will easily kill the unprepared or unlucky.

This is the space that Kazel spent many hours over many years creating to protect the various magical items that the Deadly Omega 6 gathered during their adventuring day. Kazel also stored some of his experiments with potions, scrolls, and items down here that he didn’t want to leave were they might hurt Foreshot.

Room 8 DOES NOT contain Kazel, but does have the means for them to be able to find the hidden pocket lair. If they free Gruber the Mimic, he will tell the what they need and show them where the best spot to enter is.


Berlstrum Belly Dungeon
Map of the Berlstrum Belly Dungeon

Berlstrum Belly Review

Dungeon Walls: Sharp briarstone rock make up the walls and ceiling. The crystals are so sharp that one has to be cautious not to cut themselves on the walls. 1d6 piercing damage if pushed/knocked into the wall or ceiling.

Dungeon Floor: Consists of smooth, black shiny stone. When running on the surface, there’s a chance of falling prone (DEX DC 11) due to the slippery surface. Pushes and slides go twice normal distance.

Illumination: Dark. No natural light available.


Treasure Room #8 

The Treasure Room is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1: The Skeleton mob encounter
  • Part 2: Treasure room trap information (to aid in the Skill Challenge)
  • Part 3: The treasure room trap encounter/skill challenge telling what happens each round when the trap springs
  • Part 4: Information for Part 4 will be on the next post.
    – description of the treasure and their traps and content
    – mixed within these 20 boxes are 3 mimics, one of which is potential ally to the party.
    – Gruber the Mimic is a character unto himself; some backstory and some colorful dialogue

Part 1: Skeleton Mob

Bones! So many bones. A large cavernous space has piles of bones, abandoned shields, and weapons scattered throughout. (The skulls look humanoid.) Along the south wall is a large assortment of chests, barrels, and crates (20 total).

Scattered throughout the room are piles of bones. If any bones are touched, all of the skeletons assemble and attack. There are 10-25 skeletons (adjust for party size and strength) in this room.

  • If any of the treasure is disturbed/touched during the battle, the trap sequence will also be activated.
  • If any of the party get close enough to the 2 hostile mimics, they will attack, unless the flood trap is going

Skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts movieWarrior Skeletons

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 273 for stats.


LOOT

  • Rusty weapons and pieces moldy armor

Part 2: Treasure Room Trap Information

Flood Flusher Trap

If any of the treasure is touched inside this room, even by magical means, it will start the flood trap sequence. If the players manage to discover the trap before setting it off, they will have a much better chance of surviving the trap.

Ability/Combat Challenge

Objective: Either survive the trap, if triggered, or figure out how to defeat the trap and access the treasure

Each successful ability check or hit is 100 XP into a group pool. Fails are -100 from the group pool. Natural 20s count as 200 XP. Natural 1s count as -200 XP. The group pool experience is divided equally among the surviving party members

A player can also choose to pass on their turn or assist another. Either counts as a 0 XP gain/loss. An assist gives the other player a +3 bonus on their next action.

You can NOT use the same ability or attack twice in a row and you can not use the same skill as the person before you.

Note: Clues to give the players are included below. The player does need to say that they are looking at the specific area/thing to receive that relevant clue. If there are no additional details to gather within that DC range or lower, it is a failed check. If they haven’t gained the necessary knowledge yet (ie you can’t dismantle a trap if you haven’t found it yet), use information from a lower DC or give them a useful related hint.

Room details and possible abilities suggestions for the skill challenge by difficulty level

FLOOD: refers to actions/abilities to do while the flood part of the trap is occuring
TREASURE: is information regarding the heavily trapped pile of boxes, chests, and crates full of loot against the far wall
SUMMON MONSTER: Refers to the sequence in the trap that summons a Water Weird
BARRICADE TRAP: Information on the part of the trap that blocks the two exits and traps the water inside the room

DC 10-14

Acrobatics (DEX)
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is ~2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of a treasure chest (dry, above the waterline)

Athletics (STR)
___FLOOD: Toss the end of a rope or chain to a party member through the water

Arcana (INT)
___TREASURE: You find a small glyph of warding on one of the treasure chests
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, there is a LOT of magic blips over all of the boxes
___SUMMON MONSTER: The rune on the wall is a magic trigger
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger (Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, triggering the barricade doors)

Dexterity
___FLOOD: Catch the end of a rope or chain tossed to you by a party member

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: A small vertical line on the wall in the passageway into the room is smoother than the surrounding wall

History (INT)
___Kazel was famous for studying and defeating famous dungeon traps during his adventuring days

Investigate (INT)
___
The various chests, barrels, and crates are secured using rusty chains and worn ropes looped onto u-bars in the sharp Briarstone walls
___There are 1d4 ropes and 1d4 chains attached to the wall behind the pile of treasure that do not currently have anything attached to them. Length varies from 5-20 feet.

Perception (WIS):
___FLOOD: The ceiling of the cavern has an unusual undulating pattern, varying from 10 to 11 ft in height.
___SUMMON MONSTER: You spot a symbol carved into the on the Briarstone wall. An impressive feat considering the how easily the briarstone crystals shatter
___FLOOD: You spot a symbol on the ceiling

DC 15-20

Acrobatics
___FLOOD: Move at full speed without falling down when water starts pouring down (only applies when water is around 2 feet or less)
___FLOOD: Balance on top of one of a box of treasure (with water present)

Arcana (INT)
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the walls will reveal several small magical symbols worked into briarstone crystals on the wall. They are not all the same.
___Casting Detect Magic and studying the ceiling 
___TREASURE: Symbol on the treasure chest is a Glyph of Warding that will set off the Blinding Light spell
___TREASURE: Casting Detect Magic on the pile of treasure, the Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light spell) seems to be on all of the boxes

Athletics (STR)
___BARRICADE TRAP: Jam something into the wall to stop the door from sealing from completing its
___FLOOD: When the water is pouring in or out, be an anchor to keep one of your party in place or out of the water

Dungineering (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: You spot scratches on the floor that run from wall to wall in a straight line that suggest stones rubbing together
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: There is a hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner

History (INT)
___
Kazel and Foreshot have lived in Berlstrum for over 10 years. Rumor has it that their old adventuring buddies would visit and they would all disappear for days and weeks at time

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, three of them are secured differently, with large spikes drilled into the backside. They do not look the same.
___SUMMON MONSTER: The same symbol is carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height in four spots
___FLOOD: The upper wave in the undulating ceiling has 6 inch holes every foot.

History (INT)
___
Kazel once bragged to a bard that with enough time and resources, he could create the most diabolical of traps. He knew how the greedy minds of adventurers works, since he was one himself!

DC 21-25

Arcana (Int)
___FLOOD: The four glyphs carved into the Briarstone wall at a 4 foot height around the entire room will activate when it is immersed in water and summon a monster (Water Weird)
Dispel Magic DC 17
___All of the treasure chests seem to have a Glyph of Warding (Blinding Light)
Glyphs won’t activate until one of the secured treasures is disturbed. Each of the chests/boxes/ crates/barrels has a matching glyph hidden somewhere on its surface. Each glyph will set off the same trap sequence. The trap resets after running full cycle.
Dispel Magic DC 17
___TREASURE/MIMICS: One of the three treasure chests with large spikes drilled into the backside has elaborate, stylish markings. They are a like a child’s copy of the Glyph of Warding and other runes spotted around the room. (Gruber, the Mimic likes to embellish and be creative with his self-decoration.)
___The rune on the ceiling is a magic trigger; a Blinding Light spell will activate this spell, which in turn triggers the barricade doors – Dispel Magic DC 17

Dungineering  (INT)
___BARRICADE TRAP: There are Barrier Trap in both passageways. There’s no obvious mechanical trigger. It’s most likely activated by magic.
___TRAP DOOR TO CHUTE: The hair-line seam in the floor in the southeast corner is a trap door that will open downward, into a large chute. It would take a very strong force to push the door open.

Disarm Trap / Thieves Tools
___BARRICADE TRAP: Dismantle one of the barricades before it triggers

Perception (WIS)
___TREASURE/MIMICS: Looking at all of the treasures tied to the wall, the two of the three with large spikes drilled into the backside do not have any magical symbols. The third one has markings, but they are more elaborate and stylish looking.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Force open the trap door to the chute

Dungineering  (INT)
___SLIDE TRAP: The trap door will open downwards into a large slide. It would take a lot of pressure to open. Like a room full of
___SLIDE TRAP: Based on our current location, the slide probably spits out into the middle of the Thornbreaker waterfall and into the Forlorn Bay.
___BARRICADE TRAP: The Barricade Trap contacting the floor triggers the mechanical gears to open the flood gates. The widgets and gadgets that work the trap are up in the ceiling above the cavern.

DC 26-30

Arcana (INT)
___The glyphs on the treasure set off chain reactions, started by touching the treasure. Touching treasure sets off Blinding Light, which triggers the Barriers, which starts the water coming in. When the water reaches the glyphs at 4 feet high, a creature is summoned. When the water reaches the ceiling, the trap door in the SE corner opens. Targeting dispel magic on each glyph will keep the sequence from starting.

Strength
___SLIDE TRAP: Keep the trap door to the chute open after forcing it open
___BARRICADE TRAP: Break/move barricades after they are locked in place

DC 31-40

Investigate (INT)
___You know the password sequence to stop the entire trap from going off. You are Kazel. Shouldn’t you be casting a ritual right now?


Part 3: The Encounter

If the trap is set off, the trap sequence is initiated, beginning with the blinding light

GLYPH OF WARDING (BLINDING LIGHT) goes off; A pulse of brilliant light blinds all those within 30 feet; DC 16 CON, save ends.

Immediately following the flash of light, you hear a voice say, “Fuck! Not again!” [Gruber, the Mimic]

ROLL INITIATIVE

Trap goes at the top of each round; note the Mimics mixed in with the treasure won’t attack during the flood trap, but will as soon as it’s over. 

Round 1 – BARRICADE TRAP activates; Smooth obsidian stone slabs shoot upwards from their well camouflaged nooks in the floor, blocking the passageway at either entrance

  • DC 14 Reflex save to avoid being crushed: ATK +10 melee (3d6); if standing on one
  • Jamming the door opposed DC 25 STR check
  • DC 30 STR to break/move barrier once up

Round 2 – FLOODING ROOM TRAP activates; from numerous 6 inch holes hidden in the upper waves of the ceiling, water gushes out, quickly filling the room. The columns of water make visibility and movement difficult. As the water pours down, the already slippery floor becomes almost impossible to navigate;

  • DC 15 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to move or fall prone;
  • DC 10 Ability Check (DEX/ Acrobatics/ Athletics) to stand still or fall prone

Round 3 – Water continues pouring in and is 1-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 4 – Water continues pouring in and is 3 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 5 – Water continues pouring in and is 4-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Water Weird is summoned; a spout of water erupts in the center of the room. [Attacks this round.] NOTE: Water Weird is INVISIBLE when fully immersed
  • Holding breath if under 5 feet tall; disadvantaged with attacks

Water Weird

See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 299 for stats.


LOOT

  • none

Round 6 – Water continues pouring in and is 6 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • if under 6-1/2 ft tall; disadvantaged on attacks

Round 7 – Water continues pouring in and is 8 feet deep at the beginning of round.

  • Most will have disadvantaged on attacks at this point

Round 8 – Water continues pouring in and is at 9-1/2 feet deep at the beginning of round.

Round 9 – Water reaches the top of the undulating ceiling. It continues pouring in.

Round 10 – Water pressure builds and forces the Trap Door to swing down into the chute below

  • A perception 15 might hear the mechanical gears clicking near the southeast corner.
  • TRAP SLIDE DOOR opens.
    The trap door is located in the southeast corner of the room. The “hinge” side is along the wall and the door goes down into the chute. The door is 20 feet wide at the base and tapers to a rounded triangle pointed towards the room.
  • All the water in the room, along with the anything not tied down gets flushed down the long chute.

Round 11 – Water continues pouring in from the ceiling and rushing out the trap door.

At the end of each party member’s turn, they need to make an Saving Throw to see if they are pushed by the water current down the chute:

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 20 STRENGTH SAVE On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
  • Holding onto something – DC 15 STRENGTH SAVE A player can grab hold of rope or chain that’s already attached to the wall behind the treasure or create their own anchor. On a failed save creature is pulled 20 feet towards the trap door.
    If they are holding on with one hand, they can only attack with the free hand.
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 20 DEXTERITY
    Securing yourself or helping someone else is an action.
    If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX ability check to determine if it will hold. Once successfully secured, you no longer need to save and can aid other party members.
  • Mimics (3): If one of the players manages by random chance to stand on or grab hold of one of the mimics in its object form, they will become adhered to the mimic through it’s natural Adhesive trait. (See MM220) The escape DC for the mimic adhesive is 13, which is NOT as strong as the current, but they do gain Advantage on the Holding onto Something save.
    If arms are stuck to the mimic, it will make using the hands to secure a rope or chain difficulty, giving them a Disadvantage on Use Rope. 
  • On a Failed Save, a person is pushed towards/down the chute.
    • The slide shoots out near the bottom of the Berlstrum waterfall (about 50 feet from waterline). It’s a DC 25 STR check to stop sliding mid-chute with the water and random debris rushing past you.
    • Hitting the waterfall and slamming into the turbulent water causes 5d10 bludgeoning damage; Athletics DC 15 for half
    • Once flushed out of the chute and into the bay, swim check
    • [insert your own on-the-fly water adventure here]

Round 12 – Water continues to rush out the trap door, the pull towards the drain increasing each round. Incoming water stops.

  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX;

Round 13 – Water swirls faster and stronger as it drains.

  • Water drops to 8 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 22 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 17 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 22 DEX; If securing oneself with a rope or chain, make a DEX check to determine if the knot will hold. Once successfully secured, a save is longer need to save and they can aid other party members.

Round 14 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 6 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 24 STR/Athletics
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 19 STR/Athletics
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 24 DEX

Round 15 – Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 4 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 26 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 21 STR save
  • Use Rope or Chain – DC 26 DEX

Round 16 –– Water swirls and drains.

  • Water drops to 2 feet deep.
  • Standing or Prone, without anchor – DC 28 STR save
  • Holding onto Rope or Chain anchor – DC 15 STR save
  • Mimics (2): At this point, if any of the party members are on or near one of the 2 hostile mimics, it will attack.
  • (The 3rd Mimic) Gruber the Mimic is not very brave and will try to negotiate his freedom. He is starving, so the temptation to eat a rude adventurer is strong. He is also starving for conversation, as the other 2 mimics don’t really talk. At all. Ever.

Round 17 – Water is completely drained from the room. A Gust of Wind (spell PHB 249) blows through the room, chasing the last of the water out and quick-drying the whole room

  • DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked back 15 feet towards the open trap door

Round 18 – Once water completely drains, the trap door/ramp slams shut, the barriers open, and the entire trap resets … unless someone blocks the trap from resetting.


Part 4: All the Loot

There is a LOT of treasure to be had in this room, some cursed and some not. Up in the next installment are the traps and treasure my players found.

#14 – Day 2 of Plague Wave

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS PART 14 OF THE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS 5TH EDITION CAMPAIGN, DREADSTORMS LOST. THESE BLOGS ARE INTENDED FOR OTHER GAME MASTERS WHO MIGHT WANT TO USE THIS CAMPAIGN SETTING AND THE SCENARIOS TO INSPIRE THEIR OWN ROLE PLAYING GAMES. (FREE FOR NONCOMMERCIAL REUSE.)

Notes:

The tricky part about Dreadstorms Lost campaign is the timeline. Once the ritual spell is started, it will increase in intensity each day. At each dawn the life draining wave kills more creatures to reanimates them at dusk. The Will of Orcus Undead instinctively attack in hordes.

Depending on the party’s actions, like long or short rests, will decide where there are when a plague waves will happens.  


Day 2 of Casting the Will of Orcus

Hidden underneath Berlstrum in his impregnable lair, Kazel continues casting the ritual spell, Will of Orcus. If the party is outside of the effected area (like on the farms), they do not need to make the CON save.

Second Plague Wave!

At dawn, those awake feel a moment of fatigue (*Life Drain) that lasts for 6 seconds. Everyone save vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 2]: CON save 6

-2 to maximum HP on a failed save. If HP is reduced to 0 by the wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. A LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have 1 long rest ever 24 hours.

Small Animals Drop Like Flies

The second wave effects small animals: rats, mice, cats, gophers, etc. The area of effect extends farther than it did yesterday.

On a Perception of 15, someone spots a dead rat (or other area-appropriate critter). Once they start looking, rats, mice, cats, squirrels and other smaller animals have all dropped dead. They very weak or ill people are also effected.

 

Berlstrum - Day 2 of Plague Wave
Blue circle shows the area of effect from the second plague wave, overlapping the red circle from day 1.

Berlstrum Map

Town of Berlstrum with index [PDF]

 

Council Meeting

The mayor requests that the remaining protectors attend the council meeting (including the party) at 10 that morning at the Town Hall (#82 on the map)

(Assuming that our adventurers were successful at escorting the council members back) The mayor thank the group for the dangers they faced in getting Tomo, Amagoste, and Hammond back to town.

Other topics of discussion during the meeting;

  • What has happened to the Champions? Do the adventurers have any clues? (possibly from search the Champions’ Manor)
  • Why is Berlstrum under attack from so many hooligans all at once?
  • What caused the animal deaths?
  • Are all these somehow connected?

What information will the party share with the council?

The Mayor and the Council discuss the problems with the bandits and the small animal corpses. After some debate, the council agrees to send word to the capital that they need assistance from the royal military.

Optional Skill Challenge: Re-kill the Rats!

My groups decided that they wanted to gather all things that died at dawn and destroy the bodies before they could become zombies. If your  group decides the same:

Gather & Destroy the Dead Bodies: DC 15

There are approximately 5,000 small undead animals around Berlstrum (1 swarm = 500 undead critters). For each successful skill check, 1 swarm of small animal corpses is destroyed. For each failed check, that will be a swarm that becomes active at dusk.

Depending on the number of people in your party, it can simplify things to have double the amount of swarms as players, so each player gets 2 shots at destroying a swarm: 5 players x 2 swarms each = 10 swarms total. Increase the number of swarms per player depending on the level of challenge you want to give the players. 

Describe how your character uses a skill to help destroy the critter corpses You can NOT use the same skill twice in a row and you can NOT use the same skill as the person before you. Examples of skills used:

  • Insight: What will it take to convince to the townfolk to focus on this problem instead of the stray thugs roaming their town or repairing the damage to their properties?
  • Persuade/Diplomacy: Convince the townfolk to work together to gather the dead and pile them in the streets
  • Deception: No need to panic. Everything will be just fine. We have everything under control
  • Nature: Find the areas where rats would be most likely to congregate.
  • Intimidate: You WILL go into the cistern and toss out the dead rats. I don’t care if it smells bad. Get it done.
  • Perception: Search for corpses under the walk-way bridges
  • Investigate: Track the rat droppings to their hidden nest
  • Athletics: Climb to the roofs of the buildings looking for critters that might have been higher up (ie: cats)

At Dusk the Tiny Dead Gather

Anywhere near the radius of the 2nd plague wave that occurred at dawn, will see the small undead animals gathering and attacking the nearest source of “meat” in immediate area.

140331rat swarm1-lo resZombie Small-Animal Swarm

AC 12 
Hit Points 56
Speed 30 ft, climb 20 ft.

STR 14 (+2), DEX 14 (+2), CON 11 (0), INT 1 (-5), WIS 7 (-2), CHA 2 (-5)

Damage Immunities poison
Damage Resistance
 bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned

Senses Darkvision 60ft, Passive Perception 6


ACTIONS
Bites Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit  Hit: 4d6 piercing + Life Drain; 2d6 + Life Drain if only half the swarm remains


SPECIAL

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a tiny insect. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Life Drain. DC 6 CON or lose 2 hit point to maximum hit point total. If HP reduced to 0 by infected, target rises as zombie the following dusk; if not dead, LONG REST recovers lost max HP

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie swarm to 0 hit points, it must make a CON saving throw with a DC of 5 + damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.


Up Next: Into the Belly of Berlsturm to stop this plague!

#13 – Loot from Gwantomo’s & from Amagoste’s Farms – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign

Original art by: https://namkoart.deviantart.com/art/Treasury-477630587
The following blog post is Part 13 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

The quantity, quality, and frequency of loot varies dramatically from game master to game master in any role playing game. I tend to be overly generous with my loot. It also means that the encounters that my players face will be that much deadlier to balance out the magic items they find. 

I’ll sprinkle in random, non-magical items in with the other found items just for the fun of it. For instance, when going through an abandoned farmhouse, they might find a cast-iron pot, a wooden spoon, and a bottle of wine.  I’m always tickled when my players find clever uses for these items months later that take me totally by surprise. 

DMG = 5th Edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide

Featured art found here: https://namkoart.deviantart.com/art/Treasury-477630587


Amagoste’s Farm House

If the party defeats all 8 of the Orcs outside and inside of Amagoste’s house, the party finds the following

From the 8 Orcs

  • Total Gold: 32
  • Total Silver: 5
  • 6 Hide Armors – varying states of disrepair
  • 3 Greataxes
  • 7 Javelins
  • Muddy white gem (worth 10gp)
  • Scroll of Purify Food & Water
  • 3 Potion of healing (2d4+2)
  • Flat iron rod with a button on one end [Immovable rod (DMG 175)]
  • Lovely statue of an elven lady (25gp)
  • Emerald gem (50gp)
  • Spell Scroll of Lesser Restoration

In addition, if they defeat the 2 Ogres, they will also find:

From 2 OGRES inside of Amagoste’s house:

  • Gold 8
  • Silver 2
  • 2 Greatclubs
  • 7 Javelins
  • Statue of a handsome elven lord (25gp)
  • Vial of brown liquid with questionable chunks floating in it [Potion of Animal Friendship -DMG 187]
  • Goggles with leafy gold metalwork and green lenses [Goggles of Night Vision -DMG 172]
  • Green & blue plaid bonnet
  • Glass unicorn figurine (25gp)
  • Black leather purse with images of bear cubs frolicking in the grass embossed on the flap [Bag of holding -DMG 153]
  • Lacy doily

Gwantomo’s Farm

The from battle at Gwantomo’s Farm left a lot of dead bodies. It will take time to search them all. Hammond and Tomo are exhausted and have no interest in any of the loot the adventurers might find on the dead. If they decide to go inside the house to loot, Tomo will stop them.

  • Gold = 110 each
  • Platinum = 3 each
  • Dusty, dark gray studded leather armor [Studded Leather Armor +2 DMG 152; 1000g]
  • Beautifully carved black longbow [Longbow +1 -DMG 213]
  • Silver chain necklace with a small marbled stone; stone is weightless; 2 silver
  • Green bowler hat with brown feather in headband  [*Feather is a Quaal’s Feather Token-bird token, DMG 188; single use; 350g]
  • Bottle with viscous, sticky black unguent [Oil of Slipperiness DMG 184]
  • Bottle of clear liquid with large fingernail floating inside[Potion of Hill Giant Strength DMG187; STR 21; 75g)
  • 6 Potions of Healing 2d4+2 (pg188; 50g ea)
  • 1 Potion of Greater Healing 4d4+4 (pg188; 150g ea)
  • Large iron pot; 1g
  • Blue cloak with gold-ribbon edging [Cloak of Protection DMG 159; +1 AC and saving throws; 500g]
  • Leatherworker’s tools
  • Gold Mace with holy symbols (Mace of Disruption; DMG179; 6,500g)
  • Interlocking metal armbands of gold (Bracers of Defense; +2 AC with no armor/no shield; DMG 156; 2500g)
  • Magnifying lens
  • Scroll of Stone Shape (PHB 278)
  • Hooded lantern

Up Next:  #14 – Day 2 of Plague Wave

#12 – Going to the Farm – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 12 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Nothing to see here. Move along!


Tasks for Heroes

Mayor Cobblekeep stays with the relative safety of the party (hopefully he survived) until morning. The mayor heads back into town to organize the rest of the protectors into cleaning the riff-raff out off his town, repairing the damage, and dealing with the dead. He also needs to gather the council together to discuss their next course of action.

There are two tasks the mayor asks of the party:

  1. The most pressing task is escorting the Council Members who live on farms outside the city walls back to Berlstrum, Amagoste and Hammond. The mayor informs the party that, “There are patrols along the top of the city wall. Since the gates are down, signal one of the patrols and they’ll lower the rope ladder for you to leave.” (If they discovered the secret doors in the champions’ manor, the mayor will emphasize how important it is not to reveal the locations of the secret doors to anyone!)
  2. He also requests that the players to find the champions and bring them back or try to figure out what happened to the champions. Once they have all the council gathered, the group can let the council know what they’ve learned.

Heading to the Farms

Amagoste’s Farm House

Amagoste's Farm with Ogre's and Orcs
Amagoste’s Farm with invading Ogre’s and Orcs

The path to the Amagoste Farm is several hours through the forest. As you get closer to the farmhouse, the trees becoming more sparse and spread out. Behind the house is the open pole barn and flat farmland usually filled growing crops. There are several orcs on guard outside the farmhouse. (See image above. Feel free to adjust orc numbers based on the level of challenge appropriate for the party.)

The faded tan farmhouse has a large porch spreading 60 feet across the entire front of the house, overhung by a sloping roof. The porch has wooden railings and 3 steps up. A smaller 15 ft x  8 ft porch with steeper steps leads to the backdoor.

Inside the house two ogres are loudly arguing in the living room. They are blaming each other for not finding the people that live here. They were told these people are important to the town and they’d know where the treasure was. Orcs are rifling through the other rooms, looking for loot and trying on the clothes.

The players can choose to fight the orcs and ogres or stealth around to try to find the Amagoste family.

4 ORCS outside, and inside the house 4 more ORCS & 2 OGRES (See 5th Edition Monster Manual page 246 for general orc stats and 237 for ogres)

Finding the Amagoste’s

The pole barn contains several piles of hay, the largest pile in the upper left corner. No animals are currently inside. A successful search [Investigation 15] will find the trap door hidden under the hay. Opening the hatch reveals a small underground bunker with the two Amagoste tiefling adults and their 2 small children. Agosta Amagoste (one of the council members you’ve been sent to escort back) will not leave the safety of the bunker with her children and husband until the invaders are no longer a threat.

Ogre in a Bottle
Not wanting to spend money buying figures for the game, I printed out the image of the ogre and taped it to a pill bottle that took up 2×2 square space.

Onto Gwantomo’s Farm

As the group approaches through the woods, they can hear the sounds of battle coming from Gwantomo’s home. It is unlikely that anyone will notice them in the trees since everyone is in the midst of fighting (don’t roll a 1 on stealth).

The group spots Tomo (Gwantomo) and Hammond (the other 2 Council members that need escorted back to town) are on the roof of the farmhouse, fending off ogres, orcs, and thugs. They look exhausted and barely keeping the attackers at bay. They are suffering severe exhaustion and will take a break from fighting as soon as the attackers focus their energy on someone else, ie the players.

There are many dead bodies around the house, friends and foe alike. Behind the farmhouse, the barn (closed walls, unlike the pole barn at Amagoste’s place) is on fire. Same layout at Amagoste’s Farm.

Note:

For this encounter, the number of Orcs, Ogres, and Thugs still standing really depends on the game masters perception of what the party can handle at this point. If the party needs some extra muscle, the info for the dwarf fighter, Moregore, is below. As a suggestion, the encounter might have:

  • 1 Ogres

  • 3 Orcs

  • 2 Thugs

If the party survives the encounter, there is a potentially a lot of great (starter) loot to be found amidst all the dead. Loot for this encounter is in the next installment.

Tomo (Gwantomo) – is forest druid who’s primary occupation is farming. He’s a 1/2 Elf male and a member of the Berlsturm city council. He has a wolf companion named Oscar. When the group arrives Oscar is trapped in the (burning) barn.

Hammond, a human male, is a farmer and a retired fighter. He sometimes mentors protectors in training interested in becoming fighters. He is serves as a stand-in council member.

Moregore, dwarf fighter [optional NPC melee fighter; originally mentioned as an NPC at the beginning of Guard Tower duty, but can be used here instead or in addition to] – Moregore was heading to Berlstrum to visit his cousin, Caemtar-the Tanner (included on NPC list) when he spotted the group of Ogres and Orcs heading towards the farmhouse. He followed them to find out what they were up to. Saw the ogres and orcs join their buddies in battle against Tomo and Hammond and decided to jumped in to help.

Minis on battlegrid for Amagoste Farmhouse battle
Battle at Amagoste’s Farmhome – To save money, I use whatever cheap toys I have available to represent the monsters, like figures from the Zombies!!! and pirate actions figures.

MOREGORE GRAYFIST IRONBREAKER

Moregore grew up in  and has a large, extended family in Berlstrum. Morgorn and Mortengort are his cousins and also good fighters who would go looking for Moregore if he disappeared.

FIGHTER 2 ♦ Dwarf, Medium humanoid (mountain dwarf), neutral

STR 20 (+5) ♦ DEX 18 (+4) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 10 (+0) ♦ CHA 8 (-1)

Armor Class 17
Hit Points 24
Speed 25 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +4

Languages Common, Dwarvish, Orc

Proficiencies Saving Throws Str +7, Dex +4, Con +5
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +7, Perception +2, Survival +2
Darkvision 60 ft, Resistance poison

ACTIONS

Battleaxe: +7 to hit, 1d8+5 slashing, versatile (1d10)

Longbow: +6 range to hit, range 150/600, 1d8+4 piercing, ammunition, heavy, two-handed

FIGHTER TRAITS
Fighting Style (Protection), Action Surge (One Use)


Up next: Loot from the farm houses #13 – Loot from Gwantomo’s & from Amagoste’s Farms

#11 – Bugs & Thugs – Plague Day 1 (Dreadstorms Lost)

The following blog post is Part 11 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

All right. I hear the cries of suffering and agony. “Give us some stuff to kill! More bad guys, less talk.”

We begin this next bit assuming that the party has gotten a long rest. It is the next morning after the initial influx of scumbags attacking the town. Players are assumed to be 2nd level. Adjust challenges as needed.


At Dawn they Don’t Cometh

Kazel has set up and begun casting the ritual spell, Will of Orcus, several hours before sunrise.

First plague wave!

At dawn, those awake feel an odd moment of fatigue (*Life Drain). It quickly passes. Everyone needs to save vs the Life Drain, awake or asleep.

*Life Drain [Day 1]: CON save 5

-1 to Max HP on a failed save. If HP reduced to 0 by fatigue wave, target dies and rises as zombie 12 hrs later. Otherwise, a LONG REST restores max HP.

Note: You can only have one long rest ever 24 hours.

Dead Bugs

The first wave is fairly week and mostly effects insects: flies, caterpillars, small spiders, grasshoppers, moths, bees, and the like.

On a Perception of 16, an especially observant character will notice that there are no bugs buzzing/crawling/creeping about inside the town. There are dead bugs everywhere once a person starts looking. No live bugs within the wave radius area.

The wave has a radius effect centered around Kazel. His hidden lair underneath Berlstrum is roughly located under building #96 on the town map. This initial radius encompasses the Champions’ manor and a large portion of the town center. (See map below.)

Map of Berlstrum with plague area effect
Area of effect of the first wave of the Will of Orcus Plague in Berlstrum

If the players rested in the 2nd floor or tower of the champions’ manor, they will be safe from random bandit attacks.

Tasks for Heroes

Mayor Cobblekeep stayed with the relative safety of the party (hopefully he survived) until morning. The mayor heads back into town to organize the rest of the protectors into cleaning the low-lives out off his town and repairing the damage and dealing with the dead. He also needs to gather the council together to discuss their next course of action.

There are two tasks the mayor asks of the party:

  1. The most pressing task is escorting the two Council Members who live on farms outside the city walls back to Berlstrum, Amagoste and Hammond. The mayor informs the party that, “There are patrols along the top of the city wall. Since the gates are down, signal one of the patrols and they’ll lower the rope ladder for you to leave.” (If they discovered the secret doors in the champions’ manor, the mayor will emphasize how important it is not to reveal the locations of the secret doors to anyone!)
  2. He also requests that the players try to figure out what happened to the champions and hopefully find them and bring them back. Once they have all the council gathered, the group can let the council know what they’ve learned.

Thugs

Before the group can head out on their missions, they find Captain Scallion and his two henchmen waiting for our crew to emerge Captain Scallion is frustrated at their inability to search the tower and wants inside NOW! Which due to the protection spell on the tower, isn’t going to happen.

Captain Scallion is a Bandit Captain with 3 melee attacks and the Parry Reaction:+2 AC on one attack.  (See 5th Edition Monster Manual pg 344 for stats)

His two henchmen use the Tribal Warrior template on page 350 of the 5th Edition Monster Manual. 

At Dusk they Cometh

Anywhere near the radius of the plague wave that occurred 12 hours earlier (at dawn), will see swarms of insects gathering and attacking.  The dead bugs rise in swarms and attack the nearest source of “meat” in immediate area.

insect-bee-swarm.pngZombie Bug Swarm

AC 10 
Hit Points 32
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.

STR 4 (-4), DEX 7 (-2), CON 12 (+1), INT 1 (-5), WIS 3 (-4), CHA 1 (-5)

Damage Immunities poison
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, slashing
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned

Senses blindsight 10 ft,  darkvision 60ft, passive Perception 8


ACTIONS
Bites Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit (swarm moves into target’s space) Hit: 4d4 HP piercing + Life Drain (DC7 Con or -1 to Hit Point Max ), or 2d4 + Life Drain if only half the swarm remains


SPECIAL

Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a tiny insect. The swarm can’t regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

Life Drain. DC 7 CON or lose 1 hit point to maximum hit point total. If HP reduced to 0 by infected, target rises as zombie the following dusk; if not dead, LONG REST recovers lost max HP

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie swarm to 0 hit points, it must make a CON saving throw with a DC of 5 + damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.


Up Next: It’s off to the farm to gather the stray Council Members! #12 – Going to the Farm – Dreadstorms Lost

#5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

Gatehouse and guard tower
The following blog post is Part 5 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

Guard Duty

The game begins with the players’ characters at 1st level, shiny new Protector Trainees reporting for their first day of guard duty at the south tower of Berlstrum.

If you have 6 or more players, you can split them into 2 teams. Yes! Split the party. It’s always more fun that way. If you have 3-5 players, you will start with twice that number of protectors Protector Trainees reporting for duty as players. 

Stats for several sample NPCs [Non-Player Characters] are at the bottom of the page. Note, this campaign was created for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. Any stats provided are 5E specific, but the rest would probably work in any RPG environment.


Setting

♣ The tower [107] sits immediately outside the South gates, flush to the city wall to the north, the high cliffs at its back, the Free Road passing in front. The tower rises above the city wall by 50 feet. 

The roar of the Thornbreaker River passes under the land bridge to the south of the Tower. Thousands of feet below the water crashes into the Forlorn Bay. The spray from the mighty waterfall leaves everything slightly misted and damp. Incoming traffic has to cross the windy, damp land bridge before approaching the South tower. Traffic leaving Berlstrum goes through an inner gate, down a zig-zag passageway before reaching the outer gate. Neither gate has been lowered in over 10 years. The gate houses [2 & 106] that contain the portcullis mechanisms have become places to store odds and ends, rats’ nests, and spider webs. ♣

Berlstrum 2

Day 1 – Marching Orders

At noon, Kazel and Foreshot Dreadstorm greet the trainees at the base of the South Tower outside the city gates. While Kazel goes over the basics, Foreshot leans against the tower wall, watching them.

Kazel to trainees:

Your mentors feel that you have successfully reached a level in your training that you should be able handle tower duty. You will be at the tower for 7 days. Your job while here is to keep on the lookout for hostiles. You are divided into 2 teams. Every 9 hours the teams rotate positions. Within each 3-person team, it is up to you to decide who gets breaks and when.

Foreshot hands each trainee a smooth, flat-dull-gray river rock with a simple etched rune. The stones are activated by licking them, which the Dreadstorms won’t tell them unless asked. The rune on the rock will glow white when activated and continue to glow until the receiver (one of the Dreadstorms) arrives.

UPPER TOWER GUARDS: One team is inside the tower, at the top to keep an eye out for large incoming groups like caravans, the Sovereign’s Patrol, invading armies, and … yes … even the entertainers parade. In the case of an incoming group – activate one of these stones, which will alert the champions.

GROUND/GATE GUARDS: Each guard should have one of these rune stones on them at all times. DO NOT activate the stone because you’re bored and want to chat. I will shoot you with magic missiles and Foreshot will probably just pummel you to pieces.

You’ve each been issued a bed roll, a canteen, a tinderbox and enough trail rations for 7 days.

Players can note these items on their inventory.

One of us will be by to check on you a couple of times during the week to make sure you haven’t killed yourselves or wandered off. Don’t worry. We haven’t needed to close the city gates in over 10 years. You’ll be fine.

Kazel and Foreshot will then leave the trainees to sort themselves out unless they have any questions.

Guard duty is dull, monotonous, and boring. The first couple of days are pretty uneventful. During this time the players have a chance to role play getting to know their fellow party members. Encourage the players to introduce themselves in character and them to tell you what they do during their guard time. The NPC group will keep themselves separate for the most part unless directly engaged by the party members.


Optional NPCs for the other team of tower guards/NPC:

    • Amira Northwing (level 1 half-elf rogue)
    • Dorn Tallstag Eirkash (level 1 human wizard)
    • Moregore Grayfist Ironbreaker (level 1 dwarf fighter)
    • Stormy Mogwater (level 1 human cleric)

AMIRA NORTHWING

– from the village of Crossover, she heard the rumors of the Champions’ treasure and hopes to find clues while working as a Protector. She hasn’t been a very successful thief yet.

ROGUE 1 ♦ Half-Elf, Medium humanoid, chaotic good

STR 13 (+1) ♦ DEX 20 (+5) ♦ CON 12 (+1) ♦ INT 17 (+3) ♦ WIS 14 (+2) ♦ CHA 10 (+0)

Armor Class 16
Hit Points 9
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +5

Proficiencies
Saving Throws Dex +8, Int +3
Skills: Acrobatics +9, Arcana +5, Athletics + 3, Perception +4, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +7

ACTIONS

Dagger: +7 to hit, range 20/60, 1d4+5 piercing, finesse, light, thrown, underwater

Short sword: +7 to hit, 1d6+5 piercing, finesse, light, underwater

Dart: +7 range to hit, range 20/60, 1d4+5 piercing, finesse, light, underwater

ROGUE TRAITS

Sneak Attack, Cunning Action

MOREGORE GRAYFIST IRONBREAKER

– Morgore grew up in  and has a large, extended family in Berlstrum. Morgorn and Mortengort are his cousins and also good fighters who would go looking for Moregore if he disappeared.

FIGHTER 1 ♦ Dwarf, Medium humanoid (mountain dwarf), neutral

STR 20 (+5) ♦ DEX 18 (+4) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 10 (+0) ♦ CHA 8 (-1)

Armor Class 17
Hit Points 24
Speed 25 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +4

Languages Common, Dwarvish, Orc

Proficiencies Saving Throws Str +7, Dex +4, Con +5
Skills Acrobatics +6, Athletics +7, Perception +2, Survival +2
Darkvision 60 ft, Resistance poison

ACTIONS

Battleaxe: +7 to hit, 1d8+5 slashing, versatile (1d10)

Longbow: +6 range to hit, range 150/600, 1d8+4 piercing, ammunition, heavy, two-handed

FIGHTER TRAITS
Fighting Style (Protection), Action Surge (One Use)

DORN TALLSTAG EIRKASH

– Young and brash and short (5″1″). His mentor is Haseid Khalid (warlock/archfey pact).

WIZARD 1 (ILLUSION) ♦ Human, Medium humanoid, neutral good

STR 10 (+0) ♦ DEX 13 (+1) ♦ CON 11 (+0) ♦ INT 20 (+5) ♦ WIS 15 (+2) ♦ CHA 10 (+0)

Armor Class 14
Hit Points 6
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 14
Initiative +1

Languages Common, Dwarven, Draconic, Elvish

Proficiencies Saving Throws Int +7, Wis +4
Skills Arcana +7, History +7, Insight +4, Investigation +7, Perception +4,

ACTIONS

Attack Spell (Int): Spell +7 to hit

Quarterstaff: +2 to hit, 1d6 bludgeoning (versatile 1d8)


Spellcasting DC 15

Cantrips
Known 3: Poison Spray, Shocking Grasp, Minor Illusion

1st Level:
Prepared 7, Cast per day 2: Mage Armor, Disguise Self, Burning Hands, Fog Cloud, Identify, Magic Missile, Tenser’s Floating Disc

WIZARD TRAITS
Arcane Recovery, Spellbook

STORMY MOGWATER

– Stormy is quiet and reserved. Her mentor is R’dsché Albrĕcktforthen’with (elf cleric)

CLERIC (Light) 1 ♦ Human, Medium humanoid, neutral good

STR 18 (+4) ♦ DEX 10 (+0) ♦ CON 16 (+3) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 20 (+5) ♦ CHA 10 (0)

Armor Class 15
Hit Points 11
Speed 30 ft.
Passive Perception 17
Initiative +0

Languages Common, Draconic, Elvish, Dwarvish

Proficiencies
Saving Throws Str +4, Wis +8, Cha +2
Skills: Acrobatics +2, Athletics + 6, Insight +8, Perception +8, Religion +4

ACTIONS

Mace: +6 to hit, 1d6+4 bludgeoning

Spell Attack (Wis): +8 to hit

Light Crossbow: +2 range to hit, range 80/320, 1d8 piercing


Spellcasting DC 15

Cantrips
Known 5: Spare the Dying, Sacred Flame, Light, Resistance, Thaumaturgy

1st Level:
Known 8, Cast per day 2: Cure Wounds, Burning Hands, Sanctuary, Protection from Evil and Good, Sheild of Faith, Faerie Fire, Create or Destroy Water, Detect Magic

CLERIC TRAITS
Divine Domain Feature (Warding Flare)

Up Next: Guard duty!? Well, this will be dull. OR will it?! What excitement awaits our players in the Guard Tower? #6 – Guard Duty! Go! – Dreadstorms Lost

#3 – The Champions – Dreadstorms Lost

The following blog post is Part 3 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

As you might gather from the title, the Dreadstorms play an important role in this D&D campaign. Finding out what happened to the champions is one of the key goals for the adventurers. So the question is, at what point do I put the answers to the quiz? The answer to what is going on behind the scenes. To what happened to the champions. To what lead up to the events?


Champions of Berlstrum

Kazel and Foreshot Dreadstorm have been Berlstrum’s champions for over a decade. Berlstrum has enjoyed peace and prosperity under their protection. The champions work with the mayor and town council in regards to town safety. They deal with any dangerous elements threatening the town.

In exchange for their service, the champions have been given a manor/castle to live in and a regular stipend from the Sovereign. Only the Sovereign can award the position of champion to a town.

Human female and white haired elf embraceBefore Kazel and Foreshot were offered the champions post in Berlsturm, they were a part of the Deadly Omega 6 gang. (More on these guys in the next installment.) Bards delight in singing tales of these great heroes’ deeds. Some of it might even be true.

Rumors of a hidden treasure from the couple’s infamous adventuring days are a topics of idle speculation, but nothing has ever been found. Berlstrum does get the occasional visitors wanting to challenge the pair for reputation gain or in hopes of finding their fabled stash. They are dealt with harshly.

Foreshot was a highly talented ranger in her adventuring days. She prefers to avoid the limelight whenever possible, spending a lot of her time hunting game and roaming monsters outside the city walls.

As part of the Protector Program, Foreshot is mentoring Clemens in the ways of the ranger. He has a room on the lower floor of their manor.

Foreshot is a tempering influence on Kazel. Without her, he tended to be a bit looser with his morals. Kazel is devoted to his wife, Foreshot, but worries about her  human lifespan.

Kazel considers himself a dark elf. Anyone who suggests he is drow will see the might of his fury and possibly a magic missile at their nearest possessions.

Kazel Dreadstorm is a “retired” wizard who sells potions, scrolls, and enchantments in his shop, The Glass Eye. With his beautiful dark elven skin and luscious silky white hair, he gets a lot of visitors who come to flirt with the famous champion. Kazel is good at redirecting these fanciful flirtations into sale at his store.

The Protector Program

Kazel and Foreshot created the Protector Program to aid in the day-to-day protection of the city. Those with aptitude and desire to learn the skills to become potential guardians, soldiers, adventurers are given training in their chosen field of interest. The program is intended to teach survival outside the safety a city’s walls and encourages exploration of the world.

In exchange for the free training, each Protector Trainee spends one week each month as a town guard; usually sentry duty or assisting with minor nuisances. Trainees are not paid wages, but are provided with a mentor who gives them room and board in exchange for work (varies depending on the mentor). Mentors are volunteers. Quality varies.

The trainees all meet weekly in the Champions’ Manor meeting hall where current problems are discussed, schedules handed out, and stories of past glories told.


For Game Master Only:

Our heroes have heard the call for protectors. And each for their own reasons has answered the call and successfully become a protector trainee. They will begin the adventure at 1st level. Details on the starting scenario next issue!

Recently, the Dreadstorms have been sending bards to recruit for the Protector Program and seem intent on increasing their numbers. Their bard friend, Jester Red, has been especially helpful in locating potential participants throughout the country of Briarstone. 

A secret only a very few know is that Foreshot is pregnant and the soon-to-be parents want to make sure that their town has sufficient protection when their champions will be most vulnerable.


 Next up: Okay. Now we know who the Champions are. But what about that group, the Deadly Omega 6? They sound cool. What’s their story? #3.5 Deadly Omega 6 – Origins – Dreadstorms Lost

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

#2 – Berlstrum – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign

Drawing of a village with small creek, footbridge,
The following blog post is Part 2 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes:

This next installment of my D&D 5th Edition homebrew campaign settiing is the town where this  adventure begins. I find a lot of the details of the city (and the rest of the world) were in my head and only really cemented when a player asks for clarification. 

If there is some detail about the campaign setting that you would like to know, please leave a comment below.


The Town of Berlstrum

Map with buildings identified on the second page [PDF]: Berlstrum_with_index

Berlstrum 2

Berlstrum perches atop briarstone cliffs along the eastern coast of Briarstone. The cliffs under Berlstrum are riddled with hard-to­-reach caves. Those who have try to explore the caves haven’t returned.

On the sides not protected by sheer cliffs, the town has a thick wall guarding it from predators. The wall is 20 feet thick and 25 feet high, topped with crenelation for patrolling guards. By land, the North and South Gates are the only way in and out of Berlstrum.

The raging Thornbreaker River drops thousands of feet from the cliffs into Forlorn Bay. A large land bridge arches over the waterfall, connecting Berlstrum to the southern part of the country. The Free Road travels over the land bridge and is vital for the country’s North-South trading route.

Due to the many brutally sharp briarstone protrusions littering the Forlorn Bay, a harbor guide is vital to ensure a ship’s safe passage to and from the Obsidian Sea. Roaming sea monsters add to the difficulty of navigating the harbor entrance.

Town on a cliff with bridge over waterfallBoats are elevated to the docks with clever gnomish machinery. Captains willing to brave the harbor find it an excellent location for hull maintenance. Teams of workers use specially designed rigging repair and clean the underside of ships.

Small channels of water run throughout Berlstrum. Small foot bridges are common.

Berlstrum is relatively isolated from national politics and enjoys relative autonomy due to the distance to capitol, Greater Breen. Most of their official news comes the Sovereign’s Free Road patrols.

The town has a reputation for being accepting of different races shunned by the more “civilized” town. Tieflings, Orcs, Dopplegangers, Drow, Dragonborn are common sights within the city walls.

It is rumored that in years long past, a dragon once lived in the caves below Berlstrum. Most think it’s just a story to scare the kids.

Berlstrum is run by a mayor and 7 council members. They deal with local governing, decide punishments for mischief, and adjudicate disputes. Exile is a severe punishment for crimes within the town. The town’s champions provide protection and coordinate with the mayor & council on possible threats. The Champions of Berlstrum have a well-known reputation that keeps most sentient beings at bay.


The government

Mayor: Cobblekeep Lightdiggerson (Halfling)
*Stats below

Council Members:

  1. Mostrad Ust (Human, Owner Katrin’s Cafe)
  2. Wabae Txatin (Human, Cleric at Medical Aid Emporium)
  3. Gwantomo “Tomo” Prok (Elf, Farmer)
  4. Grant Tan (Orc, Owner Survival Gears Store)
  5. Agosta Amagoste (Dragonborn, Farmer, Fighter Trainer)
  6. Xendric Hornblower (Dwarf, Owner Xendric’s)
  7. R’dsche Albreckt (Elf, Head of one of the Churches in Berlstrum, Cleric Trainer)
  8. Stand-in Hammond Seedrikson (Human, Farmer)

Cobblekeep Lightdiggerson

small humanoid (lightfoot halfling)
Armor Class 13 (no armor)
Hit Points 9
Speed 25 ft.

STR 10 (+0) ♦ DEX 17 (+3) ♦ CON 13 (+1) ♦ INT 10 (+0) ♦ WIS 12 (+1) ♦ CHA 17 (+3)

Proficiencies (+2 proficiency bonus)

Saving Throws DEX +5, INT +5
Skills: Perception +5, History +2, Insight, +3, Persuasion +5, Performance +5

Halfling Traits:

Halfling Nimbleness. You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.
Lucky. When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Naturally Stealthy. You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured by a
creature that is at least one size larger than you.

 


Next up: Who are the Champions? And why do they matter to our story?  #3 – The Champions – Dreadstorms Lost

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost

#1 – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign – Overview

Map of Briarstone
The following blog post is Part 1 of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign, Dreadstorms Lost. These blogs are intended for other game masters who might want to use this campaign setting and the scenarios to inspire their own role playing games. (Free for noncommercial reuse.)

Notes: World Building

I created the Dreadstorm Lost Dungeons and Dragons campaign and the wider world of Briarstone to run some friends through a D&D 5th Edition game. Why? Because I’m crazy? Probably. World building is exhausting, thrilling, frustrating, and ever-changing in a role-playing game (RPG) thanks to the decisions, interactions, and observations of players in the game. In a pre-generated story like the Curse of Strahd, I don’t feel like I have the sort of flexibility and creativity that I can in my own world. That and I like coloring within my own lines, thank you very much.

To start, here is the map of the continent: Briarstone-Continent Map-Hz [PDF] (Free for noncommercial reuse.) This is an every changing map as I add more details, towns, and roads. And thus begins the campaign setting information dump!


Dreadstorm Lost Campaign: Continent

Continent overview

The continent is divided into three countries, Briarstone, Heshtia, and Glort. The enormous, raging Roone River divides the southern half of the content and is the much-contested border between the nations of Briarstone and Heshtia. The country of Glort controls the northern half of the continent. Briarstone is by the far the largest and richest of the three nations.

The Obsidian Ocean has violent storms, aggressive sea creatures, and sudden whirlpools. Only the bravest or foolhardy venture into these perilous waters.

Map of BriarstoneTHE NATION OF BRIARSTONE

The nation of Briarstone has the largest influence of magic users in positions of power. Humans make up the largest percentage of the Briarstonian population, but the other races are well represented.

The capitol city of Briarstone is Greater Breen on the Southern Coast where the nation’s Sovereign resides. The Sovereign is a shadowy figure that is both feared and respected, though very little is know about them.

The Sovereign selects Champions of Briarstone as reward for heroics to crown and country. The Champions are awarded a town to protect and in return receive a comfortable stipend. The position of Champion is considered retirement for exceptional adventurers lucky enough to survive that long.

Briarstone gets its name from the briarstone rock that can only be found along the cliffs of Northeastern Coast.

Briarstone – The Rock

Briarstone is an opaque black rock formation with small, jagged protrusions resembling thorns. When the brittle rock shatters, it creates more jagged protrusions.

The Shredding Cliffs of Briarstone along the northern coastline are made up almost entirely of Briarstone, making them impossible to climb. The cliffs run hundreds of miles along the coastline and in places are several miles deep as well as high.

The Forlorn Bay is littered with small islands of Briarstone, making passage from the Obsidian Sea into the harbor of Berlstrum a perilous task. The Forlorn Bay is rumored to be haunted from the numerous ship wrecks caused by the thorny stones. Without a Harbor Guide, navigating the briarstone hazards is suicide.

The Free Road is a major trade route running the North-South length of Briarstone. The Sovereign’s military regularly patrols the length of the Free Road. The patrol gathers taxes, shares general news, pays town protectors, and reports any town requests back to the Sovereign. If additional assistance is needed from the capitol, additional taxes are levied on the towns.

The lands south of the Marmont mountain ranges are considered the “civilized” areas of Briarstone. In the North, most townsfolk stay within the protection of the town walls.

The Roone River marks Briarstone’s western boundary On the Heshtia. Heshtia covets Briarstone’s mineral rich mountains, bountiful farmlands, and tropical beaches. Constant tension in the form of skirmishes and raids occur, but the countries are offi cially at peace. Skalia, Kantodo, and Zanzobar, Briarstone towns on the riverbanks of Roone River, all have a regular military presence because of tensions with Heshtia.

THE NATION OF HESHTIA

Heshtia has predominately an elfish and human population. Humans and half-elves are considered lower class citizens in Heshtia. Human slaves are a status symbol for the wealthy.

The east half of Heshtia is rolling green mountains, the west mostly arid desert lands. The capitol city, Alamorey, is nestled within the central hills.

The majority of Heshtian population live along the Roone River and along the Southern Coast. Tensions have been brewing over Roone River water rights.

THE NATION OF GLORT

To the north is the country of Glort, a mixed population of orc, dragonborn, dwarf, and gnome. Each race has areas of geographic majority. Glorters are a rugged, no-nonsense type people.

The capitol city of Glort is Taje Tgem on the northern edge of Lake Iver.

Glort is a cold land made up of a many frigid lakes, jagged, snowy mountains, and rocky hills. Herd animals and fish are the primary sources of food for the nation. Grains and produce are luxuries shipped in from Briarstone.

The Terrunium metals mined from Glorter mountains hold special properties. Once processed, items made with Terrunium are lighter weight, stronger, and bond more easily with magic [ie: versatile, more durable, advantage to stealth, can hold more than one enchantment]. Only Glorter Blademasters know the secret to molding and enchanting Terrunium into the world-famous Terrunium armors and weapons.

NOMADS/TORKEN RAIDERS

Nomadic tribes roam northwest of the Roone River between the desert lands of Northern Heshtia and the barren planes of Southern Glort. They claim loyalty to no nation and ignore political boundaries and petty disputes between countries. These nomadic tribes are often mistaken as the vicious Torken Raiders by outsiders. 


Next up: Where it all starts, the Town of Berlstrum #2 – Berlstrum – Dreadstorms Lost Campaign

#1-4 of the Dreadstorms Lost Campaign are backstory and setting information. If you want to jump ahead to where the players comin in: #5 – The Adventure Begins – Dreadstorm Lost


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