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Friday, April 24, 2015

Elemental Evil - Princes of the Apocalypse

It has taken me forever, but I've finally finished this review of Princes of the Apocalypse. This adventure is part of D&D's second "storyline", Elemental Evil.

First I am going to go over what's in the book, then I'll further expound on what I feel is the good and bad of this adventure. This contains tons of spoilers! Please, if you are a player, don't ruin it for everyone.

This review took me so long partly because I just can't get excited about this adventure. It is such a chore to read through. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of fun D&D in here. But the early level stuff and the way this book is organized are killing me. Anyway, we'll get to that.

You can buy this adventure on amazon here:

Princes of the Apocalypse (D&D Accessory)

The foreword by Mike Mearls is very informative. I'm going to include it here as an image.

Chapter 1: Rise of Elemental Evil

The backstory to this adventure is complicated, but boils down to this: Four prophets of elemental evil have formed cults and dwell in a complex underground area in the dwarven ruins of Tyar-Besil. The cults are gaining power and threatening the region.

Each cult is detailed. The leaders of the cult are really cool villains.

(Earth) Marlos Urnrayle: A vain man who tried to preserve his good looks with a magic ring, but it instead turned him into a medusa. He went insane and began to have visions, which caused him to form the earth cult.

(Water) Gar Shatterkeel: A man who fell overboard at sea and had his arm bit off by a shark. A current saved him from the shark attack, and Gar was certain the current was actually a water elemental. He began to worship water, and now has a crab claw in place of his arm.

(Fire) Vanifer: A tiefling woman who grew up poor. She became a dancer and was taken as a concubine by a wealthy pasha. She resented being a "trophy" and burned the pasha's place to the ground.

(Air) Aerisi Kalinoth: A spoiled elf from the Feywild who could not get along with her peers. She ended up having visions which led her to forming the cult of air and growing "wings" which allowed her to escape her home.

After this, there's a massive pile of character hooks which, IMO, should have been in the player's companion.

Chapter 2: The Dessarin Valley

This chapter describes the area the adventure takes place in. There's a sidebar that tells you that the year is 1491 DR. You'll find that the sidebars in this adventure contain much of the most essential information in the entire book.

The bulk of this chapter details the starting town, Red Larch. It is a very dull place best known for crumblecake - a bland combination of bread and "wildfowl scraps". And yes, this information on crumblecake is given to us in a sidebar.

There's a ton of NPCs who have descriptions like "...a kindly old dodderer, but she is sharper than she appears". There are so many NPCs with adventure hooks and secrets that it is completely disorienting and difficult to figure out how to handle.

A Sidebar About Sandboxes

This adventure is very "sandbox-y". The authors want to plop your PCs down and let them stumble on whatever they stumble on.

My problem with that is that there is so much material for the DM to have a handle on, that allowing the PCs to free roam in that manner means I'll need to have read and prepared a vast selection of material that is scattered in different chapters throughout the book.

It is one thing if I'm running a sandbox adventure that is 22 pages long and has a hex map with 15 encounters all meant for characters of a certain level. It's another thing entirely when it's a 250 page book and some of the stuff the PCs might stumble on is meant for much higher level characters. It means a couple of things:
  1. I need to prepare a ton of stuff, know where it is ahead of time, and have it all firmly lodged in my brain at game time.
  2. I have to have players who can handle a situation where their 3rd level PCs stumble into a 6th level dungeon. As many of you are aware, there are quite a few players who will be absolutely enraged if this were to happen, and your session/campaign will be ruined.
Back to Red Larch. My favorite Red Larcher is Grund, a half orc who "...ekes out a living by making pickles in vats at the end of the field".

Red Larch needs a half-page summary that details all of the essential information of the town (like they did in 4e products). You're not going to know that the town is run by Constable Harburk and a bunch of Town Elders without doing a lot of digging, and that info is essential to the adventure. They do list the main town NPCs on page 20, but it's not laid out plainly enough for my liking.

The rest of the chapter details all of the other locations in the Valley. There's a ton of them. My favorite is the stone bridge, a massive, high bridge that is only 6 paces wide. It crosses the Dessarin River and has a very cool piece of art. I can imagine all sorts of encounters on this thing.

Chapter 3: Secret of the Sumber Hills

A sidebar tells us that the adventure assumes the PCs begin at level 3. Lower level adventures are in chapter 6. OK, then. Thank you, sidebar.

We get the opening flavor, which describes Red Larch and the fact that an important delegation from Mirabar has gone missing (Get ready to dig to find out where all the delegates have been taken to. I saw it earlier and I can't find it now). Then we are given a collection of flavor text for various things the PCs might investigate.

I just saw something. Bear with me, here. As of this writing, I just finished running Rivergard Keep, the second of the four haunted keeps in this adventure. The heroes just battled a person named Shoalar Quanderil.

In the Rivergard section on page 56, it says to refer to "chapter 7" for details on Shoalar. Finding Shoalar's stats isn't easy because the NPCs in that chapter are not listed in alphabetical order. It's page 208.

Flipping there gives you Shoalar's stats and a bit of a description. I changed Shoalar to a female on a whim when I ran this. There's also a mention on page 56 that Shoalar is in the "Womford Rats section earlier in this chapter" but gives no page number. The Womford Rats thing is not listed in the table of contents.

If you can find the Womford Rats scenario (page 44), you will see that this mini-encounter contains an entire paragraph on role-playing Shoalar and cool treasure on his person that is not detailed anywhere else! 

I have to refer to three separate sections to get details on one NPC. Why are they making this so complicated?!

Then we get into the meat of the chapter, which is four outposts. Each one is manned by a different cult in disguise. Each "haunted keep" protects an entrance into the Temple of Elemental Evil beneath.

Early on, you will run into a quandary. While investigating the air cult at Feathergale Spire, our heroes might explore the surrounding valley. The valley, by the way, is described after the spire, just to throw you off a little bit, I guess. The heroes could very well find a tunnel in the valley that leads to the temple.

The entrance is guarded by three hurricanes (spellcasting air cultists who can catch arrows fired at them), which is a very tough fight for level 3 PCs, but still... there it is. Your PCs will either have a TPK or kill these tough dudes and wander into a level 6 dungeon.

Rivergard Keep is the water cult outpost. This place looked dull on paper but came alive in play - my players snuck in at night, had all sorts of shenanigans and had an epic battle on the boats.

There is an entrance to the temple in a confusing location on the map  - a secret landing with an underground stream. I just omitted this, as I don't want my players to march into a level 7 dungeon.

There's two more outposts/"haunted keeps":

The Sacred Stone Monastery: Home to earth cultists posing as monks. Things I am noticing as I read through:
  • The cultists wear "...hooded robes and gargoyle masks made of gilded tin", which is awesome.
  • There is quite a bit of material that anticipates PCs entering the place in disguise or through subterfuge. Many of the rooms are dull areas with a few cultists in them.
  • Beyond an arcane locked door is.. a lich! He doesn't want to waste time with the PCs. If they try to provoke him, he says things like "I am not your enemy. Now go." If the PCs insist, the adventure is kind enough to just have the lich cast time stop, drop a cloudkill spell, and then leave (his phylactery is in the next room.. I assume he takes it with him?). This seems like a fascinating encounter, So many groups will do so many different things here.
  • There's a mine underneath the monastery that contains slaves and an ogre: "...a flabby simpleton called Drool". There's few things players love more than tricking dim-witted NPCs, so this should be fun.
The mine has a bunch of cool encounters. I'll probably cut out some locations when I run this.

Scarlet Moon Hall: The fire cult is posing as a druid circle.  They have this giant wicker man that's on fire (it actually has a fire elemental bound in it - awesome) and they're having a celebration. It's a smaller location that includes all sorts of stuff:
  • Another captured brown bear (whats with this adventure and imprisoned bears?)
  • A druid and two sprites who are hanging out, unaware that this is all a front for the fire cult. I can do a lot of cool stuff with this.
  • A spy from another cult!
  • A potential fight on burning scaffolding.
This area looks very promising!

Chapter 4: Air, Earth, Fire and Water

The throne room of Marlos Unrayle
This chapter kicks off with a few encounters to sprinkle throughout the campaign. There is absolutely no way anybody can run this campaign and keep all this straight. Many of these encounters deal with a really cool item like the devastation orb, which is kind of like an elemental bomb.

Then we get into the four temple dungeons, which are the heart of the adventure. From what I understand, once the PCs kill one of the prophets, the other 3 flee to the fane and the nodes.

Temple of Howling Hatred:

Tons of cool stuff in here. This is a great dungeon. Stuff that stuck out to me:
  • The classic "prisoners endlessly pushing the rotating wheel" thing - massive stone pillars with crossbeams that form spokes pushed around and around by humans being whipped.
  • A minstrel and his band playing horrible music on bone flutes. My party bard and jester will love this.
  • Kenku using their mimic ability that I always forget about.
  • A pyramid guarded by a skyweaver (spellcasting cultist) riding a wyvern.
  • A moat patrolled underwater by a 12 foot tall statue of a dwarf.
Temple of the Crushing Wave:

Portions of this dungeon are on a river or underground lake. Tons of cool stuff:
  • A knight riding a shark.
  • The "Troll Hole".
  • A dwarven brewery with vats that water weirds come out of (beer weirds?).
  • A dragon turtle that attacks boats.
This dungeon feels a little too big and in some ways not as cool as the air one, but it's still really good.

Temple of Black Earth:

This one is pretty good. Some cool ideas:
  • A battle with gargoyles on a walkway over a chasm.
  • A mud sorcerer (!) who worships both Ogremoch and Olhydra.
  • A priestess with a black pudding under her command.
Temple of Eternal Flame

This one looks mostly like rooms full of monsters, with a few interesting traps and a forge.

Chapter 5: Temple of the Elder Elemental Eye

We start off with some elemental disaster encounters, meant to be spread out during our heroes' journeys to and from the temple. Then we get another dungeon, which connects the temples to the nodes..

The Fane of the Eye

Long ago, drow built this place in tribute to the Elder Elemental Eye. It's a common ground for members of each cult. Things that grabbed me:
  • The PCs might get stuck in a whirlwind while flying swords attack them.
  • PCs playing hill giants in a game of tic-tac-toe.
  • A fire-breathing minotaur.
Once one prophet was slain in the above dungeons, the others fled down here. One prophet is in the fane. The other two are bunkered in their respective nodes.

From the fane, there are entrances to four elemental nodes. These nodes are locales infused with elemental power that give the cults their powers and are causing natural disasters in the region.

The Howling Caves

This is the air node. Some cool stuff:
  • There's a crazy encounter on a frozen lake that I don't want to spoil.
  • A chasm that may have to be crossed that has an unpredictable, raging storm going on in it.
The final room has 3 possible scenarios
  1. If Aerisi was previously slain, there's just two elementals in here.
  2. If Aerisi escaped the final battle in the temple of howling hatred, then she is here and she battles the heroes while trying to summon Yan-C-Bin, the elemental prince of air.
  3. If Aerisi escaped and she is the last surviving prophet, then she actually summons Yan-C-Bin! The PCs will have quite a fight on their hands.
This is the story in each of the nodes. Basically, the last surviving prophet ends up summoning a prince of elemental evil that the heroes will have to defeat. So if one prophet is killed up in the temple, and one is killed in the fane, that leaves two in the nodes. The last surviving prophet summons a prince of elemental evil.

The Plunging Torrents

The water node has some neat encounters:
  • This entire place is partially submerged, so our heroes will need to use a boat or swim.
  • There's hovering globes of water and an aboleth reaching into the minds of the PCs. 
  • A battle with a hydra among wrecked ships.
The final battle scenario here is just like the Aerisi one. If Gar is the last surviving prophet, he will summon Olhydra.

The Black Geode

The earth node. It is a cavern lit by luminous violet crystals. Things that stick out to me:
  • There's a bunch of great random encounters that could really enhance a battle. Stuff like a ceiling collapse or a fissure opening up in the floor under a party member.
  • Glowing crystals that can enchant those looking into their light.
  • As the PCs cross a bridge over a chasm, boulders animate and roll through them! What a great idea.
If Marlos is the last surviving prophet, he summons Ogremoch.

The Weeping Colossus

This is the fire node, so there's obviously lava all over the place in here. What is more D&D than fighting near pools of lava?
  • Lava rain!
  • A roper made of molten magma.
  • A room with walls lined with skulls
The final battle here is pretty epic even if Vanifer is dead. There's a giant colossus that weeps lava and some other stuff I don't want to spoil.

This chapter is full of fantastic stuff!

Chapter 6: Alarums and Excursions

Here we have mini-adventures for characters of various levels.

First off, there's three level one adventures, involving bandits, a haunted crypt and a necromancer, respectively. I ran them all. They were fine, but in my opinion a lousy way to start off an elemental evil campaign.

Tomb of Moving Stones: This adventure exposes the weird goings-on in Red Larch and the dungeon right beneath people's feet. The dungeon has a very cool hallway trap and a great final room.

New Management: The heroes take over an inn and the Zhentarim cause shenanigans. This adventure really doesn't look good to me.

Iceshield Orcs: A really cool scenario where the heroes defend a compound against rampaging orcs. It could have used more detail, but I like it enough that I'm running it next week.

The Long Road: Anyone who played Tyranny of Dragons will run screaming from this scenario that involves the heroes riding in a caravan, protecting it from bandits.

Curse of the Fire Witch: A weird scenario involving barbarians attacking people that may lead to the heroes doing nothing but watching.

Vale of Dancing Waters: A trip into some dwarven ruins with a few monsters in it.

Dark Dealings in Yartar: An awesome scenario where bad guys are auctioning off a devastation orb to the highest bidder.

Rundreth Manor: The heroes go and check on a shadow dragon to see if it has joined the cult. This one looks really cool.

Halls of the Hunting Axe: This one involves a quest for a magic item known as Orcsplitter and even has an encounter on that giant stone bridge! Looks fantastic.

Chapter 7: Monsters and Magic Items

There's a ton of creative cultist types and the main villains are extremely cool. There's also stats for the princes of elemental evil: Imix, Ogremoch, Olhydra and Yan-C-Bin!

The magic items are really great. There's the 4 artifacts, a few dwarven relics, and then really cool elemental gear like a weird tank ( A tank of liquid that you strap to your back that contains a water weird that will pop out and fight for you!) and claws of the umber hulk (claw gauntlet weapons that let you burrow 20 feet per round).

I don't want to give too many details, but the magic items are top notch.

Appendix A: Genasi

Not much to say here. This is the genasi race - humanoids infused with fire, water, air or earth energy.

Appendix B: Spells

The spells are great. There's a ton of them and they're used a lot in the book. I have gotten a lot of mileage out of a few of them already, especially tidal wave.

Other Stuff

There's some notes on setting this campaign on other worlds: Greyhawk, Eberron, Dragonlance and Dark Sun.

The last few pages of the book are a sketchbook, featuring a lot of cool designs. I especially like the razerblast fire cultists.

It is amazing how much content they fit into this one book. It feels like more stuff than what they put in the two books of Tyranny of Dragons combined. Somehow Tyranny felt like it needed more pages, and this doesn't.

Now we're going to go into my overall thoughts.

The Bad Things About Princes of the Apocalypse

The Organization of this Adventure is Terrible

This is by far my biggest bone of contention with this product. The way it is organized is completely ridiculous. Material is literally spread out all over the book. You, the DM, must sit down and spend so much time putting all the pieces together.

Why are we trying to reinvent the wheel? Paizo adventure paths are linear. It's all right there, in logical order. It works. If a DM wants to pull it apart, he or she can still do that. I do it all the time.

As a sandbox, this is a hot mess. Good luck flying by the seat of your pants while trying to figure out what page the hooks are on (I swear to you they are in at least two different sections of the book), what page the scenario is, bookmarking the Dessarin Valley map, managing random encounters and handling the fact that your heroes are likely to be facing off against monsters too powerful for them, especially in the early going.

I can't fathom a new DM running this adventure successfully. If this was the first campaign a new DM tried to run, he or she is likely to run screaming from the table. I mean... the level one adventure that will begin the entire adventure for most groups is in chapter 6. Chapter 6! Why?!

The Adventure is Lame Until You Get To The Temples

From what I have seen, most people's campaigns don't make it more than a handful of sessions. Maybe that is changing with 5e. But what that means to me is that the beginning of your adventure needs to be really exciting to grab people and get them off and running. Hopefully you can propel them with thrills that will catapult them through months of gaming. At worst, at least the few sessions they do play will be fondly remembered.

Scales of War started off with an awesome encounter. The town is under attack. An ogre pulling a cart full of bomb-throwing goblins turns the corner and heads right for our heroes!

Skull and Shackles kicks off with our heroes waking up on a pirate ship stripped of their belongings. They are assigned tasks and given rum rations. They need to get good at their duties and begin to plan a mutiny against the pirate scum that forced them into labor!

Princes of the Apocalypse starts with the PCs going to investigate some bandits who have nothing to do with anything. Or, if you're sandboxing it, your heroes show up in a town known for bland crumblecake.

I can picture so many new people getting bored with this adventure by the time they get to the crypt scenario (which is in chapter 6).

No Demon Lord

When you think of Elemental Evil, chances are the first image that pops into your head is the iconic cover of Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer's Temple of Elemental Evil. That cover depicts a temple with piles of demonic carvings on it.

This adventure has shed the entire association with a demon lord (it was Zuggtmoy in TOEE). I can see why, as the four princes and prophets are more than enough villains for one adventure.

But to me, TOEE has to have a demon lord in it. Zuggtmoy's area in the original TOEE was in my opinion the best part about the whole dungeon. Zuggtmoy was pretty much the final villain. She was weird and gygaxian.

To drop the demonic element feels weird to me. It's not the end of the world or anything, but the exclusion of a demon lord makes this feel less "D&D" to me.

It's Not Set in Greyhawk

Again, not a big deal, but I'd have preferred if this was set in Greyhawk. There's just something about the Realms that rubs me the wrong way. Elemental Evil should have Hommlet, Nulb and the Circle of Eight involved in some way.

The Shiny Paper

I'm literally the only person who cares about this, but they used shiny paper for this book. I wish they had stuck with the more crusty paper they used in Tyranny of Dragons. My man-fingers smear the ink on these shiny pages.

The Good Things About Princes of the Apocalypse

Piles of Content

As I mentioned earlier, this adventure has a ton of stuff. It feels like much more material than in the two Tyranny of Dragons books combined. There's a ton of adventures, piles of great new spells, cool monsters and really great magic items. They somehow even squeezed in a few pages of sketches and designs!

Cool Artifacts

There's a ton of magic items for me to hand out. That was a big beef I had with Tyranny - no magic items. This adventure is full of cool items. You've got the four artifacts, and then major dwarven relics like Orcsplitter and The Lost Helm.

Great Dungeons

Once you get your players to the elemental dungeons and nodes, they are really good. Each area has a pile of cool ideas. I really admire the creativity that went into each place. I don't know why, but I really get a kick out of the idea of a water cult knight riding a shark and trying to run a PC through with a lance.

Tons of Art

Another complaint I had with Tyranny was that there wasn't much art. Princes is absolutely overloaded with art. It is much appreciated! It helps me describe stuff and get a clear picture of what is going on.

The drawback here is that while there is much more art in this book than in the Tyranny of Dragons books, the Princes art doesn't match the quality of the Tyranny art. There's a lot of really bland depictions of stuff, like the brown depiction of Red Larch on page 23. It's not bad, but it's not inspiring at all. It looks more like an old west town than anything. Compare it to the picture of Xonthal's Tower in Rise of Tiamat.

The Nodes

They made elemental nodes! The biggest disappointment to me in the original TOEE adventure was the fact that the elemental nodes were "do it yourself" kits. The nodes are the coolest idea, and it was annoying that they didn't bother to detail them. Each of the nodes in this adventure really use the associated element to the fullest. The authors did a great job.


Princes of the Apocalypse is a good adventure organized extremely poorly. The lower-level scenarios are really dull, but ultimately the good ideas in the main dungeons make this one worth running. This adventure is especially useful to those of you looking for material to steal for your home-brewed campaign.


Nicholas Bergquist said...

Nice review. I did notice that it seems like a fairly advanced module...the fact that it really grabbed me is a sign it's not designed for "easy mode" DMing at all...I want to agree that the module is fairly disorganized but the way its laid out really works for me. I think that says more about my organizational habits than the module, though.

Overall I agree it had more bang for the buck than the prior two adventure books combined.

Jon Bupp said...

This isn't an adventure I have thought about running, though I did get the print on demand copy of the Player's Companion. Still, your review has pushed it into a possible future purchase. It sounds like it has some great bits to it.

Sean said...

Nicholas Bergquist: Thanks! The thing that really bugs me about the layout is that in the beginning of each chapter there's little hooks or encounters meant to be placed either much earlier or later in the campaign. The placing is so random that it is going to be hard to remember them once we get to that part of the campaign.

Jon Bupp: It has a lot of great stuff in it! Thank you!

Jake Mitchell said...

Amusingly the group I ran Chapter 4 of Hoard of the Dragon queen were clamoring for more and praising it as the best session they had been in yet after I ran it.

GOD DAMN HELL for a DM though, making a linear caravan journey where the players are LITERALLY told not to do anything directly to the people they follow is just asking for a horrible session.
Took me doing extended note taking and practicing various NPC interactions for a final total of 40 NPCs including villains to make it fun for the players.
/end mini rant

As for fluctuating difficulty levels. I train my PCs to be cautious and know that while I am not out to kill them that the world will treat them in logical manners, so they know to be careful.
HOWEVER with this adventure I am finding that I am having to be VERY careful in how I am describing situations to the players so that they don't just blunder into these higher level dungeons and I have to wonder why it was written this way.

It could just be me, but the story tells players "hey go here" and then when they find a thread they are slapped down by a meta ruling through stuff like "not strong enough"
I feel that the levels for each of the cult dungeons are rather arbitrary and would have been better either being logically linear in difficulty or flat capped by tier of depth.

I don't know the answer personally and I can see why it is the way it is for a sandbox prewritten adventure. But at the same time I know that the answer they came to doesn't provide a compelling experience for an unlucky or thorough party.

Jake Mitchell said...

Honestly, nobody wants to go through a bloody training montage to progress the story in dungeons and dragons and if a party has only found one cult so far they are likely to try and follow that lead because that is the logical thing to do.
If the enemy seems too hard then the options in this adventure (to the party's knowledge that is) are to train (most likely meta and OOC)or to have the DM drop some info or an encounter on them that takes them to another cult WHERE THE SAME ISSUE CAN ARISE and of course most players will know the DM is intentionally steering them away going "hey guys, yeah too hard for you, have this instead" and that REALLY takes away from the heroic feeling :P.

Traxy said...

I'm completely new to running D&D (and pre-written adventures, tbh) and I've found it very confusing so far - only done two sessions so far, the third one is tonight. I thought it was because I'm a newbie, so thank you for making it clear that nope, it's not me, it's the actual adventure and how it's written. Thanks to your thorough review (thank you very much!) I now feel less confused, and will print it and use as a guide. :)

Sean said...

Traxy: Thanks! I am glad it is helpful. I think the main thing to keep in mind is that it's all about the heroes going to 4 outposts, 4 temples, and 4 nodes. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

robotguy said...

The book is essentially reference material, and as such REALLY NEEDS a much better index, at the least. I've been running the adventure for two different parties, for a total of around 10 sessions so far, and I am just starting to get my head around the overall structure.

Jason Hauser said...

It's a great adventure and we have 60 hours of gameplay so far, but yes, the organization could have been better. It's a scenario for an experienced DM definitely.

Jason Hauser said...

It's a great adventure and we have 60 hours of gameplay so far, but yes, the organization could have been better. It's a scenario for an experienced DM definitely.

Braden Roberts said...

I am DMing this with my party and we just started.
I think it really depends on your character. My party is having a blast just talking to NPCs and having fun. I don't really have any problems with the way it is organized.

The one problem I do agree with you about is the fact that the temples and stuff are strangely done. Low-level characters are going to die if they find one of the lamely hidden temples. Also, you don't always have to go through the Fane of the Eye to get to some of the temples.
Also, how are the players supposed to figure out the dumb codes to use the fire disc leading to the Weeping Colossus?

Anyway, I think that some of these things will be resolved as we go. I'll probably just have the PCs beat the codes out of someone, and I might use some DM Intervention if they try to go into dangerous areas, like "Suddenly, a voice appears in your head: 'Turn are not ready.'"

Sean said...

Braden Roberts: Ha, yeah that sounds like a good idea. This book is overloaded with cool little dungeons and side quest things. I bet if you roll up your sleeves you can make this into something into something pretty awesome. I kind of feel like they should have chucked most of those chapter 6 adventures and made the actual elemental dungeons longer and more detailed.

Anonymous said...

I ran (and am still running) this campaign as my first ever DM experience. I even started out with 7 players, it was really hard to manage. With a lot of preparation I managed to get through the early game, but in about 5 sessions we were down to 4 players. After a year of regular playing and 70 in-game days the players have killed the first prophet (Aerisi Kalinoth) and are really invested in the story. It was on the 1 year anniversary that the players finally found some hint as to what is actually going on. They thought it was so interesting and immediately started wondering about all kinds of things and putting together different information they've had for a long time.

In the end, I think that the slow buildup, for those that survive through it, makes the "late game" so much more interesting as a result.

Also, I really like the fact that the book spreads hints around without a linear plot to discover them. It makes it so that when I DM'd this campaign with a different group, they went in a totally different direction than the first group.

Sean said...

Anonymous: That is really awesome!I'm glad the game is working out for you. I think the dungeons and the nodes are the coolest parts of this adventure, so I imagine you're going to have some awesome sessions ahead. Thanks!

Garrick Andrus said...

Great write-up! I'm just getting into Princes, and it is a lot to juggle. I'm especially nervous about the players getting into the temples too early. I'm thinking about simply doing away with the entrances as written and placing the temples elsewhere so I can try to keep them hidden for longer. Maybe have them magically obscured in way that only a minimum 7th level caster can penetrate.

Sean said...

Garick Andrus: That's exactly what I would do! And that 7th level idea is perfect. Thank you!