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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

White Plume Mountain - D&D 5th Edition

The new season of Dungeons & Dragons Encounters starts in one month. The last season ended last week. So what should we do for a month? Sit at home?

Of course not! We run White Plume Mountain converted for 5th edition!

White Plume Mountain is one of the classic AD&D adventures from the early days of the game. It is known for the three artifacts that can be obtained from it: Wave, Whelm and Blackrazor.

In this article I am going to use pieces of art from this epic walkthrough map. This whole entry obviously is going to have spoilers for White Plume Mountain, so beware.

I had prepared the adventure earlier in the week. It's very concise, which I love. The dungeon is full of really weird "funhouse" style stuff. Although right now I am really into the cyberpunk game Shadowrun, I was quite excited about running this adventure.

I had run it once before when I was 13, but I butchered it badly. Now is my chance for redemption!

I ended up with 7 players tonight. You just never know who is going to show up at these public games. Sometimes players go on vacation and you never see them again.

There were all sorts of odd events that occurred in and around the store today. A warhammer guy lost his cellphone and thought it had been stolen, and made a bit of a scene in the store. A couple of my players, who were brother and sister, had gotten into an argument on the way to the game and were still having issues as we got underway.

Another player had just gotten back from a vacation to Sweden, which he called the worst trip of his life. He was sullen, to say the least.

Despite all of this.. the game was awesome. If I had to rate this session, I would give it a 9 out of 10. And it was all because of the Frictionless Room.

Our heroes had conquered the Doomvault. They were magically transported back home to Daggerford. After a month of resting and selling off goods, the Duke assembled them. The Duke, after all, owned Lawflame the flaming sword. He was something of a collector of kewl loot.
He tasked the adventurers with retrieving the three artifacts from the wizard Keraptis' dungeon in White Plume Mountain.

Just the description alone of White Plume Mountain is awesome. The entrance to this dungeon is in a cave that alternately spews out steam, and then "inhales" air through a small crack in the cave. The heroes were very, very wary of this whole thing.

They found a secret hatch, and before long they wading through corridors that had foot-deep water covered in algae.

The Sphinx: There's a "mangy and bedraggled" sphinx behind a wall of force. The adventurers can't pass without answering her riddle. The riddle is ridiculously easy, but amusing. The answer to 75% of all riddles: The Moon

The Hot Corridor: This is really cool. There's this long hallway with copper plates on the walls. As you go down the hallway, it heats your metal and starts doing damage. You take damage every ten feet!

Then, once you get into the room beyond, a secret door pops open and 8 ghouls attack. The idea here is that the adventurers will take off their armor and metal and send it down the hallway somehow. Then, when they get to the ghoul room, they are armorless and the ghouls chow down!

Welp, if you've read any of my Dead in Thay reports or my Scourge of the Sword Coast deals, you know that this group generally just plows headfirst into whatever. In this instance, the paladin (in full plate mail!) went down the hallway alone. He's a tiefling, so he didn't take too much damage. Then the ghouls jumped him and the rest of the group had to play catch-up.

This was the rarest of rare instances where the battle was beyond the range of the demi-humans' infravision. How odd that I even remembered that.

The paladin turned most of the ghouls. A mage dimension-doored herself and the rogue in, and the ghouls were taken care of. The ghouls were a little weak for our 9th level heroes, but I decided to leave them, because if a hero had no armor, then these ghouls were going to cause some serious problems.

The Frictionless Room: I don't even know where to start. Pit traps. Frictionless floor, ceiling and walls. In the pits are rusty razor blades. And if you are cut by a blade, make a Con save. Fail and you have SUPER-TETANUS! If someone doesn't cure disease on you, you DIE in 2-5 rounds.

I believe in this edition, cure disease is wrapped into the Lesser Restoration spell.

This room was beyond epic. A rogue jumped a pit and slid around. The others stood on a normal stone ledge and watched. They threw him a rope. But any nudge sent him slowly sliding toward a wall or pit. He fell in a couple times, but did not get the dreaded super-tetanus.

There was tons of shenanigans. The text says that spells like fly, teleport and dimension door don't work in here, but I allowed dimension door because.. well, why not? They needed the help. By the point they used it, we'd already gotten our money's worth out of the room anyway.

Two PCs were on the far side. They tossed an end of a rope to the poor sliding rogue. As he slowly slid into a wall, he tied the ends of the two ropes together, creating one 100 foot long rope.

Heroes on either end of the room held the rope taut. Our rogue grabbed on and went hand over hand, trying to cross the frictionless floor and the super-tetanus razor blade pits. He made it! One by one, our heroes took off their heavy armor and sent it over on the rope. Then they climbed across.
The cleric rolled a one. He fell in a razor blade pit and wasn't getting out any time soon. His real-life sister crossed next. She was above him on the rope. These two players had been in an argument just a little while ago and tensions were still high. She declared that she wasn't sure if she should help him out.

The group urged her on, and in real life her brother asked her to forgive him. Her character wrapped her legs around the rope, turned upside-down and reached her arms toward him. He grabbed her hands. She made a very difficult strength check and pulled him up out of the pit.

Everyone at the table cheered. They both smiled. They climbed to the far side safely. How awesome is D&D?

Everybody crossed except the dwarf, who was holding the end of the rope. He had a difficult task ahead of him. He'd have to jump the pits! He tied the rope around his waist. The heroes on the far side held it tight, so that if he fell into a pit, they could pull and prevent him from falling onto the blades.

He backed up, jumped, slid... and everybody started rolling ones. He fell in the last pit, and our dwarf got super-tetanus!

We had to stop there. What an epic session.

As I left the store and got into my car, a couple was walking across the parking lot. They were around 20 years old and dressed up nicely. I think they came from the sushi place. The guy's... date? Sister? Was loudly admonishing him. She shouted, "If you wanted to leave, then let's just leave!"

He said "Shut the F*** up", and got in the car with her.

There is all this chaos around me, and I feel very lucky to have these games. I go into the store, and everyone wants to talk to me. Tonight, I picked an old player's brain about our Shadowrun campaign from when we were 14 years old. The store manager showed me images of the new Tiamat miniature and told me Shadowrun stories. A new employee told me about her Mummy's Mask campaign, and asked me for advice on DMing and transporting miniatures.

This is the good side of running games in a game store. You feel like a really lucky person when it all works out.

8/21/14: We have finished White Plume Mountain, and it more than lived up to its' reputation as a great adventure. Here are links to the other posts:

Part 2 - Blackrazor

Part 3 - Whelm

Part 4 - Wave


Unknown said...

Maybe I missed it in your post, but where did you get a copy of a 5e version of White Plume Mountain? I can't seem to find it.


Sean said...

David Murakami: I just converted it on my own. But I think there is a group that is posting converted old adventures on the DMs Guild site, you might want to check there.

Converting didn't take long. This adventure is really great IMO.