Monday, October 03, 2011

Dead Orcs Society Solo Adventures - Lenneth

Once again, from the Dead Orcs Campaign Files comes another solo adventure. Featured today is the solo adventure of the party's Ranger.

Lenneth is an elf Ranger that specializes in the use of the long bow. He's the group's most powerful striker. Lenneth & Lyreika go way back, as Lyreika's father use to run a trade route that included the outpost where Lenneth could often be found acting as a local guide. When this story occurs, Lenneth has been tracking the famed White Stag, a creature prominent in the local elves' legends.

As a reminder, each adventure follows a simple (but easily adaptable) formula:

Encounter one uses minions and sets the hero on the path.

Encounter two utilizes a simple skill challenge.

Encounter three uses both minions and a level appropriate "boss" figure roughly equal to the hero's strength. The difficulty of this encounter is based on how well the hero does during the skill challenge just prior. If the hero fails the skill challenge, this challenge will likely include several minions as well as the "boss" figure.

Here's what the encounter looks like (encounter created in Masterplan 11.1). Please note that when writing adventures for myself, I often leave out the minor details of certain things so that I have room to ad-lib with the player. If the notes from the adventure below do not seem polished, this is why.

You'll also note that I while Masterplan assigns XP to the various encounters, I did not track this. These adventures were designed as flashbacks. Skip to the bottom to see the followup.

DeadOrcs_Solo_Lenneth

 
An adventure for 1 character of level 1.

By Randall Walker


Chasing The White Stag


It's been a quiet morning. The woods are silent but for your footsteps and the occasional call of a bird. Suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you catch site of the famed White Stag, the ultimate quarry!

Lenneth, intent on proving himself a skilled hunter, sets off after the famed White Stag, only to find himself hunting down more than he bargained for.

Encounter75 XP
Level 1
Opponents3
Starved Dogx3


Illumination
:
Bright light (daylight).

Features of the Area
:

Trees
 
Several trees surround the encounter area granting cover and blocking line of sight.

Setup
:
The White Stag starts at the far end of the encounter area and bounds off the map after the first round. The Starving Dogs leap out into the middle of the encounter area. The hero begins at the opposite end of the encounter area away from the White Stag.

Tactics
:
The Starving Dogs were initally going to take a shot at the White Stag, but seeing it moving too quickly, decide that its hunter (the Hero) would make an easier meal. The Starving Dogs are very hungry and attack aggressively, fighting to their death.

Items Of Note
:
One of the Starving Dogs is wearing a fine leather collar with silver studs. The collar is worth 10 GP.

Starved Dog 
Small natural beast
Level 1 Minion 
25 XP
HP 1Initiative +2
AC 15; Fort 10; Ref 13; Will 11Perception +1
Speed 8low-light vision
Standard Actions
Bite ♦ At-Will (basic attack)
Attack: +6 vs AC
4 damage.
Str: 14 (+2) 
Con: 13 (+1)
Dex: 15 (+2) 
Int: 3 (-4)
Wis: 12 (+1) 
Cha: 8 (-1)
Alignment Unaligned

The Glade Of Illusion


Chasing the White Stag, you have stumbled into a curious glade of very large purple flowers that sway to and fro. Periodically, the flowers emit a sickly looking cloud of green pollen. On the other side of the glade, stands the White Stag, taunting you.

The White Stag lures the Hero into a glade of strange flowers that emit clouds of poisonous pollen. The Hero must dodge the various flowers and get to the other side of the glade in order to continue the chase. 

However, there is a catch. Each failure during this skill challenge results in the Hero seeing an additional White Stag.

The Glade Of Illusion200 XP
Level 1 
Complexity 2 (requires 6 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills
Acrobatics (DC 12): Dodging the flowers, the hero easily avoids the pollen they emit. The hero may use this skill multiple times.
Success: The hero gains 1 success and progresses across the glade.
Failure: The hero takes 1d6 points of poison damage, gains 1 failure, and a copy of the White Stag appears.

Endurance (DC 19): Taking a deep breath the hero tries to prevent breathing in the poisonous pollen. The hero can only use this skill check twice.
Success: The hero gains 1 success and progresses through the glade.
Failure: The hero takes 1d6 poison damage, gains 1 failure, and another copy of the White Stag appears.

Stealth (DC 12): Moving slowly and quietly the hero attempts to move around the flowers without setting them off. The hero may use this skill check only once.
Success: The hero gains 2 successes and continues to progress across the glade.
Failure: The hero takes 1d6 points of poison damage, gains 1 failure, and another copy of the White Stag appears at the end of the glade.

Other Skills
Nature (DC 19): Before entering the glade, the hero remembers some obscure nature lore that help succeed at the challenge.
Success: The hero gains a +2 on his next Endurance check. This skill can only be used before entering the glade.
Failure: No effect.

Perception (DC 19): Eying the flowers carefully, the hero is able to perceive and predict their movement, better avoiding their poisonous pollen.
Success: The hero gains a +2 on his next Acrobatics or Stealth check. The hero can only use this skill once either before or during the challenge.
Failure: No effect.

Victory
The hero makes it through the glade relatively unharmed and only confronts one White Stag (White Stag copies that may have appeared during the challenge, fade away).
Defeat
The hero sees an additional White Stag for each failure of the skill challenge (4 in total).

Confronting The White Stag


If the hero was successful at the Glade of Illusion, read the following: You have caught up with your prey. As you take aim, the White Stag turns and speaks, "Strike me down, hunter and seal my fate". 

If the hero failed during the Glade of Illusion, read the following: Brushing the last of the poisonous pollen from you, you look up to find yourself surrounded by four identical White Stags. In unison they speak, "Foolish Hunter, do you not realize the power of the White Stag? Prepare now, to face our wrath!"

The Hero finally confronts his prey, The White Stag. Depending on how the previous skill challenge went, the Hero will either be facing the single (and true) White Stag, or the single (and true) White Stag alongside 3 other identical illusions.

Encounter175 XP
Level 4
Opponents4
White Stag Illusionx3
White Stag


Illumination
:
Bright light (sunlight).

Features of the Area
:
Numerous trees block line of sight and provide cover.

Setup
:
If the Hero faces the White Stag alone, place the White Stag anywhere in a central location on the encounter map. The Hero begins anywhere within 6 squares of the White Stag. 

If the Hero faces the White Stag and its duplicates, place the Hero in the center of the encounter map and place the 4 White Stags around the Hero anywhere within 4 squares.

Tactics
:
If the Hero chooses to attack, the White Stag defends itself. It will fight to the death. 

If the Hero does not attack, see Alternative Outcome below:

Items Of Note
:
Regardless of whether or not the Hero slays the White Stag, he ends up with the Pendant of the White Stag.

Alternative Outcomes
:
If the Hero does not attack, the White Stag speaks: "You have chosen not to strike me down. Perhaps you are wiser than I realized." The White Stag then fades into the form of a beautiful woodland spirit. "Continue your work to preserve the forest, and keep this." The spirit then hands a pendant (shaped as a White Stag) to the Hero.

White Stag Illusion 
Medium natural beast
Level 1 Minion 
25 XP
HP 1Initiative -1
AC 15; Fort 13; Ref 12; Will 11Perception +0
Speed 8
Standard Actions
Hoof Kick ♦ At-Will (basic attack)
Range: Melee
Attack: +6 vs AC
4 damage.
Str: 14 (+2) 
Con: 12 (+1)
Dex: 12 (+1) 
Int: 1 (-5)
Wis: 10 (+0) 
Cha: 8 (-1)
Alignment Unaligned

White Stag 
Medium natural beast
Level 1 Skirmisher 
100 XP
HP 26; Bloodied 13Initiative +2
AC 15; Fort 13; Ref 13; Will 13Perception +0
Speed 6 squareslow-light
Standard Actions
Bite ♦ At-Will
Range: Melee
Attack: +6 vs AC
1d8+4 damage
Antler Rake ♦ Recharges on 5-6
Attack: +4 vs Reflex
1d10 +6 damage
Str: 10 (+0) 
Con: 10 (+0)
Dex: 10 (+0) 
Int: 10 (+0)
Wis: 10 (+0) 
Cha: 10 (+0)
Alignment Unaligned



The Feedback:

Russell is the youngest player in the group, and I've only been playing with him since 2008 when I re-booted the Dead Orcs Society. Of all my players, he's the one that I would tag as my "power gamer", as he genuinely enjoys building a character's stats to their greatest potential. While those skills have made him an invaluable team member (his Ranger does insane amounts of damage, even at Heroic levels), I sometimes worry that he's not getting as much as either of us would like out of the role-playing aspects of the game.

As we played through his brief solo adventure, I experience both what I expected out of Russell's character, and a total surprise. First, I had expected him to do well on the combat encounters, and this turned out to be true. However, he really breezed past the skill challenge. Acrobatics was one of the primary skills to use, and Lenneth's was pretty much maxed out. With a Dexterity of 20, Russell pretty much spammed Acrobatics, and breezed through. After seeing how the first two encounters went, I figured the third encounter would be the same. I was totally wrong. While I had written an alternative conclusion to the adventure, I really had no idea that Russell would have his character actually take this option. It was amazing to watch, and to see first hand an excellent example for why a DM shouldn't make assumptions about his players. The most amazing quote from my power gamer player during the final encounter was this (paraphrased), "I hunt for sustenance only. Why would I strike you down for the sheer thrill of it?" It was an awesome role-playing moment I won't forget.

Feel free to steal any or all the elements of the brief encounters listed above. As always, I'd love to hear your feedback regarding solo adventures, skill challenges, or anything else for that matter. In among other posts, you'll see the remaining adventures as my players schedule time with me to play.


Until next time...


Game excellently with one another.

6 comments:

  1. I haven't been GM'ing for nearly as long, but my players, many of which are long time friends, still frequently surprise me with the roleplaying choices they make. We do our best to prepare, but there are many things that we cannot prepare for. I believe that this is what makes tabletop gaming exciting for GMs and Storytellers that allow their players choice and encourage roleplaying. Good work. =)

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  2. @Grimspiration - Thanks, and I think you're absolutely correct! It's great to be surprised by your players now and again.

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  3. I think that was a great write-up: the way you introduced this scene and then set the action for a 4e encounter is a great example of how to use the new rules to set an 'old-school' scene

    I'm curious if the collar was a 'hook' or just embellishment?

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  4. @olybuzz Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the kind words. Building these solo adventures was a lot of fun. As for the collar, it was simply an embellishment. Maybe Lenneth will keep it for a memento. :-)

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  5. Umbramancer9:14 PM

    Wonderful writeup! I too love using solo adventures at the start of a campaign. Short episodes like this help the player get 'into' the characters, as they feel more solid than the background story that the player writes for his character.. Once group play starts, everyone has a stronger background to help bring the character to life.

    Also, the actual write up you present here is excellent. It's inspired me to look into Masterplan.

    If I might ask, perhaps in the next episode of DMRT, I'd love to hear your opinions and ideas on building solo adventures like these, particularly in regards to encounter design and any pitfalls to avoid. Does the XP budget math hold true for the most part, with only a single character?

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  6. @Umbramancer Thank you for stopping by, I'm glad you're enjoying these posts! Masterplan works really well for adventure/campaign planning. I haven't used its combat management tool much, nor have I used the mapping functions much, but I understand those are pretty robust as well.

    As for the DMRT, 1) Thanks for listening! and 2) We'll see. We might cover it in a future podcast...who knows! :-) However, I can address the XP part. The budget math does work out, but I didn't use it for these particular adventures, since they were flashbacks. Masterplan computes the XP, but I didn't use it.

    ReplyDelete