The main D&D 5th Edition adventure Princes of the Apocalyse is developed as a large sandbox adventure through a lot of of flexibility to allow the pcs wander within and also throughout the physics locations and also the cults that inhabit them.
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For some games, particularly organized play games, this can not be an ideal method to run the adventure. Because that a an ext streamlined adventure, it"s far better to have actually clear threads and also seeds that assist draw the computers from one situation to another.
Before we start to dig deep right into this look in ~ threading together the adventures in Princes the the Apocalypse, take a look at this fantastic guide to Princes of the Apocalypse on the strength Score blog. This guide is packed with beneficial information for to run Princes as either a sandbox or straight adventure and also why you might select one over the other. It also has a lengthy list of advantageous Princes that the Apocalypse links. Through that read, let"s begin.
Why run Princes Linearly?
One an excellent reason to run Princes in a straight fashion is the level selection of the assorted parts the the adventure. In the adventure book itself, it defines the proper level variety for every one of the smaller sized adventures in chapter 6 the take pcs from level 1 come 3, and also then, in sequence, every one of the Haunted Keeps that take pcs from level 3 to level 7. Feathergale is tuned because that level 3. Rivergard is because that level 4. The Sacred rock Monastery is level 5, and also Scarlet Moon room is designed because that level 6 PCs. If run as a sandbox, the PCs can find themselves outmatched by their opponents but not so far outmatched that they know to run. This can end up resulting in a negative game if not taken on well.
There"s an additional issue v the architecture of the module. If the PCs discover the entrances into the holy place dungeons in ~ the haunted keeps. These room MUCH higher level than the keeps (7,8,9, and 10). So there is the potential the a an extremely low level computer will finish up in a very high dungeon.
Again, the human being shouldn"t change itself roughly to suit the level that the PCs, but players may obtain frustrated if they find themselves outmatched by what they find.
There are some subtle ways to resolve this problem. They can get a many passive insight checks to realize the the area they are in is past their power. Now, if they decision to go, they understand what they"re gaining into.
Another problem, however, can occur if high level PCs need to return to a low level area and find the boring. It can be funny to overcome one group of bad guys in one encounter, yet do that for a couple of sessions and players may acquire bored.
How to run Princes Linearly
There space a pair of ways to assist keep Princes on track and guide pcs to the appropriate directions there is no making the whole game feel too much like a railroad. Very first of all, which clues are clearly overt and also which are more subtle? The sight of gigantic vultures being ridden by knights can be far more interesting to explore than attempting to uncover an unknown monastery of some weird monks. Glowing the best light on a reservation can provide players the clear blog post that one method is the right means to go.
You can also easily steer direction by withholding information. If the PCs never ever hear about Scarlet Moon Hall, they"re definitely not walking to end up at its prior door.
To key or no To Key
There"s a more direct method to prevent the pcs from accidentally start the 4 elemental temples before it"s time—lock the doors. Instead of leave them vast open, every of the temples might be locked through a distinct iron door that have the right to only be opened up with a an essential of four parts. Each part of the an essential is organized by one of the four leaders the the Haunted Keeps: Thurl Merosska, Gar Shatterkeel, Hellenrae, and Elizar. The weapons of the prophets (see web page 5) act as keys for the 4 prophets themselves yet they had actually a 5th key. Quite than to trust it to any kind of one lieutenant, they break-up it and also gave one piece to every of the four. This deserve to work together a reason for the 4 lieutenants to battle versus one one more in effort to gain access to the holy places themselves.
It additionally gives the PCs access to the temples once they have defeated all four lieutenants. If castle don"t actually get it indigenous a lieutenant, that lieutenant could come after lock directly, giving the pcs a chance to victory the vital segment in a huge battle.
Thread come the Haunted Keep: Red Larch to Feathergale
Let"s look in ~ some certain examples you deserve to use come tie with each other the object in the early on stages the the adventure.
If you begin the adventure v Chapter 6, taking computers from level 1 come 3 and exposing the treachery the the Believers, girlfriend will want to number out just how to obtain the pcs from Red Larch to the Feathergale Spire. The easiest way to perform this is emphasis their fist on the Shallow graves scenario on page 43. This is a funny murder an enig that can reveal battle between the Black planet cultists and the riders indigenous Feathergale. If lock don"t get the hint, probably they see a an installed flier flying end the hills to the canyon comprise the spire.
What girlfriend DON"T want to carry out is offer them hints or hints that would lead castle to find the monastery. Whatever hints they expose need to all command them to Feathergale.
Feathergale Spire to Rivergard Keep
Once the computers have encountered Feathergale, which has a many interesting choices all ~ above it"s own, you"ll want another thread to bring them come Rivergard Keep. The best way to carry out this is to downplay the friction between the air cult and also the planet cult and also focus on just how the earth cult provided the pirates at Rivergard store to move kidnapped members of the Miribarian Delegation (a main point story thread in between all the keeps). Together written, the head of Feathergale will provide PCs the whereabouts of the Sacred stone Monastery but it functions out much much better if he offers them the location of Rivergard instead.
It"s feasible the pcs will watch the cavern leading right into the holy place of Howling Hatred and the substantial ancient door that now blocks it. This offers them the clue that they will have to acquire four parts of the key to get additional below.
Rivergard store to Sacred stone Monastery
As a secret monastery secluded deep in the Sumber Hills, it"s simple to save it covert from the pcs until the moment is right. The easiest way to attach the dots is to provide Grimjaw a note or manifest that the slave labor sold in between Rivergard Keep and also the Monastery including directions or a map. Till then, the PCs might hear of secret monks in the hills put on strange golden masks and also rumors that a great dig going on in ~ an old forgotten monastery.
The lich in Sacred stone Monastery can be a particularly interesting NPC if you get past the whole "evil force well past the capability of the PCs" cliche. The lich could hold too many of information of the construction and also use that the 4 haunted keeps and also the rumors that what place below.
The actions of the monks need to reveal a great dig arising beneath the monastery. What specifically are lock digging for? probably they look for relics that Tyar-Besil that help them unlock the nodes. Probably they seek components to construct devastation orbs. You can add your very own hook in right here if the PCs occur to it is in seeking something rather at this suggest in the adventure. If you desire to include some amazing flavor to this relics, consider turning them right into single-use magic items.
Again, the computers can find a 2nd door causing the holy places below and know the the vital piece they got is one of the 4 needed to open any kind of of these lower gates.
Sacred rock Monastery to Scarlet Moon Hall
For straightforward transition in between the Sacred stone Monastery and Scarlet Moon room is to provide the pcs no real clues around Scarlet Moon Hall until it"s their next location. It"s feasible the computers will go back to Red Larch or you could skip ahead and begin through the pcs returning come town. All of the elemental craziness has made the villagers subtable come charismatic leaders and also many of lock have begun to monitor this new profit, Elizar, that swears that a great cleansing at Scarlet Moon Hall will certainly reset the balance of the elements.
For some fun background, take into consideration watching the fantastic horror movie the Wicker man with Christopher Lee. It"s most likely the wicker giant in this component of the adventure was influenced by the 1973 movie. Christopher Lee"s personality is a perfect NPC archetype for Elizar.
As the villagers head come Scarlet Moon Hall, they deserve to witness local folk conducting all sorts of stunner rituals. Right here are 1d8 crazy-ass rituals the PCs might witness:Villagers rise a tree and also leap right into the waiting claiming the the waiting will lug them up. Rather they walk crashing down.Villagers place prone surrounding a goat happy munching grass. The goat has the element symbol the fire painted ~ above it and also two sticks of incense rolling smoke attached come its horns.A villager has actually a live fish wiggling half-way the end of his mouth. If the pcs ask him around it, the pops the out and says "sore throat" before putting it back in again.Villager walk completely naked and covered head come foot in mud and clay.A villager runs up to one of the PCs, spits a good spray that salt water right into their face, and says "we have been reborn!" prior to happily running off.Three villagers sit in a triangle, hands organized together, while a little flame dances between them.A number of villagers dig right into soft mud through their hands occasionally crying out "we room coming, my lord!"A variety of villagers organize a long rope attached to a large kite paris overhead. An additional villager is tied to the kite and happily shouts about his ascendance.
Much the the remainder of the Scarlet Moon hall adventure deserve to take location as is.
Bonus Tip: operation Scarlet Moon Hall as a One-Shot Adventure
If you"re trying to find a fun one-shot adventure, think about running the entirety Scarlet Moon hall chapter as its own stand-alone adventure. It"s self-contained and offers numerous opportunity for exploration, interaction, and also combat. That is an ideal for computers of level 5.
In fact, almost all of Princes that the Apocalypse can be broken down into individual adventures or the components of adventures you can use in your very own world. While over there is a huge overarching story, the locations and also characters transparent the adventure would all make for interesting shorter stories.
The an essential Is Formed
With all 4 of the haunted keeps cleared out, all 4 lieutenants defeated, and with every four an essential parts in their possession, the computers are free to check out the depths of Tyar-Besil in any order castle wish. Because PCs are likely to be level 7 by the moment they begin this component of the adventure, they must be more free to explore the ruins listed below the Sumber Hills in any kind of order they seek. Sometimes it will be a tiny harder, periodically a tiny easier, but they have the right to surely take care of what they face and also it"s easy to song it if it"s too hard or also easy.
Ending The Adventure Early
You may have a desire come close increase Princes that the Apocalypse without going through the entire second fifty percent of the adventure. Here are some thoughts around how you deserve to still construct a clear conclusion to the adventure there is no needing to death all 4 prophets or exploring each that the nodes.
In this abbreviation version, as soon as they have the secrets to the four elemental temples, the pcs can select one of those temples. While lock do, all 4 prophets room attempting to develop Devastation Orbs but are can not to perform so together the currently of tension between each of castle stresses the currently of power. Only as soon as one the the prophets falls will an additional succeed.
Whichever that the four elemental temples they explore, the pcs make their method down right into the elemental node wherein they confront their an initial prophet. On defeating the first prophet, among the computers receives a premonition of the opposite prophet completing their orb and releasing it on the town of Red Larch. They should rush earlier to the city of Red Larch to prevent the 2nd prophet from ruining the town.
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When lock arrive, the 2nd prophet unleashes the strength of their devastation orb and also their aligned element prince is traction in. This element prince starts to ruin the town. The computers must confront the prophet and stop the elemental prince by ruining the element orb. Any type of successful DC 17 arcana or athletics check against the orb inflicts damage to the elemental prince same to one 3rd to of its fight points. Just one check against the orb can be take away in a round. V the prophet and also the elemental prince destroyed, the PCs have actually saved the city of Red Larch.