Saturday 20 January 2018

Here Be Dungeons 14: Falling Stone Mine

click to make big

Falling Stone Mine: an ancient shrine to Grumbar that has been conquered by the Cult of Black Earth (final map for my Adventurer's League module "DDEX2-4: Mayhem in the Earthspur Mines").



    I loved this module and my players are still talking about multiple aspects of it.

    My players are all business and had no intention of joining the fray. After saving the Stone Dwarf (which was touch and go because he immediately dashed to the fore of the fight), they marched straight to the mine to meet his brother. After a very touching reunion, they had their marching orders and were off to the mine as the Stone Dwarf and cousins, now reconciled with his brother, stays at his bedside. I added a bit where the dwarves gave them a small barrel with one dose per party member of a healing potion called a "beard stiffener" that does 20 hp and removes a condition. I have a small party and they need the healing. They wound up using one of the doses to save one of the miners! You'd almost think they were fishing for inspiration, but they always forget about that.

    They took the mine-cart entrance and were nearly killed by the bullettes. They discover the broken guardian right away and immediately jump to the false conclusion that all the guardians have been destroyed by the medusa. They see the entrance to the medusa's lair and studiously avoid it.

    The clanking of the machinery and steam and heat (I played it when it was winter outside) gave the overall setting a lot of atmosphere. As did the omnipresent threat of gargoyles, which were wildly swingy in combat either going down in droves or nearly dropping the party.

    The fact that there were miners everywhere was great---my players love rescuing soot-covered forgemen in distress. They herded them into the tunnels for defense as they cleared the rooms they were in.

    I was worried they wouldn't figure out the floating stones, but they absolutely loved that adventure---something about the spiral nature of the whole thing is very appealing as the chasers had to also take a roundabout route.

    Nobody remembered that you could use mirrors, and they got lucky and didn't run into the medusa (who was in 7).

    I played the end so that the gargoyles were so fed up at being bossed around by the medusa that they took her literally when she ordered them not to let anyone into her sanctum. They were criscrossed across the door making it solid stone. My players had no mining tools, but they had miners. They went and asked the miners what they should do. The miners said to drag cauldrons of slag from room 8 and seal her in. Too bad they never saw the flesh golems---they only heard tales as they led the miners back to safety.

    The belt of dwarvenkind has been one of my players favorite magic item ever. He got it as the Stone Dwarf and brother said it should be his because it's only caused them trouble (I made that the focus of their dispute). They then only like him more for saving their people and returning their next in line for the throne. It doesn't hurt that it's raised his con and the poison resistance has saved his butt countless times since (for example in the Forge of Fury).

    I liked the conflict at the end of the game. My players originally went on behalf of the authorities. In the end, they decided to pay off the miners with 2 years wages in hard gold and give the mine back to the dwarves. The dragonborn with the beginnings of a dwarven beard managed all the negotiations. The authorities were not pleased until months later when they realized the quality of goods they were getting. The dwarves eventually needed to ramp up production and hired back the original miners, so now everyone's happy down in the Tomb of the Medusa Mines...

    1. Oh, man, I can't believe I missed this write up back when you posted it! Stories like these are why I enjoy writing adventures. They make it all worthwhile. Love the beard stiffener!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.