Excerpts Archive | 5/3/2010
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Storm Tower
Dungeon Magazine Annual

Dungeon Magazine Annual gathers a year’s worth of adventures published in Dungeon magazine into one easy-to-reference source. The adventures contained herein provide hundreds of hours of play, and each of them fits easily into a Dungeon Master's existing D&D campaign.

In addition to the compiled adventures, this book contains never-before-seen notes from the designers, developers, and editors that take you behind the curtain, offering a firsthand glimpse into the origin and evolution of each adventure.

In early 2008, Wizards of the Coast teamed up with the mad geniuses of Penny Arcade to create a very special D&D 4th Edition podcast. In today's excerpt, we introduce the adventure these podcast participants ran through: “Storm Tower”, designed for five 3rd-level characters. It begins in the town of Fallcrest, where the heroes have been residing for a short while… just long enough for rumors of their heroism to begin circulating among the locals.

Storm Tower

The Lord Warden of Fallcrest ordered the reconstruction of a damaged tower that once kept watch over the Witchlight Fens to the south and the Ogrefist Hills to the west. He hired a team of dwarf stonemasons from the stronghold of Hammerfast and sent them to the tower.

Yesterday, while training raw recruits in the cold, muddy fields west of Fallcrest, Nathan Faringray—a captain in the town militia—was surprised to see Sorik Orvash, one of the dwarf stonemasons, staggering along the road toward town. The captain confronted Sorik and learned that brigands had attacked the ruined tower the previous morning. Sorik described the gang of brigands as a mixture of armored humans and walking skeletons. The humans looked haggard, their faces painted to resemble yellow skulls. This evil force overcame the guards at the tower, yet Sorik escaped. Taking advantage of the fog and rain, he fled unseen.

The Lord Warden has instructed Captain Faringray to dispatch another force to reclaim the tower. Rather than risk more of the town’s militia, Faringray has decided to hire a party of adventurers. He has heard reports that such a party currently resides in Fallcrest, and that these adventurers can be trusted with such an important task.

(1.6 Mbs PDF)

Behind the Curtain: The Yellowskull Bandits

Chapter 11 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide describes the town of Fallcrest in detail and provides an overview of the surrounding Nentir Vale. The oneparagraph description of the Temple of Yellow Skulls (on page 208) provided the inspiration for the Yellowskull bandits.

In the podcast, I made the bandit leader, Jeras Falck, a servant of Kalarel, the main villain from Keep on the Shadowfell. This worked for the podcast because the players had already crossed paths with Kalarel and hated his guts. (They called him “Karl.”) Falck and Kalarel both hung around with undead creatures, so it wasn’t much of a stretch. However, I was more intrigued by the notion that Falck was a pawn of darker powers lurking in the Temple of Yellow Skulls.

—Chris Perkins

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