Fiction Archive | 12/19/2008
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Streets of Shadow
Use This Book Tonight
By Robert Wiese

Welcome back to Use This Book Tonight, the feature that helps you introduce the newest D&D products into your campaign immediately. Reborn for the newest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game, this article series contains encounters, NPCs, monsters, and more to drop right into your game this very day. We start the rebirth with a product that is not a book, but is instead the latest Dungeon Tiles set Streets of Shadows.

You should see immediate uses for Streets of Shadows if your campaign is currently in a town or city, but you might not have any encounters for the streets planned out. Below you'll find just what you need: an encounter featuring a gang of thieves that can range from rooftop to sewer. To run it, you probably need two or three sets of Streets of Shadows tiles: one set to make rooftop and streets sections, and the other for the sewers. Some diagrams have been included to show the tile layouts for this encounter.



Thieves in the Streets

The PCs start in an open marketplace in a town or city. The market is in a wide street surrounded by shops (see the first map for the tile layout). This market is well-known throughout the region for making available a wide variety of interesting and foreign goods, especially certain items of a questionable nature. Everyone knows that at least one fence is doing business there, but the authorities have not yet found where the fence operates. It is twilight in the market, though the trading shows no signs of slowing down. Place the tiles according to the accompanying map, and add some random commoners in other squares to add to the clutter of people (and cut off direct lines between the PCs and the thieves). The PCs begin the encounter at the purple and white tent.

Tekolah and his gang of thieves have stolen something of value from the fence that is based in the back of the building on the square where all the thief starting positions are. Solin (T2), Murin (T3), Killenn (A4), and Farnala (A5) all begin on the roof hiding, and they have a +10 bonus to their Stealth checks due to the activity in the market (a distraction), their higher position, and the cover offered on the roof. Check against the passive Perception of the player characters to see if any of the thieves are noticed.

The encounter begins when Tekolah runs out the door and around the corner to position T1 (his starting position). There, he grabs a rope that is hanging down as his last action. Then roll initiative for everyone but Solin and Murin (positions T2 and T3), who go first. This is only to make the chase more exciting; it should have no other impact since their first action is to pull on the rope and pull Tekolah up to the roof on their turn. Thus, when the PCs can take actions, all five thieves are on the roof.

The thieves move across the roofs toward the ladder and sewer grate in the north part of the map, with Killenn and Farnala shooting and moving to slow any pursuit. They are not expecting any, but they have planned for it. Once down the ladder, they slip down the grate into the sewer and continue their escape. They move toward the very bottom of the second map, where another ladder on the square right off the map area leads back into the city. If the thieves make it this far, they disappear into a maze of alleys.

This encounter has the format of being a chase followed by combat with the thieves. The problem is that a chase is a skill challenge, and thus it involves a lot of dice rolling. It is difficult to portray this with figures and tiles because success does not depend on moving faster but on making the right number of successes. One suggestion for running the encounter is to give the PCs a -2 speed penalty every round in which any of them fails a skill check, and a +1 speed bonus in any round in which any of them succeed.

Urban Chase
Level 12
Skill Challenge
XP 700
Time to chase down those thieves! Are you up for it?
When the number of successes reaches 10, allow the PCs to move even closer to the thieves. You'll have to adjust the speed of the thieves to keep the groups a believable distance apart until the PCs succeed or fail. And remember that the PCs don't have to catch the thieves to use ranged attacks on them, so be sure to have the thieves use as much cover as possible when the danger of ranged attacks is present.
Complexity 5 (requires 12 successes before 3 failures).
Primary Skills Acrobatics, Athletics, Endurance.
Other Skills Perception.
Victory The PCs catch the thieves, which leads to combat with the thieves.
Defeat The thieves escape. This might lead into a larger adventure that involves finding them.
Acrobatics DC 15 (1 success, no maximum). A failed check indicates that the PC takes a spill and loses one healing surge, in addition to counting as a failure for the challenge.
The PC dodges past an obstacle, vaults over a crowd, or crosses a narrow passage to close or lengthen the distance between the PC and the opponent.
Athletics DC 15 (1 success, no maximum). A failed check indicates that the PC gets banged up and loses one healing surge, in addition to counting as a failure for the challenge.
The PC runs fast, scales a wall, leaps a fence, or swims across a canal to gain an advantage in the chase.
Endurance DC 12 (1 success, no maximum). The PC must make at least one Endurance check during the skill challenge to stave off fatigue. A successful check means the PC continues on with a success, but a failure means the PC has to catch his or her breath and either loses one healing surge or does not move for a round.
The PC successfully shakes off the effects of arduous activity.
Perception DC 12 (0 successes, no maximum). Using this skill doesn't count as a success or failure for the challenge, but it instead provides a +2 bonus or a -2 penalty to the next character's skill check.
The PC spots a shortcut, notices a hiding space, or otherwise aids the cause.

Tekolah (T1)
Level 12 Skirmisher
Medium fey humanoid, elf
XP 700
Initiative +13 Senses Perception +10, low-light vision
HP 123; Bloodied 61
AC 26; Fortitude 23, Reflex 26, Will 22
Speed 7; see also wild step
Melee Short Sword (standard; at-will) Weapon
+17 vs. AC; 1d6 + 6 damage.
Ranged Shortbow (standard; at-will) Weapon
Ranged 15/30; +17 vs. AC; 1d8 + 10 damage.
Melee Deft Strike (standard; at-will) Weapon
Tekolah moves up to 2 squares and makes a melee basic attack at a +2 bonus.
Melee Glacial Strike (standard; usable while wielding a short sword; recharge 56) Cold, Weapon
+17 vs. AC; 2d4 + 6 cold damage, and the target is immobilized until the end of Tekolah's next turn.
Elven Accuracy (free; encounter)
Tekolah can reroll an attack roll. He must use the second roll, even if it's lower.
Wild Step
Tekolah ignores difficult terrain when he shifts.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Elven
Skills Acrobatics +16, Athletics +12, Nature +15, Stealth +16, Thievery +16
Str 13 (+7)
Dex 21 (+11)
Wis 19 (+10)
Con 19 (+10)
Int 16 (+9)
Cha 12 (+7)
Equipment chainmail, short sword, shortbow, quiver of 30 arrows

Solin and Murin (T2, T3)
Level 12 Skirmisher
Medium natural humanoid, shadar-kai
XP 700 each
Initiative +13 Senses Perception +10, low-light vision
HP 119; Bloodied 59
AC 26; Fortitude 24, Reflex 26, Will 22
Speed 6; see also darting daggerdoom and shadow jaunt
Melee Dagger (standard; at-will) Weapon
+17 vs. AC; 1d4 + 6 damage.
Ranged Shuriken (standard; at-will) Weapon
Ranged 6/12; +17 vs. AC; 1d6 + 6 damage.
Melee Darting Daggerdoom (standard; usable while wielding a dagger; recharge 56) Necrotic, Weapon
Solin or Murin shifts 6 squares and makes 3 dagger attacks at any points during the move. They can attack a given enemy only once, but they deal 1d6 extra necrotic damage with each successful hit.
Ranged Slicing Storm (standard; usable while wielding shuriken; encounter) Lightning, Weapon
Ranged 6/12; +17 vs. AC; 3d6 + 9 lightning damage and the target is blinded until the end of Solin's or Murin's next turn.
Sneak Attack
Once per round, when Solin or Murin has combat advantage against an enemy, an attack made against that enemy deals 3d6 + 3 extra damage if the attack hits.
First Strike
At the start of an encounter, Solin and Murin have combat advantage against any creatures that have not yet acted in that encounter.
Shadow Jaunt (move; encounter) Teleportation
Solin and Murin can teleport 3 squares and become insubstantial until the start of their next turn.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common
Skills Acrobatics +18, Athletics +15, Stealth +18, Streetwise +12, Thievery +16
Str 19 (+10)
Dex 21 (+11)
Wis Wis 19 (+10)
Con 15 (+8)
Int 13 (+7)
Cha 12 (+7)
Equipment chainmail, dagger, 20 shuriken

Killenn and Farnala (A4, A5)
Level 12 Soldier
Medium fey humanoid, elf
XP 700 each
Initiative +13 Senses Perception +10, low-light vision
HP 118; Bloodied 59
AC 28; Fortitude 25, Reflex 25, Will 22
Speed 7; see also wild step
Melee Longsword (standard; at-will) Weapon
+19 vs. AC; 1d8 + 6 damage, and the target is marked until the end of Killenn's or Farnala's next turn.
Ranged Longbow (standard; at-will) Weapon
Melee Fiery Blow (standard; encounter) Fire, Weapon
+19 vs. AC; 1d8 + 6 damage plus 2d6 fire damage, and the target is pushed 1 square. The target is dazed and marked until the end of Killenn's or Farnala's next turn.
Melee Powerful Strike (standard; usable while wielding a longsword; at-will) Weapon
+19 vs. AC; 1d8 + 12 damage, and the target is knocked prone.
Elven Accuracy (free; encounter)
Killenn and Farnala can reroll an attack roll. They must use the second roll, even if it's lower.
Wild Step
Killenn and Farnala ignore difficult terrain when they shift.
Alignment Evil
Languages Common, Elven
Skills Acrobatics +16, Athletics +15, Nature +15, Stealth +16, Thievery +16
Str 19 (+10)
Dex 21 (+11)
Wis 19 (+10)
Con 14 (+8)
Int 12 (+7)
Cha 11 (+6)
Equipment chainmail, longsword, longbow, quiver of 30 arrows

About the Author

Robert Wiese has been playing D&D since 1978 after he watched a game played in the car on the way home from a Boy Scouts meeting. He was fascinated, and delved into this strange world of dragons and magic and sourcebooks. Years later, he was hired to edit tournaments for the RPGA Network, and from there progressed to running the network after his boss was assassinated in the great Christmas purge of 1996. Times were tough, but he persevered and brought the RPGA into a shining new era. Eventually he met a girl who liked to play D&D too, and he left Renton for the warmth and casinos of Reno, Nevada. Now, he works in the Pharmacology department of UNR studying mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda, son Owen, and newborn daughter Rebecca.