Tutorials Archive | 5/20/2009
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Success Along the Adventure Path: 5
Den of the Destroyer
Robert Wiese

Dungeon Magazine 156 featured the beginning of a new Adventure Path called Scales of War. PCs started at 1st level and began delving into a complex plot. By this 5th adventure in Dungeon #160, "Den of the Destroyer," the PCs are 7th level on their way to 9th. Soon they'll step up to the paragon tier. To make preparation a little easier for DMs, this series describes how to make the various encounter rooms using Dungeon Tiles, and suggests D&D Miniatures to use that convey the appearance (hopefully) of the enemies. In addition, potential trouble spots are considered and suggestions for how to handle them are presented.

Pitfalls and Trouble Spots

This adventure is very well contained and tight, and it offers the PCs little chance to deviate except between parts. So, they could choose not to find the messenger and miss the adventure entirely, but they are not likely to do that (okay, mine would). You can always send a second messenger that doesn't get captured and have that person urge them to rescue the first one before going back to Brindol.

They could also choose not to go to Brindol, but again they are not likely to do that since messengers came for them. And once there, they get attacked, then the sword talks, and they are pretty much hooked. And at that point, you should have no trouble running the adventure. Even the skill challenges at the start of the adventure allow the adventure to continue if the PCs fail. The fights, though filled with potential for complexity, are not so complex that they prove difficult. It's a nice hack-and-slash fest with a lot of gnolls.

Visualizing the Game: Using Miniatures and Dungeon Tiles

The miniatures are selected from the most recent sets when possible, but occasionally there is a call for an older figure. In some cases you need a lot of the same figure, and in others you might not have the figure suggested. You usually don't need more than eight of the same figure, though. If you don't have enough, or don't want clones on the battlefield, substitute something that looks appropriate to you. That's what a good DM does, and you are (no doubt) a good DM.

The instructions for Dungeon Tiles assume you have access to all sets of the tiles (and I recommend having two or three sets of Dungeon Tiles 1st set and Arcane Corridors). The empty dungeon floor tiles come from the first three sets: Dungeon Tiles, Arcane Corridors, and Hidden Crypts. You'll need a lot of them for these maps, even though you can take apart rooms to make other rooms as the PCs progress. Special tiles have their set source listed. You can get any old figures that you don't have from various online resources or your friendly local gaming shop.


Encounter: Kidnappers

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Starting at the bottom of the hemispherical room, place two 2-by-8 tiles and two 2-by-2 tiles to make a row 2-by-20 squares. Above that, place two 2-by-8 floor tiles and two 1-by-2 floor tiles to make a row 2-by-18 squares. Above that, place four 1-by-4 tiles and two 1-by-1 tiles to make a row 1-by-18 squares. Then place two 2-by-8 tiles to make a row 2-by-16 squares. Above that, place two 1-by-4 and two 1-by-2 tiles to make a row 1-by-12 squares. Then add two 1-by-4 tiles on top to complete the room. Place double and single doors as appropriate. A 4-by-8 pool tile in Arcane Corridors can be used for the pooling water in the middle of the room. You'll have to place the low walls using something besides tiles (try pipe cleaner).

All four of the triangle rooms use the same tiles. I'll describe how to make the right one, and you just rearrange the tiles to make the others. Thus, you'll need four sets of what I am about to describe. At the edge of the hemisphere room, use one 1-by-2 floor tile, and then one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-1 next to that to make a row 1-by-5 squares. Place one 2-by-4 floor tile next to that. Place one 2-by-2 floor tile next to that, and finally place one 1-by-2 tile sideways to make the pointy end of the room.


Encounter: The Hall of Great Valor

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Make area 1 using one 2-by-4 floor tile and one 2-by-2 floor tile. Place two double doors. The main room is made using one 8-by-10 tile, and then one 2-by-8 and one 2-by-2, and then two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile. The top part of the room is made using one 2-by-4 tile and one 2-by-2 tile. The small room that is area 4 is made using one 2-by-4 tile and one 1-by-4 tile. A couple of bookcase tiles are in Arcane Corridors, and the two freestanding displays can be made using two 1-by-2 coffins from Hidden Crypts. The 3-D map can be represented using the 2-by-4 pit of glowing goo from Hidden Crypts.


Encounter: The Stairs

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Start at the top with one 2-by-4 tile and one 2-by-2 tile. Beneath them, place one 2-by-8 floor tile. Beneath them, place one 2-by-8 tile and one 2-by-2 tile to make a row 2-by-10 squares. Then add a row with one 2-by-8 tile and one 2-by-4 tile. Beneath that, place a row with one 2-by-8 tile, one 2-by-4 tile, one 2-by-2 tile, and one 1-by-2 tile. Then add a row using two 2-by-8 tiles. Finally, add a row using two 2-by-8 tiles and one 2-by-4 tile. The double doors at the top take up the whole tiles effectively, so you don't need to place them. There are 2-by-2 statue tiles you can use from set 1, or just place large miniature figures for the statues. The balcony at the top left is made from two 1-by-2 tiles and one 1-by-1 tile. There aren't good tiles for the water area, so you might have to draw it on the tiles or on a sheet protector above the tiles.


Encounter: Thorn's Attack

Miniature Figures Suggested

  • Thorn, bounty hunter: Elf Archer (Dungeons of Dread #6)
  • 2 elderwood falcons: Fire Bat (Against the Giants #26)
  • 2 ironwood hounds: Shadow Mastiff (Desert of Desolation #36)

Dungeon Tiles

This encounter doesn't have its own map, since it takes place anywhere you choose. Use the map from another room, or take some wilderness tiles from Ruins of the Wild to make an outside camp map.


Encounter: Githzerai Mind Trap

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Make area 2 using four 4-by-4 45-degree tiles from Hidden Crypts, four 2-by-4 floor tiles, and one 2-by-2 floor tile. Area 3 is made using four 2-by-2 45-degree tiles from Hidden Crypts and two 2-by-2 tiles for the top and bottom, and one 2-by-4, one 2-by-2, one 1-by-4, and one 1-by-2 for the middle area. Area 4 is made just using 2-by-2 45-degree tiles from Hidden Crypts.


Encounter: The Cells

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Starting on the right side, place one 1-by-2 and one 2-by-4 for the corridor, and then the 2-by-2 stair tile from Hidden Crypts. Next to that place a column with one 1-by-4 tile and one 1-by-2 tile, then a column using two 1-by-4 tiles. Then place a column using two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile. The curvy parts of the room can be made with one 2-by-2 and one 1-by-1 for each. Place single doors, and use one 2-by-2 tile for each of the three small rooms.


Encounter: Training Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Start this room with one 8-by-10 tile. Place one 2-by-8 tile and one 2-by-2 tile next to it to make a square 10-by-10 squares in size. Then add one 2-by-8 and one 2-by-4 to the top to make the room 10-by-12 squares. Then add a row using three 1-by-4 tiles to make the room 11-by-12 squares, its final size. Place a 1-by-2 tile for the bottom corridor, and one single door at the top left. For the pool, use the 2-by-4 glowing pool of goo tile from Hidden Crypts as the main pool, and two 2-by-2 sewer tiles with 90-degree sewer flow (from Streets of Shadow) placed so the curves go the right way. Marking the aqueduct paths could be difficult, so you might want to get out your trusty sheet protector and draw them in.


Encounter: Meditation Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

  • 2 githzerai psionic echoes: Githzerai Monk (Underdark #4)
  • 3 mindscramblers: Shadow (Night Below #60)

Dungeon Tiles

The corridor leading into the area through the secret door is made using three 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile. Place one 1-by-2 tile below the secret door. To the right, place one 2-by-4 and one 2-by-2, with a 1-by-1 on top and bottom. To the right of that, place one 2-by-8 tile and one 1-by-2 floor tile. Then place a column of two 1-by-4 tiles to the right of that, with a 2-by-2 45-degree corner from Hidden Crypts at bottom right. To the right, place one 2-by-4 tile and one 1-by-2 to complete the shape.

To the left of center, place one 2-by-8 floor tile. To the left of that, place one 2-by-8 tile with one 2-by-2 tile at top and bottom (two total). To the left of that, place a column using two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-1 tile at the bottom where the door is. Place a single door. To the far left, place a column using a 1-by-4 tile and a 1-by-2 tile to complete the room.


Encounter: Marshaling Point

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Start this room with one 8-by-10 and one 4-by-8 floor tile. Use 1-by-2 rubble tiles to block off 2 squares at the top right and 4 squares at bottom right. On the right center, place one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-2 tile, and then one 1-by-2 tile for the corridor. On the left, place a column using two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile, and then a column using one 1-by-4 tile and one 1-by-2 floor tile. Place double doors, and then use one 1-by-2 tile for the corridor outside if you want it. Use one 1-by-4 tile for the corridor behind the arrow slits at the top of the room.


Encounter: Ritual Chamber

Miniature Figures Suggested

Dungeon Tiles

Use two 8-by-10 tiles to make an 8-by-20 square area to start the room. This covers the area of the ziggurat and one column of squares to the right. To the right, add two 2-by-8 tiles and one 2-by-2 tile for the next columns. Then add three 1-by-4 tiles, one 1-by-2 tile, and one 1-by-1 tile for the next column. Then add three 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-1 tile for the next column. Then add two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile for the next row. Lastly on this side, add one 1-by-4 and one 1-by-1 tile. To the left of the ziggurat, add a column using two 2-by-8 tiles and one 2-by-2 tile. Then add a column using two 2-by-8 tiles. Then add a column using three 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-1 tile. Then add a column using two 1-by-4 tiles and one 1-by-2 tile. Lastly for this side, add one 1-by-4 tile and one 1-by-1 tile. This does not include the balcony, so try to keep the combat out from underneath it. There are two 2-by-2 fire pits in Arcane Corridors, and one 2-by-2 fire pit with a demon statue in Hidden Crypts. Use a row of dice to represent the portal. For the ziggurat, use four 2-by-4 tiles and one 2-by-2 street tile from Streets of Shadows (to give a different look). Separate the tiles to leave a blank row and thus create the 7-by-6 square area that is the ziggurat.


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 camping trip. He was fascinated, so he 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 he 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, where he studies mouse foot muscles and the effects of RF emissions on same, and teaches physics at Truckee Meadows Community College. He spends as much time as possible with his wife Rhonda, son Owen, and daughter Rebecca.