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Old 10-07-2019, 02:49 AM   #1
Almenac
 
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Default Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

I'm going to run I Smell a Rat next week, but I only have two players. Their characters are a Swashbuckler and a Cleric built according to the Adventurers templates.

I know the adventure is designed with six delvers in mind so I'm asking for your help to tone it down. I don't mind it being a little bit of challenge, but I don't want it to be a killer dungeon it seems to be based on reading it.

Some things I've thought about:

- Add more actual rats
- Reduce the number and size of the spiders
- Tone down or remove the evil runes from the passage the characters can't avoid
- Replace the peshkali with something easier or use a two-armed version
- Replace the armored golem swordsman with something easier
- Remove toxifier/replace with something easier
- Tone down Merle's ranged attack (see below)

As a background I'm dropping the adventure into my own homebrew fantasy world. I was thinking that Merle's circle found an encased demon during their excavations and tried to bind it to their will. They failed and were all killed. Merle however was able to imprison the demon inside a circle he made with his own blood. The demon would possess Merle's body and would try to convince the adventurers to break the circle and release him, making it all seem like a simple arcane mishap.

What do you think? Is this a workable idea? What else would you suggest?
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:45 AM   #2
Gnomasz
 
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Almenac View Post
- Tone down or remove the evil runes from the passage the characters can't avoid
- Replace the peshkali with something easier or use a two-armed version
- Replace the armored golem swordsman with something easier
The peshkali one – definitely! I've recently run the adventure for 3 players and even with reduced skill, the demon was a meat grinder. Her number of attacks is the largest threat.

The runes could also be a glory moment for the cleric (let him exorcise them)… still, they could be just an alarm that alerts whatever creature guards the room.

About the golem, as terrifying as it is, I like the idea of a strong, dangerous, but Move 2 opponent. Maybe just reduce it's armor and take away the Extra Life?
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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Originally Posted by Gnomasz View Post
The peshkali one – definitely! I've recently run the adventure for 3 players and even with reduced skill, the demon was a meat grinder. Her number of attacks is the largest threat.

The runes could also be a glory moment for the cleric (let him exorcise them)… still, they could be just an alarm that alerts whatever creature guards the room.

About the golem, as terrifying as it is, I like the idea of a strong, dangerous, but Move 2 opponent. Maybe just reduce it's armor and take away the Extra Life?
Thank you!

I didn't know you could exorcise the runes. If that's the case, that changes things up a little. It read like a unavoidable trap and I thought it's pretty unreasonable. Maybe I'll let cleric do the exorcising or modify it so that it can be bypassed by breaking the runes etc.

The golem: yeah, the move makes it more manageable. But I don't necessarily like puzzle opponents you have basically only one way of beating. Which in this case is probably Swashbuckler aiming for chinks in the armor with -10. If I keep it I'll probably straight up hint that trying to beat through the DR is pointless and you should try targeting weak spots.
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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I didn't know you could exorcise the runes.
Oh, I'm pretty sure it isn't specified anywhere, just a creative interpretation.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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Originally Posted by Almenac View Post
- Add more actual rats
Be careful it isn't so many rats that they get overwhelmed. Don;t go above 3-4 per swarm unless the PCs have a bottleneck to keep from getting surrounded. And don't forget the rats attack into Close Combat, so delvers have to keep backing away to make attacks.

Quote:
- Reduce the number and size of the spiders
I'd reduce the size of the Humongous Spider to Giant, but it's only one spider per delver, unless one of them get's webbed, so be sure to emphasize the webs are deep, knee to chest high and could contain hidden dangers so they take caution in clearing them.

Quote:
- Tone down or remove the evil runes from the passage the characters can't avoid
Like Gnomasz said, let the Cleric Exorcise them. Which alerts the...

Quote:
- Replace the peshkali with something easier or use a two-armed version
Replace her with a few Cultists who fight to the death! If the Cleric has Turning, even have the Cultists release the Zombies so he can get off his special ability while the Swashbuckler makes mincemeat of the Cultists.

Quote:
- Replace the armored golem swordsman with something easier
Reduce his Speed and Move to 1 and let him be dealt with either through slow wearing down, or just by retrapping in the room.

Quote:
- Remove toxifier/replace with something easier
If they have the capacity to affect him (maybe a Cultist earlier had a Charged Scroll of Affect Spirits if the Cleric doesn't have the spell), don't worry about it. Also I'd limit it's damage to a maximum ceiling per "attack", like say 3 (so 1d/2). This makes it a danger, but not undefeatable. Also, it should be lurking on the ceiling when they enter the Lab...

Quote:
- Tone down Merle's ranged attack (see below)
That works. And if they let it go, it makes for a nice recurring villain later.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:37 AM   #6
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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Originally Posted by Gnomasz View Post
Oh, I'm pretty sure it isn't specified anywhere, just a creative interpretation.
For what it's worth, I exorcised the runes while my team stood watch when I played the adventure with Kromm as GM at GenCon 2017.
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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For what it's worth, I exorcised the runes while my team stood watch when I played the adventure with Kromm as GM at GenCon 2017.
Yep! It seemed like a fair take on the rules for exorcising curses. Traps and Hazards splits things up for ease of discussion, but it's worth noting that Evil Runes are sitting right there next to Curses 101 in the same overall section of the rules. More important is the advice at the start of Running the Game, which pretty much says "ignore the rules when they're no fun" and "improvise when that would keep things interesting."

Personally, I thought Doug's request was a cool one, as was a previous group request to pray for divine aid in another sticky situation. None of it was easy or risk-free for the heroes . . . but nothing ventured, nothing gained!
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:55 AM   #8
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Yep! It seemed like a fair take on the rules for exorcising curses. Traps and Hazards splits things up for ease of discussion, but it's worth noting that Evil Runes are sitting right there next to Curses 101 in the same overall section of the rules. More important is the advice at the start of Running the Game, which pretty much says "ignore the rules when they're no fun" and "improvise when that would keep things interesting."

Personally, I thought Doug's request was a cool one, as was a previous group request to pray for divine aid in another sticky situation. None of it was easy or risk-free for the heroes . . . but nothing ventured, nothing gained!
And as I recall we burned some scarce resources to do it. Maybe some contingency casting? I remember we did everything we could to rack up bonuses, as permanent Evil Runes are usually put in place by pretty strong foes.

It was one of those things where we could have suffered badly for it: we risked a lot of wandering monster rolls, and it could have failed.
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Old 10-07-2019, 04:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

I wish evil runes were given hit points and DR values so that holy warriors could whack at them. Maybe they have DR 15 with 100 hit points and weapon would also have to be holy in order to damage the evil runes. The exorcism could also cause damage too based on the skill level. An exorcism 25 would do more damage than an exorcism of 15 so it would take longer. The Will of the evil could be the DR value so a normal. This could also be useful for cleansing evil altars too.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Modifying I Smell A Rat for two PC's (Swashbuckler and Cleric)

I meant to post this here
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Originally Posted by b-dog View Post
My example:

The standard evil runes might have DR15 and 50 hit points. So a cleric with exorcism 18 would do 18 points of damage per minute minus the 15 DR so it would be 3 points of damage per minute. At this rate it would take about 15 minutes to destroy the runes.

The DR would be the same as the skill level of the the caster that made it. If the skill was 20 then the DR would be 20 and the cleric with the skill 18 exorcism would be unable to damage the evil runes. I would think the cleric could be helped by others with holy power or power investiture and it would add to the skill of the cleric but the helper is not able to fight while helping. Maybe the helper has power investiture 3 to add to the cleric with exorcism 18 to make the skill become 21 and able to damage the evil runes with DR 20.

This would make it exciting if monsters were attacking and then the cleric would have to be protected until the evil runes are defeated.
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