Adventure Prep, Session 3: Adapting a published adventure

Image Source: Paizo’s Dungeon Magazine

Two players can’t make it to the game next Friday. According to our social contract when 2 or more players are missing, we try to move the game back one week. While this extra time could allow me to prepare a super extra awesome adventure, I find that I spend enough time on prepping as it is. So the extra week translates into playing online games (WoW, D&D online, Magic the Gathering Online).

According to my current campaign plan, the next adventure arc will be a pair of scenarios taken from Dungeon Magazine (#145 and 146) called The Seeds of Sehan. It as quite a few elements I think the players will enjoy. Of course, I need to make some major adaptation-fu on it to be used in our game.

First I need to move the adventure from an ancient city in the Yatil mountains of the World of Greyhawk to the city of Ptolus, placed in my home-brewed world. A world which mostly consists of a map drawn when I was 13 and the legends of our past games. That’s not too hard but I need to place the adventure in the right neighborhood. Since the adventure has a backdrop of misery and drug abuse, I’ll set part of it in the poorest neighborhood of Ptolus.

In the second part of the adventure, the PCs are supposed to move into the arid wilderness and go after a MacGuffin (Damn! Writing these things to make them player-proof ain’t easy!). I’d rather have the whole adventure inside (or under) the city. A quick review of the adventure shows me that I can place the MacGuffin in the city’s Necropolis (Cemetary by day, Undead & Demons party at night).

After, I need to replace the adventure’s hooks to get the players to want to participate in it. This is where the decisions the players made and the people they met before can be re-visited (and it does build player buy-in when done properly). It’s also where I can introduce new organizations (Ptolus has a ton of them).

Since the characters have done some official badassery in the last session, I can use their newfound fame. I’ll have the organization in charge of keeping what’s in the Necropolis actually IN the Necropolis ask the PCs for help. New weird shambling humanoids have started appearing somewhere in the city and they are going to the Necropolis. While the organization will clamp down the Necropolis, the PCs will be asked to investigate where these creatures come from.

There are also elements in the adventure that allow further development of the characters story. There are undertones of criminal syndicate turf wars and evil feys that will probably make good role playing material if the players bite.

Lastly, I need to actually go into the encounters themselves to Cool them up. There are a few uncool things in the adventure, namely an encounter with 3 Rust Monsters.

Aside: One of my gripes with D&D 3.x is that while PC magical gear is taken into account in determining challenge and while wealth acquisition is literally a driver of power progression there are a LOT of monsters that break this equilibrium by destroying gear. And gear destruction, no matter how it’s handled, is never well received by players.

Would I have to re-design the rust monster, I would make it a monster that ‘stole’ an item’s physical substance for a time. It would jump on your plate mail +3 and suck it’s substance away, leaving you with some sort of shadowy armour that lost all it’s abilities and bonuses for 24 hours. Players would be annoyed, but not pissed. Hmmm… I just might very well try that.

Making these changes to the 1st adventure is what I’ll spend time on next week. I hope the players will like the resulting adventure.


  1. Dave The Game says:

    Agreed totally on the odd magic item dynamics in 3.x. One of those big things I hope that 4e fixes.

    Have you seen Mike Mearls’ suggested Rust Monster fix?

  2. Gosh darnit! Thanks Dave! I knew that Mearls had tackled the beholder but I had forgotten about the rust monster… I like his rebuild.