From Here to There: Finally Here!

I don’t know how many times I’ve blogged about it in the last 2 years.  First I was excited about it, then got impatient and, I must say, I got a little disappointed.  But now the wait is over and I’m excited again!

My first D&D 4th edition adventure has been published and is available in Goodman Game’s From Here to There anthology:

Why is “getting there” only half the fun? From Here to There presents nine all-new adventures focused on traveling from point A to point B. Sure, your players may be going from one dungeon to another – but why not spice up things in between? From aerial assaults to haunted bridges, From Here to There turns “getting there” into a lot more fun! Covering levels 2 to 13, this compilation has a place in every campaign.

The adventure contains 9 adventures designed to be dropped to “interrupt” the travels of characters.  It’s a great idea when you want to surprise your player, when you need to add a side quest  or when you want to add more toys in your sandbox.

The adventures are:

The Quick and the Dead (level 12), by Aeryn Rudel: While en route to their next adventure, the PCs pass through a thick copse of trees and are ambushed by a group of quickling muggers. The quicklings, however, do not attack to kill; instead, the little fey attempt to snatch a valuable item from each PC and and then race off into the forest!

The Deadly Blue Yonder (level 13), by Brandes Stoddard: A group of evil cultists discovered a nest of wyvern eggs, and when those eggs hatched the cultists trained the wyverns as mounts. They have used this remarkable advantage to establish a dominion over the local countryside. As the PCs pass through their territory, they must defend themselves against aerial attack!

The Toll Station (level 6), by Adrian Pommier: While passing through a toll station, the PCs are beset by nightmare creatures pulled from the imprisoned minds of the road wardens. To awaken the sleeping guardsmen and end the attacks, the PCs must smash a profane idol and defeat a demon of the Nightmare Goddess!

The Crossing (level 4), by Chris Dias: The PCs are traveling near a river or through mountainous terrain when they find themselves in a thick fog. As they venture further, they come to a bridge. With no sign of alternate routes, they must make their way across. The bridge is an illusion generated by a predatory monster called a chosis mimic – a psychic creature that feeds on the life spirit of those traveling near it. The illusionary bridge has no beginning and no end, and no matter how long the PCs travel, they never reach its end before they reach theirs – unless they destroy the chosis mimic!

The Hanging Tree (level 5), by Lee Hammock: The village of Tarrow has been using a local hanging tree to execute criminals for centuries, but now an innocent man has been added to its roster of the dead. The spirits of those previously killed on the tree have now risen up in a quest for vengeance, making travel through the area very difficult. After escaping from the undead raised by the hanging tree, the players reach Tarrow and discover why the spirits of the tree are restless by talking to the locals.

Flying High (level 2), by Colleen Simpson: The PCs are en route to their next adventure, traveling through a lightly wooded hilly area, when they are swooped upon by steelwing hippogriffs, which attempt to carry one or more PCs to their nest site. When the PCs arrive at the nest area, they observe kobolds attacking the steelwing hippogriff nests. The steelwing hippogriffs need the assistance of the heroes!

Mystery at the Wandering Wineskin Inn (level 5), by Ken McCutchen: The adventurers are resting comfortably at an inn. When the sun rises on a new day, the characters discover that one of the party members is missing! There are several items out of place in the room, and a search reveals several interesting clues. To locate the missing character, the party must gain knowledge about the missing companion, overcome misdirection from false allies, and defeat the brigands who are holding the missing character for ransom.

The Hunting Party (level 2), by Brandes Stoddard: In the wilds, the PCs encounter a large group of goblins. The normally aggressive creatures recognize that the PCs carry their weapons with experience and skill, and they are reluctant to engage a foe who could cost them many of their own hunters and foragers. They even go so far as to buy off the PCs with a side of boar meat or venison from a recent kill.

Oh wait, one’s missing from that list!

When Madness Seeps Through (level 5), by Philippe-Antoine “ChattyDM” Ménard: While traveling from a nearby town to their destination, the PCs spot a group of aberrant humanoids running across the road, each clutching struggling humans who call for help. Chasing the humanoids or following their trail deeper in the forest, the PCs find a forgotten temple occupied by the corrupted remnants of cultists.

I would GREATLY appreciate your support of this product by either getting the dead tree version (for 19,99$) at your FLGS (or directly from Goodman Games) or the PDF at a special price of 6$ at DrivethruRPG.  Go now and come back, I have some “DVD extra” stuff in the next paragraphs.

Thanks for your support and let me know if you liked it!

Designer Notes

The question that drove the design of the adventure was:

What if heroes stumbled upon a Lovecraftian cult shortly AFTER they succeeded in their nefarious plans instead?

Helped by my good friend Dave, I wrote a short 3 encounters adventure that showcased the elements of 4e I was most interested in (and still am): out of the ordinary skill challenges and complex encounters that mix and match monsters, terrain features and traps.

At the time I wrote this, I had about 6 months of experience with the game system and 4 playing it actively. I also had no design credit other than the 3e stuff I posted on my blog.  I got the gig after I forged a friendly relationship with Goodman Games’ Harley Stroh and had a very constructive exchange about one of his 4e adventures (get it, it’s still one of my all time 1st level favorite).  I pitched him a few things and while he turned them down, he counter offered that I pitch for a “Here to There” adventure.

The result resides, hiding its dark tentacles of Madness in that anthology.

The adventure easily plays itself in one 4 hour session. It’s perfect for a one-off when you are missing players or as a 5th level campaign starter if you like to explore Lovecraftian themes.

The first scene is a chase/story-driven combat that I designed as a Skill Challenge.  I wanted a way to simulate a forest chase where PCs could take down pairs of minions dragging human captives without resorting to combat rounds. Instead, I tried to focus on PCs rolling for skills/attacks and describing how and where they’d position themselves during the conflict. To this day I’m happy how it turned out.

The second scene is a classic invader (the PCs) vs Guardians.  It remains in my mind the least interesting encounter of the bunch, although it can end up being more challenging than the last one if PCs are used to 4e, which they should be by now.

The last scene is where my feverish madness merges with that of the story, as it features a Boss fight combined with a complex set of evil traps.  Think of Dr. Frakenstein’s resurrection apparatus turned into an evil contraption and you have an idea where I wanted to go with this.  The fight features a flying soldier, a Controller and a few minions.  In hindsight (and in playtest) when combined with the traps, things can get grindy if players aren’t creative or play in a disorganized way so be ready to hack HPs and dumb down your monsters if you feel the energy level of your players dip.

Is the adventure D&D Essentials compatible?  By default yes although none of the monsters (I recall creating one and taking 4 others from the core 4e Monster Manual) are featured in the Monster Vault.

So lewt me know how you like it.

On a more personal note

This adventure has a special significance for me.  I wrote this while I was plunging into depression back in late 2008 and, to a certain degree it shows.  It features alienist cults who got a lot more than they expected, gruesome machines that suck the souls out of people, a corrupted forest temple and other dark trappings that aren’t part of my usual repertoire of ideas.  Hell, if the players aren’t careful and if the DM wants to run with it, the whole campaign can take a darker, Far-Realms invasion theme.

That I saw it through is a feat I’m proud of. For that I wish to thank Harleh who supported my constant whishy-washiness and. Special thanks go to Dave who knew what was going on in my life then, urging me to fight my inner demons and push me to make my ideas and designs clearer on paper without discouraging me.

I also wish to thank my playtesters Mike (who lent us his house), Frankie, Yan, PM and Vince for playing through and providing feedback that made the adventure better.

So please ask your FLGS manager, order the paper version here or get the PDF for 6$ here!

Thanks again!

Comments

  1. Congratulations! 😀

  2. Dixon Trimline says:

    As promised / planned, I bought the book and immediately read “When Madness Seeps Through,” and thanks to you, got covered in a thick layer of inspiration. I find it amazing that you wrote such a rich and fascinating adventure with mere months of experience, and that you could do it from down in the deep, dark pit of depression. It’s a hell of a trip!

  3. Wow, did you ever get an explanation why it took that long to get this out?

    Either way, congratulations, it sounds pretty cool. I’m always up for a bit of alien horror. I also find that a bad mood can change your perspective and ideas in a good way. When I’m feeling cynical and angry at stuff I write a lot more serious, realistic stuff than when I feel normal or content, where I tend to lean to whimsical, heroic, wuxia style fantasy. Though after enough mood swings I don’t really need the mood itself to do either of them, but I think it is a good discovery to try writing in an unusual state of mind.

  4. Congrats. Now what do I have to do to get the Author to run it for me at GenCon?

  5. @Tony: Thanks! Doubly so for the Facebook kudos!

    @Dixon: You so got promoted to my most favorite not-yet-a-friend human being man. Strange thing about depression, you refocus pretty much all your attention inwards and you do find strange, interesting things in the encroaching darkness. No wonder so many creative types get crippled by it regularly (fingers crossed).

    Thanks again. If you run it at Templecon, I so wanna hear about it. Hell, I’m available to discuss tweaking it to your taste!

    @Wyatt: Congratulations go both ways man. You did it too (more than once even) with Nevermet Press right ?

    As for the delays, first there was the standard delays in getting proper layout and images. Which this product had to go through at least 2 cycles, then the economic crash muddled things. I’m just happy the product is out and am happily suprised at the response so far.

    @DNAPhil: Not much, we should definitively start thinking about setting this up… I need to confirm my Gen Con plans but that very much feasible! I’d love to GM a tablefull of greenshirts!

  6. Congratulations, Chatty! That’s truly fantastic news. 🙂

  7. Sounds like an excellent module. I look forward to giving it a read and a review. I remember you talking about it on RPG Circus and it sounded like a good time.

  8. @Martin: Do you remember when I sent you that Wiki filled with my adventure prep? Feels like an eternity… Well I made it, w00t!

    @Shinobicow: I hope you enjoy it. I can’t wait to get my hands on a printed copy.

  9. Firstly, great ideas and an enjoyable read.

    Secondly, thank you for the inspiration. I hadn’t considered selling my chronicles… hmmMmm…

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