Skip to main content

The Tide Rolls In

"You Should Be Afraid of the Water..."

- Evil Tide tagline

NOTE:  SPOILERS abound for those who are looking to be a part of my Christmas D&D game.  You have been warned.  I also apologize for the lack of my own pictures as I prep.  I've run out of "free" storage space, and am working to delete old pictures/free up new storage, but Picasa is being difficult/not letting me access my online folders.  Grr....

Christmas is soon here, and Christmas breaks are about a month away (Christmas is exactly 1 month away today actually), and that free time is usually meant for celebrations between friends and family.  This year, I'm planning on running a DnDNext playtest, bringing in some new friends that have never played a game of Dungeons and Dragons before.

In a previous post about a month ago, I wrote about how my D&D games have started to turn away from campaigns.  People are too busy and inconsistent to want to get involved consistently for long periods of time (I am hoping to change this in the new year).  For now, I'm focusing on one-shot adventures that keep players happy and having a good time.

With all the DnDNext Playtesting going on, I really want to focus on playtesting.  I believe playtesting is best for people who have never played D&D before, as I think the rules are better for beginners, and this is the way I plan to run my games from here on out.  Many other DMs have written about converting adventures (SlyFlourish converted Ravenloft in a great article here), and I felt that it was my turn to try.

Back in June for Free RPG Day 2012, I picked up two old AD&D modules: Night of the Shark and Sea of Blood by Bruce R. Cordell.  My local shop didn't have the first adventure, Evil Tide, so I had to do without, though having parts 2 and 3 of the entire adventure was a little upsetting, especially since some of the plot points in parts 2 and 3 directly tied to the 1st.  So, I did some hunting on Amazon, and bought a new copy of Evil Tide.  It arrived on Friday.

I read through the adventure, and the whole thing seems pretty legit.  Mostly, the players will go and explore some caves and fight some sahuagin.  I've already begun purchasing sahuagin miniatures (since there are no tokens for them in any of the Monster Vaults), and I want to create some fear in my players as they fight the sea devils.

I want to now go over the few things that have crossed my mind since Saturday about things I want to do for this module.

First, I want to write some books/journals to give to the players.  I doubt that any of them will really know what sahuagin are, or how they function.  Adding books to the island's library means I get to give away some interesting props (I love using books as props), while giving away good information for the PC's to use and build upon.  I plan on writing about some history of the sahuagin and the relationship they have to their god, Sekolah.
Found this through Google.  Awesome pic, I just don't know who drew it.
My second biggest issue right now is coming up with all the maps.  The cave complex was drawn out on the inside of the jacket for the adventure, which works great.  Unfortunately, I don't own any Dungeon Tiles or poster maps for cave systems.  I think I will be drawing most of the rooms on a wet erase gridded map with the occasional dungeon tile thrown onto the map for a large rock/terrain feature.  I'm not sure how this will turn out, as I will need to make sure my drawing skills do well enough to convey the sense of what I'm describing.  I do plan on using a section of the Book of Vile Darkness map for a large rocky island in the cave.  The map has some lightish green at the end of it, which makes for glowing water/algae growth.

I originally thought that trying to play an underwater adventure in three dimensions would be difficult, but after looking at the monsters/how big the rooms are sized, I don't think that I need to do that at all.  Descriptions and underwater combat rules should suffice in letting the players know where they are and where they are fighting.  I may change my mind about this over time, but as of right now, I still plan on working in 2 dimensions.

For monsters, I plan on tweaking the lizardfolk stat blocks and the crocodile stat blocks.  For the lizardfolks, I just change the weapon type so that it deals piercing damage (for their tridents).  I plan on using crocodiles for sharks.  By doing things this way, I get to still playtest actual playtest monsters, just re-flavored.  The players will never know.

If you have any questions, please ask.  I plan on posting updates for how the adventure planning is going.  As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter @artificeralf


  1. I envy your incoming advenutre! :D I never find players for this sort of things, among my friends and aquaintances.

    About underwater combat, do you already have an idea about the penalties you're going to use? Personally, I was thinking about giving Disadvantage to Bludgeoning, Slashing and some Magic Attacks, and no penalties for piercing weapons, but always a -2 to damage perhaps.
    Then about three-dimensional positioning, I have an idea: adding the concepts of lower and higher, and nothing more. That is, combat on three levels. It would remain simple enough to be doable on grid, just by using markers for upper and lower positions...

    1. I was going to make disadvantage for those types of weapons. I don't think I want to penalize damage, as it will be hard enough to hit with disadvantage.

      I might do lower/higher, but I'm still not sure. It wouldn't really change much for the battle, except on a few. Still not sure.

      I'm currently looking at the various encounters and how I want to split all the sahuagin guards.

    2. Also, about lower higher, it would probably make more sense to make them not adjacent, so that creatures/characters in one "plane" wouldn't be able to reach those in the other without moving. The problems would come with overlapping, when more than one creature would stay in the same vertical... After all, it's not at all necessary :)
      Making them adjacent would partly remove that problem, in that nobody would normally want to be in the same vertical (it would mean one of the two had to suffer an Opportunity Attack), but then again not much utility...

      A constitution check for going more than 15 feet under without ill effects could be nice though!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

D&DNext and the Despair Deck

"Fear attracts the fearful." - Darth Maul
In May of 2011 (which seems like forever ago), Wizards of the Coast released a 4th Edition supplement entitled The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond.  One of the coolest things to come in the box set was a deck of 30 cards called the Despair Deck.  The deck, to quote from the campaign guide, "represents the unnatural behaviors and neuroses that can come over those who visit the Shadowfell."  I would like to that statement one step farther and say that the deck represents behaviors and neuroses that come over those who visit any place of horror.  Flipping through the deck, the cards are separated into three main categories: Fear, Apathy, and Madness.  Such traits create good roleplaying opportunities, as well as further demonstrating the horrors that adventurers face on a regular basis.

I thought the Despair Deck was a great addition to special encounters and events for D&D, and I've really wanted to c…

Revisiting the Trinket Lord

As I’ve gone back to dive into the options that are 4e D&D, I took another hard look at something near and dear to my heart: my 4e published article, The Trinket Lord. Published in Dungeon 205 (August 2012), it was another article in the Court of Stars series about the Archfey. With GenCon 2017 occurring right now, I figured it's a good time to talk about such things again.  I had always found the Court of Stars articles extremely intriguing and full of adventure hooks, but when I pitched this article, only two existed, The Prince of Frost (Dragon 374) and the Bramble Queen (Dungeon 185).
The Trinket Lord was originally pitched back in April 2012, when WotC accepted article submissions for their Dragon and Dungeon magazines. My contact for the entire process was Greg Bilsland (which was a major “whoa!” moment for me). I consider my relatively short interactions with Greg to have been extremely insightful, as he gave me a good mix of compliments and critiques and helped me im…

The Evils of Fey

"They were big and little creatures. Some were hairy with long, thin tails, and some had noses long as pokers. Some had bulging eyes and some had 20 toes. In they came -- crashing through the door, sliding down the chimney, crawling through the windows. They shouted and cried. They banged pots and pans. They twirled their tails and tapped their toes upon the wooden floor. He watched as the trolls gobbled the food and threw the plates and drank everything in sight. They continued to shout and scream, to scratch the walls and pound the floors and slap their tails upon the table. The tiny trolls were the worst of all. They screamed at the top of their lungs and pulled each others' tails." - The Brothers Grimm
In the previous post, I wrote about broadening the use of monsters in my campaigns.  I mentioned my love for the fey and the Feywild, and how I was trying to step away from it.  In today's post, I want to embrace the fey, and write about all of the wild i…