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9/29/2018 10:22 pm  #1


Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

This thread is for any referees running Xambaala to share their ideas and questions. Feel free to chime in, but be aware that it will contain spoilers. If you want to post player-friendly campaign journal summaries, please do that in the Campaign forum. Thanks!

For my online Xambaala-based campaign starting next Thursday, I'm integrating several other adventures into the surrounding areas.

First up, a few ways I'll add more modules to the Xambaala region sandbox. I definitely don't expect my players to take the bait on all of these hooks before they move on toward the modules located closer to Khromarium (they've already said they want to play through all the AS&SH modules), but I like offering lots of options in case they decide to stay in Xambaala longer than they initially think.

Primary: The Anthropophagi of Xambaala (AS&SH, level 1-3)

--> Tomb of the Iron God (S&W, level 1-2): a two-level dungeon (58 rooms) where a largely forgotten minor deity of the underworld who guards the spirits of the dead destroyed his own monks to punish their greed. I'll probably place it directly below the mausoleum (would be pretty seamless - the Tomb's already located in a ruined area, so the Old City), but I might place a treasure map in the mausoleum instead and have the tomb farther away.

--> The Purple Worm Graveyard (LL, level 1-3): a neat little dungeon (one level, 15 rooms) easily seeded via a patron at a tavern (bragging about found riches, will sell directions to location). EDIT - I ended up introducing this through a found treasure map, see page two.

--> Tower of the Stargazer (LotFP, level 1): another neat little dungeon (7 levels, 26 rooms) that I'll likely place as a haunted lighthouse on a barren patch of rock in the ocean, a few miles out from the main Xambaala harbor. Supposedly the tower's sorcerous owner disappeared shortly after double-crossing some pirates by stealing their treasure. EDIT - I ended up placing this well outside of town in the desert, see page two.

--> Ironwood Gorge (OSRIC, level 2-5): a B2 type situation with a tower outpost being overrun by some orcs from a nearby gorge filled with caves (two levels, 80 rooms). I'll probably place it half-way to Yithorium, linking it to Rumor 12, the one about renegade nomads terrorizing the witch-queen's mining operations. The gorge becomes an early-stage mining opportunity, the tower's garrison will be the witch-queen's soldiers, the orcs can probably stay the same (they'll be the nomads, maybe recast as "mutants" or "swine spawn" or something) and some trapped dwarves in the gorge become trapped miners.

--> The Spire of Iron and Crystal (S&W, level 5-8): this higher-level adventure (four levels, 74 rooms) links directly to Rumor 2, that a powerful, wealthy sorcerer inhabits a tower of alien geometry 100 miles north of Xambaala.

--> Desert Shrine of the Sightless Sisters (OSRIC, level 5-8): another higher level dungeon (three levels, 60 rooms), this one featuring the lovely gorgons. I'll probably put this a couple of weeks away in the desert, location marked by a map found in some treasure elsewhere or possibly a lone survivor recounting his slim escape in a tavern.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

9/30/2018 2:10 am  #2


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

You have good taste in adventures.  I own all of these but The Spire of Iron and Crystal but I'll definitely check it out based on your recommendation. You have a solid list that I am going to copy except for Purple Worm Graveyard (I've already placed it in the Diamond Desert along with B4 The Lost City and of course Ghost Ship).

Here's what I was planning to place in the area:

Along the Road of Tombs. I imagine this somewhere between Xambaala and Yithorium.

The Six Thousand Steps by Pete Douglas. Reskin jungle to desert and it works for me.

The Red Prophet Rises. One of the best adventures I've read in 2018.

 

9/30/2018 5:05 am  #3


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Always on the lookout for scenario tips. Will check these out.  Interesting to see how these can string together. Thanks!

 

9/30/2018 6:25 am  #4


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Brock Savage wrote:

You have good taste in adventures.

Ha! Thanks.

Brock Savage wrote:

I own all of these but The Spire of Iron and Crystal but I'll definitely check it out based on your recommendation. You have a solid list that I am going to copy except for Purple Worm Graveyard (I've already placed it in the Diamond Desert along with B4 The Lost City and of course Ghost Ship).

Happy to help!

The Spire should fit really well, but it's definitely a challenging mid-level module, so you'll probably want either to delay dropping that rumor, to flag it as likely too challenging at first (locals say they're too puny to make it that far into the desert, much less ever return) or something else (turns out the entrance only opens a couple times a year, which could align to a lunar or celestial event sufficiently far in the future). Same challenge level with Desert Shrine, but again, you can easily delay dropping the treasure map (or NPC) revealing its location. Of course, having a few petrified adventurers nearby its entrance should scare away any low-levels that survived the long trek if you wanted to make it an know site from the outset. I think the rest of the modules should work fairly well out of the gate.

Brock Savage wrote:

Here's what I was planning to place in the area:

Along the Road of Tombs. I imagine this somewhere between Xambaala and Yithorium.

The Six Thousand Steps by Pete Douglas. Reskin jungle to desert and it works for me.

The Red Prophet Rises. One of the best adventures I've read in 2018.

Nice! Putting these on my list. Thanks!
 

Doctor_Rob wrote:

Always on the lookout for scenario tips. Will check these out.  Interesting to see how these can string together. Thanks!

No problem! I'm glad Brock offered a few more. These are all modules I've been wanting to run, so placing them around Xambaala made sense. It's also more practical for me at the moment than trying to supplement Xambaala with lots of homemade material. I want to offer a bunch of options, but I just don't have time to design them all myself right now. 

----

Once we have exhausted the players' interest in Xambaala (or, more likely, they get run out of town!), we'll probably move west toward Khromarium and some of the other AS&SH modules (they have already said they want to try to play them all).

Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes (AS&SH, level 2-4)
Mystery at Port Greely (AS&SH, level 4-6)
The Beasts of Kraggoth Manor (AS&SH, level 4-6)


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

9/30/2018 4:21 pm  #5


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Chainsaw wrote:

--> Tomb of the Iron God (S&W, level 1-2): a two-level dungeon (58 rooms) where a largely forgotten minor deity of the underworld who guards the spirits of the dead destroyed his own monks to punish their greed. I'll probably place it directly below the mausoleum (would be pretty seamless - the Tomb's already located in a ruined area, so the Old City), but I might place a treasure map in the mausoleum instead and have the tomb farther away.

So, I read through Matt's module more closely today. Definitely using it, but definitely not putting it under the mausolem. The Tomb was for peasants, so it makes no sense to have it under the mausoleum described as holding Xambaala's elite. Luckily I can easily place it in some other part of the multi-hex Old City. I'll probably use it as the "lure" for why the adventurers came to Xambaala in the first place (acquired the Tomb treasure map in a gambling pot back in Khromarium), then, as they do initial explorations in town, introduce the Xambaala intrigue hinting at the anthropophagi cult. One other thing, I'll be replacing the first level's goblins with a fire beetle or centipede lair or something. Should be good.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

9/30/2018 7:28 pm  #6


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

I've ran a party through the Temple of the Iron God. It was ok, I'm not sure how much it was me not adjusted and being prepared and the party doing their usual goofiness.

I am currently running  Idol of the Orcs (in the very beginning part of the set up and hook to it). I don't think it meshes well from what I've skimmed for Xambaala.

edited 2018-10-01 10:02: fixed name of module (no Lost in title)

Last edited by gizmomathboy (10/01/2018 9:03 am)


What? Me worry?
 

10/01/2018 9:02 am  #7


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Also, damn you Chainsaw for running an online game the same night I run my online game :-)

Although not for naught since I might be running that soon in my face to face game. We'll see. As I mentioned they are theoretically going to go through Idol of the Orcs and I might send them up that way afterwards.


What? Me worry?
 

10/03/2018 10:09 pm  #8


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

I almost forgot Operation Unfathomable. With a little reskinning, it fits. The missing prince could instead be a lover of the Witch Queen of Yithorium.

 

10/05/2018 6:21 am  #9


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Brock Savage wrote:

I almost forgot Operation Unfathomable. With a little reskinning, it fits. The missing prince could instead be a lover of the Witch Queen of Yithorium.

Agreed! I placed the original from Knockspell #5 at the bottom of the warlord's palace. Perfect spot.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

11/05/2018 9:09 pm  #10


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

Here's an inn I wrote up after my players decided they didn't want to stay at Saturn's Luck or Aramis' caravanserai (lol!). I'll post a simple floor plan if any one needs it.

The Sandy Serpent
Two old Ixian brothers, Yudo the Younger and Ozar the Elder, own and operate the Sandy Serpent, a quiet, clean two-story inn located on the north side of the bazaar.

Yudo the Younger manages customers very slowly while bragging of his beautiful, youthful hair (long, thin, wispy, white) and telling highly exaggerated stories of his solo trip across the Plain of Leng 52 years prior. He boasts of slaying fearsome hordes of beasts with his bare hands, burying himself in snow to endure fierce blizzards and eating rocks for nourishment. He will become irritated if anyone seems to question his truthfulness and ask his loyal war dog "Sweetie" if she likes rude people.

Ozar the Elder sits cross-legged in an alcove, where he entertains guests by mesmerizing a large cobra with his fluting. He has no hair, no eyes (burnt out) and no teeth (all hanging from his necklace). If any guests become aggressive with him or Yudo, he will cease playing and the serpent will move to defend the brothers.

First floor
- dining area with four tables, one hearth, one resting war dog and Ozar's alcove
- kitchen area open to the dining area (mug of wine, 1 sp; hot soup 3 sp)
- separate communal sleeping area for bedrolls (space for twelve; 3 cp nightly)

Second floor
- Yudo's room (bag with 63 GP hidden under a loose floorboard)
- Ozar's room (bag with 42 GP and a diamond [250 GP] hidden in a loose wall panel)
- Guest room (two beds, locking door; 5 sp each, nightly)
- Guest room (two beds, locking door; 5 sp each, nightly)


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

11/22/2018 11:50 am  #11


Re: Xambaala Referee's Notes (spoilers - NO players)

After finishing up our playtest of The Brazen Bull, I'm now incorporating other adventure opportunities. I'll share my "methods" here in case it helps anyone else running Xambaala.

- They found a treasure map leading to The Purple Worm Graveyard.

- Yudo the Younger will approach them in earnest, begging them to save his brother Ozar the Elder, who was kidnapped from The Sandy Serpent (along with a merchant) and dragged off into the night toward the outskirts of town. Yudo will say he is too old to attempt the search and rescue himself (besides, he has to guard his inn) and the Xambaalan authorities are too busy protecting the satrap's more valuable interests to bother with Yudo's plight. As a reward, Yudo will offer the party his Cold Fire Sword, which he says forged in the cold fires of the Plain of Leng. These weird fires appear only every 13 years, during Nightfall, at the four times when both Phobos and Selene shine full together. What Yudo won't tell them is that many many years ago he lost the sword to Uravulon Calcidius, a sorcerer well outside of town (links to The Stargazer's Tower, 100 miles southeast of Xambaala). So, presumably the PCs will then search for tracks:

---- Some normal sets lead to the oasis.
---- Some wandering, irregular sets lead to the mausoleum.
---- Some overlarge sets dragging something lead to the anthropophagi camp, where Ozar's being held. If the PCs rescue Ozar, they might either find themselves headed to the mysterious tower to attempt to collect their reward or, if they prefer, pursuing the anthropophagi to the warlord's palace (thereby linking to Xambaala's primary dungeon).

Of course, for all I know, they will try to rob the Temple of Helios or spend the whole time fighting in the arena.

Should be fun regardless!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
     Thread Starter
 

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