Friday, April 24, 2009

Keep on the Shadowfell Mop Up

Seeing as someone asked: yes, Keep on the Shadowfell does leave a few pieces unresolved.

The Rift: The module has nothing to say about the eventual fate of the Shadow Rift. The simplest answer is to declare that Kalarel's death ends the ritual and closes the Rift, although that explanation leaves one wondering why a garrison was required in Sir Keegan's day and how things are going to go without one in the future. A better answer, although sadly not within the scope of the module as-written, is to let the players close the Rift forever using some item they've found on their travels (Aecris, the ancient mirror, or one of the various Bahamut relics) and/or have the Keep collapse and bury the Rift for all time.

The Other Monsters: Presuming the players didn't clear every room of the Keep, there are still monsters hiding in the corners somewhere. It's incredibly anti-climactic to follow up Kalarel's defeat with a mop-up session where the players go hunting isolated pockets of low-level trash. Again, there's no help from the module - in fact, it seems to specifically envisage this mop-up in some encounter descriptions - but if you don't go with the "collapsing Keep" scenario described above, another option is to have the Winterhaven militia finally do their job and roust out the remaining baddies. Remember to add any loot your players would have missed onto their end-of-adventure reward or you'll be encouraging exactly the sort of downbeat denouement we're trying to avoid.

Winterhaven: As written, there's no good reason for players to hang around Winterhaven after they've picked up their rewards. The module suggests the village might form a useful base of operations, but contrast that with the fact that on a good day the shops stock some first-level magic items and there's no other significant adventuring locations within two days' walk. Obviously Eleven Foot Pole is going to be moving on to Thunderspire Labyrinth but for players who've really enjoyed Winterhaven and want to continue hanging out with their NPC friends there, there's really not a lot of support.


Zubon said...

Have you gone through any of these as a player or DM, or just as a reader? I have lately been seeing this as in dialogue with Slain by Elf, which recently finished this as well.

Anonymous said...

Great read through and insight. Very much appreciated. Oh and thanks for filling me in on what you did about the rift. I will be stealing that LOL. Kinda a reverse ninja'ed.

Greg Tannahill said...

Zubon - I've played Keep halfway through as a player, run the first two sessions for a group as a trial, and run the entire game for a group in the context of an ongoing campaign. I followed that up by reading a bunch of write-ups on the net to confirm that the patterns I was seeing were really there. So I've got probably more experience with Keep than any mortal should have.

I've taken my main group halfway through Thunderspire and intend to continue on with that one.

I haven't read Slain By Elf before but I'll go do so now!

Anonymous said...

This is more of a question about your newest poll. Seems you didn't list metagaming as a possible annoying player behavior. Would Character Optimization be the closest of the choices to one of the few actions that, at my table, causes players to lose experience points?

Greg Tannahill said...

If you're talking about separation of player/character knowledge, I didn't list it because it's not necessarily an issue.

But more importantly, the poll is "which of these annoys you most". Strictly speaking, you're ranking the available options rather than citing a specific behaviour out of the entire spectrum of possibility.

I might do a post about player/character knowledge later; in the mean time, the poll isn't exactly a federal census so just vote whichever way you think will generate a post you want to read.

Anonymous said...

I think you may have left out one of the most basic unresolved issues.

How do the players leave the room?

No doors, no stairs, no dumb waiter, nothing.

Did Kelarel and his buddies really crawl up and down the chains to enter/leave this place??

Seriously - who designs rooms this way?

- Jonathan