Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sometimes you look at an encounter and can't help but feel it only exists to fill out a map.
Players who've completed the Guard Room can proceed straight to Torog's Shrine to wrap up the Chamber of Eyes mini-dungeon. All roads from the last encounter lead either to the Shrine's big double doors, or to the series of living quarters that adjoin it.
However, if players walk past the double doors and down a tiny side corridor, they can reach the Refectory, a room filled with a mix of goblins, hobgoblins and humans who are apparently spoiling for a fight.
The Refectory's sole claim to fame as a tactical scenario is that it features a cramped entranceway. If players are reticent about coming through the western doorway, the hobgoblins can effectively block the only way into the room and delay the adventurers while their allies get help through the secret passage in the east.
There's nothing to be gained here by players. The secret passage yields no advantage for characters who find and use it, and the only notable loot is a +1 lifedrinker scimitar. It's not a great discovery, as scimitars are a sub-optimal weapon - they compare poorly to longswords, the other military heavy blade, trading the longsword's valuable +1 to hit and "versatile" property for a lousy "high crit" keyword (enabling it to do an extra 1d8 damage on a critical hit, the equivalent of just over 1HP every five rolls).
Luckily, if players come here after completing the Torog's Shrine finale, the riff-raff quickly flee, sparing everyone from a dull a pointless battle.
 Delete this room from the map and forget it exists. It's a dull repeat of the fights in the Guard Room and the Shrine, and for that matter it's strongly reminiscent of the Into The Mountain encounter and the hobgoblin area of Keep on the Shadowfell. Move your players quickly onwards towards more interesting content, and don't look back.