Thursday, May 21, 2009

Refectory


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.

Improvements:

[1] 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.

10 comments:

doubleofive said...

I would drop it, but its one of 3 things on the pre-printed maps! I'm going to take advantage of every square that I don't have to draw on my dry erase board! ;-)

Oscar said...

005: You're mixing up the Refectory and Torog's Shrine, I think. The Shrine is on the map, but it ends before presenting the Refectory.

doubleofive said...

Are you sure? Well, then, maybe I will delete this from my campaign then.

Greg Tannahill said...

There's a little line of bedrooms to the NORTH of Torog's Shrine that are on that map; that's probably what you're thinking of.

I personally print out the wonderful maps available at the Cartographer's Guild and elsewhere so I have pre-prepared battlemaps for each area.

doubleofive said...

I would do that, and did for most of the first level of Keep. However, I found that (a) they were way too big for our smaller dining room table and (b) they didn't last long enough to be worth me possibly risking my job by printing it out at work ;-)

Greg Tannahill said...

The Keep maps are stupidly big; the keep layout wasn't particularly space-efficient. The ones for Thunderspire, though, are much more reasonable and fit on the quite narrow trestle in my house.

By The Sword said...

If you beat the encounter at Torogs then the guys in the refectory flee? Flee to where? It looks like a dead end.

Greg Tannahill said...

If you're coming into the refectory from the corridor, they flee through the secret door into the shrine. If you come in from the shrine, they flee to the corridor. If you surround them and leave them nowhere to run, then I guess they surrender?

Aaron said...

In my game this was actually a fun fight because we used a lot of the terrain. Knocking over tables to take cover from the guys in the kitchen taking potshots at us, jumping up (and over) the tables and chairs to get tactical advantages, one chair was thrown at the snipers in the back, and so on.

Warclam said...

I think it's worth noting that a scimitar gets better in the hands of a Small-sized character. The versatile property is a penalty instead of a boon to a halfling, since he loses use of his off hand without gaining any benefit. There, you're trading +1 to hit for high crit AND an extra hand for, say, a shield. A scimitar is actually the most damaging military weapon a Small creature can wield in one hand (from the Player's Handbook, anyway).

I'm not saying that makes it good loot; just somewhat less bad.