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DCC #23: The Sunken Ziggurat

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:03 pm
by JediOre
I'm surprised no one has offered any praise or criticism for this module as of yet.

I'm impressed. I'll grant you it didn't live up to my expectations, but that does not reflect upon the author of this adventure. I majored in ancent history and quite simply had unreal expectations concerning this module.

This is another in a line of quality modules that lives up to its series of Dungeon Crawls. The new monster Hollow One is wonderfully creepy. The new magic item Thulsa, Stone of Scribes is great. That little item will give a party of adventures lots of grief and adventure if they decide to keep it. And who wouldn't?

I did get a bit confused with the map for level 4 & 5 the first time I read it however.

A module with a Bablyonian/Sumerian flavor with a twist of Clark Ashton Smith to boot. Well worth the "price of admission."

Posted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:44 am
by Barrataria
It's very ironic, but this was released just after I started scribbling notes for a C&C campaign world. I had already decided that the main culture would worship the Babylonian pantheon, or what had originally been the babylonian pantheon...

So this adventure now becomes a perfect fit! I haven't run it yet or converted it, but I look forward to doing so.


Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:01 am
by Drone
I really liked this one as well. Love that tablet golem! Man, I can't wait to run this for my players, seeing as how one of their villains is a dracolich who was once a consort to Tiamat.

Posted: Thu May 11, 2006 8:42 pm
by Chairman7w
It TOTALLY reminds me of an old school (AD&D?) module in flavor and art, but I can't for the life of me remember which one.

Anyone out there able to help?

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 6:31 am
by JediOre

Give me a hint of the module. What lurked in it? Any encounters come to mind?

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:27 am
by stefan
JediOre wrote:Chairman7w,

Give me a hint of the module. What lurked in it? Any encounters come to mind?
I can't speak for the Chairman, but I kept thinking of "Hidden Shrine of Tamochoan (sp?)" when I was working on some of the drawings that appeared in that one.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:29 am
by Rick Maffei
Perhaps Chairman7w is thinking of the venerable C1 Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan by Harold Johnson & Jeff R. Leason?

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:32 am
by Rick Maffei
Ah stefan -- we must have entered our notes around the same time & you beat me to the punch! Great minds think alike! :)

Excellent adventures by the way (both C1 and DCC #23)!

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 4:12 pm
by JediOre
I was thinking of C1 as well, but I wasn't even going to attempt the spelling.

Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 5:21 pm
by olshanski
I recently purchased the adventure and haven't finished reading it. I have just started reading level 3.

I am an old-school gamer... I ran C1 just months after its first printing.

Although the mood is pretty good, and I like some of the environmental effects, I am a little distressed by the vast number of errors in the stat-blocks. I don't look all that closely, but the errors are jumping out at me.
Page 13, scorpion man, full attack sequence? Page 15, 6d8+4HD?

Now that I look a little more closely, (I am reading this immediatly after reading "The Ripper"), I think perhaps I was noticing more errors in "The Ripper"... I saw commoners with 1d4 hit dice having 9 hp... and things like that. These errors are pretty minor... the scorpion man, for example, has a correct attack line in the back of the book.

I actually came to the site to look for errata (I just purchased 5 DCC and am starting to read them).

Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 4:04 am
by olshanski
I just finished my first read through the adventure.
Praise: The more I consider how combat with the "hollow ones" is going to play out, the more I like them... I think they will be really really creepy. This is perhaps the best designed new creature I've read since the original Monster Manual.

Regarding "Hollow Spawn"... I assume that when I use them in combat, if they can make a full attack, they should make two "improved grapple" attempts... that looks like thier best combat attack. It also appears that as spawn, they are worth no additional experience, as they have been calculated into the CR of the original hollow ones.

More Praise: this has a room with a door that has a grate, a bit of wind... that is without a doubt the best trap I've read in D20, short of Crypt of the Devil Lich... and I've read Monte Cook's Banewarrens.

Con: There is one encounter with a CR7 fighter and a CR8 cleric, in which the classed NPCs have way substandard stats and substandard equipment... I think they are much less a challenge than the CR indicates.

Con: One important creature, the serpentfury,seems to be built from too many parts, and it looses a bit. This creature also has an improved grab, that activates when its tail attack hits, but the full attack for the creature only includes a bite and a gore (no tail attack).

Con: The first traditional logic puzzle was reasonable... having a second one was repetitive... but having 3 traditional logic puzzles was too much.

I am a little unclear about putting a value on the recipe for the potion of longevity.

At this point I am also a little unclear about the interaction of levels 4 and 5... how much of level 5 is visible when characters enter level 4? How much of level 5 is accessable when characters first enter level 4? Perhaps this will become clear after I read the adventure a few more times.

I certainly plan on running it, which is fairly high praise, I only run about 10% of the adventures I purchase, and I purchase alot (I think I own about 50 for 3rd edition, 150 if you count 1st and second edition.)

Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 10:30 am
by goodmangames
These are all good callouts. I'll let Richard (the author) know about this thread. BTW, he will be at Kublacon running episodes of Sunken Ziggurat in person, if you'll be there.

Posted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:03 pm
by Elmo
goodmangames wrote:These are all good callouts. I'll let Richard (the author) know about this thread. BTW, he will be at Kublacon running episodes of Sunken Ziggurat in person, if you'll be there.
Would like to ask for some responses to these as well. I am running this adventure at the moment and really enjoying it.

Sunken Ziggurat Official Answers

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:54 am
by warpweaver
hi there

thanks for your interest in "The Sunken Ziggurat"

here are some official answers to your questions

hollow spawn EXP award:
hollow spawn, either summoned by green robes or the result of a dead hollow one are worth no additional experience

hollow spawn full attack:
hollow spawn almost always engage with two grapple attempts if they can make a full attack

CR of old NPC's:
the npc's have been trapped in the chamber for almost 3000 years living off longevity potions and a shared ioun stone. they are lucky to have the stats and equipment that they do have. feel free to modify the CR if you want to reduce the experience award in this chamber

regarding the design of the creature, complain to the ancient mesopotamians. it is an 'authentic' mesopotamian monster, and quite a frightful one! it is, i believe, the original 'chimera' class monster, with a little bit of every nasty animal added into its body. sorry for the typo in the full attack block. adjust accordingly

logic puzzles:
during playtests it was clear that 3 puzzles was too much for some of the players. however, a substantial minority *loved* them and appreciated having to think hard to get through every level. i have run the module for young teenagers, skipping much of the combat, focussing on the puzzles. they loved it. keep in mind that the ziggurat is a puzzle based dungeon in a lawful neutral shrine. if there are too many puzzles for your player group, try one of the following solutions:
a) allow the lamassu head to provide the answers,
b) provide other clues which give the solution up
c) allow a skill test to get the answer
(e.g. a DC 18 knowledge- religion test to the finaly altar puzzle)
d) allow any attempt at a solution to work
(i.e. any arrangement of 4 moon tokens allows access to 4th level).


the value of immortality:
please modify the value of the potion to keep the economy in your world sensible. the module is not particularly full of wealth, this item is meant as the main valuable incidental treasure. if extreme longevity would imbalance your world, make the recipie dependent on an ingredient that is no longer available (i.e a flower from an extinct plant)

level 4 and 5 visibility:
when the players arrive, the red dragon skull steam cloud, the blue dragon skull altar of storm and the white draong skull ice patch (which leads down into the skeleton) are clearly visible. everything else is submerged with a few bones poking out of the muck here and there.

enjoy the module!

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:16 pm
by Gailbraithe
I'm currently running DCC #23: The Sunken Zigguraut in my Wilderlands campaign, with a party of six fifth level characters: a Human Fighter, a Halfling Scout, a Halfling Cleric, a Half-Elf Sorcerer, an Elf Beguiler, and a Human Healer.

The player of the Human Healer had been away for two months, and so I used DCC #23 to bring him back in. He had left the party to "travel south and develop his healing skills", and the player and I decided that he had spent most of his time away from the party tracking the source of a series of mysterious plagues devestating farming villages along the edges of the Troll Fens. He tracked the plagues to their source, a newly risen zigguraut, and realized he'd need help to go further. Thus he caught up with the party -- being netertained by the Invincible Overlord -- and recruited their help. The Overlord's sages informed them of an ancient formula for a potion of immortality, and the Overlord has promised them a great reward for it. So with the good characters going in to save the world, and the not-so-good going for the reward, they set off.

The merrow outside the zigguaraut were of little consequence, but the party almost "blew it" when facing the spirits atop the zigguraut. After forcing their way through the storm spirit's wind cone, they sought shelter from his lightning bolts inside the zigguraut, which turned it into a fight against three spirits. They snatched defeat from victory, and headed into the zigguraut proper. The battles of the first level and half gave them little concern - the dust brothers go in a few decent hits, but they quickly figured out how to neutralize them. The vermin were exceptionally easy fights (aren't vermin usually easy fights?).

The guardian portal gave the players little trouble at all, as they guessed the correct answer on their first try. The scorpion man and his scorpions were chumps, much to my surprise. It took the players two rounds to wipe out everything (great cleaving fighters with combat reflexes and scorpions [b}do not mix[/b]). The Scorpion Man himself was killed by well used cleaves in fact, as every scorpion smashed ended up pinned to him.

The players also figured out the alter puzzle very quickly, then headed down into level 3 after resting for a few hours in the lammasu's room. If I have a complaint about this module, here it is: The four moons puzzle that opens up level 3 could have been written up much more smoothly. I got very lost trying to explain it to my players, mostly because of confusion over what exactly an icon was - the party almost walked through the door without even realizing there was a puzzle to be solved when I read the descriptibve text! Then it took us forever to figure out that I had to stop them and totally metagame for a minute and basically explain the task (as in "You guys have to go through the rest of this level and find the keys first, or the door will blow you up."), and it really didn't play well at all. An illustration of the portal would have helped a lot, as would have some simpler, more precise language. I know writing an adventure is hard work, but sometimes it helps to keep the KISS principle in mind.

Level 2 was kind of easy, I guess, so they were feeling a bit cocky. That ended quickly when the Scout and Fighter started complaining about the music, and how it was driving them mad. The bard tried to distract them with some witty patter about the music (countersong: Perform (Comedy)!), but it was the beguiler's silence spell that saved them...and made them easy pickings for the Shadows, who almost cost the party their healer (until the Cleric destroyed them with a single turn attempt. Stupid clerics).

Anyways, after destroying the Shadows, the players decided to scout out the halls. They encounter the second Scorpion man outside the Diviner's Study, and dispatched him with ridiculous ease (the fighter had exactly enough time to put the lammasu head down and pull out her sword before the Scout killed it with his stupid Skirmish attack and two very lucky critical hits). Whhile the party was standing around congratulating themselves in silence, the white robe hooded one stepped out of his door (in the field of silence) and <i>true struck</i> the sorceress. Too bad he didn't have Sneak Attack, or he could have done some real damage. The party hacked him down in seconds flat, and then almost all of them went pale when I described the hollow spawn emerging from it's robes (as the Beguiler searched them! It was truly a choice moment).

They managed to head striaght tot he Organ Chamber after that (lucky sobs), still under cover of silence. The scout rushed forward to douse the organ players with alchemists fire, and the cleric, carrying the silenced torch, dashed ahead of the rest of the party, figuring they'd catch up, to assist him. This left half the party outside the silence effect, which meant Will Saves! The fighter was confused, and when Sorceress tried to help her she was rewarded with a sword in the gut. As a DM, I must admit I really, really enjoyed how that played out. The players made very short work of the Hollow Ones, then hacked apart the Hollow Spawn. After two easy fights they were thinking the Hollow Ones, while creepy, were kind of chumps. Then they headed into the next room.

The strategy went more or less perfectly. The fighter, scout and cleric got into the room before the Red Robe cast Hold Portal, forcing the Beguiler to spend a round knocking it open. The Black Robe drained the fighter's strength to one over three rounds, and the Healer got tied up trying to keep the fighter from suffocating under the weight of her own armor (hah!). Luckily they wasted the Green Robe pretty quickly, because the fight wouldn't have gone their way had he summoned more hollow spawn. As it was, they pitoned the door shut and have camped out for the night, with the fighter barely able to move, the healer completely tapped (and he has to waste all of his second level spells restoring the fighter's strength when they wake up), and far more of the dungeon left to explore.

So after two sessions we're about half-way through, and I expect it will take another two sessions to complete. I'm still trying to decide if someone else should start playing the organ while they try to rest. That would be kind of evil of me, but it certainly makes sense.

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:43 am
by Gailbraithe
My players finished level three in yesterday's session. Most of the game-time of the session was eaten up dealing with the puzzles in the center complex, which the players enjoyed quite a bit. I don't think they'll finish it next session after-all. There was also another battle with the Hollow Ones (the two Green Robes who summon Hollow Spawn), and everyone enjoyed the fight quite a bit. The (great cleaving) fighter leapt on top of the altar and used the high point to engage the spawn, while the rest of the party launched spells from the doorway. The spawn are kind of chumpy, but everyone learned to respect the potential of four to eight grapple attacks a round, and at least one spellcaster found himself being strangled by a spawn that escaped the fighters notice.

Next came the battle with the Tablet Golem. I actually ran this adventure simply because I liked the Tablet Golem so much. My players loved it, even though the fighter managed to trigger a tablet every single time she hit it. My players use wolf-pack tactics on constructs, circling around them and assisting the fighter so that she can convert as much of her attack into Power Attack as possible. This meant the whole party got nailed by the golem's retributive strike when it died, and the sorceress almost went down when a critical shocking grasp took her into deep negatives.

The fight with the Engraver and Son went pretty smoothly, though the Engraver fell faster than I liked. More than half the party is Chaotic though, so his use of Order's Wrath and Protection from Chaos went very well.

The last area the party explored was the central chamber with the puzzles and shadows. The battle with the greater shadow was pretty harrowing - it fled into the room with the lesser shadows, and they almost killed the fighter when she fell victim to the gaseous form trap.

I was amazed at how balanced the battles were - four fights and the players were running on emepty, with all the spellcasters tapped out, and the fighter on her last legs. Worse yet, the greater shadow fled -- and the party left the very wounded Engraver and his Son alive and semi-conscious in their chamber (they even left them their gear), which means the greater shadow has two minions it can recruit easily, and will almost certainly attack them in the night as they rest on level one (plus, doubled wandering monster rates! yay!).

This is rapidly turning into my favorite DCC yet -- I'm enjoying running it even more than Legacy of the Savage Kings.

Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:43 am
by Gailbraithe
After a week break, we had what was to be our final session of the adventure. It turned out to be the final session of the campaign! Having run seven DCCs so far, I can now report that The Sunken Zigguraut scored my first TPK!!!

It was the Weeping Maiden. She was too powerful for the cleric to turn, and the Sorceress was unable to resist her malevolence attack. Once possed she ran to make herself a sacrifice, but was tackled and pinned by the party's fighter. So then the ghost possed the fighter, and ran off with her body to make the sacrafice.

Unfortunately for the Weeping Maiden, the party hadn't dealt with the Serpentfuries yet, and before the Maiden could get to the altar, the fighter's body was dragged underwater by a fury. The rest of the party showed up just in time to watch the maiden cast "Control Water", raising the water level above the level of the ledge, and turning the fight brutal. The serpertfuries, enraged by the sudden rising waters and bobbing adventurers, attacked en masse. meanwhiel the Storm Spirit, aggravted by the rising waters, turned on the party as well.

So suddenly we had a four way fight, with three serpentfuries, the ghost, and the storm spirit. A series of lightning bolts dropped the sorceress, the cleric and the healer. The fighter was unable to free herself from the fury and drowned. The scout made a desperate effort to save the unconscious halfing cleric, but was cornered by the storm spirit and shocking grasped to death.

Ultimately only the beguiler survived by turning invisible and running for his life. But it was too late, they'd spent too much time in the dungeon already, and the rise of Tiamat could not be prevented. Thus the campaign ended with the beguiler selling off all the magic items he had, hiring a mage to cast "Plane Shift", and - as he put it - "getting the frak outta Dodge."

One of my players summed it all up perfectly; "Um, next time, let's try to be a little more organized."

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 4:08 pm
by mclimbin
Wow. Sounds fun. Maybe more fun for you than for your players, but heck. ;)

I'm a fairly new DM running this mod with a party of 4 6th level guys (fighter, druid, mage and scout) and I'm finding that levels 1-3 as written are pretty much too easy for them. Has anyone else found this? Sounds like GB's players found that lvls 4-5 were much harder, so I'm wondering if I should make the rest of the module (they are about 1/2 way through level 3) harder or not. Any suggestions?

I'm not interested in any TPKs but I want it to be more challenging (=more fun) than it has been so far.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:09 am
by CharlieRock
This module is on order for me at my LGS. I can't wait.
The team has:
Duskblade 7th (human)
Ninja 6th (halfling)
Bard 7th (half-elf)
Paladin 4th (Half-Dragon)
and a cohort Wizard/Cleric 2/3(Duskblade's)

The story of the module will fit right into my campaign (and if it doesn't, I'll customize it). Just going from the description on the write-up.

Any skills or spells required to complete it?

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:28 am
by CharlieRock
Okay, this one caught me by surprise.
One of my players has bagged the talking Llamasu's head. He is convinced it is valuable and kidnapped him. Why did I not see this coming?? :lol:

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:51 am
by CharlieRock
We finished up Sunken Zigguret a couple of weeks ago. I procrastinated posting this. :oops:

We had a TON of FUN!!!

The Dark Room had us rolling as we recalled that short film from YouTube where Galstaf the Wizard attacked the darkness with his magic missle. Two of the PCs entered it swords raised. One got hit and wanted to swing back with his ice sword. I asked him what he was attacking. He hadn't seen the film (miraculously) and replied 'the darkness'. Well, everyone else on the team has seen the film. I couldn't stop laughing.
The next week when that player was visiting before a game session we showed him the film. His reply was 'well, I had a reason to attack the darkness'. :lol:

I let the characters level up when they were resting between levels. Maybe that was a mistake since they kinda mopped up on the last level. Well, except for two guys who almost died twice. We had an extra player join us mid-module ,too. So I basically had a team of level 7-8 with an extra level 7 guy. I added a little bit to the monster at the end. Didn't matter much. Oh, well. :wink:

Just goes to show you when it says "Level 5-7" on the front that's what they mean.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:56 am
by CharlieRock
mclimbin wrote:Wow. Sounds fun. Maybe more fun for you than for your players, but heck. ;)

I'm a fairly new DM running this mod with a party of 4 6th level guys (fighter, druid, mage and scout) and I'm finding that levels 1-3 as written are pretty much too easy for them. Has anyone else found this? Sounds like GB's players found that lvls 4-5 were much harder, so I'm wondering if I should make the rest of the module (they are about 1/2 way through level 3) harder or not. Any suggestions?

I'm not interested in any TPKs but I want it to be more challenging (=more fun) than it has been so far.
My team honestly thought level 3 was the hardest. The melee guys have very high AC and attack bonus. Most combat just gets plowed through.
Level 3 with all the monster special qualities and special damage types had them sweating more then a warband of hill giants. 8)

That kind of thing didn't let up for levels 4-5 ,but like I posted above; I let them level midway through. It was still decently tough, but they handled it better then the above levels due to the increase in power there.

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:39 pm
by None the Wiser
Ok, we just finished up the Sunken Ziggurat adventure last weekend. My players had high praise for this module. As DM, I thought it was a little rough around the edges, but most of my headaches running the adventure had to do with a party that was maybe a little too overpowered for an adventure of this level.

My party began with Into the Wilds (DCC #28 for players 1-3) at 1st Level, found and killed everything, plus got double experience for the vampiric goblin and walked away with 4th Level stats. Then they tackled Talons of the Horned King (DCC #36 for players 3-5), gypped themselves out of some experience by refusing to fight the holo-simulated white dragon, but walked away with a sizable amount of treasure at 6th Level.

So they started The Sunken Ziggurat (DCC #23 for players 5-7) maybe a level higher than they should have, but they still didn’t exceed the “scaling up parameters” (7 or more characters and/or higher than 6th level) presented in the adventure.

Here is a quick run-down of the PCs:

Level 6 Paladin (Human, LG)
Level 6 Rogue (Half-Drow, N)
Level 6 Cleric (Dwarf, LG)
Level 6 Wizard (Human, LN)
Level 6 Fighter (Human, LG)
Level 6 Monk/Sorcerer (Wild Elf, LG) Now officially categorized as a “Smonk”

So. 6 players, each Level 6th. They were sent to investigate the source of a plague wind and put a stop to it if possible.

Area/Level 1:

Cake walk. The Cleric cast Water-Walk on most of the party to get to the island. Merrow went down quickly. Rogue swam around to find all there was to find. Storm and plague spirits at top of pyramid were more of an annoyance than a threat. Spiders had element of surprise but were no match.

Area/Level 2:

Dust Brothers easily dispatched. Ditto Monstrous Centipedes. Party had the sense to leave the Lammasu Head behind, gleaned enough info from it to restore moon altar. Tried Hawk Token on the gate first, killed the Fiendish Giant Eagle easily enough, actually took more time to get rid of the last remaining Dust Brother. Tried the Lion Token second, so no Fiendish Bison. But I’d also like to point out one of my biggest pet peeves of the module: where oh where is the “Scorpion Token” located? I had all the counters made up and everything, and try as I might, I could find NO MENTION of where the PCs could possibly locate said token before they faced the portal. In retrospect, I should have placed it out on Merrow Island or something, but the missing reference caught me completely off guard.

Anyhoo, since the party had dispatched the spiders on the upper level so easily, I gave the Scorpion Man a Fiendish Scorpion Swarm instead of his 12 small scorpions. That was the most challenging thing the party faced on that level. Scorpion Man went down before his swarm did (although if it was a summoned swarm, shouldn’t I have dissipated it the moment Scorpy expired?)

Area/Level 3:

Much to my own disappointment, because the trap in the upper level required the deposit of silver coinage, the normally sticky-fingered Fighter didn’t even touch the Coin Devourers. I can’t remember if it was the Cleric or the Paladin who Turned the Shadows. The Cleric did end up taking some serious Wisdom damage from the Maddening Cacophony throughout the chamber.

The Tablet Golem went down more quickly than I had hoped. Engraver and Son put of more of a fight but were ultimately subdued. Party used Circle of Protection From Evil to ward off second Scorpion Man’s fiendish swarm.

The Hollow Spawn were pretty worthless in a fight, but there were at least two or three Confused characters who crossed the threshold in the Hall of Music. Because the cacophonous instruments were not listed in the Hollow Ones' individual “possessions” list, I missed those items in the PC search check.

Liar of the Hollow Master was a fair fight. The Greater Shadow did damage, but not as much as I had hoped. The PCs broke down the bronze grating BEFORE they even thought about touching the Gaseous Form Trap in the Chamber of Icons. :roll:

I was worried that the Chamber of Winds Puzzle was too complicated, but the party got it right on their second try. I must say that I thought the puzzle solving portions of this adventure were written extremely well - just difficult enough to challenge my players but not insurmountably difficult.

They got past the warded stair trap down to level four on the first try.

Area/Level 4 & 5:

Paladin knew what to do about the Green Slime (Remove Disease). Nobody went near the water’s edge as the party worked it’s way over to the Weeping Maiden. Because I described the water in the trough of the Cleansing Chamber as “stagnant and scummy” no one washed their hands to avoid the Bestow Curse Trap (the only trap in the whole adventure the Rogue failed his search check on) – which SERIOUSLY crippled the party (much to my delight). Then came the Living Tears and the Weeping Maiden.

First off let me say that I thought the Weeping Maiden had a crappy spell list. What sort of incorporeal creature prepares “Water-breathing?” So anyway, I gave her the Weather domain instead of the Water domain (better spell selection that still fit the story). The Horrific Appearance came in handy, but the Malevolence attack never worked. The paladin smote evil and the ghost disappeared for nine rounds which the PCs spent casting three Lesser Restorations on the Rogue. :lol: When the ghost reappeared they ran away and rested inside a rope trick for 8 hrs. Then they went to explore the rest of the area.

I described the boiling fire skull as emanating a dull red glow. Naturally, my party assumed that it might be a magical flaming weapon and sent the Rogue in after it. So we had our first Serpent Fury battle. Someone already mentioned in this thread that there is no tail attack listed in the creature’s stats. Seeing as the tail has two appendages, I gave it two tail slaps that it could only use during a full round attack. This was my second biggest pet peeve about the module – having to do the homework on a monster proprietary to the adventure.

But we digress. Considering how well they had done at the earlier puzzles, I was surpirsed that I had to keep dropping hints on how to sanctify the Altar of Storms (when I mentioned that although the only available Maiden was incorporeal, her bones may not be, they FINALLY got it!). But not before the party cast Water Breathing on themselves and searched through the muck on Level 5.

Then the Rogue caused a ruckus by removing the spearhead from the Heart of Tiamat – UNDERWATER! So I gave him a second round of acid damage from the splash as it diluted in the water an then came the never-ending parade of Serpent Furies and the Storm/Plague/Madness spirits! :roll: The ensuing fight lasted two more sessions! At the end of the day, they had slain 8 Serpent Furies, 3 Storm Spirits, 5 Plague Spirits, and 5 Spirits of Madness (all of which I gave them half-experience due to their self-inflicted crises/monster generators. Experience-generators are another pet peeve of mine, but let's save that for another rant.).

In the meantime, they sent the Paladin back - ALONE - to collect the Maiden’s bones. So I made it as difficult as I could. She cast Darkness on her own bones and then pelted the Paladin with magical hail (Ice Storm, Weather 4). When she got tired of the Paladin’s Turning attempts (+4 Turning Resistance? No chance in hell), she cast Silence and used her Silent Spell feat to fritter away her lower level spells. The Wizard came to check up on the Paladin’s progress and managed to dispel the Darkness, but not the Silence. Then she cast Obscuring Mist, and I made the Paladin take 2 Full Round Actions (which I still think is a bit generous) to collect ALL of the Maiden’s bones and finally plug the Storm Spirit generator. The Storm Spirits did the most damage with their lightning bolts, though the Cleric took some serious Wisdom damage from the Madness Spirits’ flyby attacks.

It took a few tries for the Rogue to wedge the spear head back into the heart, and the Cleric had roused the Hydra by then. The Hydra laid the pain on the Rogue before it went down (unflankable foe, no Sneak Attack damage), but it did go down in 4 or 5 rounds.

So thanks to the PC’s own stupidity, this was actually a rather challenging adventure after all. The party ended up over a thousand points shy of 8th Level, so they’ll at least start The Volcano Caves (DCC #19 for players 7-9) at the appropriate level.

I was also able to use the encounter with the Moon deity to help the Wizard shift his alignment to Lawful Good (he used his own flesh to sanctify the final altar) so he can turn his eye toward a prestige class that requires that alignment. It helped that he was blinded by the Moon apparition and had to use the Wish spell to regain his sight.

So if I use Talons of the Horned King as the benchmark for a perfect 10, that would give Into the Wilds a solid 8.0 and the Sunken Ziggurat a 6.5 at best in my book. I thought the adventure was well written, but I found it necessary to tweak the game mechanics (lack of tail attack info, missing icon, etc.) to a degree I found burdensome. But that’s just me. Like I said, the players would probably rate it higher than I did. They definitely had fun with it, which is the main thing!

Thanks again, Goodman Games!

Re: DCC #23: The Sunken Ziggurat

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:39 am
by losloris
IN anticipation of running DCC 30 I thought to look through a bunch of modules where Dragons are present. Because of the burial pieces of Tiamat I am so very much inclined to include this module as part of the open landscape as part of the Boneyard.

The comments above are fantastic food for thought.