0A The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying [Revised]

Here is a comparison between the current version of 0A and the revised version. Keep in mind the rewritten encounter presented is in its first draft and may be changed in the published version.

0A Comparison

7 Comments on “0A The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying [Revised]”

  1. Except on the internet, where people play “I’m _____ than you” contests, I’ve never seen players cry out for replacing a fairly entertaining combat with an encounter with level draining undead.

    As much as I like the place, listening to people at Dragonsfoot is a bad idea. They don’t buy anything unless it’s TSR related, you’re trying to please an audience that is inherently unpleasable…

    1. Thanks for the comment Jeremy!

      Although I am taking into account some of the good advice from the Dragonsfoot thread, I am not using it all. Also I have wanted to rewrite Rakoss for almost two years. I asked for Bob (our “mechanics” guy) to give me an old school stat block that addressed as many OSR rule sets as possible. What he gave me was a 3rd Edition stat block that is, at best, roundly ignored by our target audience. At worst it is reviled along with our adventures and company.

      This is a chance to correct that, and what I felt were other design flaws in the adventure. On our Facebook page I replied to someone that I am far more concerned about dungeon consistency and ecology than Bob. The remaining food after hundreds or perhaps a thousand years always bothered me, as well as the incongruous giant ants. I’d buy the kitchen as a nest far more than a food source.

      That said this is not a final draft. I am still rewriting, and kicking a few cans down the road to see where they land. Some possibilities include a conversation with the spectre that would cause him to finally rest, or the return of some item (found elsewhere in the tomb). I just haven’t decided what I want yet.

      I know level drains have fallen out of vogue with a lot of players, but we are really targeting players of the 1st Advanced Edition of the World’s Most Popular Fantasy Role-Playing Game and I think these things are still enjoyed (if dreaded) by those players. One of the most exciting encounters for me in the Pool of Radiance Gold Box Game was the spectre in the library. I sweated, I cursed, my heart raced! It was the most fun I had, getting my party through that encounter unscathed!

      I’m not expecting all of the changes I make to the revised version of 0A The Tomb of Rakoss the Undying to resonate with all of our customers, and the option always exists to keep the original version as well. Some DMs may combine elements of both. Still others will have a favorite between the two.

      Our target audience has always been OSR players and DMs. If we could also attract 3rd through 5th Edition players, that was considered gravy.

    2. Ok, I’d probably combine the two into something like this:

      You have opened the door into a square 15ft x 15ft Kitchen & Mess Hall.

      Inside this room, the frigid air is nearly unbreathable from the stench of long rotten food, found to be overgrown with mold & fungus:

      [[A Fortitude Check: DC 12 or a Save Vs. Paralyzation or Willpower save (DC 12):
      This oppressiveness causes them to suffer a -1 morale penalty to AC, attacks, and skill checks.

      A new save may be attempted each time the group enters a new area (or every 10 minutes);
      once a character has successfully saved, he has become desensitized to the stench and is immune to its
      effects. ]]

      The character becomes Sickened, if he/she stays in the room or within 15 feet of the doorway.

      A fireplace is built into the west wall, nearby is a butcher block & a hanging rack of pots & knives.

      The eastern portion contains several tables surrounded by chairs.

      Haunched in one of the chairs is a spectral form, with it’s back to the door & you.

      It’s elbows are on the table & it’s head is resting in the palms of his hands.

      The figure is Rakoss’ dead cook, now a Spectre (Stat block goes here), through the workings of Rakoss’ foul magics.

      He Still appears as he did in life….

      The Cook will start the attack by flinging the hanging pots & knives at the adventurers. The Cook may even toss the Chairs & tables.

      DM option: During the fight with the Cook (If he could not be reasoned with or set at peace), either have 4 giant Ant Soldiers (Stat block) come down from the fireplace in 1D4 rounds or have the party or cook stumble upon a regular fire ant swarm (Stat Block). The ants are simply looking for a water or food source & will protect themselves.

      1. Or you could have it that the Spectre Cook, likes to keep the Kitchen Mess Hall Meticulously Clean & Spotless, doing away with the really bad smell angle !

    3. Well, I’m one of the “dragonsfoot guys” and I spend a lot more money on non-TSR era stuff than I do the older stuff.

      That being said, I think the new text is a step in the right direction. I agree with the latest DF guy who suggests that the Spectre doesn’t have to attack blindly.

      Could be a really cool opportunity to allow some RP. I think it would be pretty awesome to have the Spectre someone who could be a source of information about Rakoss. You might even be able to RP the Spectre where it is in a constant battle with itself. On one hand, it desires the touch of living flesh and there is terrible jealousy and rage pent up. On the other hand, that rage could be directed towards Rakoss instead of the players.

      In the end, the likelihood of players doing anything but attacking is pretty low, in my experience.

      Another option is to include clues about the different personalities in the tomb (like this one) scattered throughout. Perhaps the cook had a family. If the players pick up shards of clues about personal lives, then they are more likely to communicate or try to use those clues during the game, rather than hack up everything they see.

      Just some food for thought from one of us narrow minded DF guys.

      1. Hey Jeff! Thanks for commenting! I know the DF guys sometimes get a bad rap, but I should make it clear that I am soliciting and accepting feedback from everyone. It is part of my job to filter through that input, use what I like and discard what I don’t like. All input (except the rude kind) is welcome!

        I do like some of the ideas you present here, and I am still mulling this encounter over. There may be a mixture of RP and “fetch for me” options to avoid combat in this encounter. I’m leaning heavily toward doing both.

        Still as many people mention it is most likely that the party will attack the evil (especially if a paladin or other LG idealist is among the adventurers), but it is always nice to present options when possible.

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