Monday, October 5, 2009

The Forge of Fury

This weekend I reread the D&D 3.0 adventure The Forge of Fury.  I've run several of the original adventures that came out for 3.0, but I didn't run this one, and when I was looking at my shelf, I couldn't remember it at all. 

The basic idea is that a lost Dwarven tribe used to inhabit this dungeon and were wiped out, but the master smiths cache of treasure was never found.    The adventure is split into several distinct sections, each of which is inhabited by a variety of monsters, from orcs, to troglodytes, to some undead, and a black dragon.  The author does a fair job on back story and of explaining why these creatures are all cohabitating within the dungeon, but I have a few issues with the adventure as presented.  First off, the adventurers are sent in after the dwarven smiths treasure.  The treasure ends up being a bunch of coinage and a couple of seemingly random magic and masterwork weapons.  I rather expected to have a chest of masterwork (or even magic) axes or hammers at the end.  The thing that really bugged me was the black dragon who has moved into the underground lake isn't even hinted at in the beginning (except on the cover of the damn thing)! 

Really?  A dragon has moved into the area and no one suspects a thing?  I know the game is Dungeons and Dragons, but I still feel that a Dragon should inspire some awe and dread.  It should not be stumbled upon randomly in an adventure without any buildup.  Even worse it shouldn't ever be an actual random encounter!

I also have an issue with the way many modules give away huge spoilers on the covers.  This one is a prime example.  The first adventure in the Witchfire trilogy is another.  I had a group try to take out the antagonist the first time they met her, and when I asked why they said "cause she's on the cover hanging out with a bunch of undead and holding an evil looking sword."  It's hard to argue with logic like that. 

Anyway, back to The Forge of Fury.  It seems like a rather serviceable adventure, but I would totally rework the beginning to include some hint about the dragon, and the treasure... the whole adventure would need to be reworked in terms of treasure. 

I must admit I am tempted to rework it too.  Not for 3.0, but for 4e.  I think it would actually work out pretty well as a nearly straight conversion, with appropriate story rewrites. 

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