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Triple Advantage
Triple Advantage

Season 2, Episode 12 · 2 years ago

Bonus Action - The Fires Below

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The Fires Below is a 3-5 hour long one shot adventure meant for characters of level 10. This Bonus Action is all about this new module made by the Royal City Society. We ask Braeden, the lead writer, some questions regarding the initial play-testing and inspiration of the module. The Fires Below is available now on DM's Guild.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another triple advantage bonus action. Now I know what you're thinking. Carlos's voice got a little bit higher pitched and more annoying. Let's know you got braiden today. Sorry, and advanced. I'm so here you guys. An got those got those bass stones to level out. But for now we are going to be talking about our new module, our new one, shot the fires below, which released today, Thursday. Let me start by reading for you, guys, the setting, the background for this adventure, set in the town of Penshaw, once a busy mining town. The supplied iron ore too much of the surrounding area. However, some weeks ago, a fire broke out in the mines below the town. Misfortune has been followed by rampant destruction. Is the fire spread unchecked, bursting forth from the ground explosively and destroying homes and lives? While many consider this to be an unfortunate byproduct of excessive mining, the fires are actually due to a rift between dimensions caused by a portal to the nine hills open far below the town. Will Your party be able to uncover the reality of the situation before the Devil's the portal brought take to the world above gripping. HMM, very gripping. Feel weird saying that I wrote this weird myself. Wait, this book is by Braden Hills. You flip it over. Brilliant ideas. Britain mills. Wait, yes, all my accolades are me, just under different pen names. Don't list. Don't put stock in anything that people say about me. But let's talk about this module a little bit. It's been in the works for some time. I believe we started this last year as a creative process and we've just kind of dusted it off and given it the old Royal City Society treatment. MMM, Jordan, you've been taking a lot of lead on a lot of the the changes in the edits that have gone...

...into this. What do you think? What's your what's going on here? Yeah, well, it's very well. Well, I'll done. You got maps in there, which is fantastic. Super hard to actually like create maps, I think, personally, and you've got very well written sections regarding different what you find in each of the areas and you've got really cool like Easter eggs that you can find and different little tidbits that are perfect for this particular setting it was. It was really fun to actually like go through and edit it as well as to run it. It was fen phenomenal, phenomenally done. Yes, you and I both did a little run through session recently, MMM, with very, not very, very different, but different enough, party compositions, and we definitely got some different results. Yeah, well, you know, at least none of us got a TPK. So that's fransastic. That is good. That is like step one. Don't kill your party. HMM. So did you guys run this at ten level? For but it's it's that's, I think, the highest level. Some of us have like have ongoing campaigns with how was that? How do you guys find dming a higher level and especially with this sort of new encounter, new mechanics? It's it's a bit of a mind trip to run at ten level because, like you said, I don't think like my party, I think is sitting at sixth level. I believe your party, Carlos, to sitting at seven, both the seven. No, seven, yeah, all right, sorry, yes, one of the Dragon Queens a seventh. Yeah, but high level play is definitely something that's none of us are used to as much as low level play. We've all kind of experimented and done our things downe to the low levels, and a lot of our one shots reflect that and that...

...was kind of a big reason why I set this one at level ten. was be too kind of as kind of like a challenge to myself to kind of rate different things and to rate something else that we're not used to, to kind of like remove, remove us from the comfort zone. But running it's a different story, because it's one thing to check it and go, yeah, that looks balanced, but it's another thing to deal like fifty two damage in one term to one character and just think, oh my like, oh my God, that's going to kill them. No, hang on, we're a tempt level in their barbarian that's fine. There's IT's a scratch. They walked it off. Yeah, everything is scratched. Yeah, it's everything half damaged. is but a watch wound so strong. It's very it's very strange to go from almost no high level experience to just kind of jump right into it and not kind of gradually work yourself up, but I think it went well. Jordan thoughts? Yeah, I think the biggest, I guess, challenge in this in this particular one shot, was actually the environmental challenge, which was awesome. I love having the added effects of you know, Oh, if your walk, if you're going through you know, a crazy, you know place, you're going to have some other effects. They are going to start happening to you. So like you can't expect to go through at full strength all the time, which was awesome. I loved. I don't know, I guess I took a little bit of pleasure in seeing the the players start to be like, oh, this is actually affecting me. Wait a second, what do we do now? It was it was it was good just because it adds an extra little flavor to a one shot. You know, most most most one shots, you know, it's like, okay, here's your little quest line and it leads you to a little combat...

...and then you're done the session kind of thing. But adding in all that extra little flavor really adds to the whole environment of it. With regards to running ten level people, I mean I have, I had a regular campaign that was running at that level, so I'm a little bit more used to that with regards to how much damage they can take in that kind of thing. But it is it does mean that you have a whole lot more abilities that the players can do that you should be aware of. You know ahead of time. So I like getting the character sheets and being like, okay, they have these spells. Sure, how did these work? Okay, now I can kind of like see how this might come into play and make a little bit of a guess ahead of time. You don't always know everything, of course, but you can. You can kind of see, okay, I know what this does, I know when he does this spell. I can kind of tell them, yes, you do this and then you do that and yeah, it was it was fun, a lot of fun. I love running stuff at higher levels. Yeah, and like, I guess this leads into the balance aspect of it. I'm seeing that, I guess, Jordan, you just said that you you're a little bit more used to it, but have you written one shots at this level? How did you balance encounters at this because at this point you're introducing things like world bending spells, all right, and you're adding it like, I guess I don't know if did you guys introduce magic items into the mix when you ran this, because those things like mess with balance a lot, I've found. I've I've run it twice now the first time I did. I allowed them each one magic item of their choice, within reason. Nothing, nothing stupid, but I'm just going to use my loop to wish this all the way.

Thank you. Yeah, it's nothing ridiculous, but I did allow them each especially it's it's balance most optimally for for people. They can be run with anywhere between three and five, I believe, but most optimately for four people, and this party had three people. So I figured, yeah, there's no harm in allowing them a little bit of magic items and I tailored the experience a bit more towards three people, and they absolutely steam rolled it. HMM, like there was no contest versus the session that I just ran for it to test all the new changes that we made. Party of for no magic items. Pretty pretty decent comp in terms of well rounded. This, I think, maybe a little bit heavy towards the melee side, but that's definitely definitely I think it was balanced. I think that I like they succeeded, but it was definitely a hard fought one that I think that they got a good sense of sense of accomplishment from. Yeah, I ran it with with magic items in it. Originally I was going to run it on a slightly more difficult setting just to see what would happen, so by giving certain creatures their full amounts of health or by adding in a couple of other creatures just to see what would happen. But I started to get tight for time so I cut that out. But again it came down really to the environment. The environment was what was really adding to that balancing issue, because you don't want to make it like you can't. If you have an environmental issue that is going to affect your players, then you can't use the highest level CR ratings with your with your enemies, because if you do, then they're...

...running that essentially at a disadvantage all the time, and that is that's not going to work out very well. So you, I I A. I applaud like what you've done there, Braden, with that, because it even though they took more points of exhaustion than they were anticipating, they still made it through. Mind you, the magic items probably helped a lot to but yeah, plus, plus, my crew had healing, so you know that always helps. To just kind of expand on the the environment. The German's referencing one of the things that we played around with here was exhaustion and introducing exhaustion to the party, because the idea is that you're down on this mine that's perpetually on fire and it's obviously it's going to be choked with smoke. It's been burning for a week. They're going to be struggling to breathe, are going to be struggling to get through, and it was well, well, well, what can we do with that? What can we how do we impose some kind of a penalty for spending long amounts of time? So we played around with the idea of damage. No, that's a little harsh. How about exhaustion? You know, exhaustion at at initial levels. It's obviously a barricade, but it doesn't really screw up a party to have one level of exhaustion, but it does kind of start to put a little put a little pep in your step to get it on and finish maybe more quickly and realize the sense of urgency we which I think is something that we were really trying to instill with this module, was like, yeah, you've got like a day to do this before the town burns down. And also, let's further that along by making you suffer essentially the longer you spend in this mine and it's it's one of those things where, if you look at I think Jordan's right, if you look at the monsters and the the opponents that...

...are presented for them, it's maybe like you're tilting your head, going like this is level ten, like this is this is what they're facing. It seems a little and then when you start to realize that it would be near impossible to get to the end without these disabilities stacked on top, yeah, it really starts to balance out and to add new layers to strategy, both on the part of the DM and in the part of the on the part of the players. I think Jorgan Point, where we were designing a lawer, the final the final villain to this fight, you had mentioned a spell that would be possible to add extra securing more radiance. I really wanted to do it. I was gonna do it, I was and then I decided to I'm very glad that that was not something we did, because my players, my players, enter the final fight with two levels of exhaustion. So which I think is probably I think that that's probably going to be the average. Yeah, my players Gott of made a bee line and then decided to long rest, and long resting in this place does heal you but also adds exhaustion. It doesn't cure your exhaustion. It actually stacks at it. Yeah, so they walked in with to ultimately, and it really, it really affected the pacing of the final fight, not being able to really get where they wanted in this relatively, relatively small chamber for the final fights, to be honest, compared to the scale of what they had been dealing with in this mind. But when you're reduced to moving fifteen feet at a time and everybody else has a fly speed of thirty, yeah, it really, it really starts to change your perspective of what you can do in that fight. Hmm, I like that. I like that. The balance mechanic, did you how did you think about introducing that though warrior considerations that you think, is this based on how many hours they spend? Is Like, how did you come to the conclusion on how you introduce a the exhaustion? It was another one of those things where I was like, I'm already doing stuff that's way out of my comfort zone, I might as well throw in a bunch of more crap that I have no idea how to bounce and rely on people...

...like Jordan and our friend Matt, who have more experience with this, to do the leg work for me. But ultimately it came down to the initial idea was just to have it affect them if they're long resting, because the ideas at that point they're spending about eight hours in the mind it's going to really start to set in. And then that didn't really it didn't have the same especially because at level ten, if you're not facing the the exhaustion, then you're probably going to get through some encounters relatively easily and you're maybe not going to have the need to long rest and you're not going to hit the exhaustion at all. So that changed to okay, well, they're spending time, we should hit like a time limit every eight hours, same as the long rest. That makes sense. What's eight hours like? How are we going to track that? So we essentially concluded that between walking around the mines and just the time spent down there, approximately every two rooms visited in the visited and cleared in the mines would be about eight hours. So the idea of being that like they could potentially end up with three, I think, if I've got both right, if they if they didn't long rest, they could potentially end up with three. But, and I think that we both saw it, once the the kind of looming threat of this set in. It was more like, oh no, we're gonna we're to get the main stuff done and once that's done then we'll go back and solve maybe some of the some of the side problems, but like we don't have time to really like screw around down here. So micrew actually ended up going outside of the town in order to or outside of the mines in order to long rest. I'm interested. Did you? Did you kind of instill the sense that like time was of the essence? Just like that's all well and good. I tried, but the characters themselves in this particular campaign weren't exactly like, you know, we want to save this town kind of thing. It was more like there's money, sure are, I'll do things for money. Likes okay,...

...and I know that that's something our friend Matt, who is helping us with a balancing he mentioned that the initial implication of long resting in the minds giving exhaustion wasn't enough because, like's who's going to a long rest in the minds? You can just long rest outside of the mind so, like, even you've never played with like a narcoleptic party, have you mets like I was, I know people that can sleep anywhere. Yeah, in DD and sure enough, the party that I just ran this for took it. took a long rest of the minds, because why not? You don't know it's a bad thing until you do it and realize it's a very bad thing. Well, see, I kind of gave them the impression that it was a bad thing to be in the minds themselves, because they would start to cough more and more as they got like once they went through two rooms and they got a point of exhaustion and they started to realize, Oh, I'm coughing and choking on the smoke. You know. They didn't think, Oh, I should just sleep here there now. They were like, Oh, we got to get out and we gotta rest in fresh air so that we can, you know, come back in, that's clever, and get ready for the next thing. So that's a good way of doing it. Yeah, it's an exciting little encounter. I think this is also one of the first introductions that we've had with infernal monster types. You know, I believe so, as in in in the realm of our one shot writing, for sure. Hmmm, which is a it's fun to see. It's fun to see the group starting to expand it at different areas and I think we're going to see more of that as we as we keep righting we we've kind of gotten, to be honest. As your friend, I was honestly just waiting for when you were going to start writing about infernals. Don't need this, so I'm good. The only the only thing missing is a lovecrafty and horror lurking...

...and infernals with a noir theme. What I meant was I think that like now that we've kind of found our footing as as the Royal City Society as kind of we've gotten out a couple modules now and we've kind of done everybody's initial first thing that we really wanted to work on as a group. Now that we are more comfortable as kind of a writing collective, I think we're going to start seeing ideas being brought forward that are kind of really more outside the box, really more outside of just typical level five two, our one shots that people are used to, maybe more than the I think that we sought first with that are team blade that we just released. Yes, Bradley helming that. I think that he brought some really cool new ideas to the table. Yeah, and I think that I think it now like the floodgates are kind of open for that. I know I'm looking ahead to something that Matt's cooking up something or friend Alex is cooking up that will hopefully be in the works very soon. But they're they're different, they're not really standard to what we've really saw far and I'm excited to see what those turn into. So if you guys want to keep keep in check us to when releases things, you got to make sure you hit the follow button on Instagram page and make sure you check this new module. The fires below out on a DM skilled search either Britain mills or Royal City Society for the author to find this great piece of work and tell us if you run this, how did it go? If there's any comments critique, we welcome it at all. And I don't know what else. Britain. Anything you want to know specifically from people, if they're on this, I would very much like to know how this goes, good or bad. I think that we spent the last fifteen minutes or so just talking up how good this module is, but I think that there's always room for improvement. So I think with any of our modules,...

...if you if you have something you like, if you have something you don't like, drop us a line at rosity society on Instagram or leave us a review or a comment on our DM skilled nice echoed branded spots love us. No, we're prose at this. All right, guys. Catch you guys in the next episode.

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