Thursday, December 10, 2009

Playing the Maurath module backwards? Nice twist.

SPOILERS to the Maurath module. You know...just in case.

This post will assume that you have read The Lost Staves of Maurath. If you have not, what the heck, man? Go here, download it for free, give it a once-over, and then come back for a nice twist to this module.

As I thumbed through The Lost Staves of Maurath again the other night (always, always looking for typos) it dawned on me that this particular adventure could be played in a way to add a good amount of mystery and discovery: run the module backward.

In this scenario, the characters will have zero knowledge of the town of Bremwell and their problems with their damaged temple and the lost staves of Maurath.

Deep into the original adventure, The Temple of the Black Jewel (area 21) has a northbound hall that eventually becomes a natural cavern, leading the characters outside into the hills north of Bremwell. Playing the adventure backwards, this cavern will be the characters' entrance instead of exit.

The first encounter for the characters will be with the clerics of the Black Jewel who will tell the characters about the theft of the Black Jewel. The clerics could hire the characters to explore the caverns above the waterfall to the south to seek out and return the stolen relic. Even if this encounter somehow results in combat (the clerics are Chaotic after all), the discoveries of the giant black statue, the strange interlocking staves, and sinkhole leading to the Temple of Maurath would be fun mysteries for the characters to untangle.

It's the discovery of the Temple of Maurath which intrigues me the most about playing the adventure backwards. I like the idea of the characters finding this mysteriously new structure above the dark catacombs. If the characters climb up into the sanctuary and kill off the temple's intruders, curiosity will insist that the characters hack or blast through the temple's boarded-up entrance. This might bring them to the town of Bremwell.

Should the characters end up in Bremwell, imagine the role-playing between the characters and the residents. Will they look at the characters with deep suspicion? Will they tell the story of the lost staves (one adventure, two lost artifacts! Who wudda thunk it)? The main thing the residents would want is some proof that the caverns do indeed contain an ancient, evil burial chamber. What evidence will the characters have with them?

Nice possibilities.

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