Running Rahasia 4e

Yes, Virginia, you can run dungeon crawls in 4e D&D.

Recently, I ran my players through a 4e conversion of Rahasia, a classic adventure for Basic D&D which came out in 1984.  Originally I was planning on some experiments based on some ideas I’ve discussed, but with a blog post that was well timed (literally it went up on the day we started Rahasia) Frylock at Loremaster.org described some minor rule changes that would give 4e more of an old school dungeon crawl feel.

These rule changes worked well for Rahasia, and I highly recommend giving them a try.  Mind you, my players never were really well challenged in combat, but this adventure focuses more on exploration than combat.

In this post, I am going to describe some of the changes I made to Rahasia as well as some tips for running the adventure.  Obviously, there are spoilers ahead.

This adventure features a lot of teleporters, many of them the blind sort.  If you have a paranoid player/character in your game (as I do), that character will likely find themselves twiddling their thumbs at times as the rest of the party goes through the teleporters, leaving the paranoid character alone.

I also recommend that you don’t accidentally give the players the DM map of the shrine outside of the Grey Mountain. The one you want to give them is on the back of the pregenerated characters.

Oops.

Rahasia actually runs fairly well with little alteration.  Most of the changes that are necessary obviously involve the monsters.  There are few traps in this adventure.  Many of the monsters I used were reskins of other monsters (as recommended by Mike Shea) usually with some adjustment of their level.  My PCs started at 2nd level and ended up at 3rd by the end of the adventure.

The  monsters (with any leveling or reskinning indicated) were:

  • Water weird (Level 5 Lesser Water Elemental)
  • Gargoyle (Level 5 Gargoyle Rake)
  • Siswa (slightly altered Chevko’s Lackey)
    • ‘Boss’ Siswa (Level 6 Elf Noble Guard)
  • Bandits (Level 6 Human Ambusher)
  • Gelatinous Cube (as is, though they never encountered it)
  • Bone Golem (as is)
  • Black Panthers (Level 4 Fey Panthers)
  • Ular Taman (Level 12 Guardian Naga)
  • Giant Rats (Level 7 Rat Swarm)
  • Skeleton at 51B (Level 7 Skeletal Warrior made Elite)
  • Black Widow Spider (Level 7 Doomspinner)
    • plus two Level 7 Bloodweb Spider Swarms
  • Karelina (Level 8 Tarek Earth Shaman)
  • Solorina (Level 8 Blue Dragon Wyrmling)

The Rahib is the only monster I created myself.

 

One small rules change I did apply for this adventure was to add some minor subdual rules, as a lot of the combats involve the Siswa who have been enchanted by the Rahib.  I really don’t like the rules in 4e allowing the PC to decide on the death blow whether to kill the monster or not.  I don’t mind so much with melee attacks, but when it’s a fireball, it just bugs me.  So I applied -2 penalty to attack rolls if the PC didn’t want to kill the monster on that attack (and only for melee attacks).  This still resulted in some Siswa casualties though (my PCs did not seem overly sad about that though).

I did eliminate a couple of the monster encounters on the basis that they didn’t make much sense (the bandits and the orcs in the temple).

Some other tips on running this adventure:

  • Use random encounters.  There aren’t enough set piece encounters to really challenge the players otherwise, and I really should have used them more due to the Ranger in the party hanging out waiting for the party to come back after going into a teleporter.  I recommend using the rules Frylock gave for dealing with this.
  • Make sure that all the players read the wine bottle labels.
  • The party ended up fighting the Rahib twice.  First in his room in the first level (#37 Library), the second in the South Treasury along with his panthers (#105) before the the party acquired the Black Opal Eye.

Finally, here are the stats for Rahasia’s pendant:


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. I'm a 37-year old meteorologist. No, not one of those guys you see on TV, but someone who actually forecasts the weather. In my spare time (what I have with a toddler), I game. Mostly I run a D&D 4e game every two weeks, but also play Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. I'm a skeptic (not a cynic) and am interested in political topics. I can be followed on twitter @ArcaneSpringbrd


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About Arcane Springboard

I'm a 37-year old meteorologist. No, not one of those guys you see on TV, but someone who actually forecasts the weather. In my spare time (what I have with a toddler), I game. Mostly I run a D&D 4e game every two weeks, but also play Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. I'm a skeptic (not a cynic) and am interested in political topics. I can be followed on twitter @ArcaneSpringbrd

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