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Building Scarlet Moon Hall

Scarlet Moon Hall is one of the “haunted keeps” located in the Dessarin Valley and an important location early in the 5th edition D&D adventure Princes of the Apocalypse. The gallery that follows shows how I built the keep for my game using primarily Dwarven Forge City Builder terrain and D&D Dungeon Tiles. Below the gallery is a parts list for those interested.

Click the individual photos to read design and build notes for each floor.

Parts List

The following is a list of parts to build Scarlet Moon Hall similar to the way I have. In some cases it varies slightly from what I actually used as I ran out of pieces here and there and made due with what I had. I have linked to sets on the Dwarven Forge site that contain the pieces in question, but note that many pieces appear in multiple sets.

1st Floor (The Downward Path)

Here, and throughout the tower, one could opt to use only stone double posts, only wooden ones, or a combination of both. I chose to use both on the exterior walls for aesthetic and cost reasons.

Wall type and placement can also be varied. I chose to alternate solid stone walls with arrowslits, both horizontally and vertically.

2nd Floor (The Downward Path)

3rd Floor (Upper Entry Chamber)

If you use the ruined wood floors, the exterior will match the other wood floors (the outsides of the floor pieces are brown).

In addition to solid stone walls, one has the choice of magnetic walls and walls with LED torches to spruce up this build.

4th Floor (Cultist Barracks)

Here and elsewhere, it is possible to substitute a double posts with two corner posts. However, the double posts serve to hold adjacent floor pieces together, giving your build stability.

5th Floor (Elizar’s Chamber)

In my build, I used two more stone center window walls for the North wall (instead of a solid wall and arrowslit wall) simply due to running out of wall pieces.

Attic

I chose to make the walls of the attic Tudor style as I thought it helped offset the attic a bit from the stone walls of the structure.

Roof Support

Alternately, one could use a combination of any type of wood floors, as it simply supports the roof.

Roof

Using the 2″ x 4″ roof pieces creates a roof that isn’t as deep as the rest of the keep. One could alternately use a total of eight 4″ x 4″ roof pieces.

Scaffold

The pieces for the scaffold came from a variety of D&D Dungeon Tiles sets, but the most useful are found in DU6 Harrowing Halls and DU7 Desert of Athas.

Tents

These are great papercraft tents designed by Dave Graffam Models. Assembly required.

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Princes of the Apocalypse: Random Unusual Weather

Early in Princes of the Apocalypse  it is repeatedly suggested that the Sumber Hills have been experiencing unusual weather lately. To reinforce that theme, I developed a set of random unusual weather tables for use while running the adventure.

Random Unusual Weather In Sumber Hills

Roll once per day on each of the tables below to determine how the weather is out of the ordinary. With these tables, there is around a 41% that some sort of strange weather will happen on a given day. If results happen too frequently or infrequently, the DM should feel free to reroll or just decide that something does or does not happen.

unusual weather

 

Timing

The DM can decide that unusual weather happens at any time during the day, or at multiple times, depending on what makes the most sense with the results on the table and what the PCs are doing.  A sudden thunderstorm can break up an otherwise uneventful day of travel, or disrupt a night camping under the stars forcing the PCs to find shelter.

Duration

The duration of the events are also up to the DM’s discretion and what makes the most sense with the results rolled.  For instance, unseasonable hot or cold temperatures might last throughout the day (and return to normal the next day), but a tornado is more likely a single event. Because later events in the story tend to amplify the weather and produce greater, longer effects, it’s probably best to keep these random strange weather events limited to a smaller period of time: a sudden, violent storm that develops quickly and stop just as abruptly a few minutes or an hour later; a series of small tremors that last a few minutes and then stop.

Connections To Random Encounters

There are several random encounters (p.30) that, when paired with an appropriate weather event, can help get across the idea that the strange weather is tied to the various cults. For instance, a sudden violent downpour may indicate that nearby is a group of water cultists (“Water cult marauders” encounter) gathered at the shore of a small pond upon which as water priest is conducting a rite of Olhydra. If you roll for random encounters and unusual weather at the start of the day, and both occur, feel free to let one inform the other, e.g., if the random weather is tremors, then instead of using the random encounter rolled, change it to something involving the earth cult (and include a priest or other magic user).  Or if the random encounter is fire cult related and something came up when you rolled for random weather, change the weather to unusually high temperatures in the area around the encounter.

Unintentional Connections

Be prepared for your players to draw the wrong conclusions about random strange weather. For instance, if you randomly roll up tremors the same day that they make it to Feathergale Spire, they’ll probably think the Feathergale Knights were responsible. You could mitigate this by having the strange weather correlate more closely with the Haunted Keep that best reflects it (i.e. high winds near Feathergale Spire, downpours closer to Rivergard Keep) but the randomness of the weather and its possible lack of correlation with places the PCs visit may also help hint at the fact that there is something larger happening and many factions at work.

Design Notes

I used the Weather table (DMG p109) as a starting point for this set of tables.  You could easily include the light wind/precipitation from the DMG tables in the ones I published above; I opted not to for simplicity and to accentuate abruptness of the unusual weather.