June 07, 2010

Village of Hommlet 4E: The Frogs

Welcome, dear reader, to my Village of Hommlet 4E conversion read-through. Back in 2009, WOTC sent it as a gift to everyone who were signed up as an RPGA DM. This is something you can do without actually running anything for the RPGA, and totally free. Not one to refuse free swag, I signed up when the brouhaha started on EnWorld that WOTC were sending out MOTHER#¤&#¤&! VILLAGE OF HOMMLET.

Anyway, in the fine tradition of Eleven Foot Pole, I intend to go over the various elements of the module - that being nine encounters, the village itself, and the epilogue. In the interest of full disclosure, yes I've ran the module. First time I ever DM:d anything too.

Let's start in media res. That's Latin for "Get on with it!". Meet the frogs!

The frogs are kind of a classic encounter. The PC:s arrive at the Moathouse a few hours away from Hommlet. Frogs burst out of the swamp and attack because hey, they're hungry and a bunch of heavily armed thugs looks like a good meal right now.

In the original (note that I don't have it, so there won't be that many references to it), the frogs could reel in small characters with their tongues and eat them alive. (Protip: Gary Gygax hated hobbits.) In 4E, they still haul people in and eat them, but there's no instakill, you just take damage every round.

Unfortunately, the giant frogs are level 3 Controllers, in a module billed for 4:th level characters. Two of them burst out of the pond (marked "1" on the map) at the start of combat, then one more trickles in every round until there's five. Now what do tactically minded characters do with an underleveled encounter that comes in small waves? They murder it, that's what.

Not that I mind. This is the first combat encounter in the module, and it's okay if it's easy. It might not be the PC:s' first encounter ever, since it's a fourth level module (the original was for starting characters). However, if you want to make it harder, I suggest merging this encounter with the next one (and maybe remove one or two frogs).

Finally, as I hinted at in the beginning: The module doesn't actually start with this encounter. (It starts in Hommlet, duh.) But I strongly suggest you, the DM, do. Hommlet is rife with roleplaying opportunities for the inevitable break in the Moathouse exploration, and after the group is completely done there.

Next up: Oh, I already told you about the bandits, did I?


Anonymous said...

Aw, the frogs should be much tougher. If the frogs are not a serious threat, it just is not Hommlet.

Unknown said...

There's certainly a shift in expectations. The AD&D frogs set a tone: "Welcome to D&D. It's deadly as all heck. Enjoy your stay."

The 4E frogs are either warmup (for experienced players that got here from level 1) or teaches you the ropes (for newbies).