Campaign Crunch #13: Sewer Plague in action (plus running a Modron machine)

For the crunchy highlights from this week session we land on 2 biggies and 1 little one:
1) Sewer Plague in action
2) The Modron Machine
little guy
3) communication and plot dump

We’ll run through them backwards, join us for the countdown!

3) Communication and plot dump: This session really centers around a defective Monodrone that is in favor of preserving the disorder of the Material Plane. This NPC served as a great plot dump point as well. Using the wizard’s Comprehend Languages allowed the party to be able to understand the Modron, but they needed to communicate with it. We set it up so that the Monodrome (who the players referred to affectionately as Mike Wazowski so we’ll call it Mike from here on out) opened up communications with the party by drawing pictograms on the floor of the sewer. This also gave the players a tool to communicate ideas back to Mike. We started out Role Playing the exchange but then switched to a summary of what they gathered from the exchange. This allowed us to use less table time for the conversation. It also meant that the DM was able to keep the players focused on the important information they needed to make decisions moving forward. Our advise for NPC Plot Dumps is this: RP it as long as it feels fun for everyone, when it starts to feel stale at all switch to summarizing the exchange instead of playing it all out.

2) The Modron Machine: We took inspiration and mechanics from the WOTC published adventure Out of the Abyss for this one. Chapter 14 of that grand Underdark adventure features a zany encounter with a Modron device called the Maze Engine. It will take Mike 5 rounds to shut off the machine in our adventure so each round on initiative count 20 we have one of the players roll a d100 to determine what the machine does. We use the table from OOTA p188 to determine what our Modron Machine does as well. We have nerfed it considerably removing effects like resurrection and teleporting magic items away. But basically it does all the fun stuff.

1).Sewer Plague: Just your plain ole run-of-the-mill Sewer Plague. You can find all the mechanics for it in your handy copy of the DMG. The only change we made was removing the 1d4 roll to determine how many days before it goes into effect. There’s already enough to keep track of with 7 players at a table. We had the foot-stabbing sticks in the Kobold puddle trap be the carrier. Step on a stick make a CON save vs Sewer Plague (which is pretty low: DC11). Once contracted the effects show up during your next long rest. Our low-CON Artificer stepped on a stick, and failed their CON save. Then failed their next CON save and is now operating with level 2 exhaustion!
Dropping the 1d4 days of incubation also means that the disease is guaranteed to add to the tension of the game in the meanwhile.

Until next week when we see what’s going on behind the DM screen in our weekly game, we bid thee farewell.

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