Introduction to The Dwarven Ruins
The Dwarven Ruins is a conversion of the D&D 3.5 Cliffhangers adventure, ‘Unearthing The Past’ (written by Jesse Decker) which has been adapted into a Dungeons and Dragons solo adventure using the new D&D 5th edition rules.
Should you wish to play this adventure using the D&D 3.5 rules, simply refer to the original article on the Wizards of the Coast website.
What you will need:
Dungeons And Dragons Basic Rules PDFs
This adventure assumes you are familiar with and have access to the D&D 5e Basic Rules.
If you are not familiar with the D&D rules, please take some time to read through and learn the rules before you play.
You will also need to refer to the Dungeon Master’s Basic Rules PDF whenever you encounter a creature in combat.
The stat information for the creatures you’ll encounter will not be included within this adventure.
The page number and other relevant information from the DM Basic Rules will be given in parentheses next to the name of the creature encountered (unless it is a ‘unique’ monster).
The Player’s Handbook is not required to play this adventure.
This adventure requires the use of all of the following dice types: d20, d12, d8, d6 and d4.
Each of the links above are affiliate links – and your character may start with 50XP if you click on the links and make any purchase 😉 .
Alternatively, you may scorn such blatant bribery and corruption, grinding XP like a true hero by purchasing through these basic non-affiliate links:
Player Character (Or PC For Short)
You can either create your own character(s) or use the ones provided by the official Wizards of the Coast website (‘Starter Set Character Sheets’).
Alternatively, you can use any of these characters:
- ‘Anders Brightwood’ the Cleric.
- ‘Tharrick Stormhammer’ the Fighter.
- ‘Wellby Greenbottle’ the Rogue.
- ‘Kao Lung’ the Wizard.
There are several different versions of each character, each one using a different character generation method – 4d6 drop lowest, 3d6 in order, point buy and array.
Additional Instructions & Design Notes
Multiple PCs vs Single PC
While The Dwarven Ruins is a solo adventure, the original adventure was designed for 3 to 5 characters of 1st (or 2nd) level, so this adventure is mainly built for 3-5 characters.
However, D&D 5e makes it possible to build encounters for smaller parties or even for a single PC.
Articles on how to play using multiple characters will be made available on my main website, The Lone Crusader.
Alternatively, the adventure will include notes and suggestions on how the existing encounters in this adventure can be altered to accommodate players who want to play with a single PC.
Designed To Be Challenging
Many of the combat encounters are considered to be ‘deadly’ (according to the rules) and it is not something I have actually considered when putting this adventure together – this is merely intended as a straight conversion from the original D&D 3.5 version to D&D 5e.
I ended up keeping it this way in order to encourage smart play rather than to simply turn it into a boring ‘balanced’ hack & slash style of game where you could beat all and sundry before you.
After all – a game where your character(s) actually have a good chance of survival against the encounters in this adventure – who would want that :)?
Therefore remember that this game requires you to be clever, creative and perhaps a little cowardly in your approach to the encounters contained within this adventure.
Charging in blindly could be… lethal.
That said, if you do struggle with the encounters and are fed up with suffering a Total Party Kill (TPK) for the twentieth time, or you just want straightforward hack & slash, you can make it easier on yourself by substituting the existing rank and file enemies with goblins (DMDnDBasicRules.pdf, page 30) or halve the number of existing enemies.
Additionally, be sure to keep track of any experience points you gain from defeated enemies and/or story awards. When you accrue enough experience, you should level up your character straight away.
Not Quite A Choose Your Own Adventure
Once you get into the thick of the adventure, you may come across a light grey spoiler box similar to this:
The idea is that you decide what your characters will do based on what they can see around them (in other words, based on the description of the area and the scenario presented to you).
You are encouraged to make the decisions according to what your character might do in this situation or how he/she might react based on his/her personality quirks, alignment and so forth.
Once you’ve made a decision, click on the grey spoiler box to reveal what possible course of action you may have taken.
If what you have decided to do is listed in the spoiler box, simply go ahead with the action by clicking on the light red link which will look something like this:
Not all options contain links, because they may be actions in addition to whatever is needed in order to progress the story. For example, a fight is unavoidable and therefore that is the only link you can click on, but the spoiler box includes the option of using stealth, which you can do before entering combat.
If your intended action or reaction is not listed within the text in the grey box when you reveal it, simply choose the option that is closest to what your original idea was.
For example, if you wanted to give your enemies a display of strength to try and scare them, but the only option you see that is anything close to what you have decided in your mind are verbal threats and a Charisma (Intimidate) check, then simply select that option.
In such a case, you can also substitute the suggested ability or skill checks for more appropriate ones.
For example, using the above scenario, rather than making a Charisma (Intimidate) check, you could instead replace it with a Strength (Intimidate) check (including your proficiency bonus, if applicable).
This was done to create a sense of freedom in your decision making, rather than give a list options that you select from like a computer game or even a traditional choose your own adventures type of adventure.
D&D is a game where you can do whatever you want within the limits of your imagination, making your own decisions and creating your own story.
Even if whatever you are attempting is not listed in the grey box, go ahead and do it anyway!
Just as long as it is possible within the scope of the adventure and it sounds reasonable.
E.g., succeeding on a Charisma (Persuasion) check vs. an orc chief does not make him your loyal follower with his personal army at your beck and call! It just means you gave him a good reason not to kill you… yet.
If an ability or skill check is required, use your judgement to determine what kind of ability checks, if any, might be needed for any course of action you are attempting outside of those suggested in this adventure.
This is what true roleplaying is all about.
However, that’s not to say you can’t play it like a traditional choose your own adventure type of game. If that is how you wish to play it, feel free.
If you have any comments (good or bad), constructive criticisms, suggestions on how to make this adventure better or even if you need help in adjudicating some possibilities you’ve come up with that are not listed in any of the choices in this adventure, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave comments at the relevant pages.
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