3 Reasons to Run Published Adventures

For the JBE “office” game, I run Tales of the Yawning Portal for the group. I mean, I can’t run anything that we ourselves published because we know each adventure so well. And honestly, who can pass up a collection of classic adventures. Last week, we finished up the first adventure, the Sunless Citadel, and it reminded me why I love running published adventures these days.

A little background: I use to never run published adventures. The first campaign I GMed was Exalted 1e. There was exactly 1 adventure for that entire edition. Not only that, I was able to make the campaign based in what characters the players made. I was 30 before I ran my first published adventure, and I don’t see myself going back to that anytime soon.

So if you create your own campaign, here are some reasons why you might want to consider checking out published adventures.

1) They Save Time

Oh my goodness do published adventures save time. The last campaign I ran that I created myself, I ran it on a Sunday, and I spent my entire Saturday prepping for it. I’d stat out every possible NPC they’d meet, even if it was only for a quick conversation because “you never knew what the PC’s were going to do.” I wrote mounds and mounds of read aloud text I never used. I’d read over source books in case they went off in some other direction I had not planned for or looking for some awesome treasure for them to get their hands on or … The list goes on.

When did I start prepping last week’s session? 20 minutes before we started. I don’t recommend doing that, but I was running late and work ate into my prep time. That right there is one of the biggest reasons why I use published adventures these days: because I no longer have the time to create an adventure for a specific group. The thing was, I still ran a good game. It would have been better if I had spent even an hour on it, but for such a short prep time, it was good.

Having said that, I still made the game unique. I rewrote the entire beginning. I added NPCs to the town. I created my own twists and turns. All of these modifications did take time—more than last week’s 20 min prep—but far less than the full day each session use to require. On the whole, I can run a great game at a fraction of the time required.

2) More Focused Characters

As any GM knows, players can do anything at any time. That is one of the things that make running a campaign so difficult—you have to be prepared for anything at any time. When I created my own campaign, I designed the adventures around the characters. Yet when I run a published campaign, the players make their characters around the adventures. Who is reacting to whom is reversed.

Think if it like this, if you let the players make whatever they want from any available source book, they will make characters that have little if anything to do with each other. Give them some direction and they will make characters around those ideas. Tell them you are running a specific campaign and they will make characters that fit that specific theme.

By giving them direction, you are channelling their creativity not hindering it, and you will get far less of the “the PCs can go any direction” that I talked about in the point above. A group where the players make characters without direction can result in an out of place character: three heroes, and a thief that wants nothing but violence and money, as an example. Then as the GM it is your job to figure a way to make them work together. Instead if you tell the players you are running a campaign where isolated villages are being attacked and you’re helping them, like in our adventures Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider and Rescue from Trykaven (available for Pathfinder and 5e), then the players will all be thinking about how the character they want to play fits in the adventure.

3) You’re Creating a Shared Experience

By running a published adventure, you are giving your fellow gamers an experience that they can talk about with their fellow gamers that other gamers can bond over. Look at it another way: adventures are stories. One crafted for a specific group is the campfire story while the published adventure is the novel or movie. How many times have each of us bonded with someone we just met while talking about a Marvel movie? The campfire stories, the only way I have found to bond with someone about that is to repeat that same story; bumping into someone that knows that exact same story has yet to happen for me.

So when we go to conventions, having played a published adventure is giving us something in common with someone we never met before. That is another opportunity to make friends and play new campaigns.

So do you prefer to run your own campaigns or do you run published adventures? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for some awesome adventure? Our Deadly Delves line of adventures provides you with game sessions that your players will remember. On top of that, they are designed for busy GMs like you and me. Download our 5e, 13th Age, and Pathfinder adventures at the JBE Shop today.

5e: Mites

Earlier this month, we released an updated version of our adventure Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider for the Fifth Edition of D&D. Inside are a number of new monsters and spiders do take up the majority of those new monsters. However, they are not the only new monsters inside. Today we want to show off the mite. These little fey are used to being kicked around. They get absolutely no respect and carry a grudge because of it. Despite their evil bent, they are not without their redeeming qualities. Find out what they are by reading this adventure today.

Download Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Mite

Image by Simon Buckroyd
Small fey, lawful evil
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 40 (9d6 + 9)
Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft.


Str 6 (–2) Dex 14 (+2) Con 13 (+1)
Int 8 (−1) Wis 13 (+1) Cha 10 (+0)

Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Deep Speech
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The mite’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 10). The mite can innately cast the following spells, requiring only verbal components:
At will: prestidigitation
1/day: bane

Actions


Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Dart. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 20 ft./ 60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Vermin Empathy (1/day). As an action, a mite can conjure a swarm of bats, a swarm of rats, a giant centipede, 2 giant rats, or a giant wolf spider. The conjured creatures attack the closest creature except the mite. The mite has no additional control over the conjured creatures.

5e: The Spiders Have Been Unleashed Again

These Spiders Aren’t So Itsy Bitsy

Giant spiders have overrun Mossdale, and every last villager is either dead and dessicated, or cocooned and abducted. But what were they after, and who coordinated the vermin to attack en masse? Could it have been the local ettercap or a crazed arachnophile druid… or was something far more sinister behind the attack? Can the adventurers rescue the missing citizens and foil the plans of the nefarious mind behind this dastardly deed before it is too late?

Along Came a Spider is an exciting adventure module in Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Deadly Delves series for the Fifth Edition of the World’s Oldest Fantasy Roleplaying Game. This updated 29-page adventure is designed to challenge four to five 1st-level PCs like no other content has to date. Inside this volume, you’ll find:

  • 6 new monsters, 2 NPCs, a unique trap, and more material for your Fifth Edition campaign

  • Three full-color maps, one of the ruined alchemist shop, another of the an ancient stone circle where spiders and worse horrors prowl, the final is in the lair of the deadly horror

  • Enough content to get your group of 1st-level PCs through a night of play with little preparation time required, bringing your group to 2nd level

Dangers Unknown. Treasures Untold. Adventure Awaits.

Download the updated adventure Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider for Fifth Edition today at the the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Updating the Awesome

Yesterday, we rereleased Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider in PDF for Fifth Edition. The original was our first adventure we released for 5e and I think it deserves a mention as to why. The answer will give you a better picture as to who we are, the way we approach game design, and where we are going from here.

First some history. When we first released Along Came a Spider, there was no OGL or DMs Guild for 5e. If you were releasing products for 5e, you did so hoping you wouldn’t get into legal trouble with WotC. You had to be sure you were right, legally speaking. You had to know what you were doing or that might be the last thing you published. If you remember, the playtest lasted two years and it look another two years for the 5e SRD to be released. Add to that their slow release schedule. While it helped them sell books, it meant that if you didn’t want either of the adventures they released that year, you had no other options. So it was in that environment we decided to go ahead and publish for 5e without a net, so to speak.

Along Came a Spider was designed to be both a Pathfinder release as well as a 5e release. It was written by Joel Flank–a freelancer I trusted as being excellent with Pathfinder and like me and some of my editing crew switched to 5e during the playtest. We loved the new game and wanted to be apart of it right away. Heck, our adventure Rescue from Tyrkaven was written during the playtest and was converted to Pathfinder when some license wasn’t released for it right away, but that is a take for a different day.

When it came to making it a 5e module, we had a number of hurdles about which we had to make tough decisions. Everything from the monster stat blocks to the use of advantage and disadvantage had to be discussed. Ultimately, we decided to go with a Pathfinder-inspired monster stat block since we were using the Pathfinder OGL as our base. Doing so, however, meant that our monster stats did not look like 5e stat blocks. While not a big deal as all the stats were 5e stats and not Pathfinder, it was a barrier to using our module effortlessly. A core philosophy in our modules and any other GM-related products we create is to make the GM’s job easier. We decided that the benefit of a GM having the option of another module to choose from outweighed any barrier of having the monster stat blocks and similar legal hoops we jumped through to make this safe. When we decided to redo this module, fixing the monster stat blocks and similar barriers was at the to of our to-do list.

Then there is the issue of layout. The original version of Along Came a Spider appears almost identical our Pathfinder version. Having run far more Pathfinder modules than 5e modules at that point, I was quite use to having monster stat blocks right in the text and did not like having to flip to the back of the book for all the monsters. Since that time, we have heard from many 5e fans that said they prefer having their monsters in the back. Since those early days, I’ve run more 5e modules and I must say I like having all the monster together when I am running a module from a PDF because it means I can print out the monsters and not have to print out the adventure along with it.

There is one other major difference in this version over the original: a third map. Our budget for modules back in those days was pretty low. We had just enough for only two maps. We decided the maps should cover what we felt were the most critical and visually appealing fights. Ultimately, we decided to not have a map for the final few fights since they were in caves, figuring a cave map is pretty easy to come up with. All the reviews and comments we received concerning Along Came a Spider mentioned the lack of a final map and I knew that if we ever revisited Thai adventure, this would be one of the things we addressed. I am happy to report, those final fights have a map that we can be proud of that will inspire GMs and players in these final moments.

Download Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Brass Golem

Next month, Jon Brazer Enterprises returns to gaming stores, and we could not be more thrilled. It has been about 5 years since our last book was shipped to game stores. We left because the logistics of getting a book to print on a regular basis was more than I could handle at that time. As time past, my circumstances have changed, and now I can bring all the awesome books we have been working on for the past few years to your gaming table via your local game store. We are kicking that off with the high level adventure Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence.

For those of you that do not know, our Deadly Delves line of adventures are designed to be easily dropped in to your campaign with little modification. Each adventure is self-contained. The Temple of Luminescence, as an example, can be added to any campaign setting by the GM changing one name to the setting’s Sun deity. Even then, if you are building your own setting, we included the deity and some details, making your job easier if you so desire.

Not only does the Temple of Luminescence easily fit into most games, it can even be a place where the adventurers go-to earlier in their campaign, seeing as how this location is associated with a major good-aligned deity and the majority of those inside are good (if misguided and deceived in this adventure). They could get to know the place and even work for the guy they will be fighting here.

One of the guardians of the temple is a brass golem. This high level monster is only one of the challenges your characters will face should they fight their way through the temple.

It is an interesting adventure that most gamers won’t see coming. Be sure to tell your local game store today that you want a copy. They can order it for you for release day in February.

Brass Golem

Huge construct, unaligned


Armor Class 17
Hit Points 189 (18d12 + 72)
Speed 40 ft.


STR 21 (+5) DEX 9 (–1) CON 19 (+4)
INT 3 (–4) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 1 (–5)


Damage Immunities fire, poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages understands the languages of its creator but can’t speak
Challenge 15 (13,000 XP)


Cold Sensitivity. If the golem takes cold damage from a spell or magical effect, it is restrained. At the start of each of its turns while restrained, roll a d6. On a 6, the golem is no longer restrained.
Death Throes. The golem explodes when it is destroyed. All creatures within 30 feet of the golem must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking 36 (8d8) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Fire Absorption. Whenever the golem is subjected to fire damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hit points equal to the fire damage dealt.
Immutable Form. The golem is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
Magic Resistance. The golem has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magic Weapons. The golem’s weapon attacks are magical.

Actions


Multiattack. The golem makes two melee attacks.
Brass Falchion. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (3d8 + 5) slashing damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (3d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage plus 14 (4d6) fire damage.
Breath Weapon (Recharge 5–6). A cloud of smoke and cinders fills a 20-foot radius. Each creature in that area must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw, taking 21 (6d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful save. On each of the golem’s turn, roll a d6. On a 6, the cloud disperses. Otherwise, it remains and deals damage as above to creatures entering the area.

Pathfinder Black Week Sale 2018

The holidays. Yes it is that time of year again where the Autumn colors come out, pumpkin spice turns to peppermint, and the spiders come indoors. Well, two out of three isn’t bad.

Here’s one more thing to brighten up your day: Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Pathfinder Black Week Sale. We have every last Pathfinder PDF we ever created at a whopping 75% off. That means that just about every PDF we have is under $2 and the few that aren’t are under $4. We have everything you could want: adventures, spells, races, vehicles, and much more.

This sale is going on now at JonBrazer.com, Paizo.com, and the Open Gaming Store. You don’t want to miss this sale. It is going on now and will end Tuesday, Nov 27th. So you have to hurry and grab what you want at these great deals. You won’t see a sale this good any time soon so order now.

5e: Enter the Temple of Luminescence

Some Just Want to Watch the World Burn! When the high priest of the sun goddess brings the planet and the sun closer together to spread his deity’s light to every corner of existence, the world begins to heat up dangerously. All attempts to breach the Temple of Luminescence and halt the magic powering this catastrophe have failed. The adventurers must perform an incantation known as the path of the sun and navigate the temple’s defenses to stop the high priest. But what appalling truths which led to this deadly incident will the adventurers uncover—and can they save the world before it burns? Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence is an exciting deluxe module in Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Deadly Delves product line, and is created for the Fifth Edition of the World’s Oldest Fantasy Roleplaying Game. This adventure is designed to heartily challenge a party of 15th- through 18th-level PCs and leave them with a memorable heroic tale. Inside these 51 action-packed pages, you’ll find:
  • 8 Fully-Statted New and Variant Monsters and 2 High-Level NPCs—keep your players on their toes by having them face off against an ancient solar dragon, a dwarven high priest, and new golems, elementals, and demons
  • 9 New Traps to keep your PCs on their toes
  • 11 New Hazards and Curses to make the environment unique and interesting as the sun’s power scorches all within the temple
  • 5 New Magic Items ideally suited to high-level characters
  • A New Type of Spell Anyone Can Cast which lets the adventurers pass as one of the temple’s own
  • A Beautiful Map with a GM’s version included in the adventure and a separate PDF that includes player-friendly versions of each map—perfect for play on your favorite VTT!
  • Enough content to get your group of 15th-level PCs to 18th level, or your 18th-level PCs to 20th level
Dangers Unknown. Treasures Untold. Adventure Awaits. Download Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence today at the JBE Shop. You can also find this adventure at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and coming soon to the Open Gaming Store.

5e: Ancient Solar Dragon

Last week was the first preview of our upcoming 5e adventure Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence by showing off the greater fire elemental. While that is great and all, that is hardly something amazing. Sure it is really good for wizards and druids that want to conjure one of these bad boys up 17th level or if they get their hands on a 9th level scroll of conjure elemental. Otherwise, a fire elemental is not exactly a terribly exciting monster. Well how about a new type of dragon. Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence features two new dragon types that Fifth Edition fans have never seen before. These dragons are from the stars and have abilities that reflect their extraterrestrial origins. Today we are sharing with the ancient solar dragon. This dragon is here because the Temple of Luminescence is an immense temple to a sun deity and a solar dragon is a living representative of the sun deity. Naturally, it would want to feel the warmth of the sun more and sharing that warmth with everyone on the planet would not seem reasonable to it, yes? That may just be the case in this adventure. Download Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence today at the JBE Shop. You can also find this adventure at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and coming soon to the Open Gaming Store.

Ancient Solar Dragon

Gargantuan dragon, lawful neutral
Ancient Solar Dragon by Brian Brinlee

Armor Class 17 (natural armor) Hit Points 261 (16d20 + 96) Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.
STR 26 (+8) DEX 10(+0) CON 22 (+6) INT 21 (+5) WIS 18(+4) CHA 26 (+8)
Skills Perception +12, Persuasion +21 Saving Throws Dex +6, Con +12, Wis +10, Cha +14 Damage Vulnerabilities cold Damage Immunities fire Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22 Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elvish, Gnomish, Ignan, Sylvan, Terran Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)
Channel Radiation. When the dragon uses its action to Channel Life, it can instead release a wave of radiation. Creatures other than the dragon within the corona must make a DC 18 Constitution save, taking 10 (3d6) radiant damage and 10 (3d6) poison damage. Constructs are immune to this ability. Intergalactic. In outer space, the dragon can survive in the void and fly at incredible speed. Travel times vary, but a trip within a single solar system should take 3d20 hours, and a trip beyond should take 3d20 days or more if the dragon knows the way to its destination. The dragon can carry one rider of one size category smaller than itself, four passengers two sizes smaller, eight passengers three sizes smaller, or 16 passengers four or more sizes smaller. Passengers are protected from the void of outer space. Primal Fire. The dragon’s breath weapon ignores a target’s resistance to fire; targets who are immune to fire instead only resist the dragon’s breath weapon.

Actions


Multiattack. The dragon can use its Alien Presence. It then makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws. Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 9 (2d8) fire damage. Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6 + 8) slashing damage. Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d8 + 8) bludgeoning damage. Alien Presence. Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and can see it must succeed on a DC 22 Wisdom saving throw or become blinded for 1 minute. An affected creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Alien Presence for the next 24 hours. Solar Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales a solar flare in a 120-foot line that is 10 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 31 (9d6) radiant damage and 31 (9d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Channel Life (3/Day). The dragon creates a corona of sunlight in a 90-foot radius centered on the dragon. All living creatures within the corona regain 31 (7d8) hit points. Undead within the corona must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or take an equal amount of radiant damage and become blinded for 1 minute. On a successful save, an undead creature takes half as much damage and isn’t blinded.

Legendary Actions


The dragon can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The solar dragon regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn. Detect. The solar dragon makes a Wisdom (Perception) check. Tail Attack. The solar dragon makes a tail attack. Wing Attack (Costs 2 Actions). The dragon beats its wings. Each creature within 15 feet of the dragon must succeed on a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. The dragon can then fly up to half its flying speed.

Lair Actions


  • On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), a solar dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
  • A searing beam of light strikes a creature within 120 feet of the dragon that it can see. The dragon makes one ranged attack roll (+6 to hit) against the target. On a hit, the target takes 3 (1d6) radiant damage and 3 (1d6) fire damage and is blinded until the end of its next turn.
  • A solar wind rushes through the lair in a 90-foot line that is 15-feet wide originating from a point within 120 feet of the dragon that it can see. Each creature in the solar wind’s area must succeed a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be pushed 15 feet following the direction of the line and take 3 (1d6) radiant and 3 (1d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage and isn’t pushed on a successful one. The solar wind disperses gas or vapors.
  • The moisture in the air rapidly dries out in a 60-foot radius centered on the dragon. Each creature within the area is overcome with an unquenchable thirst and must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, suffering a level of exhaustion on a failed save. Constructs and creatures immune to fire damage are immune to this ability.

5e/PFRPG: Wallpaper from the Temple

While I was preparing preview material for the upcoming 5e adventure Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence, I noticed that we never came up with wallpaper for the Pathfinder version. When I realized that, I knew I could not let that stand. The interior image by Jacob Blackmon is just far too awesome to let that go without being made into wallpaper for your computer. This image features Khol, our signature catfolk barbarian, walloping a sun dragon with his bare claws while Runa, our signature dwarven cleric is neutralizing the dragon’s attacks with her spells. I mean, holy cow is that awesome or what? In the middle of the room is a pillar of fire. This scene if featured in the adventure and is pretty awesome. Find out all the details about this fight inside Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence.
You, however, can snag this image for your computer desk. Download it now for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition. While you are at it, be sure to download Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence for Pathfinder or Fifth Edition. Download now.

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