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Master Dungeon Master #11

#11 : Princes of the Apocalypse, part 2


For the Elemental Evil season, I will continue to breakdown Twenty Sided Store’s weekly preparations for Wednesday Night D&D Encounters. This week I will be covering Session 2 & 3. If you are reading for the first time, you might want to read the articles in consecutive order starting with #10 Princes of the Apocalypse, part 1

Adventure Recap

In Session 0, players familiarized themselves with the town of Red Larch. By the end of Session 1, players picked up a couple jobs for the town Constable, met with their local Faction Contacts, and got familiar with some of the local business owners and townsfolk.


Session 2

The players returned from the Necromancer’s Cave, questioning the sincerity of the Red Larch townsfolk – could the townsfolk be hiding something, do they truly believe in this non-sense, or are they completely oblivious to a certain unnatural force that seems to be dominating the Dessarin Valley? The Adventurers woke up fully rested the following morning, enjoyed breakfast, and met with their local Faction Contacts. They received a report that a Driftglobe had detonated in the Moonsea Region creating the scope of what they found at the Necromancer’s Cave and inspiring the players to want to dig deeper for more information as to what is really going on.

With a wide range of player motivations to uncover the truth, the goal for Session 2 was to let the players explore what mattered to them. Since we wanted to make sure that everyone had an opportunity to gather all of the information on the Believers and meet Larrakh, we decided to use the Sinkhole event as tool for timing and pacing.

At any point in the session the players could feel the ground rumble. This allowed the players to explore at their own pace and the DMs the opportunity to drop the characters into the main action at any point. If players decided they wanted to spend the entire session shopping or hanging out in the Tavern, no problem. If players spent too long interacting with NPCs or uncovering clues to the secret entrance, no problem. If they wanted to get right into the action and strategically acquired what they needed to do so, they could spend the whole session exploring the Tomb. Even if some players did not experience the Sinkhole first hand, the event happened. So when the players surfaced from the Tomb of Moving Stones at the end of the session, the event would have an effect that the players could choose to interact with or let happen in the background.

This flexibility allowed the DMs to get creative and create different experiences from table to table, while still maintaining session continuity. Something that resulted in an encounter at one table, may have only been read aloud text at another.

Team DM also agreed to let Larrakh escape should a fight break out – he could still have a part to play before this story concludes.

Session 2 Beat

  • Meet with Faction contacts and find out about the Driftglobe detonating in the Moonsea Region
  • Follow up leads and discover that a boy has gone missing recently.
  • Earth tremors that like an earthquake
  • Discover the Tomb of Moving Stones
  • Uncover the mystery behind the Believers, discover the secret of the Moving Stones, meet Larrakh and gain another clue involving the disappearance of the missing delegation.

 What Was Covered

  • Red Larch (HC pg. 20- 29,  PDF 10-13)
  • Tomb of Moving Stones (HC pg. 153 – 159, PDF pg. 22-28 – end with Treasure, do not run Conclusion)
Red Larch

Red Larch

Session 3

Players returned to Red Larch, now full of convictions. Once Constable Harburk catches wind of these new developments he calls for a trial. Meanwhile players receive a message that Nalaskur Thaelond, proprietor of The Bargewright Inn, has asked them to watch the Inn as a favor while he mounts a supply run to Waterdeep.

Players could either choose to delay the travel a few hours and stick around to help the Constable with maters of the trial, or skip the trial and head south straight away on the Cairn Road.

In the feedback from Tyranny of Dragons, I had a lot of players asking for more travel situations. By presenting the trial, DMs could cater the session to their table. Players that stayed in Red Larch had more role-playing opportunities and players that headed out to Bargewright Inn faced more random encounters. Either way players ended up at the Inn in the middle of the night, and were greeted by the Innkeeper who showed them to their rooms for the night, explaining that it was late and that he would go over all the details with them in the morning.

I wanted to make sure that every table closed the book on the Believers with this session, wrapping up any loose ends before moving on.

 Session 3 Beat

  • Time has passed. Constable Harburk’s Murder Trial (pdf) convicting the Believers is scheduled for noon.
  • Players learn that Beliard was the last place the Delegation from Mirabar was seen.
  • However the adventurers are distracted by a proposal to watch the Bargewright Inn for a few days.
  • Players Travel to Bargewright Inn.

 What Was Covered

  • Tomb of Moving Stones – Conclusion (HC pg. 159, PDF pg. 28)
  • Using the Treks – New Management, Faction Influence – Zhentarim (HC pg. 160)
  • Random Encounters (optional) – use Jackalweres, Ankhegs, Shepards (Early Travels HC pg. 30-31, Wilderness Threats PDF pg. 15)
  • Bargewright Inn (pg. 31)

What’s Next…

What path will the Adventure’s take after watching the Bargewright Inn – Will they explore further south, or will they head north to Beliard? Will they stop in Red Larch first, or head out directly? Stay Tuned for what happens in Session 4 & 5.

Check out these sweet maps by Mike Schley. The player versions are super helpful!.

Dear Master Dungeon Master,

In relation to your article about tips for the new Princes of the Apocalypse, what suggestions do you have for DMs whose AL groups that want to dive in as 3rd lvl adventurers?

Jumping in at third level starts you off with Chapter 3: Secret of the Sumber Hills (HC pg. 40-44). There are also great tips for starting at higher levels in Starting the Adventure (HC pg. 17) and some great Adventure Hooks under Running the Adventure (HC pg. 12-13).

Keep in mind that there are a lot of possible threads for the players to pick up starting at Chapter 3. The adventure assumes that the players have a common goal already established. If you are running this for organized play and starting with Chapter 3 and you want the players to choose their own thread, I would suggest spending a good amount of time getting the players familiar with their Faction Contacts and use those NPCs to help the players develop a strong goal and purpose for investigating the Missing Delegation.

Another option would be for the DM to choose the thread that is most interesting personally and stick to that thread when players investigate and gather rumors.


Hi – two questions regarding the Princes of the Apocalypse adventurers league campaign, Haunted Tomb encounter.  First, I am having trouble with the minor ghost guard.  It says to use specter statistics and it is a “minor ghost”.  Does that mean it behaves as a ghost, with fewer HP than the specter, but still have ghost abilities?  In any case, ghost or specter, both are way too powerful for first level adventurers without any magic weapons to beat.  Am I reading this right?  The second question involves the flying sword in the inner tomb.  I couldn’t find what the flying sword was regarding armor class, HP, attack bonuses and damage.  Thanks for the help!

Haunted Tomb (PDF pg. 19-20)
Not every fight is meant to be fought. The Ghost warns the intruders to leave his master’s tomb and he does not pursue those who flee. It is important as the DM to set up the expectations for your players. By roleplaying with the Ghost, players should learn that the Ghost is very strong and will not back down until the players leave or are dead. If the players decide to attack anyway, they might change their mind when they are on the verge of death and see no possible way to defeat the Ghost other than to flee. This is a choice your players should make and the choice should be presented before the fight begins. If your players hit first and ask questions later, they may not make it out alive – and that is ok too.

The statistics for the Flying Sword are in the DM Basic Rules (pg. 20). The Flying Sword is a second protection against intruders should the players fight the Ghost and live to tell about it.


I work with RIW Hobbies in Livionia, Mi and am trying to get the D&D Adventurers League started however it seems that I cannot find any guide on how to do this. We are having many players come in asking about this and we want to provide this service.


First, please read the In Store Play Options page.

RIW Hobbies can sanction D&D Encounters from the Wizards Event Reporter. Sanctioning is Monthly. If you have missed the sanctioning window for the current month, I believe you can still run your event and sanction it as a Casual D&D Event, however it will not appear in the Wizards Event Locator.

Kit materials are sent out when you sanction the event through the Wizards Event Reporter. The Kit materials are limited, so if you sanction late, the store may need to contact their sales rep to find out if there are kits still available. You do not need the kit materials to run your event.

A link to the PDF of the adventure is provided for free when you sanction the event, or you can purchase the Hard Cover.

The PDF is for levels 1-3, if you plan to continue at higher levels you will need the hard cover. Be sure to download the supplement for all of the monster stats needed to run the adventure.

Encourage your players and DMs to read out the D&D Adventurers League Players Guide and all of your questions will be answered.

For rules on how to play check out the Basic Rules and Basic DM Guide.

For tips on how to manage your Team DM and become a Master Dungeon Master like me, check out my earlier articles.

The D&D Adventurers League has much more information on how to Get Involved.

Ask Questions

Need advice? Want to share something cool you are doing for your store? Have any comments? Don’t be shy… Ask Master Dungeon Master!

In the meantime, I have a couple questions for all of you to help inspire future article for this column. Please take a moment to fill out this questioneer.

Lauren Bilanko
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