The Alchemists Torment is a two part mini-adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. This adventure can be implemented into an already existing campaign or can be played as a stand alone mini-adventure. With the flexibility of level scaling guides for all character levels this adventure can be by all players – new or expert.
This adventure provides a framework for a Dungeon Master to follow but allows them to develop their own spin on character personalities and environment descriptions, as well as the way they play this adventure.
I left the first version of ‘The Alchemists Torment’ with my dungeon master friend – Ben, for a week as he developed this into a playable adventure on roll20 for play testing. We reflected on this first iteration of the adventure and he provided his feedback.
Fleshing Out the Environment/ Characters
Ben’s first notable criticism was that the town needs some fleshing out. “by adding flavorful characters/events to the town as distractions but also for broadness to avoid railroading and give the adventure more legs”.
Also to develop the basic descriptions and people that fill the town, their personalities and what information they know and some visceral description that will make them unique from other townsfolk. Ben suggested I incorporate character dialogue of “The information they might relate to the players. Which people will tell them about the disappearances, and weather or not they will point the players in a certain direction”
He also suggested to add each townsfolk’s reaction or opinion of Agartho – The Alchemist.
He suggested to add a town map so that the dungeon master and players can visualize the environment and also so the DM does not have to create a town from scratch.
Interpreting the Synopsis
Ben’s interpretation of the adventure synopsis was perfect but he had some comments about how the information is presented. He suggested a reconstruction of the event order so that the players are not railroaded to follow one story line and to provide a more rich gaming experience.
He wanted to know “how will the alchemist react to being asked questions about the missing people?” Which is a good addition to add to the adventure. If the Alchemist will reject characters or fight if he is accused.
We discussed the freedom of characters choices and what they may do in the world – Sneak around the fortress instead of entering with Ho’Gar (The alchemists worker) or perhaps they have an incentive of stealing. Perhaps the characters are driven by their alignment of good or evil.
From this reflection he suggested to close in some gaps of the world and what actions the dungeon master can take to preemptively anticipate what players may do in the world.
Level Scaling and EXP
Ben suggested firstly that the scope of levels for this adventure to be reduced to perhaps levels 1 to 7 (the levels that most adventurers play at). Secondly that the monsters are scaled a different way – instead of just adding more monsters, to add upgraded levels for higher level characters to maintain the challenge at higher levels. Also he suggested to look into party size balancing as the challenge will be significantly reduced with more players.
He also commented on adding experience bonus’ for story progression, especially for players who attempt to avoid combat.