Four Tips for King of the Trollhaunt Warrens

by Mike Shea on 20 July 2009

Our intrepid adventurers, just escaped from the vile Pyramid of Shadows, find themselves traveling south into the realm of the Trollhaunt where they might help save a city from the clutches of a vile king empowered by an ancient evil. King of the Trollhaunt Warrens is the first published adventure from Wizards of the Coast to take the adventurers into the Paragon tier. Today we will look at four ways you can help bring life and the wide scope of paragon-tier adventure to your players.

As always, these published adventure tips will contain spoilers. If you plan to play through this adventure as a player, stop reading now.

And now the tips.

Introduce Prince Etheran Perenon well before you start running the Trollhaunt adventure.

The primary story arc of King of the Trollhaunt is to avenge the death of Prince Etheran Perenon. This Etheran's death can be a much stronger motivator if he is known and liked bythe PCs well before they hear of his death. Introduce him as an emissary or fellow adventurer in any of your previous adventures. Perhaps he is a liaison to Lord Padraic in Keep on the Shadowfell or the leader of an adventure group in the Thunderspire labyrinth. The more the PCs know him, the more they will want to avenge his death at the beginning of Trollhaunt.

Build an adventure-wide villain out of the Oni in the first encounter

In the first encounter, the party faces a raiding party of trolls led by an Oni. The Oni's ability to turn invisible and shapeshift gives him an excellent opportunity to act as an adventure-wide villain. Give him a name and clear motivation and make sure it becomes known to the players. Use the tips for building a good villain. Have him assassinate one of the party's friends or sew seeds of terror in Fallcrest. This Oni is a perfect assassin. Have him shift into the shape of a human and become friends with the party in Fallcrest only to betray them when he can strike the most devastating blow. Include more than one encounter with him, perhaps changing his statistics into higher level Oni variants as he grows more powerful.

Make the defense of Fallcrest your players' Helm's Deep.

Half way through the module, the party must defend Fallcrest from the troll king's army. This is a great opportunity to show the party mighty they have become as they enter the paragon tier. Watch the Two Towers movie and take tips from it to turn your party's defense of Fallcrest into their own Helms Deep. Give them a chance to build defenses into the town. Give them command of a small contingent of town guard minions. Let them lead the defense themselves. Ensure it is clear that they alone stand in the way of a powerful troll army and a town unable to properly defend itself. This is their chance to truly become heroes.

Build an epic vision of the Feywild.

It is very possible the trip to the Feywild near the end of the Trollhaunt is the party's first trip to the outer worlds. Make it as epic and memorable as you can. Remember that the Feywild has societies older than any on the prime world. Waterfalls drop a mile into the lakes below. Trees grow as wide as cities. Statues nearly one hundred millennia old lay shattered and huge within the ancient groves. Also remember the Feywild may be lush and old but can also be sinister and dangerous. While the light shines brighter here and the colors burn brighter, the shadows too grow darker than those seen in the prime world. Old vengeances lay deep in the wood.

With these tips and some careful planning, the King of the Trollhaunt Warrens adventure can be just the bridge you need to take your players out of the heroic adventures and into the paragon tier. Enjoy!

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