In our D&D group, I’m taking a turn at the reins as Dungeon Master. I chose White Plume Mountain, a conversion of the AD&D classic module to 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, found in Tales From the Yawning Portal.
WPM is an old school “puzzle and trap dungeon”. I’ve heard it called Tomb-of-Horrors-lite.
We’re playing it on Roll20 virtual tabletop, and I bought their pre-made version for my convenience. I’m a busy guy, and having all the monster tokens and dungeon effects pre-placed was worth $5 to me.
This is a session recap. There will be spoilers. Obviously.
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The party (all level 7):
- Sir Valler Crowngard (Oath of the Crown Paladin)
- Quarion Tenure (Abjuration Wizard)
- Orgrush (Monster Slayer Ranger)
- Gimlet (War Domain Cleric)
- Emlyn Farakos (Fiend Warlock)
These are essentially tournament-style characters, not part of a regular campaign. I let each one pick a +1 weapon OR armor in addition to their mundane gear.
Objective: Find the 3 legendary weapons in a mountain inhabited by a strange and powerful wizard. Whelm, Wave, and Blackrazor.
Time Pressure: The party has gotten the drop on everybody else. At some point, however, other parties will be showing up to try to seize the 3 magic weapons for themselves. They don’t know how much lead time they have.
Death Penalty: PCs who die, and are not raised, will be replaced with 4th level characters. Good news is that lower level characters level-up quicker, assuming they survive.
Gringle’s Pawnshop: Nearest city is a long distance away from WPM. Party has a single use magic “mat” to drop on ground. Opens a “cellar door” into Gringle’s Pawnshop. Allows the party a one-time opportunity to buy and sell gear and magic items during the adventure.
The mountain is not hard to find, a volcanic cone spewing gas and steam. The party found that a crowd was already on scene. No adventurers – yet – but groupies, onlookers, and vendors encamped in the vicinity. Bards asking party names, etc.
Entrance was found to be through a cave called the “Wizard’s Mouth“.
“This cave actually seems to breathe, exhaling a large cloud of steam and then slowly inhaling, like a person breathing on a cold day. Each cycle takes about 30 seconds. Approaching the cave, the party will hear a whistling noise coinciding with the wind cycle. If it were not for the continuous roaring of the Plume, this whistling could be heard for a great distance.”
The party was initially cautious of the whistling cave, but made their way through the muck to the back, where they uncovered a trap door leading down to a spiral staircase.
Down in the Dungeon
The rusty spiral staircase went down 100 feet. At the bottom, the dungeon opened up. To their dismay, the party found the floor covered in murky water, one foot deep. This would constitute Difficult Terrain, slowing their movement by one-half.
…and make it difficult to see dangers as well. I had a good chuckle when I realized nobody brought a 10′ pole!
Their first encounter was a soggy, unhappy Gynosphinx. Solve her riddle to pass.
Round she is, yet flat as a board
Altar of the Lupine Lords
Jewel on black velvet, pearl in the sea
Unchanged but e’erchanging, eternally
It was easy: The Moon. They passed quickly.
The snarky gynosphinx urged them to kill her captor, Keraptis. She noted that if they left and returned, she was obligated to present another riddle.
The lack of a 10′ pole meant the lead members of the party walked in the submerged Green Slime, and fell into the pit in the other hallway.
They turned back and focused on the center passage.
They found the side chamber with deep water, and tried turning the valve a number of times, but failed.
The party encountered the Kelpies, who utterly failed at Charming Sir Valler and Orgrush. I had the Kelpies flee deeper into their water refuge, before they were slaughtered. The party did not follow.
The party continued. The warlock Emlyn Farakos was able to cast Detect Magic at will, and had been doing so continuously, but with little result thus far.
They forced open the door to the east, saw the spinning psychedelic cylinder with some substance on the surface… and said Nope! for now.
They focused on the metal valve door to the north, paranoid that monsters or poisonous gas waited beyond, since the doors were so tightly sealed. They finally opened it, to discover…
Another valve door. And another.
I hope y’all enjoyed the session recaps. Here’s what I used for this adventure.
White Plume Mountain (S2). The original 1979 AD&D adventure by Lawrence Schick, long out of print but available in the used market or PDF / Paperback reprint at DriveThruRPG (currently $6.50 at this writing). Great art by old school RPG artists.
Tales From the Yawning Portal (2017). The White Plume Mountain adventure is included in this D&D 5e hardcover – unabridged and essentially unchanged from the original. One of several classic modules converted to 5e tabletop play. New art, which is also quite good. The map looks great for VTT play.
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Dungeon Fantastic: White Plume Mountain 5th edition – Session Summaries