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Enter the Dragon’s Lair Finalist: Rotting Within the Forest by David Adams

Dragon LairOur expert judges have conferred, and we have our five finalists for the Enter the Dragon’s Lair contest! Each day this week, we’ll post one of the finalists, and then we’ll set up a voting process so that you, our readers, can vote for your favorite entry. Our next entry comes from David Adams—congratulations, David, for making it to the finals!

Rotting Within the Forest CR 12


As the twisted trees of the Forest of Forgetting begin to thin, the ground underfoot softens. In moments you stand at the edge of a wide clearing, a half sunken tower peering out from beneath a murky bog. Buzzing insects flit about the dark waters of this deep pond and its festering sodden edges, and a putrid odor lingers in the air.


The clearing spans 10 yards east to west, with a small stream feeding the fetid bog that occupies the entirety of the open area. A deep pond fills the center of the clearing and most of the 150 feet or so that the area is open north to south. The outermost 25 feet of the large bog is shallow. Deep bog terrains covers all the remaining ground that the pond does not occupy. The top 40 feet of a ruined tower jut out from the northwestern edge of the pond, leaning slightly toward the murky waters below. A small window sits just above the waterline and serves as an adequate entrance for the kobolds that live within. From that window a staircase winds the circumference of the tower to a waterlogged chamber below and a makeshift guard post at its apex.

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Enter the Dragon’s Lair Finalist: The Black Crater of Blinder’s Keep by Christopher Lockey

Dragon LairOur expert judges have conferred, and we have our five finalists for the Enter the Dragon’s Lair contest! Each day this week, we’ll post one of the finalists, and then we’ll set up a voting process so that you, our readers, can vote for your favorite entry. Today’s entry comes from Christopher Lockey—congratulations, Christopher, for being another of our finalists!

The Black Crater of Blinder’s Keep (CR 14)

Rumors surrounding a mysterious calamity at Blinder’s Keep have surfaced in the streets of Zobeck. And travelers from each corner of the Crossroads share tales of a terrible wind northwest of Runkelstad, where the forlorn Keep and its haunted hamlet have sat in ruin for generations. Something stirs in the shadows of Blinder’s Keep. And whatever it is, it spells doom for the fair folk of Midgard…

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Enter the Dragon’s Lair Finalist: Ice Bridge by Ronald Corn

Dragon LairOur expert judges have conferred, and we have our five finalists for the Enter the Dragon’s Lair contest! Each day this week, we’ll post one of the finalists, and then we’ll set up a voting process so that you, our readers, can vote for your favorite entry. Today’s entry comes from Ronald Corn—congratulations, Ronald, for gaining one of the coveted finalist positions!

Ice Bridge Encounter


After a grueling climb, you finally reach the summit of the icy southern peak. Staring out across a great expanse, you can barely make out a cave mouth carved into the side of the next rise. Unfortunately there is only one way to reach the next peak or the cave mouth; by a long bridge made of ice.

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Collection of Curiosities: Inside the Tree’s Hollow

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoPeople and creatures use the hollows inside trees for a variety of things. Below are some possibilities for your game. You can roll randomly for a result below, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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Railroading and Your Campaign

TrainWhen I was a new GM, I had a reputation for running very linear campaigns. I didn’t have enough experience with the rules or with storytelling to handle more than slight changes to a storyline; if presented with a scenario that I hadn’t planned for, I defaulted to saying it wouldn’t work and pressing my players to move on, punishing them in-game if they didn’t acquiesce. It wasn’t until years later, after I had gained a lot of experience and perspective, that I realized that I was railroading my players in those days.

Railroading, to explain to the uninitiated, refers to stories where no deviation from the written story is allowed: the PCs are stuck on a narrative train and they can’t backtrack or get off until the train reaches its destination and the campaign ends. Usually this is enforced by a Macguffin, a plot device that commonly serves no purpose other than to keep the story moving along. The two can be seen separately, but in my experience a lot of new GM’s fall into the rut of using them in conjunction to force a story along where it otherwise would, and should, fall apart. Chances are that you as a player have experienced one or both of these already, and if you haven’t then you will at some point in the future.

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