Tag Archives: Adventures

Adapting WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS to Popular Settings

The WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series puts a band of low-level characters directly into the path of a kobold warlord bent on recovering his race’s lost glory. The modules are out and available for D&D 5th Edition, Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Savage Worlds, and Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, and I hope you’ve got your copies, either digital or physical.

In each module I include a section about adapting the adventure to an existing campaign setting, as I’ve tried to make them as generic as possible in order to fit into as many settings as possible. This is both a blessing and a curse – sure, it would be nice to actually tie the adventure into a setting specifically, but then I’m locked into that setting! I’d rather keep things as generic as possible and provide advice on how and where to stick it in the many published settings available.

Hence this blog post! It’s a long time coming, so I apologize for that, but it’s also a bit of a bear to write. I’m going to look at several of the more popular settings, both classic and currently in print. This includes: Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Mystara, Eberron, Golarion, and Garweeze Wurld. Before diving into each one, let’s take a quick look at the key aspects of the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS setting that need to be adapted into an existing setting.

  • City of Cresthill (gnomish city). Featured in WK0 Night of the Mad Kobold, Cresthill was built as a gnome city because kobolds hate gnomes, and I honestly think gnomes get a bit of the shaft when it comes to published material.
  • Town of Ormkirk. A small isolated community that is featured in both WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen and WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold. Out of the way, relatively small, located along a little-used trade route are the elements I’m looking for here.
  • Talon Hills. These are the hills featured in WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen. Rocky hills where kobolds live, seems pretty straightforward.
  • Liverswood. This is a forest with a gnome librarian in it, but ideally it would be a bit away from civilization. Introduced in WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye but also fits in with WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold.
  • Ruins of Silvergaeral. Featured in WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye this is a gnomish city lost in the mountains.
  • Wild Mountains. A generic mountain range that is featured in both WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye and WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold. Ideally would already have tribes of kobolds living in them.

Those are the big elements in the series that need to have analogs of some kind for the modules to work as best as possible. Let’s look at each setting and see what we can connect!

Forgotten Realms

Ed Greenwood’s brainchild from before D&D was a thing, Faerun has seen a lot of love from the official channels for many years, and for 5th Edition is the default setting for the Wizards of the Coast produced adventure modules. There are a lot of places to choose, but for me I would look at the Sunset Mountains and the Far Hills. (Note: I’m using the map from the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting hardcover book.) I know the Realms underwent a lot of changes in 4E and that a lot of those changes were then reversed for 5E, so ultimately I think this area probably still works. The town of Hluthvar, north of Iriaebor, could stand in for Ormkirk nicely. Honestly, I would use Cresthill as a trade city on the River Chionthar between Iriaebor and Scornubel exactly as is!


Published as a new setting for 3rd Edition after an exhaustive public search, Eberron is the work of Keith Baker, and in it he blends sword, sorcery, and steampunk into a wonderful mashup of fantasy pulp. Lightning trains, living spells, intrigue, and more adventure than you can shake a stick at can be found across the continent of Khorvaire, and certainly the machinations of a kobold warlord fit right in with the setting’s sensibilities. I would look to Zilargo as a broad setting, and then choose either the northern or southern end of the Howling Peaks (the northern end sits in Breland with the southern end exists in Zilargo). Zilargo is the kingdom of the gnomes in Khorvaire, so it makes thematic sense to choose that area. Ormkirk can be placed as is in the hills leading to the Howling Peaks easily enough, and the history of the gnomes of Silvergaeral can be worked into House Sivis’ own backstory. Liverswood can be placed in the forest south of Reven as well, and I think you can use Tzanthus for Cresthill without any problems. (Note: I’m using the Eberron Campaign Setting hardcover book for 3rd Edition as my source and map.)


Ahh, the classic. The stomping grounds of Gary Gygax and the original band of gamers in the Lake Geneva area. For me, it’s always held a special place – many of my own home games have been set on Oerth. For the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series, there are a few good options, but the one I would personally choose would be the region of the Cairn Hills and Abb0r Alz mountains, east of Woollly Bay. The area has long been the haunt of monsters and dangerous sites, so Ormkirk can be placed as is on the eastern edge of the Plain of Greyhawk without missing a beat. Likewise, Cresthill can be placed along the Selintan River south of Greyhawk City, or on one of the tributaries that join from the east. Silvergaeral fits nicely into the Abbor Alz mountains themselves, perhaps tracing routes back to the founding of Urnst on its eastern slopes. (Note: I’m using the Greyhawk regional map from the From the Ashes boxed set for my map with updates and references from the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.)


The Known World of Mystara came about from the Basic D&D boxed set as a generic setting to place all of the adventures in. Eventually, it was supported with a series of fantastic setting gazetteers (13 of them as I recall) each detailing one of the major nations of the core setting. I myself adapted the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series for own home game, so I have first-hand knowledge here! For my game I placed Cresthill on the Windrush River between Verge and Rifflian in Karameikos, and then established a little-used trade route that went west from Rifflian to Luln, skirting between the Cruth Lowlands to the north and the Radlebb Woods to the south. Ormkirk was placed on this route, so the caves were located in the Cruth Lowlands, and I placed Silvergaeral in the Black Peak Mountains. The Lost Library of Liverswood became the Lost Library of Riverfork to the west, just to the north of Black Eagle Barony. It all worked very well! (Note: I’m using the maps and details from GAZ1: Grandy Duchy of Karameikos for the setting.)


The base setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Golarion has enjoyed a great deal of support from Paizo since its release. The Inner Sea Reigon (oops, the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover book had a map and the map is misspelled!) is rich, vast, and varied, and there are near countless placed to set the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series. If it were me, I would look to Varisia, which was not incidentally the region focused on by the first adventure path (Rise of the Runelords). It’s wild enough to have all the elements, so I would look to the Red Mountains (east of Brinewall) as the foundation. You can use Brinewall instead of Cresthill easily enough, or add in Cresthill as a sister trade city on the Steam River, and then place Ormkirk south, east of the Velashu River. The nearby Lurkwood could hold a gnome librarian, and the Red Mountains themselves could hide Silvergaeral. In this case, I would move the Over-Kobold’s Castle Kragtooth to the Stony Mountains just to get some breathing room.

Garweeze Wurld

If you know me or have read my blog for a bit, you should already know that I love Knights of the Dinner Table. I think it is the best RPG-related comic on the market, and perhaps the best RPG-related product (certainly in the top 5!). The Knights play a fictionalized version of D&D called HackMaster, which incidentally was actually released as a wacky licensed version of AD&D 2nd Edition by Kenzer & Company, and then updated to be it’s own game a few years ago. Garweeze Wurld is the official setting of the Knights’ version of HackMaster, and Kenzer & Co released a fantastic PDF product detailing the core setting. I loved it, and I actually wrote WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen to fit into that setting first. Where did I put it? In the Shadlurian Kingdom, north and east of the Fangaerian City States! Ormkirk was originally the town of Talert, and the Talon Hills were originally the Galon Hills. I would keep it the same place Cresthill south of Talert on one of the small rivers. The Galon Hills would also hold Silvergaeral and the forces of the Over-Kobold, so it becomes less mountains and more rocky hills, but that’s fine! (Note: I used the Wurld of Aldrazar PDF for reference and maps.)

WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye RELEASED!

Hot on the heels of WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen, the second adventure in the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS trilogy has been released onto the world. WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye begins with the characters laboring under a curse, a result of their encounter with the Kobold Queen in the previous scenario (or some other factor if you plan on using the module without WK1). The investigation into the curse brings the characters to a library in a dark forest which has also come under the effects of the kobold eye. From there the ruins of a gnomish city and its undead-haunted mausoleum await the characters.

Check it out on DriveThruRPG at the below links and let us know what you think!

5th Edition
Swords & Wizardry
Savage Worlds

A Look Behind and (Slightly) Ahead

I am planning on launching the Kickstarter for the Fantasy Renaissance Adventure Modules very soon. Like, super soon. OK, I’ll put a date to it – Monday, August 17th! But it’s probably a good idea to look at why I’m doing a Kickstarter and what I’m hoping to do with it.

I don’t think I could be a smaller operation. Cut to the Chase Games is pretty much just me and my super supportive fiance trying to bring awesome adventures to the gaming scene. And I want them in print as well, so that’s added a challenge that’s been interesting to figure out (and frankly I’m still figuring out some distribution parts, but that’s for down the road a bit). I’ve been writing adventure modules for nearly as long as I’ve been playing roleplaying games – my home games I wrote out, poorly to be honest, but I wrote in the style of a Dungeon Magazine scenario so that I didn’t have to remember them when I was playing and I didn’t have to read my poor scribbled handwriting.

So I’ve built up quite a catalog of awesome adventure ideas and possibilities, but what to do with them? I read the adventures in Dungeon Magazine, and finally in 2005 I submitted a handful of proposals to them (Paizo was handling both Dragon and Dungeon at the time). They liked one of them, “Heart of Hellfire Mountain”, and asked that I send it in. I did, eagerly, and then waited quite awhile for anything to come of it. I submitted more proposals in the meantime, and got a few rejections back with critical feedback, but quickly I stopped getting responses at all. So did everyone else it seemed.

I got word sometime in late Q2 2006 that my adventure was slated for Dungeon Magazine #140, and around that same time came the announcement of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Wizards was ending the contract with Paizo and bringing Dragon and Dungeon magazines in house, and Dungeon #150 was going to be the last. Well, that explained the lack of responses! Dungeon #140 came out, and the cover featured the archdevil Mephistopheles from my adventure (“Heart of Hellfire Mountain” for 20th-level characters!). I was super excited and hungry for more, but with the flux of the game it seemed as though things were moving inward rather than outward. I feel like if I had jumped at submitting proposals earlier I might have been able to establish myself in Dungeon Magazine better, but ah well. No complaints, no regrets, keep moving forward!

I kept my eye on sources, and my love of the pulp 1930’s gaming genre brought the Ravaged Earth setting and Savage Worlds system to my attention. I think it was GenCon 2007 (maybe?) that Reality Blurs released the print version of Ravaged Earth, and I left Minnesota on Friday after work to drive through the night to Indianapolis just so I could get a copy. (That’s a story for another time – a harrowing journey to be sure!) I got it, read it, and then reached out to Reality Blurs with a handful of One Sheets (short Savage Worlds scenarios meant to be played in just an hour or two) I wrote. Sean Preston got back to me and I hit the ground running with some projects for them. I had a lot of fun writing for Reality Blurs, and massaged some of my backlog of fantasy adventures into the Old School Fantasy series (Hunger of the Iron Mage, Call of the Crow, and Slave Pens of Moss Stone were my favorites).

Eventually I parted ways, amicably, with Reality Blurs and focused on personal things. I always had the idea in the back of my head of trying to release trilogies of adventures, each that could be run individually but together would form a mini-arc. Dungeon Magazine explored the idea a handful of times, and I always found it more digestible than the sprawling adventure paths they focused on instead.

Fast forward a bit to 2014, and the company I worked for announced they were moving to Colorado. For various reasons I decided to stay in Minnesota and was kept on until the end of Q1 2015 to help with the transition. I don’t know if I could get a stronger sign, so I decided to take the leap into game design company ownership and started up Cut to the Chase Games in January 2015. I’ve learned a lot since then, registering things and purchasing things and learning new technologies, but it’s all led to the launch of the Fantasy Renaissance Adventure Module Kickstarter campaign.

Where does it go from there? I hope it keeps going, and I hope I get to fully realize the backlog of adventure titles I’ve got (there are more than 30 of them with titles, outlines, and ideas, and more than twice that with just one of those three things!). But only time will tell.

WK0 Released to the Wild!

The first product released by Cut to the Chase Games, WK0 Night of the Mad Kobold is now available FOR FREE! You can get it in one or more fine flavors – 5E, Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, or Savage Worlds. Tim Wilsie did the cover art, Kelly Christensen did the editing, and I did the writing. It was a lot of fun to put together, and can be playable in a single evening – or stretched out if you want to prolong the kobold bomber’s mad night of terror into a weekend thing.


But get this adventure quick, cause after the Kickstarter for the Fantasy Renaissance Adventure Modules is done (launching in mid August) the price goes up to $3.00.

Get them here!

5E version
Pathfinder version
Swords & Wizardry version
Savage Worlds version

Break Up the Mega-Dungeon

I am a big fan of classic adventures with flavorful dungeons, insidious traps, and dangerous denizens. But one thing I do not enjoy is the concept of the mega-dungeon – a great sprawling complex filled with rooms and chambers, a map-makers worst nightmare.

For one, as a DM, they’re kind of a boring to run. Or at least they can quickly devolve into total dullness as you run out of ways to say “20 foot by 20 foot chamber” to make them interesting to the players. And you really need to have a player who loves mapping, or at least someone who is willing to step up and do it, to get the best benefit. I’ve found my players don’t enjoy mapping out a dungeon as they explore, and I can hardly blame them.

There are a lot of ways to spice up a mega-dungeon, but I think my favorite way is to break it up. Break up the mega-dungeon into smaller, digestible pieces that can each have a unique hook or flavor. For me, a dungeon with about 12 areas to explore and interact with is a pretty perfect number, maybe a few more depending on the scope and maybe a few less if the hook is served well.

As an example, I’ve had the Ruins of Undermountain boxed set for almost 20 years now. It’s cool, and the maps are mesmerizing, but it’s kind of … overwhelming? Underwhelming? I’m not sure. The hook is strong, everyone and their brother has heard about it, and it sits beneath a great metropolis. Lots of things to like about it but I’ve never gotten around to running it because it just presents such a slog of corridors and empty rooms.

But in the past few years I’ve been itching to drag it out and start taking chunks of the map and converting them into distinct dungeons of their own. Crazed gnome illusionist takes over a section? A cultist to a rat god calls swarms of rats to do his bidding? A cabal of assassins create a gauntlet of pain for new initiates? Those are the kind of ideas I can get behind, and each can live within a relatively small section of Undermountain.

I know a lot of mega-dungeons use the concept of floors and levels to attempt this, but from what I’ve seen and experienced this still doesn’t keep it down to a usable chunk in a reasonable amount of time. Though I have been itching to take a closer look at Castle of the Mad Archmage, and the Emerald Spire from Paizo seems like it strikes about the right balance for my taste. Especially since each level can be contained in a single foldout map!

I don’t think you’ll see a mega-dungeon from Cut to the Chase Games anytime in the near future. There are enough other ones out there to cater to that flavor, and like I stated it’s just not my cup of tea. And if it’s not something I would run, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s not something Cut to the Chase Games is going to make!