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Rise of the Necromancer
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Rise of the Necromancer

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FINALLY  GOLD seller! And over 30,000 downloads - Holy avernus thank you all so much!

Thank you all for the continued support with this one shot - in the top 40 most popular of "pay what you want" titles. This is amazing I am eternally greatful!

Rise of the Necromancer is a beginners quest for D&D 5e players and DM's offering a descriptive setting and an easy to follow quest with some unique twists and game features I decided to implement to add another layer of gaming to an already amazing RPG. I have intended it for new DM's and players starting out up to Level 5 although the difficulty can be modified to compensate as seen fit.

Any critisism is welcome and I hope you enjoy the content.

Download size = 41.3mb

V3 - Now has a prequal to the adventure campaign as well as fixing some small grammar and gameplay issues. I've added a small authors note section.

I will say the maps on this module are not great - I did intend to revisit and renew them but in getting a new PC ive lost my photoshop files and so would have to make them from scratch which I do not have the time to do. The maps in the rest of the series are of much better quality and print much better than the ones in this free module.

see the sequal - The Underling's Awakening https://www.dmsguild.com/product/269090/The-Underlings-Awakening and the final conclusion to this Mini Campaign - Empire of the Underling https://www.dmsguild.com/product/290402/Empire-of-the-Underling?term=empire+underl

 
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Reviews (23)
Discussions (29)
Customer avatar
KG P March 14, 2022 12:49 am UTC
PURCHASER
Much thanks to the author. I am a beginning DM and my group and I had a blast with this one shot! I am in need of suggestions... I have a necromancer in my party who is very into his character. He collected the Diary, and intends to learn from it and use it. There's not much detail on what it contains, and I told him it was written in some kind of code and it would take him some time to learn it's secrets. I'm not exactly sure how to go about this, but I'd like for the diary to be something he has to work on, and de-code and study as an ongoing thing. How should I go about this?
Customer avatar
Craig R March 14, 2022 5:43 am UTC
CREATOR
Nice work stalling for time until you can figure out what to do with this oppertunity! This is a perfect opertunity to expand on the lore behind the scenes, I wont tell you precisely what is in the diary but suffice to say - the necromancer is very keen to ramble. Much of it will be reminising over setbacks in his "research" however to balance the game out your player could for each level block (ie 2-5 and 5-10) "decipher" a small buff to his existing spells (for example any spells cast from the necromancy school last 1d4 longer or do 1d4 more damage etc. Moving on from this i will leave entirely up to you, if you want to just increase this dice limit (onto a 1d6 then a 1d8 etc) then that is the simple solution.

You could try your hand at coming up with an entirely new spell (or even re word an existing spell) and giving the player access to it all the time (instead of on thier prepared list of spells for the day). You could also let the player change their arcane focus to this...See more
Customer avatar
KG P March 16, 2022 6:51 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks! I had thought about coming up with new spells for him, but the idea of slightly buffing his existing spells hadn't occured to me. I downloaded Underling's Awakening, and with the titilating cliffhanger at the end of RotN they're eager to continue. I've only read through it once so far, but i figure I'll just download part3 and glean all I can from the necromancers ultimate goal. One other question I have... 3/4 of my players decided to... keep one or more of the souls in the jars after setting the rest free... I just think i may need to research more spells to figure out if there's a way they'll be useful.
Customer avatar
Craig R March 16, 2022 7:08 am UTC
CREATOR
Interesting choice from the characters to keep some of the souls in the jars, perhaps you could use them as a "tracker" for the underling to keep tabs on the party ? Other than that maybe they could become the souls or spirits of familiars to the party, maybe with some attitude or varying personalities to the thought of being subjugated by a necromancer and now the characters.

Glad you are all enjoying the story and I hope you get many laughs and hours enjoyment from it :)
Customer avatar
Pharazi F January 27, 2022 4:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I would really like to DM this; could you let me know approximately how long this adventure takes in real time? Also, if I use the other installments of your adventures, about how long would the whole adventure take?
Customer avatar
Craig R January 27, 2022 5:09 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Pharazi, this module should be easily doable as a one shot of a couple of hours. The second one takes maybe 2 -4 sessions of a few hours and the final module can take upwards of 8 sessions each a couple of hours long depending on how efficient your players are. Hope this helps :)
Customer avatar
Shayne L September 10, 2021 6:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
I'm in the process of starting a tabletop gaming podcast and was wondering if I could use this adventure in the first episode, and maybe use its sequels in future episodes. I saw at the end of the PDF that it was for personal use only and wasn't to be used for financial gain without your consent, so I wanted to ask you in case the podcast ends up making money in the future. I promise to give you full credit for creating them.
Customer avatar
Craig R September 10, 2021 2:01 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Shayne, I'm absolutely flattered you would like to use my campaign for your podcast and you have my blessing to use it. As long as you arent selling it directly using it for entertainment is fine by me. Good luck and if you dont mind could you post a link to it - would quite like to see how it goes :)
Customer avatar
Shayne L September 10, 2021 5:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you. Before I do the episode, can you explain how the storm works? It says it lasts five turns, but does that mean five turns one after another or five turns for each player?
Customer avatar
Craig R September 10, 2021 5:13 pm UTC
CREATOR
5 rounds (as if fighting an enemy). So each player gets 5 chances to get thier gear.
Customer avatar
Shayne L September 10, 2021 5:28 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks. You may want to edit the PDF to say the storm lasts five rounds instead of five turns.
Customer avatar
Brendan D May 17, 2021 4:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi Craig :)
This sounds like a great adventure. I'm planning on running this in between campaign arcs for a group in which I am normally a player (swapping places with the regular DM for a session). It will be my first time DMing. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. The party at this time will consist of 3 players, all level 5. What adjustments, if any, would you recommend making to accommodate them being on the upper end of the suggested level range?
Thanks for making this available, it's a great piece of work.
Customer avatar
Craig R May 17, 2021 4:46 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Brendan, glad you like the look of this short module. Your players are quite high level for the enemies as it stands. Even putting them against multiple skeletons wouldnt be much of a challenge so id suggest finding something from the monster manual or even descent to avernus campaign to substitute from one of the middle chapters. Pretty much anything fits in with the theme and as for the boss - pick a strong warlock from a previous campaign you have ran and have him "possessed" by the underling.

These are just some ideas for you. Let us know how it goes or if you want specifics. I dont want to take the spotlight from what will be your first shot behind the screen. As the module says - you can never be wrong as DM. Just make it up and have fun :)
Customer avatar
Bob M February 22, 2021 7:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, I'm going to be running this with a group of 4, and I have a few questions. I understand the level range is 1-5, but is there a recommended level to have the party be at to make it a comfortable challenge? Also, how long should I expect this mini-story to run? I'm hoping to only require one session, but I'd like to know if I should be expecting multiple.

Thanks!
Customer avatar
Craig R February 22, 2021 8:07 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Bob, thanks for taking an interest in the module. It is well within the realms of possibility to get it done in one 4 hour session. If your players linger too long you can always hurry them on by having the cave partially collapse. As for levels- its all about how proficient your players are. If they are new recruits then get them to level 2 as soon as you can as level 1 characters are very fragile. If they are veterns of the game then level up as you normally would throughout the adventure. Personally when ive ran this my players started at level 1 and were usually level 3 or 4 by the time it was done. I find getting through those first few levels makes a whole campaign run smoother as the players get to explore their characters and abilities quicker ... hope this helps and have fun :)
Customer avatar
Bob M February 22, 2021 8:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That helps greatly, thank you so much for the quick reply! I think I'll start them at level 1 for simplicity but have them be a bit stronger at the end, like you said. Thanks again!
Customer avatar
Rambler J February 05, 2021 4:24 am UTC
PURCHASER
A friend of mine discovered this module, brought it to my attention and we had no intention of going past the 1st session, let alone 6. This has turned into the start for a larger campaign. Couldn't be happier with this and will now go find that continuation.
Customer avatar
Craig R February 07, 2021 1:30 am UTC
CREATOR
Hello Rambler, thanks for the words of praise - hope you enjoy the next modules and it all fits in nicely to the story you guys are taking part in :)
Customer avatar
Casey P January 30, 2021 5:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Could use a synopsis in the description.
Customer avatar
Craig R January 30, 2021 9:26 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Casey- if you look at the preview It gives a good overall outline of the story. If you are wanting a breakdown of all the sections and encounter just download it. Its a free module after all :)
Customer avatar
Casey P April 10, 2021 5:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Fair.
Customer avatar
Luke L August 12, 2020 8:40 am UTC
PURCHASER
I played this adventure as my first ever DMing recently. I used this as a sort of intermediary adventure. The hook at the start of the session was actually for the adventure "Accursed Apple Twists" with Honeywell being along the way to the village in the other adventure. There were 4 lvl. 5 players. I knew the adventure as is would've been way too easy for them, so I added some difficulty by doing the following:
In the Storm: rolled 1d6 (roll of 5/6 hit a tree) at the start of each round to see who would get hit by green lightning for 1d6 lightning + 1d4 necrotic damage.
Dex check to get through the rough, slippery terrain to the cavern entrance, 1d4 damage from "dagger rain" if failed. 5 rounds of running in order to get to the cavern entrance (so some made it to the cavern a few rounds later than others). I did allow them to help each other, letting them roll Advantage.
A Violet Fungus in the cavern entrance (but too easy).
Used Skeletons from the Monster Manual....See more
Customer avatar
Craig R August 14, 2020 4:38 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Luke, thanks for the in depth analysis for everyone looking for tweaks to make it harder. Love the little twists and turns to make this adventure your own they are a great addition to the backbone adventure I created. I only play D&D with two players these days so if my encounters seem to easy then be sure to step it up a notch. I also DM my games to be fun - minions are cannon fodder and so when they are defeated easily my players feel like the heroes they should be - the real tests are when the boss battle starts in my opinion otherwise players focus too much on just surviving rather than enjoying themselves (unless that's what you're going for eh!).

Glad you and your party enjoyed it and look forward to hearing your reports on the next instalment.

Go get at it!
Customer avatar
Kiko Q August 05, 2020 5:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! this one shot adventure is going to be my first DM experience, I just want to ask if there's a map for the battle with the necromancer or is the picture in the PDF it?
Customer avatar
Craig R August 10, 2020 4:23 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Kiko, sorry there is no stand alone battle map for the necromancer fight - i lost all my data when i upgraded my laptop and all my map files too :( ... if you are struggling with that print off a grid onto a4 paper and try your best to draw out a rough map. In my experience any map is better than none if your players like using them so give it a go. If in future I get spare time i will make individual battle maps for this adventure.
Customer avatar
Paul B August 02, 2020 3:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, As a fledgling DM I am going to be using this as a first level adventure.
any recommendations for what kind of loot I should be handing out? I didn't see any in the adventure
Customer avatar
Craig R August 02, 2020 4:40 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Paul, wow thanks for choosing this as a starting point for your campaign - hope all goes well and give us a shout if you need a hand.

I dont put any items in as I dont know what your campaign runs so I would say tailor it to your players and thier classes.
Customer avatar
Paul B August 05, 2020 8:02 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for replying. Ive found something suitable. ran it last night as a first time DM with first time players. Loved it, and have bought the 2 other adventures in the series, now to find some filler befire the next one
Customer avatar
Vebjørn H May 09, 2020 10:02 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I'm planning on starting of a new campaign with this module, and it says it's meant for starting characters up to level 5. Does this mean that they start on level 1 and progress to level 5, or that they should be between level 1 and 5? Just need some clarification.

Thanks in advance!
Customer avatar
Craig R May 09, 2020 11:06 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi there Vebjørn, preferably they could start at level 1. Level 3+ characters will find it very easy (unless you make enemies much tougher). However if you have higher level players and just want to use this as an introduction to the canpaign there is no harm in giving them a nice fun, easy adventure to start with. Hope this helps!
Customer avatar
Lenon JackBurton M May 04, 2020 2:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Brand new DM (played 30+ years ago) that ran this for my wife and daughter for our first ever game last night. We got through part 1 and the very first battle of part 2 before calling it quits. Had a great time, even though we're still learning a lot.

Thanks for this module. I'm excited to keep going. To the author (or anyone), how do you recommend I scale for 2 first level characters?

Thanks!
Customer avatar
Craig R May 06, 2020 9:14 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Lenon, glad you are getting back in the hotseat behind the screen. Hope it wasnt too much of a shock to the system.

An easy way to scale for 2 players is to work on the rule of half the players half the enemies. Keep damage from them same but half the number of enemies in total. With bosses (or mini bosses) half their HP is a good trick and if they get blown over too easily then let them have one more round before the team finally finishes them off. Remember it is all up to you how you go about managing the game. If players get a very unlucky set of rolls (and it does happen) maybe the boss just feels like the arent a threat and mocks them before deciding they arent worth the effort and leaves them to fight another day.

Let us know how it goes, good luck.
Customer avatar
Joshua L February 28, 2020 4:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Gonna start my PC's on this. currently their level 3, but there's 7 of them so I think it's possible for me to run this with no actual adjustments made.
Already bought the next two since I like how the first one reads so much. But gonna have to adapt them to my home brew setting (doesn't seem like that big a deal from what I've been reading).
But I hope my PCs enjoy this. I record the audio of my sessions mostly for my own note taking if you want me to share the audio files.
I plan to use this series to get my PCs to roughly level 8 or 10 (I use a hybrid of milestone and XP).
Would be nice if the cave map was a higher resolution since it looks horrible when I printed it out after upscaling it. I scrapped it and drew my own (had to squeeze it a bit since I was low on paper, lmao)
Overall seems like a good module.
Customer avatar
Craig R March 04, 2020 9:15 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Joshua, thanks for supporting my works here. Ive tried really hard to keep the locations vague to let people slide them into whatever setting/town/city/world they fancy (albeit the final module has an actual location in Faerun). Nice idea with the audio recordings to see how games play back when its not the heat of the moment. I am working on updating his particular module with higher resolution maps and a nice little prequal section in the village before but work and life commitments are taking their toll at the moment so hope everyone can be patient for me.

Let us all know how it goes - only heard from one group so far on the whole campaign so any feedback from the 3 modules as a whole would be amazing!
Customer avatar
Joshua L March 30, 2020 6:02 am UTC
PURCHASER
So far the players loved the first one, gearing up for the second now. We meet bi weekly and Covid-19 is going to force me to convert to online I think. Gonna start some groundwork to see if I can et the maps to look good in Planar Ally (hosted on dndbox.com if your interested). The map itself seems to scale fine on a 140pixel grid, just need to do some cropping to get it to line up right
Customer avatar
Craig R March 30, 2020 7:46 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey Joshua, thanks for the update - hope you are all staying safe and healthy! Me and my team have had to go to skype sessions due to the outbreak but with people off means we can get even more games in so its not all doom and gloom :D ... Keep on battling away against the underling and his minions!
Customer avatar
Daniel G January 19, 2020 6:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
can i play this with 6 people? i have a large group of friends and kinda want to know
Customer avatar
Craig R January 19, 2020 6:49 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Daniel, there is no limit to the amount of players you can have as long as you can manage everything. You could make the cave bigger and add in more enemies to compensate for the extra damage each player will put out. Another idea would be to create a situation where the party is split up and have two mini adventures run side by side. Also I would beef up the Boss by giving him 25-30% more HP ... Give it a shot and let us all know how you get on :)
Customer avatar
Robert B December 31, 2019 4:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Any chance you could adapt this to FG (Fantasy Grounds)?
Customer avatar
Craig R December 31, 2019 4:21 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Robert, thanks for the idea but it already takes a fair bit of my time to do these guides and having to re do them for a virtual tabletop style on something Im not to familiar with would take too long. Maybe in future I will look into it so thanks for bringing it to my attention. Happy Holidays my friend!
Customer avatar
Robert B December 31, 2019 5:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You to! Happy Newyears!
Customer avatar
Robert B January 20, 2020 10:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Rob Twohy can do the conversion for you if you're interested, he is fair about it and has converted roughly over 100 DMs Guild products for other authors.
Customer avatar
Craig R January 23, 2020 4:03 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hey Robert, yeah it would be good to speak to him - only issue with this site is there is no option to contact members privately. If you could get word to him then Id be happy to discuss with him :) ... Right now i am doing some minor ammendments to Rise of the Necromancer and The Underlings Awakening so once that is done and play tested then should be good to go on the conversion.
Customer avatar
Robert B January 23, 2020 8:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I was told by Rob that the best way to contact him was to contact him via Facebook Messenger, "Rob Twohy" is the user you need to look for.
Customer avatar
Gilan W November 02, 2019 10:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is fantastic, starting a new campaign soon and I'm planning on a campaign where the party is asked to hunt down some grave robbers only to discover a Necromancer is behind it. I won't be following this word for word but it gave me a ton of inspiration so thanks.
Customer avatar
Craig R November 04, 2019 9:25 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Gilan glad I could be of help, seems like a great idea to tie into the campaign - hope it all works out awesome for you and your group!
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File Last Updated:
August 25, 2020
This title was added to our catalog on February 20, 2019.