Saturday, June 18, 2016

Getting Started with the Starter Set, Part 4: Wave Echo Cave

Hello, and welcome to Pact of the Tome. This article is the sixth and last in a series written for new Dungeon Masters who have picked up the Dungeons & Dragons 5E Starter Set and are planning to run a game with it for the first time. The first two articles cover the process of bringing a gaming group together and building characters, and each article after that covers one "part" of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure. I will not assume any prior knowledge about Dungeons & Dragons aside from information in the Starter Set rulebook.

In this article, I'll cover the fourth and last part of Lost Mine of Phandelver, "Wave Echo Cave." This large, abandoned cave complex in the Sword Mountains is the site of the legendary Lost Mine itself, and has been the object of the Black Spider's search for some time. In the final dungeon of this adventure, your players will face fearsome undead guardians, uncover the wonders of the Forge of Spells, and confront the Black Spider in an epic battle. This is the end of the adventure, but it could be just the beginning of your journey as a Dungeon Master.

Preparing the Dungeon
Mike Schely's cartographic skill is on full
display in Lost Mine of Phandelver. As a
reminder, you can purchase high-resolution
copies of the maps (with DM annotations
removed) at his website.
Despite its expansive nature, Wave Echo Cave is actually fairly easy to prepare as a Dungeon Master. The dungeon's inhabitants aren't working together for the most part, so you won't need to keep their responses as a group in mind like in Cragmaw Castle. Furthermore, the dungeon is large enough that your group probably won't be able to explore it in one session, so if you're short on time you can focus on preparing areas closer to the entrance.

With the time you've saved, think about how you can make the adventure location come to life in your players' minds. As the ruin of a mine created by the collaboration of dwarves, gnomes, and humans, Wave Echo Cave is a location filled with history. The booming sound of waves from the northeast is a good starting point to develop atmosphere, but spend some time thinking about other ways you can emphasize the adventure and mystery of this place in your descriptions.