Dungeons & Dragons Online

Lost Mines Of Phandelver: Let’s Talk About Tresendar Manor

Content of the article: "Lost Mines Of Phandelver: Let’s Talk About Tresendar Manor"

I love Tresendar Manor. That being said, it definitely needs a few tweaks to make it interesting.

If you're you're looking for tips on different ways to place your pieces on the board for this section of the Lost Mines of Phandelver, meet me below the fold.

Today, let's start with area 1, the Cellar:

  • ENTRANCE: Let me get this straight. A criminal organization run by an Evil Mage with a 17 Intelligence leaves the door to his lair unlocked and unguarded. Glasstaff, the aforementioned Evil Mage, has the foresight to stow a waterproof go-bag in the cistern in the event things go south, but doesn't have so much as a Walmart greeter at the entrance to his lair? NO WAY, PUNK.
    • Recommendation: Lock the door. Give your rogue a chance to roll some dice and use their abilities to shine. If that fails, or there's no rogue in the party, let your big strong tank roll some dice so they can feel good about bashing the thing down. Will this alert the three Redbrand Ruffians in area 2 to the party's presence? No doubt. But since area 2 has a very high likelihood of becoming a choke point for a very anti-climactic encounter, I don't see that as a bad thing. That combat is much more fun in Area 1.
    • Recommendation: Post a guard. A sleeping guard. Nobody said Glasstaff hires the best scumbags. Again, if the door lock is picked, give your stealthy folk a chance to shine by creeping down to this sleeping beaut and either capture or neutralize him. If it's necessary to blow the door off the hinges, combat occurs in Area 1 when the ruffians lairing in area 2 come to see what's up. The fight will be better if it happens in area 1. More on that below.
    • Rules you need to brush up on for these recommendations:
      • Dexterity checks (to pick the lock)
      • Thieve's Tools
      • Strength checks (to bash down the door)
      • Passive Wisdom (to sneak up on the sleeping guard)
  • CISTERN: When I look at the map for the cellar, all I can think about is what I want to do with that cistern. What? There's a dunk tank built into Tresendar Manor, you say? …And I'm not going to use it to give one of my PCs a bath?! No way, Jose.
    • Recommendation: Rather than have the ruffians use their multiattack on carving up the party, have the first ruffian aim a savage cut with their shortsword for his first attack, then use the Help action for the second attack (an ally must be adjacent, of course). If the Help action is successful, the adjacent ruffian ally gets advantage on a Shove action against that target. A successful Shove would send a targeted player flopping into cistern if they're within 5 feet of it. The PC takes no fall damage, has to deal with game mechanics they'll rarely ever get the chance to (I'll link below), and will most certainly have a fun memory of this combat. ANNNNDDD…that player will be the first to spot the loot stowed in the cistern!
    • Rules you need to brush up on for these recommendations:
      • Help Action
      • Shoving A Creature
      • Athletics (for how swimming and staying afloat works)
      • Climbing, SWIMMING, Crawling (how it impacts movement)
      • Variant Encumbrance (how hard is it for your player to swim to the surface)
      • Suffocating (in case the bathing player has a string of VERY bad rolls)
  • BARRELS: Make the contents of the barrels relevant to the combat!
    • APPLES: A ruffian topples a barrel of apples, covering the floor in them. They're small, tough little pommes that roll under your feet when when stepped on. Half the room suddenly becomes difficult terrain. Anyone trying to move more than half speed needs to roll a successful acrobatics check to avoid falling prone.
    • FLOUR: A ruffian splits up his multiattack by first attempting to toss a fistful of flour into a players eyes, and then slashing out at the PC with his sword for the second attack. There's no official rule for a dirty tricks/pocket sand type of attack in 5E. I'd simply make the flour an area attack rather than a ranged attack. The PC needs to make a DEX save. If the save fails, the PC is blinded for the second half of the ruffian's multiattack that round, but recovers their sight once it's the PCs turn in the initiative order.
    • ALE: there are serval large and small barrels pictured in the map of the room. I go with the assumption that the smaller barrels are casks of ale, probably weighing 40-80 lbs. depending on how many gallons are in there. Now there's a fun combat improvisation. "Hey dwarf. Have a drink on me!" (tosses the cask at the dwarf).
    • Rules you need to brush up on for these recommendations:
      • Difficult Terrain
      • Prone Condition
      • Blinded Condition
      • Improvised Weapons
  • SECRET DOOR: most characters won't have a passive wisdom high enough to spot the secret door in this room. If you're waiting for them to go into the corner and make a perception check to see if anything's there, don't hold your breath. If you want the players to find that secret door, one way to go about it is to have a ruffian flee through that route when the battle goes south. Or, if captured, the ruffian could point out the existence of the secret door and its location as a way to convince the party he's trying to act in good faith, in hopes the party returns the favor.
Read more:  Player characters are the players' responsibility and that includes rules knowledge

Final Thoughts: the Redbrand Ruffians are pretty lethal for being low-level mooks. Anything less than a six member party is at a disadvantage when it comes to the ruffians multiattack feature. By dunking your players in the cistern, tossing improvised weapons at them, blinding them with flour, etc., you're cutting down the number of lethal attacks the ruffians make each round with their shortswords – giving your players not only a more dynamic battle, but a better chance at surviving the battle itself!

I really enjoyed writing this, so be on the look out for more of these Tresendar Manor tips if you liked this post. Consider giving me a follow if you'd like to see future tips in your feed as soon as I post them. And if you have other ways to liven up the encounter with rules that don't get a lot of use, please share them in the comments!



If you're just getting ready to run LMOP, I have other posts with advice for running the following LMOP adventures:

  • Goblin Ambush
  • Goblin Trail
  • Cragmaw Hideout, Part I
  • Cragmaw Hideout, Part II
  • The Sleeping Giant

Thanks for reading!



Source: reddit.com

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