The Heirs of Ruin: Method Mapping

I really dislike drawing maps, so often I try to play out the events of the adventure in my head to get a feel for what might happen (as opposed to what I would like to happen), usually resigning myself to the task of mapping a day or two before game night.

The campaign started out with the players going through a few arena battles before having an ideal chance of escape when a silk wyrm starts wreaking havoc on the place. The intent is that after escaping that they go through a door leading to the mess hall, beat up the guards in there, head into the kitchen, and then use a waste disposal pit to get to the sewers.

When I was writing up the adventure, I figured that not all the guards would get eaten by the silk wyrm, instead fleeing and locking the door behind them, giving the characters extra incentive into taking the other door. The problem is that that whole thing is contingent on the characters not interfering with the guards, and not being slaughtered by a level 3 solo.

When I ran it, the wyrm eventually ran away on its own and the guards followed it, making sure to lock up the prison from the outside. The players armed themselves with loot from the dead guards, and then proceeded as planned when I had a squad of guards show up in the mess hall looking for escapees.

Ultimately it felt like that there was too much that could go wrong, and in the interest of helping things run more smoothly the next time I run (or put it online) I decided to make some hefty cuts to the previous map, making it a bit more straightforward in its purpose. I put the waste disposal in the same room, figuring that it made sense because those cells are not going to clean themselves and it gives the guards a place to go. I also put the whole structure underground, making a lift necessary to access the place. Makes sense, as slaves--as well as dangerous monsters--will now have a very hard time getting out this way.

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