Q&A with "Against the Dead Hands" Adventure Designer Kevin Coffey

We’re building the world of Halcyon.

This month, Dungeon Crate released the second in a series of adventures that take place in our very own campaign setting.

The world of Halcyon has everything - fiery dragons, forsaken gods, fiendish orcs, wild magic and lots more.

For starters, we’re diving into the area of Rhimms. Our first adventure, Xander’s Lost Orb, and our brand new adventure, Against the Dead Hands, take place in the region and mark our first expedition into Halcyon.

We talked to adventure designer Kevin Coffey, who wrote both adventures, about the direction of Against the Dead Hands and how it incorporates loads of items from Dungeon Crate.

Q. Is this adventure related to the last one?

A. It’s a direct continuation of Xander’s Lost Orb. DMs could run them back to back as part of a campaign. And a third adventure, which you’ll see in a future Dungeon Crate, comes right after this one.

They all take place in Dungeon Crate’s world of Halcyon. It’s been fun fleshing out the continent and its locales.

Q. Where does this adventure pick up?

A. It continues from where Xander’s Lost Orb left off. In that adventure, a young lord asks the adventurers to help him find an artifact, a magical glowing orb, that was once in the possession of his grandfather. He wants it to help fight off an army of orcs.

In Against the Dead Hands, the lord still needs some help. He’s busy prepping for a fight with the orcs, so he needs some help at home. There’s a thieves’ guild called the Dead Hands that is causing him trouble, so he asks the adventurers to help.

Q. What was the idea behind it?

A. I love the idea of a thieves’ guild with these bad guys having a private bar where they conspire, keep treasure and all that stuff. And what would it be like to raid the place where all these thieves are hanging out?

It’s always sounded like a ton of fun to me, and writing a den with all this treasure and drunk thieves and stuff was a blast.

Q. So it’s just a straight raid?

A. Not exactly. Even though it’s designed to be a single-session adventure, I tried to make it as robust as possible. The adventure presents several different ways to tackle it, depending on how the players want to do it. I don’t want to give too much away (check out the adventure!) but they could knock down the door or infiltrate the place as thieves or sneak in any number of ways. It should be fun.

Q. Where does it lead?

A. Well, it’s set up to take you one way, but it goes a slightly different direction by the end that sets up the third adventure, which I’m working on right now.

Q. This month’s entire Dungeon Crate box is centered around thieves. Are any of the pieces from the box usable in the adventure?

A. Actually, a ton of them are used in the module. As always, we wanted the adventure to be playable with little preparation, so we worked really hard to match up items from the box to the adventure. Some items were specifically picked to use in Against the Dead Hands.

My favorite piece is the Dead Hands coin made by Advanced Deployment. The thieves each carry a special coin that’s sort of an identifying badge, and if you have one, it makes getting in and out of the thieves’ guild quite a bit easier. The coin in the box bears the Dead Hands’ mark, and it’s beautiful whether you’re using it with the adventure or as an inspiration token or whatever. Advanced Deployment did an excellent job.

People should also be sure to check out the digital crate, which has a bunch of pieces related to the adventure including artwork and maps.

Kevin is a Dungeon Crate contributor and  and a writer for the Omaha World Herald. He rolls dice, writes adventures, and goes to a lot of concerts. His blog Crit for Brains offers more words and stuff to point your eyeholes to.