Errata for Screaming Caverns

Long short: about 5 sessions after I stopped posting play reports, my heroes having overcome the peril of Xi-ta-quah, narrowly avoiding fatalities (though Sarah was lost and her body taken by 3 hungry trolls they encountered on their shortcut to Threshold), the heroes chose to open and explore a mysterious orb that transported them into the distant future of the Age of Dusk.

Arriving in the middle of the Glass Waste, in perilous Iotha, our party soon become embroiled in a ritual to slay the terrible Terror of Iotha and it’s companion, in an adventure that I happen to have described previously in the Deluxe Edition of Palace of Unquiet Repose. Since it was a sort of unlocked content, I didn’t have chance to do much playtesting for it, so I figured the results of the current session might be of some use to some small number of you who supported the kickstarter. Fortunately for me my instincts were on point and Aaron did a fine job with the map, so the adventure works fairly well.

This errata contains spoilers

So first of all:
– The hours of dawn and dusk must be defined precisely (i.e. 7:15 and 19:15 AM), and should take place at the same time, and last no more then 3 TURNS but otherwise it makes little difference.
– A major challenge of the adventure is slaying the Maimed One in these vast labyrinthine caves. If the PCs have no precise way of telling time, they should be allowed to approximate the time by tracking spent torches or oil or whathaveyou.
– The bonus adventure doesn’t have a level range listed I think but should work for characters of level 1-3 with not too many magical items.
– Other then killing the Many-Faced One, destroying the Hive and ending the Screaming in #5 will bring the Maimed One in one Turn.
– I allowed characters to backtrack at x3 speed if they had already explored an area in a sort of forced march, I am unsure whether I will maintain that rule in the future as it might remove some of the challenge of backtracking, then again if PCs wanted to they could always run for the exit.
– Camels have no listed encumberance in the Rules Cyclopedia. Their price should be raised to 150 gp, their encumberance should be double that of a riding horse, and their saddlebags should have a capacity of 1200 cn, have an enc of 150 and cost 10 gp.
– Purple Cloaks should be about 100 gp, this is stated elsewhere, but it deserves re-emphasis

It was a fine showing, Niffa once again scared and offended every fighter in the fucking Glass Wastes, Shing was cunning, Edmin was an asshole, Hummingbird made a fine showing (sadly the player had to retire because of scheduling shit) though my PCs were a bit too strong for Screaming Caverns. I suspect they will have a harder time in Palace, which I intend to run next. I’ve already started working on Vaults, so, um, hopefully soon?!?

Fight on gentlemen!

12 thoughts on “Errata for Screaming Caverns

    1. Partially over. They got through Xitaquah and managed to kill the wizard but it was very close, especially when they got to the room with the paintings. I placed the orb in his treasure. Since they had both lost a hireling, and decided to retire for the winter (the timekeeping sort of payed off there) and did not seem motivated to search for the Lost Valley, they ended up wintering in Specularum, and that meant lots of downtime, spending gold, learning new spells, dismissing and hiring henchmen etc. etc.

      They were initially very hesitant to open the sphere, except for Edmin, who covertly opened it with a henchman. They were promptly transported to the Age of Dusk, and the rest of the party was obliged to spend the bulk of their treasure on sages and the local Wizard’s guild on research for a one time temporal sling-shot to the Age of Dusk.


  1. “– Camels have no listed encumberance in the Rules Cyclopedia.”


    Page 163 under the camel entry (specifically “load;” it is the same as a riding horse, same as in B/X). B/X cost is 100gp and seems about right, though campaign world economies may vary, depending on species availability.

    According to National Geographic, a dromedary can carry from 375 to 600 pounds on their back. This would seem to indicate the 6,000cn maximum load is a sufficient model.

    Domesticated working camels (adult, male) have a mass between 400kg and 600kg and generally can carry half that weight (so 300kg for the largest size); however, this doesn’t take into account the pressure of mounting and dismounting riders. For a riding mount, most camels are limited to about 120kg.

    Even carrying 200# a mounted dromedary can make 20 miles per day, if traveling in the cool of evening. At least, that’s what I’ve read.
    ; )


    1. I remember them arguing that it should be more and me agreeing. This could have been the result of one of their many dirty tricks. However, upon further inspection, the lynchpin of the argument was that a horse can carry about 20% of its weight, while a camel, which tends to be of comparable if not superior mass, seems to be able to carry almost half. I don’t know if I will be differentiating Camels into draft and riding, but using riding horse encumberance even for riding camels is too much a disservice to reality, even for me.

      As an interesting aside, the D20 SRD does seem to have increased carrying capacity for the Camel as opposed to the horse. I’ll consider it but keep the carrying capacity of the riding Camel at at least Draft Horse capability I think.


      1. Research on horse breeds and use is a deep rabbit hole I’ve fallen down more than once over the years. There’s actually quite a good bit of (annotated) information in Ye Old Wikipedia:

        Horses only carry about 30% of their weight, and horses in the middle ages (of the type D&D is clearly modeled after) tended to be smaller than modern breeds. 500-600# “draw weight” is listed as typical for the medieval pack horse, but that’s pulled from a 2004 reference. Galloways and similar were far more limited (250#) per an earlier (1950) source:

        It is very difficult to find weights for a medieval palfrey (a typical “riding horse”) but comparable might be a modern Arabian (13-14 hands) which mass 400-500kg. This would give an average MAX carry capacity of 135kg (about 300# or 3000cns) for a light riding horse…and again this is using the animal as a pack mule, not a riding mount.

        The encumbrance figures for the horses in B/X (and thus, the RC) appear to be off. War horses could be based on the Spanish Andalusian (itself about the same size as a Lithuanian Draft horse, which compares favorably to the size of medieval horse barding). They average 567kg (1250#) which would allow them to carry a fully armored knight easily (3750cns); at least when one considers most knights owned several horses (including riding AND pack/sumpters) and would ONLY use their war horse for…duh…warfare.

        D&D is, of course, abstracted and simplified…understandably and necessarily so. But if players are going to bitch and moan (“Camels should TOTALLY be allowed to carry double what a horse can! That’s just REALITY!”) then hit them with the well-researched reality. Adjust the figures in the game based on historic records and real world animal use, or use figures found in RPGs that are already based on real world stuff (the Pendragon RPG is a good starting point).

        The reality is: limits for carrying capacity is a “best practice” for the care, health, and well-being of the animal. You COULD overload your expensive warhorse and use it as a beast of burden, but it won’t just be slower…it will breakdown and/or DIE. The “half-load” weights listed for horse type in B/X (i.e. the limit of encumbrance that still allows their full movement rate), is about right for the MAXIMUM SAFE WEIGHT at which a horse can operate without foundering. Camels (and mules) *are* sturdier animals than horses; horses are the finicky, high maintenance race cars of the ancient world. They’re not four-legged pickup trucks.

        How much weight can YOU carry on your back?
        ; )


      2. Oh, and if you really want to give players fits, you should make them carry feed for their horses, as “grazing” alone won’t sustain a working horse (pack or mount). That cuts into carrying capacity as well.

        Best practice: invest in wagons and mules.
        ; )


      3. Your strategy will be applied vigorously across multiple fronts of the arms race. Also a civilized way of using links, the relevant information is condensed and then the link is provided as reference, I approve.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Not really. It didn’t so much fizzle as the party took the lull as a natural point to visit the capitol and get things done they had wanted to get done anyway, i.e. learn their new spells, hire new henchmen, get their pile of shit identified, join the Wizard’s guild before your legs get broken etc. etc. I’d still say its very good, the Gygax has altered my rating scale a little, but still ****/***** territory.


      1. If the B10 rating goes below five stars, a gentleman of my acquaintance will call on a gentleman of your acquaintance, and offer you a choice of pistols or rapiers. Some of the best bits were yet to come: the magical thread on the map showing the way to the Lost Valley, the journey there with glimpses of the Iron Ring, and especially the temporary alliances and backstabbing in the Lost Valley itself, with much gold to gain and a Lovecraftian beastie to battle. I would rate it the best D+D version of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. However you gave it a good run, and play reports for Palace will be very welcome. Screaming Caverns has a Greek myth vibe I really like, and your insights from play are valuable.


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