I plan to incorporate the White Plume Mountain into an ongoing campaign, and there are two encounters that bother me.

One of them is the golem puzzle which I fully expect them to fail (for those not familiar: failing the puzzle will turn 5 Flesh Golems hostile), and the other one is the vampire. Am I supposed to use the MM templates for these? Because if yes, I don't see how I don't just wipe the floor with them.

For people who ran the module before, how did you handle it? Scale down these fights, or use an alternate template? Is it just fine to have unwinnable encounters, and encourage the players to run away?

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a pretty interesting question, but why do you think those harder encounters will be a problem? Is the party lower level than what the adventure is for? Is there training in the rest of the adventure that your players will miss? \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Oct 13, 2019 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @3C273 Tales from the Yawning Portal adventures are classic fairly hardcore adventures (despite the 5E makeover) culminating in the original ToH. It's "if your characters don't solve these puzzles and try to bull through, they'll probably die" territory." \$\endgroup\$
    – richardb
    Oct 13, 2019 at 17:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ See also How “deadly” are the adventures in Tales from the Yawning Portal? \$\endgroup\$
    – richardb
    Oct 13, 2019 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @richardb thanks I guess for someone who looked more into it. The question is obvious \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Oct 13, 2019 at 18:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ It does note in the Introduction for Tales From the Yawning Portal that the White Plume Mountain chapter is "tailored to a group of characters of 8th level". \$\endgroup\$
    – mullac
    Oct 14, 2019 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


I ran this as a supplement to LMoP. Once they found out Thundertree was wiped out by the nearby volcano, and that the ash zombies were because the eruption was magical. So they of course wanted to go up the volcano and "find the magic."

Enter White Plume Mountain...

There some nasty things in there (a vampire sticks out to my mind) but the party was level 5 when they entered and achieved level 6 as they left. They were a large party: never less than 5 or 6 people, and most nights there were 7 or 8. They had a number of magic items too - not counting the amazing goodies found in that particular dungeon.

I think it's fine so long as the party has at least played up to around level 5, as opposed to making a character start at that level. This is because of the magical loot they will have found up until that point is a nebulous factor you can't really account for on paper - but makes a BIG difference!

Party size will matter of course too. Large parties will have far less bother of course. For parties of 3 or 4 players you may need to scale the odd encounter down; a manticore less here, a vampire with reduced maximum HP there, etc.

Hope this helps. (",)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. Yeah, the Vampire fight seems much more balanced for a 6 level party. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16, 2019 at 7:47

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