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Beyond the Black Gate (5e Conversion)

Conversion of the DCC adventure for my own 5e game.  Used this as a replacement for G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. Took some inspiration from Veins of the Earth Meanderthal as well.

  • If the PCs attack the witch coven, use green hag elder (Monster Manual Expanded I pg. 145) for Baba Iaga and for the others, use a standard green hag. Note these are not actually hags but humans.
  • Ice Giant (link). Used for sentries as is, used as giantlings but have disadvantage on all rolls, and used as an acolyte with the addition of priestly spellcasting and rain of cold (as rain of radiance but cold damage (link). Give the acolytes these additional powers as well:
    • BITTEN THREAD (1/day). The giants icy-axe gnaws and rips at you. Bits of your spirit come out in the bloody mouth. Take normal damage, plus age 1d4 years plus now in 1d10 * 1% Experience Point debt. Your next Experience Points gained go to repairing the wound in your soul. Your Experience Points do not go down, the next 1d6x100 are lost. A CHA save halves the damage/effect.
    • ORGAN REVOLT (1/day). The giant stares at your torso, whistles, hoots and claps as if encouraging a workers’ brawl. Your organs lose their sense of wholeness and, believing themselves trapped in a cage of flesh, fight to leave. Roll all your Hit Dice. Ignore any Constitution bonuses or penalties (the total Hit Dice of your character, usually equal to your level). If the total is over your current hit points then take the difference as damage. If the amount of damage you take is higher than your highest-rolled individual Hit Die then an organ has burst out of you and escaped. Thankfully this is almost always one of the less vital, truculent, working-class organs like the spleen or liver; you will not immediately die but you will need to catch that organ and shove it back up in yourself.
    • SPIRIT ANIMAL SONG (1/day). The giant whistles. Your spirit animal crawls up out of your throat. This is a small animal with your Wisdom as its Armour, Hit Dice equal to yours and hit points equal to its Hit Dice. Any harm or effect suffered by the animal is also suffered by you. If it dies, your soul is gone. Your existence now ends with your death. To divinely-aware agents or individuals you will look like a robot or a construct, an empty thing walking around. No more divine healing. Clerics lose all abilities. The giant will attempt to catch and eat your soul.
    • OXYGEN NOTE (1/day). A gabble-hum of tongue clicks and bad noise. This only works on simple gases (they lack character), and only for a moment. A point of fire incarnates in the air, following the voice’s address-point. Like an invisible baton. Fire swing fantasia note. If this happens inside you, you are now a briefly active involuntary flamethrower and take 36 fire damage (no save) and begin suffocating until you receive healing.
  • Plague rats (link). Change psychic damage to piercing, add the overwhelming feature of the rats in the adventure, and remove illumination and spellcasting. Swarm damage is automatic and covers the whole room.
  • Mists of the North Wind. Play as is, not really a combat encounter.
  • Ice Toads (link). Use the froghemoth but remove the tentacle attack.  Each attack, per the adventure, has a chilling effect (disadvantage, -2 AC).  A swallowed creature takes cold damage instead of acid and on a failed DC 15 CON save is frozen solid and dies.
  • Black Hounds (link). Add the Pack Tactics trait to the yeth hound.
  • Lokim, the Blind (link). Use the standard ice giant stablock but give Lokim the Blinded condition.
  • Asmundr, the Ice Giant thane (link). Use the standard ice giant stablock but give Asmundr 3 legendary actions which he can use to move, command an ally or make a greataxe attack. He also has 1 legendary resistance.
  • Polar Bear. Use the dire bear from Monster Manual Expanded I pg. 294).
  • Faustfvor the Seething. Faustfvor has two phases, one as a blizzard dragon and one as a ice giant. Use appropriate figures to represent this.
  • Vefreyja, the Ice Giant’s Daughter (link). See below for tactical options if using a grid and miniatures.

Tactical Notes – The Ice King’s Daughter

Tactical Encounter Map

This battle uses “The Dancer” figure and the Cathedral Map from the Dark Souls board game. Each PC can move 1 node on the map as a part of normal movement and up to 3 characters can stand on a node.  During a tactical battle, characters can only use mutiattack/extra attack if they have not moved that turn. If range increments are required, each node is 10 feet. Vefreyja can move up to 3 nodes, Faustvor up to 2.

If using the tactical option as suggested above, giants and the dragon can shove opponents.  When a giant (or dragon) moves through a node that contains creatures smaller than they are, the creatures are pushed out of the way to the next nearest unoccupied or least occupied available node. The target is knocked prone unless they consume their Reaction to brace for the shove, in which case they are not knocked prone.  The Dancer does not shove; she can still move through hexes but does not provoke but also does not shove.

If the PCs somehow manage to get to the Horned King without fighting any giants (or there are surviving giants), the remaining giants will join the battle. Determine how long each will take to arrive and have them turn up that round. More easily use a die to match the remaining groups – for example, if there are six groups of giants left, use a d6 to count down.  On the 1 the thane turns up.

Vefreyja, and Faustvor have the equivalent of E, Q (x5) each (link to generate this treasure).

A picture of the setup is linked to the right to give you an idea of how it looks.  PC figs at the bottom which is where they enter, reinforcement ice giants are at the top with a die showing which round they enter combat and the shaman and ice giants daughter on the actual battle map itself.

Extra Treasures

Mutagens (1d4 mutgens of a random physical stat – STR, DEX or CON). The mutagen adds +4 to STR/DEX/CON and randomly reduces a mental stat.

Each giant also carries a giant sack filled with treasure type E (link to generate on the fly).

Other Notes


The dwarf jester (due to a translation issue was called by the party Mandark) ended up being a fan favourite so I couldn’t bring myself to have him betray the party so played him to be very chaotic but not treacherous.

What my PCs liked about him is that he was “racist” (speciesist?) against the party’s gnome. It all started when the jester made an off-hand comment that gnomes are just “discount dwarfs”.

This set the gnome off and they spent the entire session trading insults. Even when they were both swallowed by an ice toad they could be heard arguing with each other from the toad’s belly!

Posted in 5e, DCC, Dungeons & Dragons, OSR 5e, The Ninth World

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