The Behind the Screen series is intended for GMs looking for ideas on running Jade Regent, or advice about running long-term campaigns. Posts will include information that my players already know about the Jade Regent storyline, but may include spoilers for those who haven't played yet. You've been warned.
Putting together the layout for the players' conflict with the skeletal samurai was both relatively easy, and incredibly satisfying. It was the first time I had the chance to use many of the props I'd been prepping to give the players the tactile treasure experience I'd been looking for.
The Brinestump Caverns map was a simple cave system and the Cavern Tunnel Tiles packs from Christopher West werw perfect. As I've mentioned, I'm a big believer in putting the heart of a module's map on the table without getting caught up in the specifics; your players won't know the difference as long as the encounters are interesting and the layout keeps them focused on the action.
For the caverns, I needed a few key features: an entrance, a place for a giant spider to live, a large cavern and an alcove near the back of the complex. I also needed several water features. Outside of these core features, I was free to make the encounter as complex or simple as I needed to keep the action and tension high.