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Sahune
2010-11-21, 03:28 PM
I'm hoping to run some original D&D adventures in the next few weeks, and was wondering if any old-timers could recommend some adventure ideas.

I'll be using either the original TSR Red Box D&D set (the Basic set from 1983 that I grew up on, not that young new 4e thing) or the D&D Cyclopedia (which was basically just a collection of the rules in a single book). Either way, simplicity is the way to go. I imagine I'll be running the original Red Box DM adventure first, then using some of the published adventures with the emphasis on roleplaying a fair part of the game. They'll probably have to run away if combat isn't going so well rather than asking the cleric to put in some extra hours. Gasp and horror, etc. If a character has a spear, chain mail and shield, it's because that's what he could afford and protects him the most, not some build he can get away with. Terry Jones' Crusades documentary series are very much an inspiration. Do a search on Youtube, brilliant series.

Oh, and I'll be asking players to roll 3d6 for stats. Yeah baby, So they're likely to get a regular guy making his way in the world in his chosen profession with some strengths and weaknesses, but there are still pretty good odds for getting Blerk the village idiot or Brainiac the Superwizard. Fortunately most of my players are mature enough to accept that they won't always get the optimum min/maxed character, but in exchange for the drop in auto-14+ stats I'll be trying to emphasise roleplaying to get some solid results. Fairly rare-ish magic and whatnot, and most of the population will be the peasant extras from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Mind you, I fully expect at least one PC himself to be covered in crap, out of sheer style.

So, any ideas about what direction I should go? Not just published adventure suggestions, but general directions I could take the campaign in?

Mark Hall
2010-11-21, 03:40 PM
FWIW, I find you get less whining with "3d6, arrange to taste, turn any 2 into 15". Gives people some strong points, without taking away any possibility of weakness.

Not being familiar with the Red Box adventure, I'd suggest looking at something like Keep on the Borderlands... the Caves of Chaos make an awesome adventure site, and there are a ton of ways to approach them.

The Big Dice
2010-11-21, 03:43 PM
The Caves of Chaos are, as was mentioned, awesome. One thing to bear in mind is that character advancement is far, far slower than in WotC editions of D&D.

One idea is to turn the introductory solo adventure into a mini dungoen. That way you can set Bargle up as a recurring villain that's a few levels above the rest of the PCs.

If (when) I get round to running B/X D&D again, I'm planning on going from the introductory solo mod - DMG adenture - Keep on the borderlands - Hollow World introductory adventure.

Sahune
2010-11-21, 03:56 PM
The Caves of Chaos are, as was mentioned, awesome. One thing to bear in mind is that character advancement is far, far slower than in WotC editions of D&D.

That is a problem. I think I'll be house-ruling that, basing that one a more general performance than exact XP value. Nothing worse than slogging your guts out for little to no reward.


One idea is to turn the introductory solo adventure into a mini dungoen. That way you can set Bargle up as a recurring villain that's a few levels above the rest of the PCs.

I can't believe I'd forgotten about Bargle! Everyone should have a Bargle story. That is an excellent idea. Thanks!

Edit:
FWIW, I find you get less whining with "3d6, arrange to taste, turn any 2 into 15". Gives people some strong points, without taking away any possibility of weakness.

I sort of am going for weakness. That's the point of the 3d6 roll. If someone's character is absolutely abysmal then I'll allow a reroll, but the highs come with the lows.

nedz
2010-11-21, 05:05 PM
Are you doing 3d6 and re-arrange, or 3d6 in order ?

Sahune
2010-11-21, 05:14 PM
Probably 3d6 in order, rather than rearrange. I don't want it to be brutal for the players, but I would like a bit "this is what you're given, let's see what you can do". If someone wants to play a particular character I'm happy to bend, but not if it's in the interest of maxing out a build.

I fully realise this means you end up with characters with 17 Charisma and naff all else, or characters that might be particularly ordinary with no major strengths in any one area other than perhaps a 14 in a couple of stats. It makes the smaller differences stand out more. Think Dragonlance, where Caramon and Raistlin were paragons of their particular class but weren't fantastic all-rounders.

The Big Dice
2010-11-21, 05:48 PM
That is a problem. I think I'll be house-ruling that, basing that one a more general performance than exact XP value. Nothing worse than slogging your guts out for little to no reward.
I'd actually seriously suggest dropping traditional methods of gaining XP entirely. Old School D&D gives small amounts of XP for killing things, plus 1 XP per gold piece looted. The corresponding lack of anything really expensive to spend your loot on before Name level makes for PCs with VAST amounts of wealth.

To get away from that (somewhat antiquated) paradigm, I'm of the opinion that the GM should give out XP at the end of the session based on how the players did.

Stubbed Tongue
2010-11-21, 07:40 PM
You realize that about one out of every 4 players will have a character worth playing and the rest will be garbage? With 3d6 they have a 50/50 chance of getting a good stat or bad. I don't know any players who want to play this:

Str 6
Int 6
Wis 10
Dex 11
Con 12
Chr 15
(I just rolled it with dice before posting to prove the point more to myself than you probably but hey, honesty.)

I am not try to shoot down your ideas (nor could I) it is just that I have seen this attempted and all you get are players that complain despite what they say before hand.

My suggestion would be something along the lines of how the iconic PCs are created. Your players would get 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 and to keep away from the all 8 Cha party you institute a d6 roll to which stat is switched with another d6 roll. EX...they roll a 1 and a 6. So they would switch their str with cha.

It's funny while posting this response it occurred to me that D&D is totally different now than it was back then. Now; you choose what you want and stat it accordingly. Then; you rolled and choose what you could play with the stats you got. I miss those days. The days when you were a total killing machine with a str of 17. Or a good rogue with a dex of 14.

I'd like to know how this all turns out. Please keep us informed.

Sitzkrieg
2010-11-21, 09:25 PM
If you do go with the hardcore 3d6 in order, you might want to abide by the Damn Good Reason principle: people don't become adventurers unless they have a good reason to. If it's not based on exceptional ability scores, then you need to give each character a particular strength, like a single rare item that's far above their WBL, but has a variable level of relevance. For a 1st level party, consider giving the fighter a sword that does +4d6 on critical hits, and the thief a magic item that lets him activate Silence 2/day or something, etc. If each character is otherwise mediocre but has some particularly exceptional advantage that makes them feel special and like they can fill a particular role, you can keep them engaged even if they suck and struggle whenever they aren't filling that role. Nothing that will totally destroy your game, like granting wishes, or lame like +2 chain shirt, but enough that each character can feel like an 'exceptional' and unique person within the world, even if their stats are tragic.

EDIT: To Stubbed Tongue, I wouldn't mind playing a 3.5 Bard using those stats. It might be fun to be, say, a spoiled rich artistocrat who got by only on his force of personality and never had to lift a thing in his life. Get a crossbow, focus on buffing the party, you should be totally fine assuming the DM balances the challenges based on the party's suckitude. What I would be worried about is a character with stats that aren't complimentary, like exceptional strength but terrible dex and con.

amaranth69
2010-11-21, 09:43 PM
The thing to remember about old school experience is that it is assumed that the majority of the xp is coming in the form of individualized rewards. The problem with that is that it usually ends up causing even greater level gaps than the charts alone. I don't have the old red box handy, but my good old AD&D DMG is.m Thieves gain additional xp of 2 xp per gp of treasure attained; Spellcasters 100 xp per spell level of spells cast in useful situations; warriors gain 10 xp per hd of monsters defeated. In practice this usually gives the thief far more xp than anyone else and they also need far less xp to advance a level. The thief then ends up 5 or more levels ahead of the rest of the party.

Crow
2010-11-21, 09:56 PM
If you do go with the hardcore 3d6 in order, you might want to abide by the Damn Good Reason principle: people don't become adventurers unless they have a good reason to. If it's not based on exceptional ability scores, then you need to give each character a particular strength, like a single rare item that's far above their WBL, but has a variable level of relevance. For a 1st level party, consider giving the fighter a sword that does +4d6 on critical hits, and the thief a magic item that lets him activate Silence 2/day or something, etc. If each character is otherwise mediocre but has some particularly exceptional advantage that makes them feel special and like they can fill a particular role, you can keep them engaged even if they suck and struggle whenever they aren't filling that role. Nothing that will totally destroy your game, like granting wishes, or lame like +2 chain shirt, but enough that each character can feel like an 'exceptional' and unique person within the world, even if their stats are tragic.

I think what the OP is going for is that the characters will have an RP-based "damn good reason", rather than a mechanical one. This was actually rather common in older editions.

In older editions it wasn't expected that your character is "special" like in newer editions.

Sahune
2010-11-21, 10:27 PM
Big Dice:

Quite so. Rereading the book today points out that the fastest method of XP gain is not through combat per se, but separating enemies from their wad of cash. Defeat of a monster is the byword in this edition, rather than just killing them because they happen to be in the path of the party...

I'll probably just give each player a certain amount of dots based on their performance which add up to the level increase at a certain point. Good roleplaying and clever thinking gets extra bonus dots, obviously. And cash? Hey, just do what people did in the old days - get a great big house or a castle and buy your way into the aristocracy.

Stubbed Tongue:

Yep, such a character is possible. Your example of a lazy but charismatic character who never did much with his life before he picked up a crossbow and had to defend the village or whatever - that's a prime example of what I'm going for. Yes, his stats might suck. No, he can't pick up some wonderful abilities anytime soon to counter them... but then everyone has these sorts of stats, even NPCs. So it evens out, more or less.

amaranth69:

The Basic set doesn't have rewards like that, although I did consider 1st ed AD&D before I remembered how many tables there were.

Crow:

Exactly right. Each character will have some sort of profession they did before they picked up a sword, and if at least one PC isn't grumbling about not being able to get the crops in because of having to go on this damnfool adventure lark then I haven't done enough background work as DM. There won't be any celestial mage/rogue/priesty characters with a holy mission - just regular-ish people put into extraordinary circumstances.

Mark Hall
2010-11-21, 10:56 PM
I'd actually seriously suggest dropping traditional methods of gaining XP entirely. Old School D&D gives small amounts of XP for killing things, plus 1 XP per gold piece looted. The corresponding lack of anything really expensive to spend your loot on before Name level makes for PCs with VAST amounts of wealth.

You forgot the "T" word. I don't know about red box, but 1e soaked that up by charging for training to level up.

Safety Sword
2010-11-21, 11:02 PM
Think Dragonlance, where Caramon and Raistlin were paragons of their particular class but weren't fantastic all-rounders.

Caramon had good stats where it mattered.

And Raistlin had the advantage of plot armor and Fistandantilus when anything remotely interesting happened :smalltongue:

Matthew
2010-11-22, 05:08 AM
The thing to remember about old school experience is that it is assumed that the majority of the xp is coming in the form of individualized rewards. The problem with that is that it usually ends up causing even greater level gaps than the charts alone. I don't have the old red box handy, but my good old AD&D DMG is.m Thieves gain additional xp of 2 xp per gp of treasure attained; Spellcasters 100 xp per spell level of spells cast in useful situations; warriors gain 10 xp per hd of monsters defeated. In practice this usually gives the thief far more xp than anyone else and they also need far less xp to advance a level. The thief then ends up 5 or more levels ahead of the rest of the party.

Those are optional experience rewards for second edition AD&D, introduced to counter complaints about 1 GP = 1 XP, which every other version of TSR era D&D uses. The latter was still an option in second edition, of course, the idea being that the game master should tailor the experience reward system to his preferences and the speed of advancement he preferred.

Psyx
2010-11-22, 06:07 AM
Not being familiar with the Red Box adventure, I'd suggest looking at something like Keep on the Borderlands...

KotB *is* the red box adventure... Or at least it was the one that came in mine.


You realize that about one out of every 4 players will have a character worth playing and the rest will be garbage?

Only by modern paradigms. You might as well call a 1960s Ferrari a bad car because every modern car is better in every way. If everyone plays on the 3d6 playing field, then 6s during character gen are no big deal. Heck: I run a 3d6 game where a 16 is cause for celebration!

Red box also I believe allowed to to drop a stat 2 points to put another up by 1.


I'd consider perhaps a rudimentary skill system if you are going for RP-intensive play. I'd go so far as suggesting the plundering of a *real* skill system from another game (that's not D20...) and bolting it on. Then -despite the slow level progression- characters can develop via a two-tier XP system - they all get XP for the game to level, and some to spend on skill points... or maybe buying stats up.


The thief then ends up 5 or more levels ahead of the rest of the party.

...and yet still useless... And usually killed by arbitrary 'save or die' poison needle traps, which are scattered all over the adventuring world.

stainboy
2010-11-22, 06:51 AM
Red box also I believe allowed to to drop a stat 2 points to put another up by 1.


If I remember right, -2:+1 tradeoff, can only increase your prime requisite, can't decrease Con or Cha. I could be wrong, it's been awhile.




...and yet still useless... And usually killed by arbitrary 'save or die' poison needle traps, which are scattered all over the adventuring world.

Better dead than energy-drained! Dead people get to roll new characters.

Mr. Snuggles
2010-11-22, 07:46 AM
So, any ideas about what direction I should go? Not just published adventure suggestions, but general directions I could take the campaign in?
To actually answer the question, instead of debate the ruleset you're using, I like the idea of 'barely more than normal' adventurers. To heck with Sir Avantir and noble causes, those goblins raided my sheep for the last time, and now I got me and my buddies and a couple of out-of-town drifters together and we're going to kill them all and take their stuff. The kind of game where you make players count their cp.

I doubt the players would go for it though. You could get away with that sort of thing in 1983 but today's players will quit after a few sessions and they aren't leveling steadily.

hamlet
2010-11-22, 08:59 AM
For Red Box in terms of adventures, I'd recommend B2, B5 . . . well, most of the B series anyway.

There's an adventure that takes place is a buried pyramid for basic that's very excellent, though at the moment I cannot recall its name or product code. Very fun for new players.

Matthew
2010-11-22, 09:56 AM
There's an adventure that takes place is a buried pyramid for basic that's very excellent, though at the moment I cannot recall its name or product code. Very fun for new players.

B4 The Lost City (http://www.tsrinfo.net/archive/dd/dd-b4.htm); yeah, that is a great recommendation.

The Big Dice
2010-11-22, 10:15 AM
You forgot the "T" word. I don't know about red box, but 1e soaked that up by charging for training to level up.
That was an AD&D thing rather than a B/X thing.

It's not a bad idea though. Even if it tends to work out as being impractical in play without the GM doing so backflips to make sure people can train when they level up.

B4 The Lost City (http://www.tsrinfo.net/archive/dd/dd-b4.htm); yeah, that is a great recommendation.
That is indeed an awesome module. And like most of the B series, it's got the option for the GM to add lots of stuff to it. Like an entire underground city that's barely detailed at all in the main text.

There's also Palace of the Silver Princess (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/dx20020121x7) that you can get off the WotC site. That's an interesting one, because it's up to you to stock the dungeon for yourself.

Stubbed Tongue
2010-11-22, 06:21 PM
Big Dice:
Stubbed Tongue:

Yep, such a character is possible. Your example of a lazy but charismatic character who never did much with his life before he picked up a crossbow and had to defend the village or whatever - that's a prime example of what I'm going for. Yes, his stats might suck. No, he can't pick up some wonderful abilities anytime soon to counter them... but then everyone has these sorts of stats, even NPCs. So it evens out, more or less.


In all fairness it was not I who gave this particular example.

In any case, I wish you luck.