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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    oxybe's Avatar

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    Jan 2009

    Default module suggestion for 5th ed playtest

    hey playgrounders, i'm planning on running an adventure to test 5th ed out with. i already played in both the caves of chaos and the mud sorceror's tomb so i have an idea of how the mechanics go and both of which i refuse to play or run now. i did not like those modules for reasons i won't go into in this thread.

    i checked the reclaiming blingdenstone one and it felt... ehhhhhh to me... to be honest, as did the isle of dread. do note that this will be in a play by post, not in person and those modules didn't seem to lend themselves for good PbP play.

    now, do note that i don't ever use modules so i don't really own one beyond the one that came with the 4th ed DMG, so if anyone can refer to me a decent one from any edition to try out i'll do so.

    this will give me an idea on how easy it is to faithfully convert stuff. shouldn't be too hard as long as i use the old "keep the spirit, not the rules" guideline, but still.

    i'd like a fairly strait-forward module but not one that fuses the PC's to the train's seat. i'd also like something that isn't a pure dungeon slog. i don't mind some crawling, but like spices, less is more in this case, IMO.

    something for the lower levels are preferred.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
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    Feb 2013

    Default Re: module suggestion for 5th ed playtest

    I assume you're willing to convert between editions?

    By now you've missed the free download of In Search of the Unknown (B1) that was offered at the opening of the new WotC online store that sells classic books, including modules, of old editions (also on DriveThruRPG). Many are easily worth the money (looks to be $6, currently lowered to $5, for most modules).

    Note that some of the modules I list below had combined sets, but I don't know if they're sold as PDFs. I do know that they generally were edited and looked "slicker" and maybe a little more readable, but they lose the charm of the old, slightly amateurish modules.

    Can you clarify, though, why you didn't like Isle of Dread? If it's the hex map exploring, any old module with wilderness adventure will put you off, because that's how it was done. If you liked The Caves of Chaos, you'll probably like the dungeon modules fine.

    For starters, I recommend:
    The B-series. In Search of the Unknown (B1), Keep on the Borderlands (B2), Palace of the Silver Princess (B3), The Lost City (B4), Horror on the Hill (B5), The Veiled Society (B6), and Rahasia (B7). All for levels 1-3.
    B1 and B2 are absolute classics (B2 is the one that was turned into The Caves of Chaos). B4 is just awesome - it's a lost city dungeon with weird inhabitants that can be expanded for several levels. B3 is a bit of a "funhouse" dungeon - all kinds of magic craziness that doesn't really "fit together," but it's a classic. B6 is an urban adventure. B7 is a simple, straightforward, and somehow endearing (blame nostalgia?) dungeon adventure. NB: These are not modules in sequence, just separate modules in one series.

    The X-series. Isle of Dread (X1), which you don't like, is converted in the playtest package. Castle Amber (X2) is a weird dungeon for levels 3-6, with a bit of a Clark Ashton Smith feel. I'm not too familiar with the rest of the series, but generally they're for levels 3-9, and involve wilderness adventuring (that means hex maps). Again, not modules in sequence.

    The A-series. Slave Pits of the Undercity (A1), Secret of the Slaver's Stockade (A2), Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords (A3), In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords (A4), also sold as a single book (TSR 9167 Scource of the Slavelords). These are modules in sequence. It's a bit "plottier" than average, the first module was for levels 4-7. It's a lot of dungeons, obviously.

    The GDQ series. Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (G1), The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (G2), and Hall of the Fire Giant King (G3) make up Against teh Giants (G1-3, TSR 9058). Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D1) and Shrine of the Kuo-Toa (D2) make up Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D1-2 TSR 9059). They're rounded off by Vault of the Drow (D3) and Queen of the Demonweb Pts (Q1), and come together as Queen of the Spiders (GDQ1-7, TSR 9179). G1 was meant for levels 9-14, and it only gets tougher from there - culminating with, yes, facing Lolth in the Abyss. They're technically in sequence, but you'll have to do the work stringing the modules together.

    S-series. Just skip Tomb of Horrors (S1) unless your players demand it, but White Plume Mountain (S2, levels 5-10), Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (S3, levels 8-12), and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (S4) are classics. The combined set was Realms of Horror (S1-4, TSR 9209).

    T-series. Oddly enough, it's just The Village of Hommlet (T1), which is abridged in Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4, TSR 9147). Starts at level 1. Voted 4th greatest adventure ever.

    U-series. Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (U1), Danger at Dunwater (U2), Final Enemy (U3). Levels 1-3, 1-4, 3-5, respectively. Linked.

    Assorted others:
    The Hidden Shrine of Tomoachan (C1) and Dwellers of the Forbidden City (I1, levels 4-7) are classic dungeons.

    They're all Basic and AD&D 1E modules, too, so generally you won't find much in the way of edition-specific rules called for - it'll be easy to improvise rolls required on the spot.

    The beauty of these modules, of course, is that they work for OD&D, Basic (BECMI), AD&D 1E and 2E, and with some conversion, for Next (probably not quite as well for 3E - 3.5, and probably not too well at all for 4E, unless you really go all out on converting it).

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    oxybe's Avatar

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    Jan 2009

    Default Re: module suggestion for 5th ed playtest

    i don't know if i made it clear enough, but i'm not looking for a long campaign, just a quick play module. something you could probably start and finish in two to four short sessions IRL. long, multi-character level modules will probably wear on us as again, it's going to be a play by post game and played at a much slower pace.

    and yeah, the hex map exploring didn't do much for me. we're currently doing something similar in a game i'm playing IRL, the kingmaker adventure path, and i'm not the biggest fan of that kind of game setup. a lot of it seems like there is an interesting story to tell somewhere, but first "trudge through forest for a month or two with the occasional encounter!"

    i can see how some people would like that as the focus isn't so much on a grander storyline and more of the variety of stuff the PCs encounter, but each little encounter doesn't seem to fit anywhere... it's rather standalone unless a PC goes out of their way to make it mean something.

    it's just not for me.

    as for caves of chaos, i didn't play too much of it a little bit, but not a lot. the first party TPK'd rather early in the module when they (a group of level 1 PCs) failed to spot some guards (was it goblins or kobolds) and were soon overrun in like three rounds by about two dozen mooks' ranged weapons and an ogre's foot. soon after the 2nd party was made, the level 20 playtest came out and we updated the PCs to level 14 for the mud sorcerer's tomb which left a bad taste in everyone's mouth after frustrating everyone with bad adventure design and frustrating mechanics and then killing 3/5ths of the party with a single failed wisdom roll on a trap.

    now, i will openly state that i'm not an "oldschool" player. i cut my teeth on 2nd ed, but i generally dislike the easy-death/paranoia-emphasis mentality i found pervaded the playstyle of the era so i'm a bit hesitant to buy "classic" modules, even if it's only 6 bucks.

    a given module might have been voted "4th best adventure", but to me that simply states that it's the 4th best adventure as voted by people who like that style of play. some ign might call blood gulch the best halo map, but if you don't (like me) like halo...

    either way, i do want to give this game a chance. i'm not impressed with the game mechanics as i read them and maybe the WotC guys just picked bad modules to showcase with as all it did was showcase design elements i didn't care for.

    someone mentioned keep on the shadowfell and how it was free, so i'm going to read the PDF and see what that's like but it does seem to be yet another dungeon slog.

    i'm simply looking for something short that isn't a deathtrap-filled dungeonslog. maybe something that requires some investigation.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Default Re: module suggestion for 5th ed playtest

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    i don't know if i made it clear enough, but i'm not looking for a long campaign, just a quick play module. something you could probably start and finish in two to four short sessions IRL.
    Basically everything I listed is that, including all the connected series (A, GDQ, T, and U). You can just play the first and leave it at that. They're not campaigns in the modern sense, they're modules in the old sense - chaining them together isn't necessarily straightforward. For instance, going from G to D involved, IIRC, being randomly teleported at the end of G3...

    Most of the modules aren't filled with awful death traps, although I suppose your definition could vary. The Lost City starts out really light, for instance - it actually showcases "traps exist!" to the PCs before hitting them with any. It does require some "I poke it with a stick first" mentality though, and definitely requires some of the "run away!" and "negotiate!" mentalities.

    I can't really give any advice on 3rd or 4th edition style modules to convert; aside from Expedition to Ravenloft and Expedition into the Undermountain, I've never bought a single one (just sourcebooks for 3E).

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