Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A-Dungeonin' and A-Dragonin'

As a follow-up to last week's post, I managed to get A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry to the table last night.

To recap: the intent was to try and run an AD&D module using the current D&D rules. The purpose of this was to show off the simplicity and flexibility of the current system, and to prove to myself that it could easily be done. I define "easily" as: the DM preparing the module as s/he would normally, making up the DCs on the fly (but adhering to the DC scales listed in the rulebook), and subbing out monsters as necessary, as AD&D stat blocks don't exactly transfer over. Pretty much, I wanted to show that the most work one would have to put into running an AD&D module for D&D would be finding the current rules for the monsters within.

Overall, it worked well. I was playing with my usual RPG group, which is made up of four other seasoned gamers, with more than 60 years of gaming experience between us. They'd never played the current version of D&D, and I'd say by the end of it they were impressed, which is another goal I had (the sneaky task of trying to convert my closest gaming friends to my favorite version of D&D yet). They even liked the module, though I had some complaints:

Too Long. I was under the impression that this adventure was written to fall in line with the other tournament modules, but without being a tournament module itself. Whether I was wrong in that assumption or not, it didn't fit within the four hours I wanted it to. I had to rush the ending. One member of my group suggested that I cut some rooms out of the dungeon, as tournament modules were written with the intent to see how far a party might get through the dungeon, rather than make an adventure that gives everyone the experience of an adventure from start to finish (the players also could've ended the adventure in half the time if they went to the guard house instead of into the mine). I think this works well within a tournament setting, but like I said last post, it's just not something I want to roll out for the session I'm going to be running at the games shop.

Too much hackin' 'n' slashin'. I'm not one of those gamers that turns their nose up at a good ole hack 'n' slash adventure, but there wasn't much to go on here other than sword swingin' and arrow loosin'. One of the players was playing a preacher-type cleric, who tried to convert some goblins to his faith, and that was fun to role-play, but another group (especially one made up of strangers, and therefore less-likely to go as far outside the box as my player did) might just as easily start an encounter with the goblins instead.

Not weird enough. If I'm going to run an AD&D-style adventure, I want it to be full of Appendix N nonsense, and craziness. I want eccentric wizards beseeching foul gods for power, and strange groups of monsters committing even stranger acts of terror upon small medieval towns. I guess DCC has spoiled me in that regard, by doing an amazing job of capturing the proto-D&D feel that's been bred out of the game (or recessed).

All-in-all, I've proven it can be done; you can run an AD&D module for D&D with only some monster stat blocks on hand, a tiny bit more work, and some improvisational skills (and the confidence to stand by what you change). I just now need to find a more suitable module.


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