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Author Topic: New campaigns and adventure paths?  (Read 790 times)

Offline the_3l3phant

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New campaigns and adventure paths?
« on: March 11, 2018, 05:21:30 PM »
Hi all - My first post so please let me proactively apologize if I mess up forum etiquette ...  :-[

I haven't played OD&D since it was just called D&D :) I just ordered a print copy of the RC and agreed to try my hand at DM'ing. One of the (few'ish) things I like about later editions is there were linked series of modules (IIR, the G series led to the Q - and maybe some others were tied in, too?) and then in 5e there are the Adventure Paths like, "Princes of the Apocalypse," "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" and others. Are there similar things for OD&D? I know there are the series modules, but they seem to all be for the same level range: all of the others say they're for 1-3 level players (with the exception of B10, which says 1-4). Looking at the wikipedia page listing modules it looks like the X series is better, but I can't tell if those are part of a chain or just one-off's. Does such a thing exist? (I have a separate question about what complete campaigns settings exist but I saw there's a separate section for posts about worlds so I'm going to head over there to post.)

In advance, thank you. Very happy to be a part of this community :)

Edit: I was just talking with someone who asked why I was making things more difficult than I needed to. They suggested instead of the RC I look at Labyrinth Lord and eventually the advanced version when the players get there. According to him the advanced version is compatible with 1st edition AD&D modules. I'm still really excited about the Rules Cyclopedia but now I'm not sure what direction to go in. Suggestions from folks who have any insight would really, really be appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2018, 06:18:54 PM by the_3l3phant »

Offline Dizzy

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 06:46:59 AM »
I think Advanced and Classic modules are pretty compatible with whichever version you decide on. The modules I can think of off the top of my mind that are connected are T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, A1-4 slavelord series, and the GDQ series. I think the Saltmarsh series has some modules connected as well? These are all for AD&D, but you could easily run it with BECMI or LL or whatever you decided.

Offline RobJN

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 07:18:09 AM »
For the most part, Dungeons & Dragons* modules weren't meant to play more than a couple in a row, and most of those were restricted to a couple modules within a given tier of play: Basic had B11 & B12, Expert had X4 & X5 (and, nominally, X10). Most of the modules could be used as one-off, isolated, episodic adventures.

This is more than likely due to the fact that the D&D game world didn't really coalesce until after most of the modules had been written ('81-'85), with the launch of the Gazetteer line of products ('87). Thus, there wasn't much cohesive material from which to devise any sort of meta-plot. Add to this the fact that advancement wasn't cut-and-dried, everybody-follows-the-same-chart of later editions.

XP/adventure ratios really weren't even discussed until the Companion Set ("After reaching “Name” level, characters should gain a new level of experience for every 3 to 8 successful adventures... If your games are once a week or less often, 3 to 5 adventures per level are recommended."DM's Companion, p. 2) Three to five adventures, each of which could last several sessions. (Just try to clear all the Caves of Chaos in one session. I dare ya ;) ) Levels were not something you blew through, one right after the other. And in D&D, there were 36 of 'em!

Still, most of the D&D adventures were written with plenty of hooks, and an enterprising DM could either  cobble his own campaign together, or write bridging adventures to either fill plot or XP gaps.

The closest we ever got to a solid "Adventure Path" was the B1-9 compilation, which had a couple different "paths" to follow through the Basic level modules (most of which were edited for brevity). And even then, there wasn't so much "meta-plot" leading up to a grand finale as it was a "here's a way to string these adventures together in a way that gets you ready to tackle the Isle of Dread"

The emphasis of the game changes with the advent of mid-to-late Expert level and Companion level play. Whereas the modern adventure paths seem to be all about GO GO GO SAVE THE WORLD!, the D&D game actually took that notion that "at Name level, you can build a stronghold and attract followers" and expanded on it. The tempo of the game changes, if you choose to go that route. Rather than days and weeks, adventures could stretch months, years or even decades: Rules for building your castle/tower/dungeon were included in the Expert Set. Rules for ruling your dominion came with the Companion rules. And what good is a dominion without an army? The War Machine mass combat was abstract enough that you didn't have to be a tactical genius (but it could help!). and with the Master Set, the Siege Machine.

This isn't to say that adventuring stopped happening. Just look at the CM and M-series modules. The stakes are perhaps a little higher when its your kingdom that needs saving.


Is it possible to build an adventure path that stretches from lowly first level all the way up to Immortality? I'm sure it is, but that could take years of play, if not decades, if you can manage to hold your players' attention for that long (and congratulations if you can and do!). I'm not sure the game was really meant to be played non-stop all the way through. Mentzer himself has advocated the "buffet" approach, on various message board posts: pick and choose your adventures or levels,  there's nothing to stop you from rolling up Expert, Companion, Master or even Immortal level PCs to take for a spin through a one-off module or module series.

*when I say "Dungeons & Dragons," I'm referring to the "Classic" game. Mentzer's BECMI, later compiled into the Rules Cyclopedia. I'm not mixing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons modules in, just focusing on the B, DDA, Thunder Rift, X, HW, DA, CM, M, and IM-series that followed the boxed set progression.
Rob
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Offline the_3l3phant

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 07:08:32 PM »
I think Advanced and Classic modules are pretty compatible with whichever version you decide on.

OK, that's good to know. I'll hunt around online and see if there's any specific guidance or examples of converted modules. Thanks!

Offline the_3l3phant

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2018, 08:03:37 PM »
Thank you for the incredibly detailed response (also, I had never heard of Thunder Rift, which is intriguing)! I'm wondering if picking up some of the gazetteers (and/or maybe Thunder Rift) would give me enough environmental information to pull together ways to link some of the modules together into some sort of path via the hook options you mention.

Of course, it also sounds like maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much and just starting playing  ;D

Offline Dizzy

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 06:39:00 AM »
In my experience, which is mostly running Classic Modules with AD&D, rather than the reverse, I just ran them as-is without really doing any conversion. I can't think of much you would have to do the other way, except treat AC 10 as AC 9, since Classic doesn't have AC 10. Most other things I think you could just figure out on the fly.

I was interested in running Thunder Rift, but have never picked it up. It always looked intriguing! Keep us updated on what you decide to do.

Offline RobJN

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 05:01:14 PM »
Thank you for the incredibly detailed response (also, I had never heard of Thunder Rift, which is intriguing)! I'm wondering if picking up some of the gazetteers (and/or maybe Thunder Rift) would give me enough environmental information to pull together ways to link some of the modules together into some sort of path via the hook options you mention.

Of course, it also sounds like maybe I shouldn't worry about it so much and just starting playing  ;D
You can get a taste for the Gazetteers through the Newbie Guide at the Vaults of Pandius.

Thunder Rift is its own "mini setting," a self-contained valley with just enough history, culture and mysteries to give DMs something to pick up and run with. It was meant to nurture new DMs and players coming to the game through the Big Black Box (the RC's "Basic Set"). The DM's screen came with a "bridge" adventure "Escape from Thunder Rift," which plopped PCs down in the middle of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, thus introducing the world developed around BECMI/Gazetteers/RC D&D to the "latest generation."

Speaking of the RC, it has an appendix for converting to and from 2nd edition (which is still "close enough" you could use it for 1st edition, too), so if you do want to use those AD&D modules, it can help file off the rougher corners.
Rob
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Offline Loma

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Re: New campaigns and adventure paths?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2018, 10:12:18 PM »
I think Advanced and Classic modules are pretty compatible with whichever version you decide on. The modules I can think of off the top of my mind that are connected are T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil, A1-4 slavelord series, and the GDQ series. I think the Saltmarsh series has some modules connected as well? These are all for AD&D, but you could easily run it with BECMI or LL or whatever you decided.

Yeah, conversion is easy. Just ignore the stats, if it's from a different game. If it says there's ogres, look up ogres in whatever system you are using. You're not buying modules because you need stats for monsters and NPC's. You're buying them for the story, the dungeons, the maps, etc. Those don't need any translating.
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