Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Scoop! Those Are The Good Bits

See what my sleep deprived mind is forced to title things by those pesky goblins . . .

If you get a chance I highly reccomend checking out what Beedo has going on over at Dreams in the Lich House. He recently posted about sandbox play and has some very good points to consider about the triangle (Freedom - Effort - Detail: pick two). His post also encouraged me to go ahead with something I have been planning to write about.

When determining how to go about getting a campaign going and not driving myself completely bonkers with preparation and world building I had to examine that very triangle. Since I am actually pretty good with improv DMing (go-go-gadget pat-on-the-back) and hate having to spend enourmous amounts of time developing things players may never get around to messing with, it became necessary to come up with a way to make it work and still have decent material to work with.

The decision was made, it would be modules. Lots of other people's effort. The millionaire's method, get  a lot of others to do the heavy lifting for you while you benefit from all of their effort.

Over the hsitory of RPGs a good number of sandbox style modules have been released, both as individual products and as features in magazines. If you have been reading the early game logs and know a little something about early TSR modules you may recognise a couple of them that are already in play within the Lost Baronies of Lendore Isle campaign.

The Secret of Bone Hill and its sequel, The Assassin's Knot have so far provided plenty of material to act as regional foundation. I have also begun tossing in little bits and pieces of improvised material. These two, especially the first, are excellent fodder and Bone Hill is a full-fledged sandbox. Assassins Knot adds a little to the region, tons of interesting NPCs, and provides a plotline should one choose to use it.

Among the adventures, modules and mega-dungeons to come into play as need arises are some old material, and some much more recently released OSR products.

One on the list is something I have already run some of the players through when I converted my old second edition campaign to third edition back in August of 2000. From issue #71 of Dungeon Magazine, Priestly Secrets is another sequel to Bone Hill that takes place entirely within the town of Restenford. Some of them will remember it, but I don't know if they will place all the details. It is an excellent adventure, one of my favorites as short adventures go.

Others include a couple of old contest winning tournament modules from Dragon Magazine, Chagmat, and The Wandering Trees. Those can be dropped almost anywhere into the island. Then there are the Caves of Chaos, and Dwellers in the Forbidden City, two more classic sandbox style modules which already have rough placement.

More modern ingredients include Stone Hell, and Skull Mountain. Then there are some items from Fight On! magzine.

Each of these things will be thoroughly plundered for all of the wonderful useful goodness within, and should any of my players get the idea that reading them will give them an advantage . . . I will know, and I rarely use things exactly as written. Besides, why spoil your own fun! These adventures all offer a ton of material any DM can make a great game stew to serve your players well.

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