Thursday, May 26, 2011

An Old School Summer

So we haven't officially decided to run some old school modules, but it looks very much like that is what we will be doing for the summer. 

However, I'm not sure which way to proceed.  We can either jump right into the madness with GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders (level 8+) or start low with T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil (level 1+).  I know at least one of the players has never played any 0th, 1st or 2nd ed. games, so low levels may be more appropriate, but then the older stuff doesn't have near the level advancement complexity of the later editions.  There was a suggestion to modify whatever we decided to run to Pathfinder but I'm not sure that an update would maintain the traditional feel of these modules AND it would totally ruin the experience of seeing how things were done back in the day. 

I have never run either of these modules, but I have run enough modules to be comfortable with how modules as a whole work.  Since both of these are ranked very high (#1 and #4) in the greatest modules of all time list, I don't expect there to be many problems, but nothing is perfect.  So those of you who have run these, any suggestions on what to look out for?


  1. I want to play in these games.


  2. also: I've run T:1-4 before.

    A couple of things from that experience.

    Hommlet kind of sucks, unless you do a lot of work to make it cool - and the gatehouse is awesome.

    The temple itself is a huge slog-fest. even with all the options available to old school players (trickery etc.) It's just an endless run of murdering thousands of bad guys in any version iirc.

    Personally U1-U3 is a great set of starter modules, leading into A1-4, at which point giants is good to go.

    Personally though, the modules usually work better as one shots because of the high treasure to play ratio in them. We'll talk more later. :-)

  3. You aren't available on Saturday evenings. And you've done so much work on the Wednesday game, I don't want to take it away from you. I also don't want to run two games a week while taking this annoyingly in-depth finance class.

  4. Don't go dropping players who are new to old schoo gaming straight into high level modules. They'll be repeatedly massacred and end up fraustrated with your game.
    I too recommend the Saltmarsh module series as a good introduction to this style of play. I'd also recommend tracking down a copy of the excellent "Primer to Old School Gaming" which you can find for free in a few places in the blogsphere (sorry, I've lost the link) to get them in the right frame of mind before the game begins.
    Good luck, and have fun.

  5. Found it. Quick Primer to Old Schol Gaming.

    Just follow the link.

  6. Just personal notes:

    Hold off on GDQ and T1-4. Brian is correct - both series can really be horrible without equipped and ready characters and players.

    The old U series is a great recommendation. I found the 'twist' of U2 to be a bit heavy-handed, and U3 can be very difficult and time consuming. If using U1 as a starting point, don't feel too compelled to use the rest of the series.

    L1 Secret of Bone Hill can be a lot of fun. It gets a lot of heat for being over the top, but it's got a lot of fun spirit to it.

    B1 is probably superior to B2 as an 'intro' module.

    Before committing to a published module, though, I would comb over Dragonsfoot's collection of adventures. Below are just personal opinions of the low level ones:

    If they want a little 'investigation' with a single monster, Pop Goes The Meazel is very good.

    High Atop Dragonmount is designed for an 'old school feel' and gets players into the action at 1st level.

    Disappearance of Harold the Hedge Mage is also good - some outdoor stuff and a decent dungeon level.

    If you have a large party of adventurers, Goblin's Tooth provides a lot of outdoor material in an area that is decently fleshed out with details.

    Shrine of the Oracle is good for low levels, but might not be as suitable for novices as the others, above.

    Sorry for the long comment

  7. I'd got for the Temple modules, but for the temple itself I'd modify it to make it better than it is. Don't think Hommlet of the moathouse need much work, they always seemed fine to me.

  8. I have ran Against the Giants several times over the years and have always found it to be good fun. The Hackmaster edition is a hoot and a very good choice. Also I have not ran the Temple adventures very often I instead would run Scourge of the Slave Lords into Against the Giants as a epic players vs the slave guild game.