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Author Topic: Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)  (Read 654 times)

grubman

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Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)
« on: September 20, 2007, 06:06:45 PM »
I’m gearing up to run a D&D (Basic) or C&C campaign.  This will probably run from about 1-8 level with a very modest level progression.  I’m concentrating most of my effort on the back stories of the individual PCs and how they tie together.  I’m making an aggressive move back to focusing on character personality rather than laundry lists of powers and constantly seeking more treasure and XP to “level up” and gain more powers.

That said, I want the parts I’m working on to be the backdrop of the story, but still want the PCs to go on “traditional” adventures while all the background material surfaces and while they develop their character personalities.

So, In the end, what I’m looking for advice on are some really good low to mid level adventures (or even a good campaign) that you would say form a good adventure path or campaign from, say 1-5th level.  I don’t want 100% dungeon crawl type adventures, but I don’t want super narativist things either.  A happy medium of adventures that are challenging to the mind of the players as well as enough action to keep intensity up.

Edition isn’t important (hell, it doesn’t even have to be D&D as long as it has the same type of feel and not to much system or setting attached to it) as I’m more than happy to convert anything.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

Pebbles and Marbles

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Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2007, 06:14:04 PM »
Start with N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God, and then do the U series (U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh; U2: Danger at Dunwater; U3: The Final Enemy) of modules.  

All four of those modules feature a nice balance between the PCs having to use their wits, interact with the locals, and stab/bludgeon/set-fire-to critters.  

If you're using C&C, I think you'll find that the AD&D modules translate fairly easily too.
 

grubman

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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2007, 06:18:16 PM »
Quote from: Pebbles and Marbles
Start with N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God, and then do the U series (U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh; U2: Danger at Dunwater; U3: The Final Enemy) of modules.  

All four of those modules feature a nice balance between the PCs having to use their wits, interact with the locals, and stab/bludgeon/set-fire-to critters.  

If you're using C&C, I think you'll find that the AD&D modules translate fairly easily too.


I have Saltmarsh, always wondered if the rest of the series was any good.  It doesn't really hava a total "classic" D&D fel to it, but it might give the PCs a bit of a shock.

GoOrange

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Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 06:19:58 PM »
My favorite adventure was from the second edition solo series (adventures were targeted at a single PC of a different class per adventure) - Cleric's Challenge and also Thief's Challenge. These make nice adventures for small parties of lower level characters.

The new Pathfinder by Paizo is looking very promising at this point also.
 

beeber

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Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 06:31:33 PM »
Quote from: Pebbles and Marbles
Start with N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God, and then do the U series (U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh; U2: Danger at Dunwater; U3: The Final Enemy) of modules.  

All four of those modules feature a nice balance between the PCs having to use their wits, interact with the locals, and stab/bludgeon/set-fire-to critters.  

If you're using C&C, I think you'll find that the AD&D modules translate fairly easily too.


i was flipping through N1 last month.  it would be a good start, but take some tweaking.  some of the encounters were pretty tough for beginning characters, at least if you're group is somewhat small.

pspahn

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Advice on published D&D adventures (any edition)
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2007, 08:11:53 PM »
Quote from: grubman
I’m gearing up to run a D&D (Basic) or C&C campaign.  This will probably run from about 1-8 level with a very modest level progression.  I’m concentrating most of my effort on the back stories of the individual PCs and how they tie together.  I’m making an aggressive move back to focusing on character personality rather than laundry lists of powers and constantly seeking more treasure and XP to “level up” and gain more powers.

That said, I want the parts I’m working on to be the backdrop of the story, but still want the PCs to go on “traditional” adventures while all the background material surfaces and while they develop their character personalities.

So, In the end, what I’m looking for advice on are some really good low to mid level adventures (or even a good campaign) that you would say form a good adventure path or campaign from, say 1-5th level.  I don’t want 100% dungeon crawl type adventures, but I don’t want super narativist things either.  A happy medium of adventures that are challenging to the mind of the players as well as enough action to keep intensity up.

Edition isn’t important (hell, it doesn’t even have to be D&D as long as it has the same type of feel and not to much system or setting attached to it) as I’m more than happy to convert anything.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions.


I suggest you buy up as many back issues of DUNGEON Adventures magazine you can find.  What I like about them is that most of the adventures are relatively short and self contained, designed to be dropped into any existing campaign.  This means you can adapt them as needed, replacing the evil wizard with the one your PCs have been pissing off in your game, etc.  

Pete

EDIT:  B10 Night's Dark Terror is hands down one of the best older modules.  It might be too setting specific, though.  There's a review for it on rpgnet.
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Haffrung

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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2007, 02:09:00 AM »
You're playing Basic D&D, you want an adventure path, you want a traditional adventure, but you don't want anything railroady. Honestly, you want B10 Night's Dark Terror.
 

Cab

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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2007, 03:34:48 AM »
Quote from: grubman
I’m gearing up to run a D&D (Basic) or C&C campaign.  This will probably run from about 1-8 level with a very modest level progression.  I’m concentrating most of my effort on the back stories of the individual PCs and how they tie together.


Start with B2 (Keep in the Borderlands). You can tie any personalities and backgrounds in that you like, you can include whatever level of story you want in the keep. Remember, the focus of the module isn't the caves of chaos (even though thats the series of adventures), the focus of the module is the keep as an isolated community.

From there, for 'character' building I'd go with either B3 (Palace of the Silver Princess) or B4 (The Lost City), or even both. B3 (green cover, not the earlier version that was canned for being rubbish and which is now free as a PDF) is a lovely old fashioned 'rescue the princess' tale, its a well crafted and challenging module. B4 is Moldvay at his best, its a cool and cooky little module introducing a whole lost civilisation, an adventure where simply attacking things to get their treasure won't work.

That, together with your own additions, should see you through basic, and on to expert level.

X1 (Isle of Dread) probably isn't your cup of tea, from what you describe, but think more along the lines of running it like 'Lost'. The characters become stranded on this wierd island full of dinosaurs, to escape they have to work out what the heck thats all about. Its very much a wandering in the wilderness module, but with some work from the DM it becomes a treasure.

X2 (Castle Amber) is rather reminiscent of B4; same AUTHOR, again a very eccentric place. But of all of the X series, its the most D&D'ish.

Then for your purposes I'd go with X3, Curse of Xanathon. A city based adventure, with so many potential plot hooks and so much potential for character development, I'd say its the most useful of the X series for you.

From there... Well, X4 and X5 have great breadth of story and huge scope, but they're whole campaign type stuff. Not 'traditional' adventures. So I'd be tempted to go a little further out; once the characters are established, once they have a name for themselves within their setting, once they know who they are and what they are about, how about throwing I6 (Ravenloft) at them?

(EDITED to remove silly typo)
 

pspahn

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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2007, 04:03:04 AM »
Quote from: Cab


X1 (Isle of Dread) but with some work from the DM it becomes a treasure.



A _lot_ of work from the DM.  That's something to keep in mind, too.  A lot of the old D&D modules had built-in goofiness that you might find unappealing now (I do). But, the framework for most of the modules is very solid, so you can easily modify or remove the parts you don't like.  For B2, I always end up dividing the Caves of Chaos into about half a dozen different cave complexes placed well away from each other. B4 (like B10) was ahead of its time, but you'll still need to cut out a few WTF? encounters.  Another thing you'll have to do is scale back some of the treasure, especially the number of coins and magic items.  These were Monty Haul adventures at their finest.  

*sigh*  I wish I was playing red box D&D again.

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grubman

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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2007, 06:55:04 AM »
Quote from: GoOrange
The new Pathfinder by Paizo is looking very promising at this point also.


Two of the guys in my group are already getting it, so that's not going to happen.  I don't mind though, because (and I'm probably in the minority here) all the adventures they've done in Dungeon for the last couple years have totally put me to sleap.  Honestly, I couldn't even read through them they were so gawd awfull boring.

grubman

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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2007, 06:59:28 AM »
Quote from: pspahn
I suggest you buy up as many back issues of DUNGEON Adventures magazine you can find.


I've owned quite a few issues over the (many) years.  I may be picky but I generally I would only really like about 1 adventure out of every two issues or so.  Honestly, I really like the old adventures in Dragon a lot better (and I still have many of these).  It seemed to me when they switched to the Dungeon format they suddenly became overly converned with trying to come up with bizzare adventure ideas that didn't really trip my trigger.

It's a good suggestion, but right now I'm looking for something that is going to require a little less "work" (hunting down issues and reading through them all to find the good adventures) on my part.

grubman

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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2007, 07:05:16 AM »
Quote from: Cab
Start with B2 (Keep in the Borderlands). You can tie any personalities and backgrounds in that you like, you can include whatever level of story you want in the keep. Remember, the focus of the module isn't the caves of chaos (even though thats the series of adventures), the focus of the module is the keep as an isolated community.

From there, for 'character' building I'd go with either B3 (Palace of the Silver Princess) or B4 (The Lost City), or even both. B3 (green cover, not the earlier version that was canned for being rubbish and which is now free as a PDF) is a lovely old fashioned 'rescue the princess' tale, its a well crafted and challenging module. B4 is Moldvay at his best, its a cool and cooky little module introducing a whole lost civilisation, an adventure where simply attacking things to get their treasure won't work.

That, together with your own additions, should see you through basic, and on to expert level.

X1 (Isle of Dread) probably isn't your cup of tea, from what you describe, but think more along the lines of running it like 'Lost'. The characters become stranded on this wierd island full of dinosaurs, to escape they have to work out what the heck thats all about. Its very much a wandering in the wilderness module, but with some work from the DM it becomes a treasure.

X2 (Castle Amber) is rather reminiscent of B4; same AUTHOR, again a very eccentric place. But of all of the X series, its the most D&D'ish.

Then for your purposes I'd go with X3, Curse of Xanathon. A city based adventure, with so many potential plot hooks and so much potential for character development, I'd say its the most useful of the X series for you.

From there... Well, X4 and X5 have great breadth of story and huge scope, but they're whole campaign type stuff. Not 'traditional' adventures. So I'd be tempted to go a little further out; once the characters are established, once they have a name for themselves within their setting, once they know who they are and what they are about, how about throwing I6 (Ravenloft) at them?

(EDITED to remove silly typo)


Thanks, needless to say I've played these all years ago and had a lot of fun.  I'm sort of looking for something with a bit more "depth" right now.  I write a lot of my own adventures, and writing adventures of the quality of the B and X series is something I could just do myself without much trouble (or I could just play some of my old stuff).

The whole point of me looking to outside sources (which is unusual for me) is that I’m looking for something that provides more mentally challenging adventures.  Something that I may not think of.  I’m trying to mix it up so everything I do isn’t “typical Dave”…thus throwing them off a little.

Cab

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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2007, 07:56:32 AM »
Thing is, most of the better modules give you the nuts and bolts, but leave you to sort out the 'depth' yourself. I'm unaware of any good modules for D&D where intrigue and complexity have been done well. I'd go for some of the rollicking adventure stories in the modules and flesh out the style myself, if I were you.

I'd say though that some of those modules can be played as mentally challenging; think about trying to get key NPC's on side in X3, or working out how the Phanatons were enslaved by Arenae in years gone by in X1 (to pick something new out of the air), which the PCs need to work out to have a weapon to use against the Kopru... Or the PCs are charged to bring a prisoner back from the Caves of Chaos to the Keep (B2), but upon rescue the prisoner accidentally lets on that the merchant who hired them is a notorious criminal, how do the PCs handle that to bring the bad guy to justice without getting whacked themselves?

You're not likely to find anything published for D&D that does such plot issues well. You'll find loads of suggestions for such adventures in the GAZ series, but none of them fleshed out.
 

Pierce Inverarity

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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2007, 12:28:33 PM »
Grubman, post 2 nailed it. Cult of the Reptile God is what you want. And the U series.

Other very good modules that fit your description: The Gauntlet and The Sentinel (two-part adventure), Assassin's Knot (lethal murder mystery in this little village).
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grubman

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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2007, 06:42:50 PM »
Quote from: Pierce Inverarity
Grubman, post 2 nailed it. Cult of the Reptile God is what you want. And the U series.

Other very good modules that fit your description: The Gauntlet and The Sentinel (two-part adventure), Assassin's Knot (lethal murder mystery in this little village).


Funny you should mention those three as they are the 3 I recall from my past experiences as being about the best.