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Author Topic: Has anyone here ran or played Tomb of the Serpent Kings?  (Read 598 times)

Crusader X

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Has anyone here ran or played Tomb of the Serpent Kings?
« on: June 14, 2021, 05:52:03 PM »

My in-person gaming group should finally be getting back together soon after more than a year's hiatus.  I'm considering running Tomb of the Serpent Kings for them, to get everyone back in an old-school, dungeon-delving groove.

Does anyone here have experience with this adventure?  If so, did you enjoy running or playing it? And what game system did you use?
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Naburimannu

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Re: Has anyone here ran or played Tomb of the Serpent Kings?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2021, 07:26:43 AM »
I started running it with some coworkers (several new-to-5e or new-to-dnd) back before lockdown; it'd been pitched as a two-short-sessions experiment, and that's all we did. For me there were two big problems:

* Physically, the adventure layout totally failed at the table. If I recall correctly, room description & dressing was at one place in a condensed form, gameplay information was at a different place; I ended up missing lots of the descriptive detail that would have made the dungeon feel less like orcs-with-pie-in-a-room.

* Socially, half the players were happy with the intent of the adventure, but the other half wanted something much more Critical Role (?) / much less OSR-inflected.

With only 3 hours of playtime, including framing and approach, they only went a little way past the door trap - maybe as far as the first pool. I thought it was strong that they'd intended to go somewhere else, but ran across a set of tracks, decided to follow them, and ended up at TotSK, but I think some of my players felt I was railroading them / quantum ogreing them there.

That said, one of the women who'd never played D&D before was so inspired by it that she became a DM and started running her own group outside work, and I ended up with a group of happy coworkers playing online (5e dungeoncrawling through Dwimmermount) for 8 months now, so I don't feel too bad about the failures.

(I'd also played it once with my kids, who lost half the party at the pool.)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2021, 07:29:16 AM by Naburimannu »

mAcular Chaotic

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Re: Has anyone here ran or played Tomb of the Serpent Kings?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2021, 01:43:37 AM »
Yes, I've been running it for the last year -- in 5e!

It's one of my most successful games. I'm running it as an open-table type game, with every session being self contained. There's no set party but there is a player pool, of about 15 people, who drop in and out depending on who wants to play on a game night.

I also have downtime activities, skipping 2 weeks of game time per session, and use gold for XP. So since it's a megadungeon of sorts, I'm using old school megadungeon type rules.

It's been working great. I think the adventure is good all around, though you need to know how to run it right. Another note that may be relevant is we play on roll20 so I can have multiple tabs open to access various maps and information, which makes it easier.
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rocksfalleverybodydies

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Re: Has anyone here ran or played Tomb of the Serpent Kings?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2021, 11:01:03 AM »
I started running it with some coworkers (several new-to-5e or new-to-dnd) back before lockdown; it'd been pitched as a two-short-sessions experiment, and that's all we did. For me there were two big problems:

* Physically, the adventure layout totally failed at the table. If I recall correctly, room description & dressing was at one place in a condensed form, gameplay information was at a different place; I ended up missing lots of the descriptive detail that would have made the dungeon feel less like orcs-with-pie-in-a-room.

* Socially, half the players were happy with the intent of the adventure, but the other half wanted something much more Critical Role (?) / much less OSR-inflected.

Found TotSK is a decent module for a quick introduction to the fundamental concepts of the game.  Been a reasonable success as a teaching tool for the style of play before moving onto more elaborate settings and objectives for the players.

With only 3 hours of playtime, including framing and approach, they only went a little way past the door trap - maybe as far as the first pool. I thought it was strong that they'd intended to go somewhere else, but ran across a set of tracks, decided to follow them, and ended up at TotSK, but I think some of my players felt I was railroading them / quantum ogreing them there.

That said, one of the women who'd never played D&D before was so inspired by it that she became a DM and started running her own group outside work, and I ended up with a group of happy coworkers playing online (5e dungeoncrawling through Dwimmermount) for 8 months now, so I don't feel too bad about the failures.

(I'd also played it once with my kids, who lost half the party at the pool.)

The game with your co-workers new to the game sounds about right on average:  some think they will be magically transported into a Critical Roll episode, others bitching about railroading is amusing (they did follow the tracks after all), and you got one player who loved it so much, they have benefitted the hobby by DM'ing other groups.

Frankly, I'd call your session a great success as you got another person bitten by the RPG bug.

It sounds like your kids embraced the old-school feel the best: not going into the game with preconceptions and getting stuck in enough to lose half the party.  Good on them.

Found TotSK is a good introduction to the players for the style of play, before moving onto more elaborate settings and encounters.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 11:20:28 AM by rocksfalleverybodydies »