Showing posts with label Legacy DnD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legacy DnD. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quintessential D&D (Half-baked ideas)

So building off of my "Half-Baked Adventure" a couple of days of ago I have decided that I want to choose good dungeon crawl 1-shots from each system.

So here is what I have at the moment.

Basic:
AD&D 1st Ed:
AD&D 2nd Ed:
AD&D 3rd Ed:
D&D 4th Ed:

Not much.
Basic might be the easiest.  B1 In Search of the Unknown is my go to adventure of choice and totally sandbox.  I can fit it to anything really. Plus it is simple enough to get through in a session or two.
AD&D 1 I am aiming at 4-7 level ranges, so that is not so bad either.  Ghost Tower of Inverness might be good.
AD&D 2 would be above "name level", so above 10th level to 14th or so.  Something from the Forgotten Realms might be good.
D&D3 would need to be above that but not yet 20th.  The 3.5 update to Tomb of Horrors fits here.
D&D4 would be above 20th level. The 4e update to Tomb would also work here.

Using the updates might sound cheesy, but I want it to be an epic adventure and I want it to tour the history of the game.

Still planning!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Half Baked Adventure idea

So while driving home from Gen Con I had this idea about running a multi-adventure mini series using all editions of D&D.  The plot hook is that the Great Librarian has died and the walls between realities have weakened (which one causes which? have to play to find out!) the character need to collect the Three Great Books and return them to Library or all reality is lost!

Part 1 where the characters are summoned and tested would be played using Basic/Original D&D.
Part 2 where the characters find the first Great Book would be played using AD&D 1st ed.
Part 3 the characters must seek out the second Great Book and would be run using AD&D 2nd ed.
Part 4 a new threat is found, but the characters also gain the support of a mysterious cabal of Wizards located in their rain soaked tower on the Coast.  They must find the third great Book and is played with D&D 3rd ed.
Part 5 the characters, now powerful indeed must return the books to the Library, but the dangers would be great.  This would be played with D&D 4th ed.

I would like to use the basic archetypes for this, a cleric, a thief (maybe a halfling here), a fighter, a wizard and an elf fighter/magic-user and feature something that highlights the benefits of each rule-set.

Could be great fun for a Gen Con based game where everyone plays every night.  Maybe even with the right crowd each person could rotate GM duties and pass their characters around.

Like I said.  Only a half-baked thought at the moment.

EDITED TO ADD: My son says that in each part the characters need to fight one of the five chromatic dragons.  So a white first and ending with a huge, ancient red.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mini D&D books

Yesterday some of you asked me about the mini-D&D books I had on my shelves.  They are really cool and I picked them about 10-12 years ago (it was before my kids were born I know that).

They were made by WotC and some Italian game company.
The info I have, from the box, is 21st Century Games, S.r.l. and they are located in Italy.  I cna't find anything about them. Every so often you see them on Ebay and generally not too expensive.

They are small and really hard to read, but I really like them.


The three boxed sets  I own.  There was a Dragonlance one and a Realms one, but I did not get those.  I think my FLGS still has the Realms one.



It is blury, but you can see the sets are complete, minus dice and the "Gateway to Adventure" catalog.


For an idea of scale here are my two Expert Sets.


And the expert books.


Even the backs are detailed.  Even though they were made by (or at least for) WotC, all the info is TSR.


The Greyhawk boxed set is the coolest since the maps are portable.


Here are the books I got.  I have heard there were more, but I have never been able to confirm that.


Compared to their "big brothers".

Anyone else have these?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My collection is now complete!

So what is this I got in the mail today?  A box? Addressed to me?



What could be inside? Let's open it up!


It's an Original Edition Dungeons and Dragons!
What's inside that box?


All the LBBs and supplements.  I already had an Eldritch Wizardry, but this one is much better shape.  Actually all the books are in good shape.  Well the Blackmoor book has some black tape on it, but the LBBs are all in fantastic shape.


I even have the reference sheets.


Looks pretty good with my set of old-school Basic books.


and next to my favorite Original D&D "clone"


and on my shelf!

I am told this is the "5.5" edition.  6th Edition/Printing books in a 5th Edition box.  I am not sure about the other books, but I am not collecting this as a "purist" I have always wanted a copy of this.

I have the PDFs, one of the first set of PDFs I bought when WotC had them fore sale, but holding these books is a really a different thing all together.

Original D&D has the distinction of the only version of D&D I only played once.  Even then it was 1987 and I am sure my point of view was skewed from years of AD&D.  That all being said, OD&D is one of those games that time and experience has only improved to me.  The game is not for beginners really, which is kind of funny.  Reading it gives me better appreciation for the Basic sets of Holmes and Moldvay.

I am not sure if I'll ever play it.  Maybe one day when the kids are older I might pull it out.  I can run the old Wee Warriors Palace of the Vampire Queen "kit" with it.

I can't help but think who was the first owner of this game and where he got it.  I bought it from a private collector who was not the original owner.

So now my collection is complete.  Till I find something else I need to obsess about!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

AD&D1 in Dragon #400

Just was reading through some of the new articles that will be in Dragon #400.  Current WotC employees are talking about their favorite Dragon moments.  Mike Mearls brings back Roger Moore's Jester and keeps it as 1st Edition AD&D.   Odd seeing a 1st ed character in 4e trade dress.

Anyway here it is, but you need to be a subscriber.
http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/dra/400jester#74712

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Recap

Had our first Northlands game group on Saturday.  It was fun. We are playing Pathfinder and have a good group. I am looking forward to more.  The world we are in is one the GM has made, so there are some familiar names mixed in with some that are not, so I am looking forward to seeing how this all works out.

Speaking of Pathfinder. I went to one of the closing Borders books here in the Chicago area and picked up a new Pathfinder core book for my kids to have. It was 30% off.

Mike Mearls has a new column up on WotC's D&D page called "Legends and Lore" which is designed to talk about D&D and it's past, present and future.
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110208
Of course, as expected the OSR glitterati have weighed in, most with predictable comments.
http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2011/02/legends-and-lore.html
http://platinumwarlock.blogspot.com/2011/02/in-which-warlock-has-bone-to-pick.html
http://akraticwizardry.blogspot.com/2011/02/mike-mearls-plea-for-unity.html
http://moldyvale.blogspot.com/2011/02/mike-mearls-whines-for-solidarity.html
http://wondrousimaginings.blogspot.com/2011/02/oh-yeah-mearles-then-put-your-money.html
http://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2011/02/wizards-needs-to-take-leadership.html

I am one of those people that sees more similarities in the games than I do differences, so Mearls' post, while written toward me is not actually directed at me if you know what I mean.  Nor is it really directed at the OSR (which is frankly  too small to be a concern).  While most of the reaction is the same knee-jerk stuff I'd expect, there is a point that nearly everyone makes that I think is worth WotC's time to look in to.  Bringing back older edition in PDF form.  Yes the cynic in me says why should they bother to sell rules to people who already own them, the deeper cynic in me knows that people will buy them anyway (I have) and make money for WotC.
I think a perfect world in WotC's eyes would be that people play what they want, but still buy a DDi subscription.

Gonna be a busy week.  Posting might be light.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Playing D&D with Kids, Part 3 New Old or Old New?

So I am going to chat with my regular DM this weekend (the start of our new Northlands game) and he has run tons of games for kids.

But I wanted to catch the opinion/pulse of all of you.

What "D&D" should I play?

I kinda want to run old Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert to be honest.  I'd make the characters, and do a old timey dungeon crawl.  But truthfully other than my want there is no reason why is has to be B/X.

Should I run it as a newer Retro-Clone (something the kids can go buy)?  As D&D 4 (something they could buy and I know is fun for kids)? Or keep it as B/X?

Basic Fantasy is my current favorite retro-clone, but Labyrinth Lord runs a very close second.
Spellcraft and Swordplay is also a huge fave of mine for Original D&D feel, but I think for this I want to go with something in the Basic realm (which is why I am also not opting for OSRIC).

Thoughts?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playing D&D with Kids Follow-up and Question

This is directed specifically to the parents of D&D playing kids.

What do you all think of a classic-style Dungeon Crawl that features a lot of undead, wolves and a big bad vampire to kill at the very end?

What would this be age-appropriate for?

My boys (ages 11 and 7) know all about zombies, vampires and werewolves and they know that if they defeat them then they will get their characters instead.

They are cool with it.  Have you ever run these horror tropes with young kids?

Playing D&D with Kids

There have been a lot of posts in the blogs and on the net about playing D&D with younger kids.

From WotC: http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4tut/kids2#73004
and this classic article, http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/april2010

Of course there is my kids' group, The DragonSlayers.

Well I am thinking about running some games at Gen Con for kids this year.

I am also thinking of using the Moldvay/Cook versions of Basic and Expert for it as well.    Nothing is set in stone yet, I am going to chat about it over the weekend with my regular group.  But this might be a chance a debut my long delayed "Return to the Cavern of the Vampire Queen" old school dungeon crawl.

At the moment to make it really old school I need to include more treasure.  There is not really enough of that.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Druthers for Basic era FRPGs

Trying out some more Basic monsters. These are conversions of some d20 ones I have done in the past. Depending on which Basic game/retro-clone you use I have listed Armor Class as both descending (start at 9 and go down) and ascending (start at 10 and go up).

Here is one of my faves, the Druther.
You can also find this guy in my book, The Witch.

Druther
AC: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9d8* (40 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 Limbs (fists or constructed weapons)
Damage: 2d6 / 2d6
Special: Immune to piercing, water and cold-based attacks. Double damage from fire based attacks.
Movement:: 20 ft.
No. Appearing: 1 (1-3 in lair)
Saves: Fighter 9
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment:: Neutral
XP: 1,200

A Druther is a type of wood golem that can only be created by a witch. The name comes from an old piece of doggerel often muttered by witches,

“If I really had my druthers,
I’d have my wooden druthers too.”

A “Wooden Druther” is a corrupt form of “wouldn’t I’d rathers”, or something the witch doesn’t want. So the Wooden Druther performs tasks that the witch would rather not do herself.

The druther can understand simple command phrases of about 15 words each. Typically druthers are used for menial labor or to perform a task that the witch can not do or won’t do herself, like killing or scaring an enemy. Often a witch will have a few druthers protecting her home while disguised as trees (Wisdom check at -2 to notice).

A druther cannot communicate at all. Some witches have used woody reeds in the construction of their druthers. When the wind blows across the druther it sounds like a deep bassoon.
Druthers can appear in any form. Usually they are biped and always made of wood. The wood can be carved or a collection of sticks tied together. The appendages need to be attached separately if the druther is to move at all. They can be precisely carved to appear as anything the witch wants, but they typically look like walking bunches of sticks. Legend has it that there was a witch that had such beautifully carved druthers that they were often mistaken for wood nymphs.

Treants, dryads, and wood nymphs view a druther in the same manner a human views the undead or a flesh golem. Most will attempt to destroy them when they can. Some witches and wizards value the wood from an inanimate druther to use to make magical fires.

A druther is mindless in combat. It strikes with its wood fists with almost no regard to what else is going on.
As a construct a Druther is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Arrows or other piercing items, such as spears or thrust daggers, only do 1 point of damage per hit. Water based attacks have no effect on the druther whatsoever. Fire based attacks always do double damage. Cold based attacks do no damage.


Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks is Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Druthers for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2011, Timothy S. Brannan

Art is Copyright ©2001 Daniel Brannan and used here by permission.  Art is not open content.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is 2nd Ed the next wave of OSR?

I posted a couple days back on the growing 2nd Ed AD&D love I have been seeing on the net and in the blogs. Not a lot of it mind you, more like a few vocal people in a crowd still going on about how the LBBs are the "best thang evar!"  (Ok for the record NO one has ever actually said that, that way.)

But the OSR movement has slowed down to stead pace now and we are not getting Yet Another OD&D Clone this month and I think people are giving 2nd Ed another look.

I have mentioned in that past that 2nd Ed is the game I ran the most but hardly ever played.  I was very much a DM only with that game.  In fact I was one of the early adopters of the game, buying it on the day it came out and not even taking any of my 1st Ed books with me back to college.  But sometime in the late 90's that (and I) changed.  When 2nd Ed came out I was a single college kid, living in the dorms and surviving on the the money I made tutoring others in math and physics. When 3rd Ed came out I was married, living in a house with a brand new baby and just laid off my teaching job because the grant funding at the university dried up.   I was two completely different people.    In the middle I nearly gave up on D&D all together and even sold off 80% of my collection in favor of games like "WitchCraft RPG" and "Vampire" and other horror games.  All that I have left now for 2nd ed is the three cores, the Celts guide and some Ravenloft stuff.  Though the PHB and DMG are my originals and I got them the day they were rel

Why is any of that important?  It's important because it has permanently colored how I view AD&D 2nd Ed. for years.  I did remember the joy of the getting the latest Monstrous Compendium supplement, I only recalled the dreck of the Skills and Powers books.

But as time goes on and I wax on about earlier systems it is only natural that eventually my rose colored glasses gaze on 2nd Ed. Others seem to be doing the same.

2nd Ed as a retro-clone though has some issues it must deal with first.
- First, 2nd Ed is mechanically not all that different from 1st Ed.  One could in theory play a "2nd Ed Game" with nothing more than OSRIC.  One of the big selling points behind 2nd Ed was it re-organized the material from earlier editions.  It is in a sense the first Retro-clone.
- What made 2nd Ed special to many were the campaign worlds, and those don't fall under the OGL at all.  Plus most of the OSR folks seem to prefer sandbox worlds so anything created by them would naturally fit into any other world.
- The Proficiency system of 2nd Ed is needlessly complicated.  Note I am not saying it is complicated itself, it's not, but it is more complicated than it needs to be for a game.  3rd Ed's Skill system is superior in nearly every respect, and 4th Ed's is better still.  Reverse engineering it would not be difficult (premise, not every skill is worth the same amount) but I'd have to ask why?

The monster's in 2nd Ed were a nice improvement over 1st ed. I like the one monster per page format, something that 3rd ed dropped but 4th ed picked back up.

Personally I think it is only a matter of time before someone does a full on 2nd Ed clone.  I know there are some in development now.   I know of and have looked at the beta of Adventures Dark and Deep, a sort of "what-if game", as in what if Gygax had developed AD&D 2nd ED the way he had planned.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gypsy Elves for Basic Era Games

Another in my series of posts for Basic era (late 70's to early 80's) games.
This one expands on my sub-race of elves known as Gypsy Elves.

The Gypsy Elf

"Thousands of years ago the elves were a unified race.  The elven people stood strong and diverse.
Then the War came and the Elves were Sundered. The elves were divided by the war.
But some chose not to fight, some took in their brothers and sisters from all sides.
These elves were cursed by the Great God of the Elves to wander the lands till the day when all elves stood as one people again.  The other elves took pity on them, calling them, in their own tongues The Wanderers.  But not the Wanderers themselves.  They knew a powerful secret.

They knew they were Free."

- From the Songs of the Ranagwithe

The Witches Beck by Nichole Marie Grubb
by Nichole Grubb
The Gypsy Elf, or as the call themselves "The Free Elves" (Ranagwithe in their own language) , wander the world, in and out of the land of faerie, searching for their lost home.  They will find it only on the day when all the elves are reunited as a race.  Until then they wander.

Like their human counterparts, Gypsy Elves travel all over the known world. However, unlike the Human Gypsies, Gypsy Elves are much more gregarious and less xenophobic. The origins of the Gypsy Elves date back to what has become to be known as the Sundering of the Elves. When the Dark elves broke free from the light elves they split into several races.

There were elves that remained outside of the conflict. One group was a band of light elves that protected both the dark and light elves from each other. When the gods split the elves apart, the gypsy elves were left without a home to call their own. Since they never harmed another elf before they were not forced into the dark underground. Ever since then the Gypsy Elves have wandered from place to place looking for a home. While Gypsy elves tend to be neutral to all other races, they are always treated as “good” to other elves. There are several universal elven customs that apply only to Gypsy Elves.

  1. No Gypsy Elf may harm another Elf. Even Dark and Light elves.
  2. No other elf, Dark or Light, may harm a Gypsy Elf.
  3. No Elven community may refuse lodging to a band of Gypsy Elves. The Gypsy then must agree to be on their way soon after.
At any point in time other elven species may be found in a group of Gypsy Elves, as they may freely travel as long as they abide by the Gypsy Elves rules and lifestyle. These “Free Wanderers” can make up to 10% of the tribe’s population.

As long as the other elves do not fight amongst themselves or the other Gypsy Elves they may remain with the tribe as long as they like. Also any Gypsy Elf is invited to remain in any Elf community, but few rarely do.

Gypsy Elves are on friendly terms with humans. They find Human Gypsies to be too xenophobic for their tastes, but they will travel with them for mutual benefit.

Gypsy Elves, like their Elf cousins, produce fine art, in particular music and dance. Many have excelled in woodcarving and sell these pieces of art in communities they pass through. What these elves cannot make, they buy. In this respect they are very good terms with humans.

Gypsy Elves are careful never to take more from the land or their hosts then they absolutely need. It has been said that there will be no evidence of a gypsy elf camp 24 hours after they leave.

Gypsy Elf  (Ranagwithe)
Armor Class: 6
Hit dice: 1*
Move: 120' (40')
 - Caravan: 90' (30')
Attacks: 1 Weapon
Damage: By Weapon
No. Appearing: 2-8 (2d4) / 5-40 (5d8)
Save As: Elf 1
Morale: 12 or see below
Treasure: Same as Elf
Intelligence: 12
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 5

Monster Type:  Demihuman (race)
Gypsy Elves are typically found traveling in caravans across the world.  Any given caravan will have 5 to 40 members with an a advance scouting troop of 2 to 8 members.  Each caravan has a "Caravan Master" who will be a 5th level or greater elf and a "leader", typically an Elf Seeress (known as a "Kuruni") of 6th level or higher.  Most gypsy elves will be armed with a short sword (75%) or a cross-bow (25%).  All will have daggers as well.

There will also be a variety of random faerie creature travelling with the gypsy elves.  These creatures do not fight if the caravan is attacked, but will flee.

Each Gypsy Elf will know a 1st level elf spell, the Kuruni will know spells as a 6th level elf.  The Caravan Master and the Kuruni will typically have magic items appropriate for a fighter and a wizard respectively of their level.

Moral will be 12 unless their Caravan Master or Kuruni is dead, then it will be 9. If both are killed it will drop to 6.

Like elves, gypsy elves are immune to the touch of a ghoul.


Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks is Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Gypsy Elve for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2010, Timothy S. Brannan

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jim Ward is ill

To many of us old enough to remember the old guard one name always stood out to me; Drawmij.   Drawmij was a one of the many characters of Gary's home game that became immortalized in the pages of Greyhawk.

The real Drawmij, Jim Ward is not doing as well.

According to this post, and many others in the blog realms, he is ill and the hospital bills (as they do) are rising.
There are a lot of things that you can do to help, the Dragon'sfoot page details some of them, but another would be to buy something from his DriveThruRPG store.  
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=2191&affiliate_id=10748

You can read more here:
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/2010/11/please-help-jim-ward.html
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2010/11/jim-ward-needs-our-help.html
http://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2010/11/warden-is-declearing-medical-emergency.html

and some more recent updates:
http://poleandrope.blogspot.com/2010/11/update-regarding-jim-ward.html
http://blackmoormystara.blogspot.com/2010/11/james-ward-on-way-to-recovery.html

Jim gave us Metamorphosis Alpha, which in turn gave us Gamma World and even recently spoke to WotC about it all.

Here is hoping that Jim gets better soon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Games Plus Auction Haul, part 2: Back to Basics

So I went back for a another round at Games Plus last night and I am SOOO glad I did.

Here is my second, but smaller haul.


So FINALLY a Mentzer boxed Basic set, complete with both books (in mint shape) and dice, still in the bag with a crayon.  Second Ed Vampire the Masquerade (that I got for 1 buck), and the "new" D&D Basic game; which if it came out today would send people into paroxysms of bitching about how it was too much like a board game (it comes with paper figures and poster map dungeon).  I got it for 2 bucks.

Now I think my Basics Sets are complete.


All are in pretty good shape too.

Of course I have to do this:


Here is part of my collection now.


My D&D "Core" collection all together.  Yeah I have 2 Holmes set, one is in sorta sad condition though. And yes D&D4 is on the next shelf over.

I have a lot of gaming to do!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Imagining D&D meme

So on Friday Grognadia had as the Open Friday this bit:
when you think about Dungeons & Dragons, the cover of what product comes first to mind?
For me it was a toss-up.

This is the version I adventured in the most, back in the day:

But this is one I played first and the cover is more evocative of "D&D" to me.  Wizard and fighter battling a red dragon sitting on a treasure hoard.


But this is the version that gets my geek fondness into overdrive.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
- Isaac Newton (1642-1727) in: Letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1676

The giant in this case was Descartes.  Later the same quote would be used to describe Newton himself by Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking. Each generation builds on the work of the last.

Giants are not revered for their size, but because of their ability to see further.

I take a lot of praise for my work and because I am human I enjoy it. Because of who I am I also take it with a bit of surprise.  Afterall I like to write stuff that I like, it amazes me that others might enjoy it too.  But I understand that nothing I, or anyone else does, exists in a vacuum.

Ghosts of Albion would not exist at all had it not been obviously for the creative talents of Christopher Golden and Amber Benson.  It is their world, they define it, shape it and tell us how the characters live in it.  The rules for the game exist because of C.J. Carella.  Not only did he write the Cinematic Unisystem game that Ghosts uses, it was his Classic Unisystem game WitchCraft that inspired me to want write for Eden in the first place. Will Ghosts sell better than WitchCraft? I have no idea. Will people like it more? I know some do, others feel WitchCraft is still the superior game and I will not fault them for that.
Even taking all that into consideration I had help of editors, playtesters and general advice.

My various Witch books are the same way. As are my academic and professional lives.

Standing on the shoulder of giants is not about reverence of people, but rather acknowledgement of their work, of their contributions and why that work has helped make our lives a bit better.

We stand on the shoulders of giants so that one day others may stand on ours.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Return to the Palace of Silver Princess

Like a lot of gamers my age I am familiar with the module B3: Palace of the Silver Princess, and like most of those gamers my experience is with the "Green" cover version.  Well I had heard about the infamous "Orange" cover version of course, but never hoped I would see it.  Well Wizards of the Coast had changed that when they released the banned Orange version a few years back along with the story of why it was banned/deemed inappropriate.   An interesting bit of game history, but really I think nearly everyone feels that the edited Green version is the better module.


Reading the Orange version with knowledge of the Green is an interesting experience and one that almost always leaves the Orange one coming up a bit short.  Not that the Green version, with edits by Basic Game guru Tom Moldvay, is a stellar module, it does have it's moments.

B3 holds a special place for me since it is the first module I ever bought specifically to run and not play in.  There was a lot for a neophyte DM like myself in 1981 to like.  The programmed adventure in the beginning was a nice touch to kid just learning how to also program the computers in Jr. High.  Arik of the Hundred Eyes was an awesome sounding bad guy and one I had hoped would make another appearance one day. And it was easy for me to place this all in Glantri from the Expert Set, it seemed to fit well with other things I had going on at the time.

Reading over the Wizard's site this past weekend got me thinking.  I have wanted to use B3 in my kids' game for a while now.  Thanks to the maps (linked below) from the Vaults of Pandius and the update to D&D 3.0 version of the monsters and encounters I could run this is as-is for them now.  Of course I'll want to bump the encounters up a bit to make them more challenging.   Course the maps are for the Green version and 3.0 update is for the Orange version. 

I think I'll take a suggestion from Wizards and run this as "Return to the Palace of the Silver Princess".  The events of the "green" cover happened many years ago, but something went wrong that lead to the events of "orange" cover.  The Eye of Arik wasn't destroyed properly and soon the entire area became cursed.  Ellis the Strong (The Silver Warrior) became the the cause in the minds of the locals.  While the evil energies pouring out of the fragmented eye caused mutations in all living things in the castle.  Plants became vampire roses and archer bushes, the staff became Ubues (gotta explain them somehow), Aliegha, Catharandamus and the dwarves Boron and Xyzom were adventurers that came here previously and are now coming under the affects of the Eye.  Catharandamus is going insane, thinking he can summon Arik, Aliegh is turning into a wolf (or bear or a bear-wolf crossbred-thingy) and the dwarves are slowly becoming orcs.  I do plan on using Candella and Duchess, as randomish NPCs, but they had just gotten there and have not started to mutate yet. I just liked that picture of the two of them being caught by surprise. 

I doubt I will drop any hints here to the upcoming 4e adventures or even the on going Dragonslayer's plot.  So Arik is not really another name for Tharizdun, and I doubt I'll make the Eye of Arik a part of the summoning ritual they need for Tiamat.  Just a little side adventure to amuse me and them while I build them up to the big finale.  Though the Knights of the White Drakes from the Green version allays interested me.  Maybe once the adventure is over I'll have the Knights send them their thanks and offer them a great gift, a Drake (a riding dragon) for them to use in their battle against Tiamat.  My son would LOVE that.  Of course that only works if the the guy on the dragon that everyone thinks is evil is actually good and the characters help clear his name.  I do like that idea.

Links
- Wizard's page for the Orange version, http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/dx20020121x7 
- Cool maps from the Mystara uber-site, Vaults of Pandius, http://pandius.com/maps.html

Monday, July 5, 2010

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

Just so you all know.

The module, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is today's featured article on Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page


I worked a bit on this article back when the deletionists were trying to get all D&D related content removed from Wikipedia.  Some of them seemed to be on a crusade of one sort or another.

This is a great honor for any page.  Wikipedia has over 3 million articles and only 365 of them can be a featured page in a year.  There is even a Facebook page to celebrate.

So celebrate this classic module.  How?  Oh I don't know.  Mix some sci-fi in with your old school games.  I might need to run this one for my kids one day.  It is a lot of fun.

I remember buying this module in Springfield, IL at White Oaks Mall.  I sat on the floor of my parents van (yes kids on the floor with NO seat belts) reading this as we drove to some diner or something. I can't recall where we were going, just that I had this module and I ate it up.  Great memories of this one.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old School day!

I spent the weekend with the people I used to game Basic and AD&D 1st ed with, the week opened up to some cool old school news for me.

First I got my copy of Palace of the Vampire Queen!
I plan on running this with Spellcraft & Swordplay as soon as I can.


And in other cool news. ChicagoWiz's blog is back! I was never 100% sure why he had left in the first place to be honest.  But I am glad to see his blog back with us.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What if Gygax had done 2nd Ed?

Quick one for now. I am on my way to campus.

I have been following the OSR scene now for a while and have seen the attempts to do retellings of the most famous RPG in history. Associated with that is the wave of nostalgia for all things from the hands of the Old Masters (Gygax, Holmes, Arneson) and this had gotten me thinking.

What would 2nd Ed AD&D have looked like if Gygax had still been at TSR?


  


I suppose we should look at the variables.  What was TSR doing at the time (late 80s), what was Gygax doing (Mythus, Dangerous Journeys, and later Lejendary Adventures) and how would that have all blended into what could have been the 2nd Ed AD&D as written by Gary.

This is all speculation; I am not a Gygaxian scholar by any stretch of the imagination. But I am curious to know what you all think.

Would we have seen more classes? (I think so) More skills? (certainly) and I also think given the direction that TSR was headed and what Gygax did in DJ/Mythus that we would have seen more "world" books for different genres of play.  So instead of Spelljamer (D&D in space) we would have gotten a Space Opera game that used the AD&D 2ed rules.  Or not.

Thoughts?

EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to Herb and Jason Vey.  They uncovered this link for me.
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2009/02/ad-second-edition.html
I will have to read that in detail when I can.
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