Showing posts sorted by relevance for query inverness. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query inverness. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! C is for Competition Modules

C is for Competition Modules.

The C series of modules were mostly unrelated in terms of story.  Unlike the D that I'll talk about tomorrow or the G later on, there was no over arching story to connect these.

What did connect them was this idea of "Competition" or official RPGA scoring included in each one.  Back in the day (say late 1970s) D&D was being played by thousands of people. It had yet to capture the market like it will in the 1980s, but there were still enough players then that variations were creeping into the rules.  Some people had Greyhawk, others used house rules and the burgeoning 3rd party market was making inroads.  The bottom line was that D&D was not always played the same from group to group.  I even remember this back in the day when I played.  This was part of the reason why Advanced D&D was created and so many more rules were added.

Competition play in the form of the A and C series were a logical outgrowth of that.

I have always enjoyed the C adventures, but never played them.

C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
This adventure is a call back to the popular "Ancient Temple" style adventures, but it also had some interesting psuedo-Mayan and Aztec elements to it that really gave it a different feel.  It was ranked #18 in the 30 Best D&D Adventures of all time by Dungeon Magazine.
For me I have always wanted to run this adventure as part a longer campaign using Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  There is such a pulpy, almost "Raiders of the Lost Ark" feel to this adventure.  You can also read +Eric Fabiaschi's comments on it here.
I have to say this is one adventure I am most looking forward to running.

C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for this one.  I never ran it or played under AD&D, but I have had a copy for years.
According to the official records the "Inverness" was likely the town in Alabama rather than Scotland.  Growing up in Southern Illinois we always thought that is meant Inverness, Illinois.  We knew that Gary had grown up in Chicago and Lake Geneva was much closer to Inverness than we were.  Well as fate would have it I moved to Palatine, IL which is just next door to Inverness.  I can see it from where I am typing this now.  We have a "lighthouse" here, or rather a water tower painted like a lighthouse right on the border with Inverness.   So I ran a Doctor Who game once using this module and called it "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, IL."
I recently ran this one and have detailed here: Weekend Gaming: Ghost Tower of Inverness

C3 The Lost Island of Castanamir
This is an odd one of the bunch. I have never read, nor do I own it.  It is also for levels 1-4 as opposed to the 4 or 5 to 7 of all the other adventures.

C4 To Find a King and C5 The Bane of Llewellyn
These two modules are linked.  I never played these versions, but my DM was able to get ahold the RPGA versions that were played at Gen Con in 1983, so we were going to go through those, but other things came up.  I never bought them and I don't think I have ever read them either.

Not sure if I'll ever run those last three, but I should pick them up sometime.

C6 The Official RPGA Tournament Handbook is not really an adventure, but a handbook scoring.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Recycled Adventures

So it is well known that I love the old D&D adventures from the early 80's.  I think they are well done and a lot of fun to play.  I have been playing them with my kids but I have not been able to fit in all the ones I have wanted into our 3.x game.

But I have lots of games.

So here are some of the recycled adventures I have done using other systems and the classic adventures.

Ash vs The Keep on the Borderlands
System: Army of Darkness and Dungeons & Zombies
Module: B2 Keep on the Borderlands

The character get sent back in time to the Keep and need to clean out the Caves of Chaos with a shotgun.

I designed this as a way to play-test Dungeons & Zombies under the Cinematic Unisystem Rules.

Never got to play it all, but the bits I did were a blast.  Characters I created for the game were Xena and Gabrielle (seemed appropriate) and used a version of Indiana Jones I found online.

One day I should run this at a convention.  I think it will be a blast.

The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois
Systems: Doctor Who and Angel.
Module: C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness

From the intro:
"No one has ever asked why there is a lighthouse between Palatine and Inverness, Illinois.  The closest large body of water is Lake Michigan, over 20 miles away. But it has always been there, quiet.


Till the day the Time Beacon went crazy."


The Ghost Tower of Inverness, IL was an adventure that I had converted for my playtest of Doctor Who.  Outside my town there is a water tower that is painted like a light house.  I thought it would be cool if it were a real lighthouse, but not for ships at sea, but ships in the time stream.  On top was a beacon to warn passer-bys "warning, primitive culture ahead!" Well one day the time beacon goes nuts and start pulling in people from out of their times (an excuse to convert a bunch of Unisystem characters from Ghosts and Angel).  The characters have to go through the tower and shut down the beacon.  Each level of the tower is a different time stream, so I had dinos, Victorian, post-apocalyptic and all sorts of terrible things.  At the top was the control center and the time beacon.  So I converted the original Ghost Tower module and replace the Soul Gem with the Time Beacon.  Part Doctor Who, part Angel, part Ghosts of Albion, part D&D and a dash of Primeval and Torchwood.  It was going to be the first adventure in a new campaign, but I never got it going.  Too bad really.

Ghosts of Albion: Ravenloft
System: Ghosts of Albion
Module: I6 Ravenloft

Ravenloft might be my favorite classic module ever.  Ghosts of Albion is of course my game.  It was natural to me to bring them together.  Ravenloft has that great Gothic feel.  Ghosts of Albion deals with all sorts of magical weirdness, and while it is hard for us today to really understand this, to the Victorians the world was a wild and scary unknown.  Unknown lands were meant to be explored and conquered.  What can be more unknown than Barovia?  Who is to say it is not on the map somewhere in 1840?  Plus you might have noticed that  Ghosts of Albion movies and books all have one word titles, "Legacy", "Astray", "Witchery" and my adventures have followed suit, "Obsession", "Blight", and "Synchronicity".  So "Ghosts of Albion: Ravenloft" also works.
The idea is simple.  The characters are travelling by rail to the east.  Their train suffers some malfunction, and I start the Ravenloft adventure by the book.  I include the mists and Madame Eva and everything.  And that map of Castle Ravenloft is still one of the coolest maps ever made.  One day I'll build a 1" = 5' miniature of it for play.  That would be very awesome.
For this I have bits I am using from the Ravenloft world, WitchCraft RPG and the Expedition to Castle Ravenloft module for 3.x.

I still have more games and more adventures.  I'd like to try some other pairing in the future.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Endless Darkness: The Road So Far

This song seems appropriate here...
I have been talking online with a lot of people who are doing the same thing I am; running the Classic Modules from 1st Edition using the new D&D 5 rules.  So I thought I would post a summary and talk about where I am going next.

The Background
The characters all belong to a group known as the Order of the Platinum Dragon.  They are mostly made up of the children of the DragonSlayers (my 3.x game).  They began their adventure like so many others....or so they thought.

Here are the adventures in chronological order (links take you to the blog post where I talk about their game).

T1 Village of Hommlet (forgotten by the characters, played as a flashback)
B1 Into the Unknown
B2 Keep on the Borderlands
L1 The Secret of Bone Hill
X2 Castle Amber
I6 Ravenloft
C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness
A1-5 Slave Lords
C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
G123, G4 Against the Giants  (where we are now)

Then we do:
D12, 3 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Vault of the Drow
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits
(Q2) Queen of Lies
CM2 Death's Ride
H4 Throne of Bloodstone

The adventure began in The Inn of the Welcome Wench (T1). Here they discover the main plot of the "Cult of Chaos", but a battle with Lareth the Beautiful and Bargel left their memories wiped and two of their party missing (the Warlock Croulie and the Pyromancer Cynder).  The remaining party delved into the Castle Quasqueton (B1) and it's dungeons where they discover one of the Chaos Stones.  This leads to a vision/memory of a long ago battle.  They travel to the nearby Keep (B2) where they take on some hirelings, Uno, Duo, Tres, Quatro and their leader Cinco ("played" by Danny Treo) to investigate the Caves of Chaos.  Here they discover a temple dedicated to ancient demon god and more on the Cult of Chaos.

They then traveled to the monastery on Bone Hill (L1) and a group of missing wizards. Again there is a rumor of the Cult of Chaos, but also the involvement of several "Hyena Men".
Following the trail of the Hyena Men, the party is sucked up in a mysterious fog, here they find themselves in a strange land (actually the past) and a strange Castle (X2). More knowledge is gained about the Dawn War and for the first time they hear the phrase "Beware the Endless Darkness".  Here they meet up with the "wizard" (actually a warlock) Skylla.  They travel the mists for a while till they come upon the Villiage of Barovia and the terrifying Castle Ravenloft (I6).   They stop Strahd and his plans to blot out the sun, but not before Skylla is taken away by an army of ghosts.

They meet up with another party and tackle the famed Ghost Tower of Inverness (C2).  They recover the Soul Gem and hear the phrase "Beware the Endless Darkness" again.

Leaving the Ghost Tower they hear rumors once again of the Hyena-Men (Gnolls and Gnoles) and a slaving operation. They have long suspected, but now get confirmation that Gnolls are servants of a Demon Lord (keep in mind my players don't have the wealth of history of D&D we all do). They also find out that the slaves are all being transported elsewhere by human agents.  They discover the Cult of Chaos is also behind this operation and the Drow, long forgotten, are also involved.  
The Order manages to destroy the slaver operation and even convince an Earth Dragon and Red Dragon to reawaken the dormant volcano to destroy the island.  Before leaving the island with rescued slaves the Earth Dragon (an actual dragon) tells them to "beware the coming darkness".

Returning the slaves to the Duchy of Urnst they see the Sun go completely black.

Or maybe this is a better choice
The sun is out and there is a council of the greatest mages (ie their characters from the 3.x game) in Greyhawk.  The plan is worked out to relight Moradin's Forge.  It's light and life giving heat will keep everyone alive till the sun can be put right.  In the meantime the world is besieged by monsters and undead.   The Council of Greyhawk scrys for any remaining sun-related magic items.  Even the Sunsword from Ravenloft is out. The party is sent to a jungle (C1) because an artifact is found there that is related to the sun.    The "artifact" is the dying Mystarian Sun God (Immortal) Ixion, whom the characters knew better as "Cinco".  He and his four brothers were all gods of the sun, they were killed by vampire god Camazotz.   Cinco/Ixion gives the character his heart, Camazotz was not able to get it in time, to use to relight Moradin's Forge.

With the world now on life-support, the Council sends groups of adventures all over the world to find out what is going on.  The Order of the Platinum Dragon is sent to investigate raids made by some giants...

They know they are fighting against the clock.  Moradin's Forge is a powerful artifact that the gods used to create life, but once it is lit any one can use it. Undead are swarming all over. New monsters and monstrosities are everywhere and the Priests of the Sun gods are powerless.

Chaos, it seems, is winning.

What happens next is now up to my players and their characters.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weekend Gaming: Ghost Tower of Inverness

This past weekend an old grade-school/highschool friend was in town with his kids so we played some D&D5.  They had been over before and we had a lot of fun then.

Their character were all 5-6 level, but all of our characters were higher and in the middle of the Slave Lords series.  Originally I was going to run an adapted Temple of Elemental Evil, but in the end I opted to run something I have been wanting to run forever; C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness.

While reading through it I also decided that I was going to run it as a Tournament module, complete with scoring for individuals and team.

Well everyone had a great time.  It had been a while since I last used this module and even longer since I had thought about it for D&D.  But it was quite satisfying.

Tournament scoring is an interesting beast really.  Not sure if I will ever do it again, but I am happy to say that I have now done it.

The adventure took about 5 hours, which is what I expected.  I wasn't too strict on the time in turns elasped since all it did was change their team score.



To tie this into the larger Come Endless Darkness plot/campaign I am having the Soul Gem as one of the artifacts used to drain the sun's life force.

Should make for an interesting and fun time as we lead into the Giant series coming up!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time

Been kinda of obsessed with lists lately.  But this one does have a point for me.  A while back (2004 in fact) the Pazio run of Dungeon Magazine listed their top 30 adventures of all time.

I have been going through what I call the "Classical Canon" of D&D.  Not just so I have the experience of running them all, but so my kids can also enjoy these great adventures.  I also am looking for what makes a truly great D&D adventure; something that people still talk about years later.

Anyway here is the list with my thoughts.

30. The Ghost Tower of Inverness, 1980 (C2)
This is great one, but an odd one to run with a party in an ongoing campaign.  So I used it in my Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space playtest and ran it as "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois".  I used this as the location of the "Ghost Tower" which is actually a malfunctioning Time Beacon.

29. The Assassin’s Knot, 1983 (L2)
Personally I prefer L1, Secret of Bone Hill, but this is a great sequel and I can see why many people like it more than Bone Hill.  Assassin's Knot works well as a murder mystery, but not great if your players are wanting to go in a bust skulls.

28. The Lost City, 1982 (B4)
I played this one in 8th Grade when it was new and had a blast.  I ran it again for my kids a few years back and still had a blast.  There were so many things in it I had forgotten and I spent most of the module smiling to myself in memory.  It is a Moldvay classic really and really has the feel of early 80s Basic D&D.

27. The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, 1981 (U1)
This was one I played back in the day but I have yet to run.  I have it all ready to go with my 3rd Ed. conversion notes.  Of course at the time I thought this was great because I was deep into my Anglophilia and I thought ANYTHING from England was perfect. Given that it was written (in part) by Don Turnbull then it was bound to be good.  If I remember right I played this one after Lost City.  I loved the tenor and mood of the module. It inspired an adventure I wrote in 88 called "Home by the Sea".  Parts of that adventure were then later used in my Ghosts of Albion adventure Blight, which took place in Ireland.  So it all came full circle.

26. City of Skulls, 1993 (WGR6)
This is an odd one. I never played it, never ran it and never really heard anything about it.  This was near the end of my Ravenloft games and very, very close to the time where I took a huge break from D&D.  I will check it out sometime, but doubt if I'll ever run it.

25. Dragons of Despair, 1984 (DL1)
I never played or ran any of the Dragonlance modules.  I enjoyed the books when they came out and I liked the idea that everyone playing was going through it all at the same time.  Hey, maybe someone should revive this for the next D&D Encounters!  I loved the idea and I loved the new design of the modules, but even then it felt a little railroady to me.  Plus I wanted to use my own characters.

24. City of the Spider Queen, 2002
I am not a good judge of this one. I don't like Drizzt. I don't like R.A. Salvatore. I never really cared for the Forgotten Realms till about 4th Edition.  I don't really know anything about this module. I suspect it was added to the list because there was a dearth of "modern" adventures and most of the others were "Greyhawk" related.

23. The Forgotten Temple of Tharzidun, 1982 (WG4)
Now this adventure...This one I can get behind.  I never played this one, but I have run it twice. It's a death dealer and a peak into what might have been coming as a narrative arc if Gygax had been into such things.  This module is one of out first peeks into the horror that is Tharzidun, a god that is part Cthulhu and part Satan in my game.  I am weaving material from this module into my larger campaign.

22. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, 1982 (S4)
The same is true for this module. I remember buying it as soon as it came out and I begged my DM to run me through it.  I have run it myself twice since, the most recent time with my Dragonslayers group.  This is one of my most favorite modules. It has a vampire, Iggwilv, tons of new demons (many that later became part of the Monster Manual II) and just enough puzzles to keep the players on their toes. Running it this last time was a lot of fun.

21. Dark Tower, 1979 from Judge’s Guild (JG 0088)
While I would argue that this is an obligatory JG entry, this one is actually a lot of fun.  I never played it myself and it is so rare on eBay that it has been cost prohibative.  Thankfully we have PDFs of the Original and of the 3.5 update.

20. Scourge of the Slave Lords, 1986 (A1-4)
Another classic getting the reprint treatment.  I remember playing this one in 8th grade as well.  My DM at the time folded the Lost City into the A series to make a campaign out of them. Also he had a copy of Grimtooth's Traps which made everything deadlier. Or as he said "better".  I still have a thief stuck somewhere in a pit trap.

19. Against the Cult of the Reptile God, 1982 (N1)
I have never played or run this one.   I have though always wanted to use it as a start of a "Second" campaign,  After running the Classical Canon, I would start with a new campaign focusing on reptiles as the enemy.  Work in some modern "Reptoids" and have a go at it.  Maybe someday I will still do this.  But this is a fun adventure to read.

18. The Hidden Shrine of Tamochan, 1980 (C1)
Another great old module I never played, but read many times.  Like N1 I always hoped that I could use this one as part of a second campaign.  Though given some of the elements I would not be amiss using it in my "Come Endless Darkness" campaign.  I already have too many modules/adventures for the 5-7 level range.

17. Ruins of Undermountain, 1991
Ah. This is one that I have always known about but never really bothered with.  It was Forgotten Realms so I never gave it much thought.  Though I always thought this was more of a campaign expansion, ie part of the the whole Underdark deal so I never considered it an adventure.

16. Isle of Dread, 1980 (X1)
Oh the hours I spent pouring over this map.  This was Tom Moldvay's love letter to the pulp era and to such classic horror movies as King Kong. This also included the first full map of the Known World.  I ran it many times as a kid and it was one of the first modules I ran for my son.  He wanted to go an island of monsters, "like in Godzilla".  This did not disappoint him or me.  More so than any other adventure, the Dragonslayers were born here.

15. Castle Amber, 1981 (X2)
Another great. Again Moldvay's pulp horror influences are showing here, in particular his love for the works of Clark Ashton Smith. This time we enter an old house full of crazy characters and plenty of dangers.  This could have come off as a "fun house" dungeon, but something in the presentation is different.  Maybe it is the undertones of horror and dread.   My players in our 5e game are going through this one now. I have dropped the first hints of the "coming darkness" to them here.
This is one of my personal favorites. Certainly part of my top 5.

14. Dead Gods, 1997
Dead Gods is not an adventure I have ever run or been in, but it is one I have used quite a bit.  There are a number of elements in it that I use for my "Rise of Orcus" plot. Especially back in the 4e days and the rise of Orcus adventures.  Honestly there are enough adventures out there that you could build a universe (and edition) spanning mega campaign on nothing more than stopping the machinations of Orcus.  One day I should give that a try.

13. Dwellers of the Forbidden City, 1981 (I1)
This is a great adventure and part of my "Second Campaign" (AGGHHH too many adventures to play!) it is also at the 4th-7th level sweet spot.  This one is a key part of that idea since it introduced the Yuan-ti, a monster I have used repeatedly; often calling them Ophidians.   It has elements that would fit in nicely with my 5th edition group, but I have too many adventures for this level.

12. The Forge of Fury, 2000
So this is our obligatory 3e adventure I think.  I never played it or ran it, thought I have read it.  Personally I think The Sunless Citadel was better and should have been on this list.  It was the first and introduced a generation to Meepo.  Sure he was no Aleena, but you could also say that Aleena was no Meepo!

11. The Gates of Firestorm Peak, 1996
Ugh.  Sorry, but there is a lot about this module I just don't like.  I don't care for the shoehorn plot for starters and I hated the Skills & Powers books. Som much that it threw me off of D&D till 3e came out.  It was "Lovecraftian" and I did like that.  I suspect that is why it is on this list to be honest. Though many of the ideas in this module came into sharper focus during the 3e years.

10. Return to the Tomb of Horrors, 1998
You have to admit. This is a total cheat.  I have it, I enjoyed it and I like the idea that the Tomb is something that people can keep going back too (whatever the edition).  As a sequel there is a lot to like. As a stand alone and on it's own merits though it might be passable.

9. White Plume Mountain, 1979 (S2)
I am inordinately fond of the S series of modules.  This one is no different.  It of course makes 0 sense, but works great as an epic D&D adventure. Plus it gave us Wave, Whelm and Blackrazor.

8. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, 2001
In many ways I like this one better than the original. I like the idea of returning to the Temple I also like the idea of talking in game about adventures that came before.  Gives me a sense of continuity.   This is one of my favorite 3.x era modules to be honest.

7. The Keep on the Borderlands, 1979 (B1)
What can I honestly say about this one?  The Cave of Chaos were as well traveled as a local Mall in the 1980s.   When I think "Classic Canon" this is the first thing that comes to mind.

6. The Desert of Desolation, 1987 (I3-5)
Another total cheat this "super" module is made up of Pharoah (I3), Oasis of the White Palm (I4) and Lost Tomb of Martek (I5).   Though to be totally fair they are linked together. Another really great set of adventures I would LOVE to play or run (read them many times) but not likely to.  Maybe if I do my "Second Campaign".  There is a lot in these I have used elsewhere though.

5. Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, 1980 (S3)
"You know what AD&D needs?  Freaking laser guns! Lasers and killer robots!"  Seriously. Has there ever been a module to encapsulate everything the late 70s and early 80s was all about more than this one?  It even has a karate instructor robot.  I am going to add in a break-dancing robot that moves to a funky Herbie Hancock beat when I run this next.  Which should be soon. I am going totally gonzo with it too. I am grabbing bits of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha too.   In fact since the characters are higher level than the module requires I am doing a sort of "Return to the Barrier Peaks" spin on it. I am going to add some material from The Illithiad as well.

4. The Temple of Elemental Evil, 1985 (T1-4)
Another of the classic canon. If you didn't start your adventure in the keep, then chances are you started it here.  I have always wanted to run this one and never have.  I have used pieces of it before.
I suppose if I do my "second campaign" I will start with this and change the temple a bit.

3. Tomb of Horrors, 1978 (S1)
We just finished this one and it was every bit the meat grinder it was rumored to be.  I had gone through back in the day, but running it was a completely different experience.  Now I might be branded as a heretic here but it is not really that good of an adventure.  Really it isn't. There are lot things in the adventure that don't make sense except in a D&D world.  That being said it is a rite of passage and everyone should try it at least once under their favorite edition or at least once under 1st ed as Gary intended it to be.

2. Ravenloft, 1983 (I6)
Here we go. This is my favorite module on the list. I just love it; warts and all.  Yeah there are some real leaps in logic in this one and there are plenty of reasons NOT to like it, but I don't care. I think it is great. It's a Hammer Horror film in D&D form right down to the small "Hammer Hamlet" village with terrified peasants.  There are vampires, gypsies, werewolves, really strong zombies, gargoyles. Even a huge pipe organ played by the vampire.  You can almost hear Toccata and Fugue in D minor while running it. I have played through this once and I have ran it three or four times.  I would love to try it sometime under the Ghosts of Albion rules.  I am going to take my 5e group through it when they complete Castle Amber.

1. Queen of Spiders, 1986 (G1-3, D1-3, Q1)
The first AD&D campaign arc.  We talk alot about being "plot free" in our adventures but when it get right down to it we love a good story arc and the GDQ was that.  I am not 100% sure that Q1 lived up the promise of the G and D series, but damn was it fun.
This super module was made up of:


Back in the day EVERYONE was going through this. It was the D&D Encounters of it's time.  The only problem was no one was doing it at exactly the same time or way.  So I know dozens of stories about how these turned out. I have dozens of my own.  Plus that Bill Willingham cover of the Giants is one of the most iconic covers of the age I think.

There you are. The 30 greatest adventures as ranked by Dungeon Magazine.
Do you agree or disagree?  What is missing?

Here are my honorable mentions.

In Search of the Unknown, 1978 (B1)
Every adventure starts somewhere. Mine usually start here.  This is my go to module for a quick a easy sandbox style dungeon crawl.  I have run it half a dozen times or more with new groups and it is always a thrill.

Palace of the Silver Princess, 1981 (B3)
Yes it is a rather silly adventure, but I really enjoy it.  Plus the backstory on it makes it a lot more fun.

Palace of the Vampire Queen, 1976 from WeeWarriors (V2)
The first ever published adventure or "DM's Kit" as it was called then.  What it lacks detail it makes up for in style.  I have ran this one twice now under various systems.  It works with everything to be honest; it is that sandboxy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Primeval RPG

Primeval is the latest game from the fine folks at Cubicle 7, the same that gave us the excellent Doctor Who RPG.


There is an absolute ton to like about this game.  First, things first, yes. It is the same system as C7's fantastic Doctor Who game.  That end and of itself is enough to merit it a good review.  The system is simple and gets out of the way to allow you to just play the game they way you like.  Secondly let's talk about the art and layout.  Plenty of stills from the series, but the layout is still top notch and the text is easy to read.

So what is Primeval? Well if you have not watched the series in England (or on BBC America here State-side) then you are missing out on some fun.  Basic premise: Anomalies in Time are opening up allowing all sorts of creatures from the past and the future to walk through, whether it is a Dodo or gigangantic Giga-Rex. The team at the Anomaly Research Center have to deal with it.  Which means of course now YOU have to deal with it.  Of course maybe your cast is not with the ARC, instead you could be independent.  Frankly I can't wait to run a game with an investigate news team seeking out anomalies to get them on the news or net.

Like many games, you have basic Attributes.  In this case six of them that are ranked 1 to 6.  These are all point buys, so choose wisely. You also have skills, whit general skills and areas of expertise.  You could be great with Technology, but your specialty is Computer Hacking or Surveillance Systems.  These are also ranked 1 to 6.

The basic rule is Attribute + Skill + 2d6 vs. some Target number.   Simple as it can get really.

You also have various Good and Bad traits that can be bought.  Sometimes these add to your roll, but could subtract from others. These help define who you are.

You character is then topped off with Story Points, which can be used in play.

After all the character creation rules we get a nice bit on Group Creation where you can also buy some Group Traits.

This is followed by the official cast stats including the human adversaries.  We also get some tips on playing ARC-related games.  This is followed by something completely different and we given tips on how to play a "Dinosaur Hunter" style game.  So two campaign models for the price of one.

We get into the basic rules section, including combat and chases.   You spend a lot of time running away from things in Primeval.  There is a nice overview of gadgets and equipment.

Next up descriptions of the various epochs of time.
And the Monsters.  The Monsters of course are the real treat of this book.  Plenty of examples are given and advice on how to create your own beastie from the past, or future.

A Gamemastering section is included on how to run the games. Followed by chapters on Adventures and Conspiracies.

A look into the Future is up next.  Primeval tends to focus mostly on Dinos, I think because Dinosaurs are cool.  But the creatures from the future are also very interesting.

Primeval is a fantastic game that should give a creative GM many, many sessions of adventure.  While there is certain emphasis on dinos coming in from the anomalies, there is no reason to limit it to that.  What about Neanderthals? or worse a victim of the Black Plague wanders into modern London?  The possibilities are endless really.

Now of course I have to mention that the game is compatible with Doctor Who.  It opens up an exponentially growing amount of stories when the two games are combined.  The game becomes worth it for the dinos alone for Doctor Who, or the creatures in Who for Primeval.  Honestly there is no way to go wrong here.

Interestingly enough my original playtest for Doctor Who was called "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois".  The premise was that there was a Time Beacon in Inverness, IL (which is next door to my town) that malfunctioned and pulled in characters from all over time.  They had to get into the Tower (which looked like a Light House) and fix it.
That playtest would have worked just as well for Primeval.  In fact I might even run it again one day.

If you are a fan of the Doctor Who then get this.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Updated Plans

Not much to this post, I am looking over the Big PlanTM I have for my Kids' D&D games.

I detailed my plan first here and then updated it here.  Since then I have played some of the adventures listed, just not in the order I had them.

Of the plan I have completed:
  • B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
  • X1 The Ilse of Dread
  • S2 White Plume Mountain
Removed from rotation are (and detailed here):
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness.  I am going to be running this under the Doctor Who RPG as "The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Illinois"  (the castle, the Ghost Tower)
  • B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  Been done a 1000 times.  I want to run it under Army of Darkness rules.
  • I6 Ravenloft. Will run this as Ghosts of Albion: Ravenloft for Ghosts of Albion.
Games I'll run under my Basic Levels plan:
  • T1 Village of Hommlet (and come back to it later using the 4th ed version)
  • B1 In Search of the Unknown (great dungeon crawl)
  • L1 Secret of Bone Hill (been wanting to run this one forever)
Then on to some D&D4 adventures.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tournament Scoring Sheet

If anyone wants a copy of my DM's Tournament log sheet I have it up on Google Drive.
It's not much different than what is in C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness.

Link to DM Scoring Sheet





Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Doctor Who: Night of the Doctor

In case you have been sleeping this came out today.


I think it is great that Paul McGann is getting his due screen-time.  And long time readers here know of my enjoyment of the Sisterhood of Karn.

Cubicle 7 also plans to release a hardcover of their Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space.
http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/doctor-who-aitas-limited-edition-anniversary-edition-cover/

I think I am going to celebrate a little and run some Doctor Who this weekend instead of the AD&D 1st ed game we planned.  Though I think I might run Ghost Tower of Inverness, IL.
Should be great.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Running the Classics

I don't consider myself to be one of those GMs/Players with "Gammer ADHD".  I like to make a plan and stick with it.  My BIG PLAN for some time now has been to run my kids through all the classic D&D modules in some form or another.

I have detailed my attempts here and here. Since that time we have gotten new reprints from WotC and the DNDClassics PDF store opened up.  My kids also dropped 4e in favor of 1st Ed Ad&D.

So I have an embarrassment of riches here.  I have the systems, I have the modules and I even have the willing players.  What I lack is time to do it all.

I guess the only thing for it is to make the time. That and stop buying games.

In my kid's 3.x game we are going to do the Tomb of Horror and I'll talk about that one later.
In their 1st ed game they are still investigating the Caves of Chaos.  After that that we are doing T1 and L1 before moving on to the A series, to eventually do the GDQ series.  I'll work other classics in there where they fit.

Here is my plan so far.

  • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3 (played at Gen Con 2012)
  • B2 Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3
  • T1 Village of Hommlet, Intro-levels
  • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
  • A0 to A4, levels 4-7
  • A5, The Last Slave Lord, levels 5-9
  • G123, levels 8-12
  • D12, levels 9-14
  • D3, levels 10-14
  • Q1, levels 10-14

The trouble is that living in a post-Drow world the impact of GDQ is just not the same unless I make them very different.
Also while Queen of the Demon web pits is fun, it lacks the final confrontation that I would like to do with a "big bad".  Plus I'd like to go to 20th level.

I could scale everything up a little and stick I1, Dwellers of the Forbidden City in there before the A series.
Other candidates are X2 (I already took them through X1), C1 and C2.

That would round out the classics really.  Here is how they stack;

  • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (after L1)
  • I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7 (after A but before G)
  • C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, levels 5-7 (after A but before G)
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7 (after A but before G)

Not to bad really.
It's not too difficult to turn the GDQ series up anyway, but are the drow and Lolth interesting enough?
Since this is the "NextGen" game after my 3.x one maybe Lolth is taking some revenge for her ally Tiamat, or moving into the recently vacated "most evil goddess" role.

While I don't need it a huge Lolth figure would be nice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Kids are Awesome!

With the new reprints of 1st Ed AD&D now out my kids want our next game to be a 1st Edition one!

How freaking cool is that?

We have done just about everything we have set out to do in 3rd Ed and our 4th Ed game is still moving right along.

So what should we do then for 1st Ed?
I know I am going to throw in some house rules.

  • 1st level HP will be equal to Con scores for all characters and NPCs include 0-level humans.
  • I will be using bards, I am just not sure which one yet.
  • Double damage on a natural 20.
  • Will use strict multi-class and dual-class rules.
  • If it is written down somewhere and it works with AD&D1, 2 or Basic D&D then it will be considered for this game.

I know I am going to use ideas from ALL the retro-clones where appropriate.  So it will be less of a 1st Ed game in rules, but certainly one in terms of tone and spirit.

Here are the adventures I want to use.  Again, I like sticking with these old school modules.

T1 Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2 (IF I don't use it in the D&D4 game)
B1 Into the Unknown, levels 1-3 (my go to starting module)
B2 Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3 (how can I NOT do this?)

L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (love this freaky module, though it sticks out as the only Non-Greyhawk one)
A1-4 Slave Lords, levels 4-7
C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12
G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12 (I also have the Stone Giant one from Dragonsfoot)
D12,3 Against the Drow, levels 8,9-14
Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, 10-14
S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14 (IF I don't use it in the D&D4 game, it is an AD&D classic)
CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. (Again, unless I use it in my current 3.x game which the boys want me to do)

AND if their 4.e group does not get to the end, then I could use the Bloodstone H series too.  But that is getting WAY ahead of myself.

If you look over my previous plans here and here, you see I am sticking with the modules. 
I am running the HPE Orcus ones for 4e, and used many of the other classics in my 3.x games.

So far the boys have gone through B3, B4, S2, S4, WG4, I1, and X1 for 3.x (and a bunch I made up when they were younger like "Cave of the Rainbow Dragon" and "The Stinky Cave"), and H1 Keep on the Shadowfell for 4e.  So they are getting, as my youngest put it this morning, a full Dungeons & Dragons education.

Again.  This is going to be a lot of fun!  I am not expecting this one to start anytime soon, I still have a 3.x game to finish with them. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quintessential D&D (Half-baked ideas), Part 2

So building off of my "Half-Baked Adventure" and my sorta-update here is a plan.

Here is what I have at the moment.

Basic:  B1 In Search of the Unknown
AD&D 1st Ed: C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness
AD&D 2nd Ed: RM4 House of Strahd. Total cheat I know, but I'd run it as if it were in Ravenloft.
D&D 3rd Ed: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk
D&D 4th Ed: The updated Tomb of Horrors

So some remakes and updates.  But all with classic roots.
Now to buy a copy of Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.


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!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Have a Plan…

It's not a great plan, or even a well thought out one, but it is a plan. I am going to be taking my two sons (and now it seems, my wife) on a massive 4th Edition D&D campaign. Yes I know this will take years, but that is fine, I have those years. I am going to place it in my "Mystoerth" world.

Given my penchant for all things horror I am going to set up the campaign to focus on the ascent of Orcus to godhood. Orcus is a great enemy to have. He is unrepentant evil, his minions are undead and he is full of rage, horror and violence and everything a good upstanding hero would want to stop.

I'd use some of the "new" mythology of Orcus and Raven Queen, plus a bit of my own. But not all would be railroaded plot driven arcs. My oldest son loves to fight dragons so that would also be there. Plus I want to make this very, very relaxed. The unfolding meta-plot is my extra enjoyment, but I want to do it in such a way that we all have fun.

I am going to place it in my world's version of Glantri. Glantri is from Mystara and in that world was a Principality, now I have at as Theocratic Monarchy where the King is also the head of the Church of State. So basically, Fairy Tale England, or more to the point Fairy Tale Western Europe, since I also have influences of France and Italy here. The Princes are gone, defeated in a coup, but their lands remain ruled by nine dukes under the King. The Dukes are mostly the old family of the Princes, looking for a chance to reclaim power. So I have political intrigue if I want it, but I am going to be keeping my good and evil mostly easy to spot, at least in the beginning. The Dukes allow me to use older Glantri material, I just swap out the terms. Under the Dukes are various landed nobles, typically retired adventures, known as Barons and Counts. My thinking here is to give my boys all the full D&D experiences; so there are knights and dames, courts of intrigue and chivalry, and the way for brave adventurers to return home as heroes. Sure it is not "grim-dark" or even "points of light", but it can be part of the "on coming darkness".

My world has a Blackmoor, a Desert, a Hyborea, not mention Greyhawk, Glantri and Kara-Tur all in one world. So, more than enough to keep me and my family busy for years to come really. Though there are only four of us, I might have to bring in some others, maybe some of their friends as well. This is one of the main reasons I am going with 4th Edition as opposed to say an older version (the D&D Rules Cyclopedia would be so awesome for this) or another game (like Ghosts of Albion). I am more likely to find others that play 4E than some other game AND it just makes the most sense really given all the tools for 4E out now.

Here is the "Hero Tier" to borrow a phrase. These will be local and be the Mystara flavor of the epic.
  • T1 The Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2. I do have the 4th Edition update for this.
  • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3 (can run this one in my sleep)
  • B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3
  • B3 Palace of the Silver Princess, levels 1-3 (using bits from both the "Green" and "Orange" versions).
  • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
  • X1 The Ilse of Dread, levels 3-7
  • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 (place it in the Shadowfell, which is the new Ravenloft anyway)
  • C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness, levels 5-7. Though I won't run it as a tournament module and that is if I don't use it as a converted Doctor Who adventure.
  • I6 Ravenloft, levels 5-7. That is if I don't use it as a convert Ghosts of Albion adventure. Use some of the Ravenloft campaign/world setting stuff here too.
  • S2 White Plume Mountain, levels 5-10
  • I10 Ravenloft II, House on Gryphon Hill, levels 8-10 (maybe. They might be burned out on undead by this time.)


Now begins the "Paragon Tier" and I will start with the Gygaxian canon.
  • S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (with some of the info from the 3.5 update), levels 6-10
  • WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, levels 5-10
  • S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14 (though some of the instant kill traps changed, more skill challenges)
  • S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12
  • G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12
  • D12 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, levels 9-14
  • D3 Vault of the Drow, levels 10-14
  • Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, levels 10-14
  • CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. This sets up the next tier, or I could even make this the start of the next tier and keep the Epic levels nothing but Gygaxian Greyhawk. I like that idea.

I can also fit Gary's "Dungeon Land" and "The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror" adventures here as well to complete the Gygaxian saga. But I need to re-read those to be sure.

Now here would also be a good spot for the DA series Blackmoor adventures for made for the Expert D&D set, but there is a lot of high tech stuff mixed in with those. I might pick and choose things, but I think I am more likely to go with the newer d20 Blackmoor stuff.

The "Epic Tier" is harder, but here some ideas.
Some of the Master level modules (M2, M3 and M5 in particular) look like they would work well. Plus they have the Mystara high fantasy feel that some of the Greyhawk modules don't have.
Of course I would do the Bloodstone series here, just make them harder, maybe even pair them up with the Orcus related adventures for 4e (the new "E" series), though old H4 and new E3 cover a lot of the same ground. I would want to add some other planes adventures here too. So to follow my rule of thumb I should try to find at least 6 more adventures for this tier.
  • H1 Bloodstone Pass, levels 15+
  • H2 The Mines of Bloodstone, levels 16-18
  • H3 The Bloodstone Wars, levels 17-20
  • H4 The Throne of Bloodstone, levels 18-100

I could also do a sub-campaign in my desert area using:
  • B4 The Lost City, levels 1-3 (though I am using this one now in 3.5)
  • I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
  • I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
  • I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
  • X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
  • X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
  • I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10. Useful for the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar.

Now granted these levels are all for AD&D and Basic D&D and might not translate well into 4E. But I have a lot of tools at my disposal to help with that. I have a load of maps, a DDI subscription, monsters and even some third party stuff to make it all work. If I plan everything out correctly I can have them go up a level at the end of every adventure. I like that too. Also I can set up a titanic army of the undead using all the previous "bosses" from these adventures. So Strahd, Drenzula, Korbundar, Acerak, and more I know I am forgetting. Plus some GM PCs I'd love to try out that I know I'll never get to play in a 4th Ed game.

To borrow a Klingon quote, "It will be glorious!"
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