Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Sandboxing is easier than Plotting.

I find the joy of sandboxing is that my players create the adventures with me, by deciding where to go & what to do.  Of course there needs to be some pre-created content to give them a grounding for action, but it's a lot easier to create material in response to player decisions than to create a plotted adventure from nothing. Eg currently my PCs addressed the Altanian clan moot and decided to aid them vs Neo-Nerath by embarking on a lengthy overland quest to reach the Gate Castle of the Black Sun and close the Gate that is the source of Neo-Nerath's vast Necromantic powers. They also decided on their route, from several possible. All I then have to do is detail the quest site (pretty easy when I have Dyson's Delves I & II, I soon found useable maps). Much of the overland journey is created through encounter tables with encounters rolled during play (last session a CR 17 dragon turtle attacked their ship!), in conjunction with the pre-existing set-piece locale notes.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?472691-Collaborative-adventure-creation/page2#ixzz3rjobvoUt

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Exploration and "skip to the fun"


[QUOTE=Quickleaf;6757524]I can't help but feel like sitting in on some old school style play would do you good. I'm stunned that any DM would claim "exploration = nothing to do" or "exploration is the boring stuff between encounters."[/QUOTE]

This is what James Wyatt says in the 4e DMG in his 'skip to the fun' advice.
The 5e DMG by contrast classes exploration as one of the three pillars of play.

Exploration can of course be boring - IMO combat can be boring too. Even social interation
can be boring - endless low stakes in-character negotiation with shopkeepers to buy
supplies, say. It comes down to GMing techniques such as using appropriate time-scaling for the environment. If a maze or similar area is truly empty and looks dull, even though it's fully mapped out
I'll typically say "ok, an hour later you have negotiated your way through the maze..."  - just as I'd skip buying supplies or a day of uneventful travel. There are loads of poorly written adventures where exploration is a chore; the Dungeon Crawl Classics are often quite bad that way. OTOH exploration of
well-detailed, interesting environments can evoke that elusive Sense of Wonder and be
one of the best parts of the game, and early TSR modules like In Search of the Unknown
and (orange-cover) Palace of the Silver Princess often had fascinating environments to explore.
Some modern writers create great dungeons to explore, eg Dyson Logos with his wonderful maps can key a map in a couple of pages that creates something very interesting. Others create dull series of rooms that a computer could generate. If your adventure is like the latter, then 'skip to the fun' may be good advice.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Where to get sandbox adventures

Modules I've used recently for sandboxing:

My Classic D&D Campaign
Pretty well everything from Basicfantasy.org, notably Monkey Isle, plus tons of other great adventures.
X1 Isle of Dread
B7 Horror on the Hill (much tougher than X1!)
DCC The Secret of Smugglers' Cove

My 5e campaign
Dyson's Delves I (just bought II) - the fully developed adventure sites are great, highly recommend
Caverns of Thracia - used the 3.5 version
Liberation of the Demon Slayer - a weird one
Halls of Tizun Thane & The Lichway from Best of White Dwarf Scenarios I, both by Albie Fiore.

If you want tons of great free modules for sandboxing go to https://rpgcharacters.wordpress.com/ for Dyson Logos and http://basicfantasy.org/downloads.html for the Basic Fantasy ones. For print go to Lulu.com for Dyson's Delves, go to amazon(!) for incredibly cheap at-cost printings of the Basic Fantasy works.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Classic D&D group magic items

The main 6th level Classic PCs in my group have the following items, with Bramble & Roseanne's +1 platemail armour only because they were gifted it by Duke Stefan two sessions ago as reward for a successful mission - I wanted to get their ACs up.  :)
They have mostly played TSR Basic D&D and BFRPG retro-clone adventures, which have similar amounts of magic; we are currently playing C&C adventure The Secret of Smugglers' Cove, a 3e conversion which has rather more I think. We've played weekly since March, roughly 8 months & something like 30-32 sessions. The first three PCs have been played up from 1st level; Roseanne joined more recently. I use death at -10, everyone has been 'mostly dead' at times, but no fatalities yet - though Raise Dead is available.

Bramble Hairyheals, Halfling-6: +1 platemail, +1 short bow, +1 short sword, 6 +1 arrows, 3 healing potions.

Claudia Morrigan, Thief-6: +1 leather, +2 dagger, +1 dagger, 3 healing potions, +2 ring of protection, continual light sapphire.

Alexandra Vorloi, Fighter-6: +1 sword, +2 ring of protection, +1 trident, 1 healing potion, 1 levitation potion.

Roseanne, Cleric-6: +1 platemail, +2 two-handed 'rune maul' warhammer (d8+2), 10 +1 sling bullets, 5 healing potions, scrolls: 2 cure light wounds, 1 bless, 1 raise dead.

I would not call them magic poor (eg I've been generous with healing potions), but the Classic assumption that +3 gear is more the kind of thing you start seeing around Name level differs quite a lot from my memories of AD&D play, I recall in my old AD&D games you'd be seeing +3 and +4 gear at level 6, generated by the 1e DMG treasure tables and often appearing in published 1e adventures.

Compared to AD&D, my Classic PCs average 1 hit point less per level, but I gave max hp at level 1 so that evens out. The Fighter types have slightly worse chances to hit, but most enemy ACs aren't great anyway. They don't get to attack 3 times per 2 rounds from level 7. No STR 18/00, but they typically have STR 16 for +2 attack & damage, better than AD&D STR 17 (+1/+1). Saves seem similar.