What Do You Play?
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:08 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:
I gotta say though...everyone seems to be going on about how great the older 'classic' modules like the G-series are.  Don't get me wrong, I played them many times as well, and enjoyed them thoroughly.  But I just opened one of mine up, (G2) read through it, and was surprisingly unimpressed.  I certainly remember there being a lot more to it, but maybe the experience of actually playing it in a group has a more lasting impression than what's actually written on the page.  Food for thought, anyway.


I don't think we NEEDED all the bells and whistles when the old-timers gamed 1st edition.  We just kind of added them ourselves.  Sure, G1-3 is skimpy, there is maybe a paragraph of back story, and each adventure practically begins on the doorstep of the new module with no between adventures travel, suggestions for other adventures, background, etc.  
    In contrast, I'm reading through a Green Ronin product right now, Black Sails over Freeport.  It's really a very good product, well written, lots of good artwork, and it looks like it would be a ball to play or Dm.  However, the stinking thing is 254 pages long, the backstory takes up a full four pages of large text, and I've been reading for a day and I'm up to page 28 and nothing has really happened yet that couldn't have been summarized (It's still only introducing the adventure to the characters!!!).  It's a very well written product and I'm reading it to see if it's worth the time to convert to 2nd ed after it was recommended to me.  But seriously, when we started out in the late 70's/early 80's we didn't need four pages of backstory, 44 pages (that's right, 44 pages) of character stats and NPCs, 4 pages of handouts, etc.  
Once again, very nice product...but what an incredible investment of time if you just want to run an adventure, as many of us did way back when.  I fear the cabal making 3rd edition adventures has become enamored with the "See how much I can write!!!" syndrome, shouting "Look how long my adventure is!!!" loud enough to annoy everyone.  Sometime short and simple is better, I'm really not interested in your oh-so cool villain motivation, or the villain backstory that goes into far too much detail, or the interweaving relationships between all the NPCs and the monsters, I DON'T FREAKING CARE, just give me a good map and some decent twists and I'll fill in the rest.
   Besides, I don't know about everyone, but probably 60% of the stuff in these 3rd edition adventures I just leave on the cutting room floor anyway, because it's either setting or campaign specific or concentrates on characters/feats/skills/spells/special monsters/ that I don't use anyway, and probably would never even if I DID play 3rd edition.  I like the maps, and the plotline, and maybe ideas for a few twists or characters. A good DM fills in the spots anyway.  Gygax and company realized this in the beginning, and gave us a good adventure with minimal exposition.  BTW free plug, Goodman games does this with their excellent Dungeon Crawl classics series. The ones that I have purchased truly do give you the feel of an old-time adventure....short backstory, they get right into the adventure with traditional crawls yet always with an interesting twist, nice functional maps, etc.  If any DMs out there are interested in a 3rd edition product that is very 1st edition feel, these are it, and they are quite easy to convert (I've done some up 2nd edition with no problems).  They even look like 1st edition modules on the outside AND inside!

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:14 pm 
 

There was a paradigm shift in D&D around 1982, with inklings of it earlier.  The original modules were designed as skeletons to be fleshed out.  This allowed them to be customized to the campaign.  That's why the memories are so near and dear, because each module was 50% designed and 50% the DM's own creation.  You'll see mass variations of Gygax's "This is but a framework, the DM must breathe life into the whole" throughout the early ones.

That all changed with Dragonlance and Ravenloft.  Atmosphere was king.  And if you like pre-scripted adventures, it's great.  But they're much harder to change around if you want to customize them.  In the present day, adventures run the gamut from fully scripted to barebones, depending on DM need.  I can see the advantages of both.  But given the choice, I will buy the 256-page book with 20 barebones adventures, as opposed to the 256-page book with one pre-scripted epic.
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:16 pm 
 

darkseraphim wrote:There was a paradigm shift in D&D around 1982, with inklings of it earlier.  The original modules were designed as skeletons to be fleshed out.  This allowed them to be customized to the campaign.  That's why the memories are so near and dear, because each module was 50% designed and 50% the DM's own creation.  You'll see mass variations of Gygax's "This is but a framework, the DM must breathe life into the whole" throughout the early ones.

That all changed with Dragonlance and Ravenloft.  Atmosphere was king.  And if you like pre-scripted adventures, it's great.  But they're much harder to change around if you want to customize them.  In the present day, adventures run the gamut from fully scripted to barebones, depending on DM need.  I can see the advantages of both.  But given the choice, I will buy the 256-page book with 20 barebones adventures, as opposed to the 256-page book with one pre-scripted epic.
:wink:


I agree completely, and I guess the thing that really ticks off old timers like myself is that you are PAYING MORE for the prescripted stuff that you use without all the prescripted stuff anyway.  And I'm noticing more and more that unlessyou use "X" campaign world, the adventure doesn't even work anyway.  A lot of the newer stuff is campaign specific enough to make it useless otherwise.

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:21 pm 
 

I think we remember the classics because of the fun we had, not so much the content of the module itself. The adventure - playing it - was great. Therefore, the content of the module (skimpy in the case of the G-series) was not a drawback. Yeah, they were extremely short on info, but the set the stage for epic battles. The adventure was great, to hell with the rest.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:25 pm 
 

while i enjoy several of the campaign specific modules, i don't like the campaign specific concept.  it puts too many contraints on the DM.  how can he let the players actions have any real impact in the capaign world if the next module in the series is already spelled out?  what can they do if the players take an unexpected turn and the next module makes no sense any more?  i just use the modules as a guide, but don't set the players in any specific campaign world.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:21 am 
 

Several years ago, I stumbled across Gary Gygax's web site while he was just beginning the Lejendary RPG system. He had a forum going and I posted to its general discussion page voicing my opinion of the expansive rules and about the misgivings I had regarding the huge amount of data that TSR and then WOTC puts out so often that no one with a real job or a real life could possibly keep track of it all.

Well, he wrote back, saying he agreed with me and he also added more or less the following. This is all from an old mans memory and years ago at that, so of course it is Paraphrased.

"The TSR rule books were written as a general guide to help make things easy for those who had less time to make worlds of their own and rules of there own, they were also written with the intention that each individual take what they want from them and then make up the rest. And more importantly have more time for the fun of doing so."

Of course you can read similar thoughts in the core rules books too.

  
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