BITD (back in the day)
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:34 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
I kinda wonder how Monte Cook could create an uber-campaign as his Malhavoc  magnum opus...and then name it "Ptolus."

Sounds very much like a cartoon character spitting out seeds, or an itchy foot rash.  "Ah, damn.  I've got Ptolus under my toenails!"

Mark  8)


*laugh*

The trick is, the "P" is silent. Although one of the guys in my group keeps pronouncing it Puh-TOLus. I assume it's for humor, but I'm never sure.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:35 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:Yes, he Ptolus it would be his final gaming product.


bbddrm tssh!

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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:48 am 
 

Howdy Mike,


Badmike wrote:After much pleading I finally let the players read the description ofthe Drow in the back of G3 after they had finished it and were heading to D1....I regretted it, should have made them sweat it out not knowing!!!


Never let them know the secrets! EVER! (I am always tempted myself but I have made it my mantra to never divulge even after the module is over. I always regret it if I do.)


Futures Bright,

Paul


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:01 am 
 

Howdy All,


Speaking of the good 'ol days, I just had one last Monday :)

We are playing AD&D (1e) with 8 players and are currently in the Depths (D1 monocolor) in the Warrens and Caverns of the Troglodytes. The party just ran into the lich and things got ugly fast.

I have written up the whole battle here (3rd post down):

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 1&start=30


Futures Bright,

Paul


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:56 am 
 

El Diablo Robotico wrote:
*laugh*

The trick is, the "P" is silent. Although one of the guys in my group keeps pronouncing it Puh-TOLus. I assume it's for humor, but I'm never sure.


Oh!  Yeah!  I see now...the "P" is silent.

That explains everything. :lol:

Always need a good silent "P" to spice up a name like "Tolus."  I mean, without the "P" it just wouldn't make any sense, would it?  Of course!  It's so obvious now.   :lol:

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:41 am 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:Howdy All,


Speaking of the good 'ol days, I just had one last Monday :)

We are playing AD&D (1e) with 8 players and are currently in the Depths (D1 monocolor) in the Warrens and Caverns of the Troglodytes. The party just ran into the lich and things got ugly fast.

I have written up the whole battle here (3rd post down):

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 1&start=30


Futures Bright,

Paul


WOW, what a battle!!  You and your group will talk about it for years!!


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:11 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:I have one player in my current group who routinely uses a cheater dice.

She has a d6 that is all 5's.

The thing is, she doesn't know that everyone else at the game knows she is using the cheater dice.

The lady in question usually runs some version of a sorcerer and uses the d6 to roll spell damage...sometimes rolling it twice when she doesn't have "enough dice" to make up an entire 10d6 explosion.

It has become an inside joke to the rest of us...and we chuckle to each other when she does it.

We all figure...this is a game and it is supposed to be fun.  If it isn't wrecking anyone else's fun and she's having fun, then why make an issue of it?

A couple of new players recently reported the infraction to the rest of us while the lady was away from the table.  They were surprised when we all just laughed.


That's pretty funny.  Kudos to you guys for not embarrassing her in front of everyone.  Anyway, I think the better cheat dice are the ones that don't have any ones on them (they have another 6 instead!).

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:22 am 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:Howdy Mike,




Never let them know the secrets! EVER! (I am always tempted myself but I have made it my mantra to never divulge even after the module is over. I always regret it if I do.)


Futures Bright,

Paul


I was far more likely to do something like this than today.  But I still routinely provide players with short written histories of the areas they are adventuring in. I think it's more fun to do that and treat it as knowledge they have picked up, rather than roleplaying a lot of conversations in taverns and temples.  Plus they have something to refer back to if an incident sparks a memory of something they might have read earlier.  I find that generally I remember a lot more than my players ever do....most of the time they don't even remember how a beloved character died when I can tell them the entire last battle said character participated in.
  I think BITD I did it more as a vehicle to spark interest.  We always had a small group, maybe 5 players at the most at any one time, and I was always fearful we would lose one or more if I didn't keep their interest up.  So from time to time I would drop hints or clues out of game to the guys if I thought their interest might be waning or drifting.  This would involve stuff like in the example I gave, where I would let them in on a creature or character they ran into, to peak their interest. Or I might mention that the next adventure would be in the desert, or on a glacier, to get them thinking ahead about what kind of items/equipment/spells they would need.  It seemed to work really well with the guys I gamed with.

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Post Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:33 pm 
 

It is my experience that the DM almost always has a better memory of events than the players.

The DM has far more perspective, and players are more focused on their own characters...sort of like reading Lakota accounts of the Little Bighorn...they have a different sense of time, direction and context.

The DM *pats self on back-but really believes that he is saying* also has a lot more training in impartial thinking....since he likes and identifies with the player characters but plays the roles and perspectives of the opposition.

In my experience, the ability of D&D players to forget rules that don't favor them, misinterpret rules in their own favor and forget the factors and contexts in previous rulings is quite astonishing.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:47 am 
 

One of the interesting aspects of adventuring BITD was if you used a lot of pregen modules, like I did.  I did about 80% pregen and about 20% original, although I reworked a lot of the standards more to my style.  As you can guess with that much pregen I pretty much ran every published TSR dungeon module from the beginning up to T1-4...after that there were much more originals and less pregen, and I was starting to develop what I would consider my own style and adventuring campaign world.
   Part of the problem was time...going to college and working full time, then drinking and partying with what was left, there was little spare dungeon developing time.  Much easier just to buy the latest TSR creation and then change it up a bit and run the party through.  Dragon magazine at the time was also a big help, they had several classic adventures in the Contest series that ran throughout the years.  
    Anyway, the result of this was that my group ran through pretty much every published AD&D and D&D module, and most other groups we knew did the same.  Very seldomly a Judge's Guild product or maybe a generic type adventure (like The Companions) would make it through, but mostly everyone went through A1-4, G1-3, D1-3, T1, U1-3, C1-3, I1-6, L1-2, N1-2, S1-4, WG4-5, X1-5, B1-5, UK2-3, and the Dragon magazine adventures Citadel by the Sea, Can Seaport Be Saved, Ruins of Andril, Forest of Doom, Barnacus City of Peril; and perhaps Tegel Manor, Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower (although due to low distribution of JG around the Texas area, I never saw any of these but Tegel Manor until later in the 80s).  Now, it's interesting to note two things:  One, the above adventures became a SHARED EXPERIENCE  and REFERENCE POINT when discussing D&D, characters, and adventures with anyone you met at a con, college gaming area, or just bumped into at the module rack at the local game store; and two, although I just named all the adventures above from memory I looked up the dates and without exception the last publication dates are in 1983-84, which could be construed to mean the years 1978-1983/84 should be considered the "Golden" years of AD&D adventuring.
BITD, gaming Conversations would go like this:
"Hey, your group gone through S3 yet?"
"Yeh, they ended up with a blaster rifle and a laser pistol but used up all the charges in Tomb ofthe Lizard King"
"Well, my group kept Blackrazor from S2 and proceeded to wipe out all the giants in G1 before I finally slapped some negative undead on them from Bone Hill, that finished off using the sword."
"yeh my group tried to keep Blackrazor too but I had it destroyed in the temple below in WG4 where Tharizdun slept"
"Cool, great idea, I should have done that!"
   BITD everyone would know EXACTLY what you meant when discussing any monster, treasure of specific hard-ass room from one of the modules mentioned above.  Everyone had someone from their group with their soul sucked out in S1.  EVeryone had a party member with the Giant Slaying Sword from G1. Everyone had fought Lareth the Beautiful in Hommlet. Everyone had tried to steal Blackrazor; Everyone had found the village of Orlane in N1 way too weird and had fought through to the Naga, etc etc.  Rather than make the game seem boring or the same it added to our enjoyment, especiallyif your group was able to accomplish something no other group did...when I was DMing that was getting from G1 all the way through Q1, which was considered quite the feather in the cap; or for players it might have been something like killing off Strahd, or mapping out the entire Isle of Dread, or takingover the Keep on the Borderlands by the end of the adventure and turning it into your own fortress.  Regardles, this COMMON POINT OF REFERENCE for the "Golden age" generation of D&Ders was a very good gauge of almost everying about you as a gamer and/or a DM.  If your group didn't finish most of these because they were getting their ass kicked and you ran away, or everyone died at the end of S1 or D3, you lost a lot of cred from your peers. If as a DM you couldn't get anyone to finish S4 or WG5 because the groups lost interest you likewise lost some gaming chops.  It said a lot about your group, or your abilities as a DM, how you handled these adventures.  Being a common reference point, you could measure performance based on what was accomplished.  Take S1 for instance: Did your entire group get wiped out in the first hallway (I knew those that did).  What a bunch of moronic losers.  Did you get fooled by the fake lich and think the dungeon was finished then? Even dumber than the guys killed in the first hallway. Did you all fall asleep and get crushed by the juggernaut later in the dungeon? Better, but still didn't close the deal.  Did you make it to the Demilich lair and got your souls sucked out?  Hey, at least you reached the finish line.  Did you actually destroy the lich?  Wow, so you cheated eh?  You expect me to believe your party just "happened" to be packing Holy Word, Forget and Shatter spells?  
    Every module mentioned had its scale, kind of like a built in 1-10 ranking based on how you did, how far you went, who you killed, and what you managed to get for treasure.  For a DM, it was how many players you killed and how you did it (style points helped).   I ALWAYS got kudos for wiping out the entire party at the end of A3 (so they could all be raised in time for the beginning of A4) since most DM's I knew either got the slave lords killed or had to rely on very artificial means to get the party captured at the end ("Everyone falls over to, uh, a previously undetectable sleep gas you get no save for")
 The point is, anyone mentioning the Giants in a group of gamers, say, in 1981 would get nods as EVERYONE knew EXACTLY what you were talking about, and EVERYONE had a different story about the same events (running into the drow seems to be a common touchstone here).  Now, the point of this ramble is that after the Golden Age, what sorts of commonality of discussion was there in this regard?  The only touchstones I can think of are, perhaps, the Dragonlance series (for those few who actually completed it) or Undermountain.  For 3rd edition? Therein lies the rub.
    Due to the plethora of material released at the adventure of D20/3rd edition, is there even a concept similar to the above?  Maybe the first "offical" WOTC set of modules? (Sunless Citadel, Forge of Fury, Nightfang spire, etc) Largest Dungeon in the World? (has anyone actually finished this?) Ptolus?  Goodman Games Dungeon Crawls? I would submit there is NO similar type of gaming experience for anyone gaming 3rd edition, due both to the amount of gaming material available and the ability to have such diverse groups that you could easily run one of the recent adventures with two totally different parties and experience no overlap.
  I guess this is one of the experiences  that the BITD guys find lacking in today's gaming and one of the reasons the "new" guys are viewed suspiciously.  How to rank these guys?  We don't know if going through Rappan Athuk is good, bad, indifferent, whatever.  Finishing the Freeport trilogy means nothing.  Both generations have no common frame of reference to bridge this gap either.
 Well, enough of the old fogey rant.  What do you think?

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:52 am 
 

 I guess this is one of the experiences  that the BITD guys find lacking in today's gaming and one of the reasons the "new" guys are viewed suspiciously.  How to rank these guys?  We don't know if going through Rappan Athuk is good, bad, indifferent, whatever.  Finishing the Freeport trilogy means nothing.  Both generations have no common frame of reference to bridge this gap either.
Well, enough of the old fogey rant.  What do you think?


It was this sort of thing that convinced me that every FRPG game needs to ship with a basic core campaign -- to generate a common core of experiences in play.  It is the thing that makes the Call of Cthulhu Dreamlands supplement a great book rather than just an excellent supplement -- a core of great scenarios that create a solid and in depth set of play experiences.  It is a model other games should emulate.

I've gone from wondering "who would buy those?" to "ok" to "a core set of scenarios is really an essential for a game base" in my thinking over the last thirty-five or so years.

And I have talking to Paul S. to thank for that.  It is his well articulated comments (part of a group of thoughts he had), that convinced me.


Regards,



Stephen

  

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:15 am 
 

There is less continuity and common experience in 3.5, that is for sure.

Did anyone else here really hate some of the classic TSR modules?

I found most of them too unworkable or too weak or just plain too silly for my campaigns.

The T series, for instance...1 was useable with modifications, but 2-4 sucked IMHO.

Also, last night one of my players tried to lecture me on how much total weath his character "should have," based on a chart in the 3.5 DM guide.

Those who criticize the 3.5 game as too player-oriented have a point.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:16 pm 
 

T1-4 was probably one of the best series produced, excluding GDQ.
As a DM, I have never been one to strip characters of wealth. If they attack a red dragon with level 5 characters and somehow kill it and gain it's hoard, kudos to them. I refuse to have a thief come along and mysteriously bypass all traps and security and make off with all of their goods. There is nothing wrong with having rich characters at low levels, if they earned it.
Nor have I been much of a "killer DM". I may have the party encounter 5 trolls at level 3, but there is ALWAYS an out in situations like this, unless the characters have been insanely stupid. It is no different than it would be in a real situation; level 10 characters may meet 5 kobolds, or 5 storm giants. My players are addicted to realism now, which works out fantastically.
Partly out of disgust with 3E, and partly for more realism, I developed my own game system. Easy enough to convert any other system to it on the fly. But if I had to pick a standard game system, it would probably be Rolemaster.


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:17 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:There is less continuity and common experience in 3.5, that is for sure.

Did anyone else here really hate some of the classic TSR modules?

I found most of them too unworkable or too weak or just plain too silly for my campaigns.

The T series, for instance...1 was useable with modifications, but 2-4 sucked IMHO.

Also, last night one of my players tried to lecture me on how much total weath his character "should have," based on a chart in the 3.5 DM guide.

Those who criticize the 3.5 game as too player-oriented have a point.

Mark   8)


If we are talking BITD, and referring to my "Golden Age" of 1978-1984, then the only pregen adventures I never ran for my characters were EX1-2 and UK1, all of which I disliked and would have not gone over well with my group.  The only adventures I recall my core group disliking or being indifferent about were C2 Ghost Tower (too many tricks/traps I think) and I3-I5 (I ran these pretty much as written, I think if I was to run them now they would be quite a bit better received because I would change them up quite a bit).  Looking back on the A-series, that would go over horrible now if I had to run it because I would find it hard to railroad the characters without scores of complaints (I had no problem hammering a plot handcuff on those guys back in the day).  
  Eveyrthing else I ran was pretty well received, luckily there seemed to be a minimum standard of quality in most of TSRs modules during that period.

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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 3:44 pm 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:But if I had to pick a standard game system, it would probably be Rolemaster.


Far and away the most exciting combat system of any rpg - by a mile.  A completely different experience to D&D.  Shame about the magic system - but you can always tinker with it...  :)


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:07 pm 
 

I'm a huge fan of the RM combat & skill systems. I've run all my campaigns since 1993 using it. It completely changes the feel of any encounter.

Recently I took our old group through G1-G2 using AD&D combat (by request). Boy would it have been more of a challenge with RM. A system where giants are real Giants and cave trolls are real cave trolls (and little green men from Mars are real little green men from Mars).


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Post Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:15 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:The T series, for instance...1 was useable with modifications, but 2-4 sucked IMHO.

Mark   8)


I ran T1 within days of its release as I had just started a new campaign. It was great. How many freaking years did we wait for the sequal? Then it sucked. That is how my group saw it, anyway.

But I have to say, we generally enjoyed most of the other TSR modules. They were always exciting, as we really had no idea what was going to show up at the local hobby store, and we waited months in between new releases. I remember buying a new modules at a convention and running it the next day...We would actually pack up all our current campaign stuff and bring it to Gencon, Origins, etc. and then play a new module. Great fun...

I bought every module as they came out back in the day. Wasn't too hard or expensive back then. Most, if not all, made there way into my campaigns.


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

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Post Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:31 pm 
 

To all of you --MShipley88, bad mike, etc.--you all may have hit on something, and it's a point I had not  thought of.  The fact that most of us (?) here started in some way with the first-edition modules gives (most of) us a common starting point--the Greyhawk world (and later Mystara) and all of the modules that came out.  How many of us really can relate Eberron or even Dragonlance (beyond the DL1-DL16 series) to all of us?

  Most everyone here has either played, DM'ed, and/or at least read those modules.  Yes, some were weak, some stunk, and some were good to great.  But if someone said (as done in this thread) that they had played T1 The Village of Hommlet with modifications, it would be safe to say that most of us know the module, have a basis of understanding of what is being said, and would be curious to see what changes were made.  Same with the group in Portland that still uses 1e rules 25+years later; I personally would love to find out what characters are at what levels, which ones got the farthest, which character(s) have lasted the longest (in real time)--and if any of the original characters are still around, and what 1e modules (if any,changes or not) they have gone through.  Keep telling these stories about other games and even BITD. . . this has been very interesting to read over, these last posts.

Imagine what could be, if one could bring back and update, say, DA1/DA2/DA3 by 30 years . . . or the U1-2-3 series . . .
or, what would S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks be like 30 years on?  Or, all new adventures in the Greyhawk setting, similar to 1e settings?

  
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