Low-level modules
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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:41 am 
 

Hi, being new to The Aceum, I've had a look through for a suitable thread, but wondered if anyone can advise a few good low/starter level modules for 1st Ed AD&D.

I started many,many years ago and drifted away from the game for various reasons over the years, but have recently been keen to get going again. I have a few Dragon & Dungeon mags from years ago and wondered if anyone can help. I have no 3e stuff and all I own if from the late seventies and early/mid eighties (survival guides.......  :? )

My good lady would now like to play and as a complete novice I didn't want to put her off with anything too hard/boring/tricky.

I would appreciate any examples or a pointer to a thread on here that lists some. As a result, if anyone has copies for sale, I could be interested there too. (please PM).

Thanks guys
:)


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:52 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:Hi, being new to The Aceum, I've had a look through for a suitable thread, but wondered if anyone can advise a few good low/starter level modules for 1st Ed AD&D.

I started many,many years ago and drifted away from the game for various reasons over the years, but have recently been keen to get going again. I have a few Dragon & Dungeon mags from years ago and wondered if anyone can help. I have no 3e stuff and all I own if from the late seventies and early/mid eighties (survival guides.......  :? )

My good lady would now like to play and as a complete novice I didn't want to put her off with anything too hard/boring/tricky.

I would appreciate any examples or a pointer to a thread on here that lists some. As a result, if anyone has copies for sale, I could be interested there too. (please PM).

Thanks guys
:)


The N series of modules were designed for Novice players.  All of them are pretty decent modules but N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God and N2 The Forest Oracle are by far the better of the five.

You could also use T1 The Village of Hommlet, one of the best starter modules ever made (in most people's opinion) and continue though the rest of the T series in The Temple of Elemental Evil.

U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is my personal favorite starter module for AD&D.

Every one of these modules are relatively easy to pick up on Ebay and should run you about $10.  With the exception of T1-4 which will set you back anywhere from $25 - $75 depending on the condition and how many people want it at that time.  But you can always just pick up T1 by itself and forego the rest of the adventure.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:14 am 
 

Thanks King, appreciate the pointers!


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:24 am 
 

Yeah, T1 would be a great place to start.  Lots of fun, and fairly straightforward.


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:01 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:Hi, being new to The Aceum, I've had a look through for a suitable thread, but wondered if anyone can advise a few good low/starter level modules for 1st Ed AD&D.

I started many,many years ago and drifted away from the game for various reasons over the years, but have recently been keen to get going again. I have a few Dragon & Dungeon mags from years ago and wondered if anyone can help. I have no 3e stuff and all I own if from the late seventies and early/mid eighties (survival guides.......  :? )

My good lady would now like to play and as a complete novice I didn't want to put her off with anything too hard/boring/tricky.

I would appreciate any examples or a pointer to a thread on here that lists some. As a result, if anyone has copies for sale, I could be interested there too. (please PM).

Thanks guys
:)


B1 and B2 are good starters.  B1 especially....you just fill in the monsters/treasures and go!  Lots of fun things to explore, easy tricks/traps/puzzles to solve.  B2 has several creature lairs to clean out, as well as a small keep/town to base the starting adventurer in.  Plus, B1 and B2 are both especially formulated for low level, novice players and DMs, with hints for running adventures.

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:04 am 
 

Thanks for all the ones to look for. Is there any point of looking at 3e stuff, or are the monsters and rules too different from 1st ed?

If they aren't too different, I'd probably enjoy converting the stats to 1e anyway.


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:10 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:Thanks for all the ones to look for. Is there any point of looking at 3e stuff, or are the monsters and rules too different from 1st ed?

If they aren't too different, I'd probably enjoy converting the stats to 1e anyway.



It's pretty much a completely different game than 1st ed.  Plus, the quality level fluctuates greatly, some of the 3rd ed stuff is purely garbgage.  If you can find some of the lower level Goodman Games stuff, you will probably be ok, they have a minimum standard and they aren't attached to any certain campaign world enough to matter. Suggestions in that vein would include #0 Legends are Born, Not Made; #1 Idylls of the Rat King; #2 Vault of Tsathzar Rho; #24 Legend of the Reaper; #28 Into the Wilds; #29 The Adventure Begins, and #31 The Transmuter's Touch. You should be able to find most of these at your local game store. You could probably get the gist of the stats enough to convert them without much problem.

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:51 pm 
 

Starting with 3E is a mistake. You might as well just set up a Playstation and get her some cartridges.
If she likes action, B2 is decent and easy to run. For intrigue/interaction, definitely Saltmarsh. For both, I'd suggest L1.


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:05 pm 
 

I agree B2 is good, but too long.  I like to get people started with something relatively fast-paced and short.  Leaves them hungry for more.


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:26 pm 
 

Most of the really good 1st ed mods were already pointed out.
T1 has the best "town", though the adventure can easily kill off any first level party.

U1 is the most balanced, has the best twist.

Most B-series are great. Check out B5 Horror on the Hill. Awesome wilderness adventure with solid dungeon crawl.

But also check out the D&D Challenger Line of adventures: Quest for the Silver Sword, Assault on Raven's Ruin, Rage of the Rakasta, Knight of the Newts, In the Phantom's Wake (weakest of the bunch). And the large boxed sets are also great for new campaigns: The Haunted Tower, The Goblin's Lair or the Dragon's Den. The best thing about these adventures is that you get cardboard cut outs for all the monsters and full size miniature-ready maps.

Also, DDA3 and DDA4 are very good and often overlooked.


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

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:53 pm 
 

If your players are new and/or out of practice, I'd avoid published adventures entirely.  To play them well, you need to spend a lot of time reading them, making sure you understand the maps, etc.  I'd recommend just making up a simple task with a basic plot.  

For example:

"The captain of the town guard has requested your assistance in investigating the disappearance of local livestock.  The animals have been dragged into the sewers.  The trail of evidence ends there, as none of the guardsmen are keen to explore further."

Ok, it's bare bones, but this is meant to be played out in a single session, just long enough to (re)familiarize yourselves with the game.  Throw in a few rumors regarding what the menace might be, and go from there -- you've got a few hours of beginner roleplaying ready to go.  

If you're not good at "winging it", spend a bit more time determining a few low-level monsters that you'd like to see the party go up against.  In this case, I was thinking of giant rats, giant ants, a small band of kobolds, and a carrion crawler as the grand finale -- but to each their own.

Having whetted the party's appetite, move onto a full "module" the session after that.  I would recommend B2.

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:53 pm 
 

Oops, I meant B5, not B2. Though I suppose B2 has more action that B5.


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:26 pm 
 

Best scenario,
Setting up a town with your own private residence and dungeon:

T1- 'Village of Hommlet' for the town....
do not use the moathouse hook just yet.....

insert U1- 'Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh', north of the village (hook leads into haunted northern estate 8) )....
this will be a good start out for a low level party, get a little of experience with townspeople interaction and set it up to where the characters gain the deed to the house (now they have a base of operation :) ).....

now introduce the moathouse hook.....
at the end of the moathouse find hints to entrance to B1- 'In Search of the Unknown' within the area of the pirate cove in the U1 module
(Private dungeon area :twisted: )

With this kind of setup, you will have your town fleshed out, NPCs and all, with alot of spinoff modules to add:

U2  Danger at Dunwater
U3  Final Enemy
T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil
B2  Keep on the Borderlands
N1  Against the Cult of the Reptile God
N2  Forest Oracle
C1  Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
C2  Ghost Tower of Inverness

Adjust monster levels as needed for the above if players start gaining experience fast.

Eventually you can add in the big 7:

G1  Steading of the Hill Giant Chief   
G2  Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl
G3  Hall of the Fire Giant King (mono
D1  Descent Into the Depths  
D2  Shrine of the Kuo-Toa
D3  Vault of the Drow
Q1  Queen of the Demonweb Pits

Good two years worth of weekend gaming for relatively cheap. If your not collecting and just playing that is. I'm sure there are a few suppliers here that have "playing" copies for cheap. The only other thing you would need (If just straight 1st ed) would be the DMG, couple of PHB, MM and a few dice sets.

Thats a good $100 if you time your buys right and ,as always, try and buy as many in a lot as you can. There are frequent "Core Rule Book sets" of the 1st AD&D books on ebay all the time.

Good luck


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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:15 pm 
 

I'll always champion the 'Zenopus' adventure in the first Basic book as the perfect starting adventure (for players and DMs). It's similar to what deimos describes above - it's relatively short and takes place in catacombs under the city of Portown. It's got an evil wizard, giant critters (spider, snake, crab rats, octopus), goblins, pirates, undead, and an angry-ape-in-a-cage. There are a few simple tricks and traps. It's easy to retreat back to the surface, plus there are alternate exits (wizard's tower, sea cave). The map is small but non-linear. Also, if you want to introduce someone to mapping, you can give them a partial map of the catacombs and let them fill in the rest. It's easy for the DM to expand - just add another level down. Also, Portown can easily be converted to Saltmarsh (U1) or Restenford (L1) to hook up to other introductory modules.

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Post Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:27 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:I'll always champion the 'Zenopus' adventure in the first Basic book as the perfect starting adventure (for players and DMs). It's similar to what deimos describes above - it's relatively short and takes place in catacombs under the city of Portown. It's got an evil wizard, giant critters (spider, snake, crab rats, octopus), goblins, pirates, undead, and an angry-ape-in-a-cage. There are a few simple tricks and traps. It's easy to retreat back to the surface, plus there are alternate exits (wizard's tower, sea cave). The map is small but non-linear. Also, if you want to introduce someone to mapping, you can give them a partial map of the catacombs and let them fill in the rest. It's easy for the DM to expand - just add another level down. Also, Portown can easily be converted to Saltmarsh (U1) or Restenford (L1) to hook up to other introductory modules.


If it could be considered a module, it would have made my top 20 list. Just for the nostalgia. It was the first D&D adventure I ever played in.


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

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:27 am 
 

One thing to keep in mind is that for a long, long time most modules (even more so for the 'introductories' it seems) were made with the bizarre presumption that a party would have 6-10 players...and that about half of new PCs should expect to die.
Somehow it took them over two decades to catch on that almost nobody games in groups that big.  (When I was young, players each controlled 2 PC in the same party because of this, which naturally led to some sloppy/crappy role-playing)
If you take 3-4 1st level players or a player with a couple 1st lvl NPC friends/followers/mercs into a module like T1 or U1 as written, there's no chance they won't be totally butchered in short order.
So, if you use the classics, most will require tons of players or major adjustments.

Newer modules seem to be more reasonably balanced for novice parties.  You could always just take the plotlines and opponents and use 1st or (preferably, the best version  :wink: )  2nd ed stats with them.

Dungeon is also a great source of low-level mods (more so the mid-number ones, currently they run way too much stupid-high level stuff now), but you'd have to have a lot of them or know specific issues/adventures to look for.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:33 pm 
 

Thumbs up to everyone for their pointers here. I still have my original books, dice and guides, so will take the best from here and get a new campaign rolling.

Cheers guys
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:37 pm 
 

ashmire13 wrote:Thumbs up to everyone for their pointers here. I still have my original books, dice and guides, so will take the best from here and get a new campaign rolling.

Cheers guys
:D


if youre starting from scratch, the first few things, i would create some home-brew stuff tbh, just to give em some experience and to allow em some money and equipment and maybe just tip over to 2nd level and i would then run them on something.

U1 for me is superb at 2nd level. our group had a total blast and its a fab little nugget that you can mould any way you want. i also like the idea above or drifting things at the end B1. fab idea!!

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:51 pm 
 

You cant go wrong with Dungeon Magazine ( Early Isuues ) They had alot of high quality Low level adventures.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:25 pm 
 

I highly recommend T1, N1, and N5.  T1 is the quintessential starter adventure, but it's not really geared for novice players, just for low-level PCs:  novice players are likely to be slided and diced six ways from Sunday in that scenario, if DM'd properly.  Both T1 and N5 (even if it is set in the Forgotten Realms :D ) are great modules for setting up a new campaign vs. being solitary dungeon crawls (like N1) .  I also like L1, because like N5 it starts to bridge the gap between a dungeon/town setting via wilderness (though it's for a little bit higher level PCs than the others).  B4 and B10 are also great modules than can easily turn into entire campaigns (along with X2, but it's not for starter PCs).  

Rob Kuntz published a great low-level dungeon for the Castles & Crusades d20 game called "Castle Zagyg: The Dark Chateau" which is quite good (though like L1, it's more for levels 2-3 or so and for more experienced players vs. novice players/level 1 PCs).  

If you're looking to run a solo campaign (1 PC), and your SO decides to run a thief, the d20 publisher Wyvern's Claw Designs has some great solo adventures for thieves that can readily be retro-converted back to 1e.  They're in .pdf format and available @ http://www.rpgnow.com/default.php?manufacturers_id=279  I reviewed them for Polyhedron before it got merged into Dragon/Dungeon, and they're qiute good.


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