Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back to the Baranof

Tonight will be a return to our regularly scheduled Thursday evening game night, and (presumably) the start of our Goblin Wars campaign.

Oh, brother.

Coming up with an adventure for 1st level characters is tough for a variety of reasons…maybe this is why so many low-level adventures get published?

Firstly, there’s the whole scenario issue. My campaign setting isn’t one that’s conducive to the classic mega-dungeon (unless there’s some sort of Skara Brae-like sewer system beneath the town), which means I have to come up with something that “fits” that is also appropriate for 1st level characters.

“Appropriate for 1st level” is the key phrase here…while the players are experienced, their characters are at the most fragile state of their existence. Yes, I have some qualms about killing these poor newbie adventurers…I think the GW setting is a fairly interesting one, though a lot of the cooler campaign ideas won’t open up till higher levels (like 4th or 5th). Survival to that point is going to be pretty tough, especially as the players are being obstinate about playing clerics in the setting (not that 1st level clerics have any spells at 1st level anyway). On the other hand, two of the five PCs are elves and a third is a magic-user, so they will have plenty of “firepower;” I don’t want to make the adventure too easy, either!

[yeah, my 8-man group has dropped to 5. AB was absent last session, and might be MIA tonight as well depending on a recent illness; Josh just had his baby (congrats!); and I’m not sure if Matthew is back in town yet or not]

The main issue though is putting together an adventure that “makes sense” in light of the characters and setting. From our discussion two weeks ago, it would appear anyway that the players are NOT interested in some throwaway random encounter lark of an adventure…and frankly, neither am I.

And yet that’s a tall order to do something MEANINGFUL when the characters are so close to being goners. I don’t want to treat them like “weenies,” and I certainly don’t want them to feel like that, so I’m not going to give them some sort of “step-and-fetch” adventure (i.e. no “go kill the giant rats in the cellar and I’ll give you 500gp,” etc.). They may not be hardened adventurers but they are still “adventurers;” and that means giving them a meaningful bit of adventure-work is priority numero uno.

Shoot…I just hope they don’t all get killed tonight.
; )

[“what, what, what??” say my readers. “No death-dealing desires?” Look killing 1st level characters is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel…they die if you cough on them. It’s all well and good for Gygax to do the dirty work (e.g. by running them through T1 or B2), but when it’s My Watch, any slaughter is likely to get cat-calls from the crowd.

I will say that reading through my own B/X Companion this morning…especially chapters 3, 6, and 7…gives me a ton of adventure ideas. It’s too bad I’ve already got the “goblin thang” going on, as I would love to throw a few dokkalfar into the mix. Hell, I might still! Why couldn’t they have gone with Norse?


  1. actually, I didn't have any problem running a cleric...I just couldn't roll a survivable one!

  2. 1st level dudes are sort of like baloons waiting to get popped. I like to throw in a lot of PC development, plus set up lots of role play opportunities those first few games as filler.