Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Reading NAP

I should probably pen a Blood Bowl post discussing the Seahawks transition away from Weird Boy Pete Carroll and the cutting of the oft-maligned Jamal Adams, etc. But the NFL off-season is long...I'm sure there'll be time for that. Instead, allow me to wax on about adventures.

Specifically, the adventures found in No ArtPunk volumes I and II.

I've discussed Prince of Nothing's NAP contest before...both what it is and why I find it valuable, as well as my own participation in this (now annual) event. What I haven't done is played any of the entries/winners...well, except for play-testing of my own submissions. Heck, I haven't even given a deep read to the books; I've only skimmed them.

And that's a shame. I've said before and I'll say it again: you need to play an adventure to really understand how it works and whether or not it's any good. Adventure gaming, as entertainment, is an experiential medium. Adventure cobblers are not (or, rather, should not be) writing adventures just to provide lonely souls with fantasy reading material. I know that, within the hobby as a whole, there is a certain amount of joy in this practice (both the writing and the reading), but that's not what the D&D game was designed for; it was designed to be played...a fact that is too often forgotten, or lost.

SO, I've decided that, despite my limited "free" time (free what? are you kidding?), I am going to make an effort to read and examine these winning NAP entries, and attempt to play them in my own home campaign...assuming I can find a place for them in my home campaign. This is probably a stupid assumption and I should simply continue with my ongoing DESERT OF DESPAIR project (a rewriting of the old I3-I5, Desert of Desolation module series). But, well, someone's got to do it. And then blog about it. Since no one else is (or very few people), I might as well do something to "contribute" to the cause.


BUT...I won't be putting ALL of these adventures on the docket. Between both NAP volumes there were a total of 19 winners (with a super-secret-sexy 20th "honorably mention" by Yours Truly that continues being brought up on podcasts despite not making it into either book!). Of these 19, only NINE were written for AD&D with a 10th written for OSRIC (1st edition's original retroclone), and given my limited time, I'm not going to waste it doing conversions.

Well, maybe, but only in exactly TWO cases: Dashwood's City of Bats looks really delightful (I, of course, have a soft-spot for Mesoamerican themes) and is written for AEC (Advanced Edition Companion) Labyrinth Lord, and Chomy's Caught in the Web of Past and Present was recently converted (by him) to AD&D...I might just go purchase the updated version, but only because I've met Chomy and he's a swell guy who did not run over me with his motorcycle and leave me in a ditch.

First things first, though, and I am going to be reading the adventures that were ACTUALLY written for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Going in "level order" these are:

The Lair of the Brain Eaters (1st - 3rd) by D.M. Ritzlin
The Arcane Font of Hranadd-Zul (2nd - 4th) by Daedalus
Under Mt. Peikon (2nd - 8th) by anonymous
The Carcass of Hope (3rd - 4th) by Zherbus
Fraction Mayhem of Melonath Falls (3rd - 5th) by Trent Smith
No Art Punks (4th - 6th) by Peter Mullen
Alchymystyk Hoosegow (7th) by Alex Zisch
Tomb of the Twice Crowned King (8th - 10th) by Hawk
Dust and Stars (9th - 12th) by Settembrini
Ship of Fate (10th - 14th) by JB

[eh, you know what? I don't need to read that last one]

[Web of Past and Present is for levels 4th - 5th, while City of Bats is for levels 4th - 6th, just by the way]

So, semi-deep dives first. I know that some of these include the dreaded (*shudder*) Unearthed Arcana rules in their games, but so long as I'm not needing to delete major portions of the adventure (cavalier NPCs or whatnot), I don't anticipate there being much of a problem. But that's why I need to do the read-through. The main areas I'm concerned with are "theme" and "fit" (since I'm throwing these into my campaign world) as well as PRACTICALITY...which, generally, means treasure counts.  Here's the rule of thumb:
  • 30(ish) encounters requires enough treasure to level up an ENTIRE PARTY of the average given level range.
  • If the party size isn't listed, I default to SEVEN characters.
Anything less than that is probably not efficient enough for use (really), but I understand that lack of treasure is pretty endemic to adventure writing these days. I will still make an effort to run all of these, regardless (well, depending on how light the load actually is) least until my players get bored with a lack of loot. Again, hard to judge without actually RUNNING the things...

There it is: a new D&D project on the horizon. I might post (okay, I'll probably post) what I find in my readings before I run the adventures. But, yeah. Let's play some D&D. 


  1. I have one of the NAPs and need to pick up the other.

    I doubt I will ever run any of them as written, but I think all the entries have some good parts to borrow or inspire.

  2. I want to run a couple of these adventures. Particularly Webs of Past and Present I want to keep until I do a grand campaign with all the EMDT material. Lair of the brain eaters I'll run because the short story it's tied to is hilarious. Tomb of the Twice Crowned King looks neat, I'd also like to run that alongside the Gunderholfen material it's related to.