Friday, March 04, 2005

Always an adventure

Something I am going to be doing more of in the future is adventures. I always loved writing adventures, but my first experience doing one for someone else's group (Raw Recruits by Mystic Eye Games for the Dragonstar game) didn't exactly go well. Although I enjoyed working on the project, I felt like my adventure could have been much better.

This led me to the conclusion, one that I still hold today, that writing adventures is the hardest thing in this industry. It was very hard for me to wrap my mind around the myriad groups that were going to be playing the adventure. Writing an adventure for my group is the easiest thing in the world. I know where they were last week and you build from there.

Maybe this sort of psychological hurdle is unnecessary, but I really found myself wrestling it.

Since coming to work for RPGObjects I have been asked to come up with adventures on occasion but I always begged off.

However I have been doing adventures for the dispatch, and am now ready to take the plunge once again. Some adventures should be forthcoming from me in the months ahead for Legends of Excalibur, Legends of the Samurai, Blood and Guts, and Blood and Vigilance.

Sheesh, makes me tired just looking at that list.

One thing I have been doing is going back and looking at what I consider to be the best modules ever written, and I came up with an interesting list:

Temple of Elemental Evil by Gary Gygax

Easily the best adventure ever written. This should be put in a safe at the HQ of every RPG HQ and made required reading for anyone planning on writing a campaign adventure.

Its also an unapologetic dungeon crawl, which means most reviewers wouldn't give it high marks.

It took Diablo to remind some designers (though still not the reviewers) of the charm of a big honking dungeon 16 levels deep with a big badass villain holed up at the bottom.

And no, it doesn't make sense.

Funny how the FANS never forgot how cool dungeons are. Those were the same fans playing Diablo even as the reviewers told them it wasn't any good.

Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax

Not only is this a dungeon, its a KILLER dungeon. That gives it about a million strikes from most reviewers. WOTC even tried to pussify it for those parties who whined when they all jumped headfirst into the sphere of annihilation.

Duh, that's why no real adventurer would be caught dead without a 10 foot pole.

Or a hireling.

Not quite as big a dungeon, but the attitude more than makes up for it. If you aren't prepared to brave its dangers, go back to Hommlett and be a bartender you wussies.

Legion of Gold by Gary Gygax

This Gamma World really cemented EGG as the best adventure writer of all time for me.

I mean, sure he wrote my all time favorite D&D adventures, but he created the damn game, so he must have designed it to his tastes right?

Well without the home court advantage Gygax still manages to pen the best GW adventure ever.

City beyond the gate

Lest you think Im an EGG fanboy (I am but why quibble) this adventure from Dragon 100 was simply great. PCs trapped in modern day london with a chance to nab the mace of st. cuthbert if they're willing to rob the British Museum (which we all know PCs are).

Reminded me of my favorite What IF? of all time. Conan winds up in the modern world, becomes a pimp (a real one) and puts a sword through Capt. America's shoulder blade.

The PCs who survived this roller coaster carried their revolvers as momentos for the rest of their days, long after the ammo was gone.

There's a bunch of other modules that would round out my personal top ten, but I should probably get back to the next BNG II book: Soldiers of the Special Operations Command.



DNAphil said...

City Beyond The Gate! Yes! I loved this adventure when I ran it out of Dragon Magazine as a teenager. The PC's in my group lead a daring afternoon raid for the Mace. An awesome adventure.

After reading your sourcebooks, and loving your LoS material, and seeing some of your favorite adventures, I am looking forward to picking up your future adventures and supplements [/fanboy]

Chuck said...


They wont be anything on the level of EGG, but I do love an old school dungeon crawl.


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