Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Excuses for Adventure: Optional Character Backgrounds

Why has your new PC decided to embark on a career in adventuring?  He is seriously considering delving into dark holes in the ground where he knows nasty creatures dwell.  He is embarking on a journey that will most likely include regular bouts with grave danger, wandering from one end of the continent (or dimension) to the other, etc.  There must be some sort of powerful reason…

  1. Running away from a battleaxe wedding.  “I never should have asked her to go to the barn with me…”
  2. Running out on a boring/laborious/unpleasant apprenticeship.  “If the master makes me warm up his coffee one more time, I swear…”
  3. Running away from trouble.  “I did it like this.  I did it like that.  I did it with a wiffle-ball bat. So…”
  4. Modern man lost in another dimension.  “Remember ‘Army of Darkness’?  Yeah.  All I need is a frickin’ chainsaw arm.”
  5. Sent on a quest.  “The Order says I need some field experience, so you don’t happen to know where I could find the Shrine to Evil Chaos, do you?”
  6. In search of the duchies.  “I like money—plain and simple.   Nasty monsters have the best bling.”
  7. Revenge.  “Ever since his mother was eaten by bugbears he’s just itchin’ to go out and kill everything that lives in a cave.”
  8. Ideological.  “Evil must be vanquished!”
  9. Ideological.  “Do-gooders must be vanquished!”
  10. Cursed.  “That evil wizard mumbled something and now I’ve got to keep moving every month before people start to get suspicious.
  11. ...

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Gots the ADDs

I have to admit it, I've got gamer ADD.  I love our campaign, but my mind is going too fast for the sessions to keep up!  To add to the pain, we had to skip our session this week due to some totally understandable work issues.  My problem is that I really like to write the story settings and can't wait to see what the players do and how the story plays out.  When we don't play I just keep writing new stuff, which is fun, but it's a bit like getting a lot of delicious ingredients together for a recipe and then just staring at them.  I want to get to the cooking and feasting! 

So in the absence of play, I've:
Read TMNT and Other Strangeness again,
Perused Call of Cthulhu,
Read through a bunch of old D&D modules and tried to plan their use,
Written up several towns, caves, starships, and other locations on the campaign map,
etc., etc.

TMNT kicks mutated ass.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thinking of running some modules...

I find myself in an interesting position.  I own pretty much every cool D&D and AD&D 1e module that was made, but have never actually run one.  This is doubly weird because they also bring back crazy nostalgia for me.

When I was a little guy, AD&D 2e was either just on the horizon or had hit the shelves.  However, that stuff was expensive!  At least for me, as a poor 12 year old, it was.  So my RPGs came from the Swap Meet.  Ah, that magical land...I picked my first Moldvay Basic there for about $2 and never looked back.  I loved it with all my heart, and didn't care that it was 8 years old and had already been redone by Mr. Mentzer.  That's also where I began picking up old used modules, and how I find myself so hooked up now.  I remember buying X1: Isle of Dread and wandering past the chaotic stalls of the swap meet, poring over the new monsters and imagining how I would slay players with the tricky Araneas.

So I had every intention of running those awesome adventures, and read them for hours.  My problem was that I couldn't wrap my head around them as a kid.  And so I knew even while I read them that I wouldn't be able to swing one.  I got into the habit of stealing ideas and making my own little adventures (practically a mandatory activity for all DMs) and never actually came around to running even the simplest of modules.

But I might be able to do it.  I think, having been able to get a college degree, I should at least be able to run a passable version of one of the great modules.  Am I right?

So I have the very happy task ahead of me: reading through the many modules I have and deciding which could be slipped into my campaign.  I think it will be a nice dash of variety for both me and my players.  Maybe we'll love it, maybe we'll hate it.  Who knows.  But I'll finally be able to follow through on that 12 year old's inspiration.

Anyone have an opinion as to which I should run?  As I said, I have almost all of them.  My only restriction is that my players are right around 4th or 5th level, so it'll have to be in that range.