Monday, November 29, 2010

Monster Suggestions

I'm going to write an adventure featuring a ziggurat and the revival of a cult devoted to the evil god Moander (Rot, Corruption).

I usually begin with the basic idea followed by a roster of monsters. I whittle down that list as I go along.

Here's a start, can you think of any interesting monster suggestions new or old?

Shambling mound

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Northern Reaches Session 4

Hi all,

Instead of simulcasting the session reports both here and on the Red Box Niagara site, I'm going to just post them there and see whether that works or not.

This report is written by one of my players and details the fourth expedition into the Citadel of the Iron God. Enjoy.

Red Box Niagara

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Windows of Otherworldliness

I have a question.

I'm interested in learning more about the "window of suspended action" style of cover art in early TSR modules. I'm assuming this approach began with the A Series, but I don't know that for certain.

Has anyone bumped into articles or material on forums that discusses cover art for D&D?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Classic Monsters and Adventure Design

Last year I delivered a paper on nostalgia and the Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics line of adventures at the Popular Culture Association conference in St. Louis. For the paper I read every adventure cover-to-cover and I (naturally) played a few using the 3.5 rule-set. I'm currently revising the paper for publication.

Since reading through these adventures, I've thought a great deal about the classic TSR adventures I played back in the day, the 3.5 retro-modules, and the modules published more recently by (or associated with) Goblinoid Games and Mythmere Games.

Adventures come in all shapes and sizes, of course, and I know what makes an adventure fun for one group might be boring for another. Having said that I really do wish that more adventures led to a climatic battle with a classic monster. I'm not talking a "boss" battle. I'm talking adventures wherein the party hunts down and defeats the deadly Chimera of Ulik! Or the Medusa that lurks in the Sunken City! Or the blood-thirsty Gorgon of Burgal-Thor! I mean, who wouldn't want to go on those adventures? You know what I mean?

I'm talking an adventure that you can bang out in a night or two with your friends that leads to a death-match between the PCs and a mighty archetypal beast. Don't give me any of the railroad/sandbox bull-shit either. It isn't about that. It's about sitting down having fun with your friends, but it's also about the anticipation of the battle with the great beast - and if you've played D&D long enough you know that feeling - excitement mixed with trepidation.

It's for these reasons that I think DCC#35a Halls of the Minotaur is brilliant, and provides a model for what I'd like to see/what I'm looking for. At the outset you know a minotaur is involved - but it's the anticipation of the battle to come that makes it a really cool adventure. The slow but steady build to the climatic battle with a minotaur - and it doesn't get more classic than that in terms of monsters. Further, adventures like this set the monster apart. The minotaur isn't standard-fare anymore. The adventure returns the minotaur to the exotic monster status it should have, and I really dig that.

Don't mistake the type of adventure I'm talking about here. I'm not talking about the Giant Series, or the Drow Series, where you fight so many of the same monster that you really can't distinguish one battle from the next. I'm talking a climactic battle with an archetypal monster.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New Red Box Campagn Wiki

I've set up a campaign wiki for my players. The wiki includes the campaign session summaries and a bunch of other stuff including hooks for future adventures, NPCs, etc. I'm still editing some text here and there. It's a work in progress:

Red Box Niagara

Friday, November 5, 2010

OW Minotaur

I'm sick (again) today with a cold or flu of some sort.

Here's a couple pics of my Otherworld minotaur and some pig-faced orc crossbowmen.

Have a good weekend.