Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Writing For The Choir

I am writing an adventure based in Middle Earth, for anyone who hasn't read previous posts. I'm having some fun as I put it all together.  I'm writing it all down using Google Docs.

Now, if I share the adventure and I don't mind sharing,  I just worry that no one else will find it any good though they usually run well for me.  No, the question for me is how much do I hold the next DM's hand as I write it?

For the most part, I figure that most "published" adventures are written with the idea of minimizing how much the DM will have to reference the core books, especially the DM guide.  Personally,  I don't see there being any way of not having the books at hand while running a game, especially if there's any degree of random activity going on.

No,  I have decided to write with the expectation that the DM is going to have his or her books cracked open at the ready.  I like to leave lots of room for random activity.   I am also a facilitator at heart.  I don't want to do it for them, but I do want to give them as many of the resources and information they will need to do it themselves.

I also want to give plenty of room for improvisation.  What books is the DM using?  The core AD&D 1E books?  OSRIC?  I'll let them decide what rules to follow.

So no, I'm not going to spell it all out for them.   I am going to make them use their Random Encounter tables in the book while en route from one town to the next.  That's what they are there for aren't they?

I will give them cues as to type of location, weather, geography and so on.   I will give them basic information about the main NPC's they will encounter as well.

So, don't expect the typical "everything done for you" type of adventure when  I do share it.  It will probably look more like an outline.  Who knows though, maybe other folks will have fun with it too.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Going To Middle Earth

As I mentioned in the last post, my kids want to go to Middle Earth.  Not a problem but I am now trying to figure out the scope of the thing.

Is this a one time excursion?  Is it the beginning of a full blown campaign?  The answer will determine how I write this adventure.

If it's a one time thing, I will make it a robust, wander all over Middle Earth kind of thing.  If it's the beginning of a new campaign, then I can give them a more modest and localized start.

At this point, their enthusiasm indicates a new campaign.  I don't think they read this blog, but I just can't be sure, so I won't be giving away details here, just "what if's".

For example, "what if" I begin them the same way the stories they have read begin, at Bags End.  This puts them in the Shire and an initial adventure could take them to the Barrows, Bree, all the little hobbit towns nearby.

They could start at Isengard.  Each enchantedly drawn to the place by some MU or maybe even an artifact.  Who knows, maybe Gandalf left behind some kind of magical beacon that would draw heroes together in case of an event happening at that dark spot.

I would be loathe to start them in Mordor. I doubt it's dark history has lessened much.  It surely stills draws the most evil beings to make their home there.

I figure starting them about 24 years after the departure of Frodo, Gandalf and the elves.  Major characters will be gone but then, many others are still around.  Sam, Pippin and Merri are still going strong.  While the non-human races are more in hiding, they are still active and about.  Though you have to go to their parts of the world to find them anymore.

Thus, some elves still remain.  Dwarves stay put under their mountains now.  Ents have become even more reclusive and legendary.  Dragons are fewer, but still terrible when they decide to stretch their wings. 

Middle Earth is a world of quests, both epic and trivial.  Goblins and orcs abound.  Oh and yes, as far as I am concerned, Tom Bombadil is still at home in his woods.  Some ringwraiths were not destroyed and continue to vex Middle Earth from their caves in Mordor.

I would be glad to entertain suggestions and ideas from you folks if you would like to share.  Of course, I will continue to think out loud here and as always, you are most welcome to take any ideas back with you.

Let the game begin.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where Do You Want To Go Today?

As ashamed as I am to have to borrow ANYTHING from Microsoft,  This old ad line perfectly fits the topic today.

I prefer to write my own adventures.  I just have the hardest time making published modules work.  Because I am still DMing for my kids, now over a year into gaming,  I try to take what they are interested in into consideration when I make a new adventure.

They have really been getting into The Hobbit and LotR lately, having seen the movies and read the books recently.  Now they tell me they want a game set in Middle Earth.   I can do that.  Maybe not exactly the way they expect it, but hey, can't just make it all easy now.

I've actually done it before, not for my kids, but back then about twenty years ago.   I have set some rules for writing the adventure though.

  • It takes place after the Lord of the Rings storyline concludes.
  • Characters from the books cannot be PC's.  They can only be NPC's and all of them may likely never be seen, depending on how far after I place the adventure in the timeline.  
  • In storyline terms, this is the 4th Age of Middle Earth and is the Age of Man.  Races other than human are not common and are either long gone or so well hidden to be thought to be legends.
  • Pretty much all AD&D 1E/OSRIC rules applies.  New Age, new magic, etc... It works for me.
  • The adventure will be mission oriented, not just a wander around and see what's what thing.
It will be interesting to see if I can capture that Middle Earth "feel" while giving them an adventure that they haven't seen from the books or movies.