Saturday, October 3, 2009

3rd ed Campaigns 2 - Kalamar

This was a rather short campaign that began with the first Kalamar adventure 'The Root of all Evil.' It's not a bad module, but there is a fair amount of railroading. My biggest problem was that the object of the adventure trilogy (a Coin of Power) is statted out and it in no way measures up to the amount of fuss being made over it. This somewhat undercut my enthusiasm for the module but I tried to make the best of it. The party made it into the second module before voting to go back to Greyhawk to try and salvage something from the RttTOEE adventure.

In hindsight, these adventures could have used more customizing by me, but my players were up for the mission. There were some fun moments with the Elf Twins in the party and with the unconscious Paladin being dragged off into the desert by his panicked horse - for all we know he's still wandering out there.

I give Root of All Evil a B-.

One thing that gave me some trouble also was making Kalamar come to life. It's a fairly detailed world if you have most of the books, but there's no big 'hook' that pulled me in. Greyhawk has history and legendary names, the Realms has it's own attractions, Scarred Lands has an interesting take on things, but Kalamar always seemed a little bland. I liked that feature at first, but it has become more noticeable over time as I have run more games set in the world. I'll discuss that more in another post.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

3rd ed Campaigns 1 - Greyhawk

The first campaign I ran in 3rd edition was set in Greyhawk. We began with 6 or 7 players and "The Sunless Citadel" in early 2001. Other published adventures used included "Nemoren's Vault", "Thieves in the Forest", "Dungeon of the Fire Opal" (from Dungeon magazine) and finally "Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil" where the campaign cratered - twice.

The Sunless Citadel is not my favorite starting adventure. I think it's fairly dull and I dislike the main monsters at the end as they are oddball one-offs. Instead of ending with some kind of classic or iconic D&D beastie, we get an evil tree and it's stick-people minions - not my cup of tea. I did like the dragon hatchling included in the earlier part of the adventure and the NPC kobold Meepo. It can be fun to watch how different parties handle that interaction, and I think it's the best part of the module. Compared to something like Keep on the Borderlands it felt very limited overall. I give it a "C" on the traditional grading scale.

Thieves is a nice little sandbox area, good for dropping in on the way to somewhere else. It's not terribly overpowered, it's not stuck in one dungeon, and it's not tied to a plot hammer. Call it a 'B'.

Fire Opal is the ruined monastery map from the DMG1 fleshed out for 3rd edition. It's small but it includes a dragon and some interesting undead. My party liked it and I liked the old-school elements familiar from so many read-throughs of that map. I give it an 'A'

Nemoren's Vault is an interesting dungeon for low-level characters, more old-school in feel than Sunless Citadel. There's a tricky magic item in the dungeon that is unlikely to be found by a party but if it is it could be intrusive into a campaign. I planned to leave it vague and tweak it myself if it was recovered, but it never came up. The monster at the end is very nasty, probably too much so unless you have a large party of 3rd lvl PC's but it is a nod to a classic D&D beastie. I'd give this one a B+. The web supplement was fun for my party too, so look into that if you run this.

I will discuss RttTOEE in a separate post

Current campaigns

Right now I run one game and play in another. Both are D&D 3.5

-The game I run is set in Kalamar where we are using the Savage Tide adventure path from Dungeon magazine. I mixed in the Freeport trilogy early to enhance the nautical theme and it has gone over rather well. The party is up to 8th level now and is marching across the Isle of Dread. We started the game in April of 2008 and I expect we will be playing through the end of 2010 barring a TPK. There is a link to the campaign site on the right side of this page.

- The game I play in is a Forgotten Realms game. My friend pretty much always runs his games in the Realms so I have gotten pretty familiar with them over the last 20 years. I haven't played in more than a year so it's fun to be on the other side of the screen again. The group is at 6th level. Typically I have played clerics and druids, but this time I am playing a human barbarian so I can focus on the bashing and less on spell selection.