Adventures and Modularity - Page 2





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  1. #11
    Having spent a little time reading some of my old BECMI and 1e modules, I would like to see them publish modules in the old pre-Delve style with nice area maps and plenty of room for the author to describe the dynamics of the adventure (e.g. how the villain's plan would evolve over time without PC intervention; how the villain or dungeon residents response to interference, role-playing notes of the major NPCs, alternate method for getting around obstacles, background as to how the various creatures go to where the PCs can encounter them, etc). That kind of material is often missing from recently published modules and it's some of the most valuable material an adventure can provide.

    For the tactical module, the delve style would be helpful, but for the average adventure it is best published on-line and provided as a supplemental download. Certain adventures would likely be sold as "tactical" adventures. Those should have some poster maps and a second booklet containing the delve encounter descriptions.

    Other optional modules (like kingdom management) could have a small number of dedicated adventures like the old Bloodstone adventures supplemented the Battlesystem module for 1e, and the occasional Dungeon article about how to add kingdom management to some other published high-level adventure. (Pretty much any adventure done at the behest of a king can be trivially rewritten for PCs managing the kingdom themselves.)

    -KS

 

  • #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jan van Leyden View Post
    Why should it be such a nightmare? The adventure writer decides to include a Poison Needle Trap and a pair of Shrewed Kobolds. He describes the trap (position, position of trigger) and the kobold's tactics in plain text.

    Both elements would reside in a database with the game data for the different rules modules: Poison Needle Trap (Basic Game, Character Design module, ...) or Shrewed Kobold (Basic Game, Tactical Options, ...).
    The problems with this are as follows. First, the kobold's tactics might (and probably will) be different depending on whether the tactical module is put in place or not.

    Second, this setup means that every time you introduce a new module to the game, you have to go back and revisit every rules element that module touches in order to update them in the database. If you don't do this, the rules module becomes much less attractive, because there isn't any (or much) published material that makes use of it. And if you do, it's a nightmare of man-hours that could be used developing new material instead of updating old.

  • #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oni View Post
    How much modularity can you allow in a game and still make adventures that don't require a lot of fine tuning on the part of the DM?
    If I had my own company and was faced with this decision, first off I would look at:

    1. how much more to the page count to add in the modules so that the play styles of all editions is supported? Not much, add it all in there. A lot, keep it at the core, but offer it online.

    2. If you have a DDI subscription, you get all the NPC's/monsters fully stated out in the components you want. You get to pick and choose. Want a monster with a full stat block? Click on all the components, print, and you're ready. Don't want to work with feats, but have skills? Click on the skills button, but leave the feats unchecked, and so on and so forth.

    3. For games that are tactical, in the printed module you get the maps. If the DM wants to run tactical, he can; otherwise, he just describe the action, draw on graph paper, etc. For the DDI, you can print the maps in tile format or upload them to your VTT.

    Now the one thing is that there is a lot of support for just an adventure. Obviously, it would become prohibitively expensive for WotC to do that for a module that's only 32 pages and runs $12, so the support should be for them to release larger modules that have higher revenues. Also having modules available in the DDI for VTT application would be helpful.

    This is my approach. I'm sure that there's some other ideas floating around too.

    Happy Gaming!

  • #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannager View Post
    The problems with this are as follows. First, the kobold's tactics might (and probably will) be different depending on whether the tactical module is put in place or not.
    That's why one should describe the tactics in prose form. Perhaps one could, as an added bonus, implement a keyword system. Imagine this:

    "One of the kobold tries to sneak to the party's back". In a Basic Game the DM would just use this sentence to decide on the kobold's move. With the Powerful Monsters module in place, he might find the keyword sneak in one or more of the kobold power's description and would thus be prompted to use this specific power(s) in this fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannager View Post
    Second, this setup means that every time you introduce a new module to the game, you have to go back and revisit every rules element that module touches in order to update them in the database. If you don't do this, the rules module becomes much less attractive, because there isn't any (or much) published material that makes use of it. And if you do, it's a nightmare of man-hours that could be used developing new material instead of updating old.
    Now we have to deal with some basic assumptions. I wish/hope/believe that WotC will implement procedure to keep stuff up-to-date under the 5e mantra of adding new modules every now and then. I expect D&DN to be the last distinct edition of the game, which will evolve by the way of new and/or updated or re-packaged modules. In this world, the longevity of items produced, especially of electronic items to be kept on servers, is important.

    In the light of this it would be a wise move to invest some work in regular updates of the database.

    If I'm wrong with my vision, I can't object to your arguments re point 2.
    Huldvoll

    Jan van Leyden

    Former DDI subscriber

  • #15
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    Why would it have to be so difficult? Just don't mention all the rules in the module/adventure - that is what the rule books are for.

    Simply give advice (and make it brief) regarding the 3 pillars: Combat, Exploration and Roleplaying. Surely that would be enough for any DM to adapt to.
    Homepage for all my roleplaying:http://connorscampaigns.wikidot.com/. Includes many GM Tools, Character Sheets, etc for DnD & Savage Worlds.

  • #16
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    Hiya.

    I'll keep this short. (...'ish... )

    IMHO, BECMI and 1e AD&D modules were the best. They were the best because they had a story, but not a lot of plot.

    In other words, they each had something like "The orc chieften Furdark is gathering a large force of orcs and goblins in a ruined castle in the foothills to the north. Can your party brave the ruins of Castle Kallin and face Furdark and his hoards before they march on the surrounding countryside?". That is a story that sets pretty much everything for the adventure. When you crack open the cover you see MAPS. Big ones. The module has encounter keys for various locations on these maps. At the beginning of the module is a couple of paragraphs called "Background" that sets up the general why's and wherefors of what's going on, but no specific "plots" that will/must occure. Any plots will be intruduced through play and via the players and DM.

    Right now, I'm DM'ing a 1e AD&D campaign set in my homebrew world of Eisla. I'm using an 'adventure module' that uses dungeon geomorphs. One of the readers of that site put a bunch of them together into a PDF (here it is for those interested: Dyson’s Delve A Character For Every Game ). What's really cool about it is that each level of the dungeon, it's map and EVERY room key on it fits on a single page. So no page flipping! In my game, I had an NPC fighter encounter the PC's in the first cave. The fighter was with two distraught women...it seems the fighters nephew, Billum, ran away and hid 'in the caves', but never came back that night. (plot #1: find Billum). The PC's have encountered the "Black Skull" goblins, but don't know why they are here or why they haven't been encountered outside...ever. (plot #2: mystery goblins). The dungeon itself has a 'wave and water' theme in all it's stonework. They found a sarcophagus with a prominant "saint of fishermen" in it...clutching a map that indicates some sort of lake (plot #3: where is the locaiton on the map, and why is it important?). The pont being, a good adventure gives a location, takes the time to draw out maps and write up keys, and gives you encounter tables...all that plot stuff? That's up to the DM (as it should be, IMHO).

    I'm rambling now. Sorry. Bottom line: Adventures should help a DM run an interesting story for his campaign, and an adventure should not simply ristrict the DM into making sure the story is followed/played out in his campaign. All IMHO, of course.

    ^_^

    Paul L. Ming
    Last edited by pming; Friday, 10th February, 2012 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Added 'ish

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