1E Keep On The Borderline - Page 6
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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
    Thinning out the number of occupants or combatants in the Keep, which honestly a medieval keep should not have too many retainers anyway, seems like an easy fix though.
    I recall reading Harlech Castle had a standing garrison of 30 men.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
    I recall reading Harlech Castle had a standing garrison of 30 men.
    And boy were they tired after 8 hours.
    Laugh Aldarc laughed with this post

  3. #53
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    DMs who say KotB sucks because it doesn't have everything fleshed out are sucky DMs.

  4. #54
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    Even setting aside nostalgia, I think it's a great module. Because it does the most important thing: inspire the DM to be creative. No names listed? So what. That means when I look at the picture of the guy being turned upside down and robbed, I came up with some NPCs that fit that group in the tavern that the PCs saw. I give them names, and personalities. It gave character to the scene. What KotB did to a new gamer like myself, was teach me that having the right amount of hints to spark my imagination without spelling out everything for me was the right way to go and the best way to learn a game that was about imagination. It gave you the tools for creation (a blank NPC sheet and graph paper, etc) Of course YMMV, but for a young me, it was the perfect way to learn the game as a DM that has served me extremely well over the past 35+ years. As mentioned upthread, I find it harder to customize modern adventures because it's a ton more work to overwrite all the backstory, NPCs, motivations, etc in modern adventures. Spare the page count by not putting in all that detail (allowing me to quickly get to the important bits) and give me just enough to be an outline--a jumping off point. Let me mold the world and creatures inside it the way I envision and my players like best. Let me adapt the game world and NPCs based on PC actions and interaction because the PCs can be one of the most inspiring parts of the game for me as a DM. I find that flow to be much more natural than predetermined names, personalities, backstories, etc.

    If I want to read a book, I'll read a book. I don't like how modern adventures feel like a book with everything already mapped out, and all the DM does is narrate the predetermined story and interactions with a few random/not so random dice rolls.

    I've ran B2 hundreds of times. Sometimes it's a typical dungeon crawl. Sometimes the PCs ally with the monsters and attack the keep. Sometimes the PCs defeat the Caves and then use political intrigue to take the keep for themselves. One time the PCs fell into a rift that the cult leader summoned and ended up in a weird Hunger Games scenario (back in 1984, long before HG was a thing). Point is, is that you never know what could happen.
    Last edited by Sacrosanct; Thursday, 4th April, 2019 at 08:54 PM.
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  5. #55
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    Meh, it's a mediocre module.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    All this talk of the Keep's population is making me think I need to go back and look at it again. I don't think it's something I've ever paid much attention to in the past.
    LOL I am pretty well familiar with the population of the keep. The last time I DM'ed KotB the party was evil, killed/intimidated/recruited/etc. monsters from the caves, and led them to overthrowing the keep at set it up as a base of operations in the area, leaving the minotaur eventually in charge when the moved on.
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  7. #57
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    It's more average imho but DMs probably sexed it up. It was my first adventure the patrarchs (Sherlane?) daughter was kidnapped and she was held by the bugbears.

    This was a feature not a bug back then B1 and B3 were the same and you had to add your own encounters as well.

    A modern adventure is often better in most ways but they don't teach you much. I'm playing lmop with younger players and yeah they love critical role etc but are not as good at improvising although some of then are very new and the DM has been playing for a year. P. They all have different tastes as well but from the sounds of it they would have liked 2E as space, Vikings and GoT type politics seem to be popular themes.

  8. #58
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    Thinking further on what I've got from B2 that I couldn't have just made up myself:

    For me it's not so much the maps and stats - the sort of game I run, even when running D&D, isn't really dependent on maps of the classic sort; and the last time I used the Keep was for a Burning Wheel game, and so the stats were irrelevant.

    What it is is the situation: a bastion of order/civilisation that is on the verge of falling; with it's own internal threats, some purely internal (eg the rivalry between the castellan and ), others linked to the external (the evil priest).

    It's fairly easy to run a PCs-rob-the-naive-townsfolk or PCs-get-the-better-of-an-irritating-functionary scenario - but the Keep adds something to that, because in doing these things the PCs are pushing the keep closer to that verge. In other words, it's hard to act in the Keep without, through actions if not sentiment, taking a side in the struggle. Which is what makes for good play!

    When I used it in my BW game, the PCs accused the evil priest of heretical sorcery, and their was a duel between his champion (another NPC I'd introduced into the situation) and one of the accusing PCs, with the Castellan overseeing but providence as the judge (for, as the Castellan put it borrowing a line from the film Excalibur, "By the law of God no knight who is true can win against one who is false"). The PC lost, and so the PCs - not prepared to challenge the authority of the Castellan - had to acknowledge the evil priest's innocence.

    Maybe I would have come up with an equally compelling situation on my own, but I'm not complaining about having it handed to me!
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrathamon View Post
    DMs who say KotB sucks because it doesn't have everything fleshed out are sucky DMs.
    Well, first of all, most of us here saying that it sucks have much more complex reasons than "because it doesn't have everything fleshed out". For one thing, that's a nonsense complaint - no adventure or rules set has everything fleshed out - not even the longest, most linear, most detailed adventure path has everything remotely fleshed out. Every adventure requires preparation work because no adventure is remotely complete. Every adventure requires adaptation, both to suit the tastes of the GM and to suit the tastes of the players. It's just normal for an adventure to require fleshing out.

    Secondly, do you really have any thing to add to this conversation other than to insult people?

    And thirdly, sans doing something like 'Critical Role, it's impossible for me to demonstrate my skill as a DM over the internet. But what I can do is demonstrate my skill at fleshing things out and content creation, which I consider one of the key skills that would demonstrate quality in a DM, precisely because everything needs to be fleshed out.

    For example:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...Lords-of-Chaos
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...-what-s-so-bad
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...tal-in-decline
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...mental-caverns!
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...ty-of-the-Jann (read a bit into the thread after I figure out what the OP is after/needs)

    And that's just a sample. So yeah, fleshing out stuff is something I can do.

    The thing about something like 'Demonweb Pits' or 'Temple of Elemental Evil', is that even though those are terrible modules, they are terrific ideas for modules. They have good solid bones, even if the fleshing out that the writer actually did is at best uninspired and at worst pedestrian. The thing about B2 is that it's not even particular good idea for a module. The flesh in some parts is actually pretty decent. Gygax writes tons of interesting details into individual encounters of the module. But the underlying structure and idea of the module isn't that great. So what you actually find in people that are using the module is that they are taking just the skin of the module, and rebuilding pretty much everything else. I mean, even among the modules defenders, a lot of what they seem to be using the most is simply the 4 pages of the module that sketch out the "Keep" environment, and just stock piling the keep with what they need. Or you'll hear of people who build a vast sandbox around the module, detailing empires and villages and so forth filled with other opportunities for adventure, and creating back and fore story that B2 doesn't have anywhere, and then they have a great campaign which involves a ton of other stuff that has very little to do with B2, and more to do with the fact that their characters were also playing a bunch of custom content and modules like "B1: In Search of the Unknown", "L1: The Secret of Bone Hill", "L2: The Assassin's Knot" at the same time and often instead of playing B2. So yes, when you do that and you do it well, you'll likely have a fun time. But using that as evidence that B2 is a great module is a lot like using the evidence that I was able to give a sketch for fleshing out Q1 as evidence that Q1 is a great module, or that groups played GDQ with a skilled DM and enjoyed it.

    But I can hardly think of a module less worthy of investing all that time fleshing it out than B2.

  10. #60
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    To address one common concern: When I ran it for 4E, I highlighted how unusual it was to have so many different monsters in close proximity, and then added a hidden shrine to a God of Tyranny beneath the center of it - the shrine was drawing all of these various races to it.

    But, generally speaking, as one of the first adventures, ever, it doesn't hold up by modern standards, but was great for the time.

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