5E Anybody Seen/Played Frog God's Tegel Manor?

I'm looking at dropping this in as a dungeon in one of my ongoing games for 5e, but I'm curious about the level range, page count, and general quality of the product. I have been unable to find these details on their official page or in general Google searches. And I'd like to know more before dropping $55 on the product.
Thanks in advance.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
One of my DM's used the original Judge's Guild version, converted on the fly to 5e. We were fairly high level--I think around 8th or so (it's been a while, and my memory is finicky).
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I've put down a LOT of money of Frog God Games books and have yet to be disappointed. Tegel Manor is no exception. This was a real labor of love for Jim Web and he put a lot of work into bringing a setting that means a lot to him personally into the 5e era. If you are looking for a creepy haunted house adventure that can go on for many sessions, get this book.

But keep in mind that it is old school. Maybe the first published haunted-house adventures and one of the first megadungeons. If you are looking for a more story-driven adventure, you can make one out of this, but it just isn't designed in the same way that many modern adventures are. Also, like most adventures from the era, it has a "fun-house" aspect with lots of puzzles and traps. If you liked the republished adventures in Tales of the Yawning Portal, I think you will like Tegel Manor.

It has beautiful evocative map. If you have a lot of money to spend you can get the whole thing at 25mm size. Also, it will be released on Fantasy Grounds. This may be the final push to get me to use a VTT and will having me get Fantasy Grounds over Roll 20. Tegel Manor would be an excellent game to run on a VTT, whether on-line or for an in person game.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
So, this is where some DMs may pass on FGG materials. Parties can easily get in over their heads and if they are used to a controlled leveling of a typical WotC game, they'll likely learn the old-school experience of a TPK early on. Even products like Rappan Athuk, which will indicate appropriate character-level Tiers for different levels and areas, it is really easy for players to get to a Tier III areas when they are still at Tier I.

Tegal Manor gives even less guidance. From the Kickstarter FAQ:

What levels with this be for?
Any really--its a total sandbox. Depends on what family members you run into. (or the DM decides you run into)
Chapter 1 - Tegel Village is more of a roll-play and explore area. You have NPCs all over the place and the characters may not be able to easily discern how powerful an NPC is. No Tier of play recommendation is given. You can look at the CR of the various NPCs, but they are all over the place. Which is the point. Don't go causing trouble until you know you are dealing with.

Chapter 2 - The Lands About Tegel Villiage.

No Tier level recommendation given. Some areas are very deadly other less so. As a DM you can review the different locations and railroad the party to easier locations at lower levels, or let them them get themselves into trouble if they don't bother taking precautions.

Chapter 3 - Sanctum of Madness. This can be run as a stand-alone adventure. It involves and area near Tegel Manor. It is recommended for 4-6 Tier III characters.

Chapters 4 and 4 are in/below Tegel Manor itself and do not have a recommended Tier of play.

Most advice I see on the forums suggest at least level 3-4 before setting foot in the Manor, with quite a few people suggesting another level or two above that. There is plenty to do in the areas around the manor to level up before going into the Manor.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Yeah, a lot depends on the players. I'm running Rappan Athuk, but most of my players have been playing for decades and are very tactical. When I play in public games at my local game store, most of the players would TPK early into the first session. Not denigrating those players or organized play, but may AL games condition you for "level appropriate" play with minimal risk of death, and a clean plot progression that'll wrap up in a 4-6 hour sessions.

Tegel Manor is not that type of adventure.

One thing I like to do is to have each player have 4 characters. They are big adventuring party who have dome to town and set up to make coin, help the town fight evil, whatever. The players can put together a party for a session or part of a session based on what they understand the challenges to be. It is assumed that the characters who are not involved in play are off doing other things and they level up 1 or 2 levels below the lowest-level character.

It helps players accept character death and doesn't slow down the game with the player of the dead character having to roll up a new character while the rest of the party continues on.
 

Volund

Explorer
I backed the KS and have the book. The adventure includes a town, small wilderness area, and the manor itself. Experienced players with Tier 1 PC's will be fine. Chapter 3, The Sanctum of Madness, is set in the Wilderness area and is "designed for 4 to 6 Tier 3 characters." There isn't any other specific guidance for PC levels for the Manor itself, but the encounters include typical tier 1 foes. Some areas would require tier 2 PC's. 212 pp. The manor proper begins on p 51 and the appendices begin on p 133.

As to the quality of the product, my review is mixed. If you are willing to put in some study and prep, I think it will be fun for your players. If you want to read some box text and roll dice, this isn't a good adventure. I'm a fan of FGG and also backed Rappan Athuk 5e. I have a nostalgic soft spot for old school modules, and Tegel Manor 5e wouldn't exist if not for the enthusiasm FGG has for old school adventures and Judge's Guild, so I'm in a forgiving mood about the book's production flaws. I haven't read the whole thing but my first impression was, "what the hell is this?" This is one of the earliest published D&D adventures and you have to be in a 1977 mindset which means your players are more interested in finding out what is behind the next door than story-telling. The adventure itself does not have a story arc. The book doesn't lead with a history of Tegel Manor or an overall plot. Your players are adventurers, and this is a place to have adventures, so that's what they're going to do. The manor does not a pose threat to the wider world, there are no rumors of fantastic treasures, and no driving reason why the players want to go there, other than some NPC's in the town might pay them to go there. There isn't any kind of expected progression through the adventure. The players will do some things, rest, and do more things, in no particular order (the last encounter in the manor chapter is just a kitten). There is an abundance of mystery, horror, puzzles and danger to experience and that is the reason to play the adventure.

Overall the book has good text and artwork. It does have some warts that interfere with smoothly running the game, so I think you have to be extra prepared. It doesn't take long to find these warts. On the first page of chapter 1, there is a reference to a burglar stat block in the bestiary, but FGG left out the burglar from the appendix. Not a big deal - just sub in some other NPC - but you need to know that before you go looking for the burglar while running he game. Here is a more serious problem. Many of the rooms refer to someone from the Rump family tree, listed in Appendix I. If there is a system by which these NPC's are organized in the appendix, it eludes me. Each listing reads like this, "2. Reckless Rory (B3.)" They are not alphabetical by name, nor are they are in any kind of order based on encounter area. Occasionally the family members are referenced by number in the text: "the dusty portrait of Radded Rufus (NPC#55)", which is great, but most of the time they are not: "When Lady Rubienna Rumpula is present..." There is no way to find her other than to skim the appendix until you find "79. Lady Rubienna Rumpula (A4.) [F1.]" And once you find her, you are not done. Turns out she's a vampire, so now you have to look up the vampire stat block. It seems like they had a system in mind to refer to the numbered NPC's in the room descriptions, but in the rush to get the book published the system wasn't fully implemented. This shows up in other ways, too. There is a wilderness map in the book. Tegel Village has buildings labeled A to W (get out your magnifying glass because the entire town takes up a 4cm x 4cm area on the book's map). Chapter 2 gives the wilderness encounter areas, labeled AA - HH, but these areas were omitted from the map! Most of them you can figure out from the description, but it's hard to explain leaving a whole chapter's worth of wilderness encounters off the wilderness map! KS backers got 6 panel full-color maps of the manor and wilderness, and hi-res map files which are much better than the manor maps in the book. Hopefully you get those files when you purchase the book pdf.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This is one of the earliest published D&D adventures and you have to be in a 1977 mindset which means your players are more interested in finding out what is behind the next door than story-telling. The adventure itself does not have a story arc. The book doesn't lead with a history of Tegel Manor or an overall plot. Your players are adventurers, and this is a place to have adventures, so that's what they're going to do. The manor does not a pose threat to the wider world, there are no rumors of fantastic treasures, and no driving reason why the players want to go there, other than some NPC's in the town might pay them to go there.
This is exactly what I want in any module! Just give me the adventure itself and let me worry about whatever backstory is needed, or reason(s) for the party to go there.

There is a wilderness map in the book. Tegel Village has buildings labeled A to W (get out your magnifying glass because the entire town takes up a 4cm x 4cm area on the book's map). Chapter 2 gives the wilderness encounter areas, labeled AA - HH, but these areas were omitted from the map! Most of them you can figure out from the description, but it's hard to explain leaving a whole chapter's worth of wilderness encounters off the wilderness map!
This sort of thing is unforgivable in a professional work. Too bad, as the rest of it sounds cool!
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
An adventure like Tegel Manor greatly benefits from using an interlinked format. I'll probably put it in RealmWorks, which makes something like this easier to run than flipping through bookmarked pages. However, they are currently working on getting it available in Fantasy Grounds. I'm not sure how good FG is about displaying content but it would be great to have the map of Tegel Manor all prepped for VTT play.

Actually, this is something I didn't mention before. MANY of FGG's big books can be a pain to run in pen and paper format. They are huge and trying to understand how things connect can be a challenge and remembering everything is going to nigh impossible for most people with busy lives.. Have the PDF open and optimized for searching can help. I've put WAY to much time copying material from the PDF to RealmWorks so everything is cross-linked.

Tegel Manor is much easier to run than Rappan Athuk though. It is mostly a room by room dungeon crawl. I would just read through it with a highlighter to make sure you don't miss important bits when running it. It could be helpful to print and cut out NPC and portrait descriptions, but search the pdf is almost as convenient and doesn't require the prep work.

Hopefully they will put this up in World Anvil after they release Lost Lands setting guide on World Anvil. I much prefer running these huge adventure areas in a cross-linked format than from paper or PDF.
 
I picked up Tegel and have been reading over the PDF all weekend. What I can say is that the map (even though it's artistically well designed) isn't very functional (at least on my screen). Squares aren't clearly defined. I think there are numerous missing doors that leave entire sections of the Manor unreachable. The overworld map isn't labeled at all.
This is all stuff I can fix on my own, but it does demonstrate a little carelessness.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
I have to say, the item listing on FGG is pretty minimal, given the price.

But I like the 70s feel, and I do not fear TPKs. I seldom use the included backgrounds to any adventure, so I'm OK with it not having any.
 
I'm looking at dropping this in as a dungeon in one of my ongoing games for 5e, but I'm curious about the level range, page count, and general quality of the product. I have been unable to find these details on their official page or in general Google searches. And I'd like to know more before dropping $55 on the product.
Thanks in advance.
Picked it up recently. Havent read it yet.
 

Windjammer

Adventurer
Wow, very pleased to see this got published at long last. As for helping you decide on whether to get it for yourself, the following may help :


That's Gabor Lux's website, he's one of the co-authors, and that site explains and illustrates his design stance when he took on the task of expanding the module.

I can't speak to how much, exactly, survives the 2019 version. What I do remember, from the author's manuscript back in the day, is that it was an utterly idiosyncratic module, off the charts creative, but also often extremely whimsical. Gabor took a house full of a completely eccentric family and he made them... even weirder. Think of Heath Ledger's Joker, or Depp's Jack Sparrow in the third movie's "My Peanut" sequence. Now multiply these characters by the dozen and have them haunt Castle Ravenloft. Boom. That's Tegel Manor.

If the original '77 module was already very weird, Gabor Lux made it both more consistent and even more intriguing. My favorite bit was a random effects table for magical columns. What is pretty pedestrian in most author's hands (or my own, to be honest), became this miniature gem for creating hilarity and tension at the gaming table.

I wish there'd be a cheaper available version, if only so folks would feel more relaxed to try something outside established genre boundaries of D&D modules. I know I'm more inclined to sink fifty bucks into a bucket load of Paizo/WotC modules that, let's face it, re-hash the dozens of modules I already have on my shelves. That's just how we work. "Men hate two things--the desert, and novelty." Borges. So, if nothing else, Tegel Manor is a safe purchase if you wanna get something you, for sure, haven't seen or played before.

[EDIT] If you wanna see a case in point just how idiosyncratic an education Gabor Lux brings to the table, consider the illustration on page 7 (attached below). Gabor is a huge fan of early European silent film movies, and expressed that the ultimate woman in the Wilderlands setting may have found a perfect portrayal in Fritz Lang's 1924 Saga of the Nibelungs. Check the 1 hour time mark here for the inspiration:

 

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mach1.9pants

Adventurer
An adventure like Tegel Manor greatly benefits from using an interlinked format. I'll probably put it in RealmWorks, which makes something like this easier to run than flipping through bookmarked pages. However, they are currently working on getting it available in Fantasy Grounds. I'm not sure how good FG is about displaying content but it would be great to have the map of Tegel Manor all prepped for VTT play.

Actually, this is something I didn't mention before. MANY of FGG's big books can be a pain to run in pen and paper format. They are huge and trying to understand how things connect can be a challenge and remembering everything is going to nigh impossible for most people with busy lives.. Have the PDF open and optimized for searching can help. I've put WAY to much time copying material from the PDF to RealmWorks so everything is cross-linked.

Tegel Manor is much easier to run than Rappan Athuk though. It is mostly a room by room dungeon crawl. I would just read through it with a highlighter to make sure you don't miss important bits when running it. It could be helpful to print and cut out NPC and portrait descriptions, but search the pdf is almost as convenient and doesn't require the prep work.

Hopefully they will put this up in World Anvil after they release Lost Lands setting guide on World Anvil. I much prefer running these huge adventure areas in a cross-linked format than from paper or PDF.
Sorry to thread jack but cannot you point me in the direction of a good guide to importing a PDF adventure into Realm Works
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Sorry to thread jack but cannot you point me in the direction of a good guide to importing a PDF adventure into Realm Works
Unfortunately, it is pretty labor intensive. The good news is that FGG is working on putting its material into World Anvil. I'm not sure where Tegel Manor fits on the timeline, but I would get it on WA in a heart beat rather than having to data enter such a large adventure into Realmworks.

Also, I believe that Tegel Manor will be available in Fantasy Ground soon. I don't have enough experience with FG to know how well it works for navigating and using adventure content beyond the maps. However, having the Tegel Manor maps all prepped for VTT use might be enough to justify the cost of buying FG and the Tegel Manor content on it.
 
Since posting, I've purchased the book and run two sessions. I've set it up as a "run in and recover a specific item," but the group has fallen victim to a teleportation trap and gotten themselves lost in the halls. Now they are fighting for survival and trying to escape. One of the players said the last session was one of the best games he's had playing D&D. I'm GMing for mostly new players, and they are surprised by the challenge of the place - but they're having a blast coming up with creative solutions.
My main gripe about the book itself is the map. It's very artistic and beautifully designed; however, there might be too much detail. The numbers and text are hard to read with my aging eyes, doors are hard to see, and the patterned tile floors make it difficult to see grids and get accurate measurements.
 

chrisshorb

Everything's Fine
My main gripe about the book itself is the map. It's very artistic and beautifully designed; however, there might be too much detail. The numbers and text are hard to read with my aging eyes, doors are hard to see, and the patterned tile floors make it difficult to see grids and get accurate measurements.
Well that will probably kill any chance of me buying it. I realized recently that I'm actually not getting younger, but getting older by the second!
 

amethal

Explorer
Gabor Lux has also published his own take on the haunted house, Castle Xyntillan. It's for Swords & Wizardry, rather than 5th edition, however.
 

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