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Best modules to teach player skill

What are some of the Basic modules, or intro level AD&D modules, that give the best training in 'Gygaxian' skills? That is, what low level modules would best prepare novice players to survive the tricks and traps used in the later modules?
 

Cyronax

Villager
I say Rahasia - B7. It involves a complex battle environment, a fight with dominated elves, and the release of an evil force into the world if the PCs fail.

C.I.D.
 

ExploderWizard

Villager
N4 Treasure Hunt

The PCs are thrown into a survival situation as normal people and must use thier wits to get out alive because they don't even have a character class, let alone powers to rely on.

Nothing is better at teaching people to approach problems as regular people than letting them play regular people. :D
 

Bullgrit

Villager
Well, first thing I'd say is that if you want "Gygaxian," you must go with module written by Gygax.

B2 Keep on the Borderlands

T1 Village of Hommlet

Bullgrit
 

TheYeti1775

Villager
Well, first thing I'd say is that if you want "Gygaxian," you must go with module written by Gygax.

B2 Keep on the Borderlands

T1 Village of Hommlet

Bullgrit
B2 Keep on the Borderlands would be my choice for it as well.
Can be as simple or complex as you like.
 
N4 Treasure Hunt

The PCs are thrown into a survival situation as normal people and must use thier wits to get out alive because they don't even have a character class, let alone powers to rely on.

Nothing is better at teaching people to approach problems as regular people than letting them play regular people. :D
Not that I'm some expert or something, but I've never even heard of this; I thought that I was at least passingly familiar with most older modules. Maybe I can look this one up. Thanks.
 

Bullgrit

Villager
Witty Comeback said:
Alright, let's take B2: what are the skills that PCs are "supposed to learn" in the Caves of Chaos?
I don't know. You asked for "Gygaxian" style, and B2 (and T1) is a classic Gygax module. If there is anything to learn about Gygaxian style, playing through a Gygax module will teach it.

Bullgrit
 

Aurumvorax

Villager
Alright, let's take B2: what are the skills that PCs are "supposed to learn" in the Caves of Chaos?
"Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to explore it." B2 cannot be completed by a level 1 party in a single go-through. It just can't unless Lady Luck calls you "son" and lives in your house. There are too many monsters, traps, and situatios that can outright kill the entire party. The DM is encouraged to use wandering monsters and some areas will replenish when you leave them so if you tried to camp outside you'll likely be ambushed.

I'd say about the time you start encountering bug bears, you should definitely leave the caves and explore the wilderness (there are several worthwhile encounters there) to gain power and treasure. Once you hit level 2 or 3, it's time to go back into the caves and finish it off.

My favorite "beginner" module is X1 Isle of Dread (written by my fave designer Zeb Cook). It was the first module to really explore Mystara (even contains a big ass map) and it teaches the players about exploration and navigation. Sometimes you'll encounter friendly (but seemingly hostile) species and other times you'll encounter creatures waaaay over the PCs heads which teaches them "Just because the DM put it before you doesn't mean you can kill it." Of course, the DM shouldn't put them in a situation where they have no chance in hell of winning but I never liked the concept of CR and ECL because it leads to PC assumption that "Oh, it's an encounter so it must be within +/- 1 or 2 CR. We can take that!" I've played with DMs that go beyond that but it usually leads to horrible deaths because it's much more difficult to escape in 3E than it is in AD&D.
 
In B2, the only thing the author specifically expects the players to learn is at the gate of the Keep: Stay in character!

Other things you might learn include:

1. Some monsters are tougher than you are.
2. Monsters can be smart and sneaky, too.
3. Not everyone in town is your friend.
4. Don't believe every rumour you hear.
5. Not every prisoner is your friend, either.
6. Some monsters work together.....intentionally or by accident.
7. Making a useable map is paramount to success.
8. Weird temples can be hazardous to your health (a Gygaxian speciality).
9. Not every treasure is worth the effort.
10. Things change over time....repeated forays meet more prepared monsters.
11. Sometimes the monsters flee, and take their loot with them.
12. Just because it's curvy doesn't mean its not a medusa.

I'm sure there is more.


RC
 

grodog

Adventurer
Some key skills players could learn from some old-school TSR modules:

- B1: mapping (from level 1)
- B2: running away (and don't trust scary hermits, ever---to be shortly followed up by "don't trust hot babe prisoners, ever" either)
- G1: stealth and scouting are rewarded; don't rouse the entire steading against you, or you'll die; use the resources provided in the dungeon (orcs in rebellion vs. giants); you probably won't ever map the entire dungeon level
- G3: don't trust maps "dropped" by fleeing foes; prepare for intelligent, planned resistance to your incursions; reinforcement to use the provided resources (there's a titan the PCs can recruit!)
- L1: potion miscibility for the win!
- S1: think before you walk; look for secret doors at the bottoms of pits; think some more; know when to walk away from the module without "finishing" it
- T1: just because the NPC in town offers to join your party doesn't mean he's your friend; just because the path into the moathouse looks safe doesn't mean you're not giant frog food; PC actions have consequences (wheels within wheels = 10th level assassin comes for them if they kiil Lareth and blab about it)
 

Ariosto

Villager
The sample level in the original (Holmes) Basic Dungeons & Dragons set many an adventurer on the road to glory.

B1 In Search of the Unknown packs in a lot of classic dungeon situations. In my view, some of the traps are just too arbitrarily placed -- but I might say the same of the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Those may reflect more the nature of the campaign dungeons as described in the original D & D set, but there is significant overlap with modules in terms of skills tested.

T1 Village of Hommlet, as grodog mentioned, is an education in intrigue. There's a similar scenario in N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God.

B4 The Lost City and Judges Guild's Caverns of Thracia combine elements in an Underworld a la the G and D modules.

Nothing comes immediately to mind with the "pressure cooker" atmosphere common to many modules (conceived as they were for tournaments). Low-level characters simply don't have much in the way of resources to use up in attrition; they cannot afford many mistakes.

Tunnels & Trolls offered many solitaire scenarios -- no Game Master required -- that often enough lived up to such titles as Deathtrap Equalizer, Naked Doom and City of Terrors. When a character met an untimely end, one could try again with another, and all at one's own leisure.

Then along came personal computers. They brought Zork and Rogue; King's Quest and Faery Tale Adventure; Phantasie and Ultima and Wizardry; Might and Magic ... and eventually the Advanced D&D game Pool of Radiance and its successors.
 

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