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Recommendations: adventures/modules for Trailblazer

What are some existing published adventures that would go well with Trailblazer rules? Magazine, 3e, 3.5, Pathfinder, etc. Anyone run a published adventure with little problem?

I'm more interested in adventures that would work well for a party of three players only just starting, so starting from level 1.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
Anything. Seriously.

In my home group, Wulf has run The Vault of Larin Karr, another guy just finished Red Hand of Doom, and now I'm running Rappan Athuk Reloaded, all with Trailblazer, by the book.

Modules by Necromancer and Goodman definitely capture the "old-school" feel, which is certainly in the spirit of Trailblazer.

While some of the the TB rules are a departure from 3.5, being able to run a module with little or no change was an important requirement for Wulf and I.

You can literally run anything straight from the module. The only modification you may have to make is calculating CMB/CMD (although the monster book will remedy that) and possibly adding the Elite or Solo templates to certain monsters.

You can go one step further and tweak ,major NPCs that have class levels, spellcasting ability, etc but you really don't have to. The players won't notice and a slight variation in modifiers here and there won't make or break the game.

You may see some power difference at times; Trailblazer PCs tend to be slightly more powerful than their 3.5 counterparts, if for no other reason than Action Points. For that reason, I definitely would recommend adding the Elite and Solo template for important battles.

Conversely, if you are using TB "by the book", the PCs won't be able to make magic items other than potions, scrolls, and wands. That's a big deal since they won't be able to cherry-pick what they want.

Hope that helps!
 
Well, my brother is asking for me to run something of a pickup game. We'd have two other players, his son (age 11) my son (age 9). Both are phenoms with math and read many grade levels above.

Having the characters being above 3.5-par will help survivability for them. I might try to wing an on-the-fly conversion of my old standby, a 1e adventure from Dungeon #26, The Inheritance. Nothing but raiding a small keep filled with hobgoblins but chances for tons of roleplay . . .
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Well, my brother is asking for me to run something of a pickup game. We'd have two other players, his son (age 11) my son (age 9).
Glassjaw covered the salient points of the answer, but I just wanted to express my jealousy at the makeup of your game. Your brother and your two sons? I can't imagine a better time.

Ok, maybe the game sessions will be a little light on beer, but like most problems in life, you can always make up for that with bigger piles of dead bad guys.
 
Glassjaw covered the salient points of the answer, but I just wanted to express my jealousy at the makeup of your game. Your brother and your two sons? I can't imagine a better time.

Ok, maybe the game sessions will be a little light on beer, but like most problems in life, you can always make up for that with bigger piles of dead bad guys.
It was a blast.

Short on prep time, I just reverted to my most successful AD&D campaign. Made up entirely of scattered Dungeon adventures. Grabbed the magazine, ran as is but upping the hit points of the senior hobgoblins a bit. Our sons both loved it. My nephew remarked near the end, "This is so much more fun than the computer games!" Sounds silly, but I found it tremendously touching.

It would be nice to get another person to sit in to make it a fuller table, but an elf ranger, half-orc barbarian, and dwarf cleric made a very capable table. Some Trailblazer rules helped this understaffed party hold their own. The bump to starting hit points made a big help.

The rest mechanic saved their bacon a few times the way it was meant to. Under AD&D rules I had to deal with awkward pauses in what was meant to be a time sensitive mission. The group found a reasonable time to rest, recouped their hit points and resources and finished up.

The skills changes made for an ever so slightly swifter character creation process, just spend your points how you want.

None of us had experience using action points before, and I didn't spent much time describing them. I told them their points get reset when they level, they leveled and reset the points. Two had six points each that went unspent and could have made an even greater impact. Now they know how fast they can level and I'm going to urge spending the action points more.

I really found the simple change to attacks of opportunity to be elegant and a welcome change. Moving around within the entire threatened area doesn't provoke, only disengaging from the area. As the DM, made for a real nailbiter of a final scene when a raised alarm brought 13 hobgoblins rushing the room as two PCs (with a bit of a failure of tactics) straddled the entrance to the door. Many hobgoblins were able to rush into the room. "Maybe I should have stood in front to block them,"said the barbarian played by my nephew.

One complaint. My copy of the physical book has been so used the covers are curling rather badly. I didn't think we really used it that much. I did print out the particular class for each player, as well as a copy of the races for each of them. I printed one copy of the skills section and two copied of the feats. But I still think the book is going to see use enough that the covers may not last long.

If there is another printing, I hope you choose a better cover material. ;)

Any solutions to flatten out the curling cover? I'm afraid it won't very long.

But it was good times and they are all hoping the day we all have time to do it again happens soon. :)
 
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Wulf Ratbane

Villager
None of us had experience using action points before, and I didn't spent much time describing them. I told them their points get reset when they level, they leveled and reset the points. Two had six points each that went unspent and could have made an even greater impact. Now they know how fast they can level and I'm going to urge spending the action points more.
Did you let them choose some Action Point enhancements? (p18). Now that they have an adventure under their belt, they may have an idea what "role" they'd like to settle into, which will help them pick the right AP path to flesh out their characters. And also, naturally, more bacon-saving. Having the enhancements helps to remind players that the APs are there for them. I like playing the Defender role, so each time I take damage, that is a reminder that something is happening that is "my schtick," and thus, I may be able to spend an AP to enhance that.

One complaint. My copy of the physical book has been so used the covers are curling rather badly. I didn't think we really used it that much.
Hmm... Did you also notice that the corner, on the spine side, showed evidence of bite marks? If so, congratulations! If your players are rolling up their book in their sweaty palms and chewing nervously at the pages, you're probably doing something right.

If there is another printing, I hope you choose a better cover material. ;)
Ahh, I have more than a couple of complaints about Amazon's print-on-demand service, but it is what it is. No control over it, and no plans to change.

Any solutions to flatten out the curling cover? I'm afraid it won't very long.
As always, the most canny solution is to drop me an email with your shipping address-- or that of your nephew. (I realize I probably have your address already, but your email will also serve as my reminder in the morning.)
 

ValhallaGH

Villager
What are some existing published adventures that would go well with Trailblazer rules? Magazine, 3e, 3.5, Pathfinder, etc. Anyone run a published adventure with little problem?

I'm more interested in adventures that would work well for a party of three players only just starting, so starting from level 1.
I've been running four players through The Shackled City adventure path and it's been a blast. They just wrapped up chapter 4 last night, and we've only had one PC death (and half a dozen close calls), all to the random encounter tables.

In my experience, just about any module or adventure would work well with Trailblazer. The PCs are tough, with the ability to survive being dropped to -28 (in round one), get healed up (in round two), and finish the battle (in round five); but the are not invincible (a combination of bad luck, smart monster tactics, and surprise will still make them all vulnerable to coup de grace).

I'd suggest running something fun, that you'll enjoy making a whole campaign out of, and just going with it. If you think a class-leveled NPC needs a boost then you can give him the TB class features, but you don't have to if you're feeling lazy.

Good luck.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
In my experience, just about any module or adventure would work well with Trailblazer. The PCs are tough, with the ability to survive being dropped to -28 (in round one), get healed up (in round two), and finish the battle (in round five); but they are not invincible (a combination of bad luck, smart monster tactics, and surprise will still make them all vulnerable to coup de grace).
They are tough. When I finished my run as DM (which took up most of our local playtest campaign) I handed the reins over to a "newbie" DM. He found it frustrating at first trying to challenge Trailblazer PCs. Here's the advice I gave him:

1) For a published module, if you need to bump the challenge, the easiest tweak is just to add more of the low-level monsters in any encounter. If the encounter calls for 6 goblins and a hobgoblin leader, use 9-12 goblins.

2) Turn the mid-level monsters into Elites. If there are worgs in the group above, make them Elite. Ditto for the leader.

3) Know how to run a Solo. Burn those Action Points for extra actions. Don't be afraid to give yourself bonus APs if the encounter needs them for dramatic tension.

4) Know the difference between dramatic tension and screwing the players.

5) Read the Encounter Budgeting section very carefully. Trailblazer PCs need to be hit harder. Adjust budgets and XP awards/advancement as indicated!

6) The players want combat to feel like a roller-coaster: As close as possible to the feeling of death without actually killing you. If the sensation of risk is not genuine, the ride will suck. But actually dying really really sucks. (This is a very delicate balance that only experience can teach.)

7) If the PCs are spending APs, you (the DM) are "winning."

8) Convert the sense of risk away from "My PC is going to die!" to "We're ALL going to die!" While it's true that Trailblazer makes it very unlikely that you will kill any individual player, pull no punches and keep the threat of a TPK on the table at all times:

9) Remember that every PC who drops makes it exponentially more likely that the entire party will lose. Just because the fighter might only be "mostly dead" at -60 hit points (yes, this happened in our game... yes, he lived...) doesn't mean the party won't crap their pants when he drops.

10) Don't let the PCs abuse the 10 minute rest. The heart of that rule is simply this: The PCs get to rest when you want them to-- it just doesn't have to take a day to do it anymore.

11) Ask questions here when you need help!
 
I'm digging deep into my stock of old published Dungeon adventures from the AD&D era, so I'd already concluded point 5.
5) Read the Encounter Budgeting section very carefully. Trailblazer PCs need to be hit harder. Adjust budgets and XP awards/advancement as indicated!
I hope to get this down pat. It's one of those things that could be on a hypothetical Trailblazer DM Screen. *cough*

I never use screens much anyway, rolling everything out in the open, but I'd easily put it on a card for quick reference.
 
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ValhallaGH

Villager
I hope to get this down pat. It's one of those things that could be on a hypothetical Trailblazer DM Screen.... I'd easily put it on a card for quick reference.
Yeah, that's the one page of the .pdf that I always have printed out and handy, even though I have a print copy to flip through!



Re: PC Toughness
Those one-time hp at first level have been a huge difference, leaving the PCs just able to fight through.
The 10 minute rest has been the key to my PCs surviving. Post fight, they really want a rest and when they get it (usually) they spring back as tough and capable as they were going in. This means that each battle is the "first of the day" and I can pretty much go nuts with little fear of killing them accidentally. It also means that our Barbarian(s) can rage almost every encounter, though there have been a few where the player of Dra Dra Smash was freaking out because she couldn't rage and it looked like she really needed to.

I've found that turning critters into elites works wonders. I had a random encounter with a Behir (level 7 party) last session that almost killed two PCs (the rogue went down in surprise and round 1 and the the cleric was on his third death check when he got pulled out of the stomach and stabilized).
The one action point really lets them screw things up and those extra hp really give them time to shine. Just glorious.
In a 3.5 game, it would have been a TPK, with the rogue dead (rakes) in round 1, the cleric swallowed in round 2, the Barbarian chomped bloody and swallowed whole in round 3, and the fighter constricted for rounds 3 to death. Time to roll new characters.

Beautifully balanced, guys. I tip my hat to you.
 

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