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White Plume Mountain - doable as a one-shot?

Caedrus

Explorer
Pretty much what the title says. I am looking to do a one-shot in a couple weeks running C&C, and was thinking about running WPM. It's one of my favorite adventures, a fun dungeon crawl with plenty of puzzles and cool quest items. Anyway, it's been a loooooooong time since I played it, and was wondering if it could be done in 4-5 hours. Anybody played this recently? How long did it take? How does it run under C&C (I know conversion is pretty minor)?
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I ran White Plume Mountain as a Gygax Memorial Dungeon Crawl a little while ago. I think how well it works as a one-shot depends on how much detail you want to go into, and how big a Rat Bastard DM you want to be.

There are traps and odd situations galore in WPM - but they don't give any standard solutions. Everything is dependent on how hard the DM feels things should be. So, the number of things the party has to think up and try to get past them is entirely in the DM's hands.

I, personally, think 4-5 hours would be giving the module short shrift. You probably want 6 to 8 hours to do it justice.
 

BSF

Explorer
Depending on how the players run through it, and how lucky/unlucky they are, they can easily be done in 4 hours. :)

Seriously, WPM was originally designed for one shots. Pregen characters, a simple hook, a mix of puzzles and grind, heck - you don't even get to keep the cool items, with the original hook, it is all designed for that one shot experience. Have at it, but don't be surprised if there is a lot of PC death going on.
 

smetzger

Explorer
Caedrus said:
Pretty much what the title says. I am looking to do a one-shot in a couple weeks running C&C, and was thinking about running WPM. It's one of my favorite adventures, a fun dungeon crawl with plenty of puzzles and cool quest items. Anyway, it's been a loooooooong time since I played it, and was wondering if it could be done in 4-5 hours. Anybody played this recently? How long did it take? How does it run under C&C (I know conversion is pretty minor)?

I ran it under a 3.0 fan conversion and WOTCs 3.5 conversion. I don't think you will be able to finish it in one 4-5 hr session. You would need to really hurry things along.

That being said I think this works very well for a temp 1-3 session game.

When I ran the 3.5 conversion I believe it took us 3 sessions, one for each leg. We did take it very relaxed from a time constraint perspective.

The final leg they ended up in the giant crab room. I used the Aklay star wars mini and added a couple of crab swarms which greatly increased the difficulty.
 

Delta

First Post
I've tried running a number of classic D&D modules in recent years, and they never come close to fitting in a single one-shot time frame. Although many were originally convention games, my understanding is that they got significantly bulked up for mass publication. I can never fit in more than 1 encounter per 30 minutes, so that's 6-8 encounters tops in a 4-hour session.

That said, WPM is very nicely set up if you want to say that the PCs are pursuing one of the three magic items. Maybe outright give them a clue about which path leads to which item and let them make the choice. They could do one branch within a 4-hour period.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I think WPM is a more serious character grinder than even the more infamous ToH. The reason is that whereas ToH is almost entirely passive hazards that require the players to do something stupid (like touch anything) and even most of these are avoidable if you have access to flying magic, WPM is filled with active hazards of various sorts that are much harder in general to avoid. You can get through ToH almost entirely without combat. The same is not true of WPM.

I think its very suitable for a one off, but rather unsuited to just 4 hours of play. I agree that you need probably 8-12 hours to do it justice, or rather I think you need 8-12 hours to complete it. You can very easily kill off parties with it in 4 hours.

I very seriously doubt there are old school modules that are completable in 4 hours of play and do them justice. Most of them take at least 3 sessions.

I saw a short module for 3.5 that involved looting the pyramid of like 5 evil pharoahs while avoiding a rival NPC party. I don't remember the name, but it only had like 5 (well done) encounter locations. Someone who has played it will no doubt remember it. You probably could finish that in a single session.
 

Voadam

Legend
I ran WPM in 1e years ago.

I honestly can't remember if it was one or more sessions but I would expect to be able to do one of the three weapon recoveries satisfactorily.
 

Jhaelen

First Post
It's been a long time we played it (the 2E version). For our group it took at least three sessions (each 10+ hours), probably more. Using the 3E rules it would probably take us even longer. But then, we're notoriously slow.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I've run WPM under both 1e and 3.5 rules and it took us considerably more than 4-5 hours in both cases. The group would have to be extraordinarily focused and disciplined to get it done in that kind of time, and even then it's probably not worth the rush.
There are plenty of interesting and odd encounter areas that take time to describe and work your way through. I'd focus on the module start (and riddle) and then expect to finish off one of the three main legs of the dungeon. I wouldn't expect to get much, if anything, more done than that.
 

buzz

Adventurer
ENWorlder Pbartender ran WPM using Iron Heroes a few Gamedays ago, and we finished it in a four-hour slot no problem. I'm not sure if he cut anything out, but it didn't seem like it.
 

Caedrus

Explorer
Thanks for all the replies, everyone. I didn't think it was going to work in the time frame we have to work with.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for something that would fit in my time frame? I just want a good, old-fashioned adventure. As I said, I am running C&C but I can convert from d20 or whatever. It doesn't have to be a dungeon crawl necessarily, they are just easier sometimes for this sort of game. Also, it doesn't matter what level, as I will make pregens and they most likely won't be played again.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Try this one. It's the one I mentioned earlier. It's a 32 pager with some introductory RP, basically 2 locations and about 5 encounter locations in the main dungeon. I've never played it, but it seemed well done and I've heard some favorable reviews of it on the EnWorld boards.
 

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