Browsing the blog archives for April, 2011

Interruptions and Interludes

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Games, Tabletop

My gaming group hasn’t met for a week due to scheduling conflicts, but we’re hoping to get back into the swing of things this upcoming week. We’re also running into the final couple encounters of the Keep on the Borderlands adventure that I’ve been running, so my thoughts have been turning to what we can do after the adventure finishes.

The first option, which I’m going to immediately dismiss — Everyone rolls up new characters and we play a different adventure. Our group is really just getting into the swing of things, and I think a lot of the players want to continue playing their characters. I’m a little hesitant to continue the campaign onward after the KotB adventure finishes because D&D 4th Edition has some built-in assumptions I’m not really comfortable with (prevalence of magic mostly, and how this interacts with the game world). However, it’s not about me doing what I want, it’s about everyone having fun, so I’m going to ignore that little voice for now.

The second option is that I could run another published adventure. I actually have a copy of the Undermountain adventure from an earlier season of D&D Encounters, and another published adventure called The Slaying Stone. There are two problems posed by using either of these adventures. The first is story continuity: There really isn’t any story continuity, so I’d need to do additional work to try and fit the subsequent adventures into the context of the Keep on the Borderlands adventure. The second is that both of these adventures are designed for level 1 characters, while currently the group I am running is sitting around 3-5. This is particularly tricky because the Dungeon Master’s Guide spells out that adjusting monster difficulty up by adding levels doesn’t really work that effectively beyond a 5 level jump/dump — So I’d need to really think about the encounter building.

The third option is that I could write my own adventure from scratch. I actually want to do this. At the same time, I really need to invest my time and energy into other pursuits that are more important to me than a D&D game. The only question in my mind is whether it’ll be long-term easier for me to write my own adventure than to take the time and effort to try and adapt a published adventure to my purposes. The Undermountain adventure, for example — I’m sure the encounters themselves are something I could easily adjust to make more challenging. But the plot itself, and the characters, present a problem for me. The alternative, the Slaying Stone adventure, could actually dovetail fairly easily with the Keep on the Borderlands adventure. The downside is it’s designed in a non-linear way and so there’s no easy way to adjust the encounters on a per-session basis. I’d actually have to sit down one day and type up a bunch of new statblocks and encounter notes for level-adjusted encounters. That might be feasible at some point in the coming weeks, but large unfilled blocks of time are something that’s a little tricky to come by.