Sunday, September 23, 2012

Actual Play Expedition To The Barrier Peaks & Observations


Ok I'm running this bad boy ! 

Well we all know about my experience with the Temple of the Frog last week. Mutant Frogs & bad dice = TPK
I heed to James Ward's axiom as always " Characters kill themselves" or words to that effect
Plot : 

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks takes place on a spaceship in the Barrier Peaks mountain range of the World of Greyhawk campaign setting.[2] In the adventure's introduction, it is explained that the Grand Duchy of Geoff is under constant attack by a succession of monsters that have been emerging from a cave in the mountains. The Grand Duke of Geoff has hired the characters to discover the origin of the creatures, and stop their incursions.

Notes on the Module 
Opinions on the module vary widely but they all agree on the fact that the map can easily be miss read & that the ship is a very dynamic place. Apparently James Ward is especially lethal as a Dm running this module. I've had this one told to me on several occasions. I must play this module with him when I get to Gary Con if he's running it. 

  1. As later seen in video games, "plot coupons" need to be collected. The adventure requires the players to gather colored access cards (the "coupons") to advance to the next story arc:[3] entering restricted areas, commanding robots, and other actions are all dependent on the cards.Expedition to the Barrier Peaks comes with a booklet of 63 numbered illustrations, depicting the various monsters, high tech devices, and situations encountered in the adventure. Much of the artwork for the adventure, including the cover, was produced by Erol Otus. Several of his contributions were printed in full color. Jeff Dee, Greg K. Fleming, David S. LaForceJim Roslof and David C. Sutherland III provided additional illustrations for the adventure
    Apparently its really important to use the art booklet as it really drives home the flavor of the module. 
  2. There are many different tribes of Vegepymy that could be used like "Tucker's Kobolds" if I so choose.

    I love this line "  Vegepygmies keep pets called "thornies", which are shaped like dogs but are really plant creatures as well. "  These guys are so going in my Carcosa game next time. You can read more about these bastards Right here

  3. This section of the wiki on the module has me thinking about both Terminal Space, Carcosa, & Stars Without Numbers 
    "While D&D is a fantasy roleplaying game, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks introducesscience fiction elements into the game.[1][5] Work on the adventure began in 1976, whenTSR was considering publishing a science fantasy role playing gameJames M. Ward had shown them his rough notes on Metamorphosis AlphaGary Gygax thought it would be a good idea to introduce science fiction/science fantasy concepts to D&D players through the use of a tournament scenario at the 1976 Origins II gaming convention in Baltimore, Maryland. Gygax started with his old Greyhawk Castle campaign material and added a spaceship, which Rob Kuntz helped him populate with monsters.[4]:2[6] Kuntz is further credited for "inspiration" for the module; his "Machine Level" having been incorporated into Greyhawk Castle[7] and Tim Kask having played in a D&D game with science fantasy content run by Kuntz at GenCon VII in 1974.[8]
    According to Gygax, both the scenario that became Expedition to the Barrier Peaks andMetamorphosis Alpha were successful at the convention. Although Metamorphosis Alphabecame available to the general public in mid-1976, only a few copies of the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks tournament adventure survived after the convention.[4]:2
    When Metamorphosis Alpha was updated and expanded into Gamma World, it seemed the right time for Gygax to reintroduce Expedition to the Barrier Peaks to the public. Said Gygax, "What could be more logical than to make available a scenario which blends the two role playing approaches into a single form?" 
    Since I've been dancing around the Trek thing in my Highwaymen SWN campaign perhaps I need to take a look at the Metamorphis Alpha Timeline by Robert Ward. Robert Kuntz has been a fount of information on incorporating D&D within a framework of science fantasy. There's lots to work with here. 

    4. "In 1980, TSR released AD&D module S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. The module was based on the idea that a starship such as the Warden (though not the Warden itself, according to TSR founder Gary Gygax) becomes marooned in a D&D universe. In the module's foreword, Gygax writes that the module was written to introduce Metamorphosis Alpha to the wider D&D audience and to demonstrate how one might undertake science fiction/fantasy crossover."
    Works for me as a bases to retrocon the whole thing into my timeline. If you want to read about this timeline I keep talking about you can go right over here The_Timeline Yes I'm avoiding Gamma World completely going with Metamorphis Alpha 
    5. This is an unforgettable mix of hilarious absurdity and amazingly gritty gameplay for veteran players, character levels 8-12. They do actually mean the 8-12 levels for PCs. The encounters are very gritty & match anything we've seen in may old school modules 

    I'm wishing the PCs luck on this one & should this fellow escape well there might be a follow up!



  1. Awesome, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks is one of my favorite modules. I look forward to reading the play reports.

    -Ed Green

  2. Thanks Ed this is a module that makes opinions in folks. You either get it or you don't. The fact that there's lots going on here polarizes folks opinions. I padded the encounters on this one for that very reason. You can read today's report & see what I mean. Thanks for the continued support man. More coming up


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