Friday, December 30, 2016

Tangent Dungeons, Mega Dungeons, Or The Good, The Bad, & The Cosmic A Slightly Different Take On I7 Baltron's Beacon (1e)

So last night I've been rereading Dwimmermount (ACKS version) From Autarch & quietly watching the poll on G+ I set up about the doors of the mega dungeon swinging open upon Ancient & Accursed Terra. One does not simply have the doors to one of the most infamous OSR mega dungeons open up & suddenly the world is DOOMED! Umm no.

What if the mechanisms of Dwimmermount coming to life brought other dungeon complexes and ruins also into activation? Could ruins, complexes, dungeons, and other places of adventure suddenly become part of a world spanning cosmic event? And could classic TSR era modules be used as a part of such an old school convention style of mini or mega campaign?  I think so here's how.  Let's take a look at
I7 Baltron's Beacon for  (1e) AD&D 
The plot hook goes something like this,
"A strangely delivered advertisement has led you to a sage named Demetrios. He needs a rare component to complete a desperately needed potion. The journey to retrieve it will take you through a large, unexplored swamp to a ruined keep, the former headquarters of a vile cult that once claimed the lives of many innocent youths."This is one of the intermediate classic modules & deals with all kinds of fun such as deep wilderness exploration & lots of dungeon crawling within the Beacon itself. It doesn't take genius to pull the elements of the swampland around the beacon & the dungeons to hook them within the region of
Dwimmermount. Because the I7 is a part of  the C-series of ("Competition") &  S-series ("Special") modules its easy to have PC's go through a sort of tangent dungeon's adventure. That is a series of linked adventures as a warm up to the mini campaign that is

Something similar to Dungeon Crawl Classics's funnel but more intimate style of play with the DM sprinkling clues hints about Dwimmermount throughout the playing of I7 Baltron's Beacon. There are several reasons why this sort of an campaign would work:
  1.  I7 Baltron's Beacon (1e) has a very limited background story for all of the NPC's of the adventure location and zero dungeon ecology for the Beacon itself. This enables the DM to fill in backstory, history, & details as needed to give all of the NPC's connections to the mega dungeon & the surrounding environs. 
  2. There's a surprising amount going on within the adventure that has the potential to be exploited by a cagey dungeon master & the whole thing is one big dungeon crawl some nice practice for Dwimmermount. The intimate style of parts of the adventure give a good contrast to the cosmic elements of the mega dungeon. This one also makes nice practice for some of the hellish adventure elements to come. 
  3. The style mirrors some of the weirdness of Dwimmermount, this was a technique I've used for several Lamentations of the Flame Princess & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 's adventure efforts. 
  4.  Adaptability is the watch word with I7 Baltron's Beacon and that's one of the adventure's strength's. Time and again this module has proven to have some solid chops to easily connect not only to the world but the setting that its shoe horned into. 
  5. Tramps, mercenaries, & thieves fill the roster for NPC's and as a DM these are a few of my favorite people especially in a sword & sorcery style adventure. 
  6. Guns & black powder won't upset the balance of I7 in the least. 
  7. NPC's who survive I7 can easily be recycled into other adventures & they've made excellent Dark Albion NPC's who can easily be apart of the action or killed as needed. 
  8. Lots of wonderful toys to play with! I7 has lots of nice bits  including pregenerated characters; a player map; and a few pictures meant to be shown to players. All of which can be slipped into Dwimmermount as a part of the meta plot. 
  9.  I7 can easily be adapted to Adventurer, Conqueror, King which handles down & dirty as well as cosmic style adventures easily. I7 doesn't have some of the classic era 'big boy' voice over the shoulder DM text & other bits that seem to dominate certain modules of that era. 
  10. Flexibility & numbers of players work well with I7 because of its nature, many players & DM's consider this a classic. Its also a good work out adventure to play and experiment with as the players deal with the issues, plot, and weirdness of I7. 
 I7 Baltron's Beacon has a lot to offer the DM because it can stand on its own or be incorporated into the greater part of your world. The materials backgrounds, subplots, and backstory can all work as a greater piece of the world shattering events that are happening around the PC's. This means that they're going to be a part of the action right out of the gate. I7 doesn't pull any punches though and if they act dumb or stupid the adventure is more then capable of pulling out the rug from under their feet and killing them. I like how easily this module fits into any world and almost seems a throw back to an earlier era of gaming even before its publication.


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