Saturday, June 2, 2018

Twelve Rules For Adapting Classic Old School Modules for Campaign Play

Sometimes one stumbles into a blog topic, today I was down at my local Half Priced Books with some friends. I walked over to the rpg section which was quite full of treasures from the old school. Watching two twenty something year old guys mooning at a classic  T1 Temple of Elemental Evil by Gary Gygax with Frank Mentzer. They were intimidated by three things the lethality of the module, the size & scale of T1, & the campaign commitment. I sat these guys down & we went over bit by bit how to take on this beast.
They bought the only copy of T1 there after we had talked & gone over the module together.

These guidelines & not hard & fast rules folks. Born out of common sense & forged over the years from dealing with three generations of players here. Dungeons & Dragons is over forty years old & sometimes common sense is short supply.

  1. There are no sacred cows at the table, the module doesn't matter what the title is or whatever is yours & you as the dungeon master need to read & adapt it to suit the needs of the table. 
  2. Reread, reread  the module. Don't memorize it, instead take fast, quick notes, about. Form your own opinions about it. Trust your gut instincts & modify it as necessary for the players. 
  3. Have fun with the adventure as the dungeon master. Read, chuckle, put it aside, & don't be intimidated by it. 
  4. Your needs & not the publisher's or writer's. This means that you have total control over what is done with this product at your table. Total control and no one can over ride the players or your control. Adapt, destroy, and alter as necessary. 
  5. Change, gut, use, these three apply to monsters, treasure, events, etc. to fit the campaign or one shot event. 
  6. Take your time running the adventure. Stretch the game sessions out to the players needs but not your own. Let the play find its own level. Stop worrying you've got this.
  7. Tournament play means exactly what it implies and the above guidelines allow you to modify as necessary,
  8. "But this isn't how Gary or  XYZ ran or did this?!" , the play of the adventure may alter the adventure that the authors or designers never saw. Go with it. 
  9. Your allowed to make mistakes & learn from them. 
  10. Classic adventures are classic for a reason. Its alright to run them as is if that's your preference as a dungeon master. 
  11. Expect PC death frequently & roll with it. The players will be thankful for it. It builds better players & campaigns. 
  12. Classic modules are merely guidelines themselves & you & your players are the makers of the products of your imagination. You own this now take it in the direction that you want & need.

    Next time more Arduin, OSR weirdness, & more Sword & Sorcery horror coming up.

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