Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Fresh Look At The 'Pay What You Want' Caverns Of Ugard One Shot By Shane Ward From 3 Toadstools As Low Level Adventure Campaign Catalyst

"The name Ugard is notorious with pain and fear!  Thru-out the surrounding lands Ugard and his minions threaten, bully and extort money and lives.  The vile Minotaur is holed up in some caves on the outskirts of town.  This OSR compatible one page dungeon can easily be placed into any campaign for a night of fun!  Compatible with Labyrinth Lord (TM)"

Last night I took sometime to look for a low level one shot dungeon that could be played in one night. In point of fact looking for something not complicated has been fun but there is a serious derth of low level one shots that could act as introductory adventures for original Dungeons & Dragons or B/X style games. The Caverns Of Ugard From  3 Toadstools by Shane Ward looks like its gonna fill that niche nicely. This is one page, one shot dungeon that looks like it could act as a solid introduction to a retro  fantasy campaign. 

For low level & beginning characters this looks like a pay what you want introductory one shot this is really important for a beginning level player's PC. I have reviewed this one shot dungeon before but I'm looking at this through the lens of a beginning dungeon master. The cartography is clear & the layout crisp. The real question is the drag & drop quality of this adventure right into a campaign is definitely one of the assets of this adventure.

With a bit of work 
The Caverns Of Ugard could be used for an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea campaign in some backwater village. Or the same thing could be said for using it as a side quest adventure for an existing campaign.  For B/X Dungeons & Dragons this is a nice little evening one shot that could parlay itself into a full on campaign if coupled with say B2 Keep on the Borderlands

The idea here is that the game session events of 
 The Caverns Of Ugard for shadow B2 Keep on the Borderland. Damage, fatigue, & what not from the dungeon may take their toll from the one shot dungeon. The low level PC's get their collective asses handed to them in the Caverns but get a rest only to come across the events of the keep & its Caves of Chaos. There are several reasons why this works instead of the usual throw the party into B2 Keep on the Borderlands events: 
  1. The events of the keep are not simply isolated at all. The random encounters of B2 point to this.  The Caverns Of Ugard as an adventure location can highlight this to the players.  
  2. The forces of the caverns woven into the frame work of B2 give the DM plenty of ammo to get a campaign started. 
  3. Simple & easy make the play shine & the players will fill in the rest believe me as a dungeon master. 
  4. One shots are a good way of easing into low level play for beginning players. 
  5. Dungeons & Dragons seems to lack campaign cohesion & the The Caverns Of Ugard can act as a solid glue to stick all of this together. 
  6. Evidence of a cult can be peppered into The Caverns Of Ugard so the Caves of Chaos flows more organically. 
  7. Humanoid forces should be very dangerous as random encounters in this sort of set up. 
  8. Low level one shot dungeons give the DM lots of latitude to work with newbie players. 
  9. This sort of set up gives the DM plenty of ammo to set up adventures like T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil later on.
  10. This is a good self contained dungeon that can branch out into a workable OSR or old school campaign. 

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