Tuesday, November 8, 2022

OSR Commentary On G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition

 "Giants have been raiding the lands of men in large bands, with giants of different sorts in these marauding groups. Death and destruction have been laid heavily upon every place these monsters have visited. A party of the bravest and most powerful adventurers has been assembled and given the charge to punish the miscreant giants." 

When it comes to iconic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax  comes to my mind. And there's a reason for this, the module is perfect for bringing the PC's into a Sword & Sorcery campaign. G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief By Gary Gygax  has the feel of a first part of a mythological campaign with Sword & Sorcery shade to it. 

The inspiration for this blog post is actually this blog entry from 2010 from Delta's D&D Hotspot blog here. And one of his observations brings home why I pull out G1 from time to time; "In the past I assumed that everyone who's played D&D for any amount time will be intimately familiar with every detail of the classic modules, but I was thrilled to realize a few years back that that wasn't the case. To players just a few years younger than myself, the adventures are novel, so I get an opportunity to DM them all over again." This is one of the reasons why the classic AD&D modules still have impact today. And we can even bring this into Mystara quite easily using the Vaults of Pandius article "Setting module G1-2-3/Against the Giants in the Northern Reaches" By  Demos Sachlas using the following; I'm back with another look at a classic AD&D 1e module - this time, the iconic G1-2-3. I'm actually in the middle of running this right now (my players have made it all the way to G3 - you can check out our campaign journal over on Dragonsfoot here) so I've been contemplating where these adventures might work best on Mystara.

The G series, by Gygax himself, kicked off the practice of publishing tournament scenarios as modules. In this case, the adventures debuted at the Origins tournament in 1978, recounted in Dragon #19 (October 1978). The original setting seemed generic (these were the first modules ever published by TSR), but later established to be Greyhawk when the Folio came out (1980). The series in general and G1 in particular was inspired by "The Roaring Trumpet" by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp (and is recommended reading for anyone running these).

With its strong nordic connection, the Northern Reaches are a natural setting for these modules in Mystara ." And this makes it perfect for Gazetteer Northern Reaches! 

This brings into sharp contrast the fact that the PC's may be Vikings dealing with the machinations of the giant races. These could even be left over from the affairs of Ragnorok easily! Ward & Kuntz's classic AD&D first edition  Dieties & Demigods has the entire cast of gods that can easily influence your game campaigns. 

G1 has the advantage of being not only a tourament module but the first of a series to bring in the PC's into the fold of a world changing module by introducing the Drow into the mix of your campaign. These rare manipulators may have far more influence then at first it seems. And this can translate into running G1 with really old school OD&D rules once again we turn to Delta's blog here; "Although published for AD&D, I ran this using OD&D rules (with my usual house rules; see OED sidebar to the right). The past few years I ran sessions of S1 using AD&D itself (much of it being dependent on AD&D clerical spells like find traps and true seeing and commune that I felt obliged in that way). Due to the nature of this adventure, I felt totally comfortable running G1 with OD&D rules and deleting clerics (albeit giving the party a few jugs of healing potion), as usual. I'm more-or-less done with AD&D, and my tuned OD&D feels so "right" in play (finally!) that I really don't have the appetite to run anything else. I translated hit points by just subtracting a monster's Hit Dice (i.e., translating d8's to d6's on average), or else just rolling everything on the fly (more comments on that further down)."

Not only have we got the reduction going on but the re balancing of encounters and such. What this means is that G1 could theoritcially be run with your favorite OSR rpg  system if you as the DM are willing to put in the time. If we go back in time to Feb. 12 2019 then we've got Jason Vey's Grey Elf Age of Conan here on the blog. This makes G1 easily to convert over into  OD&D Sword & Sorcery style games. 

G1 closes in on the Robert E.Howard's The Frost Giant's Daughter turf with the giants growing far more restless because of the machinations of the Drow. 

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