Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk Part 13- GDQ0 House of the Brothers OSR Commentary On The Lands of Greyhawk

 "The House of the Brothers is an AD&D® game scenario for 3-6 characters of levels 6-10. Parties composed of less experienced players should have higher levels, while seasoned players may be able to handle this adventure with lower-level characters."

:This scenario s designed to fit into the WORLD OF GREYHAWKTM Fantasy Setting. It takes place in hex M5-127 on the WORLD OF GREYHAWK  boxed-set maps three hexes north of Loftwick in the Yeomanry, on the border of the Jotens mountain range. "
We've talked about the scattering of Greyhawk's relics & treasures here & the role that Cyfandir plays in the Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk campaign here. What if there was a module or adventure that could segway into the Giant series of modules?! What happens if Luz's return is just the signal that the giants have been waiting for?! House of the Brothers from Dungeon magazine just be that adventure according to the Greyhawk wiki entry on this adventure; "
House of the Brothers is a Dungeon Magazine Module for 1st Edition Ad&D, for 3-6 character of levels 6-10, but is a considerable challenge for most players at that level. It's designed to expand the GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders super module, but could also be used to expand the G 'Giant' Series as well."
If the dragona of Cyfandir have returned then this could be the sign that the forces of Chaos have been waiting for because it may mark the return of the one of the gods of destruction for the orges & the trolls. These are two of the backbone forces of Chaos;'Worship of Vaprak, god of destruction worshipped by ogres and trolls. The module describes a small, horrifi idol with the words 'MIGHTY IS THE POWER OF THE CLAWED ONE. GREAT IS HIS FURY. DARK IS THE HOUR OF HIS RETURN.' engraved on it's pedestal. "Vaprak, god of destruction just might be one of the side gods of evil that unites the humanoids within B2 Keep on the Borderlands. 
Remember the forces of Chaos within Adventurer.Coqueror, King are all based around the evil humanoids of old school gaming. And in the Giant series of modules it's the Drow who are stirring the pot. And it might be the evil Chaos worshipping Elves who have called a temporary truce with the Drow to further the plot of the cult of elemental evil. And it could be the Drow who have furthered the corruption of Hommlet. 

The village of Hommlet & the Keep must both be secure by the player's PC's in order to run House of the Brothers! Why? A letter to Dungeon magazine addresses this; " House of the Brother's had two letters addressing the difficulty challenge of he module:

Dear Editor: I have some worries about the level you are assigning adventures. The range in toughness for the same strength party seems pretty wide. Take "White Death" and "House of the Brothers" (issue #6). In "White Death" 4-8 players of 4th-7th level (a party averaging 33 levels) takes on 36 hp of dragon. In "Brothers", 3-6 players of 6th-1th level (36 levels) take on 200hp of Giants plus 61 hp of hell hounds. To make matters worse, "Brothers" is heavily trapped, and the PCs don't know what they are facing until probably too late, while he PCs in "White Death" know from the star they are after a white dragon and may well meet him when they are at full power.   

So, we have one adventure where the party is an easy winner, and another where the party is going to be lucky to survive. Consistent bias is easily handled by the DM but this erratic evaluation is worse than useless. The party will get bored with easy wins and even more distressed by disasters. Hopefully, you don't have this problem too often. David Carl Argall (Dungeon Magazine #9, p.3)"

And David is right and the follow up letter addresses this; " Adventure Levels: I was very interested to read David Carl Argall’s comments in issue #9 on the levels assigned to adventures. As the designer of “House of the Brothers” (issue #6), I think I have some comments which may prove useful to him.

When you are considering whether to use a given adventure in your campaign, you must consider more than just the recommended level range. The level range for “House of the Brothers” was 3-6 characters of 6th-10th level, an average of 36 levels to take on two fog giants, two hellhounds, and some dangerous traps. David says this is too tough for the players. You might be surprised to learn, then, that when I playtested this scenario, my own players were running characters from 3rd-7th level, with the average character being 5th level.

Instead of considering only the level of your players, you should also consider the relative skill of your players. In some worlds, a single giant would be deadly for a whole party of mid-level characters. In my campaign, a single hill giant wouldn’t last two rounds against even 1st-level characters. This reflects the relative experience and skill of my players, not the statistics of their characters. I routinely use modules designed for 4th-7th level characters, with only slight modifications, when my own party is at 1st level."

The ACK's player's PC's are going to have to be an appropriate level in order to tackle the pitfalls & perils of GDQ0 House of the brothers. And we can see this in the secondary response to David's letter;"During playtesting, none of the fiendish traps set by Erdol and Karzahk worked on my party. A mid-level thief who checks for traps every time should be able to negate most traps on chests and coffers. Failing this, my players have devised a number of ingenious methods for avoiding traps (which I will not share here to save you from having the same problem). They know me . . . they expect to find fiendish traps. Thus, they have learned to take the elementary precautions that will avoid them. (Consequently, I was quite shocked when they did not immediately suspect that the statue in room 5 was a stone golem!)

Finally, the real responsibility for assigning levels to adventures lies with the Dungeon Master. You know your players and your campaign’s needs better than anyone, even if they live in Lake Geneva. Frequently, AD&D players expect TSR to hand feed them, balancing every campaign and clarifying every rule. This is an impossible responsibility. Think for yourself. Mark R. Shipley Bremerton, Washington (Dungeon Magazine #11, p.2)"

This brings into sharp focus the roll that the upper levels of ACKs play in sorting out the intricities of stitching together a prequel to the G series within a  Barbarian Warlords of Greyhawk campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.