Old Modules

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I know most people say they hate the old modules and campaign realms, but I think since that's what made dnd great. Instead of trying to create a 'video game' that can be played on table top, I think wizards should focus its KISS principle roots. As far as I have found, dnd is the best game ever if you want to create and develop a 'person'. I say person because in any game you can create a character and watch him grow in statistics, but not in personality. DnD is a one of a kind game, and instead of trying to compete with video games (which it will never beat) it should remember that is in a class of its own.

What is an old module or campaign setting that you think should be reprinted or reinvented. I like the Advance D&D's Greyhawk, and I would love to see the entire against the giants reprinted.
Your post makes very little sense.

Also my favorite setting is Eberron so I'm in luck, mine's already available
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
"your right. should probably delete and repost...
...or edit it."

Is that a little clearer? 
I think you make a false assumption.  I've seen nothing to support the notion that they're trying to create a table top video game.  I find the concept to be contradictory.

I'm happy with Forgotten Realms and the Tomb of Horrors.  But I haven't gotten the updated ToH yet.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Yeah, your assumption is borked. There is nothing in D&D that lets you create "a person" that doesn't exist in other roleplaying games as well and there is no attempt at all to create a "video game".

I think that the last thing they should do is go back to a lot of things they did a long time ago that have long since been proved to be a bad idea and continue in their current direction, which makes for a far more interesting story.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
Holythorne, I think you are making the assumption that people know what you are talking about.  

I mean, it's quite obvious that you're new to the forums, due to the fact that you're saying that most people "don't like the old modules or campaign settings."   

Anybody who has been on these forums for a bit knows that people are demanding Ravenloft, Planescape, and Greyhawk all the time.

Also, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.  I'm not sure if you're saying that they should release more campaign settings (which you seem to have linked to "develop a person," which makes no sense to me), or if you're lamenting the fact that D&D is trying to compete with video games (which, I'd hate to tell you, it isn't.  When's the last time you've seen the Red Box in your local Gamestop).

So, which point are you trying to make? 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
I think you make a false assumption.  I've seen nothing to support the notion that they're trying to create a table top video game.  I find the concept to be contradictory.

I'm happy with Forgotten Realms and the Tomb of Horrors.  But I haven't gotten the updated ToH yet.

i don't literally mean a video game at all. Rather, the 4.0 dnd in all its greatness, is very much like a video game as opposed to dnd. I don't know how to explain exactly, but what I'm trying to get at is that dungeons and dragons is different from most any other game, and thus it needs to be marketed differently. I think the old books captured this quite well, and i would like to see some of them redone with the 21st century spin, but still much of the old feeling.
Holythorne, I think you are making the assumption that people know what you are talking about.  

I mean, it's quite obvious that you're new to the forums, due to the fact that you're saying that most people "don't like the old modules or campaign settings."   

Anybody who has been on these forums for a bit knows that people are demanding Ravenloft, Planescape, and Greyhawk all the time.

Also, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.  I'm not sure if you're saying that they should release more campaign settings (which you seem to have linked to "develop a person," which makes no sense to me), or if you're lamenting the fact that D&D is trying to compete with video games (which, I'd hate to tell you, it isn't.  When's the last time you've seen the Red Box in your local Gamestop).

So, which point are you trying to make? 

yeah, i wish i could just delete this. it wasn't well thought out. i'm not entirely new to the forums, i've been reading for several months now. just first time poster. most of my knowledge comes from talking with veterans and numbnuts. 
Yeah, your assumption is borked. There is nothing in D&D that lets you create "a person" that doesn't exist in other roleplaying games as well and there is no attempt at all to create a "video game".

I think that the last thing they should do is go back to a lot of things they did a long time ago that have long since been proved to be a bad idea and continue in their current direction, which makes for a far more interesting story.


Also true.  I find that developing a person can just as easily be done in any World of Darkness setting.  Especially if you just play "normal human being in world filled with vampires, werewolves, and demons."
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
i don't literally mean a video game at all. Rather, the 4.0 dnd in all its greatness, is very much like a video game as opposed to dnd. I don't know how to explain exactly, but what I'm trying to get at is that dungeons and dragons is different from most any other game, and thus it needs to be marketed differently. I think the old books captured this quite well, and i would like to see some of them redone with the 21st century spin, but still much of the old feeling.


If you can't explain it exactly, I might suggest you could be imaginging it.  I saw the same argument about 3e.  Comparison to Diablo.

4E feels closer to older editions to me, not video games.  No more absurd multi-classing and skills all over the place.  But more activity for melee classes than "I attack." 
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
i don't literally mean a video game at all. Rather, the 4.0 dnd in all its greatness, is very much like a video game as opposed to dnd. I don't know how to explain exactly, but what I'm trying to get at is that dungeons and dragons is different from most any other game, and thus it needs to be marketed differently. I think the old books captured this quite well, and i would like to see some of them redone with the 21st century spin, but still much of the old feeling.


If you can't explain it exactly, I might suggest you could be imaginging it.  I saw the same argument about 3e.  Comparison to Diablo.

4E feels closer to older editions to me, not video games.  No more absurd multi-classing and skills all over the place.  But more activity for melee classes than "I attack." 

I liked the "I attack" fighter Laughing. I'm not knocking on the new stuff entirely. I mean to say, it all feels the same to me. I think the classes are all too similar, for one, and combat feels slow because there everyone's taking ten minutes to strategize instead of moving in the moment with "I attack". Maybe I haven't gotten with a serious enough group.
 I think the old books captured this quite well, and i would like to see some of them redone with the 21st century spin, but still much of the old feeling.



They did just that, and they called it 4th Edition.

This is the modern spin they're giving to the old game. What you're asking for isn't a modern spin, it's nostalgia. And unfortunately, nostalgia doesn't sell and generally isn't as good as the nostalgic thinks it is, either.

Most people aren't really looking for the "old feeling" anymore.
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
 I always find '4e=WoW" arguments (which is what this is, just not specifying WoW) amusing.  The comparison always come down to something superficial; AEDU powers being reminsicent of recharge times or Tieflings vaguely resembling some race in WoW whose name I forget.  Unfortunately, The things that make 'video games' into an entity that makes for a bad tabletop RPG are much more along the lines of the game consisting of lots of pointless fetch quests and you onlybeing able to take those actions which the programmers have anticipated.  These are the sorts of things that are much more in the hands of the DM than the game system itself

Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  

Oh and I don't think anyone has expressed any particular disdain for the old modules.  Indeed, one of the most common topics of conversation around here is 'wouldn't it be great if they did a 4e version of [insert name of old module here]'  Personally, I'd like to see the old Desert of Desolation series be brought back.
I think nostalgia implies that you've been there, which I haven't.
(I'm surprised this has gotten this many posts. Thanks guys.) 
 I always find '4e=WoW" arguments (which is what this is, just not specifying WoW) amusing.  The comparison always come down to something superficial; AEDU powers being reminsicent of recharge times or Tieflings vaguely resembling some race in WoW whose name I forget.  Unfortunately, The things that make 'video games' into an entity that makes for a bad tabletop RPG are much more along the lines of the game consisting of lots of pointless fetch quests and you onlybeing able to take those actions which the programmers have anticipated.  These are the sorts of things that are much more in the hands of the DM than the game system itself

Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  

Oh and I don't think anyone has expressed any particular disdain for the old modules.  Indeed, one of the most common topics of conversation around here is 'wouldn't it be great if they did a 4e version of [insert name of old module here]'  Personally, I'd like to see the old Desert of Desolation series be brought back.


i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.

I will say though, I haven't seen these forums of 'wouldn't it be great if they did a 4e version of [insert name of old module here]' . I have heard though that those get flamed horribly by people who 'hate racist Greyhawk and Krynn'
I'm currently working on converting some of the old "greats" such as Palace of the Silver Princess, Castle Amber, the Slave Lords series, and a few others. As far as classic campaign settings go, if WotC is going to do to them what they did to the Realms, I'd rather they just left them alone. However, if they can do to them what they did to Dark Sun, then I'd be all for it. Fluff aside, Greyhawk, DragonLance, Ravenloft, and most others brought very little "new" crunch to the table. Instead of reinventing these, I'd rather see WotC release another new campaign setting. Something we haven't seen before. Something for the new generation of gamers to latch onto and talk about years later.
I'm confused, they already did,  it is called against the giants or revenge of the giants or something.
I'm confused, they already did,  it is called against the giants or revenge of the giants or something.



A completely new take/spin is not the same as a conversion.
Comparing the new Giants against the old one, they are worlds apart in almost every way.
Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM.



Wait... what? Have you ever DMed 4th edition before? It's soooooo easy to improvise it's ridiculous. 
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
I'm currently working on converting some of the old "greats" such as Palace of the Silver Princess, Castle Amber, the Slave Lords series, and a few others. As far as classic campaign settings go, if WotC is going to do to them what they did to the Realms, I'd rather they just left them alone. However, if they can do to them what they did to Dark Sun, then I'd be all for it. Fluff aside, Greyhawk, DragonLance, Ravenloft, and most others brought very little "new" crunch to the table. Instead of reinventing these, I'd rather see WotC release another new campaign setting. Something we haven't seen before. Something for the new generation of gamers to latch onto and talk about years later.

valid point, but i haven't been on the old adventures and it's real difficult and expensive to find the books. Guess you can't have your cake and eat it too, can you?
I'm currently working on converting some of the old "greats" such as Palace of the Silver Princess, Castle Amber, the Slave Lords series, and a few others. As far as classic campaign settings go, if WotC is going to do to them what they did to the Realms, I'd rather they just left them alone. However, if they can do to them what they did to Dark Sun, then I'd be all for it. Fluff aside, Greyhawk, DragonLance, Ravenloft, and most others brought very little "new" crunch to the table. Instead of reinventing these, I'd rather see WotC release another new campaign setting. Something we haven't seen before. Something for the new generation of gamers to latch onto and talk about years later.

valid point, but i haven't been on the old adventures and it's real difficult and expensive to find the books. Guess you can't have your cake and eat it too, can you?
Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM.



Wait... what? Have you ever DMed 4th edition before? It's soooooo easy to improvise it's ridiculous. 

I have, but not much. Its hard finding a good group who will meet consistently. Remember, I'm not comparing anything to 3.5, which i havent played.
(I'm surprised this has gotten this many posts. Thanks guys.) 



Ah, Holythorne - you have no idea. Wishing D&D were more like the older editions AND comparing 4E to video games...

Veteran of The Transfer... Add 700 to my post count... 

i love old modules. i just painstakingly recreated Ravenloft I6 for 4e line for line, inch by inch. My next VT campaign will be the Desert of Desolation series, again line for line, inch by inch

Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  


i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.


I get where Holythorne is coming from. I used to play a lot of D&D and AD&D back in the 80's, before 2nd edition was published. I just got back into it after 20+ years away, so I've never seen 2nd or 3rd edition. I started looking at 4e with the red starter kit box and Heroes of Fallen Lands, and headed to my local comics and gaming shop for a couple of open gaming sessions. I've only played two sessions so far, and I'm getting the same feeling from the game that he is.

In the two sessions where I've played, everything has been scripted from the pre-printed adventure. The DM gives us the setup, we players follow the one and only obvious choice, and we end up in an encounter. The DM puts down the map, we fight, and it leads us to the next pre-planned encounter. And so on and so on. In my first session, we entered a cave, which opened up to a big room where we fought some monsters. There was only one exit to the room besides the way we came, and that led to the next big room with monsters in it. There were literally no options whatsoever, other than to go back the way we came, which would mean no longer playing that adventure. The second session was a little less obvious about forcing us through specific rooms, but it was still a case of only having one reasonable option after each encounter, which leads to the next specific pre-planned encounter.

Compare that to the first published module I ever played in the original D&D: "B2: The Keep on the Borderlands", which came with the original red box in 1980. It featured the infamous "Caves of Chaos", which was a series of over a dozen caves set into the hillside, and the players could end up with a completely different adventure depending on which cave they chose to enter first. For instance, I remember that one of the biggest baddies there was a lone ogre (pretty scary for a 1st level group). If you walked right into his cave, you would have to deal with just him by himself, either fighting him or trying to talk your way out of a fight. But if you ran into his neighbors (orcs? goblins? I don't remember exactly) before you ran into the ogre, the neighbors' cave connected to the ogre cave, and the neighbors would bribe the ogre into helping them fight your party. So after fighting the smaller monsters for a couple of rounds, this big ogre would suddenly show up as part of the same encounter, so it was a completely different playing experience. Also, there were notes in the module about what to do if the players left the caves to rest and recover, then came back a different game day, after the monsters also had time to rest and recover. The monsters brought in reenforcements, just like the players might do! And that was in a mostly "hack and slash" style adventure, with very little plot to it, but it still had more variety than what I've experienced so far in 4e.

It seems like it might just be a style issue with the preprinted adventures intended for open games at the local store (Encounters and whatever else). I have no idea if the same problem exists with other published adventures, as I haven't actually seen those yet. And obviously, a good DM making up their own adventures, with players who like to improvise, could lead to MUCH more variety, regardless of what version of D&D you're playing. But the published adventures I've played so far really have seemed very "programmed", where the players must play all of the specific encounters in the book, and they must play them in a specific order, and the only decision making the players get to make are the combat tactics of each encounter. If that's what Holythorne and others mean when they complain that the game feels like a video game, then I completely agree.



Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!
What is an old module or campaign setting that you think should be reprinted or reinvented. I like the Advance D&D's Greyhawk, and I would love to see the entire against the giants reprinted.


Steve Winters (magazine editor in chief) indicated an update of Against the Giants is being done, and they're adding a new adventure so the PCs can assault a stone giant lair.

I personally have adapted Keep on the Borderlands and the Desert of Desolation series to 4e and it all works fine.

I have no idea what you mean by video-gameyness (and yes I have read the entire thread).  Is this just another one of those "I wish martial characters didn't have encounter and daily powers" rants?
oh wrecan.... don't you know that at the start of 4th ed D&D campaign, it requires you to go in the cellar of the local Generic Barkeep's Inn, kill dire rats until you get 10 tails (each with a 35% drop) to prove the rats are dead and upon completion, you need to get ready to press B+A at the same time during the quicktime event to leap out of the way from the falling pillar that the stereotypical training boss (with a quicktime event weakness too!) pushes down on you or you die and have to redo the talking sequence AND the quicktime event.

all this time you need to manage holding your weapons & armor in a 6x10 grid of squares that somehow holds 99 candy bars, 99 pill bottles & more ammo(well, arrows) then gun store but only a sword & sheild.

also, the controls are kinda twitchy and the camera is usually at an awkward angle so the constant switch between 1st & 3rd person view makes the jumping puzzles ludicrously hard to do.
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i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.



This is a function of organized play, not anything particular to the game system in question.  Any time you have content written by a small group of people and a large number of players aimed at reproducing the same experience in each individual table, you're going to have railroaded roleplaying to a nontrivial degree.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.



This is a function of organized play, not anything particular to the game system in question.  Any time you have content written by a small group of people and a large number of players aimed at reproducing the same experience in each individual table, you're going to have railroaded roleplaying to a nontrivial degree.




 As Mand said, it's entirely a matter of trying to write a module that can be crammed into an alotted time limit and be played by any number of people using a random assortment of characters rather than an organized and coherent party, without significant set-up or preparation time by the DM. If it feels like playing a video game, that's because video games, by their nature, are limited to only providing a finite number of options at every decision point by the difficulty and expense of programming - the public modules are also limited by the amount of company resources devoted to their development, as well as both time constraints during actual play and the need to be very generic in order to be playable by the largest consumer base (read: the lowest common denominator)... They're specifically designed so that anybody - particularly a beginner - can jump in at any time without having to worry about getting in over their head. The Encounters sessions are meant to bring in new players and supplement a player's home campaign. They weren't designed to take the place of a real game.

Going to an organized, timed public session called "Encounters" and then noting that the game feels railroaded and lacks roleplaying opportunities is greatly similar to going to "Beatles Night" at a karaoke bar and then proclaiming your disappointment at no one singing any Motorhead tunes and at the questionable entertainment value of the performances. You're basically comparing a pick-up basketball game on the playground at school to a varsity high school game. Seriously, the only similarity between a public playing session and a well-thought-out, well-prepared home campaign is that they both use the same rules system.


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Going to an organized, timed public session called "Encounters" and then noting that the game feels railroaded and lacks roleplaying opportunities is greatly similar to going to "Beatles Night" at a karaoke bar and then proclaiming your disappointment at no one singing any Motorhead tunes and at the questionable entertainment value of the performances.


And how exactly is a new player supposed to know this? Imagine a newbie who picks up the red box, then follows it up with one of the Essentials players books, because the red box tells him to. He learns the basic rules, then goes out on the web trying to find people to play with. He finds that his local gaming shop has D&D night every week, so he shows up. How is he supposed to know that what he experiences there isn't what the game is always like?

To expand on your analogy, it would be like the regulars at a karaoke bar picking one night every week to be Beatles night, not telling anybody outside their group, and then not telling the new guy who shows up and wonders why only Beatles fans are at this karaoke bar.
Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!

Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  


i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.


I get where Holythorne is coming from. I used to play a lot of D&D and AD&D back in the 80's, before 2nd edition was published. I just got back into it after 20+ years away, so I've never seen 2nd or 3rd edition. I started looking at 4e with the red starter kit box and Heroes of Fallen Lands, and headed to my local comics and gaming shop for a couple of open gaming sessions. I've only played two sessions so far, and I'm getting the same feeling from the game that he is.

In the two sessions where I've played, everything has been scripted from the pre-printed adventure. The DM gives us the setup, we players follow the one and only obvious choice, and we end up in an encounter. The DM puts down the map, we fight, and it leads us to the next pre-planned encounter. And so on and so on. In my first session, we entered a cave, which opened up to a big room where we fought some monsters. There was only one exit to the room besides the way we came, and that led to the next big room with monsters in it. There were literally no options whatsoever, other than to go back the way we came, which would mean no longer playing that adventure. The second session was a little less obvious about forcing us through specific rooms, but it was still a case of only having one reasonable option after each encounter, which leads to the next specific pre-planned encounter.

Compare that to the first published module I ever played in the original D&D: "B2: The Keep on the Borderlands", which came with the original red box in 1980. It featured the infamous "Caves of Chaos", which was a series of over a dozen caves set into the hillside, and the players could end up with a completely different adventure depending on which cave they chose to enter first. For instance, I remember that one of the biggest baddies there was a lone ogre (pretty scary for a 1st level group). If you walked right into his cave, you would have to deal with just him by himself, either fighting him or trying to talk your way out of a fight. But if you ran into his neighbors (orcs? goblins? I don't remember exactly) before you ran into the ogre, the neighbors' cave connected to the ogre cave, and the neighbors would bribe the ogre into helping them fight your party. So after fighting the smaller monsters for a couple of rounds, this big ogre would suddenly show up as part of the same encounter, so it was a completely different playing experience. Also, there were notes in the module about what to do if the players left the caves to rest and recover, then came back a different game day, after the monsters also had time to rest and recover. The monsters brought in reenforcements, just like the players might do! And that was in a mostly "hack and slash" style adventure, with very little plot to it, but it still had more variety than what I've experienced so far in 4e.

It seems like it might just be a style issue with the preprinted adventures intended for open games at the local store (Encounters and whatever else). I have no idea if the same problem exists with other published adventures, as I haven't actually seen those yet. And obviously, a good DM making up their own adventures, with players who like to improvise, could lead to MUCH more variety, regardless of what version of D&D you're playing. But the published adventures I've played so far really have seemed very "programmed", where the players must play all of the specific encounters in the book, and they must play them in a specific order, and the only decision making the players get to make are the combat tactics of each encounter. If that's what Holythorne and others mean when they complain that the game feels like a video game, then I completely agree.




That's what I mean. The first time I played DnD, I was a Human adventurer (Rayn Redstride - we called him an adventurer because he was lawful good, but he was really a thief). My dad was DMing and we did the woodcutter's series and got started on the caves of chaos. The fast paced simple combat was great, because it didn't take an entire evening to complete 'one encounter'.

I played D&D Encounters as a 1st level Eladrin CHAladin in a level two world. Now, the group was great and everyone knew what they were doing, but it all felt very scripted. You're supposed to roll this to get past this, these events are happening. It didn't matter what your characters wanted to do so much, it was all about the script.

Also, this article made me happy:
www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...
It goes along with my point, but he covers it much better than I can. 
And how exactly is a new player supposed to know this? Imagine a newbie who picks up the red box, then follows it up with one of the Essentials players books, because the red box tells him to. He learns the basic rules, then goes out on the web trying to find people to play with. He finds that his local gaming shop has D&D night every week, so he shows up. How is he supposed to know that what he experiences there isn't what the game is always like?



If they're newbies just getting into the game, odds are very good that they don't care that it's railroaded hack&slash. They're new. They've never experienced D&D before. They're having fun learning the rules and killing the Goblins.

Deep roleplaying generally comes later. If they're interested enough, odds are pretty good they'll either
- talk to someone at the table, who will explain exactly the difference between Encounters and a homegame
- look for a non-Encounters group because they want to play more often
- come to these forums and figuring it out

Just because you think encounters are railroady doesn't mean newbies will care all that much. They're new. They have no expectations at all. They'll be fine. 
Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.

Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  


i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.


I get where Holythorne is coming from. I used to play a lot of D&D and AD&D back in the 80's, before 2nd edition was published. I just got back into it after 20+ years away, so I've never seen 2nd or 3rd edition. I started looking at 4e with the red starter kit box and Heroes of Fallen Lands, and headed to my local comics and gaming shop for a couple of open gaming sessions. I've only played two sessions so far, and I'm getting the same feeling from the game that he is.

In the two sessions where I've played, everything has been scripted from the pre-printed adventure. The DM gives us the setup, we players follow the one and only obvious choice, and we end up in an encounter. The DM puts down the map, we fight, and it leads us to the next pre-planned encounter. And so on and so on. In my first session, we entered a cave, which opened up to a big room where we fought some monsters. There was only one exit to the room besides the way we came, and that led to the next big room with monsters in it. There were literally no options whatsoever, other than to go back the way we came, which would mean no longer playing that adventure. The second session was a little less obvious about forcing us through specific rooms, but it was still a case of only having one reasonable option after each encounter, which leads to the next specific pre-planned encounter.

Compare that to the first published module I ever played in the original D&D: "B2: The Keep on the Borderlands", which came with the original red box in 1980. It featured the infamous "Caves of Chaos", which was a series of over a dozen caves set into the hillside, and the players could end up with a completely different adventure depending on which cave they chose to enter first. For instance, I remember that one of the biggest baddies there was a lone ogre (pretty scary for a 1st level group). If you walked right into his cave, you would have to deal with just him by himself, either fighting him or trying to talk your way out of a fight. But if you ran into his neighbors (orcs? goblins? I don't remember exactly) before you ran into the ogre, the neighbors' cave connected to the ogre cave, and the neighbors would bribe the ogre into helping them fight your party. So after fighting the smaller monsters for a couple of rounds, this big ogre would suddenly show up as part of the same encounter, so it was a completely different playing experience. Also, there were notes in the module about what to do if the players left the caves to rest and recover, then came back a different game day, after the monsters also had time to rest and recover. The monsters brought in reenforcements, just like the players might do! And that was in a mostly "hack and slash" style adventure, with very little plot to it, but it still had more variety than what I've experienced so far in 4e.

It seems like it might just be a style issue with the preprinted adventures intended for open games at the local store (Encounters and whatever else). I have no idea if the same problem exists with other published adventures, as I haven't actually seen those yet. And obviously, a good DM making up their own adventures, with players who like to improvise, could lead to MUCH more variety, regardless of what version of D&D you're playing. But the published adventures I've played so far really have seemed very "programmed", where the players must play all of the specific encounters in the book, and they must play them in a specific order, and the only decision making the players get to make are the combat tactics of each encounter. If that's what Holythorne and others mean when they complain that the game feels like a video game, then I completely agree.






All of which comes down to..well it might be harsh to say 'a sucky DM' like I did in my first post...but it's a matter of the DMs style anyway.  Encounters is kind of an odd beast because each night is MEANT to be a single pre-planned encounter, thus it can't help but be more than a little railroady.  It's that way by design.  But that wouldn't change no matter what edition (or even system) you were running with the same set up.  And the 'normal' pre-printed modules don't strike me as being any more or less railroady than old one.  Pretty much 'Here's a reason for going to this place full of monsters and here's what you have to do when you get there' which is what I recall the vast majority (with a couple of notable exceptions) of old 1e and 2e modules being as well. Encounters and/or the pre-printed modules are not the sum total of 4e.

All in all, your argument doesn't point to 4e being just like a 'video game on a tabletop' as much as railroady adventures being just like a video game on tabletop.  And I doubt anyone would argue against that point and it would be true no matter what RPG you are playing.


Thus, I maintain that if 4e (or any other RPG, for that matter) resembles 'a tabletop video game' to you then one of two things is true.  Either you are determined to see it as one no matter what, thus you concentrate on the superficial similarities, or your DM sucks by bringing the limitations of video games into his tabletop.  


i think its the thursday night encounters. Too strict, giving it that programmer anticipation feel with a lack of serious role play. Part of that may be that it's more difficult to improvies as a DM. I don't know though, I haven't played as much as I would like.


I get where Holythorne is coming from. I used to play a lot of D&D and AD&D back in the 80's, before 2nd edition was published. I just got back into it after 20+ years away, so I've never seen 2nd or 3rd edition. I started looking at 4e with the red starter kit box and Heroes of Fallen Lands, and headed to my local comics and gaming shop for a couple of open gaming sessions. I've only played two sessions so far, and I'm getting the same feeling from the game that he is.

In the two sessions where I've played, everything has been scripted from the pre-printed adventure. The DM gives us the setup, we players follow the one and only obvious choice, and we end up in an encounter. The DM puts down the map, we fight, and it leads us to the next pre-planned encounter. And so on and so on. In my first session, we entered a cave, which opened up to a big room where we fought some monsters. There was only one exit to the room besides the way we came, and that led to the next big room with monsters in it. There were literally no options whatsoever, other than to go back the way we came, which would mean no longer playing that adventure. The second session was a little less obvious about forcing us through specific rooms, but it was still a case of only having one reasonable option after each encounter, which leads to the next specific pre-planned encounter.

Compare that to the first published module I ever played in the original D&D: "B2: The Keep on the Borderlands", which came with the original red box in 1980. It featured the infamous "Caves of Chaos", which was a series of over a dozen caves set into the hillside, and the players could end up with a completely different adventure depending on which cave they chose to enter first. For instance, I remember that one of the biggest baddies there was a lone ogre (pretty scary for a 1st level group). If you walked right into his cave, you would have to deal with just him by himself, either fighting him or trying to talk your way out of a fight. But if you ran into his neighbors (orcs? goblins? I don't remember exactly) before you ran into the ogre, the neighbors' cave connected to the ogre cave, and the neighbors would bribe the ogre into helping them fight your party. So after fighting the smaller monsters for a couple of rounds, this big ogre would suddenly show up as part of the same encounter, so it was a completely different playing experience. Also, there were notes in the module about what to do if the players left the caves to rest and recover, then came back a different game day, after the monsters also had time to rest and recover. The monsters brought in reenforcements, just like the players might do! And that was in a mostly "hack and slash" style adventure, with very little plot to it, but it still had more variety than what I've experienced so far in 4e.

It seems like it might just be a style issue with the preprinted adventures intended for open games at the local store (Encounters and whatever else). I have no idea if the same problem exists with other published adventures, as I haven't actually seen those yet. And obviously, a good DM making up their own adventures, with players who like to improvise, could lead to MUCH more variety, regardless of what version of D&D you're playing. But the published adventures I've played so far really have seemed very "programmed", where the players must play all of the specific encounters in the book, and they must play them in a specific order, and the only decision making the players get to make are the combat tactics of each encounter. If that's what Holythorne and others mean when they complain that the game feels like a video game, then I completely agree.




That's what I mean. The first time I played DnD, I was a Human adventurer (Rayn Redstride - we called him an adventurer because he was lawful good, but he was really a thief). My dad was DMing and we did the woodcutter's series and got started on the caves of chaos. The fast paced simple combat was great, because it didn't take an entire evening to complete 'one encounter'.

I played D&D Encounters as a 1st level Eladrin CHAladin in a level two world. Now, the group was great and everyone knew what they were doing, but it all felt very scripted. You're supposed to roll this to get past this, these events are happening. It didn't matter what your characters wanted to do so much, it was all about the script.

Also, this article made me happy:
www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4...
It goes along with my point, but he covers it much better than I can. 



Encounters is that way by design.  It is meant more as a way of hooking new players into the game than a deep immersive roleplay experience.  Again, it comes down to the DM style (in this case, the DM doesn't have much choice, admittedly) rather than a problem with 4e as a whole.  If you want something that isn't so scripted, get into a regular game instead of something that is MEANT to be a highly scripted railroad.  If you are expecting a sandbox world with immersive RP at an encounters game and blaming 4e, the problem is pretty much like you going to McDonalds, noticing they don't serve filet mignon and blaming the meat packing plant..

We are playing the White Plume Mountain adventure in 4E, and so far everyone has had a pretty fun time with it.  Trying to feed corpses to the sphinx to sneak past, running away from fire tubes and giant crabs.
Shameless self plug here, but we stream it at www.livestream.com/glittersbarracks on mondays 7:30 ET.

Has anyone else tried converting older adventures to 4E and what kind of results have you run into?  I think the biggest problem for me with this one, is I don't know the difference in HP things should have from the old adventure, compared to 4E.  The book says everything has like 30hp, and takes 2d6 fire damage from standing in a tube of fire for a round, but at level 7 in 4e 2d6 is nothing at all.
I think the biggest problem for me with this one, is I don't know the difference in HP things should have from the old adventure, compared to 4E.  The book says everything has like 30hp, and takes 2d6 fire damage from standing in a tube of fire for a round, but at level 7 in 4e 2d6 is nothing at all.



Use the damage values and monster building rules from the DMG.


I personally have adapted Keep on the Borderlands and the Desert of Desolation series to 4e and it all works fine.



I'd love to see your version of Keep on the Borderlands. Any chance you could email it to me? I have the original module, so I have the maps and stuff - would just need translated stats for the monsters, mostly.

As I said, I'm a newbie to 4e, but I used to play a lot back in the 80's. I'm looking for a local group for an ongoing campaign, and knowing me, I'll probably want to be a DM once I get used to this version of the game. So having that planned as a possible adventure could be fun.

Actually, I was thinking that a really easy adventure to translate to 4e would be L2: The Assassin's Knot. It's a murder mystery, so there's very little combat. So there would be a lot less time needed to translate a bunch of monster stats than with most modules.


Carpe DM - Seize the Dungeon Master!


Has anyone else tried converting older adventures to 4E and what kind of results have you run into?  I think the biggest problem for me with this one, is I don't know the difference in HP things should have from the old adventure, compared to 4E.  The book says everything has like 30hp, and takes 2d6 fire damage from standing in a tube of fire for a round, but at level 7 in 4e 2d6 is nothing at all.



use 4e monsters (post mm3) or reflavor them and use the new damage expressions for damage from traps and hazards. i really enjoy converting the traps and tricks. i am converting a lot of old stuff these days, its pretty addictive


Has anyone else tried converting older adventures to 4E and what kind of results have you run into?  I think the biggest problem for me with this one, is I don't know the difference in HP things should have from the old adventure, compared to 4E.  The book says everything has like 30hp, and takes 2d6 fire damage from standing in a tube of fire for a round, but at level 7 in 4e 2d6 is nothing at all.



use 4e monsters (post mm3) or reflavor them and use the new damage expressions for damage from traps and hazards. i really enjoy converting the traps and tricks. i am converting a lot of old stuff these days, its pretty addictive




Hey, if you are going to be looking for a player for your Desert of Desolation conversion, keep me in mind.  That was my favorite series of modules from back in the day.
I think everyone has made a good case for it already but I'll add my 2cp as well.  It all comes down to the DM and the material being used.  The encounters stuff is fine to teach rules elements and get folks interested in buying into the system but it's not meant to be a regular game (and plays as such). 

Conversions can be tricky (at least as far as the level required for the PCs goes).  Village of Homlett was lvl 1-4 in 1E but is (IIRC) lvl 5 in 4E to keep the encounters similar to the originals.  Once you get the hang of it, conversions should be pretty easy to do (since you already have a copy to work from it's just a matter of crunching the numbers and maybe making the encounter areas larger since 4E is pretty movement/map dependant).

 
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I liked the "I attack" fighter . I'm not knocking on the new stuff entirely. I mean to say, it all feels the same to me. I think the classes are all too similar, for one, and combat feels slow because there everyone's taking ten minutes to strategize instead of moving in the moment with "I attack". Maybe I haven't gotten with a serious enough group.

People with much older accounts than you have been making those same unwarranted attacks ever since 4e came out.  They're still not remotely true, they betray a lack of understanding of, or a negative emotional reaction to, the improvements 4e made to the game. 

The classes utilize a similar underlying structure, true, but within that structure, they are quite different.  The similarity is burried deep in the design of the game, the only way it impacts play experience is that it forms a foundation for class balance.  If you hate having class balance in D&D, go ahead and say you want overpowered casters and their meat-shields back.  Don't pretend that you think a 4e Fighter 'casts spells.'   If you want optimized save-or-die spells to end most combats in one round, just say you want them back, don't pretend that 'combat feels slow.' 

 

 

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