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Declared my game a failed experiment 
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Post Declared my game a failed experiment
Yup. Yesterday I ran my last session of my Domaria game, indefinitely, and declared it a failed experiment. However, I put the blame on me, not on C&C. I set out to run an "old school," dungeon-crawl game. A real, "kill it and take its stuff" type deal. We opened with a conversion of the free WotC module, "A Dark and Stormy Knight." From there we moved on to "Shadows of the Halfling Hall." I mutated the kobolds at the end via the use of one-shot magical amulets, and the players came to call them "kobolds from Hell."

I then used the mutated kobolds as a plot hook for their next adventure, which took them through the Haunted Highlands (re-placed in my world) down to Dirty Bowbe's Roadhouse, where they healed up, got some items identified, and rested a few days, before gaining information about where these kobolds seemed to be based. They tracked them down to their base, an old mausoleum of a noble goddess of death and rebirth (the DCC, "The Transmuter's Last Touch" with the gods modified for my setting). They finished that up last night.

My original plan was to move them to the city of Endhome as presented in Necromancer Games' Lost City of Barakus and have them track down the lich who is trying to reconnect with his master, the dread lord Azteroth who rules the easternmost continent of the world and would love to conquer the main continent of Verfold.

Story-wise, it seemed solid. Still does. Here's the problem. It was all pre-written dungeon crawls. I've discovered I can't do that anymore, at least not one after the other, and keep it interesting. I need epic stories with gods and wars and the fate of the world in the hands of the heroes, and above all, role-playing, when I run fantasy...and I just don't have much of an original campaign plan for this game. It became a factor of moving minis around on a map, and I can play D&D if I want to do that. It also makes it tough that I have two players in my group who really like D&D 3.5, so all they do is compare C&C with D&D and make cracks about the comparison.

So it was that I declared this particular campaign on indefinite hiatus. I told my players, however, to hang on to their characters. My campaign setting provides lots of ideas for good stories, and if I can put a few together in my brain, we may pick it up again at some point in the future.

I still think my storyline--the coming war between the three kingdoms of Verfold and the Hellspawned realm of Azteroth--is solid. I just need to sit down and put some real thought into it, come up with a quest for my players that isn't just one dungeon crawl after another.

For now, though, it's on to something else.

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Tue May 01, 2007 12:21 pm
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Hlobane Orc
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I have the Lost City of Barakus, and though I haven't run it, yet, I can say that it has several different mini-adventures that eventually all come together into one big plot-line. I think it would make an excellent choice for what you are trying to do with your campaign.

As far as the guys who compare C&C vs. 3.x, start allowing them opportunity to perform actions similar to the 3.5 feats. Do this to show them that anything is possible in C&C while 3.5 is actually more limiting. FEATS are limiting because you can only perform an action if you have that feat. On the other hand the SEIGE engine allows any action with an appropriate ability check.
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Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 pm
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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
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The Grey Elf wrote:
It also makes it tough that I have two players in my group who really like D&D 3.5, so all they do is compare C&C with D&D and make cracks about the comparison.



God... Do I hear you on this one. I've run across the same problems, including having dungeon crawl after dungeon crawl. You outline sounds good so far, now just find a way to interject a wilderness or city adventure inbetween each dungeon and see what happens.

..................................Omote

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Tue May 01, 2007 1:19 pm
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Quote:
StealthSuitStanley wrote:
As far as the guys who compare C&C vs. 3.x, start allowing them opportunity to perform actions similar to the 3.5 feats. Do this to show them that anything is possible in C&C while 3.5 is actually more limiting. FEATS are limiting because you can only perform an action if you have that feat. On the other hand the SEIGE engine allows any action with an appropriate ability check.



Doesn't work, because then they start making jokes and cracks about feats, attacks of opportunity, and the like. It just becomes caustic, distracting, and ruins the mood of the game.

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Tue May 01, 2007 1:27 pm
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Lore Drake

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I have almost the opposite problem, I want to run a big epic adventure, full of story, role-playing, plot hooks and twists, my players want to bash mosters and take treasure.
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Tue May 01, 2007 9:17 pm
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Ungern

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Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
Doesn't work, because then they start making jokes and cracks about feats, attacks of opportunity, and the like. It just becomes caustic, distracting, and ruins the mood of the game.



How many players do you have?

I've found I actually prefer less than the traditional four. Two to three is perfect.

Right now I am running two PC's and my DMPC. The two players have come from 3.0/3.5 games with anywhere from four up to seven players.

They are really enjoying having so much attention focused on them.

If you've got at least two players other than the 3.5 Jokers, make the Jokers sit the C&C games out. If they're not gonna give it a serious go than that is Disrespectful to you, your game, and your other players who are trying to enjoy your game.

I don't care if even if would happen to be close friends of yours, thats BullSh*t in their part and that just brings it down as you've indicated.

Coming up with the Quest aspect of your campaign and dumping the chaff players sounds like a sure fix. At least it might help you focus on your storytelling better without the hecklers.

Good luck.

(Love your C&C material on your website btw.)

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Wed May 02, 2007 7:25 am
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Mogrl

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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
Yup. Yesterday I ran my last session of my Domaria game, indefinitely, and declared it a failed experiment. However, I put the blame on me, not on C&C. I set out to run an "old school," dungeon-crawl game. A real, "kill it and take its stuff" type deal. We opened with a conversion of the free WotC module, "A Dark and Stormy Knight." From there we moved on to "Shadows of the Halfling Hall." I mutated the kobolds at the end via the use of one-shot magical amulets, and the players came to call them "kobolds from Hell."

I then used the mutated kobolds as a plot hook for their next adventure, which took them through the Haunted Highlands (re-placed in my world) down to Dirty Bowbe's Roadhouse, where they healed up, got some items identified, and rested a few days, before gaining information about where these kobolds seemed to be based. They tracked them down to their base, an old mausoleum of a noble goddess of death and rebirth (the DCC, "The Transmuter's Last Touch" with the gods modified for my setting). They finished that up last night.

My original plan was to move them to the city of Endhome as presented in Necromancer Games' Lost City of Barakus and have them track down the lich who is trying to reconnect with his master, the dread lord Azteroth who rules the easternmost continent of the world and would love to conquer the main continent of Verfold.

Story-wise, it seemed solid. Still does. Here's the problem. It was all pre-written dungeon crawls. I've discovered I can't do that anymore, at least not one after the other, and keep it interesting. I need epic stories with gods and wars and the fate of the world in the hands of the heroes, and above all, role-playing, when I run fantasy...and I just don't have much of an original campaign plan for this game. It became a factor of moving minis around on a map, and I can play D&D if I want to do that. It also makes it tough that I have two players in my group who really like D&D 3.5, so all they do is compare C&C with D&D and make cracks about the comparison.

So it was that I declared this particular campaign on indefinite hiatus. I told my players, however, to hang on to their characters. My campaign setting provides lots of ideas for good stories, and if I can put a few together in my brain, we may pick it up again at some point in the future.

I still think my storyline--the coming war between the three kingdoms of Verfold and the Hellspawned realm of Azteroth--is solid. I just need to sit down and put some real thought into it, come up with a quest for my players that isn't just one dungeon crawl after another.

For now, though, it's on to something else.



That is the main reason I hate Temple of Elemental Evil.

I believe your new game plan will be much more enjoyable. For everyone.

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Wed May 02, 2007 7:38 am
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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
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Treebore wrote:
That is the main reason I hate Temple of Elemental Evil.

I believe your new game plan will be much more enjoyable. For everyone.



Hah. My buddy ran Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil...and I dropped out of the game halfway through because I was utterly unable to metagame any further why my character wouldn't have just said, "To hell with this," and gone home. What an awful, "bend over and take it" module.

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Thu May 03, 2007 11:46 am
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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
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The Grey Elf wrote:
What an awful, "bend over and take it" module.


Wow, I think thats the best one-line, %100 true description of that module ever.


Thu May 03, 2007 11:52 am
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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
My buddy ran Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil...and I dropped out of the game halfway through because I was utterly unable to metagame any further why my character wouldn't have just said, "To hell with this," and gone home. What an awful, "bend over and take it" module.



But in that module your character should be a HERO!!! Your job is to save the land from the darkness that will surely spread from this vile cancer upon the kingdom. Save the kingdom, and possibly save the world.
...................................................Omote

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Thu May 03, 2007 1:03 pm
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Or, if you're evil, like when I ran it... to capture the temple and use it as your own base. Its more fun when you're the bad guys going through.... trust me. ;)


Thu May 03, 2007 1:11 pm
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I, personally, hate playing bad guys. I guess my persona is just not bad enough to come across in that way. Usually my characters are the hero type who helps those in need and then takes a large cut of the spoils for him/herself.
.................................................Omote

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Thu May 03, 2007 1:38 pm
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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
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DangerDwarf wrote:
Wow, I think thats the best one-line, %100 true description of that module ever.



Yeah, my ranger died twice...in two sessions. The second death was not even ten minutes into play.

And BOTH were bullshit deaths, too.

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Mon May 07, 2007 12:44 pm
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Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
Doesn't work, because then they start making jokes and cracks about feats, attacks of opportunity, and the like. It just becomes caustic, distracting, and ruins the mood of the game.



Don't invite those two to the game anymore.

If any of the players at my table did that, I would ask them to stop coming to the game.
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Mon May 07, 2007 6:28 pm
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But the Attack of Opportunity system already is a joke!

Seriously, I'm sorry to hear that your C&C campaign got trainwrecked by a bunch of 3.5'ers. The backstory / overarching plot sounded pretty darn cool.

I'll agree, that going back-to-back with modules can be a tough thing to pull off. Heck, I tend to shy away from mega-modules, too.

Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
Doesn't work, because then they start making jokes and cracks about feats, attacks of opportunity, and the like. It just becomes caustic, distracting, and ruins the mood of the game.


Fri May 11, 2007 12:48 pm
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Hlobane Orc

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It's funny you mention this: I run a pretty "crawl-heavy" campaign, but so far it has all been part of an over-arching plot: moving from one HQ of an evil conspiracy to another.

Tonight will probably be the last episode in the story (barring massive FUBAR), and I've been thinking of what to do next. I'll probably do some short, unrelated adventures before launching into something big again.

Crawls are fun, but I'm getting into the problem of having too many players (eight) to make crawling all that much fun.
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Fri May 11, 2007 6:20 pm
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Ungern

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Post Re: Declared my game a failed experiment
Quote:
The Grey Elf wrote:
I still think my storyline--the coming war between the three kingdoms of Verfold and the Hellspawned realm of Azteroth--is solid. I just need to sit down and put some real thought into it, come up with a quest for my players that isn't just one dungeon crawl after another.



Jason: Have you considered asking your players what would be interesting for their characters? Perhaps a combination of the various players' input could spark an idea or four?


Tue May 22, 2007 5:18 pm
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Mist Elf

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Post Harumph!
Ok, I've heard enough. And I've had it up to ...here. Well, you can't see where I am holding my hand, but I assure you that it's up there pretty damn high.

IT IS NOT "OLD SCHOOL" to have a D&D game that is essentially a board game or miniatures wargames set in a dungeon. Sure, some people played that way - very little roleplaying, focused intensely on combat. The "hack-and-slash" period. Hell, a lot of us played that way, but that was because the hobby was new, we were all pretty young, and our tastes were pretty simple. It was fun to take on the role of Elric or Gandalf and pretend that we were mighty warriors and wizards, without much thought into what made our character tick. We didn't put much more thought into than that because we were having fun.

But, as we matured a bit, and our gameplaying matured a bit, the game began to take on new dimensions. We are talking about within the space of a year or so. I can remember playing D&D from the "Blue Book", and some groups were still using the old Chainmail/Eldritch Wizardry set. Sure, all of the adventures were pretty much in dungeons, but, back then, dark mysterious dungeons, ruled by evil tyrants and foul necromancers were a pretty neat thing.

But, this brings us to the "dungeon crawl". For every "old school" module that is set in a dungeon, there's 5 more that aren't - and are still old school. But, that's irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is that the buzzword "dungeon crawl" bears with it negative connotations. And with it, comes the implication that games that focus heavily on conflict - combat, overcoming obstacles, surviving deadly perils - are somehow incapable of also telling a story, and don't allow for roleplaying.

This just simply isn't true. Look at the Slavers series (A1-A4, I believe). It had a strong, plausible storyline, and had plenty of opportunities for character interaction.

Let me sum this up in a different way - believe it or not, you CAN roleplay a character whose motivation is to seek out the evil things in the world and slay them. You CAN roleplay a character whose only goal in life is to right wrongs, protect the weak, and defend the faithful.

Sometimes, surviving deadly perils and putting those who do you harm to the sword is just pure fun.

The most deadly thing you can have at your table is the player who says, "what's my motivation for going there/doing that?".

If you put yourself in the mindset of, "I am an adventuring hero, and these are the sorts of things that adventuring heroes do", then you'll never be out of character.

Just my two cents.
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:13 am
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Hmm... I wouldn't call the game a failed experiment. It just needs a couple of adjustments to get back on track. My current game has been a bit crawl heavy but generally successful. Here are the mods I've run (in order if I remember correctly):

Galal's Grave

The Fantastic Adventure

The Shadows of Halfling Hall

Temple of Elemental Evil - Part I: Hommlett

The Lion In The Ropes

The Mysterious Tower

The Mortality of Green

They've certainly had their high points... and a couple of low points. The Moat House in TOEE did start to take its toll on the players near the end but they did enjoy the battle with Lareth which proved to be a bit bitter sweet. They let Lareth go...

There has been an overall theme that has been getting refined since the first module and one of the players has been working hard to piece things together If it gets too heavy (like the Moathouse) I make sure I have something much lighter and a bit different like the Lion in the Ropes. It helped a lot and was a bit of a much needed breather. The Mysterious Tower (being a DCC originally) was also quick and, with a bit of a twist, I led into Mortality which had '0' Dungeon Crawling. The last three mods had no plotline which connected it to the rest with the exception that they were going from point 'A' to point 'B'.

And now... they are at the gates of Endhome where I'm essentially taking elements of the Lost City of Barakus and infusing it with various ideas from the rest of the Temple of Elemental Evil campaign modules.

Barakus permits me to break the constant pattern of the larger campaign with explorations into the surrounding wilderness, various little city adventures, as they search for the lost temple (as opposed to city). The Temple which is located 'beneath' the city when the city was founded on top of the ruins. Since I'm setting this in Erde... the original temple and cult is pre-Unklar so over 1000 years old. The temple... and nodes... are also going to be a lot smaller because I know that if I ran them as they are in the original modules... I'd get crucified.
The city for this last stage of the campaign will help bring a lot of role play... and since they'll be in town for a while, they may very well decide to get more permanent residences. I'm also keeping this part very open ended by comparison (giving me a lot more prep work) as I give them various avenues that they *could* take to help them figure things out.

It should be fun. But the point I'm trying to get across is the importance of adjustments. I chose Barakus because it wasn't some big continuous blob of an adventure. It had a lot of elements pre-broken up. Sometime you just need to mix it up to a point that you can get back on track with the major plot a bit 'refreshed'. Taking a 'physical' break from gaming (now that summer is here) one week in order to do something else might be equally refreshing.

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Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:29 pm
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Azog...you are aware, are you not, that the original incarnation of D&D was designed specifically as a miniatures-based rules expansion to Chainmail, right? Hell, even the books in that little white box say that they assume you own Chainmail and that your games will be enhanced if you do, though it's not required.

So I would argue that yes, in fact hack-and-slash dungeon crawling is indeed "OLD SKOOL."

Not to mention, in the original rules (OD&D, BD&D, AND AD&D), the only way to get XP was to kill things and take their stuff.

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Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:30 am
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Dungeon crawls can be lots of fun if they are done with a story behind them and if they are in done within the context of a campaign. I am planning on running the Mysterious Tower module but the reason the characters are going there is because there is something in the tower they need. What they need has relevance to the overall campaign therefore making it important to them.

Dungeon crawls that are just there for the purpose of just killing monsters and getting treasure with no other intristic reason for it being there are IMO kinda dumb. Every adventure should have a story behind it giving a reason for the characters to be there.


Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:22 pm
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