Thursday, March 5, 2015

What I'm Looking For, for my DF Game

I think I've settled on on a few options for my DF game's side mission.

I won't say what until I have settled on it, and got the game going.

What they have going for them:

- they are micro-sandboxes. My game overall is a limited sandbox. But I need a small play area, not a single adventure.

- they're a combo wilderness area (to a small extent) and a dungeon area.

- they're potentially lethal. It's DF and I expect lethality. I learned from my experience with B2 that the dungeons need to be tougher for starting guys.

- they're expandable, if necessary. I can add more to the area.

- they're all potentially "assigned missions." Much as Inquisitor Marco was sent to find the evil temple in the Caves of Chaos and smite it most fiercely, all of the options can be explained by the priests of the Good God telling the PCs to go and smite something. That makes the setup easy, but also gives a focus besides look to keep the PCs from wandering too far afield.

- they have some thematic connection to Felltower, even if only "raid out from a base." Something like X1 is very cool, but depends more on ending sessions in mid-play and won't work as well for the way we have sessions structured.

All of those are things I'd like to have.

Basically, I'm looking at one of a badlands, a cold and nasty swamp, and a mountainous area studded with trouble. All of them I have some faith in the entertainment value of what I have but also a way to tie them in with Felltower. None of them are O1-3 Against the Orcs, though, although I could see how that would be entertaining. I'd rather not precede "go back to Felltower and settle up with the orcs" with what boils down to "ORC1-7 Against the Orcs."

And yes, once it gets going I'll review what I chose, and what I looked at hard but discarded.

13 comments:

  1. That sounds like a good plan.

    It's probably also a good time for the highpoint characters to layoff for a while, as you said in the earlier post. It's the difference in challenge level for those characters, and the new ones, that caused the near failure in the last game.

    Have you considered the party including some of the characters that have not been used in a while, as sort of NPCs, to fill out the ranks?

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  2. That sounds like a good plan.

    It's probably also a good time for the highpoint characters to layoff for a while, as you said in the earlier post. It's the difference in challenge level for those characters, and the new ones, that caused the near failure in the last game.

    Have you considered the party including some of the characters that have not been used in a while, as sort of NPCs, to fill out the ranks?

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    1. Even the players on long-term hiatus are still technically playing, so I don't want to pull their characters out and use them. What if I get them killed?

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  3. We're gonna need a bigger scout.

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  4. Havent re-read (or played) it in a while, but would converting White Plume Mountain serve for your mountain area? I recall it being pretty open and sandboxy, if your GM didnt try to railroad you.

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    1. WPM would be fine, so would Return to WPM, but it would be a tough nut to crack - too much to make a good starting adventure. I could tone it down, but it would lose a lot of its fun if I did so.

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    2. Intereting. So 5-10th level 2nd Ed D&D is a little higher than 250 pts Gurps? I ask because you probably have the most experience in seeing how GURPS and D&D convert between each other. If I ever run my own DF game, Id like to convert, and getting benchmarks would be good.

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    3. It's not a level thing, it's a what's in the dungeon thing. Lethal traps, a mix of monsters that are hard for 1st edition AD&D 7-8th level guys but easy for DFers, monsters that are positively lethal for DFers with the wrong mix of characters, monsters that are just bags of HP in AD&D but present much greater challenges converted to GURPS, magic items of campaign-changing impact, and a general lack of suitability for raid-and-return gaming.

      So it would require that I basically back off a bit to make it a suitable challenge for an as-yet unknown mix of DF characters and not a potentially lethal "Who lives?" type of challenge.

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    4. Aha. Hrm, I need to re-read Return then. The first one seems so straight forward, but it was definitely Return where things get strange. Thanks for the thoughts.

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    5. The original is pretty straightforward, but like I said - it's lethal.

      I tend to ignore most "What level are X point guys in DF in D&D?" comparisons because I find them very close to totally useless at best, and misleading at worst. DF wizards are vastly more flexible but less powerful at disposing of enemies. D&D-based foes tend to have much weaker magical support, which puts them at a crushing disadvantage vs. magically buffed DFers. Animal-type monsters are too vulnerable vs. weapons in GURPS, so a cave bear is a rough fight in D&D but two moderately skilled bandits are rougher in GURPS. Fights are terrifically costly and lethal in GURPS if they go badly, almost a non-issue if they go well. Stuff like that - so you get these comparisons saying "5 apples is equal to 3 oranges" but it doesn't help much.

      I prefer to eyeball what's there and decide its actual lethality based on what it would be in GURPS, and bypass any mechanical comparison.

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  5. Right after you saying you don't make point-to-level comparisons, I'm going to step in and do the unthinkable. I'm going to ask you what level equivalent you would assign to Vryce. Fighters are more straightforward than wizards, so maybe "5 apples is equal to 3 oranges" would be closer to "7 tangerines are equal to 3 oranges". Still an imperfect comparison but not as outrageous as trying to compare a scout or wizard. Vryce is pretty amazing but most of the time what is so amazing isn't actually Vryce but Vryce aided by a party of DF characters and spells. Cutting it down to just Vryce, how powerful is he on his own (where I am used to using levels to describe power).

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    1. I have no idea where to even start with Vryce in terms of levels. He can do things 1st edition AD&D guys couldn't even try to do, but equally can't do some things well they could do easily. That's why level-to-points is hard - they are a different counting scheme for different things.

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