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Any Tribes of Evil Humanoids Around?

This weekend the "Holy Crap! Giants!" campaign is scheduled to continue, transferred to Pathfinder rules, which will take a little getting acclimated to but shouldn't be too much trouble. And while I'm looking forward to it, part of me is also wistful for something else. To be honest, what I really want to do is just pull out a handful of graph paper and make 3-5 levels of critters, traps, and the occasional magic fountain that has no reason to be there, tell the players "You all met at the Dancing Dragon Inn and, upon hearing of amazing riches to be found in lost catacombs outside the city, decided to seek your fortune. Before you is a 10' set of steps, leading down into darkness ... what do you do?"

I don't want to go quite so far as to actually pull out a pre-3e ruleset — there's a reason I preferred to play Tunnels and Trolls before the year 2000 — but what I'm getting at is something a little more fun and freeform -- "a sandbox game" to use the current parlance. The giants campaign, while it certainly has a lot of action, is still Teh Epic Storyline[1] with pieces that need to fit together and moving parts I need to keep track of.

When I picked up Thunderspire Labyrinth, one of the ideas I was noodling around with was a 4E "pure dungeon crawl" side-game. In the end I discarded the idea based mostly on our group experiences with 4E combined with various "Now that we've been playing it a while..." posts I've read around the gaming blogosphere. But game system aside, the core nugget of a sandboxey game still appeals to me, and I might just go with it. A city, a tavern, a handful of 1-3, 2-5, and 3-6 dungeons in the neighborhood, and let the players get themselves into trouble. Sounds fun. :)

-The Gneech

[1] The giants are mountain an invasion[2] and they're just the tip of the iceberg, it's up to the PCs to find the cause and save the world. Yes, the idea's been done, but that doesn't mean it can't be done again!

[2] Hmm. This was a typo ... should be "mounting an invasion" of course ... but I kinda like "mountain an invasion" in reference to giants, too.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
hossblacksilver
Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
Mountain an invasion? So, the giants have a geological feature a thousand-feet-plus tall that they're going to use as a siege weapon?
galadrion
Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
Hm... been noodling aroung the idea of a Lovecraftian adventure, meself - a scenario based on The Horror at Red Hook or The Rats in the Walls has some distinct possibilities, and depending on how it's put together, these things can easily scale as a one-shot to most available levels. Might be worth your time to consider that sort of thing as a possible interlude. Of course, your players might want to curse my name for tossing that idea at you...
the_gneech
Mar. 2nd, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
I do have a copy of this...

-The Gneech
galadrion
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
It's a pretty good module - though I do think that it's fairly low-level for something based on The Dunwich Horror.

*Laugh* Now, if I was planning on ripping off - er, performing an homage to - that one, I'd do it as a series of scenarios. Encounter old Wizard Whatley and Lavinia early on, before they can - or have any reason to - do anything about these NPCs. Later, they'll hear of Wilbur's birth, and his rapid development... and some of the weird things which go on. At this point, the party's on a countdown, even if they don't realize it, and there won't be many clues pointing that direction. Once Old Man Whatley dies, they go on a short count - at this point, Lavinia is doomed as a tragic figure unless the party realizes and intervenes. (Lavinia isn't evil, as such. But unless the party does something, Wilbur will sacrifice her for power.) After that, he begins researching and preparing for his big ritual, and the weirdness starts ratcheting up even faster. Hopefully, the party figures things out soon enough and deal with Wilbur... but then, the other Whatley boy breaks loose and goes on what amounts to a kamikaze rampage, until and unless the party stops him.

I see this as something that would be spread out over ten or more levels, quite possibly reaching up into the low epic levels. The other brother has no chance of completing the ritual on his own - he has no spell ability - but once he breaks free, he's a rampaging juggernaut with no recognizable motives or restraint, a suitable "final boss" for the arc.

I don't really see The Dunwich Horror as a one-shot - it's a lot closer to those epics you mentioned. Now, a lot of Lovecraft's short stories, those are more suitable for one-shots.
sirfox
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
Just so long as we don't need to bring the invading mountain to Mohammad
kestrelcat
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
Oh Dear
Why is it that I worry when 2 DMs start trading ideas?

In this case because one of them is my DM and I know exactly what he is capable of doing to/with a party.

Bad Galadrion, no graph paper! Nd' put down your dice!

(running for cover now)

K
jamesbarrett
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
you know, a lot of my ideas fit better into the sandboxy idea of a pure dungeon crawl. I should look into that myself. It would be fun to design it anyway.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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