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Q-man
05-06-2011, 06:04 AM
I'm in the habit of running games from a module. My free time isn't enough to guarantee that I'll be able to do the writing necessary for the weekly game session, having the safety net of just following a module really helps me get through the busy weeks. My problem is that my groups game of choice is D&D 4E. The rules are fine, but my problem is that I have yet to find a collection of modules that I really like.

The problem with all of the modules I'm come across is that they are very linear, they assume that the players can be kept on the rails throughout. I could probably get my players to do that, but I don't want to. I like to give them some options and let them explore and be creative. So what I tend to do is to present them with plot hooks to start a few different modules and see where they go.

This has worked really well so far, except that I'm quickly running out of modules to use. So I appeal to all of you, what are your favorite modules that you've played in the past? I know I said we're playing D&D, but who cares! Fantasy is fantasy, adapting an adventure from one set of rules to another is pretty easy to do. So over all the rules in all the games you've played, what adventure was your favorite?

kirksmithicus
05-06-2011, 01:27 PM
I enjoyed the Keep on the Borderlands and the Slavers series from 1st edition.

Aren't some of the newer 4e modules supposed to be "adventure sites", less railroading and just more adventure hook type stuff?

The 4e modules or adventure paths, are very much on the rails. I tried to run the Scales of War from the Dragon magazine and it ended (pardon the pun) in a total train wreck. Everyone felt like they were being forced to do something that they were not interested in. Also, no one could keep track of the convoluted schemes going on around them (I tried to add some intrigue on the side). My group only plays for 4 hours every two weeks, and we all have short memories. We have opted for more of a sandbox approach. I just let the players decide what they want to do. Nothing is pre-planned to start with. Though later I can build encounters later, in response to what they have chosen to do. Random encounters got thrown back into the mix. Regardless what WotC says, not all encounters need to be meaningful to the plot.

I found this blog post (Less plot, More Story (http://at-will.omnivangelist.net/2011/04/less-plot-more-story-4e-and-the-art-of-the-situation/))a few weeks back, and I couldn't agree more with what he has to say. Especially since I had already started doing this before I read his post.

Q-man
05-06-2011, 01:41 PM
Aren't some of the newer 4e modules supposed to be "adventure sites", less railroading and just more adventure hook type stuff?

The latest one I read was The Slaying Stone (http://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Stone-Adventure-HS1-4th/dp/0786953888/ref=pd_sim_b_1), which was a basically a sandbox type adventure. They provided a plot hook and then in the quest area there were a few places the players could explore. Each place was basically just different types of encounters. It was a 1st level module, so not a whole lot of call for intrigue I guess. Its definitely a step in the right direction though.

Also that post you linked to is pretty good. I like a lot of what he has to say, and I may need to consider those tips with how I handle my game.

kirksmithicus
05-06-2011, 05:17 PM
It has certainly had some interesting results for my group. Abandonment of one PC to slavery, with the loss of one hand as additional punishment for his crime, and a plot by the 4 PC's to murder another PC.:eek:


My tip would be to use the HLS (Hook, Line and Sinker) method. Hook, Line and Sinker. Tailor the bait to each player and his character, and have one or two ready for each player. For this you have to know what will get your players jumping into the action.

Have your players come up with a goal for their character, doesn't have to be anything major. This gives you something to entice them with. I offer my players XP if they accomplish a stated goal. I simply throw up some obstacles to keep them from it.

Random Encounters. These have lead to numerous great adventures. Even if they don't make sense. It makes the players think, "what the hell was that thing doing here, lets find out". You figure out the reason later. Also, if they catch you by surprise and do something you didn't see coming. Use a random encounter, they will probably think it's part of the plot, and give you some time to pull something out of your nether regions.

If they start to obsess about something, usually a minor detail, make it into something important. Let them think they caught onto some clever trick or bit of secret information you didn't want them to have.

Create adventure site areas, just like you have been doing with the modules.

nijineko
05-09-2011, 10:15 PM
+1 for keep on the borderlands. very nostalgic.

gnombient
05-20-2011, 02:03 PM
Keep on the Borderlands isn't just nostalgic, it's a well-designed module with tons of potential for customization and expansion. I also really dig Dwellers of the Forbidden City, Caverns of Thracia and, more recently, Stonehell Dungeon.

cplmac
05-23-2011, 01:27 PM
Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, provided you can find a copy. Be sure to get the version with the expanded wilderness portion and not the shorter tournament version. The wilderness section itself can allow for lots of expansion. Also, I just let the players decide where they went, eventhough there were a couple of times that there were roads that didn't show on their map. You can follow our groups adventures on my P&PG blog, but you need to go back to the first entry to start at the begining. Currently they have started on the quest that picks up where they ended with the original adventure module.

nijineko
05-23-2011, 02:47 PM
some of my most memorable characters came crawling out of the b1 caverns to the unknown... as the dm didn't have the module that went with that direction, he made up a bunch of junk, and we suffered for the cool abilities we gained out of it.

tesral
06-01-2011, 10:08 AM
White Plume.Mountain. I have gotten more mileage out of that module than any other. It looms large in the campagin in general. I finally let it go. The last adventure in the old wizards lair set the mountain off for real. White Plume is now fully active lava spewing monster. The dungeons within it are no more.

nijineko
06-02-2011, 12:17 AM
ah, continuity. wonderful thing for enhancing a world setting.

MortonStromgal
06-09-2011, 01:43 PM
Harliquin, I know its not D&D but you could certainly use it in a D&D game.

Q-man
06-10-2011, 07:27 AM
Yeah, adapting adventures is pretty easy, I've done it in the past a few times. The D&D game mechanics are pretty simple to apply, and with the wealth of creature options in the monster manuals you can easily find stuff to fit the encounters.

Kinda makes me wonder if there's a market out there (or some company already there) for generic modules. Just a few maps of the area, background information on the important locations and NPC's, then a description of the evil plans afoot and what routes the player's might take to save the world.

Governor
06-20-2011, 04:45 PM
My all time favorite book adventure was The Red Hand of Doom, for the D&D 3.5 rule set. It was an excellent "Save the Kingdom" quest, in which the characters become embroiled in thwarting a rising hobgoblin army as it prepares to strike at an isolated and fractious kingdom. The designers inserted a wealth of options for characters to pursue and numerous threads for the DM to develop. My gaming group still tells tales of the heroic deeds that occurred in that campaign.

We set our game in Eberron, placing the Elsir Vale (the setting) on the far west coast of Khorvaire, between the Shadow Marches and the Demon Wastes. This gave it the right amount of isolation, while still providing a semi-cosmopolitan feel. But, the writers created a classic enough setting, that it can fit into almost any world (although Dark Sun would be a bit of a stretch).

I also developed a few additional side quests, such as a cursed Dwarven city and the thwarting of a bandit queen who was profiting off the war. But, you could easily play this one straight out of the book without modification and still have a vastly satisfying experience.

Click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hand_of_Doom) if you want read more about the book.

tesral
06-21-2011, 06:22 AM
Second most traction from one module with be the original Ravenloft.

stonebreaker
07-02-2011, 01:33 AM
White Plume Mountain.
It would be great if somehow some of those classic 1e modules could get redone for Pathfinder/DnD 3.X :redface:
Stonebreaker

rabkala
07-02-2011, 02:05 AM
I love converting 1e dungeon magazine adventues for players that were not born yet! A great succes every time.

Malruhn
07-03-2011, 12:29 AM
Oh, we REALLY need a "Thumbs Up" button on here!!

I am torn between White Plume Mountain and Keep on the Borderlands.

I don't think I could decide.

stonebreaker
07-04-2011, 12:49 AM
"Keep on the Borderlands" is a classic.
It was simple enough to fit into most campaings with a few or as many changes as you wanted.
Stonebeaker

tesral
07-04-2011, 12:58 AM
Oh, we REALLY need a "Thumbs Up" button on here!!

I am torn between White Plume Mountain and Keep on the Borderlands.

I don't think I could decide.

:thumb:

RoryN
07-04-2011, 09:05 PM
The group I was in didn't really use modules much, but my favorite that someone did run was Ravenloft. The only one I've ever really run myself as DM (I "borrowed" a lot from most modules I purchased) was N4-Treasure Hunt, which I did for a group of new players.

tesral
07-04-2011, 10:28 PM
I don't think I have ever run a module straight up. At the least it has to be show horned into my world location wish, some some details will change.

Governor
07-05-2011, 10:04 AM
I think the best published adventures are the ones that can be placed into a given campaign setting with minimal modification. Sure, it is fun to run through a good old Dragonlance or Dark Sun romp, but I'd much rather have a story that can fit in the context of the campaign world my group prefers.

Q-man
07-05-2011, 10:13 AM
I've never looked much into the dragonlance setting, for some reason I just assumed it was standard fantasy fare with a lot of dragons tossed in. I assumed/hoped there was more to id, but as I said I never bothered to check. Its interesting to hear that its adventures aren't compatible with other fantasy settings.

Governor
07-05-2011, 10:23 AM
They are not exceptionally exclusive. I just tend to think of them as more rooted in that particular setting because they are heavily based on the novels. Perhaps I'm not giving Dragonlance a fair shake here. In thinking more about it it might be just as hard to transition a Forgotten Realms or Eberron adventure. But, both of those settings seemed to have a more "universal" aspect built into the concept design. Also, I'm an Eberron fan, so I'm biased. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with Dragonlance, it is actually a neat setting. I just don't think that the published adventures would translate well into other settings.

I'd say the 1st ed. adventures (and maybe the 3.0-3.5 "Greyhawk" adventures) give the biggest bang-for-your-buck in terms of fitting into any settings.

tesral
07-06-2011, 02:33 AM
The Dragonlance modules had a heavy element of railroading. You were suppose to play out the novel. One reason I avoided the whole thing.

Q-man
07-06-2011, 07:59 AM
Well that's no fun then, I'm not a fan of railroading. I guess that sort of pushes me away from the Dragonlance modules then, though I suppose the novels might be worth reading.

As for Greyhawk its something I'd like to read more about since all of the older D&D stuff was based on that setting. Its just a little frustrating since most of those books have been out of print for a long time.

Umiushi
07-08-2011, 02:59 PM
I would agree that some of the Dragonlance modules relied on railroading, but I would dispute that all of them did to the same extent, or that they are particularly guilty of such in comparison to other modules of the time, or even ones that came later.

As it happens, although I'm not fond of the setting as a whole, my favorite module of all is a Dragonlance module. It's DL12: Dragons of Faith. I have used more elements from Dragons of Faith in my own games than any other adventure module. The reason is that the module is virtually an entire campaign setting. You could spend an entire character's career playing Dragons of Faith, and ignore the overarching War of the Lance entirely. I would, however, caution against using the reprint of DL12 for 2nd edition, which was heavily edited and a lot more linear as a result.

When it comes to finding a module to utilize, I think the real question isn't how much railroading is in a module, but how much useful material is left when you take the railroading out.

[Some general spoilers concerning modules X1 and G1 follow in the next paragraph.]
For example, take X2: Castle Amber and G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief. In X1, the party is literally forced into the dungeon by an endless expanse of poisonous mist. In G1, the party starts with the Steading on the next hilltop and some mortal threats from a few interested nobles to motivate them. X1 is a lot more linear, but the end result is the same: ditch the railroading and you have two dungeons that the players may or may not explore. In fact, X1 is the richer of the two, in my mind, because the adventure eventually has the party traveling across an entire country, while G1 is a two-level dungeon.

Back to Dragons of Faith. I can understand that people who thought the early modules were too linear wouldn't stick around for DL12. I would even understand, though not be as sympathetic to, the railroading charge being leveled against DL12, by virtue of the fact that there is something the PCs are expected to do, and there is another module that's expected to follow it. However, it's easy enough to ignore that, and what you're left with is a tremendous amount of material, in terms of dungeons, lands, and unusually for a dungeon module: partial dungeon outlines. Frankly, even the master encounter table for DL12 is something to see and take inspiration from. Finally, in the kitchen sink category, there's also, amidst everything else, a mini-rpg (!) and a unique card deck with three games and a tarot-like method of card reading.


Only about half the Dragonlance modules dealt with events in the novels. To give an early example, the first novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, covers the events of DL1 and DL2, and the second novel, Dragons of Winter Night, picks up at the beginning of DL6. Nor does the campaign have to, or is even intended to flow in the same way as the novels. In fact, playing the campaign by making the same choices as the novels, when such choices are applicable, is a good way to lead the party off the cliff, so to speak.

As I said earlier, Dragonlance isn't really my thing, but they were pretty good modules by a variety of measurements, and many of the techniques they employed a quarter century ago haven't been surpassed or even effectively utilized since then. I think it would pay to have a look at them, particularly DL12, rather than staying away.

Q-man
07-12-2011, 07:19 AM
That's an interesting take on the Dragonlance modules. No doubt every campaign setting has its share of modules that railroad the players. Given that I never can seem to run the modules as written anyway, the railroading isn't as likely to be a problem. When you just pick and choose elements you like to use in a game session, and discard the rest; its not hard to get rid of that linear feeling.

I'm still a little hesitant to go nuts with stuff from that setting, but if I can track down a copy I'll have to look over that Dragons of Faith one you mentioned.

MortonStromgal
07-13-2011, 01:01 PM
I love DL1 and possibly 2 & 3. The Railroading is only on the surface in DL1. It comes with pregens from the novel is the problem so people thought heh I should play goldmoon. Really you should run your own team and hand one guy the staff. It was the first time I ever saw time change make a difference in a module. The DM is supposed to track time because the draconian army is advancing so if you hit a town after the army has been there its very different than if you hit the town before. The layout in DL1 was terrible though and required a flowchart just to see how the choose your own adventure stuff fit together.

Xandros
08-27-2011, 05:23 PM
First another vote for Keep on the Borderlands. First module I ever played. When 3rd Edition came out, I dug it back out and adapted it. Now I am creating my own game system and I plan to use it as a template for my first playtesting.

Also I agree with others about the shoe horning in some modules. Many modules start out with the synopsis similiar to "The party is trying to ....". What makes you think my party would want to do that? You don't know our party with our unique personalities and goals. Of course as stated, just because a shoe horn is there doesn't mean you have to use it. Any module can be adapted to any party, campaign, setting. If I were to publish a module, I would set up the setting/location, then provide lists of hook ideas (just to give the GM some thoughts to use or to spark their own creativity) and maybe one quest style idea, along the lines of "party is hired to find * in the dungeon of *" or perhaps the mage needs a substance/componant that is supposed to be located in dungeon.

tesral
08-27-2011, 11:01 PM
I usually ditch the intro as a matter of course. I might use the circumstances of the module, but I rebuild the intro to fit the party rather than force the party to fit the intro.

kavvov
11-06-2011, 10:42 PM
My vote is for Tomb of Horrors. Its an orginial Gary Gygax module and just tons of crazy traps and unique situattions. Make the wrong choices and you wind up starting the adventure over buck naked trying to work your way though all the traps. Its an old school high risk high reward dungeon crawl. They redid it for 3.5 and I think 4.0 is coming too.

I also did an update of an old basic D&D module called Horror on the Hill. It took a lot of work but I felt it realy paid off. Module is thin but has a ton of encouters so it's almost a campaign as opposed to a module.

The best 4.0 module I've used I think is the hardback Revenge of the Giants. I'm a big fan of the old "Against the Giants" series and this one, while not as good, caught that old school "epic" feel real well.

nijineko
11-11-2011, 01:45 AM
they redid it for 2nd ed too, which the 3.x version is actually a suggested update for... there is a play by post here which is going through that adventure....

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-11-2011, 08:14 AM
Tomb of Horrors will always be one of my all-time favorites.

cplmac
11-11-2011, 12:11 PM
My favorite currently is still Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. I will actually be running this for another group that is forming. I will be curious to see how different this new group deals with everything that comes up throughout their adventure. As usual, I will be running it using the 2E (AD&D second edition) system.

That being said, I would like to be able to get a hold of some of the other older modules that have been listed in this thread. Even though they may be from before 2E, you can always use the adventure no matter what system you choose to run.

Malruhn
11-13-2011, 08:32 PM
Actually, the Lost Caverns is another good one - it is written in a standard "linear" format, but if characters run the alphabet with "ABCDKWPOXH" it really doesn't matter - it all works out in the end.

Time to grab my copy and Pathfinder-ize it so I can use it with my next group. (insert evil laugh here)

Zippee
11-16-2011, 11:24 AM
My favourite remains Night Below - ok quite large as trad modules go but it has it all:
a low to mid level sandbox environment, a central world changing plotline, the underdark as a semi linear crawl, negotiation, diplomacy, combat, alien cities and a diabolical enemy.
in fact I'm seriously thinking about revisiting it next year

Chaosnet
02-14-2012, 01:44 PM
The old Against the Giants, the old Slavelord series the old Drow series were wonderful, WONDERFUL series.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
02-14-2012, 03:28 PM
My favourite remains Night Below - ok quite large as trad modules go but it has it all:
a low to mid level sandbox environment, a central world changing plotline, the underdark as a semi linear crawl, negotiation, diplomacy, combat, alien cities and a diabolical enemy.
in fact I'm seriously thinking about revisiting it next year

Agreed, and...


The old Against the Giants, the old Slavelord series the old Drow series were wonderful, WONDERFUL series.

...agreed!

---------- Post added at 01:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:25 PM ----------


My favourite remains Night Below - ok quite large as trad modules go but it has it all:
a low to mid level sandbox environment, a central world changing plotline, the underdark as a semi linear crawl, negotiation, diplomacy, combat, alien cities and a diabolical enemy.
in fact I'm seriously thinking about revisiting it next year

If our secret govt puts on the market teleporation devices, count me in. I'd love to play The Night Below.

Thoth

Mordenkainen
03-01-2012, 04:09 PM
Ahhhh... modules. There are plenty of good options already covered above. With a bit of work you can easily make a game of any edition into a game designed for characters of 4e. (although it is easier to convert to 3.5 from 1 or 2e.)
Age of Worms, Shackled City and Savage Tide are good adventure paths for 1-20th level, getting rid of the work for you. White plume mountain, tomb of horrors, dwellers of the forbidden city, maure castle, Expedition to Castle Greyhawk, Ravenloft (the game), Demonweb Pits, against the giants, undermountain, forest oracle, and so forth are all wonderful games.
You can also go to http://www.goodmangames.com/dcc-modules3e.html where they have what they call Dungeon Crawl Classics. They have them in 1e, 2e, 3.5 and 4 rules, and they are all dungeon crawls. It is an excellent source of material.

Grumbleskin
04-11-2012, 08:39 PM
What about The Lost City or maybe the Desert of Desolation series.... some of those old modules were awesome! Castle Amber is another that comes to mind. I could go on and on...

Etarnon
04-18-2012, 06:18 AM
Gamma World 1e - Legion of Gold
Top Secret SI - Doomsday Drop
Traveller - Across the Bright Face
D&D - Slave pits of the Undercity
Star Wars D6 - Black Ice
Morrow Project - Desert Search
Conspiracy X - Shadows of the Mind book, & also the Alien Hybrid Adventure I think it was called Psi War.
Time Master - Red Ace High, and PT 109 (From the GMscreen)
3.5 - Sunless Citadel.

tesral
04-23-2012, 09:30 AM
Morrow Project. There is a name I have not seen in a while. I didn't know any modules were ever published.

Etarnon
04-23-2012, 09:43 AM
Raid on Riverton was the first one.
Desert Search
Operation: Damocles
A few others.

The plots were off beat, but generally okay. Each module had a special section for a new tank or vehicle, along with the hit charts.

Pretty cool game but it needs a very experienced GM, since it's mostly a "setting" module. Muchlike Twilight 2000's modules mostly were.

gdub411
06-08-2012, 01:09 PM
D&D 1st edition
Temple of Elemental Evil
Slavelord series
Giant/Drow series.

D&D 2nd edition
Ruins of Greyhawk

D&D 3rd edition
World's Largest Dungeon
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil

D&D 4th edition
Dungeon Delve

Judges Guild
Caverns of Thracia

D&D Basic
Keep on the Borderlands

D&D Expert
Isle of Dread
Master of the Desert Nomads Series