Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quests of Doom: When do I doom my players?

So, I kickstarted Quests of Doom (along with Fifth Edition Foes and whatever the spell book is titled). Just got the PDFs today for Quests of Doom (two books, part 1 and 2), but there's no little summary of which levels each adventure is for. You're welcome. I organized them by heading (and mixed up the two books), rather than party level or strict order in which they appear.

Bugs & Blobs
1-Noble Rot (5th - 8th Level)
1-Hidden Oasis - Temple of Thoth (7th - 9th Level)
2-Of Ants and Men (4th - 8th, 2-3 characters, maybe solo)

Demons & Devils
1-Ra's Evil Grin (11th Level or Higher)
1-Sorcerer's Citadel (9th Level or Higher, 5 characters)
2-The Pit of Despair (13th Level or Higher)

Giants & Dragons
1-The Dead from Above (6th - 8th Level, 4-6 characters)
1-Emeralds of Highfang (High level? Some rogues...)
2-Dread Dragon Temple (5th - 7th Level, 4-6 characters)

Lycanthropes & Elementals
1-Bad Moon Rising (4th - 6th)
1-Death in Dyrgalas (6th - 8th)
2-The Darkening of Namjan Forest (4th level, 6-8 characters)

Men & Monstrosities
1-Deep in the Vale (1st level - brand new characters)
1-Irtep's Dish (6-8, trap expert, healer, fighter, wizard)
2-Perils of Ghostwind Pass (5th to 7th Level, 4-6 characters)

Vampries & Liches
1-Pyramid of Amra (12th level or higher, Cleric, wizard/sorcerer, two front-line warriors)
1-Sewers fo Underguild (11th - 15th level)
2-The Isle of Eliphaz (14th Level or Higher)

I have to say, on first pass I'm a little disappointed with this element of the kickstarter. First, I was one of the voices asking for an adventure for a smaller party. Often I might be able to do a game with 1-3 players, but getting a lot can be rough. And playing with 7+ people in modern D&D can be really slow, so I would't take more than 6 if I could handle it. The adventure for small groups turns out in the part 2 book, which I feel like they wanted to do so just did anyway but I still payed extra for it and I think that the Pathfinder version is going to include all of the quests anyway. So ugh.

Second, the fact that I had to compile this little summary is, I think, indicative of some of the old school sensibilities which should have been updated. The modern math of the game (and even some older-school math) means that there's a big gap between four 6th level characters and six 8th level characters. I'm not sure that we're getting good guidelines on when to use these adventures. Many don't specify a number of party members at all. If my summary above is unclear or inadequate, its because the adventures we're presented with are unclear. This is a bit of the "first edition feel" that I dislike. Give me a range and some ideas on making some encounters tougher or easier, but give me something. Also in table-form for easy perusal is nice: hiding things in needless paragraphs is needlessly old-school. It would have been super easy (and clear!) to have a sub-heading saying "for 4-6 PCs of 6th-8th level" or whatnot under each adventure title. Missed opportunity.

Third, a lot of these are for higher-level PCs. About 1/3 are for what I'd call "high level", about 10+. There's only one for beginning PCs, and none for PCs at second or third level (though the quest for level 1 pcs might take people to level two or even three).  It feels again like a little missed opportunity to have enough adventures of the right levels to easily use this book (these books, I guess) to actually progress through levels smoothly.

On the plus side, at first skim, these look sufficiently old-school and also good. I can imagine running one or more of these (hopefully I will, for what I paid). I just gave in and got Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower, and they look like they might fit in with this collection. So, some good looking stuff, but I'm a little disappointed about the implementation.

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