In about a week I should find myself with enough time to begin seriously tackling my summer projects. I’ve been kicking around an idea for an adventure module for B/X/Clones/AD&D for levels 4-7. I’m going to blog the process of putting this together (writing for retroclones and OSR fantasy will be the primary focus of this blog).
I’ve been reading Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance, as have many other of late. In his stories, magic is deadly, rare and something highly sought after. Although the exploration of a wizard’s tower is a commonly used trope, I’ve decided to set the adventure in the ruined tower of a very high level arch-mage. The magic he has brought to bear in his domain is far beyond that which the party has access to or has likely encountered. This isn’t to say I’m building a deathtrap. This isn’t going to be one of those see if you can survive adventures, but I do want the players to feel like they are a bit out of their league once they get inside.
Players will be around levels 4-7. Those levels are the “sweet spot” for characters to encounter what I consider to be classic monsters: manticores, sphinxes, minotaurs, medusae, young dragons, basilisks, etc.
I want to take classic monsters and twist them as much as I comfortably can and still make them recognizable and interesting. I have some specific ones in mind, and I hope I can reinterpret them in memorable ways that make a DM want to use them in other adventures as well. In recent basic/expert games I’ve played in recently, there’s been far too much player knowledge for my tastes. Any DM or adventure writer who isn’t seriously mixing things up nowadays is likely contributing to a deadly version of the game (deadly to fun, not the PC’s).
This will be a quasi-sandbox module. There are 3-5 major NPC’s who might influence or combat the party. Each of them will have multiple motivations and attitudes toward the party that the DM can choose or roll for randomly. So someone who helps the party in one run-through might be the villain in another. There are multiple possible events that could change the direction or end-game for the party.