I'm finally getting back behind the screen this weekend and I'm quite excited about it.
At the release of 4e, I decided it was time to try my hand a Dungeon Mastering again. Regular readers will know that I had a huge lapse in gaming throughout most of the 90s-00s. Even when we did play D&D "back in the day", we never really got too deep into it. The desire was there for me, but not the means. We just couldn't get ourselves organized enough to do it properly.
That 4e campaign ran for a few years, and eventually we were all feeling completely burned out with the system. As I got more involved with the hobby, and started to read more blogs, I discovered all sorts of games out there. Savage Worlds, Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX), Hackmaster, Call of Cthulhu, and, of course, the OSR titles all caught my attention. As a group, we decided to take a break from 4e on Tuesday nights. I also opened up the opportunity for the players at my table to run some one-shot type adventures. Allen ran Call of Cthulhu, Dave ran D&D Gamma World, I ran Mutant Future, Labyrinth Lord, and HEX. We had plans to get back to 4e, and we tried, but the little remaining luster had really worn off.
There was some desire around the table to check out Hackmaster and we asked Dave's buddy Jonathan to come in and run a few sessions. The few sessions turned into a few months, as our group's positive attitude really impressed John. He wanted to keep gaming with us, and suggested we wrap up the Hackmaster session and move on to Labyrinth Lord. The plan was to bust out as many of the classic TSR modules as he could. John is great DM, with a lot of experience (but a very busy schedule), so I was happy to give up my seat behind the screen to play with him. So far, we've cleared Castle Caldwell, rescued Princess Silvia, and started investigating a haunted house in the Saltmarsh.
We decided that we would open the world up to anyone in the group with the desire to run...just take the new set of characters off in a different direction, essentially.
Starting this Sunday, I'll be in charge of the Borderlands to the east of "The Realm". I planted the keep from B2, out there, but tossed everything else. I want to show off what the OSR community has to offer, and hopefully in the process, learn a lot more about adventure/dungeon design. Instead of the Caves of Chaos, my players will have to contend with the Stonehell Dungeon. In addition to the lizard men in the swamps, they may stumble upon the Fane of St. Toad. In the burned out ruins to the south, the Inn of Lost Heroes may appear. The Grinding Gear and the Tower of the Stargazer should feature promising, assuming they wander into the right hexes. The hexes from the recent issues of Loviatar will populate another region. Zogorion may even make an appearance. All that, without even touching the list of available AD&D compliant modules.
It will be my first time offering a hex based adventure, and probably the first time for most of my players to play through something like that, too. Although I have plenty of material to fill out the "interesting" stuff on the map, I look forward to improvising what else might be found in any given place.
Wish me luck!
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