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Old 04-02-2012, 08:25 AM   #1
Jeffr0
 
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Default Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

I ran module B2 Keep on the Borderlands with the redbook rules from the Moldvay boxed set at a small convention for eight hours with a random sample of modern gamers. This is what happened.

Breaking the Ice -- Yeah, I didn't think anyone would show.

Adventures in Time and Space -- I tried out someone else's Doctor Who game.

Goblinoid Genocide in the Caves of Chaos -- How do modern gamers react when faced with the central moral quandaries of early eighties gaming?

The Brief Adventuring Career of an Illustrious Elven Lord -- No, I did not plan for the inevitable player versus player thing, so I just let the players deal with it on their own.

Encountering Jack McDevitt -- Professional writers have a lot good gaming advice.

Wandering Geek Girl Check -- Not what I was expecting.

Game Mastering Panel Discussion -- Wow... modern game masters really are different. I had no idea. Seriously.

The Kobayashi Maru of Old School Gaming -- How you face death is at least as important as how you face life. (Especially in my game!)

The Hobgoblin’s Pantry -- Game over, man. Game over!

The State of the Borderlands -- I decided to summarize the overall campaign state so that you can see how player actions impact the game environment even in defeat. Gygax's direction on monster learning is probably his least followed advice, so I really tried to pay attention to that.

Keep on the Borderlands and Modern Gamers -- But what did the players really think...?

Party Size, Game Balance, and Difficulty Level in Old School Games -- This is my response to some criticism of my game mastering choices.

Brain Storming about Resource Tracking -- This is the one area that I really want to rethink and revisit before doing this again.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing. It is, BTW, refreshing to read a well-written blog entry...so rare.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Interesting read. I also have, and have run this three or four times with different groups, although I have used AD&D 1st ed. to do it.
No one ever seems really ready for such a complex and layered 1st level set of adventures.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by mearrin69 View Post
Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing. It is, BTW, refreshing to read a well-written blog entry...so rare.
M
Wow, thanks.

I've tried to avoid attempts at monster epic end-all-be-all-posts (like these) seeing as they too often result in a ";tldr" type non-response. Nobody cares about "real" war games and general role playing topics seem to cut across otherwise non-overlapping niche groups. But I try to cut out anything that mucks up the narrative... I try to eliminate parenthetical asides and editorializing... and I try to (as Jack McDevitt suggests) capture an experience. (Pro tip: never post about how you're not posting.)

It appears that most people that command a sizable audience as bloggers eventually break into something bigger... at which point their blog is mostly about self-promotion rather than whatever it was about to begin with. That's maybe one reason why it is that a good blogger is hard to find.
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Last edited by Jeffr0; 04-02-2012 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by adm View Post
Interesting read. I also have, and have run this three or four times with different groups, although I have used AD&D 1st ed. to do it.
No one ever seems really ready for such a complex and layered 1st level set of adventures.
I'd really like to hear more about your experiences in running it. (I do think AD&D with 4d6 drop one and arrange attributes, multiple starting spells in the magic user's spell book, and clerics starting with spell(s) would increase the survivability of the characters and decrease the total dependency on stupid oil/rope/pole tricks.)

It's odd... but most people seem to think of Keep as being a dumb, hack 'n slash adventure. Sure, long time D&D fans have a soft spot for it... but... "complex and layered?" How so?!
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

I'm going to be running Keep on the Borderlands with a group in D&D4e... although I'm going to be running it as close to the original as possible with the new mechanics, and none of this nonsense about perfectly tailored encounters.

We actually have a LOT of people who have been playing 20+ years in the group, so I'm not surprised about their generally positive reception to the idea.

Side note: 70-odd kobolds in one warren, even 2 or 3 HP kobolds, looks like it could be as much a hazard if you pull them all at once in 4e - even if they're all minions (1hp), even with the greatly increased hitpoints starting 4e characters get.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Side note: 70-odd kobolds in one warren, even 2 or 3 HP kobolds, looks like it could be as much a hazard if you pull them all at once in 4e - even if they're all minions (1hp), even with the greatly increased hitpoints starting 4e characters get.
Check out all the rules for who reinforces who in Keep. Aggro-ing an entire lair is quite probable in many areas. I've run RtKotB in 3e and achieved a TPK (well, actually, they got sold into slavery by kobolds other than the one who died of mummy rot and the gnome who got eaten, but same difference), I know someone who ran KotB in 4e and achieved a TPK. I think it's just a feature of the module design, not of red box per se.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Jeff:
It's very interesting to see that your PC's hit 1600 XP (most of which appears to have been treasure XP) in one session. I had someone claiming it isn't typical to level up in 4 or fewer sessions in D&D... even tho' I've never seen a surviving party fail to make 3rd level in 8 sessions.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

I love that module.

:)
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Culture Clash: Modern Gamers and Keep on the Borderlands

Great... now you've got me looking for the perfect hill setup in minecraft to build the keep and the caves...
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