Home » Ancient Posts » S&W Module Playtest Session: Epic Fail?    
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Cool, Randall! That sounds good, let us know what your players think on the second go-round.


E.G. Palmer, the Lovecraft fan in me loves your idea, but there's no way to do justice to it in the space available. As this module is for print publication, I have length limits. They have stopped a number of ideas dead in their tracks.

However, your post did get me thinking in a new direction. The original idea was to have the characters discover that while all the tombs were reportedly cleared out long ago, the fact that the tomb they are sent to was not means information is inaccurate (thereby giving the GM a setting for further adventures). Instead there is a spooky ruined manor at the edge of town that the characters explore (an above-ground dungeon), only to discover information about the tombs there. This should be fun. Imagine what it would take to be considered "spooky" in a town where ghosts wondering around is considered normal (think of the ghosts at Hogwarts in Harry Potter). I've tossed this idea out to the two players who suffered though the playtest Sunday to see what they think.

Robert: Good idea on the micro-adventures. I'll add some rumors like in the old City-State of the Invincible Overlord that the GM can use as future adventure hooks if he wants.


Every memorable story I head about B2 is stuff that happened in the Keep. But, those stories are often rooted in planning to go to the Caves or returning from the Caves.

I think the dungeon and town setup make a good symbiotic pair. I’d be wary of trying to move the adventure into the town. Especially if the town worked well as is. Try to figure out how to make the dungeon more interesting instead.

Although, it can be good to add some micro-adventure possibilities to the town. One of the things that is great about B2 is there’s little things to be encountered and done both in the Keep and in the wilderness outside the Caves.

Jeff Rients

The playtest might have failed but I'd like to point out two things:

1) That's what playtesting is for.

2) Based upon the playtest report and your overall description, I am very interested in your ideas. Keep on it!


What if the dungeon is directly under the town, similar to what Arthur suggests. Many ancient and mediaeval civilizations buried their dead under the floors of their homes, in the floors of churches and in catacombs beneath them. The undead might be the true rulers of the town, a circle of Elders which never dies. Or maybe to save them selves, the living provide inconvienient visitors and adventurers access to the catacombs with tales of treasure.
You could have a Lovecraftian hidden cult which worships their dead ancestors and the evil powers or gods which grant them unlife. Or they could just be amoral pragmatists who think better them than me.
In either case, the adventurers would be in a situation where they never leave the dungeon to return to their safe home base, since they are one and the same. They would never know who to trust in the village. It would be like Call of Cthulu meets Dungeon Crawl.

Pulp Herb

The classic beginning adventure is a "dungeon" not a town — and for good reason. Dungeon adventures are much easier for new GMs to handle than town adventures as there are far fewer possibilities for the GM and players to deal with.

Note you said classic, not all.

Go out on a limb and find a way to make it a town adventure. Setting the dungeon in the town kinda works but why not go for more.

How about a suddenly hostile "ghost" which turns out to be something else. That something else's lair could be the dungeon part.

Joshua Macy

Yeah, making the part they really liked less interesting is crazy talk. What if the adventure was to stop a group of adventurers who've come into town to destroy the "evil ghosts"?


I say keep the town and put the adventure in there; don't junk the thing which your playtesters were most enthusiastic about!

I reckon you have two choices:

– Put the dungeon in the town and make it intimately tied to the situation there. Maybe it's an extensive warren of tunnels deep under the old mayor's house or something. Perhaps careful observations of the behaviour of the ghosts in the town can yield clues as to what's going on in the dungeon.

– Put the town in the dungeon. Make it a lost settlement beyond the valley of the dead, make the valley of the dead the dungeon, and have the adventure be about getting beyond the valley only to encounter the town at the end and get involved in the interesting local politics you mention.


Ask the players. Why did they think the dungeon was boring? I would not make something that was working (the town) not work to make the boring bits more palletable.