I mentioned that I was having a playtest of a rough draft of a Swords & Wizardry module I’m writing in my Saturday post. Even though I only had two players, the session was enlightening.
The bad news is that both players found main part of the adventure, the barrow dungeon, boring. Worse, they thought even the brand new players the adventure is aimed at would find it boring. The good news is that they loved the small town they started out in with its two opposed but friendly lords and the ghosts that live in the town completely more or less accepted by its residents. (The town is just outside the “valley of the dead” of an ancient civilization.) Both of my players think that the adventure should be set in the town instead of in some old tomb in the valley as the town is much more interesting than any tomb.
The adventure is aimed at beginning GMs and players and was intended to provide a ready to run adventure in an area that the GM could expand into a campaign — and do so in about 16 published pages. That’s probably 10-12 pages of text which would leave room for illos, maps, etc, in the final product. 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.
I’m not sure what to do here. Keep the town but make the starting adventure exploring something in the town (like a just mysteriously ruined building)? Rework the burial mound dungeon to try to make it more interesting? Make the town less interesting so the dungeon seeming more interesting? Scrap everything and come up with a new adventure?