Friday, August 6, 2010

Hot Modding!

I like the theme of the "Jaquaying The Dungeon" posts over at the Alexandrian, making dungeons that have more complex geographies, but what struck me more was when Mr. Alexander went and applied those principles to the Keep on the Shadowfell.

To me that's awesome in more than one way. First, its a little poke at the industry: "Look, we hobbyists have learned a thing or two that your products aren't giving us." But also it's about DIY too; you don't have to complain about it, hope some game company hires a Jaquaysian designer, produces a product, and sells it to you-- you can do it yourself.

Yes, of course you could just start a dungeon from scratch. I know. And you should do that too. But like the article I saw as a kid in my dad's hotrod magazine about putting a big block in a Pinto . . . sometimes you do it because you want to prove you can. Or just because it's crazy (and shouldn't be done?).

I'm talking about more than changing the number of orcs in a room here. Or even just switching all the orcs to Drow. I'm thinking major changes. Maybe you switched a published module's level two and level three. Maybe you completely Frankensteined one module's dungeon onto (or into) another's. Or parked the big bad from some low level module in a side chamber of a high level one. I don't know, anything.

So two questions:
1) What's the biggest mod you've made to a published rpg module(s)?


2) Which modules do you think would be excellent candidates for such surgery?


  1. In my Queston campaign, I built an island, Mythophantarealian, and took stuff from Castle Amber and Dungeonland and Barrier Peaks and mashed it all together. Great success!

  2. Cool! So, what guided your choices in the picking and choosing in that instance?

  3. I once made a monster amalgamation of the Ruins of Myth Drannor and the Ruins of Zhentil Keep boxed sets, wrote a whole lead in adventure and a bunch of wilderness pieces designed to bridge the gaps and keep the overland travel engaging, then finished the whole thing off with a battle royale against like a hundred insane cultists. Holy crap that was fun. All choices were guided by character backgrounds invented by the players and setting fluff specific to the Forgotten Realms, interspersed with larger campaign events (specifically the rumors of Zhentil Keep's fall and the consequent advance into civilized lands of barbarian hordes led by frost giants. And hence the specter of bloody war). One of the best campaigns I've ever run.

  4. Back at the end of July, I started a series of posts on this over at my own blog, beginning with Castle Caldwell, but I think the biggest mod I've made to a published adventure was to an urban adventure from Dungeon magazine, which got transported to Freeport, had all the NPCs replaced/renamed, and run at the same time as another published adventure and a plot of my own.

  5. Thanks! Two thoughts, I could have called this post Module Mashups because it seems smooshing several together is common and and the first contender for a module begging for modding is Castle Caldwell.

  6. I took level 12 of Rappan Athuk -- the goblin city Grezneck -- and paced it under a hill in a jungle as the starting town of the party.