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    Canonfire :: View topic - Slavers - Slave lords supermodule
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    Slavers - Slave lords supermodule
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 25, 2006
    Posts: 12
    From: Stockholm, Sweden

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    Wed Nov 15, 2006 6:38 am  
    Slavers - Slave lords supermodule

    Just bought the module/campaign source "Slavers" and I kind of like it. In my campaign year 579 the characters have just reached 2nd level+ and are about to go on two minor adventures, maybe making them 3rd level (really good characters!). I then thought about a kind of odd variant of playing the supermodule A1-4 and Slavers. Not considering that the Slavers are supposed to come after the original Slave Lords module, but playing Slavers first and then the original module! Of course, with making quite a few adjustments. Have anyone tried that or do you think it is not really possible/recommended for some reason?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 01, 2005
    Posts: 167
    From: Columbus, Ohio

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    Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:14 am  

    I think playing them out of chronological order depends largely on your players, your GMing skill, and your ultimate goal for the modules and how they fit into your overall campaign. As all GMs know, players can take a simple situation and turn it upside down, so you often have to roll with their punches anyway and alter your storyline. Strict adherence to a storyline often ends in someone being dissatisfied. Usually those that have strict expectation are dissapointed because the predicted outcomes are not realized, and those that desire the scenario to be flexible are dissapointed because their input is dismissed in favor of the GM following the prescribed outcomes.

    Regardless of order you will have to deal with the possibility of having an important NPC villain being killed before his or her reappearance in a later section. Players may feel cheated if the Markessa they battled and defeated was just another copy, or if this villain escape method gets used too frequently. Of course you could just rename the NPC in that role. IN my own experience, a player cleverly deduced who and where Stalmin Klim was, stalked him, and executed him well before the group was "scheduled" to encounter him. Not a real problem because this ultimately furthered Edralve's agenda bringing her to the forefront replacing Klim.

    Bottomline: if you want the "canon" Greyhawk experience, play them in order, but remember a smart GM knows his players and tweeks his games to their tastes and needs (as well as his own, of course).

    My recommendation is that either order of play is great, if that helps at all.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 25, 2006
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    From: Stockholm, Sweden

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    Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:42 am  

    Good point. I do not need to play them out in chronological order or play Slavelords after ToEE. If I remember the big slavelords module correctly, it was not that tough (at least not much tougher than ToEE), so it should work out with some DM-fixing if needed. Thanks for your answer Skech! If anyone have another opinion or want to tell how they played either module, please write here so I could get some tips on how to maximize the fun out of them. :-)
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 04, 2005
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    Wed Nov 15, 2006 7:34 pm  

    General warning. I have run A4 several time over the years, and have lost at least one player who got really pissed and quit the group every time. Have heard the same from some other DMs, so I'm guessing it isn't just me. If you have munchkins or power gamers in your crew A4 seems to piss m off good, espically if things go poorly.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 25, 2006
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    From: Stockholm, Sweden

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    Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:47 pm  

    OK. So why did they quit playing? Because they lose all belongings in the beginning of the module and have to fight with whatever they can get? That is one of the reasons why I am thinking of having my players play it now before I hand out some nice magic items to them. :-)
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 22, 2006
    Posts: 64
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    Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:13 am  

    I second FCA's warning. Back in the day my group played nearly all the classic mods EXCEPT the Slaver series. The fact that "you lose all your stuff" actually preceded the modules by reputation, and there was one guy who basically refused to play it. We essentially just moved on to another module, since we were playing module to module back then, rather than a campaign. We were long-time friends away from the gaming table, and the unspoken understanding was that it was better to avoid the Slavers than mess with the chemistry of our circle.

    The old Slavers series, the Yoko Ono of classic modules!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 25, 2006
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    From: Stockholm, Sweden

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    Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:58 am  

    Hehe. Maybe I will let them play Slavers until they reach Hardby, then let them investigate the Monty Haul Star Cairn with 2356 magical weapons and then let them play A1-4. :-) But actually I am not afraid of letting them be ripped from loads of stuff. I could just let the major NPCs take their coolest stuff and use them, so the party would be able to take them back. But thanks for the warnings!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
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    Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:16 am  

    Jeminnab wrote:
    I second FCA's warning. . . . The fact that "you lose all your stuff" actually preceded the modules by reputation, and there was one guy who basically refused to play it. . . . The old Slavers series, the Yoko Ono of classic modules!


    ". . . the Yoko Ono of classic modules . . ." LOL! Laughing Good one! Happy

    I've run into similar issues, even from seasoned players. The "lose your stuff" was just too pat. IMC, I've on ocassion finessed it by saying, "Your stuff does not work for some strange reason, perhaps it has something to do with the odd glow you detect in some passages which makes the hair on your arms stand up. etc." Immediately, players suspect some sort of magical interference or "anti-magic rock" and are sufficiently interested in it that they take the loss of their stuff by proxy fairly well. Of course, you have to pay off that thread but that is easily enough done, as is rejiggering the adventure just a tad to follow this line.

    A suggestion. Smile
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    GVD
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    From: Wichita, KS, USA

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    Sun Nov 19, 2006 5:20 am  

    Wah. If they play well they can get their stuff back, and more. They can always play the modules with the pregen tourney PCs, too. Sheesh Shocked
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    Allan Grohe (grodog@gmail.com)
    http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:40 am  

    A lesson I learned a very long time ago:
    Don't mess with a player's character.

    Don't take his stuff, particularly in the forced manner presented in A3/4.
    Don't give him scars or remove body parts.
    Don't force him to wallow in filth for no reason other than your amusement.

    They don't appreciate it, and it too frequently causes a complete loss of interest in the character. There are few better ways to kill your game than gratuitously screwing with a character because you thought it might make a "cool" story.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:11 am  

    True, so you if you have touchy players, use the pregens. That's what they're for :D
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    Allan Grohe (grodog@gmail.com)
    http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 18, 2006
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    Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:58 am  

    Not only did our DM take our stuff for A4 but when we got out of the caverns and started kicking the slavers around he had them jump in their sailboat and take off as if it was a cigarette boat on Miami Vice.

    We had some supremely pissed players, but its all good. It's adventures like this that players remember. For good or ill. Wink

    And I think some people take the 'game' far too seriously.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:11 pm  

    The way I ran the original four modules was to start with new 4th-5th level PCs in A4, then have the party go through A1-3. It's the only way to play the series without it being a railroad. The A1-4 supermodule includes another fixed fight (apparently David Cook was unable to write a a module that wasn't a railroad).

    This way works great because PCs don't lose their stuff by DM fiat (which is to say, cheating) because they never had it to begin with. If they do decide to play with their regular PCs, the part where they lose their stuff is over and done with early, and can be used as wonderful motivation for revenge. Munchkins may be bored with saving good folk from the bad guys, but will lick their chops at the chance to get some payback against whoever took their stuff.

    In either case, I do NOT use the rigged ancounter at the end of A3. They fight it out and whoever wins, wins.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 11, 2003
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    From: The Nexus

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    Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:59 pm  

    Elfdart wrote:
    The way I ran the original four modules was to start with new 4th-5th level PCs in A4, then have the party go through A1-3. It's the only way to play the series without it being a railroad. The A1-4 supermodule includes another fixed fight (apparently David Cook was unable to write a a module that wasn't a railroad).

    This way works great because PCs don't lose their stuff by DM fiat (which is to say, cheating) because they never had it to begin with. If they do decide to play with their regular PCs, the part where they lose their stuff is over and done with early, and can be used as wonderful motivation for revenge. Munchkins may be bored with saving good folk from the bad guys, but will lick their chops at the chance to get some payback against whoever took their stuff.

    In either case, I do NOT use the rigged ancounter at the end of A3. They fight it out and whoever wins, wins.


    But if you start A4 with the assumption the players are prisoners of the Slave Lords, then you do exactly that: railroad the players. It's more a question of when and how, rather than what.

    I've run A1-A4 several times, and my players have always loved it. I run A3 with the assumption that the players might win, and it's a hard fought battle. Players never like being taken prisoner (I sure don't), but if it's what fits your storyline then sometimes having the players taken prisoner does make for a good story. That's the real key with this series: what story are you telling, and how do your players fit into it? How is their role in this adventure series unique and exciting, what do those players bring to the table that can be added in, or tweaked with the base storyline to make the running of that adventure special to that group of players.

    My players enjoyed the A1-A4 series because they had to do a lot of roleplaying to get the answers they needed to find the slavelords. They had to detective their way through, find informants and sources, and do the dirty work that is taken for granted in A2, and do the investigating that brings them to the climax in A3. Losing and having to be clever with the beginning of A4 was just another challenge to them, and became very exciting because they had to really rely on their wits to make it.

    A player who is upset at being taken prisoner should be reassured that the scenario is not the end of the world, and the GM is not trying to be unfair or rob the players of their well earned crunchy bits. The whole goal of the scenario is to finish the Slave Lords off, so naturally there may be a chance to recover their losses--and that provides motivation.

    Theala
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:45 pm  

    Theala_Sildorian wrote:

    But if you start A4 with the assumption the players are prisoners of the Slave Lords, then you do exactly that: railroad the players. It's more a question of when and how, rather than what.


    You are confusing the date, time and venue for the opening kickoff to the play and outcome of the football game. The DM should arrange the beginning of the game, but not fix the outcome of the encounters ("No matter what the PCs do, they will lose this fight and the bad guy will get away.") or the end result. If the DM does, he or she's no longer playing a game, is he?

    Quote:
    I've run A1-A4 several times, and my players have always loved it. I run A3 with the assumption that the players might win, and it's a hard fought battle. Players never like being taken prisoner (I sure don't), but if it's what fits your storyline then sometimes having the players taken prisoner does make for a good story. That's the real key with this series: what story are you telling, and how do your players fit into it? How is their role in this adventure series unique and exciting, what do those players bring to the table that can be added in, or tweaked with the base storyline to make the running of that adventure special to that group of players.


    D&D is a game and as such there's no reason to have a storyline at all.

    Quote:
    My players enjoyed the A1-A4 series because they had to do a lot of roleplaying to get the answers they needed to find the slavelords. They had to detective their way through, find informants and sources, and do the dirty work that is taken for granted in A2, and do the investigating that brings them to the climax in A3. Losing and having to be clever with the beginning of A4 was just another challenge to them, and became very exciting because they had to really rely on their wits to make it.


    There's a HUGE difference between losing honestly and being cheated by DM fiat.

    Quote:
    A player who is upset at being taken prisoner should be reassured that the scenario is not the end of the world, and the GM is not trying to be unfair or rob the players of their well earned crunchy bits.


    Most players of any game know when they're being cheated. Just because a DM says it doesn't make it so. Quite the contrary: If a DM has to apologize it means the fix was in and the players are rightly turned off that they were playing a rigged game. Try playing poker that way.

    Quote:
    The whole goal of the scenario is to finish the Slave Lords off, so naturally there may be a chance to recover their losses--and that provides motivation.

    Theala


    That might be true, but nobody I've ever met enjoys playing in a rigged game. Someone who plays the A-series supermodule as written goes through at least TWO railroadings, when one is enough to make most players think:

    If all this is going to happen no matter what I do, why should I bother? They don't need me at all.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Jul 28, 2001
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    Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:18 pm  

    Returning to Grazzzt's original post, I neither played, nor DMed A1-4 but mined those modules for further details in a FtA-era campaign set within the Pomarj.

    The campaign was a kind of parallel game for the main campaign, set in CY 583 iirc, which was intended to provide the players in the main campaign with insight about the swelling Southern Juggernaut that had reportedly conquered the southern Wild Coast.

    For example, I used A1-4 to detail the lingering presence of the Nine / Slavelords after Suderham's fall, i.e., historicizing the balance of power. (The campaign started in Stoneheim and dealt with the competing influence of the humanoid tribes, the human-dominated urban trade centers, and the monstrous influences of the mountains, e.g., the Earth Dragon, Krovis, a certain forest, a clan of ogre-magi, etc.

    Therefore, I think the background published in Slavers about the "humanoid geography" of the Pomarj could help establish interesting adventures in the Pomarj, perhaps based in Highport, to increase the players' enjoyment of A1-4.
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