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TheAuldGrump

[Game Mastering] Keep on the Borderlands & Beyond

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22 hours ago, PaganMegan said:

Mum's copy is from a box version she bought before I was born.

 

I THINK she kind of pretended to run it for me when I was seven. :wub:

 

It was my step up from Hero Quest.

Your mother is a wise and wonderful woman.

 

The Auld Grump

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Grrr... I forgot to ask Becca and Sam about their experiences with KotB - 11 and 10 years old, first time GMs - both starting with the PDF of the original, Becca running it in 5th, Sam in Pathfinder.

 

The Auld Grump

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Although KotB wasn't the first D&D I ever played, it was the first one I ever ran. (followed by Bone Hill).  When I started playing the local library had a subscription to Dragon magazine and we would reserve the copy and that would be the module for the month.  When it was a game, we would play that, when it was something else, we would make something up.  Then I had the opportunity to run and my parents got me a basic red box for Christmas (I think I was 12 or 13)  and we played through the module as my inaugural event.

 

Since then I have run it every once in a while.  I also got to run the return to the Keep on the Borderland which takes place 20 years after the original module.  I thought it was pretty well done, adding a little more detail to the wilderness even if it did simplify the cave complex.  It also does a much better job of teaching new adventurers that there is a time to fight and a time to run!

 

In all cases, the Keep became the centerpoint around which the characters operated from, sometimes setting up homesteads and, in one case, taking over the place when they hit 10th level and needed their steading in 1e.  The most fun I had with the group was the discovery that the keep was working with the priests in the cave complex in a scheme which involved advertising for monster hunters, outfitting them, and then sending them off to the caves where they would be killed and their outfits recycled for the next group.  the group was rather perturbed about that one...

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Both Becca and Sam had a lot of fun running KotB - and Sam has not yet finished with the second expansion I made for it.

 

For a starting GM... I would like to see an updated version of it. (Not the super deluxe version that came out not all that long ago - a revamp of the original - with the GM aid in the middle updated for more current games.)

 

The Auld Grump - nothing against the new deluxe version - but from what I saw it was aimed more at nostalgia goggled experienced GMs than for starting GMs.

 

 

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New deluxe meanin the Goodman Games Beyond the Borderlands thing?

 

I wouldn't even call the conversions good for that.

It just fails to factor in a lot of the things that changed. Like armor types, eeeeeeeeveryone in the Keep and the Caves still wear leather-mail-plate like it's all that exists. 

The random encounter tables aren't carried over and instead they just threw in a lot of bad story hooks that don't really mean much and in a lot of cases are just referential to past Goodman products.

And for some reason they decided to turn the Lawful elf from the Keep into a Chaotic Evil manipulator because...... reasons.

 

The fault, ultimately, is that this feels like a product aimed at Goodman's fans, rather than D&D 5e fans in general.

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4 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

For a starting GM... I would like to see an updated version of it. (Not the super deluxe version that came out not all that long ago - a revamp of the original - with the GM aid in the middle updated for more current games.)

 

 

Are you aware of the Hackmaster version? It's called Little Keep On The Borderlands and it's very expanded. Hackmaster is basically 1st edition with house rules so it's fairly easy to convert. The Magic User at the keep, for example, has persuaded the Castellan to draw up plans for an extension to the UPPER FLOOR of the keep (no ground floor extension to prop it up) so that she can have her own private personal bedroom space. The Minotaur is female and wears a magical bra of blinding (it blinds people who are looking at her when she says the command word "Perverts"). I can't remember many of the other details that they changed but they went very in depth.

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I've run Return to the Keep a couple of times, and really enjoyed it. I don't think I've ever run the original, though I did play in a hex crawl version of it. The DM took all the dungeons and scattered them all around a 5 mile hex where the keep was at the center of the hex. 

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I remember being disappointed that B3 had nothing to do with B2. I guess Gigax never considered that players and DMs would BOTH have liked to continue in the area. ::(:

 

It feels like Gigax started a lot more campaigns than he finished, and even the finished ones were finished by OTHER PEOPLE. Even the giant/drow adventures had someone else do the last adventure, I think.

 

Grump and I argue about Temple of Elemental Evil, I liked it, while Grump liked Hommlet a lot more than the rest. He likes sandboxes, I'm okay with dungeon crawls. ::P:

Edited by PaganMegan
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For what it's worth . . .

My KotB has the Caves as an outpost for a group of beastmen/orcs.  The various humanoids become orcs, of differing tribes (some are larger but few, some are smaller and more numerous).  The kobolds became fey kobolds, the mining race from the British Isles who inhabited the caves first, and are more than happy to get the big folk out (and are most likely to ally with PCs).  The various orc tribes are being gathered by Evil Cult, but the cult leaders didn't predict that the orcs would be at each others' throats, so the plan to conquer the surrounding countryside has stalled out.  The owlbear is still an owlbear, and the orcs tend to not move around much at night while she is prowling around.

 

I link the Keep with the Village of Hommlet, since both involve an evil cult.  Depending on how the group wants to handle things, I can keep the cult-plot going for a while, having the PCs chase various cult leaders to other dungeons.

 

Thus far, no one has tried to take over the Keep and use it as a base to start their own kingdom, but I've just introduced Adventurer Conqueror King rules, so that might happen some day.

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I remember learning what kobolds started as, via Niel Gaiman, and being really creeped out.

 

And the Jack in the Box. ::o:

Edited by PaganMegan
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On 6/27/2019 at 5:08 PM, BlazingTornado said:

New deluxe meanin the Goodman Games Beyond the Borderlands thing?

 

I wouldn't even call the conversions good for that.

It just fails to factor in a lot of the things that changed. Like armor types, eeeeeeeeveryone in the Keep and the Caves still wear leather-mail-plate like it's all that exists. 

The random encounter tables aren't carried over and instead they just threw in a lot of bad story hooks that don't really mean much and in a lot of cases are just referential to past Goodman products.

And for some reason they decided to turn the Lawful elf from the Keep into a Chaotic Evil manipulator because...... reasons.

 

The fault, ultimately, is that this feels like a product aimed at Goodman's fans, rather than D&D 5e fans in general.

 

To some extent, I would agree. On the flip side, it doesn't cost TOO much more than an original copy of the module would, it's got loads more material (hell, it contains the original unabridged module), and it's AVAILABLE. The original KotB is not, short of eBay or download.

As to the armor issue, well, we ARE talking about a first level adventure, here. Keep it simple, keep it moving. 

I would have liked to see the random encounter tables reworked. And yeah, we didn't need the references to other Goodman products. Not if you're aiming at the D&D nostalgia market. That, they could have saved for DCC.

I could go either way on the elf. Part of me is irked that they changed that. Part of me says, "Well, they HAD to change SOME things, it's a reboot of an existing adventure!" But yeah, it wasn't so much aimed at 5e fans as it was at us ancient grognards who played the ancient original at a basement table with Mountain Dew and Taco Flavored Doritos.
 

On 7/17/2019 at 9:25 AM, PaganMegan said:

I remember being disappointed that B3 had nothing to do with B2. I guess Gigax never considered that players and DMs would BOTH have liked to continue in the area. ::(:

 

It feels like Gigax started a lot more campaigns than he finished, and even the finished ones were finished by OTHER PEOPLE. Even the giant/drow adventures had someone else do the last adventure, I think.

 

Grump and I argue about Temple of Elemental Evil, I liked it, while Grump liked Hommlet a lot more than the rest. He likes sandboxes, I'm okay with dungeon crawls. ::P:

 

Back in the day, a series letter didn't have a dratted thing to do with a continuing narrative. "B" simply meant "Basic Adventure." Note that Gary Gygax did not originally want to sell adventure modules, because he couldn't conceive a group where the DM didn't just write all his own material. Who'd want to pony up good cash for something someone ELSE wrote? (I am told that before D&D went to publication, it lacked rules for PC wizards, clerics, and so forth because Gary couldn't conceive of anyone wanting to play anything other than a "fighting man." Gary knew a thing or two, but he wasn't infallible.

This is why Judge's Guild got the D&D name for next to nothing with no supervision, and how their sudden success had ole Gary saying, "Um, well, okay, maybe there's a market for this stuff." And even then, B1, while wonderfully written, still expected the DM to stock every single area with monsters and treasure; as written, the rooms contained neither.

Gygax had an interesting life around that time. He went, within the span of three years, from "Unemployed Insurance Guy And Part Time Cobbler" to "CEO of a sudden company and shepherd and guardian of a hot new cultural phenomenon." During that time frame, his best friend and business partner dropped dead, he had to juggle the company and game while seeking investors to keep the whole thing afloat, AND writing all the new material for the expansions to OD&D, and then later, AD&D. 

It's not hard to see why he began handing off the chores to guys like Jim Ward and J. Eric Holmes, among others.

And even that's BEFORE the Blumes started getting all weird on him. Given the freneticness of all this, I am inclined to give the guy a little slack.

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14 minutes ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

Back in the day, a series letter didn't have a dratted thing to do with a continuing narrative.

 

Except when it did, of course (Slave Lords, Drow, Giants). Either way would have been fine, but mixing them was confusing.

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2 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

To some extent, I would agree. On the flip side, it doesn't cost TOO much more than an original copy of the module would, it's got loads more material (hell, it contains the original unabridged module), and it's AVAILABLE. The original KotB is not, short of eBay or download.

It's quite pricey, even with Canadian shipping I could get one for about half the price.

And the original module is cheap on DMsGuild/DnDClassics, and is available as POD as well IIRC. Now it does lack the charm of having two versions of the module with different art, having the multiple versions of the modules and cover artworks is easily the best feature of Into The Borderlands.

 

2 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

As to the armor issue, well, we ARE talking about a first level adventure, here. Keep it simple, keep it moving. 

It really isn't, though, because there's always these constant notes like "They wear Plate Armor so their AC is 18 and also they move 10 feet slower because of their STR score", it is awkward.

 

2 hours ago, Dr.Bedlam said:

But yeah, it wasn't so much aimed at 5e fans as it was at us ancient grognards who played the ancient original at a basement table with Mountain Dew and Taco Flavored Doritos.

I mean I'm no grognard but literally what appealed to me about this module was how vague it is about everything re: NPCs. Which means the DM can flesh them out themselves and weave their own narrative.

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22 hours ago, Doug Sundseth said:

 

Except when it did, of course (Slave Lords, Drow, Giants). Either way would have been fine, but mixing them was confusing.

 

Mmmyeah, good point... I started on the B series, but it got tangled right quick...

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It's inconsistent. In BD&D the code letter was more about the difficulty level/compatible level of rules, though.

 

While in AD&D you had stuff like the Saltmarsh series or the Against The Giants series, but then you also had the S series of unconnected modules....

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