Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Tide Rolls In

"You Should Be Afraid of the Water..."

- Evil Tide tagline

NOTE:  SPOILERS abound for those who are looking to be a part of my Christmas D&D game.  You have been warned.  I also apologize for the lack of my own pictures as I prep.  I've run out of "free" storage space, and am working to delete old pictures/free up new storage, but Picasa is being difficult/not letting me access my online folders.  Grr....

Christmas is soon here, and Christmas breaks are about a month away (Christmas is exactly 1 month away today actually), and that free time is usually meant for celebrations between friends and family.  This year, I'm planning on running a DnDNext playtest, bringing in some new friends that have never played a game of Dungeons and Dragons before.

In a previous post about a month ago, I wrote about how my D&D games have started to turn away from campaigns.  People are too busy and inconsistent to want to get involved consistently for long periods of time (I am hoping to change this in the new year).  For now, I'm focusing on one-shot adventures that keep players happy and having a good time.

With all the DnDNext Playtesting going on, I really want to focus on playtesting.  I believe playtesting is best for people who have never played D&D before, as I think the rules are better for beginners, and this is the way I plan to run my games from here on out.  Many other DMs have written about converting adventures (SlyFlourish converted Ravenloft in a great article here), and I felt that it was my turn to try.

Back in June for Free RPG Day 2012, I picked up two old AD&D modules: Night of the Shark and Sea of Blood by Bruce R. Cordell.  My local shop didn't have the first adventure, Evil Tide, so I had to do without, though having parts 2 and 3 of the entire adventure was a little upsetting, especially since some of the plot points in parts 2 and 3 directly tied to the 1st.  So, I did some hunting on Amazon, and bought a new copy of Evil Tide.  It arrived on Friday.

I read through the adventure, and the whole thing seems pretty legit.  Mostly, the players will go and explore some caves and fight some sahuagin.  I've already begun purchasing sahuagin miniatures (since there are no tokens for them in any of the Monster Vaults), and I want to create some fear in my players as they fight the sea devils.

I want to now go over the few things that have crossed my mind since Saturday about things I want to do for this module.

First, I want to write some books/journals to give to the players.  I doubt that any of them will really know what sahuagin are, or how they function.  Adding books to the island's library means I get to give away some interesting props (I love using books as props), while giving away good information for the PC's to use and build upon.  I plan on writing about some history of the sahuagin and the relationship they have to their god, Sekolah.
Found this through Google.  Awesome pic, I just don't know who drew it.
My second biggest issue right now is coming up with all the maps.  The cave complex was drawn out on the inside of the jacket for the adventure, which works great.  Unfortunately, I don't own any Dungeon Tiles or poster maps for cave systems.  I think I will be drawing most of the rooms on a wet erase gridded map with the occasional dungeon tile thrown onto the map for a large rock/terrain feature.  I'm not sure how this will turn out, as I will need to make sure my drawing skills do well enough to convey the sense of what I'm describing.  I do plan on using a section of the Book of Vile Darkness map for a large rocky island in the cave.  The map has some lightish green at the end of it, which makes for glowing water/algae growth.

I originally thought that trying to play an underwater adventure in three dimensions would be difficult, but after looking at the monsters/how big the rooms are sized, I don't think that I need to do that at all.  Descriptions and underwater combat rules should suffice in letting the players know where they are and where they are fighting.  I may change my mind about this over time, but as of right now, I still plan on working in 2 dimensions.

For monsters, I plan on tweaking the lizardfolk stat blocks and the crocodile stat blocks.  For the lizardfolks, I just change the weapon type so that it deals piercing damage (for their tridents).  I plan on using crocodiles for sharks.  By doing things this way, I get to still playtest actual playtest monsters, just re-flavored.  The players will never know.

If you have any questions, please ask.  I plan on posting updates for how the adventure planning is going.  As always, be sure to follow me on Twitter @artificeralf