Out with the Old…

I started thumbing through the classic modules from editions past.  Thanks to my old Friendly Local Gaming Store owner selling many classic books and my impulse buying, I’ve got a good chunk of the old modules.  Plus Wizards of the Coast nicely placed many of the adventures online to download for free (link goes to a Wikipedia article, but the ones listed under “Notes” as having an Official Download can be grabbed for free, even without a DDI account).  I decided to skim through them to see what I could rip off for my own campaign and came across a realization: You can’t.

My game is a 4e game.  I prefer the system to all the previous editions.  However, adventures for 4e just aren’t structured the same way as they were in previous editions.  Healing surges saw to that.  In old modules, a series of halls or tunnels lead from chamber to chamber, and were usually trapped.  But a trap in the middle of a hall doesn’t mean much anymore.  “Oops, I triggered this falling rock trap that did 2d6 damage to me.  Guess I’ll have to spend a healing surge.”  Sure, it’s resource attrition, but it’s just not the same.  A trap just isn’t going to kill anyone in a party that has a Leader in it, not even the Leader.  Most of them even have Encounter abilities that can heal without costing Surges.  Sure, it might not heal much, but every little bit counts.  But you can’t just dump Healing Surges from the game.  It’s one of the main abilities that prevents characters from dying constantly.  All of healing in 4e is based on the premise of the Healing Surge.

So how can we recreate that old edition feel into our games aside from asking our players bring three characters each and play them in turn as the last one dies?  I wish I had the answer.  The move to a mini-based game makes drawing such maze-like maps impractical.  Is it just nostalgia that even makes me want to try to run one of these old modules?  Or was there something to the threat of imminent death around every corner?  Is it worth the effort to try to convert say White Plume Mountain or the original Castle Ravenloft?  I’m not sure.  I may try it.  Or I may just keep thumbing through these old books just in case there’s something in here I can use for my own games.

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Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM  Leave a Comment  
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