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 Post subject: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 7:19 pm 
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I was wondering if a little more info on this product may perhaps be handed down? It obviuosly looks like a big dungeon crawl...

Also, what will be the defference between Master Dungeon modules and the Dungeon Crawl Classics? What frequency will we see this series come out in comparison to the DCC's?

Tell me more, tell me more! :P


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:17 pm 
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Jason,

Thanks for the question. :)

The Master Dungeons are a result of my efforts to keep the DCC line true to the original vision. The Master Dungeons are more open ended than the DCCs. They are more epic in tone (though not necessarily levels, ala the Heroic/Paragon/Epic tiers). They are less street level gritty (which I love) and instead high fantasy. PCs are assumed to play a crucial role in campaign setting --- whereas DCC heroes can quite easily be wandering homeless people with weapons, the default for MD heroes is that they are the champions of their realms. The stakes are higher, the stage is grander, the consequences are dramatic. If the PCs fail, it's not just their lives that hang in the balance.

(Note that this is just default assumption. DCC heroes can be regents and heirs, and MD heroes can be wandering vagabonds, but the assumptions leading into the adventure have a different flavor.)

MD allows a writer a bit broader scope. Consequently they can be a bit more challenging to run as a GM. While the plot is jsut as clear, and the goals are understood, PCs have more options on how to meet the challenges.

If we were talking classic Mentzer D&D, DCCs fall under the Basic and Expert sets. Master Dungeons are Companion and Masters. The quality of play isn't different (neither one is "better") but the tones and themes are very different.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:22 pm 
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xredjasonx wrote:
I was wondering if a little more info on this product may perhaps be handed down? It obviuosly looks like a big dungeon crawl...


And to answer your questions, while it *is* a big dungeon crawl, I think you'll agree once you read it that the scope is very different from the DCCs.

Quote:
What frequency will we see this series come out in comparison to the DCC's?


Not as often --- this allows us to cherry pick the adventures that we'd like to see as DCCs and Master Dungeons and make certain that each has something special that will make it memorable to the players and GM.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:38 pm 
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Harley,

What sits M1 apart from the DCC line?


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:51 pm 
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Jedi,

In a word, scope. In its idealized form, a DCC does exactly what it says on the box. The NPCs don't live out the scene, the adventure is a contained "crawl" and there is a dragon on the last level. It's important to me to keep the purity, as best as possible, of this vision. There are a lot of good adventures out there, but only certain ones make good dungeon crawls.

Master Dungeons allow an author a bit more freedom. In a sense, they are "concept" dungeons. If the idea is cool, old school fantasy, but stands outside of the scope of a usual crawl, then it might be a good candidate for the Master Dungeon line.

The downside of this freedom is that that Master Dungeons can be more difficult to run. It requires a skilled GM, one who --- in a pinch --- has the confidence to make the calls on his or her own. They're not for everyone (and they're *certainly* not for GMs on their first time out) but for GMs and players looking for dynamic, memorable adventures, they're a good option.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:57 am 
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You have intrigued me kind sir.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:25 pm 
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I am definitely intrigued as well. I will be buying this for sure! Thanks for answering. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:10 pm 
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I have another question: How come In Search Of Adventure isn't being advertised on the GG site yet?


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:01 pm 
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There are (by my count) at least 7 finished/near-finished projects not listed yet. We try to only list projects when we are absolutely certain they can make it to print in time. Nothing makes a publisher look more foolish than constantly pushing back a release date.

(Well, all right, there are a lot of things you can do to look more foolish than that, but you get the idea.) An update to the coming soon page will be ... coming soon. ;)

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:37 pm 
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Harley Stroh wrote:
There are (by my count) at least 7 finished/near-finished projects not listed yet. We try to only list projects when we are absolutely certain they can make it to print in time. Nothing makes a publisher look more foolish than constantly pushing back a release date.

(Well, all right, there are a lot of things you can do to look more foolish than that, but you get the idea.) An update to the coming soon page will be ... coming soon. ;)

//H


;) I totally understand.

I guess I'm starting to get antsy. I've been playing a lot of 4E but I haven't run anything yet. When I start running Sellswords of Punjar I'll probably put up a thread and blog about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:36 pm 
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Updated, my friend!

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:36 pm 
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Harley Stroh wrote:
Updated, my friend!

//H


You guys are awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:52 am 
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For those of you curious about Master Dungeons... You might also want to listen to The Tome Show as they interview Harley Stroh, DCC Line Editor, regarding adventure design, DCC #53: Sellswords of Punjar, and Master Dungeons. About 11:30 in he describes the differences between the DCC line and Master Dungeons:
http://thetome.podbean.com/2008/08/

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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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Congrats Harley on the evocative module. I'm doing a second careful read through and have a few questions. Is it ok to post them here?

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:04 pm 
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Jeff,

Absolutely! Feel free to note criticisms, too. I'm working on the next MD now, so it will be good to hear where the adventure fell short.

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:34 pm 
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Harley, I'm loving the vibe and vision of this adventure (ditto Aeryn, if you're in earshot).

I've only got one beef with the thing:

Quote:
Study the encounters beforehand, and you should have little trouble capturing the multilayered plots of the feuding zain-kin. (p.22)


I've been back and forth over the text and lifted notes re. anything that resembles plots, and I haven't found a lot:

    A parley with Scains reveals that House Tyrax doesn’t place any stock in Mouringlar’s claims to divinity. They're dedicated to a snake god. They'll betray the PCs.

    The other tribes of zain-kin see the PCs arrival as a threat, but House Zamosh sees it as an opportunity. A parley with the three elders of Zamosh reveals all the elders know about the city. They offer to protect the party from other houses, offering the PCs shelter and sustenance. They recognize Mouringlar for what he is: a powerful ally. They'll betray the PCs.

    A parley with Domastru means combat, but reveals that they're fanatical devotees of Mouringlar, believing the green dragon to be an incarnation of the dread wyrm Tiamat.

Is there material that didn't make it into the manuscript? If you can recall any texture from brainstorming sessions or actual game play, that'd be awesome.

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:41 am 
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I may sound like I'm bitching but this adventure's really a breath of fresh air. It blows away the WOTC current 4e offerings of kobolds in cramped quarters.

The city has defenses straddling the rivers leading into a bay with ports. So those are relics, right? The rivers lead into the Underdark, but nobody travels them.

Re. faction politics, I'm guessing they might all be trumped by the 'discovery' of the outside world. The city is really tiny (it would take six minutes to walk from area 3.1 to the ports), and they're competing for precious food and water. Outsiders could say, hey, people, there's craploads of space on the surface and more food than you can shake a stick at.

I'll nuke the webbed corpses, back in 1-4a. Not sure how those guys got past the rolling ball trap. The spiders would have subsisted on rats and bugs.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:43 am 
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Jeff,

Not at all! :) I have much thicker skin than that. And the day I don't make a mistake in my writing, will be the day I stop writing. (Just ask my editors.) And the only way we get better is if were hear about what didn't work (or didn't make sense, as the case might be.)

I can address/agree with some of the critiques shortly, but right now we're under a deadline for a manuscript.

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:33 am 
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Happy Gnome wrote:
Harley, I'm loving the vibe and vision of this adventure (ditto Aeryn, if you're in earshot).

I've only got one beef with the thing:

Quote:
Study the encounters beforehand, and you should have little trouble capturing the multilayered plots of the feuding zain-kin. (p.22)


Heh. "Multilayered" might be a stretch, but if memory serves, it did play out to be a huge mess (the good sort) in playtest. Let me go dig for my notes.

Happy Gnome wrote:
The city has defenses straddling the rivers leading into a bay with ports. So those are relics, right? The rivers lead into the Underdark, but nobody travels them.


Correct. My premise is that travel in a river, underground, nearly always requires magical assistance. There is no good way to negotiate waterfalls, monsters, etc. using only mundane means. Any zain-kin that have gone into the river, never came back. (Which opens up the fun possibility of seeing the ape-men someplace else.)

Happy Gnome wrote:
Re. faction politics, I'm guessing they might all be trumped by the 'discovery' of the outside world. The city is really tiny (it would take six minutes to walk from area 3.1 to the ports), and they're competing for precious food and water. Outsiders could say, hey, people, there's craploads of space on the surface and more food than you can shake a stick at.


Well, this entire paragraph is misleading (My fault --- it is from an earlier draft.):

Quote:
The shattering of the seals released a series of arcane spells
intended to herald Parhok’s return. The land heaved and
trembled, lightning rained down from the heavens, and
the earth was rent asunder. A mighty, seething chasm was
torn open, and an army of zain-kin emerged.


My final intent was that the ZK are only coming out in small numbers, each hand picked by Dragora. Here, my premise was that --- when faced with the unknown --- many cultures become *more* entrenched in the "old ways," retreating back into comfortable ignorance. Again, my fault for not conveying this in the text.

Finally ...
Quote:

I'll nuke the webbed corpses, back in 1-4a. Not sure how those guys got past the rolling ball trap. The spiders would have subsisted on rats and bugs.


Heh. No excuse for this one. This is a patent mistake, sort of like my "broken elevator" mistake in Into the Wilds (that one still bugs me).

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:52 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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Harley, have you squeezed out that deadline yet? If you can spare some of those layers of factional plot you had in mind with the Zain-Kin, that'd be awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:30 pm 
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Happy,

Heh. :) Not quite, but let me see if I can't summarize them for you tomorrow anyhow.

It was a fun game. The various factions were a mess.

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:38 pm 
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Happy,

I haven't forgotten. Just a lot I'm trying to work through today. :)

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:44 am 
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Part 1: (Cause I really do need to work on Death Dealer today. :) )

So ... it was a while ago, now, but here's how it went down. I've emailed some of the play testers, hoping that they will chime in once they get through their current work load. :evil:

Also, please bear in mind that my DM style is pretty loose and free-form. (Ask anyone who has played in a game at a convention.) I don't always abide by my own rules, which is why it is always good to have groups other than my own playtest material. But anyhow...

... the PCs made the slow climb down to the lost city. The eladrin decides to make elaborate maps of the city for later navigation so I pretty much provided the map, minus encounter key and labels. At one point, they actually camp out for 16 hours, watching the action down below, trying to determine what they were getting into. I ruled this gave them a sense of the key headquarters. The PCs also noted when the zain-kin were most active and when they were resting. With this info (and a fair number of really lucky stealth checks), they descended under cover of shadow and slipped down to the city floor.

The PCs sent out their rogue to scout out the nearby ruins. A ranger followed, at a distance, to provide artillery support if it came to that. Meanwhile the remainder of the party hunkered down, trying to make plans for what to do if the entire city came crashing down on them. <--- Equates to a lot of talking, planning, but none of it came to fruition.

The rogue and ranger happen upon a unit from House Vedrius. The rogue, risking life and limb sneaks up to the fire and listens in on the "troop gossip" (hello, definition of grognard!). Of course he doesn't understand Zain-kin, but with some successful checks, he is able to begin to discern some details. (Basically, I acted out my best ape impression with a lot of hand gestures and made wookie sounds.) The rogue was able to determine that the apes were excited about something, and as he lurked, the remainder of the troop hauled in another zain-kin and began to torment the heck out of him.

This was just flavor on my part, but of course, give your PCs a foot and they'll convert it into metric and stretch it out to a kilometer. The rogue (gotta give him credit) sees an opportunity and slips back to the ranger. Ranger withdraws to the party, interrupting an elaborate discussion on how build a fort in the corner of the cavern (as if they are really going to hold off hundreds of zain-kin??!!). Thief, meanwhile, is back at the ZK camp watching them torture this other ape-man. The Vedrius troop, having had their fun, begins to lead off the captive, taking him back to their HQ.

The thief comes up w/ a plan, scribbles it onto a sheet of parchment, ties it to a crossbow bolt, then fires it at the paladin. Tags the paladin's shield, exacerbating a little inter-party strife. :twisted: But the rest of the party decides the plan is a good idea and hustles down a side street to get ahead of the ZK troop and sets up on either side of the ruined street.

The ZK march down the street, the rogue springs the ambush, the ranger lays down flanking fire, and everyone else leaps from cover to flank and attack, and before you know it the ZK are down. The PCs grab the captive, toss him over the paladin's back and then vanish into the ruins with the rogue scouting the way as the ranger covers their back. By the time the Vedrius reinforcements arrive, it looks like they got hit by another faction. (The PCs don't know this yet, but the wounds (magic + blades) on the dead soldiers make the Vedrius leaders suspect that the other two factions are teaming up. So the ambush managed to serve two purposes: get the captive and stir up dissent amongst the factions.)

Whew. More later. :)

//H

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DCC Resource thread: character sheets, judge tools, and the world's fastest 0-level party creator.


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:18 pm 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

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Hah, that's awesome. You've gotta love gaming, eh? My game kicks off Tuesday. Can't wait!

But, stop!! I feel bad draining your productive time for game story. All I'm after are the faction motivations, plots, schemes, etc. A handful of bullet points is more than generous!

Jeff


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 Post subject: Re: Master Dungeons M1: Dragora's Dungeon
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:02 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:05 pm
Posts: 9
Nevermind. I'm tossing the module. It's cool in parts but the thing isn't finished, is it? Too risky for me. I've only run the assassination, but the assassination's not tied to anything anyway, so no loss there.

That said, you write well Harley. Reading the module was a pleasure.

Jeff


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