Thursday, September 12, 2019

Modifying S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

Yet another classic TSR module that I want to stick in my West Marches campaign.

I've been going through the module the past few days. Here are a few observations (in no particular order):

  • I have no problem dropping "sci fi" or tech in my Medieval fantasy game, so I don't need to re-fluff everything as magic items. In fact, I might even do away with the Gamma World-style "roll lots of dice to see if you figure this thing out or shoot yourself in the chest" charts. It's always been one of those subsystems that seems like a good idea in theory but just isn't that fun at the table. 
  • Instead of the tech discovery chart, maybe just have a simple Intelligence check, and if failed, a saving throw to avoid mishaps? Easier and faster than trying to describe what's happening while a series of d10 rolls are made and I'm consulting the chart. And it still preserves the outcomes of: "you figured it out" "you have no idea" "it blows up in your face"
  • Classic D&D doesn't have a comprehend languages spell. Read languages is low level and easy to come across, so they can figure out any written information if they need to. Speak with monsters requires a level 11 caster. I might want to throw a few scrolls of that spell the party's way before they find the ship. Or communication with the androids and recorded voice messages will just be missed. Or just make it clear to them that while they may (probably will) stumble upon the ship at a lower level, they should wait until they're higher level to fully explore it.
  • The map in my PDF scan of the original module is fine on screen, but when I print it out it's really hard to read. I should redraw the map. 
  • This place is huge! I knew this, but considering how the players so far have not been as interested in dungeon crawling (with the exception of the Caves of Chaos), I think only the first level will be enough crashed spaceship for them. 
  • Since there are plenty of empty spaces on the first level map, I may throw some of the interesting encounters from lower levels into the first level so that it's not just vegepygmies and androids. 
  • I copy/pasted the text and have been editing out extraneous bits that I won't need at the table. I was complaining about Gygax being wordy a few weeks ago, and while this text has a lot of unnecessary verbiage, it's a lot more concise than some of the other modules I've been using. Gygax packed a lot of useful information into the descriptions of the areas. 
  • I love the rooms with a bunch of stuff to experiment with -- you know (as a player) that some will be helpful, some harmful, and some could be either depending on how you mess with it. There's a lot of that in this module.

1 comment:

  1. It has been a long time since I've given my copy of S3 a good read...and even longer since I ran it. I recall thinking the tech research being extremely clunky, too. It wasn't one of my favorite modules, but it does have some good stuff in it (like shambling mounds, mind flayers, and froghemoths!).