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Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:12 pm
by GMWestermeyer
Did anyone ever pla through the original Dragonlance modules, the DL1-12 series?

I read them, but they don't seem playable, and i was curious if anyone ever played them and what it was like.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:41 pm
by RobJN

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:18 pm
by Morfie
I ran DL10 Dragons of Dreams as a one-shot many years ago, as that was the only one I owned at the time.
It worked very well and we had a lot of fun (using BECMI Rules as well), but these days those types of modules would be considered the very definition of railroad.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:06 pm
by Falconer
It is DL1-14. There are 12 regular AD&D modules, plus a sourcebook (DL5) and a board game (DL11). DL14 includes a module AND a sourcebook. Several modules also include larger-scale battle scenarios using standalone and/or BattleSystem rules.

What about them seemed unplayable to you, exactly? I’m not saying you are wrong to have concerns; just I want to make sure we are addressing your actual concerns.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:20 pm
by shesheyan
We tried playing them when they were published but the GM was inexperienced and he freak out when we went on a tangent during the first module. He was upset we didn't follow the «script» of the novels. Thinking of this now, I believe the problem was that he was incapable of improvising.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:39 pm
by night_druid
The modules have a reputation for being rail-roady, and look to be that way from my read. There are some sites that could make for good stand-alone site adventures, stripping out the overarching metaplot (sorta feel that way about DL as a whole, really). The ruins of Xak-Tsaroth and Skullcap might make good modules on their own.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:36 pm
by Havard
night_druid wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:39 pm
The modules have a reputation for being rail-roady, and look to be that way from my read. There are some sites that could make for good stand-alone site adventures, stripping out the overarching metaplot (sorta feel that way about DL as a whole, really). The ruins of Xak-Tsaroth and Skullcap might make good modules on their own.
I haven't actually run the modules, but my impression is that there are only one or two instances that are painfully railroady. Sure, they aren't sandbox adventures like Keep on the Borderlands or the Isle of Dread, but any experienced DM should be able to work through any decisions arent covered in the modules.

Not saying there is no room for criticism, but I hardly think they appear to be unplayable.

Gary Gygax hired Tracy Hickman specifically to experiment with story elements into the adventures. This was a new thing back then, so they probably didn't get it right all the time, but they were still pioneer work.

-Havard

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:56 am
by Baron
Hi Paul!

I tried getting DL going both as a DM and as a player. Never quite managed to get past the first module though -- not due to the module, but other RL issues.

However, I think I've finally got things lined up to start running the series myself in a couple of months. And I'm very excited!

As a prior poster said, I don't know what your issues are with the modules. I don't anticipate any problems myself. But I will recommend a series of blog posts from a DM who ran them, full of suggestions. I'll be reviewing what he wrote as I prepare my own game.

Have fun!

https://quasarknight.blogspot.com/2016/ ... r.html?m=1

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:24 am
by night_druid
Havard wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:36 pm
I haven't actually run the modules, but my impression is that there are only one or two instances that are painfully railroady. Sure, they aren't sandbox adventures like Keep on the Borderlands or the Isle of Dread, but any experienced DM should be able to work through any decisions arent covered in the modules.
Oh certainly. Just pointing out that parts might be salvageable as stand-alones.
Not saying there is no room for criticism, but I hardly think they appear to be unplayable.
Nothing is really "unplayable". Its just that the results of the session might differ greatly with the expected results. My players would likely derail those modules in ways the writers never envsisioned (evil would win, I can guarantee ;) )
Gary Gygax hired Tracy Hickman specifically to experiment with story elements into the adventures. This was a new thing back then, so they probably didn't get it right all the time, but they were still pioneer work.
Biggest issues to me is the pre-gens, splitting the party, and keeping a game together across 12 modules.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:02 pm
by BotWizo
In high school I tried to DM them, we were big DL fans.

I ran the first three and we never made it to play DL4.
We restarted one or two more times and only finished DL1 subsequent tries.

We had trouble playing in the DL world. we loved the books and couldn't bring ourselves to deviate from that story, it made playing fun but not interesting. So we would move on to other campaigns and modules.

We really wanted to end DL2 differently, but it all ends with paragraphs of dm reading rather than battling flamestrike and other dragons.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:32 pm
by night_druid
BotWizo wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:02 pm
We had trouble playing in the DL world. we loved the books and couldn't bring ourselves to deviate from that story, it made playing fun but not interesting. So we would move on to other campaigns and modules.

We really wanted to end DL2 differently, but it all ends with paragraphs of dm reading rather than battling flamestrike and other dragons.
That's why I think I'd want to make changes to the modules and setting, to make it an alternate reality version of Krynn where things may not go exactly by the book. I doubt I'd even use the pregens; I'd rather let players roll their own characters ;)

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:51 pm
by DirtSkull
BotWizo wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:02 pm
In high school I tried to DM them, we were big DL fans.

I ran the first three and we never made it to play DL4.
We restarted one or two more times and only finished DL1 subsequent tries.

We had trouble playing in the DL world. we loved the books and couldn't bring ourselves to deviate from that story, it made playing fun but not interesting. So we would move on to other campaigns and modules.

We really wanted to end DL2 differently, but it all ends with paragraphs of dm reading rather than battling flamestrike and other dragons.
This is real close to my high school group as well but we did make it to DL11, bought the rest but never played them. DL11 though, we did a dozen battles just like X10(from the same era). We all passed the books around and just used the characters from each module. I compare it to playing any TV show/movie rpg. Star Trek/Super Heroes/TMNT etc. You play what you've read or have seen but with new variables.

These days I would completely re-write every encounter/treasure drop, create new villains etc.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:40 am
by Lord Torath
I ran the first couple modules with my wife, and we didn't use the pregens (until other characters start showing up, like Goldmoon and Riverwind). It seemed to go pretty well. But we only got to kill Khisanth before the game fizzled (because my wife's really not into RPGs). I've always wanted to run through it, though. Even converted all the forces at the High Clerist's Tower to 2E Battlesystem and created tiles to use for the battles.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:13 am
by GMWestermeyer
So far, these are the responses I expected.

I played in the Pax Tharkas module once, back in the late '80s, but we never finished it.

I suspected the modules were unplayable as they were trying to duplicate the novels. The effect is like fanfiction where you just rewrite scenes from the novels with a Marysue character added.

I'm a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and never wanted to play out adventures based on that novel either.

Now, I do like having novels set in the game world I play in. I loved the FR novels, but I never tried to recreate them. Occassionally, if it made story sense, some NPCs from a novel would make a cameo appearence, but the adventures I ran woul be separate, happening off to the side. For example, I have run adventures set during Tethyr's Reclamation War after the novel War in Tethyr [https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/War_in_Tethyr] and in Ankhapur after King Pinch [https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/King_Pinch. And Jammers, my Spelljammer PBEM campaign is set in Bralspace after the events of The Maelstrom's Eye [https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki ... om%27s_Eye].

Anyway, I shied away from modules that tried to duplicate modules after the DL failure in late '80s, and after reading the Avatar trilogy for the Realms. Instead, I tended to read such moules to get insight into events in the novels or to cannabalize them module for parts to use elsewhere. (Flying citadel maps in DL still strike me as excellent Dwarven citadel maps, if i could find one).

But a few years back I started reading the Greyhawk novels based on classic adventure modules. And I really enjoyed them. Perhaps because it was a novel trying to emulate a famous module rather then the other way around. Anyway, since I satrted rereading the Dragonlance Crhonicles recently, I thought I'd glance through the modules again, and I wondered if anyone ever managed to run them as TSR intended.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:14 am
by GMWestermeyer
Lord Torath wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:40 am
I ran the first couple modules with my wife, and we didn't use the pregens (until other characters start showing up, like Goldmoon and Riverwind). It seemed to go pretty well. But we only got to kill Khisanth before the game fizzled (because my wife's really not into RPGs). I've always wanted to run through it, though. Even converted all the forces at the High Clerist's Tower to 2E Battlesystem and created tiles to use for the battles.

Hmmm... I can see them as solo modules...

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:28 am
by RobJN
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:13 am
I suspected the modules were unplayable as they were trying to duplicate the novels.
Except that the novels were based on the modules, which were developed first.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:23 am
by night_druid
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:13 am
So far, these are the responses I expected.

I played in the Pax Tharkas module once, back in the late '80s, but we never finished it.

I suspected the modules were unplayable as they were trying to duplicate the novels. The effect is like fanfiction where you just rewrite scenes from the novels with a Marysue character added.
I think it takes very special circumstances to make them work. The right group size, a particular love of DL, the right mindset. Whereas something like Keep is so generic it can be molded to fit just about any campaign, the DL modules are tailored to a very small subset of players.

That said, were I to run them, I'd strip out the metaplot, add my own, and run the modules as site locations. Perhaps not even in the order presented, and may not even run all of them or add other modules. I think Krynn is a fairly serviceable world, so long as you're willing to make it your own and not adhere to canon too closely. Otherwise you're just reading scripts.
Anyway, I shied away from modules that tried to duplicate modules after the DL failure in late '80s, and after reading the Avatar trilogy for the Realms. Instead, I tended to read such moules to get insight into events in the novels or to cannabalize them module for parts to use elsewhere. (Flying citadel maps in DL still strike me as excellent Dwarven citadel maps, if i could find one).
The Avatar modules suffered from not only having to follow the script, but were just bad modules in general. Very little for DMs to use as stand-alone site locations. Unfortunately, modules was never Ed's strong suit.
But a few years back I started reading the Greyhawk novels based on classic adventure modules. And I really enjoyed them. Perhaps because it was a novel trying to emulate a famous module rather then the other way around. Anyway, since I satrted rereading the Dragonlance Crhonicles recently, I thought I'd glance through the modules again, and I wondered if anyone ever managed to run them as TSR intended.
I have no doubt people have run the DL modules as intended. How many that number is, I cannot say. I imagine the chances of finding people who did so would be much greater in the 80's than today.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:39 am
by GMWestermeyer
RobJN wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:28 am
GMWestermeyer wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:13 am
I suspected the modules were unplayable as they were trying to duplicate the novels.
Except that the novels were based on the modules, which were developed first.
According to the annotated novels that only applied to the first novel and the first three modules.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:24 am
by Falconer
DL1 and DL2 are pretty close to Dragons of Autumn Twilight (with perhaps a few possible interesting surprises/variances), but after that it’s quite different.

DL3, DL4, DL6, DL9, and DL13 are not covered in the Chronicles novels (some of them are mentioned to have happened, but not in any detail or with any immediacy).

DL12 is a massive setting book with a ton of content, covering Eastern Ansalon and Istar. We do read about the group’s Flotsam and Istar adventures, but this barely scratches 5% of the content and doesn’t even hint at all the stuff that’s in here.

DL7, DL8, DL10, and DL14 all cover awesome areas and dungeons that you know about from the novels (eg., the High Clerist’s Tower, the Silvanesti Dream, Neraka), but in good detail and in surprisingly sandboxy and playable fashion, each with many more quests and possible outcomes than you would have imagined.

It’s probably good that the novel writing overtook the module writing, both for the novels and for the modules. In the later modules, they knew full well that people were reading the novels (they were an unexpectedly huge success), and so they threw in a TON of content — areas and characters and foes and plot twists. DL14 came out some time after the Legends trilogy—that’s how much work they put into it.

It may not still seem worthwhile to you to play through them, but, hopefully this info is still useful!

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:27 am
by Sturm
The whole series is huge as Falconer said, and you could use it for several campaigns.
I DMed it with PCs as the original characters and was very funny as they changed the plot completely, with Laurana killing Raistlin and other interesting stuff happening :) More or less all the players had read the novels and were happy to "play" them looking how they (and dices) could make them completely different while still playing the characters as they were described.

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:18 am
by apotheot
I have run the first 4, then skipped to number 8. Plan to go back and finish the others at some point, but need the right players (ie newbs) as the stories are very linear and easily destroyed by experienced players or novel readers not wanting to be railroaded.
-Apotheot

Re: Did anyone ever run the original modules?

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:06 am
by Tom Bulls Eye
In my high school group we ran some of them, but not in a DL context. Rather as it was pretty scarce with modules in the town in Denmark, where I grew up, we’d use any module we could lay our hands on, adapt it a bit to BECMI and play it.

I remember them as quite fun, but our group was split between those who tried to stick closely to the story, and those who didn’t.