Monstrous Arcana

Published 1989.
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shesheyan
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Monstrous Arcana

Post by shesheyan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:13 pm

I'm looking at the three adventure format of the Monstrous Arcana series. I like the fact that they are centered mainly on one creature. The fact that a creature ecology book was also published is a bonus.

Have you played these adventures? Are they satisfying?

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Re: Monstrous Arcana

Post by Big Mac » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:57 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:13 pm
I'm looking at the three adventure format of the Monstrous Arcana series. I like the fact that they are centered mainly on one creature. The fact that a creature ecology book was also published is a bonus.
I missed these at the time, as I had given up playing D&D before they came out, but I really like the fact that The Illithiad trilogy ends with a stealth Spelljammer adventure.

It's a very interesting concept, but TSR didn't really do many critters.

I suppose there are some later adventures that focus on one creatures (like Sons of Gruumsh or Storm King's Thunder. And there was Against the Giants before these came out.
shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:13 pm
Have you played these adventures? Are they satisfying?
I've not played any of them, but I've seen some Spelljammer fans complaining about one of the bespoke changes that Dawn of the Overmind makes to how air envelopes work...or rather don't work in the Wildspace of Truespace. I had a look at those criticisms, I kind of agree with them, and I would just ignore that one rule...or maybe reboot the rule to make it less deadly.
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shesheyan
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Re: Monstrous Arcana

Post by shesheyan » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:40 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:57 pm
shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:13 pm
I'm looking at the three adventure format of the Monstrous Arcana series. I like the fact that they are centered mainly on one creature. The fact that a creature ecology book was also published is a bonus.
I missed these at the time, as I had given up playing D&D before they came out, but I really like the fact that The Illithiad trilogy ends with a stealth Spelljammer adventure.

It's a very interesting concept, but TSR didn't really do many critters.

I suppose there are some later adventures that focus on one creatures (like Sons of Gruumsh or Storm King's Thunder. And there was Against the Giants before these came out.
shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:13 pm
Have you played these adventures? Are they satisfying?
I've not played any of them, but I've seen some Spelljammer fans complaining about one of the bespoke changes that Dawn of the Overmind makes to how air envelopes work...or rather don't work in the Wildspace of Truespace. I had a look at those criticisms, I kind of agree with them, and I would just ignore that one rule...or maybe reboot the rule to make it less deadly.
The treatment of Illithids varies from setting to setting. Do you think I could use these adventures in my Blackmoor campaign after Temle of the Frogs. I changed the villain and put an Ilithid crew in the crashed ship. All Illithids were killed by players but the king is worried by their incursion.

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Re: Monstrous Arcana

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:00 pm

shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:40 pm
The treatment of Illithids varies from setting to setting.
Dawn of the Overmind definitely uses the Spelljammer version of illithids. But, it's more of a bridging mechanism. I think you could reboot it.

You would have to look through the previous two adventures for events that foreshadow this bit (I think it's just the second adventure, but I've not even skimmed them yet) and make notes of anything that would need a reboot.
shesheyan wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:40 pm
Do you think I could use these adventures in my Blackmoor campaign after Temle of the Frogs. I changed the villain and put an Ilithid crew in the crashed ship. All Illithids were killed by players but the king is worried by their incursion.
I don't have Temple of the Frog in my Blackmoor collection (yet) so it's going to be a bit hard to help you. But I've heard talk of a ship called SS Beagle, that is more like a science fiction ship in Blackmoor stuff.

If you are looking to use a science fiction ship, you just need to get rid of the Spelljammer nautiloid and use whatever ship you want to go with.

Dawn of the Overmind puts some sort of automatic "return to base" mechanism on it's ship, so you don't need to worry about your illithid crew being dead.

I don't know what sort of model of the universe you use, but Dawn of the Overmind uses the Spelljammer multiverse, with the automated ship making a trip out of the crystal sphere the players start in and through the phlogiston to a lost crystal sphere called Truespace.

If you want more of a science fiction feel you could remove the crystal spheres and phlogiston and add something more like Hyperspace. But you still have a problem because the "meat" of the adventure takes place on a gigantic flatworld called Penumbra that has a gap at it's centre where the local sun is.

You can reboot Penumbra as well, but you are looking at a lot more work. It's not really hard, but you have a lot of references to this washer-shaped flatworld and you would want to translate them all, so that you could zip through it. Of course, if you are going down the science fiction route, you could just handwave it away, by saying that it has artificial gravity.

If you want to discuss this further, I'd be happy to (like always) but I'm guessing that you might need to tell me what sort of "laws of nature" you are aiming for, so that I can look to see if there is anything else that I think might get in your way. However, I do think this is totally do-able, as Dawn of the Overmind is very rules light on that stuff.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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shesheyan
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Re: Monstrous Arcana

Post by shesheyan » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:02 am

Thank you for the input. Sound interesting. I'll take a chance and buy the 3 modules. Anyway converting/modifying is way easier than writing from scratch in my book. ;-)

I ran the Sea Devils Monstrous Arcana modules during my 3.5E phase. I have good memories of them.

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