Mystara Campaign for my kids

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Thorf
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Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Thorf » Mon May 20, 2019 2:48 am

I'm pondering running a series of adventures for my kids, currently 9 and 7 years old.

I already ran each of them in turn through the red box Aleena/Bargle solo adventure, to give them an idea for how the game works. But of course that ends up with each of them having a fighter.

Now I'm thinking of introducing them to the other character classes and getting them to start new characters. But what to play?

I'd love to have a go at running B10, as I've never done it before. And I think they will really enjoy the siege part. Also, my son is crazy about maps (big surprise, eh? :geek: ) so I think he might enjoy the revelation of the tapestry being meant to be a map.

But what to run beforehand? I'm not familiar with any of the B series adventures. Should I run them through the red box DM's book adventure?

Another thing I'm wondering about is whether some of the black box adventures might be more suitable, given that we could use the board and figures. (This is partly why B10 is attractive, too.) I have played Zanzer Tem's dungeon in the past, and also Rage of the Rakasta, but none of the others. If I were to use one of these, which would you recommend? Would you advise using Thunder Rift, or avoiding it and just placing the adventure in Karameikos? Especially given that B10 ought to begin pretty soon after that adventure.

Despite all my experience with maps, I'm at best a novice DM, and other than a short stint in 2016 I haven't DM'ed in years — and never for my kids yet. If you have any advice of that sort, I'd love to hear it too.

Thanks!

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Yaztromo » Mon May 20, 2019 3:21 am

The obvious answer is to start with the B1-9 adventures in series (In Search of Adventure)! They worked brilliantly and for decades at enthusing so many young people, usually for life!
I'd let them stay warriors for at least one more adventure, before opening up the game to other classes.
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Gravesguardian » Mon May 20, 2019 3:28 am

Start them in Zanzer's dungeon and then run them thru all of the Thunder Rift modules and adventure packs. As I recall, all of the big boxsets and the Thunder Rift modules have those pretty big maps and paper figures. By using Zanzer Tem's dungeon, you can even run it multiple times with each of your kids choosing different classes until they find the "one" class each of them likes best. The Dungeon magazine adventure: A Way with Words is the only Thunder Rift adventure that I don't think had a fold out map for. Also, the DragonQuest boxset has 3 Thunder Rift specific adventures in it, with a nice big "alterable" gameboard, figures and handy little cards of various types. (Spells, Magical Items, Traps, Equipment, Monsters.....oh, and premade characters too.)

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by RobJN » Mon May 20, 2019 9:48 am

The idea of running multiple iterations of Zanzer's Dungeon to find the ideal class is genius.

B11 "King's Festival" makes for a great starting adventure. I ran it following Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon, the party in hot pursuit of the hobgoblin jailor who'd run off with the elf chick (Adelle..?). Orc-and-undead-bashing, rescue-the-princess cleric meat and potatoes adventuring.

If you want to continue Bargle's villainy, there is always Castle Mistamere. What are his plans, down there in the dungeons beneath the old ruins? Float that question past your young adventurers and see what nefarious schemes they can concoct for the Infamous One.

"Hail the Heroes" also has a big fold-out map, if I recall rightly.... Sure, it's for 2e AD&D, but we all know it and BECMI are totally not interchangable at all (especially after about Gazetteer 7 or so) ;)

The dungeon crawl is actually pretty low-key: most of the adversaries are vermin, and the traps can be bypassed by either following the spoken instructions, or thinking things through based on material close at hand for the PCs
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Robin » Mon May 20, 2019 11:16 am

Hi Thorf
Maybe this is an option.
http://pandius.com/smurfs.html
They probably know and like Smurfs and these are befitting their age
you just need to write or rewrite adventures to theis non-lethal state,
then they choose a smurf they know and hop into adventure
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or somewhat scarrier
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Sturm » Tue May 21, 2019 9:49 am

AC3 and AC8 could be interesting, if you adapt them to Mystara somehow (I suggested a Karameikos adaptation recently in Threshold issue #22 http://pandius.com/karacamp.html) because they have paper tiles and paper miniatures, so the little building project too could be fun for kids.
Also the AD&D First Quest box of 1994 has interesting adventures and maps and the Dragon's Den (which is clearly set in a disguised Karameikos) too as they were meant to be Beginners' boxes.
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue May 21, 2019 3:37 pm

I would concur with RobJN in suggesting B11: King's Festival. I find this to be one of the best introductory modules- it isn't overly complex, but yet it is rich and detailed enough that it is a great gateway to some of the other campaign modules and isn't quite as "elementary" as some of the Thunder Rift or later DDA series modules. It is a fairly straightforward adventure that can be easily expanded upon- whether you follow it up with B12 or your own adventure, and it also introduces Karameikos.

Other than that, I don't want to entirely dismiss the TR modules or DDA3 and 4. Most of them are a little too much in the "Encounters" style format for my tastes- a single location (usually with one, single-story map) and cardstock pieces to represent the monsters and characters. The stories are rather simple, but these may satisfy what you are looking for with an introductory game (and of course DMs can certainly expand on things as needed). Of them, I'd say that the TR adventures Raven's Ruin and Quest for the Silver Sword are probably the best of that lot, while I'd avoid Sword and Shield. DDA3 Eye of Traldar is the better of the two DDA "encounters" modules; DDA4 Dymrak Dread always felt incredibly rushed, and definitely was not the sequel to DDA3 that it was purported to be.
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by agathokles » Tue May 21, 2019 3:52 pm

I think many of the more complex modules are not terribly suited for kids. Back in the day when me and my brother started playing (we were somewhat older than your children, though) we enjoyed the more straightforward modules, such as the Keep on the Borderlands. B11 is also an excellent suggestion for starting characters, although its follow up module, B12, may be more appropriate for slightly older kids.

I'd probably combine an introductory module such as B11 or one of the TR modules with a larger, but still not too complex, module such as B1 or B2.
If you want to play B10, you'll need to bring both characters to level 4, IMO, since the party will be rather small for BECMI adventures.
So, adding in between another module -- for example Rahasia -- could be useful.

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by shesheyan » Tue May 21, 2019 4:02 pm

Maybe «Side Treks» from Dragon/Dungeons magazines if you have them. B1-B2 would also be good. L1 The Secret of Bone Hill is also a good sandbox with many small adventures.

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Thorf » Wed May 22, 2019 11:45 am

Thanks for all the great ideas!

To clarify my intentions, I’m hoping to do something that interests us all — me as well as my kids. It’s no use if it’s not fun for all of us.

And I really want to use Mystara, not just D&D or RPGs. They are both already Minecraft veterans, and my daughter has also played some video game RPGs (Kingdom Hearts and Pokémon), so they’re no strangers to the fantasy genre. Robin, I love your suggestion of the Smurfs — I was a huge Smurfs fan for many years, as it happens. But I’m afraid it would probably be more interesting to me than to my kids! ;)

So the question really is twofold: how to introduce them to RPGs is the easy bit, as I think the black box, Zanzer Tem’s dungeon, and the dragon cards are a really excellent way to do this. I already did this with one of my cousins many, many years ago. (And I already started this process with the Aleena/Bargle solo adventure, of course.)

The other part is how to get them into Mystara, and this is the main bit I need help with. It needs to be creative, and of course tailored to their needs.

For my son this means letting him map things out, which seems guaranteed to get him involved. We’ll probably make his character a cartographer who wants to map the world or something like that, and I’m thinking of giving him map fragments bit by bit and letting him slowly map out the world (or at least the parts they visit). The Isle of Dread seems an obvious fit here, too, but they need to get up some levels before heading there.

My daughter is more of a question mark, and I’m not sure what will interest her the most yet. But I suspect she will be drawn to stories and interactions of all kinds, including combat. Definitely need to give her NPCs to interact with as well as monsters to kill.

Did I mention that so far they are set on being a magic-user and an elf? :o I think I may have to give them one or two NPC friends to play with, or they’re not going to survive very long!

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Robin » Wed May 22, 2019 12:08 pm

Thorf wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:45 am
Thanks for all the great ideas!
.......
Robin, I love your suggestion of the Smurfs — I was a huge Smurfs fan for many years, as it happens. But I’m afraid it would probably be more interesting to me than to my kids! ;)
Lol I know the feeling...I am an avid collector of of the smurfs (have 1018 different figures, not counting, the houses, extras, merchandise, and kindersurprise eggs of smurfs, or other brands of smurfs. I am officially(as fas as the smurffanclub goes at least) the largest collecter in North Nederland(Netherlands).
So I played with some kids of 8 to 14 with smurf pc's...they had a whole day of fun (especially as they were also well fed with cakes, cookies and other treats) and pestered their parents for days telling what their characters did...yet all in all I had the most fun..in my opinion at least.
I Used the simple basic red box adventure, were I removed the deadly threats and replaced them with just spooky threatening threats. (mostly done by making them clumsy, slow and a bit dumb)
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed May 22, 2019 3:59 pm

If you start them in Thunder Rift and run the TR adventures, the finale (Escape from Thunder Rift) drops the party in Karameikos near Bywater.
Atleast one of them took a fighting class. Good thing Zanzer's dungeon gives out so many healing potions, since noone's running the cleric.... or did either one take the Healing General Skill?

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by TheGlen » Wed May 22, 2019 5:04 pm

Castle Caldwell & Beyond. It was literally written for children. It's not too hard it's easy to understand and it's gradually wraps up the complexity as they grasp the concepts. it doesn't say it's a kids module just one of the reasons why he doesn't have a good reputation but it is everything you're looking for

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by agathokles » Wed May 22, 2019 6:09 pm

Thorf wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:45 am
Did I mention that so far they are set on being a magic-user and an elf? :o I think I may have to give them one or two NPC friends to play with, or they’re not going to survive very long!
Uhm, maybe adapting The Ghost of Lion Castle would work for such a duo.

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Gravesguardian » Wed May 22, 2019 6:22 pm

The Djinni's Ring from Issue #9 of Dungeon Magazine could be adapted for the duo, also. (It's set for a 3rd level Elf; but, you can modify it for their levels.)

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by RobJN » Wed May 22, 2019 7:42 pm

As far as introducing Mystara as the setting goes, I'd say use Threshold, as fleshed out by Mentzer in his iteration of the Expert Rules, and run the kids through the town-based adventures outlined in the Threshold writeup. Their scope will widen with each level -- mapping out the town, the ruins beneath/around the town, close by the township, and so on until they work their way up and down the river to Kelvin/Suskiuyn/Specularum....
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Sturm » Thu May 23, 2019 9:36 am

RobJN wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 7:42 pm
As far as introducing Mystara as the setting goes, I'd say use Threshold, as fleshed out by Mentzer in his iteration of the Expert Rules, and run the kids through the town-based adventures outlined in the Threshold writeup. Their scope will widen with each level -- mapping out the town, the ruins beneath/around the town, close by the township, and so on until they work their way up and down the river to Kelvin/Suskiuyn/Specularum....
Chimpman's Threshold campaign originally done for his daughter would be particularly appropriate indeed: http://pandius.com/klbargle.html
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Wangalade » Fri May 24, 2019 8:21 pm

If you're going to make threshold the home town, then mistamere is a great start. It's a simple dungeon that expands on the experiences of the solo adventure. If you want to lead into b10 then you need a reason to get them to kelven. The sword of Justice from dragon 92 is a good short low level adventure; it could be placed anywhere really. As already mentioned, you could use one of the scenarios from castle Caldwell to transition. Elven home from dungeon 1 could also be used on the way from threshold to kelven; it also has a very much whimsical fairytale vibe. Also I haven't had the chance to run it, but I'll second b11, it looks like a good starting adventure and it naturally leads into B12 and an exploration of karameikos. You could go from B12 straight into b10, I think that would be really interesting.
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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by Patrick » Sat May 25, 2019 4:40 am

7 and 9 might be young enough that they'd enjoy the CD adventures. And they definitely are a relatively smooth re-introduction to DMing, since you've got so much mapped out & on the CDs. Two adventures in K:KoA, Hail the Heroes, and Night of the Vampire could be a decent intro. Or, if they're set on being an elf & magic-user, maybe start with the CD adventure from G:KoM.
These products get a bad rep, kind of like Castle Caldwell, because they're SO juvenile. And there's no way I'd recommend considering them when your kids are much older. So it's kind of "now or never," and they've got enough cool stuff (and cool maps) to them that I'd say they're worth trying.

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by agathokles » Sat May 25, 2019 9:10 am

I'd also consider the adventures for Tall Tales of the Wee Folk. I've used The Lost Seneschal in Karameikos, but most will work easily.

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Re: Mystara Campaign for my kids

Post by JTrithen » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:26 am

Oh, this is exciting, Thorf! I hope you and your kids have a great time.

I think the suggestion about Mistamere nearby Threshold (from the 1984 red box) is a great one.
I had great fun starting a couple of friends out with that one, lasting about 3 to 4 years through high school. That specific adventure ended with chasing Bargle, him using the living statues disguised as him (as suggested in the box, I believe), and him escaping (of course). It was great.

You'll have to map out the 2 dungeon levels below the ruined mansion. I think you're boy would enjoy mapping those. I enjoyed making them up (and making them fairly interesting) as a new DM.

My second vote would probably be B1-9 for ease of use.

"The Lost Seneschal" from Tall Tales of the Wee Folk is a great scenario for someone more interesting in role-playing. Your daughter might enjoy the interactions in that adventure, since there is a little more role-playing (I can't remember if there might be some challenges, or riddles, that might be tough for a 7-year-old; but you could help her). I think it's a great fanciful adventure that captures a fairy-like woodland feel well. It would be a good starter one to throw in near the beginning of the adventures. There wouldn't be much mapping in it.

Thunder Rift is great for basic beginning adventures. I think Zanzer's Dungeon and continuing on through several TR adventures, culminating with being deposited in Bywater, Karameikos, at the end would work well. I have placed my Thunder Rift in the northwestern corner of Brun, near the Sylvan Realm, as there are supposed to be several human kingdoms nearby there.

I think B10 is a bit too broad and complex (it's a fairly long campaign) to start out with. But if you just keep it chopped up into scenarios that can be focused on, I'm sure it would be fine. I've never run it. The seige at the beginning is great, of course. It would probably take a few short sessions just to finish that part, depending on how you run it. Keeping young kids attention (or focused on a goal for more than 2 to 3 hours) would be a bit of a challenge, I'd think. :)

I think B11 and B12 are a little too broad. The first one involves an easy dungeon-crawl, and the map-making woulud be fun. I think B12 is too open of a sandbox adventure for new DMs and new players. And it's a "little" more grown-up, too, as I recall (as a previous poster said); I can't remember why. More violent encounters, maybe? Can't remember exactly. I was a little discouraged when I ran it many years ago and there was no map of the surrounding area around the castle in B12 when my players needed to scout out the landscape. I had to make up a lot of stuff. I think I had to figure out when there were patrols on the castle walls and stuff like that, so the players could figure out when to sneak in. I like the adventure plots and most of the encounters; there were just some loose ends to worry about, figure out on the spot, and/or prep for.

I agree with you that you will have to provide some NPCs to help. Most of the adventures suggested in this string need adequate parties of 4 or more. I'd suggest you play 2 NPCs -- 1 should be a new adventurer-type (fighter or dwarf, I'd think) that is experiencing the adventures along with the kids, and the second could be more of a patron-type of character, possibly 2nd level even, that kind of guides the characters along, and would act as a "pseudo-parent," kind of like a Gandalf figure. I think that would be helpful.

You could also run "The Dragon's Den" boxed set (part of the Challenger series that came out during the "Thunder Rift" era). I think that would be a fun introductory one. It can be used in the western area of Karameikos, as many people have suggested, since it's settlement and geographical locales were obviously meant to originally be in Karameikos. It definitely needs 4 (or more?) characters. The characters go up against dragons, but they have a bit of magical item help, too, in the scenarios.

Happy adventuring!

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