Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    So, GI Joe Mike posted this absolute bull**** module that he was in back in the 3.0 days, and a couple of us have talked about fixing it. Here's the thread, so you don't have to go back.

    Quote Originally Posted by gijoemike View Post
    To the OP: Thank you for allowing us this cathartic rant. It will be a blessing upon our psyche.

    Time Frame: Early 2000 to 2002.
    Game: D&D 3.0
    Setting: Grayhawk ( Living Campaign by WOTC)

    Unlike others who complained about bad writing, railroads, DMPCs, and no player agency, my experience had none of that and was with a one shot module meant to be be played and resolved in a 6 hour time block. The name of the module is mostly blocked from my mind after years of therapy. I recall that it had the word Echo in it.

    NOTE: To those of you who have not played in Grayhawk 3.0. Grayhawk was always pitched as lower magic. A +3 sword was an amazing magic item. 7th lvl spells where things of myth that only a few NPCs could dream of. Keep that in mind.

    NOTE: The GM told our party of 7 PC's this was a bit of a rough adventure and to be on our super A game. At least 1 or 2 of you may die. There is a sorta fix for that. It is HARD.

    It started out STRONG and promising. The local scouts and wizard of the country spied a tall new structure on the edge of their domain about 12 to 16 hours of travel into the desert boarder. Scrying, augury, and general divination had all failed due to lack of any knowledge. Time to hire a band of brave adventurers to explore and map out whatever that mess is. I was a military scout(a lawful good rogue type). We were level 3 to 5.

    The journey is making sure you have provisions. No encounter to speak of just a day's ride into hot hot sandy love.

    The Tower

    Upon reaching this old dilapidated structure we find one entrance and we feel a strange breeze that makes some of the parties' skin crawl. The scructure is no more than 200'' across 3 or 4 stories tall. We also heard a constant buzzing. Magic is detected all around. We slide down this opening and land on a large rock outcropping. What we see before us is a world of wonder and contempt of physics.


    The NOT a Tower
    Inside we can see 1000's of feet in every direction. There is no tower structure. ITS BIGGER ON THE INSIDE PEOPLE. 100 ton boulders float in midair disconnected from everything around it. Except there are buildings on and carved into the various floating rocks. In the far distance (up, down, left, right, doesn't matter) we see a "net" of arching lighting. The boundary walls of what we now stand in were a lighting storm. We can see and hear activity from one of the boulders far below. The mage with us explains it is like a extra dimensional space like rope trick, but it is aligned to some plane that isn't our home. (For every alignment step off Neutral a character was they got -2 for all social, communication skills. LG and CG were at -4 to most skill rolls)


    A bait and switch can be a fun adventure. Also this is a cool sounding area. This was a far cry from what we were expecting but we are adventurers. We press forward as the fools we were.

    Travelling
    We discovered that every boulder had at least one archway built on a small platform. If we jumped through the arch we would be hurled 100 feet to a predetermined boulder. Jumping like this could take 12 seconds to land. That was a cool cinematic moment. We jump to the first few boulders and fight some kind of abomination lurking in the crevices of the tunnel. Nothing is of any challenge... YET.

    BS DEATH
    We come to a central rock that has 4 of these jump platforms. As a party we decide to take that one, our job is to map this place out. As scout, I say I will go first and signal the party to cross. We had done this twice already. I jump across the 150" gap. The DM ask me to make a spot check. That was my niche. Easily made it. GM responds, as you land you see a large crack in the archway of the jump pad you just crossed. I scream to my party of the hum of lighting "DON'T JUMP".

    The GM responds I had just saved the entire party from a TPK.

    WHAT NOW
    The game comes to a screeching halt. The barbarian's player, the barb still with the party, asks the GM "Say what now?" The GM explains I just landed on the dining hall rock with a single jump pad. Its broken. Mend/make whole cannot fix it. There is no magical treasure or supplies other than dish wear and cutlery. There is a floating animated servant that speaks a language no one in the party can speak. Had I let the party jump, or if the party had all jumped at one time to avoid a 2 round wait everyone would have been stuck. The party spends the next hour trying to figure out how to save me. Our wizard didn't have fly prepped, he had haste and an offensive spell. This was lower level Grayhawk, no one had ever seen a potion of flight. I was dead because "we go left" was stated. No save, no warning, I was trapped on the other side of 150" bottomless pit.

    Downhill fast
    There are no other broken Jump pads in the module. F this module. The remaining party reaches the bottom and the 2nd encounter. They land on the flat platform weapons drawn and see 4 Githyanki around a strange structure with a gear, orb, and dials. Gith have an innate telekinesis power in 3.0. The way the mod is written, the party surprises the gith and they mind throw you into the abyss as a reaction. You get 1 will saving throw. If you win intiivate and attempt diplomacy you have up to a -4 due to the alignment step penalty stated above. Since this was the first time this module the GM actually had a say in anything at all, he had the gith throw the party against walls. The party survived but they were HURT and hurt bad.


    Out of nowhere will save or die? Not just 1 but 4 in the same round, the first round of combat? Played straight How in the h--l is a party supposed to survive that unless they are all flying?

    All for Nought
    The gith were trying to repair the device because it is breaking down. It is possible to work with them. But the device cannot be fixed. The space will collapse and kill everyone inside and the gith community living in the next dimension. There are 3 magical portals in the back of the room. The gith don't trust any of them. That is backstory, the gith in our version are dead.

    Blue, Black, Green portal. That is what you have to work with. what choice do you make? There are no other clues. The GM tells us. "You cannot know this but there is only 1 good outcome here. But there are no clues. Metagame this."

    BLUE
    Spoiler
    Show
    You are teleported to the underdark where Drow capture you and make you a slave in the mines for the next full calendar year. Once you escape you permanently lose 1 point of wisdom. No save, no battle.

    BLACK
    Spoiler
    Show
    You are sent somewhere to the far realms. Unspeakable horrors break your mind, body, and soul. You are dead. No save, no roll.

    GREEN
    Spoiler
    Show
    You are teleported to a pasture days away from any civilization in a far country from where you started. It takes 2 weeks to return to the beginning city to complete the module.



    In all cases the tower collapses and kills everyone by doing 10d6 lighting damage every round for 3 rounds and then winking you out of existence no save. You do not get shunted to the astral plane or back to the desert. That is what happened to my character.


    Final knife twist
    At least 1 party member made it back and reported. The various NPCs are surprised, saddened, and offer to bring back to life the members of the group who perished. But all payment to the group would need to be diverted (This is important). The few remaining folks want to rez folks. All party member are brought back via True res. Getting bodies is out of the question. SO that is up to 6 castings of true rez, a spell that is not possible for characters to obtain. SIX TIMES.

    But they don't take just the payment. They take every magic item we found during the adventure, every potion, scroll, map, favor to various group/npc, salaries. ANTHING obtained during the last 6 hours of game play except for EXP, gone. We get restored with items. Except we used funds, consumables, transportation, supplies, horses to get to the desert. That is all gone too.


    The GM walked over to the convention moderator and stated for all to hear. "This is the worst piece of shat I have every read, run, or imagined. Why did you have me run this?"


    No railroads, no warnings, just a choice dead, dead, or you may choose again. Had the wizard just been able to cast fly on everyone, we would have been done in 10 minutes of game play. The clueless choices, and the whole thing is pointless since the tower goes poof. Because it was only 2 combat encounters we got very little EXP compared to most modules of the day.

    WORST MOD EVER
    So, my first thought for his "being stuck on the other side of the pit" problem is "Does everyone have rope"? Four lengths of standard 50' rope will give you enough to get across (plus lost length for knots), and there might be a way to shoot the rope to him... but that much hemp rope is gonna be HEAVY, and throwing it 150' is gonna be hard.

    Other suggestions?
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Batcathat's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2019

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    One alteration that could give a party more ways of dealing with it is to have normal gravity limited to the rocks and no gravity in the areas in between (the rocks are floating, after all, so clearly the rules of nature are already out the window). That would make throwing a rope or something easier or the trapped person might even be able to jump "manually" from one rock to another.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2020-09-18 at 10:44 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    One alteration that could give a party more ways of dealing with it is to have normal gravity limited to the rocks and no gravity in the areas in between (the rocks are floating, after all, so clearly the rules of nature are already out the window). That would make throwing a rope or something easier or the trapped person might even be able to jump "manually" from one rock to another.
    Especially if you're able to get a line of some kind to them for an assist... jump and we'll pull you.

    Part of why I'm talking about this is because the visual is awesome... it just looks like the execution was horrible.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Batcathat's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2019

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Yeah, it's a pretty interesting concept. When I was reading the original post I was like "Why is this in this thread? It sounds awesome!" before I got to the... less awesome parts.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Friv's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    So, as near as I can tell there are four core problems with the module (without having read it, I don't know if there are more, of course!)

    Problem #1 - Applying social penalties based on alignment to an entire adventure. This might have been an interesting idea for certain areas of the region, as the adjoining dimension slowly pulses in, but not for the whole thing.

    Problem #2 - Having the only people who can explain what's going on default to hostility. Without them, there's no way to actually understand the stakes of the adventure, and no way to do investigation or cunning. This could be solved by having a few gith in different areas of the obelisk, with different attitudes and plans; maybe some of them are trying to escape before their home implodes, others are trying to fix various parts of the extra-dimensional realm, and a few were exploring and got trapped.

    Problem #3 - Two different insta-kill actions with no warning or plan. For the broken jump pad, you really need something that players can do. Difficult Athletics-based ways of climbing around is a good start, so that the jump pads aren't strictly needed but are useful. Another area where the jump pad on the player-side is disabled so they know it's a possibility. A rock with a gith sitting on it, unable to return, waving to the PCs for help and drawing their attention to the fact that some of the jumps are busted.

    Problem #4 - A no-win scenario for no good reason. There should be the possibility of fixing the device, possibly by deciding what bits of it to steal from to repair other bits, with each failed attempt destroying something without fixing anything. Maybe they can get to the gith settlement and start evacuations once they clear a safe path. Maybe there's a decision that has to be made between saving the gith but allowing the tower to blow up on the desert side, wrecking the trade route, or saving the trade route but sacrificing the gith home.
    If you like my thoughts, you'll love my writing. Visit me at www.mishahandman.com.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Given that the GM also hated it, was he going in to the module blind/not allowed to make changes beforehand?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Given that the GM also hated it, was he going in to the module blind/not allowed to make changes beforehand?
    *shrug* Also possible that he skimmed the module and missed a few of the really bad parts.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    I am honored that my horrid experience got a special callout. Thank you

    I was good friends with the GM. Still am by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygina
    Given that the GM also hated it, was he going in to the module blind/not allowed to make changes beforehand?
    This was part of a full game day with multiple mods across 3 sessions. He hadn't played this mod it but he did read it prior to running. He spent ~ 2 hours, I suspect there were a fair number of double takes and cross references. He was far more concerned about the TPK and BS choices at the very bottom of the mod. And I point out he did warn us that this was a challenge and to bring out our A game/cheese.

    And where I suffered, wasn't a combat.

    In the living campaigns in the early 2000's unlike the AL modules in D&D 5 we have today, the GM wasn't supposed to change anything. Those mods had enemy sets for different Tiers of play, NPC boxed text, and suggested tactics the enemies would use. Even extra players at the table was accounted for in the stat blocks/enemy make-up. By far Combat blocks and tactics took up 2/3 of the entire printed material.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    So, as near as I can tell there are four core problems with the module (without having read it, I don't know if there are more, of course!)

    Problem #1 - Applying social penalties based on alignment to an entire adventure. This might have been an interesting idea for certain areas of the region, as the adjoining dimension slowly pulses in, but not for the whole thing.
    Yep, whole thing. My toon was Lawful good. -4 to almost everything. I also had ranks in diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Problem #2 - Having the only people who can explain what's going on default to hostility. Without them, there's no way to actually understand the stakes of the adventure, and no way to do investigation or cunning. This could be solved by having a few gith in different areas of the obelisk, with different attitudes and plans; maybe some of them are trying to escape before their home implodes, others are trying to fix various parts of the extra-dimensional realm, and a few were exploring and got trapped.
    We got backstory afterward. They had no idea what was going on either. The existence of this place endangered their home on the astral plane. They were an adventuring party just like us with the exact same mission. They are on edge and unfriendly. Since we are the first people they find they assume we have something to do with the whole thing. They don't know our party was also clueless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Problem #3 - Two different insta-kill actions with no warning or plan. For the broken jump pad, you really need something that players can do. Difficult Athletics-based ways of climbing around is a good start, so that the jump pads aren't strictly needed but are useful. Another area where the jump pad on the player-side is disabled so they know it's a possibility. A rock with a gith sitting on it, unable to return, waving to the PCs for help and drawing their attention to the fact that some of the jumps are busted.
    No warning, plan, clue, prayer. Technically it was 3 instant kills. In the early living campaigns one only got 365 days of adventure per character per real life calendar year. This limited the ability to quick level a single character and force ppl to roll up different characters. Read the 3 door options. Even the best option would cost you multiple extra adventures with that character. Most adventures would cost you 2 or 3 days.

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Problem #4 - A no-win scenario for no good reason. There should be the possibility of fixing the device, possibly by deciding what bits of it to steal from to repair other bits, with each failed attempt destroying something without fixing anything. Maybe they can get to the gith settlement and start evacuations once they clear a safe path. Maybe there's a decision that has to be made between saving the gith but allowing the tower to blow up on the desert side, wrecking the trade route, or saving the trade route but sacrificing the gith home.
    Any of those would have been a better story. There would have been a reason for the story. Instead after the session we had nothing but a few hundred exp.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    So, GI Joe Mike posted this absolute bull**** module that he was in back in the 3.0 days, and a couple of us have talked about fixing it. Here's the thread, so you don't have to go back.

    snip

    So, my first thought for his "being stuck on the other side of the pit" problem is "Does everyone have rope"? Four lengths of standard 50' rope will give you enough to get across (plus lost length for knots), and there might be a way to shoot the rope to him... but that much hemp rope is gonna be HEAVY, and throwing it 150' is gonna be hard.

    Other suggestions?
    We had about 170" of rope/bedrolls/extra robes/belts. The melee #1 and the barbarian each had 50 ft. The other person that had 50" was ... me, the rogue on the far side. The could have all jumped to get just enough rope together in one place. But there was no guarantee we could get back.

    Our wizard had a lvl 2 levitation spell. But we couldn't figure out how to push the person/item to the other side. And I was way out of range to be affected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat
    Yeah, it's a pretty interesting concept. When I was reading the original post I was like "Why is this in this thread? It sounds awesome!" before I got to the... less awesome parts.
    It started out freaking awesome. It seemed like a mystery, interest to the kingdom. Hiring adventures/scouts was a logical decision. We expected magic but no where near the amount we got. There was a tentacle abomination that was appropriate fight. Then suddenly secret sneak attack TPK, followed by secret TPK, with a side of TPK, dessert TPK, and safe!

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Given that the GM also hated it, was he going in to the module blind/not allowed to make changes beforehand?
    This was Living Greyhawk, so the DM is not allowed to make changes.

    That is by far the worst LG module I have heard of or seen, but then I was late to LG and some of the worst problems were being corrected.

    The early modules were notorious for handing out little or no gold.

    By the time I joined, the players were complaing (a lot) about automatic surprise encounters. (Curiously, one of the first few modules I ran had an automatic surprise encounter where the party automatically surprised the monsters - it made a nice change).

    The proof-reading was pretty poor, stat block errors etc. were to be expected, but when my friends submitted adventures they were subjected to a high degree of scrutiny and nit picking on minor points - it was a very very slow process. This would have been encouraging, except that the general quality of modules was not improving as the usual authors obviously were not having their junk checked.

    A standard module was supposed to take about 4 hours to play including all bookkeeping. A few were short, but others could take 5+ hours which could be a real probelm at conventiosn where the 4-hour slots were usually 30 minutes apart. (One horror just had a large map so that searching it to get any loot took ages. In hindsight I wish the DM had cut most of that part out and said "here's the map, here's where you find the treasure".)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    So, you have insufficient rope on the "safe" side? No problem. You test rope physics. You try to throw the rope, and see what happens (the rocks are floating in space, after all). If you find the rope physics favorable, great! You give someone all the rope, plenty of food & water, and have them jump to the scout. If they can throw the rope back to the party, win!

    Don't like rope physics? Have people stuck on the other side? No problem. Tie a long string to an arrow, launch over to the other side. Or strings or string loop. Repeat as needed. Tie rope to the string, pull back string. Now you have your rope bridge / rope to retrieve scout.

    Didn't bring rope & string? C'mon, the GM even warned you to bring your A-game! But no problem. You've got plenty of jump pad thingies. Simply loot one, and bring it to the scout.

    You can't loot/fix the tech? Yeah, fix that.

    If you can't do any of that, you make sure that the scout has enough food & water (have a Cleric join them, perhaps?), & you go back to town & buy more rope.

    You can't go back to town? Yeah, fix that.

    Does that fix (at least that piece of) the module?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, you have insufficient rope on the "safe" side? No problem. You test rope physics. You try to throw the rope, and see what happens (the rocks are floating in space, after all). If you find the rope physics favorable, great! You give someone all the rope, plenty of food & water, and have them jump to the scout. If they can throw the rope back to the party, win!

    Don't like rope physics? Have people stuck on the other side? No problem. Tie a long string to an arrow, launch over to the other side. Or strings or string loop. Repeat as needed. Tie rope to the string, pull back string. Now you have your rope bridge / rope to retrieve scout.

    Didn't bring rope & string? C'mon, the GM even warned you to bring your A-game! But no problem. You've got plenty of jump pad thingies. Simply loot one, and bring it to the scout.

    You can't loot/fix the tech? Yeah, fix that.

    If you can't do any of that, you make sure that the scout has enough food & water (have a Cleric join them, perhaps?), & you go back to town & buy more rope.

    You can't go back to town? Yeah, fix that.

    Does that fix (at least that piece of) the module?
    One thing not mentioned in this thread yet, I think, is that they were in a timer they didnít know about. The demiplane they were in collapsed in a few short hours, killing everyone still there. If they wasted a lot of time trying to rescue their friend, they all would have died.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    If they wasted a lot of time trying to rescue their friend, they all would have died.
    There's a lesson for real life in there.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    One thing not mentioned in this thread yet, I think, is that they were in a timer they didnít know about. The demiplane they were in collapsed in a few short hours, killing everyone still there. If they wasted a lot of time trying to rescue their friend, they all would have died.
    That is (intended to be) covered under my "cannot go back to town? Fix that!" clause. This was about ways to change the module, right? I was just pointing out ways that it may not have needed to have been changed first, to cover all bases.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    That is (intended to be) covered under my "cannot go back to town? Fix that!" clause. This was about ways to change the module, right? I was just pointing out ways that it may not have needed to have been changed first, to cover all bases.
    Ah, sorry, I somehow thought, despite what thread we're in, your post was referring to how the party should handle it, not how to change the module. That was my mistake.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    This thread has brought back so many memories. All bad. So, I went and searched the old archives for the Living campaigns. I found it. This was Year 2 of the Living Greyhawk campaign. COR2-08 Echo. I wasn't able to find a full copy of the mod but I have found forum posts and some boxed text. We played it when if first came out. I would like to note there was another adventure with the word Echoes in the title that same year.

    I found a few forum posts. The adventurers were sent by the circle of eight to the Zochal, the final piece of architecture that was standing that held records of the isles of Woe and the events that made them vanish. That was the hope at least. This adventure was tied to the Ether Threat series, the return of the Isles of Woe, and was designed for pc's of level 3 to 12. It was very common for groups to play in the lowest tier or 2. No one in our region had a character over level 8 by this point. They weren't even on the adventure but that gives you a better idea of what we had available.

    I have since discovered it was an Astral Tear not a real demi plane. Seriously, how was a level 4 or 5 wizard/bard supposed to know this?

    The strange platform, gears and metal plates at the very bottom was the cause of the collapse. It was, I kid you not, a beached spelljammer ship. It has slipped into the tear and clogged everything up while wrecking some of the structures. The pressure eventually destroyed everything. Both Githyanki and anything spelljammer has no place in low level Greyhawk. I found this tidbit of info on multiple forums about the mod. Several people talked about how it didn't fit in the overall theme/story of the Living Campaign year.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Pex's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Ignoring theme, a better dimension traveling structure instead of the gates would be to use a Tesseract. To have a wall become the floor and the floor the ceiling as you travel through normal doors will provide the eerieness desired. It is hard to map out as DM to prepare it. I used 8 d6 of different colors and made the 3D model of it then visualized where one door leads to another on how one die face is adjacent to another. The tricky part is the crossover where traveling in the X or Y dimension has you actually move in the Z direction.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    "Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, where the DCs are made up and the rules don't matter."

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    So, how to fix the module?

    (1) Have an encounter with an enemy in the tower. This enemy has a couple of potions of fly (clearly labeled). It could be one of the gith or it could be a rival explorer.

    (2) Have the gith plot go somewhere. You can help them save their people and as a reward, they give you useful information about the tower and/or the exits.

    (3) Have an explanation for the tower and what's going to happen with it. Perhaps there's a dead wizard's journal explaining how he created this dimension-hopping bigger-on-the-inside monstrosity but couldn't stop it. And you find out about the time limit and how lightning damage is going to happen to everyone around (even cities far away are going to be destroyed) and you need to stop that.

    (4) Instead of three options, two of which kill you, don't have that at all. (You could keep them but give clues about the right path, possibly from the gith or the wizard's journal, but... no, just don't do this at all.) Instead, maybe have the PCs be active and find something that will destroy the tower and prevent the disaster that the tower represents (the lightning stuff). However, someone has to activate the item while in the tower and there's not enough time to fly out of the tower after activating it before the tower is destroyed and you along with it (and you of course don't have teleport). But then, there's a portal that leads out, even if it is to a meadow that's several weeks away from where you started. Maybe there are challenges to overcome with that portal. You might have to figure out how to activate it. You might have to fight guardians guarding it. But then, once you've got the portal straightened out, you push the tower's self-destruct button and leave.
    Last edited by SimonMoon6; 2020-09-19 at 09:00 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Emerald City, Oz
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Having a combat encounter on the trip to the tower with one of the many evil factions from Greyhawk trying to get to the tower first...
    "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter."
    ~ Ernest Hemingway

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Things that would help:
    -A prior party came through here weeks ago, and one character got stuck. He has written notes on his journal pages, and launched them throughout the room as paper airplanes which the party might come across. He may even still be alive (but dehydrated and hungry).

    -Have the Gith be visible at a long distance, so that signals or messages could be passed back and forth to them.

    -Alter the "fail or fail" condition because it's just junk.

    -Scroll of Find Familiar - and some other random loot.

    -If this is an astral/limbo tear and there's no combat, and there should be, add some slaads. They're kind of the iconic monster for Limbo.

    -Make the crashed spelljammer ship more explicitly obvious, and have a way or ways to dislodge it.

    -Let a sufficient Int/Arcana check and a conveniently located Bag of Holding offer a "open a tear/bleed off the energy" solution.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Ah, sorry, I somehow thought, despite what thread we're in, your post was referring to how the party should handle it, not how to change the module. That was my mistake.
    I can certainly see how my post wasn't clear, as I was trying to define optimal play, and then point out which pieces of the module *still* needed fixing to accommodate even *optimal* play. And I was doing so without clearly labeling which was which.

    So, optimal play (IMO) would involve rope, testing physics, string, and food & water, alongside returning to town as necessary, and fixing / relocating the jump pads.

    Therefore, in my mind, fixing the module includes making "returning to town", "fixing jump pads", and "relocating jump pads" valid options (or, at least, addressing them). Which, one should note, allowing "return to town" necessitates the removal (or at least lengthening) of the timer, or making the party's actions *start* the timer *after* the "TPK scene". Clearly, however, allowing "return to town" makes the "girth evacuation"Ö odd, to say the least. Of course, "one way bubble of death" is itself rather odd, soÖ a *lot* doesn't make sense here, even ignoring its poor fit for grey hawk.

    Also, although I didn't initially include it because of metagame concerns of "we have X hours to finish this", optimal play involves using a spyglass to scout out areas and testing whether the party can make / position other stones to float in space. Thus, fixes to the module also include including a spot DC to notice that the pad is broken before the jump (yes, there's a, what, -15 penalty for range, which should be largely alleviated by using a spyglass), and rules for how the rocks float / breaking off pieces to make floating rock paths of your own. So, even if the whole party jumped over, they should be able to break their "island" into pieces to construct a floating rock path back.

    And that's just to fix that one broken scene!

    I would bother to post fixes to the *rest* of the module but, honestly, I think y'all have got that mostly covered at this point.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-09-20 at 07:24 AM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    LurkytheDwarf's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2020

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Reading through the OP, I was like "Why is this so familiar?" Then,

    Quote Originally Posted by gijoemike View Post
    I found it. This was Year 2 of the Living Greyhawk campaign. COR2-08 Echo.
    Ah! That old chestnut. I did fix this adventure a long time ago, around whenever CM/CC came out because some of the more "crunchy" players wanted to play a Tier 1 only game. So having a copy of the module from... somewhere, I decided to revamp it to be an actually usable one session adventure to set the tone for what they could expect (weird, planar, high stakes) in a Tier 1 campaign.

    I don't have those notes anymore but what I just read has jogged my memory a little. I think the biggest change was I liked the demiplane, floating chambers idea, the githyanki "heroes", the doomsday clock, and the malfunctioning statue butler NPC (who I don't think I saw mentioned above, which is who was suppose to relay most of the crucial information about the place to the players, including the destination of those portals at the end). The rest was the kind of linear hackfest that dominated most of the 3rd editions modules.

    Spoiler: Some changes I remember:
    Show
    • Added a bunch more floating rocks/structures, which I described like those giant temples carved out of solid stone in Africa/Asia. Just floating in space. Most were really banged up, which left just the final four rooms because it was supposed to be a one session dungeon but at least it would give the impression the place was far grander at one point.
    • Changed the jump platforms to teleportation pads with colored gems, touch one and step onto the pad to go to one of the other rooms (so the order of the rooms is now up in the air). Many of the gems were dull, but a few still glowed. Figuring out what led where was part of the challenge.
    • The players immediately know about the githyanki because the central hub floating structure is glowing many thousands of feet below. Studying it from a safe distance and they would eventually notice tiny figures coming out on the telepad landing.
    • Whenever the players traveled to another floating structure its internal lights would come on, and if the githyanki were outside on the platform they would notice and ride up to investigate in their little astral dingy, which the PCs could "appropriate" for their own use. Or if they hid, they might let the githyanki just not find them and figure its the place malfunctioning.
    • I changed a lot of the monsters to things more interesting and added more wizardly dungeon dressing and treasure. The only monsters I remember adding were in a pool of icy stasis which would sequester anything that fell in it but if someone outside fished the thing out it would come back to life (the sides were very slippery from the "time ice"). Nobody fell in, but they did fish out one dark shape with rope and grapple. It turned out to be a juvenile astral kraken which was a nice fight.
    • There was still an "almost" dead-end platform, where an old collision with another structure had sheered off the control gems but left the pad. They could attempt to use it but wouldn't know where they were going (if they spent enough time near a normal one, they would notice it resets to a specific gem [the central hub]). Also because there were way more structures and debris with balconies and projecting features floating around, with good climb/use rope checks and just 50' of rope, you could sort of Tarzan your way back to the group.
    • I changed the timer, so it wasn't just "15 minutes after defeating/allying with the githyanki the place explodes." That's fairly lazy. I think the talking statue head butler kept everyone apprised of the impending "merger".
    • I don't think I used the portals at all, or maybe I did, but the PCs didn't use them.

    So, yeah, it needs a lot of work. The kernel of an idea is good but the execution is horrible. But if you don't have the statue-butler NPC giving the PCs hints, I have no idea how you're supposed to figure the module out.

    Spoiler: What happened to my group as far as I believe
    Show
    I ran it for a party of four 5th-level tier 1 characters. Though funnily, and most memorably, they didn't coordinate their characters at all because they didn't think they needed to and showed up with four wizards. Crowd control and debuffing are nice and all but there was a solid lack of DPR. I remember the first encounter was outside in the desert with a manscorpion who was trying to read their future or something. He had an aggressive tone and his fortune-telling took too long and they got suspicious, so they stinking cloud, glitterdust, Rod of Viscid Globs him while the last cast haste and they ran off.

    They used a lot (maybe all) the scrolls of transportation and stealth magic they had (fly, levitate, invisibility, etc). Avoided using the telepads as much as possible, thus missing half of the "actual rooms." The elf with the otherworldy feat spent a great deal of time as an invisible mephit watching the githyanki up close. He used a dispel magic spell on their little dingy to drop half of them to their deaths when they went to investigate the lights triggered by other PCs in another floating structure. Only afterward did he determine they were trying to stop the place exploding. Oops.

    Anyway, they stormed the central hub, killed the last of the githyanki, and finally tricked the statue-butler into telling them the merger would destroy the githyanki astral ship and domain on the astral plane as well as this place. Assuming that was for the best, they just left with minutes to spare on the countdown. The manscorpion fortuneteller ambushed them at the entrance and almost killed two players before some shenanigans with a rope and a flying wizard and a baleful transposition saw him fall thousands of feet to his doom.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Mid-Rohan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Workshopping A Bad Module (Broken off of Worst Module Ever)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Part of why I'm talking about this is because the visual is awesome... it just looks like the execution was horrible.
    Heck yeah. I'm getting Super Mario Galaxy vibes.

    Quote Originally Posted by gijoemike View Post
    It was, I kid you not, a beached spelljammer ship. It has slipped into the tear and clogged everything up while wrecking some of the structures. The pressure eventually destroyed everything. Both Githyanki and anything spelljammer has no place in low level Greyhawk. I found this tidbit of info on multiple forums about the mod. Several people talked about how it didn't fit in the overall theme/story of the Living Campaign year.
    Maybe it didn't fit LG, but I do love that setup.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Some play RPG's like chess, some like charades.

    Everyone has their own jam.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •