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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Hey guys. I play in a group that pretty much exclusively plays 5e D&D.

    The player who hosts has ONLY played 5e. He asked that we play an "old school game" and the others agreed that it would be fun.

    Many of the other players have played games as early as 2e AD&D, but that's it.

    I offered to run a BECMI game for everybody, and they all seemed very excited.

    I want to run a module so I'm not as influenced by modern ideas in the game.

    I'm leaning towards "Keep on the Borderlands" as this is intended for new players (and new DMs) alike, as well as being written by Gary Gygax. I mean, if you want old school, you can't get much more old school than this.

    Another thing I want to emphasize to the group is the old way XP was done. I want to give the guy who chooses thief that advantage of being a level ahead of everybody for a short time. I want the player who sees the power of the elf to suffer a little bit at how long it takes to advance.

    This second factor is the only thing holding me back from running KotB as it won't really advance very far.

    So, assuming this is a good starting point (and I think it really is), what module would be a good one to follow this one up on? Don't get me wrong, I don't think the group will be so enamored with BECMI that they'll abandon 5e, but if they like it, I'd be happy to run another module.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    I'm leaning towards "Keep on the Borderlands" as this is intended for new players (and new DMs) alike, as well as being written by Gary Gygax. I mean, if you want old school, you can't get much more old school than this.

    ...

    So, assuming this is a good starting point (and I think it really is), what module would be a good one to follow this one up on? Don't get me wrong, I don't think the group will be so enamored with BECMI that they'll abandon 5e, but if they like it, I'd be happy to run another module.
    T1: Temple of Elemental Evil is a great follow-on, IMO. T1 is a bit rough if you start at 1st level, but it works pretty well if you add a few levels from B2. I've used them combined in the past (basically, The Keep and Hommlet become the same town, and the moathouse is the base of operations for Lareth, who is leading the priests and humanoids in the Caves of Chaos).
    The Cranky Gamer
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    T1 isn't specifically for B/X or BECMI, though, and would require some adapting. Easy enough to do, but may cause some confusion for new players unused to the difference between Basic and Advanced.

    My suggestion would be to do either B4 -- The Lost City, or B5 -- Horror on the Hill. Both are classic B/X adventures and, I think, easier to run than KotB, especially for players new to old-school play.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Wrath of the Immortals :P

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by thirdkingdom View Post
    T1 isn't specifically for B/X or BECMI, though, and would require some adapting. Easy enough to do, but may cause some confusion for new players unused to the difference between Basic and Advanced.
    IME, the work on that all happens on the back end... the DM has to do it, but the players can just play.
    The Cranky Gamer
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    IME, the work on that all happens on the back end... the DM has to do it, but the players can just play.
    Oh, totally. But a new (to OSR games) might not realize the differences between 1e and BECMI, or which modules are written for which version.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    For a big change in venue, I'd recommend The Lost City. It's one of the great BECMI modules.

    At higher levels, Castle Amber.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    THE module for BECMI is B10 Night's Dark Terror.

    Lost City, Castle Amber, Keep on the Borderlands, Master of the Desert Nomads are all excellent adventures but you can run them in B/X as well.
    canon: I am running a 2e adventure series starting with the Tomb of Horrors. this will be open RPG and Skype. This game is Sunday morning at 9am PST running to 1-2pm PST. After Tomb is finished we will play another shorter game (2-4 sessions).. I need a couple more players

    elyssian: What kind of slots are you trying to fill? Healbot, Tank, ect...

    canon: It's the Tomb of Horrors. All the slots are labeled 'Victim.'

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken-do-nim View Post
    THE module for BECMI is B10 Night's Dark Terror.

    Lost City, Castle Amber, Keep on the Borderlands, Master of the Desert Nomads are all excellent adventures but you can run them in B/X as well.
    Seconded. B10 is pretty much a complete campaign, and it's one of the best B modules.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Good call with B10!

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Either Keep on the Borderlands or Village of Hommlet. Both were written by Gygax. The Village of Hommlet also sets you up for the rest of the "T" series, including Temple of Elemental Evil later down the line.

    Both modules give the players a "Home base" so to speak.

    If you want to start at a slightly higher power level, you can't go wrong with either "Against the Giants" or the "Slaver Series" (Great fun had by all starting with your party waking up in rags without all their fancy adventuring gear lol).
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2020-11-20 at 01:13 AM.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Either Keep on the Borderlands or Village of Hommlet. Both were written by Gygax. The Village of Hommlet also sets you up for the rest of the "T" series, including Temple of Elemental Evil later down the line.

    Both modules give the players a "Home base" so to speak.

    If you want to start at a slightly higher power level, you can't go wrong with either "Against the Giants" or the "Slaver Series" (Great fun had by all starting with your party waking up in rags without all their fancy adventuring gear lol).
    Again, just to reiterate for the OP, while the above modules are great, they are all (with the exception of B2 -- Keep on the Borderlands) written for 1st edition, not B/X or BECMI, so will require some conversions behind the scenes. Not a big deal, but someone not familiar with OSR gaming may find the differences confusing (BECMI uses race as class, has a more limited spell selection, doesn't have percentile Strength, has more limited magical items, etc.).

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    For a big change in venue, I'd recommend The Lost City. It's one of the great BECMI modules.

    At higher levels, Castle Amber.
    Castle Amber is my all time favorite. I do intend on running this party through that adventure.

    I'm trying to figure out what to do with them between Keep on the Borderlands until they're ready for Castle Amber.

    I'm considering looking into Village of Hommlet, as suggested above.


    EDIT: I cut my teeth on BECMI and AD&D, I have no issue converting.

    We played almost exclusively homebrew when I was a kid though, so published modules are all still a little new to me.
    Last edited by Klorox; 2020-11-23 at 10:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    Castle Amber is my all time favorite. I do intend on running this party through that adventure.

    I'm trying to figure out what to do with them between Keep on the Borderlands until they're ready for Castle Amber.

    I'm considering looking into Village of Hommlet, as suggested above.


    EDIT: I cut my teeth on BECMI and AD&D, I have no issue converting.

    We played almost exclusively homebrew when I was a kid though, so published modules are all still a little new to me.
    One thing to be aware of about Castle Amber: there's a lot of random magical stuff: a banquet with food that can kill you or give you bonuses, letters on the floor that can drive you insane, turn you into a werewolf, or something else, with no hint as to what's safe and what's not, dreams that are randomly assigned that again have a chance to come true, giving you anything from wings you can fly with, an extra level, or a free trip to the start of the character creation process (i.e. instant death - make a new character).

    But then, if it's your favorite, you probably know all that already. PM me if you want to see the adjustments I made when I ran that module.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    B4 -- The Lost City would fill the gap from b2 to Castle Amber. You probably won't need to go below the ground floor, or not by much anyway.
    Just have them find a friendly "native" to give (or sell, or exchange for favours) them supplies and a guide to the door when they're high enough level.
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    B2 Keep on the Borderlands or B4 The Lost City.

    Whichever one you choose to run, make sure you've got at least 6 players. If you're running The Lost City, they'll probably need 2 PCs each to start, and even then they'll be rolling up local inhabitants as PCs really quickly.

    For either, make sure they are aware PCs are extremely fragile and for an all 1st level group, death at 1st level is the norm, not making it to the next level. On an individual PC basis and as a group, TPKs will be common. Getting a BECMI character to 3rd level requires either an extremely lucky treasure find, and often being the only survivor to get away with it (getting all the XP for one character).

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    For either, make sure they are aware PCs are extremely fragile and for an all 1st level group, death at 1st level is the norm, not making it to the next level. On an individual PC basis and as a group, TPKs will be common. Getting a BECMI character to 3rd level requires either an extremely lucky treasure find, and often being the only survivor to get away with it (getting all the XP for one character).
    Also, keep in mind that the whole concept of "kicking in the door, spells blazing" for every encounter was something that 3.x introduced. The earlier editions were a bit more deadly and finding alternative ways to "defeat" an encounter was strongly encouraged. If your players are the type to jump straight into combat for every situation, they are going to need those backup characters fairly quickly (without DM fiat keeping them alive).
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Also, keep in mind that the whole concept of "kicking in the door, spells blazing" for every encounter was something that 3.x introduced. The earlier editions were a bit more deadly and finding alternative ways to "defeat" an encounter was strongly encouraged. If your players are the type to jump straight into combat for every situation, they are going to need those backup characters fairly quickly (without DM fiat keeping them alive).
    Oh man, I fully expect these guys to be rolling up replacements. LOL.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Also, keep in mind that the whole concept of "kicking in the door, spells blazing" for every encounter was something that 3.x introduced. The earlier editions were a bit more deadly and finding alternative ways to "defeat" an encounter was strongly encouraged. If your players are the type to jump straight into combat for every situation, they are going to need those backup characters fairly quickly (without DM fiat keeping them alive).
    I know finding alternative ways is the common mantra / theory nowadays. But unfortunately very difficult in any of the modules. Combat was common and expected, not something 3.x introduced. What was really needed was extremely large party with lots of retainers, and lots of death, or lots of running away.

    Jumping in and kicking in the door was and still is fairly silly thing to do in almost any RPG. Scouting and picking your battles is important. But that doesn't mean not having battles.

    Of course, DM fiat was far more common back in the day. Max hit points, deaths door rules, flaming oil barrages, flooding/drowning enemies, etc etc

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Also, think about how you're going to adjudicate what would be skill tests in later editions. What does your mage know? Can your thief roughly appraise jewelry? Things like that have mechanics in later editions, and its best not to be surprised.

    (My default is roll 4d6 under your attribute. If it's something you should know based on race, background, or class, roll 1 or more less 4d6; if it's something that would be hard for someone of your race, class, or background to know, roll more)
    The Cranky Gamer
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    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    Also, keep in mind that the whole concept of "kicking in the door, spells blazing" for every encounter was something that 3.x introduced. The earlier editions were a bit more deadly and finding alternative ways to "defeat" an encounter was strongly encouraged. If your players are the type to jump straight into combat for every situation, they are going to need those backup characters fairly quickly (without DM fiat keeping them alive).

    BECMI, 1st and 2nd ed gave xp for 2 things - killing monsters and getting treasure. With a note to GMs that they might occasionally give XP for story points if they want to. But as far as I recall, no published adventure gave xp for avoiding or escaping the monsters.
    It had a reaction roll which sometimes gave the option of talking to the monsters, but, again, most modules had monsters which would attack most or all the time.

    One of the groups I played with in 2nd ed were complete door kickers (Yes, we went through a few characters at low levels and even at higher levels there was a bodycount).

    But the group I played 3rd ed with were more likely to use bluff and diplomacy to get past the monster (which still gave XP), or the fact that everyone had a climb and sneak skill (maybe not good, but there was at least a number to try and roll).
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    EVERYONE should start by playing the solo adventure in the Basic Set Players' Handbook.

    Then, whichever module you choose for them next, Bargle should be your prime antagonist.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Also, think about how you're going to adjudicate what would be skill tests in later editions. What does your mage know? Can your thief roughly appraise jewelry? Things like that have mechanics in later editions, and its best not to be surprised.

    (My default is roll 4d6 under your attribute. If it's something you should know based on race, background, or class, roll 1 or more less 4d6; if it's something that would be hard for someone of your race, class, or background to know, roll more)

    This is one of my favorite OSR mechanics. Trying to swim across a river? Roll your Strength or under on 3d6. Trying to swim while moderately encumbered? Roll 4d6. Heavily encumbered? 5d6.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Wrath of the Immortals :P

    my thoughts exactly. have them make something out of the D&D rules cyclopedia... I loved that book. Grandmastery, awesome magic missiles.. Elf Race-Class... Good stuff.

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    Default Re: Introducing my 5e group to BECMI D&D. Which module should I run?

    Oooh, this sounds like fun!

    What about Red Arrow, Black Shield? Might be a lot going on in that one though, but I've heard good things about it.


    Of the ones I've played through myself:
    Death's Ride was a pretty insane and difficult trip, but a lot of fun and challenging imo.
    If I recall correctly, we did play through The Knight of Newts which was a fairly straight-forward low-level adventure.
    I do know we did Quest for the Silver Sword which was an enjoyable short quest.
    Sabre River (prompting many fan-renditions of Yellow River at the table) was a pretty wild trip. Lengthy and challenging, but we had a good time.
    We also did Talons of Night, with some rewrites to fit with the PCs better, but I really enjoyed this one actually. But this is a very high-level end-level type of adventure, a great way to round off a campaign I'd say.

    I've mostly talked about the ones I liked, but there were a few I thought were... not so great.
    I didn't like Twilight Calling, and the set up is very... well, it's kind of dumb on many points.
    There's not a whole lot I remember about Five Coins for a Kingdom but my memory is also "it was kind of dumb". I think it also had an NPC cute creature more or less handholding the PCs through the entire adventure.
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