Need Some Grognards Insight


Gamer Life General Discussion

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

Stuck at the LAX airport with a few hours to my Rogue One screening and my nostalgia kicked in.

It may be sometime before I get to run an AP again but I had an idea pop in my head.

Using old classic [meaning 1st Ed Dungeons and Dragons or older] adventure modules, what one single encounter would you consider your favorite and most memorable. I'll allow Dragon and Dungeon Magazine from that era as well.

Secondly, which Pathfinder AP volume would you be able to use that memorable encounter in.

I'm thinking I would like to add one old school encounter per AP volume at a later date.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I approve this thought exercise.


The entire situation in the "tower" of Skarda's Mirror, with the Mirror fiend, is one of my favorites. We did this way back when, on the table top, and the player's loved it.

I am running it again now in my "its "A" Dungeon, Too" adventure

It really plays like quite the hoot when the players get in on the shenanigans


I was young at the time and never GM'd, but I have been in some DCC (dungeon crawl classics) games lately and the modules they have remind me very much of that era.


A 1st Ed D&D adventure (one of the UK series) called "All that Glitters".

There's one section involving a transportation system using Windwalk in underground tunnels that felt like it was a small part of something that could, potentially be expanded out into a much bigger setting. I remember wanting to explore it further.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Final confrontation with Strahd von Zarovich in the crypts below the castle in the AD&D module I6: Ravenloft.

You could probably incorporate the whole module in Carrion Crown.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The one that sticks in my head is the lich headmaster of a ruined academy in Myth Drannor who treated the adventuring party as his class, and if students misbehaved in his classroom, he'd 'accidentally' use Chill Touch on them to discipline them (if memory serves).


BECMI intro adventure. It was in the Red book for the Basic Set. I don't know if it was actually IN the adventure, or if it was added in by the DM. We found a White Dragon in that introductory dungeon...we were 1st level.

In the same light, it probably could work in a number of PF AP's book 1. It's an uneven encounter for the level it's placed at. I suppose it would work if the Dragon worked with the Drow in Second Darkness in the dungeon at the end of the adventure.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GreyWolfLord wrote:

BECMI intro adventure. It was in the Red book for the Basic Set. I don't know if it was actually IN the adventure, or if it was added in by the DM. We found a White Dragon in that introductory dungeon...we were 1st level.

In the same light, it probably could work in a number of PF AP's book 1. It's an uneven encounter for the level it's placed at. I suppose it would work if the Dragon worked with the Drow in Second Darkness in the dungeon at the end of the adventure.

I really don't remember a white dragon being in there, so your DM may have been a bit creative, there.


As written, there are no dragons in B2: The Keep on the Borderlands. Your DM was being either creative or cruel. Or both.

I have pulled out that module for the actual keep map on many occasions over the years.

As a total aside, there was an Easter egg reference to that module in the Worldwound write-up in the original OGL Pathfinder Chronicles: Campaign Setting from 2008.


In Ravenloft there is a trap where a character is teleported into a dark cell with a monster (possibly a werewolf), but their gear is teleported somewhere else. I recall playing a cleric (1st or 2nd edition) and frantically looking through my spells to find which ones I could still cast, those without material components.


Module I6 seconded!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

If your DM was running the sample adventure in the DM's book of the BECMI Basic set, there could be a dragon. The entire upper level is detailed, you're given a map of the first underground dungeon level with instructions to stock it yourself, and encouraged to just create a bottom dungeon level. There is a suggestion to try adding a dragon to that last one, which might be where the white dragon came from.

I didn't run a lot of prewritten adventures back in the day, but one encounter that sticks out for me is from the Dragonlance adventure DL3: Dragons of Hope. Note this module was never quite converted to book form so this encounter is not in the original novels.

Your PC group is leading a band of refugees, who are being pursued by an evil army, through a mountain valley in wintertime. You come upon a wizard-looking guy with a giant pile of snowballs he's made. He suggests you wait for the evil army to approach because he has a plan, which is revealed to be to throw the snowballs at them. If the PCs do so it causes an avalanche that buries half the army and halts their advance for several days.

Seems like it could be placed into Jade Regent what with the caravan and arctic conditions of that AP.


The epic battle with Lolth remains my favorite, but you'd need a major retooling of her to use in a modern AP. 66 hit points for a demi-goddess just doesn't cut it in today's gaming. (Didn't back then either, come to think of it.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Didn't 1e Lolth have some sort of contingency heal thing going on? Like the first two times you dropped her to 0 she regained full hp? Maybe that was just the way my college DM played it.

Hp were really on a different scale back then. I remember the 1e PHB arguing that 45 hp was totally viable for an 18th level (front line melee) character.


ryric wrote:

Didn't 1e Lolth have some sort of contingency heal thing going on? Like the first two times you dropped her to 0 she regained full hp? Maybe that was just the way my college DM played it.

Does you no good if you drop her to dead.


She also had one of the hardest ACs in the book, IIRC.


if we're really Grognards, we have trouble remembering anything that far back.....;-)

In one of the B adventures there's a simple magic pool.

Some insane Gygaxian traps.

I wish more stuff like that in PF.

Scarab Sages

Old first edition Deserts of Desolation, in the wizard's tower near the end there was a room with a square grid pattern on the floor, and for every single square you rolled to determine how time and space operated on it. I.e. ten times slower, ten times faster, ten times wider, ten times narrower. Wicked warping weirdness!


I can't remember the module, maybe it was Ghost Tower, or Tomb of Horrors, but there was a room with a waterfall and a statue, and if you put your hand in the statues mouth, the room turned upside down, and the water fall began filling up the room from the ceiling, which was now the floor.

When I ran this module, I was a senior in High School. The character that put his hand in the statues mouth was riding a flying carpet, and when the room flipped, he stayed seated on the carpet as it righted itself, while all his friends fell to the ceiling and began to worry about drowning, while he laughed his head off.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The room of pools from in Search of the Unknown B1. Every pool was different from acid to random collections of cats. Another would be the 4 armed gargoyle from Tomb of Horrors.


Catacombs of the Bear Cult, I mean man o man that battle with the cyclops and the giant crossbow with 600 d6 of damage, that was...

Um, whoops, sorry that was T&T


ryric wrote:
...the Dragonlance adventure DL3: Dragons of Hope. Note this module was never quite converted to book form...

It was in Dragons of the Dwarven Depths. (Admittedly, it wasn't converted EXACTLY, but then, none of the modules were. It is true that Fizban was officially, temporarily dead at that point in the novel series.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Grognard's Insight sounds like the world's most useless spell.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Sundakan wrote:
Grognard's Insight sounds like the world's most useless spell.

No that would be Grognard's Evident Disdain.


Pathfinder Adventure, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

My most memorable was encountering Acererak at the end of the tomb of horrors. We all died frantically trying to do anything of note.

The trouble is that a lot of those most memorable times earn their place due to being the first. A demilich has never been as scary as that first time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I still assert that Tomb of Horrors was among the worst modules ever. I was in two different gaming groups that broke up over that module.

Dark Archive

The whole Caves of Chaos in B2 could easily fit as a main centerpiece for the first Kingmaker AP installment if you are going with slow xp progression or dump some of the lamer ap encounters.

Tomb of the Lizard King can also be snuck into the midlevel Kingmaker AP, even the backstory and magic that makes that adventure happen can be tied to the main Kingmaker nemesis.

The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh can serve a reworked alternate beginning to the Pirate AP (can't remember the name).

I really don't like the mods put out by paizo, so its harder for me to get inspired to draw connections. Paizo APs and mods have zero memorability for me so I can't really draw a link to the classics.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Haladir wrote:
I still assert that Tomb of Horrors was among the worst modules ever. I was in two different gaming groups that broke up over that module.

We enjoyed it. As I said though, this was quite early in our career, so everything was new and we had little in the way of preconceived ideas as to how things "should" work. I think using it in a long running campaign would be unhelpful (from memory we all rolled up name level PCs, and used all of the pregens as fanatically loyal henchmen).

Why did your groups break up over it? That seems a little extreme to me (i struggle to imagine any module being responsible for that sort of outcome, to be frank even if some loved it and some loathed it. It sounds more like a group issue than a module issue).

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There is an encounter in a throne room under a gnoll-infested salt mine(?) in the 1E module A3. Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords where gnoll religious fanatics and their pet anklyosaur defend an avatar of Yeenoghu, protected by an invisible force shield.

Grognard’s Only:
Except … “Yeenoghu” is a human illusionist, and the “anklyosaur” is a disguised rust monster.

You could substitute Rovagug for Yeenoghu and drop the encounter into the House of the Beast dungeon, which makes up most of the second book of Legacy of Fire.


Haladir wrote:
I still assert that Tomb of Horrors was among the worst modules ever. I was in two different gaming groups that broke up over that module.

if the DM promotes it as a actual adventure, and not as a special killer challenge, it's terrible.

When presented properly, it's fun. Once you know it's supposed to be a killer, then you make plans. Store clones or wishes or whatever.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

White Plume Mountain had several very cool encounters, the inverted Ziggurat, the frictionless floor, the cavern with the hanging stairs. I hated the lava bubble with the giant crab. Didn't seem fair that we killed the crab but that it got to crack open the bubble and let the lava in. Not that fair was what we expected, just that one seemed particularly egregious.


baron arem heshvaun wrote:

Using old classic [meaning 1st Ed Dungeons and Dragons or older] adventure modules, what one single encounter would you consider your favorite and most memorable. I'll allow Dragon and Dungeon Magazine from that era as well.

Secondly, which Pathfinder AP volume would you be able to use that memorable encounter in.

For a long time, I felt unqualified to answer this question. I mean... I still do. I am familiar with very little 1E material, and very few AP volumes. In fact, I've never seen a single volume of Strange Aeons, which I'm about to suggest.

But still, I can imagine the PCs going through that AP, encountering various Lovecraftian horrors. Imagine the PCs at some town (Thrushmoor, perhaps?) suddenly running into the Lurkers in the Library, from Dungeon magazine, issue #9, which contained one of the more memorable (to me) encounters.

The PCs are visiting this library, and...

(Okay, major, MAJOR spoilers lie ahead.)

The Lurkers in the Library:
...they hear an eyewitness account of horrors in the library basement. After a crash, a flood of white smoke filled the rooms, and a tentacle wrapped itself around the assistant librarian's head and neck and yanked him backward out of sight. Of course, the PCs are asked to check things out. If the PCs press the head librarian, she might confess that the library's magic specialist was studying spells in monster summoning, but she tries to avoid mentioning that for fear of frightening the PCs off.

So upon investigating the dark basement, they find a secret chamber in the library, long since blocked off and unknown to anyone for the past several generations. The day the adventure began, a band of roving orcs found the chamber from the other side and broke into it. The "white smoke" was just a billowing cloud of plaster dust. The orc leader used a whip, which was the "tentacle" that the witness saw. Surprise! There's nothing Lovecraftian about the situation at all! There ARE monsters to be fought and hostages to be rescued, but still, the twist of the adventure being so mundane - when the players are expecting Things That Should Not Be - does bring some comic relief into the story.

What does anyone think? Would that work well in Strange Aeons?


Heh, I'd forgotten that adventure. Fun stuff. I never an it against my players, but I read through it. I don't know much about "Strange Aeons", but I can see this being a part of it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Haladir wrote:
I still assert that Tomb of Horrors was among the worst modules ever. I was in two different gaming groups that broke up over that module.

We enjoyed it. As I said though, this was quite early in our career, so everything was new and we had little in the way of preconceived ideas as to how things "should" work. I think using it in a long running campaign would be unhelpful (from memory we all rolled up name level PCs, and used all of the pregens as fanatically loyal henchmen).

Why did your groups break up over it? That seems a little extreme to me (i struggle to imagine any module being responsible for that sort of outcome, to be frank even if some loved it and some loathed it. It sounds more like a group issue than a module issue).

Tomb of Horrors was specifically written by Gary Gygax for players who'd gotten too big for their britches by taking them down a few notches. When he ran players through it at conventions and the PCs died, he'd physically tear up the players' character sheets and demand to know their home GMs' phone numbers so he could call them up and say, "This is Gary Gygax. Joe Schmoe's PC 'Black Fang the Mighty' died in a game I ran, and I tore up his character sheet. He's dead, so don't let Joe bring him back!"

Tomb of Horrors caused so much bad blood between people that actual, real-world friendships ended and gaming groups broke up. In the two groups in question (one in high school, one in college), GM responsibilities rotated; the GM's PC would sit out adventures. This was in AD&D 1e, which the module was written for.

Anyway, in both groups, the GM ran the module for well-established characters in an existing campaign; the PCs were at the recommended level for the module (10th?). Both games ended in an extremely unsatisfying TPKs due to the module being designed to punish characters that do typical adventuring things: like explore, probe, and try to open doors. Both times, the players basically just got really angry at the GM when doing normal things would cause instant death with no saving throw. There was usually no clue, no warning, and most of the effects prevented resurrection from working. The character was completely gone. Basically, in both games, the players really didn't like the unfairness of the module, and they stopped trusting the GM.

TSR's re-releases of Tomb of Horrors got rid of many of the unfair parts; added saving throws; or just cut some of the more problematic bits. But the original version is just excrable. Oh, and if, somehow, the PCs manage to actually get all the way through and defeat the demilich... all of the treasure is cursed. A final "F--K YOU!" from Mr. Gygax.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Haladir wrote:

Tomb of Horrors was specifically written by Gary Gygax for players who'd gotten too big for their britches by taking them down a few notches. When he ran players through it at conventions and the PCs died, he'd physically tear up the players' character sheets and demand to know their home GMs' phone numbers so he could call them up and say, "This is Gary Gygax. Joe Schmoe's PC 'Black Fang the Mighty' died in a game I ran, and I tore up his character sheet. He's dead, so don't let Joe bring him back!"

Anyway, in both groups, the GM ran the module for well-established characters in an existing campaign; the PCs were at the recommended level for the module (10th?). Both games ended in an extremely unsatisfying TPKs due to the module being designed to punish characters that do typical adventuring things: like explore, probe, and try to open doors. Both times, the players basically...

Yes, the first part is true, "Tomb of Horrors was written by Gary Gygax for official D&D tournament play at the 1975 Origins 1 convention.[3][5][6] Gygax developed the adventure from an idea by Alan Lucien, one of his original AD&D playtesters, "and I admit to chuckling evilly as I did so."[7] Gygax designed the Tomb of Horrors modules for two related purposes. First, Gygax explains, "There were several very expert players in my campaign, and this was meant as yet another challenge to their skill—and the persistence of their theretofore-invincible characters. Specifically, I had in mind foiling Rob Kuntz's PC, Robilar, and Ernie Gygax's PC, Tenser." Second, so that he was "ready for those fans [players] who boasted of having mighty PCs able to best any challenge offered by the AD&D game."[8]

But the second? Hardly. I was around back then. I am not even sure if Gygax ran it more than once at a con.

Yes, if a DM presented ToH as a typical dungeon, that was completely unfair. It was designed as a challenge.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DrDeth wrote:
But the second? Hardly. I was around back then. I am not even sure if Gygax ran it more than once at a con.

I heard the anecdote about Gygax ripping up character sheets from two different people at two different cons in the early 1990s. (One was Simcon 1991 and the other might have been Arisia 1992). I don't remember either of their names from 25 years ago, or which con exactly each was at. One was a guy who sold lead minis who claimed that the story had happened to him at a GenCon in the mid-'70s: his GM was REALLY surprised to get a call from Gary Gygax simply telling him that his character was dead. Another was the sales rep at the ICE (or was it SJ Games?) table who said that Gygax himself had told him that story at a GenCon a few years earlier. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if either of those anecdotes was about Tomb of Horrors specifically.

I guess it's possible that both of those guys were outright lying, or were repeating rumors they'd heard about Gygax while putting themselves into the story.


Pathfinder Adventure, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think they were repeating the advice given in the module itself. From memory Gary Gygax suggested it as a course of action to DMs who run the module. (Though it read like a joke to me, not a genuine suggestion).

In our neck of the woods it was one of the most popular modules. Though as I mentioned, not for ongoing campaigns, just as a one-shot. It was definitely an outlier, but I still remember moments from that module whereas some of the other "classics" really didn't leave any mark on me.


therealthom wrote:
White Plume Mountain had several very cool encounters, the inverted Ziggurat, the frictionless floor, the cavern with the hanging stairs. I hated the lava bubble with the giant crab. Didn't seem fair that we killed the crab but that it got to crack open the bubble and let the lava in. Not that fair was what we expected, just that one seemed particularly egregious.

My memory may be sketchy, but I remember the map of White Plume Mountain and surrounding landscape was really well done - drawn by Erol Otus maybe?


the Hidden Shrine of? >insert name I cannot remember here<?

Aztec-y base (language "Olmec" in module).

There's this complex puzzle that either gets you a cache of treasure or locked in a doorless cell, depending on whether you do it right...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Another classic moment: The wolf-in-sheep's clothing encounter from S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

"Awww... look at the cute wittle bunny!"
"GRRAR!"

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I sometimes wonder how a modern, optimized, "kill it before it kills us" group would do against an old-school nilbog. Depending on build, the crazy thing would likely gain a few hundred hp a round before they figured out what was going on, and then they get to try and stop it with wands of CLW because "in combat healing is useless."

For those not in the know, a nilbog is a 1e monster that is healed by damage and damaged by healing, and its hp can increase indefinitely the more it's hurt. They appear identical to goblins. Sit one in a volcano for maximum lols.

They are not really a "fair" monster by any stretch of the imagination.


You mean like this? http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/humanoids/nilbog

Never let it be said the Tome of Horrors wasn't complete for all of your old school monster needs (WOTC IP notwithstanding...)

Also, for 1st Ed, the wall of force/sleepy gas trap the Slavelords use on the PCs in A4 because PCs in loincloths and underwear was savage. Another would be the mind flayer in S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks in power armor and grenades. Psionic stun, then pow, frag grenade. Suck it PCs.


My all time favorite dungeon will always be Palace of the Vampire Queen

It simply makes no sense. It's like there is an inverted condominium project on the outskirts of town where every sort of monster owns a time share, and some of them are vacationing at the time the party arrives.

Dark Archive

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
The one that sticks in my head is the lich headmaster of a ruined academy in Myth Drannor who treated the adventuring party as his class, and if students misbehaved in his classroom, he'd 'accidentally' use Chill Touch on them to discipline them (if memory serves).

I completely remember that! From the Grey box set.

Dark Archive

Haladir wrote:
Final confrontation with Strahd von Zarovich in the crypts below the castle in the AD&D module I6: Ravenloft.

The first 1st Ed Ravenloft mod was beautifully and masterfully crafted in every way.

Dark Archive

ryric wrote:

Didn't 1e Lolth have some sort of contingency heal thing going on? Like the first two times you dropped her to 0 she regained full hp? Maybe that was just the way my college DM played it.

Hp were really on a different scale back then. I remember the 1e PHB arguing that 45 hp was totally viable for an 18th level (front line melee) character.

She was actually a Lesser goddess, even more powerful than a Demi goddess.

She could fully Heal herself 3x per day and yes she had a very high AC.


I think it was module B4, I know it was BECMI. We were 3rd level, and fighting a giant, slimy, horned demi-god-thing in the bottom of an Octahedron-shaped dungeon. Good times.


baron arem heshvaun wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Final confrontation with Strahd von Zarovich in the crypts below the castle in the AD&D module I6: Ravenloft.
The first 1st Ed Ravenloft mod was beautifully and masterfully crafted in every way.

I'm running I6: Ravenloft on the play-by-post board right now, actually. I'm converting it on-the-fly from AD&D to PFRPG. PCs used Core Rules only for character generation (plus Traits from the original Web Encancement.)

I am pulling in a little bit of inspiration here-and-there from both the 3.5 Expedition to Castle Ravenloft and the 5e Curse of Strahd, but I'm mostly sticking with the original module, with some Golarion lore thrown in too.

Dark Archive

Link please!

1 to 50 of 52 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / General Discussion / Need Some Grognards Insight All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.