Wednesday, October 19, 2011

After Game Discussion: Adventure Paths

I thought I would start a new series of blogs called, The After Game Discussion.  I realized how much good gaming stuff was discussed after the game.  This last week we discussed Adventure Paths or Adventure Series which ever you prefer.

At the beginning of the summer Rusty started a C&C campaign and he decided to use an adventure series for the foundation.  It was short lived.  I think about three sessions (real life took Rusty away for a few months).  He discussed how he thought running a canned series would be easier on him, but found out it wasn't.  He said that if the players didn't do certain things the entire adventure came to a halt.  That some of the things that needed to be done were no in the players best interest or even of interest.

Campaigns and character development are more sophisticated even with the stripped down rules of the basic systems.  GMs are creating elaborate worlds.  And because of this there are fewer pick up games.  In the early 80s I carried around a folder of characters in case I found a game, those days are gone.  Back then I didn't worry about my character other than the equipment he had and his level.  The GM would usually run a canned module and everyone was in.  No need to explain our motivation.  We would usually skip the long reading introductions and get right to the meat.  The only motivation needed at that time was there was a game and we were about to roll dice.

Today, I don't do pick up games anymore (unless at a con).  I like having a period of time to run my guy and see what what happens.  When I first make a character I have certain personality marks determined.  Maybe a short backstory.  Then I am ready to dive into some adventure and see what happens.  If the GM tells me ahead of time we will be playing a certain adventure series I will try to gear my guy to make that transition as easy as possible.  But even when I do this there a certain things that come up in an adventure series that if you do not do it comes to a halt.  And in the case the adventure series Rusty was running there were a couple of times when what the players needed to do was...well, a bit stupid.  After playing through the first of the adventure series I am positive they did not playtest it.

The whole point of getting the adventure series was to save time.  But after reading through the adventure Rusty said it would have taken almost as much time to go redo the parts than to have done his own thing.  I found this true of Pathfinder's King Maker adventure path.  Where it had a lot of great stuff to mine from, running it would have been difficult if you had players who liked to explore and were not playing within the limitations of the AP.  It is set up to be a sandbox and it is to a point, but should they party stray to far this way or that then they go into an area where everything is set for higher levels or there is nothing.

Those damn players, like myself, like freewill.  I want to go where I want when I want and let me suffer the consequences.  Don't restrict my movement because I failed to be interested in your village quest.  That's what they do in video games.  That stupid north gate won't open until you gather seven more hogs and deliver them to Herman the Half-Wit.  Once you gather the pigs the gate opens.  Adventure Paths/Series kind of do this also.

I guess what it boils down to for me is these canned adventure series don't save time for me unless I mine them for bits and pieces I can use during the running of my own world.  In this way I think it saves time, but trying to run it as is I've found to be frustrating.