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Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:41 am
by drsoggy
Hello forum. I’m new to BF and a novice GM. I’m planning on running a BF campaign for my kids and their friends. They are also beginner players. Some of them have some limited experience with DnD 5E, but not a lot. In looking through The Olde Island Fortress and it looks deadly. It’s mostly just monsters that are sketched out (at least the parts I read). Is it expected for me to flesh out more of the dungeon details so the players have more to interact with? I’m looking through the monster list wondering how 3 players will possibly survive. One of the reasons I chose BF is because it would be great when kids spending the night, or camping. The fact that the world is deadly is perfect for those situations because they will be dead by the end of the night. I just don’t want them to die too soon. Does anyone have a Morgansfort Campaign on YouTube that might help me get a feel for how to run things? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:17 am
by saigan
I wouldn't send beginners into Morgansfort, I've been running it for a group that varies from 6-8 people each week and there have been four deaths in as many sessions. Its great fun, but a small beginner group will need some levels (and general game experience) before trying to tackle it. I would either take them through Tales from the Laughing Dragon or a couple Adventure Anthology games first.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:06 pm
by drsoggy
Thanks. I will do that. I also found an article on running Old School Games which was very helpful. Any other advice would be welcome.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:08 pm
by Metroknight
As written I would not suggest running new players through the island dungeon.

What I tend to do is remove the dungeon and put in something different. I've taken the moathouse from Village of Hommelet (1e AD&D) and used it for the Fort Ruins with hidden dungeon under it. I populated it with some monsters or sometimes bandits. This would allow the adventurers to get some experience, in game and out of game, without their characters being killed right off the bat.

Now understand that reducing the lethality and making it more balance is a more modern viewpoint. Old school style is to roll the dice and let it fall where it falls.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2020 5:45 pm
by Hackworthy
Yeah I waited a little bit. You might try one of the little one-shot modules in one of the Adventure Anthology books. Darkfir Castle was the first thing I ran for my level 1 BFRPG group and the difficulty was right on. My group has 6 players though, there might be better ones for smaller groups.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:49 am
by nemolomen
First time BFRPG players. There are 7 of us. Of the 6 players, 3 are 15 or under and 3 are 24 or older. We've played 2 sessions.

BFRPG being old school, I've made them well aware that they should expect their characters to die.

I didn't see any "warnings" about the Morgansfort "Olde Island Fortress" until after we had started playing. However, I did modify the character creation procedure in a few ways:

1 - Roll 4d6 minus lowest die for each ability, in order. Each character has 2, 3 or 4 ability bonuses, none have penalties. I somewhat lament this approach after the fact.

2 - Started with maximum hit points including Con bonus.

3 - All but one player used the "Equipment Packs" supplement for starting equipment.

The group had 2 human magic users, a halfling thief a human fighter and one each elven and dwarven clerics.

First Session:

Much of this session was getting organized, exploring the town, gathering rumors and then they set out for the island around late afternoon and entered the dungeon at about dusk. Once inside, they barely all made it past a pit trap, which had been set off in the attempt to disarm it, fought a giant crab spider, which never landed a hit (missed its first attack and rolled a 1 for its second, biting and killing itself). One of the magic users successfully (str & dex checks) removed one of the fangs and managed not to get poisoned making two failed attempts on the second fang. Then they proceeded to set off a fireball trap which left most of them with 1 to 3 hit points (GM rolled a 3 for damage on 2d6, one of the clerics only took half damage). Then they successfully disarmed a trapped chest, found a secret room and holed up for an uneventful night.

Second Session:

After resting enough to heal one hit point each, they set out and found some goblins. At this point the dwarven cleric was killed, mostly due to the human fighter who, having "discarded" his chainmail in the river to keep from drowning, would not fight in the front rank. They found a secret room with a locked but untrapped chest and moved on to an encounter with 5 orcs, taking a little damage. They found stairs going down but decided to head back tot he fort. So, they "ran" down an unexplored hallway towards the landing room, and presumably safety, but encountered an unknown pit trap on the way, losing the human mage with the spider fang and their map (he failed his saving throw and then died from the fall, or rather, the sudden stop). So they made it back to the fort, some of them hanging on by a thread, only to find that a horde of goblins had attacked it at dawn while they were in the dungeon.

All in all, I think they got very lucky: only one random encounter which didn't even do any damage, the elf glanced 3 out of 4 secret doors due to the GM rolling 1s, saving throws rarely missed (except for the fireball).

They're all having fun and everybody can't wait to play again. We play every other weekend.

Take from this what you will.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:03 am
by Ravensirtis
I ran the first Morgansfort module that is on the downloads page witha group of 4 lvl 2 players....i have simplified the combat a little as majority of us are new players. We also had a few hairy moments and nearly lost our favourite elf ranger...thankfully our mage was able to loot a couple of health potions and all was good....Even if you have to simplify some things i think morgansfort is a fantastic setting for newbies....but then again i suppose i am somewhat bias here XD XD

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:07 pm
by nemolomen
After I posted my, sort of, play-by-play above earlier today, it occurred to me that as I had read through the dungeon the first time or two, I remember thinking "they're all going to be dead after the first 2 or 3 rooms; there's no way they can survive this". This was my first exposure to a Basic Fantasy adventure/dungeon and perhaps I had different glasses on then than I do now, after having some experience ( :roll: ) running the game.

In hindsight, I realize that it didn't play like that at all. Though, during play, I did keep expecting the next thing and the next thing and the next thing to just wipe them all out, especially that run to the exit through an unknown hallway where I knew there was a pit trap which they were absolutely going to trigger. But this is the kind of stuff that makes for a great story, which is why we play in the first place.

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:42 am
by Ravensirtis
Precisely. I'm new to TTRPGs in general and have openly run before walking but love it. I was obsessed with AD&D as a kid and never got to play so now i'm just getting into them. But i was always told by other Gms that the whole point is to have fun so if that means you make things easier to keep the story going and the fun going then yeah do it...obvs don't make them one shot kills that's silly and i was also told that the rules were there as a guide...if the DM decides to bend/break them, who gives a damn its DM's decision anyway just make it fun for the players and no one will care what you do

Re: Morgansfort for beginners

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:02 am
by drsoggy
Lots of good advice here. I ordered Tales from the Laughing Dragon though. Hoping to get a session off on the weekend. How can you pass up $3.65 shipped?!