BF1 and adventure lethality

General topics, including off-topic discussion, goes here.
User avatar
laDracykei
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:54 pm

BF1 and adventure lethality

Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:58 pm

I want to run a relatively lighthearted campaign for my group with Basic Fantasy, and [Morgansfort] seemed like a good starting adventure. But I've opened this up, and the Olde Island Fort seems really tough for a starting dungeon! There are multiple things on the first floor that could easily kill the party's beefy fighter with a single failed save, and that's not even counting the save-or-die poison. This being OSR, I have a nagging feeling that this is a far more general question than a question about Morgansfort in particular, but what should I do to make things a little less lethal to first-level characters?
Last edited by laDracykei on Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
SmootRK
Posts: 3665
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:03 am
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:30 pm

laDracykei wrote:I want to run a relatively lighthearted campaign for my group with Basic Fantasy, and this seemed like a good starting adventure. But I've opened this up, and the Olde Island Fort seems really tough for a starting dungeon! There are multiple things on the first floor that could easily kill the party's beefy fighter with a single failed save, and that's not even counting the save-or-die poison. This being OSR, I have a nagging feeling that this is a far more general question than a question about Morgansfort in particular, but what should I do to make things a little less lethal to first-level characters?
Extra help:
npcs that tag along (maybe slightly higher level that the party)
hirelings or other fodder
guard/attack dogs or similar assistance

just a few ideas to ease them into it.
Is it really the end, not some crazy dream?
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 7769
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:54 pm

Use a slightly "softer" starting adventure, such as Beneath Brymassen from AA1, to ease them into it.

Remind them that running away is a valid strategy. :D
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
User avatar
laDracykei
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:54 pm

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:01 pm

What worries me is the number of things that could kill them before they even have a chance to run away. Picking up and looking under a moldy bag (which wouldn't seem like a very risky action to anyone but a dungeoneer!) means a death save or 6d8 damage. Possibly to a level 1 character. Yikes.

That's all well and good for some campaigns, but certainly not for the one I have planned in particular, and I don't trust myself to be able to hit the balance between "trivially easy" and "as lethal to an inexperienced player with a first-level character as the Tomb of Horrors is to a moderately experienced player with a tenth-level one." I'll check out Beneath Brymassen; thanks for the recommendation.
User avatar
orobouros
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:09 pm
Contact:

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:16 pm

In at least a few RPG rule books I've come across there are explicit statements to the effect of, "the GM is not bound by the dice roll." What this means in practice is that the GM can protect your character from some unlucky dice rolls. What they can't protect you from is bad decisions. Need to lift up anything in a dungeon? Use a pole! See a hoard of owlbears? Don't rush in like good ol Leroy Jenkins. A GM may often give XP for dealing with monsters/traps/etc even if you don't engage them in combat. Even if it's combat, you (rather, the characters) may be able to creatively deal with the problem. Luring a pair of orcs into a net before pushing them off a cliff is probably less risky than hoping your first two arrows take them down before they reach you.

That all being said, Morgansfort Adventure is probably not going to be easy. But having a character die, especially at first level, isn't that big a deal. The player rolls up a new character; as GM you can go easy on the player for maybe "knowing" a bit more about the dungeon than their character should. Maybe they find (and keep) the loot left behind along with the body of their old character. You may even have them roll up two extra characters, whom they "meet" in the dungeon right after losing somebody in their party.

There's lots of creative ways to deal with either avoiding or the aftermath of character death. Morgansfort is probably not the best choice for new players and a new GM, though, just in my opinion. There's a lot of one-page adventures you can find online which leave a lot to the GM to flush out. That might be just enough to get your players started and leveled up a tad (and maybe find a magic weapon, too) before heading into some of the Morgansfort adventures.
User avatar
laDracykei
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:54 pm

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:15 pm

orobouros wrote:In at least a few RPG rule books I've come across there are explicit statements to the effect of, "the GM is not bound by the dice roll." What this means in practice is that the GM can protect your character from some unlucky dice rolls. What they can't protect you from is bad decisions. Need to lift up anything in a dungeon? Use a pole! See a hoard of owlbears? Don't rush in like good ol Leroy Jenkins. A GM may often give XP for dealing with monsters/traps/etc even if you don't engage them in combat. Even if it's combat, you (rather, the characters) may be able to creatively deal with the problem. Luring a pair of orcs into a net before pushing them off a cliff is probably less risky than hoping your first two arrows take them down before they reach you.
Yes, yes; I know how GMing works. :p
Need to lift up anything in a dungeon? Use a pole!
It's this sort of thing in particular that I'm talking about. For new players, that can still be kind of a gotcha. "GEE, MAYBE DON'T CHARGE THOSE O̶R̶C̶S̶ BURLY, HAIRY, FULLY-ARMED 6-FOOT WARRIORS HEAD ON," is an intuition I'm comfortable with letting my players make for themselves, but the idea that something deadly could be lurking under a random burlap sack? That's a little more opaque. I just don't want to force my players to learn anything the hard way before they have had a chance to learn it the easy way. I'd rather give them a chance to figure out what not to do when the stakes are low before I put their characters' lives on the line. I realize that hiding something nasty inside a tattered and rotten bag is the oldest trick in the book, but new players might not. And from a strict roleplaying perspective, most new characters might not -- this could mean that you have to metagame a little in order to survive.

All of which is probably why I guess I won't start with Morgansfort!
...having a character die, especially at first level, isn't that big a deal. The player rolls up a new character; as GM you can go easy on the player for maybe "knowing" a bit more about the dungeon than their character should. Maybe they find (and keep) the loot left behind along with the body of their old character. You may even have them roll up two extra characters, whom they "meet" in the dungeon right after losing somebody in their party.
Eh, that's just not really the tone I'm going for with this campaign. A game where characters are expendable like that isn't what my players signed up for -- and it wasn't what I signed up for either. I'm already planning on making resurrection relatively easy to come by -- no item shops selling unlimited phoenix downs for less money than the PCs are likely to make on a single dungeon excursion, but at least enough for characters being dead-for-good to be the exception rather than the rule. Go ahead, call me soft; I probably deserve it. :p
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 7769
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:33 pm

An old-school player group kind of needs to lose one or two at least, to reinforce that death is always a possibility. I would almost never fudge in any way to save a first level character; I'm not particularly merciful, but I'm especially merciless to the beginning PCs.
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
User avatar
chiisu81
Posts: 2756
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:05 pm
Location: TX, USA

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:52 pm

Kill a couple hirelings :twisted:
User avatar
laDracykei
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:54 pm

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:43 pm

Solomoriah wrote:I'm especially merciless to the beginning PCs.
See, my intuition is the reverse. I know the reasoning goes that if you've spent a lot of time with your character you're going to be more invested and losing the PC will hurt more, but a PC-getting one-shotted in the first session? That's a not just a disappointment, that kills anticipation. They hardly got a chance to play their character at all! Ah, that fluke crit killed your low-level rookie? Alright, alright, I'll fudge that roll. Your mid-level PC got disintegrated? You're a big boy now, you can handle it. Besides, giving stronger characters a second chance at life is the reason resurrection magic is in the book -- and stuff like disintegration is there to make sure that doesn't cheapen death.
User avatar
Solomoriah
Site Admin
Posts: 7769
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Location: LaBelle, Missouri
Contact:

Re: BF1 Morgansfort

Post Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:53 pm

I didn't make them, so I can't answer...
My personal site: www.gonnerman.org
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 28 guests