5% of Each Purchase Goes to Support The Tavern


Sunday, June 9, 2013

If You Were to Run an "Epic Level" One Shot, What System and / or Adventure Would You Use?

One of the things that came up during Saturday's "Gathering of Fools" was the idea of an "Epic Level" One-Shot to be run this summer for my old gaming group. Face to face, six hours or so.

When I asked what levels were considered "Epic" (as the group stopped playing during the 2e age, ignore the 3e and later labels) I was told "a high enough level where the Paladin has a +5 Holy Avenger and others have some sort of minor artifacts".

So I'm guessing a swath from 13-16 or so, depending on class. It was suggested I create pre-gens, which I will, but I expect to base them off of the last characters the group members played.

I also pointed out to them that the AD&D we played was no where near "by the book", and the rules we used were pretty much pared down on an unspoken group consensus. What we played comes very close to Swords & Wizardry Complete, although I'd have to tweak the classes a bit to make them closer to their AD&D counterparts. (as an aside, I may just work that into a post at some point - bridging the gap between S&W Complete and AD&D 1e).

So, I'm leaning towards using S&W Complete for the session - no idea what to run. Anything in the S series is probably ok, as it will only be a 4 member party and they tended to run without a cleric back in the days ;)

Any other suggestions for system or adventure or both?


  1. Dark Tower comes to mind. The old Judges Guild adventure.

  2. How can you run anything but White Plume Mountain?

  3. Savage Worlds. I know as an occasionally poster on the blog it might seem like I never tout the standard d20 or OSR games. I do like them, but for something like Epic level play I have found d20 has never been particularly strong at this.

    In Savage Worlds a Legendary "Level" character will feel just as powerful as his D&D counterpart, but combat will still be fast.

  4. 1e AD&D (pre-Unearthed Arcana). I once ran a one shot campaign with 5 upper level (around 20+)paladins who were on a quest for a holy artifact that had been dragged down into the Abyss. It was incredibly bloodthirsty, but a great deal of fun was had by all. Normally I hate high level games but this one worked out amazingly well.

    As for a module suggestion I have been hearing good things about WG4 Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. I never ran it myself and didn't think much of it 20 years or so ago, but people have been saying it was one of their favorites.

  5. About 8 Years ago a DMed "A Paladin in Hell". It is a 2nd Ed adventure but quite epic and bloodthirsty (you meet a certain Emirikol and get to fight a deposed Duke of hell later on).
    I used it for with stripped down 1st Ed AD&D rules (quite similiar to Advanced LL or S&W Complete).
    It was a lot of fun and some good PC deaths were in it too.

  6. Harley Stroh's "Colossus, Arise!" as soon as it is released (DCC).

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. That's easy. I'd use Labyrinth Lord with my gonzo rules supplement: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BwJzJ5UCBqshaHZkcHlIY2NOYjg/edit

  9. Pick an adventure with a suitably grandiose feel to it, rather than just another dungeon crawl. Maybe D3+Q1.

    1. D3 and Q1 are both excellent but the possibilities for the DM to expand both of these modules is endless. The entire Underdark and a massive Drow city are just touched on and ready for a DM to use their own ideas or plug in a bunch of premade adventures (with a little tweaking). Q1 is the same, and the demon-web is fantastic for dropping characters into absolutely any setting.

  10. It'd be cool if you could give them a direct stake in the game too, like they are powerful lords of a city that is now under threat, so they have to strap on the old adventuring gear once more and ride out.

  11. I'm gonna step outside the box here and go with Champions 1e. I used that very successfully back in the early 80s day to run a high powered fantasy campaign. And at 64 pages for a point based build your character however you want system, you can't really go wrong.

  12. I was thinking Against the Giants..

  13. Against the Giants is a good choice. Vault of the Drow might be better. Or how about a return to the Isle of Dread? Remember to make shit up as you go. As for rules... you may have already answered this question yourself without knowing it.