Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When Using a "Pre Written Adventure", Do You "Run as Written" or Do You Tweak and Rewrite?

At it's core, its a simple question: Do you run modules / adventures "as is" or do you tweak them to better fit your expectations and by extension, those of your gaming group.

I tried running a draft of Dwimmermount "as is", as that was the group's request, but we didn't have much luck with that.

We followed that up with the first few levels of Rappan Athuk, yet another megadungeon. With RA, I did tweak it a bit, but the tweaks were relatively minor.

Now we are trying our hands at the DCC RPG, and there are some extremely well written and original adventures from both Goodman Games and the assorted third party publishers - easily enough to keep a campaign going for a year or more. I expect to twist and tweak the threads linking the adventures and in turn tweaking and rewriting many of the adventures backstories, but I don't see a foresee a need to rewrite the adventures themselves, but time will tell.

How much tweaking do you do to the average "store bought" adventure or module?


  1. I use the Modules as a "foundation," but always make adjustments as I deem them necessary.

  2. Modules are a lovely way to get ideas for how to set your scenes. I have yet to find one in 20 years that survives more than about 30 seconds with actual players and a "Yes, and..." GM.

    That said, I prefer setting and flavor books over A-to-B-to-C adventures.

  3. So far, I've mostly used published adventures as sources of raw material - a floor plan here, some encounters there, and so forth. There's a part of my home megadungeon I call "Tomb of the Iron Death Frost Blocks" because it is a mash up of Tomb of the Iron God, Death Frost Doom, and Blocks of Quox, all modified to fit the backstory of the bigger dungeon.

    So, I think it's safe to say I tend to tweak.

  4. If I use a pre-written module, I tend to use them as-is. That's not to say things don't get improvised on the fly as we play, but if I use a module, I'm using it out of the box.

    I am also not above strip-mining modules for their useful bits of information (about Greyhawk, usually), and never actually using the module itself.

  5. I remember your 2,000 rats and a copper piece well.

    Sometimes I end up just using the maps and illustrations from a module (because I suck at creating both, but especially illustrations). Rarely do I use a module as written and even then more of a guideline and never 'as is'.

  6. I've done the both. For a couple of well known mega dungeons I ran, I added an adventuring 'culture' nearby and within the dungeon itself. But I like to keep it as near as possible to the original, but tweaks that fit my world/style/players.

  7. I tweak and change the serial numbers on nations, gods, and notable personalities. I don't bother with a rewrite level of editing as the players are going to either: be utterly distracted and not follow the adventure as written, go wild killing everything they can, or run away and not come back when confronted by some stary adversity they don't wish to deal with right now.

  8. I almost always tweak at least a little bit. More rarely, I tear the module apart and bang it back into a more pleasing shape, such as when I retooled an RPGA module I ran at a convention. Otherwise, the session would've been three hours of "This room is also empty." followed by a rather lame fight against the completely under-utilized BBEG.

  9. Since I started running D&D in 1981 I have never used any module as written, with the single exception of once running Tomb of Horrors at a con. In my own games I combine bits and pieces of different modules, completely rekey maps, switch around NPCs, and otherwise change published adventures until they are totally unrecognizable.

  10. I usually run them almost as is, except tweak them to work in the setting.


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