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Saturday, April 26, 2014

How Often do you run Adventures as Written?

I've been thinking about Castle of the Mad Archmage and an earlier attempt at running a pre-release version of Dwimmermount "as written" and I've found that I have little success at running anything purely as written.

Without me adjusting things for my style of DMing and adjusting for my group's style of play, I find that adventures fail to meet expectations - both mine and that of my players. Of course, when I ran modules back in my AD&D 1e days, everything was run as written - so let it be written, so let it me done. Obviously, my methods have changed over the years.

Do you run adventures / modules / etc as written, or do you make adjustments for your styles of DMing and your players' style of playing?


  1. I change stuff often to fit the party and my own DM style. For example, when I run Grimmsgate, Ezrac (a bit npc of no real importance) becomes a retired ranger and guide through the swamps.

  2. Never. I always find things that I want to change. And I also frequently use scenarios written for other games when the story seems interesting, meaning not only adapting stuff, but also writing stat blocks (not very complicated).

  3. The way I see it, I've shelled out the cash for the modules, so I'd like to use them...although even I, a newbie when it comes to being on the DM side of the screen, end up modifying the adventure hooks and even some of the stat blocks.

  4. The plot hook is almost always going to be different and more tailored to my PCs' motivations and location. Players will almost always do something not accounted for in the scope of the adventure. I often change the villains to match ones in my campaign (like if the big bad is a Baron, I'll change him to an applicable noble from my setting). Otherwise, I try to run it pretty close, depending on the adventure. Some adventures I will just mine for maps and encounters, as in Night's Dark Terror had a great map of a dwarven mine being plagued by a spider and I have lifted that several times and put it in my own game.

  5. Hardly ever. I use the written adventure as a base and then rift off it. A well written adventure provides me some interesting ideas and places that I can run my players through, but the situation that develops within this frame is what I probably change the most.

  6. I've almost never run anything written, let alone "as written".

  7. I don't even run stuff I've done myself completely "as written!"

  8. Never. I usually end up trimming out encounters and monsters that I don't feel fit the tone I want or are otherwise unnecessary. I suspect sometimes things are thrown in just to add to the page count.

  9. Only if it's a one shot, otherwise my players inevitably run the train right off the rails. Even stuff I write myself is usually a 1/2 page of point form notes that could end up being 5 or 6 sessions of frantic improv trying to keep up with them.

  10. I've done both. As written is fine if I'm in a pinch or even running a one-shot, but even then there will be a great deal of "story adaptation" as my players will undoubtedly move or act in a manner not covered by the module. Having said that, rewriting the material, adding in personal touches that are relevant to my players and my own judging style is important... to them and me. This also means that I am intimately familiar with the story and will have an easier time of adjusting the story arc, when my players get creative.



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