Saturday, March 21, 2015

What is Your "Sweet Spot" of Level Range for Pre-Written Adventures? (Poll)

Initially I was going to phrase the question as "commercial" adventures, but that would imply it would have to have a cost and the OSR is abundant in freely available ODR adventures, many of them of high quality.

I recently rediscovered the abundant collection of freely available adventures at Dragon's Foot. I've also been readily enjoying the recent S&W White Box releases as well as other adventures in my collection.

It occurred to me that the higher the level of the adventure, the less likely I'll be able to use it without making major changes to adventures as written. Higher level play for me, at least, requires customization to the part of characters in question.

In any case, I plopped a survey in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

Vote and drop your comments and thought's here. If your answer wouldn't fit the admitedly simple poll choices, comment away.


  1. I don't really understand the question. I customize all adventures, and the better they are the more of them I use. Lower level ones (in D&D) tend to be more mundane and easier to make part of a world, while higher level ones tend to be more high concept and thus tend towards feeling apart from the world.

    At level 1-2 though, there's SO MANY good quality adventures. So I'd say anything else is a bit more exciting.

  2. Although I don't use many pre-written adventures, I'd say that 1-3 is about it. that corresponds to my sweet spot for gaming to though. I love the early levels when death is an ever present threat.

  3. By attrition there are probably more low level campaigns and characters out there, but I agree w/ jrodman - at higher levels the world tends to be better defined and the characters have made a bigger dent on it, so the adventures need to be tailored more closely to them. A good kobold fight can be dropped into almost any beginning campaign, but that fight against the evil warlord that has been dominating the country-side can be improved with a little build-up.

  4. Levels 1 and 2 are rather limited in monsters and treasures, unless the author put time and effort into subverting our expectations. Too high a level and everything seems specialized. The Game Master will have to anticipate a lot and take a variety of things into consideration... to the point where he might as well re-write the adventure. So, I'm going to vote for 3 - 5.

  5. 1-4. I can always make them harder if I need to.

  6. I understand exactly what you're getting at. An adventure writer can more easily estimate what lower level characters are capable of, and plan accordingly. But as characters advance in levels, their capabilities become more specialized. It then becomes a question of which exact spells, magic items, etc they have acquired over the course of their adventures. Even how lucky they have been with their hit dice rolls becomes a factor to consider. The higher level the adventure, the more the GM may have to customize it in order to provide an appropriate level of challenge for his players.

  7. To me, the main purpose of a published adventure is to provide a jumping-off point for a campaign. Any further adventures will arise naturally out of the actions of the players' characters and the nature of the setting. That's not to say that there isn't a place for higher level adventures, but they have less value to an established game. Generally, they serve more to provide examples and ideas than to be played in themselves (though as one-offs they aren't a bad thing, either).

    Me, I'd rather have some interesting starting points, like B2, B4, or T1, than limited-use stories like GDQ. How many campaigns have started in the Keep on the Borderlands and grown to encompass an entire world?

  8. I wasn't, by the way, suggesting that high level adventures are hard to use. They're just, as written, typically occuring in weird locales like forgotten towers or other planes or things where no one normally goes.

    That means they aren't hard to use, in fact, because I don't have to worry about their interaaction with the world too much. But it does mean they don't easily enrich the sense of world.

    1. Yes...and I avoid other planes and wizard towers and what not like the plague.

  9. There's really is not 'Sweet Spot' for me.

    I start with a level 1-3 module & go up from there, where it becomes a campaign as the characters advance in levels.

    If the characters level up fast, I will make adjustments to the game module. Same if it appears things are to easy.

    So ok, the 'Sweet Spot' for me is simply to enjoy seeing the characters go through each module leveling up & becoming stronger, as a campaign progresses & thus the stories unfold.

    1. Oh, I myself am using an adventure from Dragonsfoot right now, having played through it on the Unseen Servant.

      I thought it would make a decent expansion to a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure I am currently running on roll20.net. (DCC24: Legend of the Ripper).

      We started the Dragonsfoot adventure tonight.

      So this makes it 3 modules into a campaign I started with Mischief's "1A: The Inheritance".

      That said the next one will be "C3: Lost island of Castanamir", then likely Mischief's "4A: A Forgotten Evil".

      Like I mentioned in my previous post, if the characters level up fast, i'll simply make adjustments to the modules.

  10. Levels 3 to 5 are the most flexible range in terms of modules because it's less work to either adjust up or down as needed.


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