Like it's 1981 all over again, part two

From behind my battered GM Screen (a black “no, it’s not 3rd Edition” edition AD&D one), I open my prized copy of Moldvay Red Book Basic D&D (bought by yours truly in 1981) and turn to page B56, The Haunted Keep. We’re playing 4e D&D, I’m using a 2e GM Screen and playing a Classic D&D dungeon. Oh yeh.
hauntedkeep

“You’ve each been convicted of a minor crime of your choosing and as punishment been ordered to serve 48 hours as members of the King’s Watch. Your sergeant has ordered you to head down the Old Road and clear out the Haunted Keep once and for all. Oh, and make sure you’re back before nightfall.”

We spend a few minutes deciding our crimes. Mahkra, my Wizard, was guilty of Possessing Overdue Library Books. Hairy Bob, the Fighter was convicted of Breaking and Failing to Enter (he is a failed Thief, after all). Squidgee Yellowpants (I kid you not), the Halfling Jester, was convicted of Being a Halfling Jester, and Parson Jeffries (the elderly Half-Elf Cleric) was found guilty of Thumping the Pulpit (which we’re sure is a metaphor).

As you can tell, we’re not taking this too seriously. And y’know what – it’s great!

A mere 45′ square, the entire of the Haunted Keep would fit into an average-sized 4e D&D room. There is a 10′ room. As GM, I decide that it contains a pie.

I describe the dimensions of the ruined Keep to the players and it re-ignites the discussion about whether a character can reduce the size of a Powers’ Burst and Blast Radius. Small rooms make using a power like Thunderwave (Close Blast 3) somewhat difficult. As Evil GM, I say no, at least not without spending a Feat slot. I make up “Shape Burst” and “Shape Blast” Feats on the spot, then tell the players that they’re Paragon level. Cruel, I know. Wizards’ will probably produce an Official Size Reducing Feat in the near future anyhow.

Because of this meta-discussion, my half-crazed Wizard opts to stand guard outside, and the players agree. He is the backup character, anyhow. The last thing they want is a Mentally Unstable Wizard going off suddenly in a confined space.

Hairy Bob, Squidgee and Parson Jeffries enter…….

Next time: Pits and Pendulums

Mahrka, Good Human Wizard-1
Str 9, Con 9, Dex 5, Int 14, Wis 5, Cha 7
HP 19 bloodied 8 surges 4×7/day
AC 13 (Staff), Fort 10, Ref 13, Will 11, Speed 6

Quarterstaff +1 vs AC, 1d8-1
Cantrips/w, Cloud of Daggers/w +2 vs Ref, Ray of Frost/w +2 vs Fort, Thunderwave/w +2 vs Fort
Icy Terrain/e +2 vs Ref, Freezing Cloud/d +2 vs Fort or Sleep/d +2 vs Will

Arcana +7, History +7, Insight +2, Nature +2, Religion +7
Durable, Human Perseverance, Ritual Casting, Staff Mastery

Rituals: Comprehend Language, Magic Mouth, Silence

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9 Responses

  1. Jeff Rients says:

    We spend a few minutes deciding our crimes. Mahkra, my Wizard, was guilty of Possessing Overdue Library Books. Hairy Bob, the Fighter was convicted of Breaking and Failing to Enter (he is a failed Thief, after all). Squidgee Yellowpants (I kid you not), the Halfling Jester, was convicted of Being a Halfling Jester, and Parson Jeffries (the elderly Half-Elf Cleric) was found guilty of Thumping the Pulpit (which we’re sure is a metaphor).

    Brilliant!

  2. Dave T. Game says:

    Nice work showing (instead of telling) 4e “Old School.”

    I’m hoping we get to see an indoor Thunderwave anyway :)

    Dave T. Games last blog post..PHB2 Roundtable: Classes

  3. Gary says:

    FWIW, there is an Epic tier feat from the PHB called Spell Accuracy that lets one reduce the size of Area and Close attacks.

  4. Man Wulf, are you going to be teasing us with micro posts like that every day? I love what you’re doing here and I chuckle at how you evil DM the whole thing.

    One thing that bears mentionning about scale is that a 10X10 room is actually preetty large and has some legroom. In fact if you want to reach a compromise in terms of old school rooms and 4e dynamic mouvement, I propose that you just double the scale of your keep. A 10X10 room now becomes a 8X8 grid, which is a lot easier to play in.

    But do as you want. I’ll be reading avidly.

    (grumble… freakin’ tease… grumble)

    follow @ChattyDM on twitter

    The Chatty DMs last blog post..Chatty’s Mailbox: Helping out a New DM

  5. Greywulf says:

    @Jeff Thanks!

    @Dave Stay tuned to find out :D

    @Gary Well there you do then. I’ve done little more than skim the Epic-level stuff so far. It’s a long way off yet.

    @Chatty Tease? Moi?!!? And there was me thinking that giving it to you in bite-sized chunks was a Good Thing :D

    Scale-wise, I intentionally wanted to play as-is just to put my money where my mouth is and prove once and for all that 4e really is every bit as much D&D as it’s predecessors. And we did, especially when……

    ….. but for that, you’ll have to wait. Bwahahahaha, etc.

    follow @greywulf on twitter

  6. drow says:

    “Being a Halfling Jester” is a MINOR crime?

  7. Wax Banks says:

    What about an Arcana check (DC=(spell lvl)+10 or 20-(spell lvl) depending on whether you think it should get easier or harder) to shape burst/blasts? Make it harder for a sorceror, give racial bonuses (easier for eladrin/gnomes, tougher for dwarves/dragonborn perhaps), and so forth. The advantage of the latter number: at Epic level you get the spell-shaping feat for free, as it were…

    These posts are fantastic BTW.

    follow @waxbanks on twitter

    Wax Bankss last blog post..There is a shiny brass lamp nearby.

  8. Narmer says:

    “…was found guilty of Thumping the Pulpit (which we’re sure is a metaphor)”

    I spewed liquids through my nose while laughing but this is the first time solids went through.

  9. yoyorobbo says:

    Prediction: Mahrka, if called into duty, will die a gruesome, grisly, yet gratifying death. I mean, look at those defenses….yikes! If you roll as badly as you say, you’re in trouble brother…ha!

    Bright side (just like “back in ’81”): your reroll will take another 2 minutes and 26 seconds. ;>]

    Keep up the stellar work. Great posts!

    yoyorobbos last blog post..sweet D&D loot found during weekend getaway

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