"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My 2E AD&D Rise of the Runelords Campaign

Back in November, I began a 2E AD&D campaign running Paizo's Rise of the Runelords adventure path. I have been making a few posts over at Dragonsfoot about the campaign but I have decided to make some blog posts here as well. We are now six sessions in and I am really enjoying it.

We are about 2/3rds of the way through the first instalment and the adventure is quite good. We will see how it holds up as we go as we are not far enough along to have to deal with some of the issues involved with running an adventure path.

The group is made up of two players that I have been playing with for some time now and three new players. I have to admit that I am quite happy with how the group has meshed. So far this has been the funnest group I have had in a while.

Rules, Initial Character Generation and the First Session

For rules we are using:
2E Core
+ some of the Optional rules in the PHB
+ the Complete Handbooks (all material used from these must be vetted first)
+ some house rules

The house rules are basically:
- Humans gain two additional nonweapon proficiencies
- Ambidexterity, Blind-fighting and Two-Weapon fighting (and maybe a few more) can only be taken as Weapon Proficiencies instead of Nonweapon proficiencies
- Material components for spells are abstracted. Arcane materials have been added to the equipment list. They are the catchall for material components for spells. If your wizard casts a spell that requires a 100 gp pearl, I am not going to make sure you have it on your equipment list but I do want you to make sure you have at least 100 gp of Arcane Materials on your character sheet which can be used. If no cost is given for material components the cost will be 10 times the spell level in gps.

Initial Character Generation
We used 4d6, drop lowest and each player rolled two arrays. The player then got to choose which array they wanted to use. The resulting PCs were:

- Kobb One Tusk, a half-orc fighter with the sell-sword kit and specialization with a spear.

- Goalrath Shadowmoon, an elven cleric of Sarenrae (a Sun specialty priest from Complete Priest's Handbook plus allowed to use a scimitar and a few other minor changes).

- Vardinil, an elven fighter/magic-user. I allowed him to spend a couple of weapon proficiencies to be able to cast spells while wearing chainmail. He still has to make an INT check with a penalty equal to the spell level. If he fails he loses the spell. The player has also been warned that I reserve the right to screw with his character if he rolls a "1".

- Asreal Nom, a human ranger (Shoanti for those who are familiar with Paizo's world of Golarion).

- Toran Stargazer, a human thief focused on breaking and entering instead of traps and combat.

First Session
Following character generation the players wanted to get right to the action so we began a short session.

All of the characters were in the village of Sandpoint enjoying the Swallowtail Festival. Toran and Goalrath were eagerly awaiting the dedication of the new cathedral that had been built to replace the old chapel that was destroyed by fire five year ago. Kobb was enjoying some ale. Asreal was scanning the crowd. And Vardinil was listening to the speeches.

Suddenly the festival was interrupted by goblins rampaging through the streets - setting fires, butchering dogs and terrorizing villagers. The characters quickly joined forces and battled the goblins.

The quick session ended after the characters had defeated two different groups of goblins and were about to confront a goblin riding a fierce, hairless, dog-looking creature.


  1. I look forward to reading more of this. :D

  2. Looking forward to seeing more of this.

    Paizo does some good work don't they? I'm running the Second Darkness in Warriors & Warlocks (and occasionally blogging about it) currently.

  3. I love starting a campaign with a battle, or right before a battle. Gets the group right into the swing of things. Or, roll of things.

  4. Just curious, how much attention are you paying to the 3.x "balance" considerations they designed into every encounter? Do you look to have each encounter balanced when you convert over? Or do you just figure that sometimes they have to run away?

  5. @ Joe,
    I am not too concerned about balance.

    So far, I am finding the XP requirements for 2E characters to be slower than assumed in the adventure path. This has allowed for me to mix in side quests based on player decisions and character backstories.

    It has also had the effect of allowing the party to retreat from fights that are too difficult and pursue other goals. They can then return later to retry the difficult encounters when they are either healed or more powerful.

    This has also given me the opportunity for opponents to react to previous encounters and gives the benefit of a dynamic appearing environment. This will be seen in some of my future session recaps about when the party was exploring the Catacombs of Wrath.

    The flip side of encounters that are too easy is also nice as it gives the players a chance to feel like they are badasses. The fight against one of the groups of goblins in the first session was over extremely quickly with a well placed Entangle spell. I know the player felt great after dispatching them.