Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Game Immersion is not a thespian exercise

After a week of vacation at a big hippy music camp in Northern California, I had some game related things based on that I wanted to talk about this week. I’ll get to that later this week, but I want to comment on a weekend post James made over at Grognardia that kind of got my goat when I was relaxing last night with a couple of ales after my long 8-hour drive back to LA.

In a post about dungeon blocks, James makes mention of how he doesn’t really go for “immersive” game play, and that it is somehow some kind of thespian stunt. He claims to have a middle ground, but to me it sounds in this post (and others that he has made) that his players don’t come to really play D&D. It sounds like something James wants to be going on while they socialize. I guess it’s not wrong, but it sure is great D&D when the players come with passion for the game.

I personally don’t consider acting as being a part of immersion. Sure, I happen to have a certain degree of stage improv experience, and it has served me well when presenting an important or interesting NPC. Do I do voices? Hell no, but I do try to have a growly voice for things like orcs, and a calm voice for elf types. I try to do a soft voice for women. But shit, that ain’t acting. Not all (maybe not many) DM’s are even comfortable presenting a character in this way, but I can do it, and having a little charisma doesn’t hurt.

But that is not immersion. Immersion is the DM being in touch with his game world, NPC’s, and the players characters. The DM must be a part of the world and it’s presentation, otherwise he is just the banker in Monopoly. And what helps me is that I use the power of my imagination to get in a mind set where all this stuff is real.

Yeah, I know it’s a damn game and we have to break character constantly. But to feel it and pretend to believe in the world and the characters is a great skill to have. In a little place in my mind and my heart this world is really happening. That is the power of imagination. Do you read a good fictional story constantly reminding yourself that the story never happened? No, you let yourself believe it in it’s own context. The same with a good game that you can feel in your heart, and not just in your head at what is basically just a snacking and shooting the shit session.

All games have some outside chatter and joking, but ultimately that takes away from the game. You don’t have to sit there and act in character or anything, but I think focusing on a game is the best way to get the most out of it. Too much and my players complain. So I kind of make it my job to help “flow” by getting as much focus on the action at hand. We play for three hours on a weeknight twice month, so I do my best to give as much of the game as I can for my players. That is what they are there for. If I can immerse them a bit, all the better.

Monday, June 21, 2010

100 Posts, ya'll!

Holy cow, I only noticed this weekend that I hit 100 posts! Hurray for me!

Really, no big deal. Anybody can do a bunch of posts. But in the last several months or so I have tried only to post when I actually had something to say or get off my chest (besides a little bragging here and there about fun sessions). When I started the blog, I was just aping James at Grognardia and others, writing about old game products I liked and such, and I have to admit it wasn’t very inspiring for me or anybody else. So I got a bit more real. I posted about some old bad game experiences of my childhood and my teens and onward. It was a bit cathartic really, so before long I decided that I would continue letting off some steam by bitching about my games, my players, and my own possible short comings when it came to my gaming. Oh, and mentioning the fun here and there as well.

Thanks to all of you smart and creative gamers who have taken a look at my crazy posts, and for commenting in the positive and the negative. We are all a part of this semi-underground creative culture of imagining, and we enjoy this collective experience.

I’m off for a week’s vacation starting tomorrow, going north of San Francisco to work at a big world music camp some friends of mine are putting on. A lot of my best friends are even teachers at this thing. It’s gonna be a blast, and I’m going to work on some other types of instruments besides my Highland Bagpipes (irish bodhran drum, bongos, and middle-eastern belly dancer music ensemble). Take a peek at the website for the camp if you are interested in such things. Maybe see you there next year!

Have a great start to your summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Elmer Fuddism in Dungeons and Dragons

Yep, it’s a term I have proudly invented for a certain kind of D&D. It’s the kind a whole passel of us somewhat older folk experienced when we first got into the game. Characters rolled up with 3D6 in order, an early form of gameplay that was about exploding chests, worms that lived in doors who ate your brain if you put your ear up to it (in a game that practically demand you put your head up the parasite infested wood), and screwjob rust monsters, and a dungeon master who delighted in your characters pain made real by your own personal humiliation when you realize the DM thinks he’s smarter than you because you just didn’t check that section of wall thoroughly enough.

The characters, often made subpar physically compared to even local farmers and shopkeepers because of the unyielding numbers brought up by 3D6, where like some dark ages Elmer Fudd (“kill the wabbit!”). Your character stumbled into the dungeon, with the DM playing Bugs Bunny with an exploding cigar in hand.

Concepts like resurrection, reincarnation, and wishes just implied that characters should die early and often in the game, and if the person being DM had any asshole qualities at all, those would surely come out in their style. DM’ing was a great way for even the most dorky 70’s/80’s version of Napoleon Dynamite to live out his God complex.

Although I tired of that type of gameplay not too late into my teens, I’m sure “push the button and die horribly” gaming was still going on (and many other non-D&D genre games that were coming out, like Paranoia, seemed to have come out of that classic D&D mode.). I stopped hanging out at Aero Hobbies because of the older creeps and the sucky gaming, and I really wasn’t somebody who would go to conventions (if anything to avoid the smell – they were pretty bad in the 80’s) anymore than for a few hours once in a very blue moon. As I said in my last post, my style in the 80’s and beyond evolved mostly because of the presence of girls and newbies to gaming into a softer, gentler DM.

Poking around the online game community in the last couple of years, I have noticed that there are still a lot of gamers who prefer “Fuddism.” Yep, do up your character with 3D6, laugh at how retarded or weak or in ill - health they are, and march him into the labyrinth and laugh at how easily he dies. Some even suggest that having shitty stats promotes good role-play!

Look, we all love Conan or Tarzan or John Carter of Mars or whoever, but we all know that these aren’t the powerhouses we are going to get with any system of stat rolling. But if you are anything like me, when/if you sit down as a player, your hope is to have a couple of stats above average and nothing under a 9. Do lower stats happen in my game? Sure, even 4D6 pick best 3 can lead to unhappy results. But generally you get a guy who even at 1st level can best the local stable hand in either physical prowess or the brains department. Hey, to have a paladin or a monk or whatever you still need to get some lucky rolls, but the chances at getting anything but the base 4 classes using 3D6 in order is actually pretty damn seriously low. Like 1 in a 100 low. Yeah, you should come in prepared to run a cleric or fighter or whatever, but if a paladin is in your heart for a long campaign, a slightly more generous method like 4D6 is going to serve you well.

As a DM (which is what I do as opposed to being player 99.9999% of the time), I don’t want to be Bugs Bunny and I don’t want the characters to be a bunch of Elmer Fudd’s or Damien Dipshits or whatever you want to call them. I want to run great, challenging adventures for characters who may have a fault here and there physically, and may not always make the right decisions, but are generally exceptional physical specimens born to adventure, and not some kind of normal schlub who has to hire on some even less normal schleps just for a chance at survival in the depths below. Not Robert E. Howard heroes necessarily, but jeez, at least they should be on the physical level of the wife beater- wearing “Guido” at the gym doing arm curls while smoking a ciggy.

I had recently planned on doing an OD&D game at an Orange County gameday event a couple of months ago, but the main thing that had me drop the whole thing was I was too conflicted over the stats. I wanted to do it by the book (that was going to be the whole point, D&D as museum piece), but 3D6 in order was just something I didn’t want to deal with. Poor little Billy with his Strength 13 fighter with a 6 constitution. Screw that.

So 4D6 is the way for me, and I think it is the most popular. I’ll even allow an elimination roll for anything under 9. Whatever it takes to get you a decent, survivable character you can be happy with and get the game under way.
And…I hope this does not conflict too much with my last post ranting about being too soft a DM…

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dungeon Master as Civil Servant

Am I too easy as a DM? Is this really a low paying (read: non-paying) job that forgoes my fun or frivolity for the service to others?

I started as much an adversarial DM as anybody from my time. That’s how D&D games were generally approached back then, especially by young boys. Characters were a bunch of Elmer Fudd’s with sub-par physical characteristics, walking unwittingly into the torture and humiliation chambers of the DM as Bugs Bunny. It was a very sadomasochistic relationship. You go into a dungeon, you press a button, and *kablooey* you were more often than not dead, as the DM laughed and snickered as if you are some dumbass he has gotten one over on.

The main thing that got me out of that mind set by the early 80’s was having girls at the game. Especially in the case of a girlfriend, it was hard to have them setting off traps and falling into pits. So it was girls that started my softening, I think. Had me go more in a high adventure frame of mind. Twas Beauty killed the Beast.

Then from the mid-80’s on I went through a certain phase of causing characters more emotional anguish than actually pain and death from traps or unbeatable monsters. Most of my players in the late 80’s and the 90’s were newbies to gaming, and lots of death and carnage heaped upon them can turn these new players off. But kill their family or pit them against the other players and you’ve lit a fire under their ass. They love the drama, and it has much more emotional weight than tricky dungeons and screwjob traps.

Death among characters has become a rare thing in my games, and even in my long Cthulhu campaigns of the 90’s, there was some insanity brought on but not much death (although more than in most genres I run). And in my Champions games, forget about it. You aren’t supposed to die there.

But I think my softening over all those years that worked pretty well with newbies in the 90’s is not serving me that well as DM in my latest group. For this new group I had one old player from the 90’s, Terry, along for the ride. Terry was always a good player. Although she internalized a lot of her characters stuff, she was consistent and not at all a power gamer, meta-gamer, or complainer. She just played.

But everybody else who started in this new group had experience with the game (one version or another of it), and at least a couple of them came in with power gaming backgrounds and desires. I especially think Andy and big Dan, like sharks, sensing my softness when it comes to characters, were a bit too obvious in their power-gamery at first. Andy pressed me a lot for things, and because he is our host I often cracked and gave him what he wanted early on. He sort of softened on that, but Dan still hits me with “player entitlement” attitudes that chap my ass. He wants more more more, and the more you give the more he wants. He is a good guy, but Dan more than anybody is getting me more in the mindset of my youth “Fuck the characters, I am God here. Bend to my will and die in my goddamn dungeon.” Dan even seems to want my rolls made out in the open (I think any time I have an NPC make a saving throw against his charm person or whatever, he assumes I’m fudging). I let this guy run a female drow, a race I am sure he is running just because it is so powerful in Unearthed Arcana, and he has made me (and some of the others players) regret it all the way.

What am I, a civil servant? This is my world! I call the shots! I don’t work for you, you are here to play in my game not be served.

I was especially hardened recently when I ran some sessions of Star Wars Saga: Knights of the Old Republic for a group of middle-age Star Wars fans who had played together for years, but were complete strangers to me. A couple of them were actually quite cool at first, but it was apparent by the second game or so that I was looked upon as somebody coming and serving them up a game like it was a job or something. When the session was over, they didn’t even want to socialize with me. They waited until I left (as it turned out) to talk about the game and how I was doing. Can you believe that shit? Especially the host, Joyce, seemed to have had an idea of how the game should be run (like one of the lame-o movies I guess). If things didn’t go her characters way, she would even get pissy and go sit in a corner (this lady is well into her 50’s, by the way, so she was no kid). She seemed to have paranoia about NPC’s, and the fact that I had a really interesting NPC be a catalyst for the adventure drove her nuts, even though he was very much in the background. The slag even had the balls to tell me “you can’t run the game like that, we are used to it like this and that…”. I went home that night after the fourth session and wrote them an email telling them I was done with the game probably as they were still standing around the table discussing my “Performance”. Didn’t even get a “thanks for trying.”

So the last year or so of experience has me starting to rethink my “player friendly DM” attitude of the 90’s. I’m kind of tired of being soft. I don’t want to be a dick DM, but I really think at least a couple of my players need a less kind hand and some hard truth that I am not from a soft DM background. Some hard lessons need to be learned. Some damn characters need to die!

I’m not your D&D civil servant or underling. I’m your damn Game master! The next few games…watch out!

“Hell is coming for breakfast!” – from The Outlaw Josie Wales

Friday, June 11, 2010

Do I like Champions more than D&D?

D&D is my first and always will be my best love. I think.

I’ve been running my 1st ed. (started out as OD&D) game world for over 30 years, and it would be hard not to look at it as a favorite son. And jeez, I can run it in my sleep. I practically phone my games in a third of the time, and the players still love it. It’s easy peasy, and satisfying.

But see, I have these other two games I love. Call of Cthulhu has been a fave since before I ever read Lovecraft. At around 14 years old I played in some games at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica, and although I found those to be lacking in the fun department (I have to be honest, most of my worst gaming experiences happened in the 4-5 years I spend time at Aero), I fell in love with the feel of the game and the system, and was soon running my own games of it. In the 90’s, I did long running campaigns. My D&D players would hem and haw when I suggested it (not one of them then was a Lovecraft fan), but after a game or two they were often preferring to do it over the D&D. It was great, but unlike my D&D it was a world I didn’t create, just one that I presented (I’d like to say I invented the 1920’s, but that would take Al Gore balls).

So the only thing that came close to my D&D game world love was my Champions campaigns. I started early on in the late 70’s with Superhero 2044. Most people to this day find it a perplexing set of rules to use, but my young mind didn’t seem to have much trouble working around the lightness of the rules. I have spoken elsewhere about my experiences helping playtest, then running Supergame in the early 80’s, so I won’t waste more breath on that here. Soon my friends and I were on to Villains and Vigilantes, but by the mid-80’s it was Champions that had captured my comic book loving heart.

I created my own futuristic game world for it. Heavily influenced by Superhero 2044’s “Inguria,” I made my “New Haven” a pacific island metropolis. America and a lot of the rest of the world was blasted by nuclear war, and New Haven was a place that accommodated many refugees – the majority of whom were rich and or/scientific people. Always exactly 20 years in the future, this setting has grown since the 80’s and the world has become a thing of my own. The 90’s were my heyday with New Haven, and much like CoC my D&D players fell in love with it after giving it a try.

The open nature of what you could create with Champions/Hero System (and in the 90’s I focused on the Hero System 4th edition book) appealed to what I was trying to do with New Haven. That is, create a setting where you could have not just superheroes, but anything that you can imagine from science fiction could be worked in. Aliens, interdimensional beings, things out of fantasy, whatever. Of course, seeing as I was setting my game world in a futuristic version of the Marvel Universe, combined with my weaning on Marvel growing up, many Marvel elements entered into it (I even had a futurist version of the X-Men as a campaign long ago). But my inspirations came from many other, more alternative sources, such as The Watchmen, Marshal Law, and Judge Dredd. Things that turned the superhero myth on it’s ear.

I loved the world, and the open nature of being able to have anything you can envision, and during the 90’s some of my greatest memories are of that game. Close to the year 2000, I pretty much ended my last campaign with a several game long assault on earth by an alien empire. After that, my game group and my gaming in general sort of petered out. And I was well into my 30’s and sort of just figured I had outgrown gaming for other things.

When I started my current group the other year after several years off, it was put together for AD&D 1st edition. But in my mind I knew I would be doing Call of Cthulhu or Champions as an alternative. Well, it is Champs that has come up as the alternative (finally). Regular players Dan and Ben have to take June off (Dan the big South African is getting married, Ben is going to his hometown in Vegas for a few weeks), so I sat down Wed night with Terry, Andy, and Paul for some Champs.
Right before the holidays I had gotten together with Paul and Andy to work up a couple of characters, and even did an encounter with them. They came up with some pretty good dudes. What I was going for was a version of my old Justice Incorporated campaigns (more or less a Dark Champions cross between the A-Team and the X-files).

Andy came up with a cool, Jackie Chan type Hong Kong cop who is in hiding from enemies in New Haven. Paul, still pretty new to gaming generally, came up with a French chemist who, besides having a bit of Savate kick boxing skill, carries chemical compounds that have various affects (gas, smoke, knock out).

Terry, whose characters featured prominently in my 90’s campaigns, came up with “Jane Doe,” a female Bourne Identity type who is a government assassin with amnesia.

I can’t tell you how jazzed I was to be doing a Champions game, especially with Terry, again after ten or more years. This is how gaming is supposed to feel! Terry, who is often a bit slow with her turns and such in D&D, took back to Champions like a duck to water, pouring through the Hero System book to work up her characters. She remembered the rules better than I did!

In that first short session with Paul and Andy, I had their characters hanging out near the theater district near downtown. A mysterious nun in black, wearing white chainmail, and bearing a broadsword showed up to each of them, and guided them into the back alleys where a yuppie couple was being mugged by several gang members. Sister Mary Alice, or “Malice,” was one of my old NPC’s in the game, and was the ghost of a nun who had been murdered. Both the characters, Ken and Jacques, beat up the muggers and saved the couple.

So in this week’s session, the couple thanked them (and unknown to the players Sister Mary will later possess the young woman to have a flesh and blood vehicle for her murderous vengeance on rapists and murderers) and they took off. But Sister Mary guided the two to another assault down the alleyway (comic book alleyways are just chock full of evil doing). They came upon a girl in a hospital gown being menaced by almost a dozen more gang members. The girl was “Jane Doe,” and she had woken up in a hospital with a head wound, hypothermia, and no memory. She woke up with doctors and nurses around her, and thinking she was being tortured she struck out, knocked them away (luckily not killing anyone with one of her heavy killing strikes), and took off to end up woozy in the ally. She came to in time to help Ken and Jacques beat the hell out of the mugger gang.

Successful in the combat, the three strangers were approached by Tawny, a girl who it turned out worked for industrialist Elizabeth Patricia Kyono, a billionaire of Irish and Japanese decent (I’ve always had a great mini for Kyono, and luckily found it). Kyono also ran the hero for hire office Justice Incorporated as a hobby from time to time, and she had Tawny out at night looking for possible employees. As comic book fate would have it, she found three at the same time.

Long and short of it, after meeting with Elizabeth Kyono and agreeing to work for her, the three new members of the new Justice Incorporated took a job protecting some merchants in the bad part of town from a martial arts Dojo turned criminal, and managed to top the night off with them beating up some vandalizing members of the gang. Nice high kicking and karate chopping combat session!

It was great fun, and these being basically martial arts characters very easy to run. They really seem to like their characters, and next week we are hopefully finishing up this adventure.

So right now Champs is my game of choice. When Ben and Dan get back in July, they might not be into it but that is fine. We’ll get back to the D&D, and Champions is best with two or three players anyway. When we are missing a couple D&D players, it’ll be Justice Incorporated, my friends.

p.s. –and oh what a joy to only have to use D6!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Night of the Walking Wet

Even though it is maybe months away, I keep thinking about what I would like to do for the early part of my next campaign, so I have been going through my older game stuff for ideas. Over the weekend I took another look at my old and beaten copy of The Dungeoneer Compendium.

The first 6 issues of The Dungeoneer from back in the day each had a featured dungeon. Each of these were great examples of Judges Guild’s wild and wooly take on Dungeons and Dragons. For one thing, the entries for rooms and areas were just like I did mine in my game notebooks, specifically, poor spelling, grammer, and amusing misuse of words. A lot of the time, you could barely grasp what the author (usually the great Paul Jaquays) was getting at in some of the entries, just like one of my players might find my notebook jots to be if they snuck a glimpse. This stuff was so very amateurish, and for sure that was a good thing. It was one of the charms of the stuff; it was written the way I wrote for my games, and how could that not appeal to me? It was homey and warm, and you automatically felt like the author was your buddy, a regular guy in a way Sir Gary never could came off in his flowery prose.

At one time or another, I ran each of the dungeons featured. Borshak’s Lair, The Pharoah’s Tomb, Merlin’s Garden, etc. Actually, I ran most after the Dungeoneer Compendium came out and collected the dungeons of the first six issues. That great book not only contained all those dungeons, but also placed them all on the land map of Jaquays’ great Night of the Walking Wet setting. All those places, and more, were right there in the Castle Krake area, and I used that to my advantage.

I made a decent mid-level campaign out of it. My teenage sweethearts’ Elf character Noradama “Nord” Calingref won Castle Krake in a card game, and took her adventurer pals along with her to clear out the Slime God, and the Type 4 Demon and ghoul army of Krakesbourough. That Walking Wet scenario is hella cool, and is pure Judges Guild.
I have great memories of all those dungeons set near Krake. In The Pharoah’s Tomb, one player had a desert ranger, and he was able to scramble over all those sand-trap rooms while other characters struggled and got trapped. He loved using an ability I gave his character that he thought he would never use. He was so jazzed, his character skittering over the sand floods and ululating “ayiayiayaiyaiyai!”

Within Borshak’s Lair, a magic tomb invaded by orcs, one character found the hilarious “Fred the Magic Amulet.” The sentient, +1 protection amulet had awesome illusion powers, and I would have it transform into a giant, inanimate shark that still spoke in Fred’s high pitched Mickey Mouse voice. Dark Tower was great, but this shit was Paul Jaquays best work as far as I was concerned. Was he as stoned as I sometimes get when he was writing these scenarios?

All these dungeons featured old school D&D staples, i.e. plenty of magic affect statuary, and traps that were usually more weird and scary than deadly. I had so much fun with this stuff as a teen. Sadly, I eventually got more serious with my adventures, heading more into “High Fantasy” despite sticking with 1st edition.

But I think it is time to revisit some of this classic cheese of time past, so I may just be making the dungeon-heavy Castle Krake area and it’s interesting sandbox surroundings the setting for the next campaign.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thinkin’ about Tegel (Manor, that is)

Having owned it since the late 70’s, I’m surprised that I never used Tegel Manor more. My maps are worn more from floating around wherever I stored my game stuff over the decades than from use. The players map has only a few halls and rooms penciled in (including the wizards tower), showing that I never really had the place explored by PC’s much.

I really only remember two or three sessions of using Tegel Manor. Once I was around 15, fairly new to gaming, but more experienced than my schoolfriends, mostly because of spending a lot of time playing at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica with the older creeps who hung out there. My game world (still in use to this very day) was new, so there was no need for things to make much sense in my setting. A funhouse dungeon fit just fine.

I really only remember a couple of things from the first time I used it. The thing that really stands out in my memory is that I had the players greeted by Green Martian Warhoons in the front ball room. Yeah, I know. I don’t know why I included them, but the main reason might have been that at the time I had some great Green Martian miniatures and probably wanted to use them. My main memory of that is the player who was pissed that I didn’t give the Warhoons minuses to hit because they laughed heartily as the blasted away with their radium rifles.

A couple of years later I was visiting my teenage sweetheart in Ventura, and as she was up for playing some D&D I pulled out Tegel and she had two or three of her mid level characters visit the place. I remember later that night the PC’s fleeing from the manor in terror from some ghosts, but I also remember before that Denise having great fun checking out the Rump Family portraits (not liking “Rump,” I actually called them the “Tegel Family”) down one long hall.

But after those halcyon teen gaming sessions, Tegel has floated around in my game containers for decades. My game world had really evolved from a Judges Guild/Arduin Grimoire “anything goes” type of world into a more adult, “realistic” fantasy world. Zeus and Thor etc. were replaced by gods of my own creation (or created by cleric player characters that came along), and crazy funhouse dungeons were mostly replaced by locations with ecologies that made some kind of sense.

Although I haven’t been to Disneyland in decades (blasphemy for a Southern Californian), I went two or three times a year as a kid and teen. The Haunted Mansion was my favorite, and I think that is why Tegel really caught my imagination. You could picture a band of adventurer’s hacking and spell-ing their way through HM just as they would TM. Something was going on in every nook and cranny.

So over the long Memorial Day weekend, I found myself digging out Tegel and giving it a look over for the first time in years. I soon came to the conclusion (probably thanks to a bit of help from some Fat Tire Ale) that there is indeed a place for Tegel Manor in my world. In fact, I never had it go away. I have had it referenced to a time or two within game, and so it must of course still sit up on a hill above Tegel Village, a few short miles North of my main world city Tanmoor.

During my campaign last year (the same one pretty much that goes on currently), a mage character found references to Tegel Manor amongst some books in a treasure trove, and at the time it looked like the seed had been planted: at some point this mage was going to visit Tegel. Unfortunately, that player eventually dropped out of the group, so Tegel left my mind at that point.

But taking another look at my Tegel Material, I see that the ecology of the place (in a fantasy world) is very clear. The family (Rump, Tegel, whatever) is one seriously cursed group. Something weird going on with each and every member of that tree. Therefore, the mansion itself is cursed, soaked in the awful souls of the Rump/Tegel family, and attracting all sorts of evil and undead into it’s rooms and behind the walls. It’s a self-perpetuating evil, one that will probably exist there long after the elves of the forest have faded away and man drives around in horseless carriages.

A campaign to explore Tegel sounds fun on paper, but really, it would be a long haul and a deadly one. One wraith too many, one ghost over the line, and you have characters that have been seriously reduced in level, and seriously aged. Player might not appreciate that , especially considering the low treasure yield. But a mini-campaign, 4 or 5 sessions, might be just the thing for a party of 4th-6th level dudes.

So after a handful of games in my next campaign (probably to start late this year or early next year when I finish The Night Below campaign), I think I’ll lead the new PC’s to Tegel. Right now, I’m envisioning characters on a quest for a mage or sage looking for some item in the manor. I’d have them focus on one corner or wing of the castle, perhaps pitching a temporary camp in Tegel Village, the garden patio at the back of the house (close to the haunted outhouse indicated on the map!), or even inside at the main ballroom near the front door. From there, they would set out about that portion of the house, looking for clues to the McGuffen they would be searching for.

Months away, I know, but it’s fun to start thinking about it, and about my players (who all seem to have never heard of Tegel Manor) reacting to all the weird, scary, and cool shit in Tegel!