Saturday, December 1, 2012

A excellent review of the Scourge of the Demon Wolf

Peter over at Dungeon Fantastic has written an excellent review on the Scouge of the Demon Wolf. It excellent not because he gave it a high rating, although that great in of itself, but he goes into its strength and shortcomings and explains WHY. As a small press publisher this kind of feedback is invaluable.

One of the comments led to a moment of "Oh shit, why did I forget to explain that?". Now I am posting this not as a defense but rather as what I hope to be an interesting look into the creative process.

Peter mentions why did the bad guy opt to run away rather than one of several other alternatives that he thought were likely. And he is right to question that as I forgot to provide any detail about the motivations of the bad guy.

Did I just forget to write up an important detail? Or was there another reason? Well I looked over my notes and turned out to be a little of both. I did have the motivation of the bad guy written down. But didn't right up the adventure from those notes. I wrote the adventure half from the extensive notes I made while playtesting the module. I figured it would be better than the originals as it would reflect what I used in actual play.

And as it turned out, despite a dozen playtests, it never came up once in the penultimate encounter. The bad guy always had enough time to overhear the PCs and act well before they found the person out.  So when I wrote up it, it got dropped. Because it was only briefly mentioned in the original notes, I overlooked it as far as the penultimate encounter goes. Although some of it appeared in the summary at the beginning of the adventure and other elements in the supplement half.

I wrote up a summary of the bad guy's motivations during the final encounter here and will update RPGNow bundle to include it. I also wrote up why the NPCs are so ready to shield bad guy from the adventurers.

One thing I will add this is that Scourge is a freeform adventure. The general approach I take is to setup the situation, hook the players into it, and then adlib it from there based on the circumstances and the movitations of the NPCs. What written in Scourge is a general account of me doing this a dozen times. The upshot is that if you think the adventure will benefit from certain NPCs act in different ways then you are most definitely playing the module as I intended it to be played.

Another point of interest is that Scourge was originally written as an adventure for 100 to 150 pt GURPS Fantasy characters back around 2000.  I played it through once using GURPS. A second time using Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 around 2002. Then starting in 2009 playtested nine more times using Swords and Wizardry plus my MW Supplement at game stores and cons.

Again thanks to Peter for his excellent review and please check out his many GURPS books.


Peter D said...

I put a link to your designer's notes in my review, in case anyone sees that but not this post.

Rusty said...

A really nice job on the review.