Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

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LoneWolf1984
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Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Sat May 05, 2018 8:20 pm

So I bought the LWAG box set and I'm very appreciative of the amount of care that was taken in putting this together.

One thing I'm experimenting with is the best starter adventure to use for players who are very new to roleplaying AND totally new to Lone Wolf.

My friends who want to game with me fit that description.

Getting the LWAG set caused me to go back and find my old LW books and play through them and I realized that there hasn't been a better introduction to the world of Lone Wolf than those first two books, Flight From the Dark and Fire on the Water.

Not only that, I'm seeing how gamebooks can function, and did function for me, as a way to learn what it means to roleplay and adventure in an imaginative world.

So now I'm thinking about using the gamebooks (FFTD and FOTW) to run starter adventures with and basically use them like an adventure module with me as the Narrator (Game Master).

These would be an alternative to the starter adventures presented in LWAG and could serve as introduction to the LW world for new players and make it easier for players new to role-playing to get involved because they don't have to come up with options.

They don't have to know when to search rooms or to search for traps or when to use Kai Disciplines, its all taken care of for them and they just get to respond and be swept along in the adventure, learning about the world of Magnamund and its creatures along the way.

I also see it as a way for the players to get immediately invested in the world, they get to start out as up-and-coming "destiny shaking" heroes answering the call to adventure. I'd need to change a few things and maybe make it so that they are the sole survivors of the destruction of the monastery but maybe that's the Kai monastery of the West and there is another one in the East by Durenor, or perhaps small pockets of Kai lords that live in Toran or Holmgard, and the players have to go meet with them to re-group and fight off this evil entering the land (since Im not trying to present it as them being the last of the Kai).

A reviewer of the LWAG box set I read also pointed out that he likes using an epic quest instead of the MMORPG style 'lowbie quest' as a starting point for new players.

Also being able to introduce the art of Gary Chalk to new players and plant seeds in their imagination of what the world of Magnamund looks like using the pictures from the first few books could also help draw them into the LW mythos and make them eager to want to explore further.

Does anyone have any advice or threads to link to that I can research on ways to use the first two gamebooks as adventure modules happen?

I wasn't able to come up with anything on a forum search so far.
I also posted this question in the Project Aon forums so maybe someone there will have ideas as well.

Right now one of the biggest challenges I see is how to run combat...

I was thinking, so far, of just multiplying the number of enemies in each encounter (so double the number if have two players playing, triple the number for three players, etc.)

Any tips, or if anyone here has any experience doing something like this and wants to share their thoughts I would much appreciate it.

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Mon May 07, 2018 8:40 pm

As I'm doing more research on this idea of using FFTD as a starter adventure I'm reminded that one of the early D&D box sets had a choose-your-own adventure type of starter module in it.

It's 17 entries long, with the entries looking like this:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dJm7W ... mIA9gJHhUv


And one of one of the early Basic D&D modules, B3 Palace of the Silver Princess did this.

That adventure had a choose-your-own-adventure style beginning to the story that was designed for new DM's and players.

It sort of taught the players how to adventure in a medieval fantasy world by giving them options like:

"Do you want to search the room for secret doors"

or "Do you want to check for traps" etc..

the setup also teaches them that not every monster needs to be killed, some are just hungry, etc.

Here are some examples:

Image

Image

Image


There were 63 Entries like this and then the main adventure started and went back to the usual free-form D&D style.


So that once players started the main adventure they had an idea of the kinds of options that were available to them as RPG'ers.

Options (like searching for traps or secret doors or using a 10' pole) that maybe they wouldn't think of so easily starting out because they're not used to imagining themselves in this kind of world

The fantastic thing is that choose-your-own-adventure type of roleplaying, while probably seeming incredibly limiting to any experienced RPGer, might be such a relief for new players because it wont require them to have to come up with what to do, or worry that their missing out on the best options to pursue in a scene, or have to struggle to think of if a Kai discipline might apply or not.

It's all taken care of for them, all they have to do is just sit back and enjoy the ride, make some easy choices and roll a few dice while I narrate combat and the results of their dice rolls for them.

And that's how I see me DM'ing FFTD for new players can be, not only introducing them to roleplaying, but also introducing them to the land of Magnamund complete with all the wonderful Gary Chalk artwork that is such delicious food for the imagination.

Then after they reach Holmgard and alert the King of the threat from the Darklords and the demise of the main Kai Monastery of the East, they're ready to adventure more and I bring in the LWAG set.

It's surprising to me that no one has made more use the gamebook style of choosing options to create starter adventures for those new to roleplaying.

That's the formula that got so many of us hooked right?

So why has it not been applied to any of the starter adventures for the Lone Wolf RPG games?

I mean, the LW starter gamebook adventure has basically already been written for us!

Flight from the Dark, written by our masterful Game Master Joe Dever, so why not use it to introduce our friends and kids to the world?

Of all the RPG systems out there I would expect a Lone Wolf game to have a gamebook style intro adventure for those new to roleplaying, or am I missing something obvious here as to why this wouldn't work?
Last edited by LoneWolf1984 on Thu May 10, 2018 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:33 pm

On the Project Aon forums (where I posted a similar topic) I've had some questions, so ill post the questions and my answers here to keep things updated:


QUESTION

"I think adding extra opponents for the players to fight is a good idea for what you're doing. If this is the route you go, would you let a player who finishes a fight early help another?

I am also curious how you will handle Disciplines. Does each player get 5? I might suggest starting them out with 2 or 3 depending on how many players you have. This way they can cover for each other's deficiencies so, hopefully, each player will get a chance to shine during the adventure."

MY ANSWER

hey moonreaver, that is an excellent point about lowering the starting number of Disciplines to make each player feel uniquely important.

That is something that is worthy for review about the Lone Wolf Adventure Game, each player starts off with 5 Disciplines, so even a two-person group can have all 10 disciplines between them at the start of the game.

With 3 or more players its impossible for one or more players not to be overlapping in skills (at the very start of the game!) and there isn't much way around this because everybody plays a Kai Lord in the boxed set, except through doing what you described.

So maybe, I'll have each player start off with 2 Kai Disciplines if I'm running FFTD for 2 or 3 players.
And only 1 if it's 4 or 5 players.

That way, like you said, when that moment comes in the text where it asks

"Do you have the Kai Discipline of <blank>",

that player can be like " I got that!'.

And its those kinds of moments that lead new players into getting into character and feeling like an active participant in the word.

The other thing I'm realizing, as I'm playing through Fire on the Water again, is that it's maybe not the best suited for this sort of thing because it is a bit too linear and slow paced to read straight from the book, it doesn't have the same kind of "punch" that FFTD does, that feeling of constantly moving action.

FOTW's storyline could easily be modified into an adventure module, but that's not what I was originally looking for, I was looking for a plug-and-play alternative to the other starter adventures available for the Lone Wolf Roleplaying games, one that would allow new DM's and players to jump right in with no experience.

To that end, I'm going to playtest all the theories we end up working out here and come up with a 1 or 2 page sheet that contains some tips for how to run an intro session this way, and I'm also gonna do a YouTube video of me running through it with my friends.

So far.

1) Base the starting number of Kai Disciplines each player has according to how many players there are. Keeping the limit to 5 or 6 spread between all the players.
2 or 3 players = 2 per player
4 or more players = 1 per player


Now, for combat and adding extra opponents, yes I believe I will allow a player who finished a fight early to help the other player.

I can narrate it at times in a way where it may take them an extra combat round to get over and attack, that way it lowers the advantage the players will have based on allowing them to gang up on opponents.

And where there are battles with multiple opponents already, in those cases I can simply double or triple the amount of Endurance Points (EP) that they have and have it so each player deals with one opponent.
In other words, rather than taking cases like where Lone Wolf went up against 3 Giaks and then make it so there are 9 Giaks, (for example if I'm running the game for 3 players), I can make each one of those Giaks indivually more powerful and keep the number of opponents the same.

I plan on typically only adding extra opponents if there was only one opponent in the original script.


Then how to handle player death?

So far I'm thinking that when a player falls to 0 EP he is unconscious, unless all players in the group fall to 0 EP during that combat in which case they all die.

Otherwise, after the battle is over a player can head over to an unconscious player and revive him back to 1 EP.

What do you think?


That's what I got so far...as I'm flipping back through FFTD, reading the text with these kinds of changes in mind, I'm amazed to see how well it holds up. There are a few modifications that obviously need to be made when reading the text to account for there being multiple Kai Lords and not just one, but for the most part the adventure is wonderfully adaptive to having more than one player go through it at a time.

I think the race-against-time aspect and the vulnerability of the players which makes them feel the pressure of needing to hide and evade and be careful of their choices, makes it so adaptable. It's mostly a quick story there isn't a lot of conversation to be had or items to pick-up, you don't have time for all that!

Got to keep moving...so that helps prevent many of the common pitfalls that make low levels intro-adventures so unexciting (go here, fetch this, bring it to this guy, receive the new thing to bring to the next place, etc).

This could be really cool, I'm gonna print out a PDF version of FFTD and start making notes on the individual pages for each section so that I can start fleshing this out.

Thank you for your input moonreaver,

any more ideas from you or anyone else here are most welcome

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:40 pm

QUESTION

"A couple of other things I though about while reading your post. First I agree with treating someone who goes down to 0 EP in a fight as unconscious and then bringing them back to 1 after the fight (something that would be familiar to your players if they have played a Final Fantasy game or other jrpgs), but then how will you handle the extra enemy? This kinda makes me reconsider adding extra enemies as it might make for a smoother experience to just buff the enemy Endurance and let each players hack away at it and take the corresponding damage. In this case, you would decide if the enemy is a powerful individual or a group.

Second what are your plans for sections that require picking a random number? Will each player get to pick and have their own result (though this won't make sense in every situation), or will one number get picked and the group abides by the results? Maybe they all pick a random number and decide amongst themselves which one they wish to use. An issue I can see with each player picking their own result is if one player picks an instant death number. In that case, would he be revived with 1 EP or out of the game? Similarly you'll have to think about non-combat EP loss. Say if a section states that everyone loses 3 EP but one of your players only has 2 EP left. This wouldn't be a problem in a normal rpg where you could just declare the character dead, the player would roll up a new one and you would work them into the party. In this case, however, your players will be the last of the Kai so it would be a bit strange if they started to meet replacement Kai as they lose members. I'm thinking that it might be best to always allow any party members who go down to be revived with 1 EP unless it's a party wipe."


ANSWER

Okay, you bring up some good points.

When it comes to how to handle enemies I agree that for the most part, simply adjusting the number of EP for the enemy is the best way to handle it (double EP for 2 players, triple EP for 3 players, etc).

My initial concern with having only one enemy was based on thinking that the players would be getting in two attacks instead of one but then I realized that each roll on the combat table is for an attack for both the player and the enemy, so each a player attacks the enemy he's attacking gets to attack as well.

Regular RPG combat doesn't usually work like this, two players attacking one enemy would get 2 attacks to the enemies 1, but these players are all gonna be new to RPG's so they won't know the difference! haha

I went through the book and mapped out all the combats.

Image


Almost every enemy encounter is with one enemy. I think what I'll do is that if the players happen to pick a path that has a bunch of "one enemy" encounters, I might occasionally increase the enemy counts (but not increase their EP), so that a variety of encounters is maintained. Otherwise, I will stick to the encounter numbers as written.

I'll also be using some tips from this blog post (http://blogofholding.com/?p=7203) on how to keep encounters from being repetitive.



Your second point had me thinking, "How will I handle those choose-a-random-number sections?"

What my idea is so far is to use a Fate token (as in choose-your-fate).

The Fate token starts off in the hands of the player with the lowest CS score and each time there is a random number that needs to be generated the player with the Fate token gets to pick and then he passes on to the next player.

The Fate token can also be used as a tie-breaker for when players want to choose different paths, the player with the Fate token gets the final say and then passes the token.

Since the Lone Wolf Adventure Game (LWAG) comes with a few Lone Wolf style tokens Ill probably just use one of those as a Fate token.


Now for your other point about how to handle sections where players lose EP because traps, or the environment, or not having meals, those things will apply to all players equally except maybe for certain cases (like where logically only one player could have triggered the trap), in those cases I'll ask players who is taking the action first and they can choose who does it.

And if a player dies because of that loss of EP then that's it, session over for that character, but the player can roll up a new character.

How I will work it in the narrative is that in a few sections, where it could make sense, ill have the surviving player(s) run into another Kai initiate who's on the run (which will be the new character for the player that died) and he will join the party.

This is because, and I mentioned this in one of the earlier posts, I'm not gonna be running the story as the Kai Monastery being destroyed with every living Kai Lord in it.

The reason why is I plan on running future adventures as taking place in the LWAG game world which takes place 5 or so years before the events in Flight From the Dark (FFTD).

What I think I'll do is make the story that the Darklords weren't able to destroy the Kai Lords because of the protection of their Monastery but they came up with a clever alternate plan, to trap the Kai Lords inside. So the Darklords weaved a spell of dark magic around the Monastery creating a wall of impenetrable darkness. Nothing can come in or out until the spell is broken.

The players in the beginning just happened to be outside the Monastery that day and by the time they saw the army of Kraan blacking out the sky and began heading back to the Monastery it was too late, the spell already was in effect.

One of the groundskeepers or some such character (like a Hagrid type), is barely alive and he thrusts a map into the hands of the young Kai initiates who were out surviving a punishment (gathering firewood or herbs or some such task) and tells them they must alert the King so that he can assemble the Royal Magicians (or mages from the Magicians Guild of Toran) to develop a counter-spell.

The clock is ticking, the Kai Lords weaken every day they are in the Monastery. And the armies of Darkness begin to roam unimpeded through the land.

This beginning party of young Kai initiates must race through the valleys, forests, and streams of Summerlund, while avoiding the dark armies, in order to reach the Capital of Holmgard and warn the King.


So yes, the players are the last of the Kai not trapped in the Monastery but not the last of the Kai. And if one falls, like I mention above I'll probably let him die (maybe if it makes sense narratively and one of the surviving players has the Discipline of healing or some Laumspur i'll allow for that player to heal the dying player) otherwise he will get replaced by another Kai initiate refugee that they will meet after a few sections (this gives the player who died a chance to pick his new character as well).


So far.

1) Base the starting number of Kai Disciplines each player has according to how many players there are. Keeping the limit to 5 or 6 spread between all the players.

2 or 3 players = 2 per player
4 or more players = 1 per player

2) A Fate token exists that gets passed between the players. It starts in the hands of the player with the lowest CS. Anytime a random number needs to be rolled, or a decision needs to be made in the text that the players are divided on, the player with the Fate token gets to choose. The token is then passed on to the next player clockwise.

3) Combat encounters will be as they are in the book except that enemies will have their Endurance Points (EP) increased to reflect the number of players in the game (double EP for 2 players, triple EP for 3 players, etc.). In some rare cases, the Narrator might make multiple enemies out of an encounter where there was only one in the gamebook in order to have a variety of play, in these cases the EP of the enemies stays as it originally was or is only modified in order to keep difficulty levels as they are originally written.

4) In cases of player death, the player has to "roll up" a new character and he will be introduced to the players as a new refugee that they encounter during the course of their trip to Holmgard. In some instances, the Narrator might allow for the player who has reached "0" EP to simply be unconscious and able to be healed by another player who has the Discipline of Healing or a Laumspur potion.



Okay, so how do these changes sound to you?

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by Wbweather » Mon May 14, 2018 2:40 pm

I think what you are describing could work well. I'm not experienced enough at running the LWAG to give you much insight. Regarding multiple enemies though, what not use the rules for fighting groups of enemies and increase the number of enemies in the group so that it is challenging enough for a group of players. Maybe start with 2 enemies per player?

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by PhilOfCalth » Mon May 14, 2018 4:44 pm

Cards on the table, I've only read the first post.

I've been running the gamebooks PbP for the last few years over on mythweavers. We've played right through to Shadow on the Sand, which we're coming to the end of. All the completed adventures are available to read in the "Completed Threads" folder:
https://www.myth-weavers.com/forumdispl ... 5&tg=48140

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by PhilOfCalth » Wed May 16, 2018 4:19 pm

LoneWolf1984 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:33 pm
Then how to handle player death?

So far I'm thinking that when a player falls to 0 EP he is unconscious, unless all players in the group fall to 0 EP during that combat in which case they all die.

Otherwise, after the battle is over a player can head over to an unconscious player and revive him back to 1 EP.

What do you think?
The master rules for death on pg 34 of the Book of Kai Wisdom played well for me, giving a real feel of bleeding out.

I generally don't like a game that doesn't have the possibility of death. Specially in survival scenario's such as FftD, the fear of death should be a constant thing, and the thrill of survival is a counter to that. The "OMG we all survived" doesn't exist otherwise. It's just a "that was fun". Just my opinion though.

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by PhilOfCalth » Wed May 16, 2018 4:47 pm

LoneWolf1984 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:40 pm
When it comes to how to handle enemies I agree that for the most part, simply adjusting the number of EP for the enemy is the best way to handle it (double EP for 2 players, triple EP for 3 players, etc).

My initial concern with having only one enemy was based on thinking that the players would be getting in two attacks instead of one but then I realized that each roll on the combat table is for an attack for both the player and the enemy, so each a player attacks the enemy he's attacking gets to attack as well.

Regular RPG combat doesn't usually work like this, two players attacking one enemy would get 2 attacks to the enemies 1, but these players are all gonna be new to RPG's so they won't know the difference! haha

I went through the book and mapped out all the combats.

Image


Almost every enemy encounter is with one enemy. I think what I'll do is that if the players happen to pick a path that has a bunch of "one enemy" encounters, I might occasionally increase the enemy counts (but not increase their EP), so that a variety of encounters is maintained. Otherwise, I will stick to the encounter numbers as written.
In fact RAW characters can only cause endurance damage once per round (BoKW pg 27). So the a single character with a higher EP will not have the same damage output. I'd stick with multiple enemies where you can. Where it doesn't make sense up the CS (a little) as well as the EP, even consider giving the enemy a defense rating.

It'll be worth switching out enemy stats for ones from the RPG, where you have them.
LoneWolf1984 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:40 pm
I went through the book and mapped out all the combats.
project aon has something like this already under paths:
https://www.projectaon.org/en/Main/FlightFromTheDark
https://www.projectaon.org/en/svg/lw/01fftd.svgz

I don't know if that will suit your needs...
LoneWolf1984 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:40 pm
Your second point had me thinking, "How will I handle those choose-a-random-number sections?"
The random number sections generally either represent LW's skill or a random event. Where it is related to a skill, that's a skill or disipline test.
Where it's a random event I have just read ahead and picked the most interesting choice with the most number of pictures : )

I hope that helps

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Thu May 17, 2018 5:12 pm

Wbweather wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 2:40 pm
I think what you are describing could work well. I'm not experienced enough at running the LWAG to give you much insight. Regarding multiple enemies though, what not use the rules for fighting groups of enemies and increase the number of enemies in the group so that it is challenging enough for a group of players. Maybe start with 2 enemies per player?
Okay I was just looking into the rules for grouped enemies in the book of Kai Wisdom, they are a little bit confusing at first to wrap my head around but also reading the Bar Room Blitz battle example (which uses grouped enemies) helped a bit.

I think this will actually be a good option when I have 3 or more players.
When I have just two players I am going to use, at first, either one enemy with double the EP or just double the number of enemies found originally in the text and keep their EP as written.

This is because I believe it will be simpler to do it this way but I could be wrong.

Using the rules for grouped enemies is a good point, I'm gonna experiment with this, thank you for bringing this to the discussion Wbweather!

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Re: Using the LW Gamebooks as a starter adventure

Post by LoneWolf1984 » Thu May 17, 2018 5:17 pm

PhilOfCalth wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:44 pm
Cards on the table, I've only read the first post.

I've been running the gamebooks PbP for the last few years over on mythweavers. We've played right through to Shadow on the Sand, which we're coming to the end of. All the completed adventures are available to read in the "Completed Threads" folder:
https://www.myth-weavers.com/forumdispl ... 5&tg=48140
Can you explain to me how this works?

Is each player picking an option from the gamebook?

It's a little confusing to me because it looks like you're using the Mongoose version of FFTD and that has a slightly different storyline...so im having trouble figuring out just how are having players input decide which direction to go in the story

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