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Looking around
(2/4/03 10:59:34 pm)
Help! I am overwhelmed
Hello all,

I have been reading and thoroughly enjoying the threads recently - great forum!

And now I shall venture forth with a desperate call for help...

My party is almost through the Sunless Citadel, following which I am going to take them through RttToEE. I bought Forge of Fury, apparently with the same thought that occured to many others, but as they will already be mostly 4th level by the time they rid the world of Belak, I am going to take them straight to Homlett. I have no problem linking the two.

But I digress. The problem I am facing is this: RttToEE is HUGE! It is a very enjoyable read, and an awesome module (if you can call it that), but it is also highly complex. I find it extremely difficult to wrap my mind around it as a whole, and to memorize everything.

In short, I am scared :o I have been DMing for over 15 years, and have never felt as much on the verge of panic as I do now. Not even when I ran my first adventure. The biggest problem I see is that everything is interlinked and interconnected, meaning that I pretty much have to memorize everything in order to run the thing effectively... which seems like an impossible task to me.

Help! How do you do it? How did you start RttToEE? Did you memorize the whole thing, or do you have some strategy on how to deal with running it? From reading the posts, I get the impression that nobody encountered this problem... or am I just too stupid to try and run this?

Anyone? :(

Here for a while
(2/4/03 11:35:32 pm)
Don't PANIC!
Remember, always carry a towel. You'll never know when you'll need one.

First off, don't think you're going to need to know ALL of the module for EVERY session. I think the average run time for this module is about a year and a half. That's a long time to study ONE book.

Second, this board is a great, great, great resource. Feel free to ask questions, read the errata, FAQ, and Best of Boards, and feel safe knowing that you've got time between each session to decide what happens next, and we're always here to discuss it.

Third, the only person who's gonna know you screwed up is you, if you play your cards right. Don't worry, i'm sure a lot of DMs on here can tell you that they've messed up certain parts royally, but the players were never the wiser.

So i recomend you read the whole book once, just to get the gist of it. Then, carefully read the section your players are going to be involved in. Spend a week or so reading about homlet, then nulb, etc etc. It's not nearly as bad as it sounds, but it is a challange. Someone with your experience as a DM should be up for it without a problem. Pay special attention to the Crater Ridge Mines tho. This is the biggest and most important part of the adventure. It can be very cool and dynamic or it can be one loooooong boring dungeon crawl.

Play up the roleplaying aspects it gives you, make the dungeon feel "alive" and you should be all right.

Hope this helps!


Still here? Wow.
(2/5/03 1:42:53 am)
Re: Don't PANIC!
"Every great journey begins with the first step" (or words to that effect).

Decide on a hook to get your crew to Hommlet. Decide on a hook to get them to the moat house. Once they're there, the ball should get rolling.

With 15 years behind the screen, you've got nothing to worry about, I think. Your players will miss out some great spots - mine didn't go anywhere near Nulb - and you'll probably forget stuff, but if you can manage to impress on yur players that hack'n'slash isn't the only way and if you remember to emphasize the conflicts in the CRM, you'll be fine.

And of course, we're always here - happy to help ;)

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Here for a while
(2/5/03 2:00:48 am)
Re: Don't PANIC!
Yeah. What they said!

Never fear - no need to feel overwhelmed - just take it a bit (one chapter is generally plenty to deal with) at a time.
I've been running this adventure well over a year now (from humble 'first-3e-adventure' beginnings in The Sunless Citadel, no less - the Gulthias tree bore a strange triangle-inverted-Y symbol :) and I only recently finished a read-through of the entire module.

Know the bit your players will experience next - the rest can wait. For the first few chapters (Hommlet, moathouse, Nulb, the Old Temple) you really don't need to know all the details of who's pulling strings from afar - the players won't discover this until much later.

Play up the relationships in Hommlet - if it comes alive, the players will have more invested in 'saving' it, when the time comes.
And read your players - if they want action, there's plenty to go round - if they want a break from death-dealing, there are lots of colourful NPCs to interact with.

And read the resources at the top of this board.
And come back - post your own experiences, start a campaign log, get sympathy for last week's 'disastrous' session, whatever :)
Welcome to the boards.


Looking around
(2/5/03 4:25:20 am)
Re: Don't PANIC!
I have found that my party doesn't get nearly as far as I think they will in a given session, so I end up preparing things way before I need them, which gives me time to fix and change things at my leisure as things progress... so don't worry too much.

My party just finished the Moathouse (3 sessions), cleared the cult out of Homlett (1.5 sessions), and are heading for Nulb/ToEE next session, though I doubt they will get much further than Nulb.

Here for a while
(2/5/03 6:51:52 am)
Re: Help! I am overwhelmed
I find reading this board regularly helps alot.

Also, check out the Yahoo groups files section. The statblock downloads are what I have found most useful (I hate having to turn back and forth).

Looking around
(2/5/03 9:01:45 am)
Re: Help! I am overwhelmed
Thanks all!

I guess you're right, I should just calm down :) I was reading through the book - what a book, btw, amazing job Monte! - and then I was reading the threads, and I was getting the impression that DMs (like wuhan and andorax to name a couple) were constantly playing all the bad guys behind the scenes from day one. And there is SO much to do with RttToEE - shoot, I can easily see it being played 500 different ways.

This is a group of mostly new players. They have gone through the first Freeport module to learn the ropes (and got their first glimpse of the elder elemental eye at the end, although no explanations yet), now finishing Sunless Citadel (where the tree will indeed have the symbol, plus Belak will have a letter with the symbol AND eye, and as a last measure Kerowyn Hucrele will urge them to Homlett with a couple of rumors).

But I digress again. New players are a double edged sword - they are great to run because you can nudge them if need be and they won't feel railroaded, plus every new discovery is exciting, but they also require more attention and tend to get overwhelmed quickly. That's why I was panicking. Methinks I will indeed take you up on your kind invitation and post occasionally (but do you REALLY want yet another campaign log? Maybe the new player aspect will make it a little different).

Btw, these guys are showing a lot of promise - they manipulated Yusdrayl and destroyed 75% of the Goblins in the citadel without the latter knowing what hit them. They are totally not in munchkin mode, they dont care about numbers, they just do what they think is right and trust me to take care of the mechanics. I cant even begin to tell you how refreshing that is! Of course, I cant disappoint them - ever - or they will lose trust in me. Yet another reason to worry :eek

Here for a while
(2/5/03 9:21:22 am)
Re: Help! I am overwhelmed
I was pressed for time when I started MC as our very long-running home-grown campaign's DM was starting to need a break. I think I had a month or so to prepare in between RL with work and a 2-year old :) So far, it's been working fine for me.

First, as the others have said, read it all through once entirely. Then, probably the best thing to do is to come and read the FAQ here with the book at your side to get the context of each question. It will probably clear up a few things and start some ideas rolling in your head for where to go with your own campaign. You might want to scan the BoB thread as well. Although some of the things in there may seem a little obscure at first, it's good to have them sitting the back of your mind as you prepare in case you want to inject any of these cool offerings.

Now, what I would do, if you don't have time to read it all through again right away, is to read the introduction to each chapter very well again. These contain the most important plot threads that you should keep in mind as the party progresses. There is no deadline when the party starts the adventure, so don't feel like you have to rush them through anything. If you need more time to prepare the more technical aspects of the later campaign, let them languish around Hommlet longer as there are lots of good RP to be had there without as much work for you.

The most important thing you'll probably need that isn't supplied by the module is the Town of Rastor. You'll need to flesh this out yourself at some point. Another thing to think about is the city of Verbobonc, unless you're plopping this down somewhere that you already have a large city fleshed out. The later parts of the module tend to be more 'rural', if you will and the party might need a place to leverage the trappings of more civilized life, like purchasing a +3 frost tongue longsword ;)

Anyway, since it's fairly linear at the start, I find I can prepare a segment of the module and keep ahead of the party without too much trouble. When I do this, I read it very closely and thinking particularly about important NPCs for that segment and what they were doing away from the party. Then I head here and check the errata thread for that segment (there are quite a few), which gets me into some more technical prep work.

When you get to the CRM, things will get more tricky, but by then you'll be immersed and should have had more time to read and digest.

Have fun!

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