Friday, February 7, 2014

The Grey Citadel Adventure Prep

Many moons ago I reviewed The Grey Citadel over at En World. The individual reviews look like they're now in some type of feed system over here.

I've been thinking of running some D&D and nothing too deep. One of the problems with me is that letting my players know I'm doing an Adventure Path is they get all up in character creation from 1st-18th level and have these unrealistic expectations. The Grey Citadel is much smaller but still meaty and I can probably get over a month's play out of the thing.

So I've been rereading it and trying to determine what the best methodology for setting the game up is.I've been downloading stuff from Dark Loch, the original website that supported the adventure. It still has all sorts of goods on it.

One of the problems is that while not absolutely required, 3.5 and Pathfinder in general, use miniatures. As I look through the book, I count up some of the monsters. There are several encounters with striges, one encounter having eight of the things. In terms of skeletons, one with something like 15 of them. Ouch.

But skeletons aren't bad. I've messed with skirmish style war gaming enough to easily have twice that level covered. There are a lot of encounters with thugs as well. And if I wanted to use city guard? Something like ten to an encounter. Ouch again.

Mind you I can use say Fiery Dragon and their digital counter collection. I know somewhere around here I have one of the CD's. Hell, I've used those magic life counters for miniatures in the past.

Still, there's nothing like the physical presence of miniatures on the table. Of course it helps that I like painting too mind you.

I'll have to start going through the old collection and seeing what I can find.

Another 'problem' is that I like having maps. Mind you there are some fantastic maps in the book but I'm talking full scale maps. There are also a few potential fights that don't have maps so I'll have to figure out where those could happen and review my various Paizo Pathfinder maps. Love those suckers as they have so many of them that might fit some of these scenarios.

In terms of the adventure set up, because I'm probably just going to run it as a one-off, I'm thinking of two itnroductions. The players have been summoned for their skills to the Citadel, they happen to be in the Citadel for their own business, or, the more likely possibility, is that they were escorting a caravan here.

I say most likely because The Grey Citadel includes a bit of information outside of the city and it appeals to me that I can use that information already included in the book to get some more mileage out of it and act as a way to introduce the characters to the city.

I've also started to make a few notes outside the book where I think the players would ask for more information. For example, there's a 'celebration' of a rival party of adventurers and I know the first thing the players are going to want are details on what they look like, weapons, etc... so I'm cribbing that in a separate piece so I can have easy access to it outside the book instead of flipping through it.

If the group does decide they're cool with it, and that's a big if as right now they're doing some World of Darkness stuff, which frankly isn't my cup of tea which is why I'm not playing with the amigos at the moment, (yeah, I know I'm a bad sport), I may have to make some more changes deciding on what character class and races the players pick.

The Grey Citadel is available from Drivethrurpg in a few formats. In e-book it's $7.98, in print it's $19.95, and combo is $20.95 The combo is probably the best value and I admit to being a little shocked at the print price as that's what it was when it first came out in 2003 and I assumed there would be some cost association with printing it.

For those who run prewritten adventurers like this, how do you go about it? How many read throughs? How much customization? Do you prefer to have specific miniatures that match the adventure or are you okay with substitutions?