On Wednesday, I took a trip down to the FLGS to see if they had anything in the used D&D section that might help jumpstart the creative process. In the box of old modules, I came across a complete copy of B6 – The Veiled Society by Dave Cook. By complete, I mean that all the paper models and cardstock miniatures were present. Remembering that the module was one of the first “city adventures” for D&D, I bought it on the off-chance that parts of it were adaptable/salvageable for my own campaign.
As much as I hate to say it (which is a lot considering the author was kind enough to write the foreword to my book), the module doesn’t age well and the mystery it contains is a little thin. This is not surprising since this was one of those “Basic D&D” modules aimed at a younger demographic from back when TSR really started focusing on the tween market. Since then, town-based adventures have come a long way and B6 unfortunately gets left in the dust.
However, there was an encounter in the module that introduces the basic premise of the adventure—rival families at one another’s throats as they contend for power—which served my purposes well and I decided to adapt it and put a little spin on it to make it my own. But it was the paper models that were included in the module that really got my mind going.
Like the module itself, paper and cardstock models, miniatures, and terrain have greatly improved since 1984. A sizeable portion of RPGNow.com’s catalogue is dedicated to these products, and companies like Fat Dragon Games makes PDF versions of models that blow the doors off of the easily-destroyed cutout buildings of yesteryear. And since I live in an age where such things are easily downloadable, I decided to be true to the module’s original intentions—give the players some eye candy to gawk at—and include some cardstock buildings of my own.
When the players arrived on Sunday, the most commonly asked question was: “Are we playing a new game?” An understandable question, considering this is what they found waiting for them on our big blue table.
Pictured is the Street of the Cobra during the Festival of Erion. Those Scrabble tiles are celebrants, fire-eaters, dancing girls, acrobats, and musicians. It was a crowded festival—until the draft lizard went berserk and started to run amuck in the street! (I should mention I watched a Godzilla flick this week, which might have also had something to do with my decision to use model buildings and then sett a big lizard loose to run wild amongst them).
Would I do this every time the party goes to town? Absolutely not (sorry you missed it, Rob), but it was a fun way to reinforce the notion that, while I may not be the greatest referee to ever sit behind the screen, I have evolved my own ways of presenting the game world and entertaining my players—ones which I hope are appreciated by anyone who joins me at the table.