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(Adventures) of the Demon Lord

Faethor

Registered User
Validated User
Before investing cash into pdf Shadow of the Demon Lord supplements ('cos I got five kids ta feed') does anyone have any recommendations for best published introductory scenarios, what they consider 'must run' later adventures (novice to master) and best published Campaign? In your opinions obs.

Finally got a decent 10.1 tablet to view them on which I feel comfortable enough to run games from pdf with (borrowing my daughters Ipad mini was a struggle).

Of course your favourite secondary supplements (like the best city book for example) would be worthy of an honourable mention.

Cheers!
 
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John Marron

Exoticising the other
Validated User
I started my campaign with Survival of the Fittest (which is currently on sale for $0.90), and we really enjoyed it. I found the early adventures of Tales of the Demon Lord fun, but they got to be more grindy and dungeon-crawly as the campaign went on.

John
 

Black Flag

Dweller on the Threshold
Validated User
“Dark Deeds in Last Hope” is a good non-linear starter with some additional GM advice, and players get to make a town map by dropping some dice on a page and labeling them as buildings. The adventure itself is a mystery with multiple threads and different outcomes depending on the players’ choices, though it’s not difficult to run.

I’ve also used “The Slaver’s Lash” as an intro. It gets people together and gives them something big to fight for right away (escape from slavery), so it’s a good way to forge a group of adventurers without making it seem artificial.

Tales of the Demon Lord is a mixed bag and not a very coherent campaign. Ironically, the adventures that have nothing to do with the overall story are the best. “The Curious Case of the Errant Swine” and “The Moon Spire” in particular. The former is just good horror fantasy, and the latter features quite a good puzzle dungeon. Other than that, the published campaigns aren’t what I’d call must-play.

Most of the others I’ve used have been fine, but nothing stands out, except maybe “The Man Who Fell to Urth,” which is totally nuts but in a good way.
 

Sensei

Optimistic Anti-Hero
Validated User
I'm currently running the "Freeport" series (Death in, Terror in, Madness in...) and they have a nice plot arc, and provide reasonable encounters for taking a band of new PCs up to advanced levels as the scenarios progress. There's plenty of room to slide your own adventures in between the published ones, as well. There's a nice balance of exploration, social interaction, investigation, and action to keep everyone engaged. My players are really liking it.
 

Cargocultist

Registered User
Validated User
I've been running SotdL since last year and love it, so I'm happy to answer with my thoughts.

First, a consideration. As soon as you are able to afford them, buy Exquisite Agony, Terrible Beauty and Hunger in the Void (Hell, Faerie, and the Void). They really help to flesh out the setting.

My favourite adventure for Starting characters is (already mentioned) Dark Deeds in Last Hope, I've run it three times (also as a stand-alone at a convention) and it has always been well received. It also has the advantage of introducing many of the themes of the game itself.

Survival of the Fittest (already mentioned) is good, but I'd prep it a bit in advance rather than randomly hex-crawl. I'd introduced a road blockade manned by bandits that included a clockwork, as an introduction to the strange denizens of Urth, and a ghoul that had taken the appearance of one of the people who'd been travelling with them.

A really great Novice adventure is The Apple of Her Eye. It might be one of the best published adventures for this game, if not the best. I must have run it three or four times, both as one-shots at conventions and as part of campaigns, and it's always been extremely well received. As written, it can be quite hard - the mobs could easily TPK a novice group - but you can mitigate that by involving friendly NPCs, allowing inventive plans other than combat a good chance of succeeding, etc.

The first two adventures in Tales of the Demon Lord are very good for Novices - first one in particular has a Call of Cthulhu vibe to it that I really liked.

Which leads me to the Tales of the Demon Lord campaign, which I've been running for months. What Black Flag said is absolutely true, it's a really mixed bag.

Pros:
- The setting of the city of Crossings is just right, with plenty of inspiring tidbits to riff off of, without being unwieldy.
- Some of the adventures are really good.

Cons:
- Of all the adventures, many have nothing to do with the main plotline, and the group is supposed to go off doing random unrelated stuff until they get to the last adventure where they are almost accidental participants of the climatic finale. It's almost as if they stumble on info-bits about the main plotline, and not very often, while doing something else entirely.
- Some adventures are not very inspiring.

What I've done has been to run the first five chapters more or less as published, then rework most of the rest with a clear sense of advancing the plotline by finding out how to solve the campaign. If you weave a "we need the McGuffin to stop the Bad Thing" thread into the adventures you run, then you can adapt the published ones (for example I used the Moon Spire as a way into Faerie, which is not in the original campaign), but it's quite a bit of work.

Tales of the Demon Lord aside, there are two adventures for Expert, Beware the Tides of Karshoon and The Gorgon's Tears which are set in the same city and consecutive - and that I'd recommend.

What I'd advise though, to run this game, is to follow your players whatever you run for them rather than them following you - with all the paths that they can choose they are pretty much picking what they find interesting from a massive buffet, and that can help you focus on that.

For example, I've run Tales for two groups. One group had among others a goblin rogue and a clockwork interested in technomancy and demonology, so I introduced tribes of goblins in the sewers of Crossings and a Goblin Circus, and placed a demonology-related side plot in the industrial area of Smokestacks. The other group of four players included two dwarves, so I created the Rock, a dwarven enclave located on a cliff at the edge of Smokestacks with social tension between northern and southern dwarves (less & more traditionalist). The game lends itself perfectly to the creation of these mini-sandboxes or side plots to match the preferences of the players.

Sorry for the huge post, but I love this game to bits! Although I've run it for so long that I'll take a break and run other stuff, then run the Freeport trilogy.
 

Faethor

Registered User
Validated User
Loving all the imput - thanks. Gotta say SotDL is the first system / setting that feels like it's forcing my hand to pre-plan and put my head in 'campaign' mode, which I actually am beginning to appreciate (as I usually plan one scenario at a time and fly by the seat of my pants).
 
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