Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[Adventures in Fantasy] Book of Adventure Pt. 3

After a short detour, I am returning to posts covering AiF. Let's take a look at the remaining chapters of the Book of Adventure.

The first chapter is titled Setting up the Campaign and actually covers quite a bit of information for being only 6 pages long; 2 of those pages are a sample underground map of a dragon's lair and a list of the contents in each room. Obviously, the information contained in this chapter is not as comprehensive as the original AD&D DMG but it will help give structure and reason to the campaign.

The chapter begins with some introductory remarks about a few of the referee's responsibilities before the start of play.  It is pointed out that "there must be a reason for the players to be undertaking the adventure upon which these same players are about to begin". Right off the bat, AiF is concerned with background, motivation, and reasons for adventuring.  I've always heard that the games of this era were pretty weak in this aspect but I am satisfied with what I have read.  The advice is practical and still applies today.

The next part of the chapter deals with the sample fantasy campaign of Bleakwood.  It serves as an example of how to generate some details of the adventuring world.  The example includes a calendar with months named, season, corresponding dates to Julian calendar, weeks, day, and also the names of the years.  With names such as "Valkyrie", "Week of Fire", and "Year of the Dragon" it helps to set the mood and tone. 

The next section of the chapter is Setting up an Adventure.  I am happy to say that the information continues to be very clear and practical.  Instead of just giving instructions on how to draw a map this section details the Dragon's Lair by covering such topics as the eating habits of creatures (how and when), number of creatures, how these creatures avoid disturbing the Dragon, the lairs of the creatures, and the dangers facing the player characters. The referee is then shown how to lay out the underground and how to list the details of the matching descriptions with contents, function, treasure, and guards or creatures. The example is wrapped up by covering tricks and traps such as trap doors, sliding walls, sloping passages, stairways, and chances of getting lost or disoriented.  The next two pages show the map of the Dragon's Lair and the Location list.

That's the details of the Setting up the Campaign chapter and I already have a much better impression of this section of the rulebook in contrast to the player's portion.  I have always heard that Arneson "wasn't a rules guy but was one hell of a referee".  If this chapter is any indication then I would say that's a very fair statement.  The rules are serviceable but lack clarity while the GM advice is clear, practical, and makes me want to grab my graph paper and get to mapping!

Next: I continue to look at the Book of Adventure.

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