Monday, November 4, 2019

DM Report: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

  As I have mentioned before, over the years I have very rarely used a published module and, when I do, I heavily modify it. The exception has been that over the last few years at Halloween the players all make one-shot characters and I run a classic module.
  Then there is Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.
  For a variety of reasons that could fill a novella in the Winter of 1980 through the Summer of 1985 I DMed Expedition to the Barrier Peaks about 8 times, never for my own "main group" and never canonical in my own setting. Just one of those things.
  So this year the Halloween adventure was Expedition!
  The players all took last Friday off of work and we started Thursday night and played 4 hours. Then 6 on Friday, 6 on Saturday, and 4 on Sunday, wrapping up the module in a grand total of 20 hours that included breaks for meals (I got a new smoker and we blew through a LOT of meat).

  Since the characters were one-shots we'll skip that and since I don't want to throw too many spoilers (there are spoilers below!) we'll go straight to commentary.

Player Insights
  Jack- The cards were too obviously important, so clearing all of level one was a requirement easily spotted. At the same time, the overall objective was murkier. Starting the adventure was easy, ending it was hard.
  Alex- The relatively low movement rates of most monsters made this a 'fall back and fireball; adventure way too much.
  Sam- Intellect devourers suck. So do shambling mounds and mind flayers. The inclusion of high-tech weapons was a ton of fun and I am stealing the flowchart idea.
  Nick- I love that you could technically clear the entire thing in 40 minutes by getting lucky and frustrated. I also love that the time suck in the dungeon is an overland adventure.
  Jennifer- It starts out with a 'find all the puzzle pieces' vibe then turns into 'random encounters - the 8 hour movie'.

  Overall- The players felt that only Isle of the Ape was more challenging.
  They say that the influences on the lower levels of Skull Mountain are obvious. Indeed, at one point Nick said,
  "Of one of these doors leads to the Deep, I'm not even going to blink."

  A ton of fun!

1 comment:

  1. Those are old school hours: thurs - sun. I haven't seen these in 25 years. Very cool.