Monday, 27 February 2017

Treasure Hunt by Aaron Allston + Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Treasure Hunt
Last night I was back in the DM chair after a long break as a player. Currently our gaming group has a few campaigns on the go, with different game systems/settings, including Traveller and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I didn't bring the players back to old characters from the D&D campaign, deciding instead to run the AD&D classic, Treasure Hunt (1986).

It wasn't until today that my good friend Stephen pointed out I had run the module, quite by coincidence, on the three-year anniversary of the author's death. Aaron Allston wrote modules, supplements and sourcebooks for various roleplaying games, and a slew of Star Wars novels.

Now, I am not new to Treasure Hunt. When it came out back in the 80's, I was in a group of a dozen players from High School (including Mr Holland the English teacher) that were at the mercy of another friend called Stephen (who usually ran Dragon Warriors but in this instance was our DM). How he wrangled us all, I barely recall. I would reckon it would have been like herding cats.

Aaron Allston
(December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014)
Zero-level cats. I have mentioned before the similarity between Treasure Hunt and the Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel system. Back then, playing AD&D without choosing a class was kinda funky. Each player character began the game at negative 500 experience points, working our way up to 1st level. We were very free in our gameplay, often making spontaneous choices, which Stephen would take note of as they determined a character's eventual class, alignment, etc.

Fast forward thirty years and I am on the other side of the DM screen. How did our group of "experienced" forty-somethings cope? So far, so good. We are about half-way through the module and already the players are trying things they might not if they had a list of skills and special abilities on their character sheets. I also have a couple of new favourite NPCs. One has been tweaked slightly; A Half-Ogre instead of a Half-Orc. I'm not sure how he will fare next session but he could end up making a cameo.

So thanks Aaron for the zero-level concept which began with Treasure Hunt and proved popular with D&D fans - James M. Ward included an appendix for 0-level characters in Greyhawk Adventures (1988). Thanks also for  Gazetteer 1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (1987) and D&D Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).

Rest in peace.