OD&D as a 4e Adventure Design Tool

I just saw a blog post by Mike Mearls, Build Your Adventures in OD&D, where he suggests doing the initial design work for 4e adventures as if the adventure was being written for OD&D. According to Mike, because OD&D characters and monsters are simple without a lot of flashy powers and abilities to steal the show, designing for OD&D leaves the designer “with only one option for making a dungeon or adventure interesting: Compelling locations, mysteries, puzzles, weird phenomena, *stuff* that the PCs can poke, prod, and inspect.” In other words, this approach forces designers to create a dungeon (or other adventure setting) that is interesting in and of itself, instead of slipping into dependence on tactical combat as the sole major source of interest.

I don’t often agree with Mike these days, but I think he has a good idea here. An idea that almost every published adventure I’ve seen for 4e could have really benefited from. For those 4e GMs who would like to try this but don’t own a copy of OD&D, either Swords & Wizardry or Microlite74 would probably do just as well.

Randall Stukey

Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund.

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Randall is the author and publisher of a number of old school games (Microlite74, Microlite81, BX Advanced, etc) through RetroRoleplaying.com. Randall's main job, however, is being caregiver for his MS-afflicted cancer survivor wife. You can support Randall with a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. Gates & Glamours RSS Feed

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Timeshadows
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I'm holding my breath on the D&D Essentials.

MJ Harnish
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Don't hold your breath… everything I've read about them suggests they're just repackaged/compiled versions of all the splat books that have been released with some extra builds in them to sucker established players (who will be the only people buying them anyways I predict) in to buying them. The Red Box, which I love the idea of, is completely crippled by the fact that they decided to limit it to levels 1-2 meaning that beginners will have to go and buy more books within 2-3 sessions of starting the game. That's ridiculous. Back to the original post: Yeah, I can… Read more »