SF0: Deep six the dungeon crawl?

Mother's picture
October 31, 2010 - 1:56pm

Looking for some opinions on SF0: Crash on Volturnus.  If you were going to run the entire Volturnus series, would you keep the dungeon crawl through the caverns in SF0 or skip it to move things along?  IIRC the only purpose of it is to give the players more experience and stretch out the adventure. 


rattraveller's picture
October 31, 2010 - 2:13pm
All modules give you some free play. The question to ask before changing anything is if there is anything important to the plot that the players need to learn in the part you want to drop and if they can learn it somewhere else.

Also if the crawl is just to give them experience will they need that experience to meet challenges later in the adventures. You may have to make some adjustments in later challenges if you drop some opportunities early in the campaign.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
October 31, 2010 - 2:17pm
Those 1-3XP always come in handy when dealing with the next encounter (slaying a quickdeath)...
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Gargoyle2k7's picture
November 2, 2010 - 2:00pm
I'd keep it.  It gives the PCs some interaction with various alien creatures and some of the environment of Volturnus.  I'm currently rewriting and expanding the old Volturnus modules for a new campaign, and the dungeon crawl is one of the things I'm leaving in.
Long live the Frontier!

jedion357's picture
November 6, 2010 - 6:03am
First off the Caves have some choke point that the PCs have to go through and one is the lava monster which is just too out there for me. Way too many of the creatures on volturnus are Out there and while you can suspend disbelief for 1 or maybe 2, With volturnus its 1 after another and that ganks susupension of disbelief. Yes there are lots of outside influences from the eorna and the sathar and the eorna have engaged in genetic manipulation and excellerated evolution but there is still too much going on on Volturnus. I've tried to drop clues to the players that as they scanned speicimens they'd realize  that there has been genetic modification inorder to explain some of the wierdness.

but back to the caves- I hate them and I dont like the lava monster
the bit with the robot is good as it opens an opertunity for some tech skills in SF0

One group that finished SF0 and dropped the game complained that the whole module was a dungeon crawl- I've latter discovered that they like role play and figuring out of puzzles.

I might consider changing the caves to an underground abandoned eorna science complex- with foreshadowing by the ul-mor describing the 'caves' then the PCs say realize that they're something else. make it an investigation- include the mad pirate and his derranged robot. The PCs can discover a computer with corrupted records that show the ul-mor being chosen and raised to sentience, then the kurrabanga being chosen but little more of the record is recoverable then there is a 3rd file but its so corrupted no usable info can be recovered.

I also try to drop clues about the sathar's first visit though the quick death encounter is usually the first such clue.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Deryn_Rys's picture
November 6, 2010 - 9:07am
That sounds like a cool twist on the caves. I've always played with roleplayers (my best friend and co Administrator is in theatre) but even though many of our Adventures in all of our games had some Dungeon crawl elements to it, they found great opportunities to role play, even if it was to argue in character over what they should do next in the middle of a dungeon. My point is that dungeon crawls, don't have to consist only of open the door, kill the monster, and loot its treasure, the players should find or make for themselves opportunities to role play, not just depend on the administrator to set up those types of encounters.

A player should take an active role in guiding the adventure, and making it fun, not just being moved along by the administrator's narrative. some of our fondest adventures were the impromptu arguments between the strong willed members of the party maneuvering to control the direction of the mission, or the many side deals, blooming romances, and impromptu comedy that my players brought to a generally dark toned adventure that I'd prepared for them. Of course what worked in my game might not work in yours, because all gaming groups are different, but I do urge you not to dismiss the classic dungeon crawl but to perhaps talk to your gaming group and ask them how they might have made it more fun, put the ball in their court. We always spent a good hour after a game session discussing the adventure, while we updated our characters, and that was always a productive time for us.

I'm sorry if I might be coming off as preachy, it's a habit of some old gamers like myself, It's just that it bugs me when a good administrator loses his group's enjoyment of a carefully crafted adventure and thinks that he or she should shoulder all the blame for the adventure not entertaining everyone in the group. Each patricipant (players, and administrators) shoulder the responsibility for making a game session memorable.

Now I'll put away my soapbox, and hope that I haven't said anything that might be offensive to anyone (Another habit of mine).
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

iggy's picture
November 7, 2010 - 10:00am
My leanings are to not pull the caverns from SF0.  I am currently playing SF0 with my kids, 15, 13, 11.  We have role played off and on for the past few years, AD&D, Gammaworld, and now SF.  SF has been the only one that the campaign keeps going.  AD&D needs to be revisited now that the kids are a bit older and I've actually thought out the campaign.  We started without much prep-work on my adventure idea so it stalled after a few sessions.  Gammaworld is similar on the adventure line and suffers from my horrible copy of rules. The Gammaworld rules I have are half baked and make no sense.  So when I started them with SF I used SF0 so I wouldn't have to create an adventure to get things started.  So, they are now deep in the caves staring at the lake of fire and very frustrated.  They wondered around the caves searching for another way around it and are stumped. It occurred to me after this that they have never had a dungeon crawl in all of their role playing experience.  They need this to train them up in the ways of the force!

So I say keep the caverns in SF0 because the module is designed to train new role players.  It teaches the players that not everything in role playing is solved with combat.

Deryn_Rys's picture
November 7, 2010 - 11:31am
I started out playing basic and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons so the dungeon crawl has always had a special place in my heart, and though over the years many of my adventures were not dungeon crawls, recently I've found that fondness for dungeons creeping back into my adventures (partially because I'm converting most of my old Basic and AD&D modules to my game system). I've been designing all manner of underground bunkers and facilities for Gamma World, and as I start expanding the Rise of the Sathar adventures for Star Frontiers I see many an underground "worm" pit that the heroes are going to have to run through as they fight off the Sathar menace, after all asteroid bases, and hidden Sathar outposts are all just "dungeons" with that high tech chrome finish right?

Dungeons are useful because they limit the playing field and allow an administrator to exert some control on where the heroes can go, and though many say that this is limiting, I think that it helps keep the players focused on the goals of the mission, where otherwise they can easily become side tracked, and I whole heartedly agree with Iggy that it is an invaluable tool when teaching newbies how to play any rpg game. Ultimately though it all rests on the Administrator, and his/her players shoulders how they should play the game, and no one way is the right way, so just have fun with your game.
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

umungus's picture
November 10, 2010 - 9:00am

If you run Crash On Volturnus be sure to include Jedi's slavaged ship encounter in the desert.
Very cool!

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
November 10, 2010 - 9:25am
umungus wrote:

If you run Crash On Volturnus be sure to include Jedi's slavaged ship encounter in the desert.
Very cool!

#13-p16 Volturnus Desert Encounter

iggy's picture
November 10, 2010 - 12:56pm
I used Jedi's vertical deck plan of the Serena Dawn in my current SF0 game.  It worked pretty good.  See my comments in the deck plans project .