Running B4: The Lost City

One of my goals this year was to provide more resources for the type of games I play. I benefit greatly from finding information and advice about old school dungeons and dragons modules, but frequently there is a lack of information out there (or, the information is 10+ years old). So, I’ve decided to chronicle my newest campaign, an open table game running the module B4: The Lost City, by Tom Moldvay.

I am pretty excited about being able to run this module, as this is the module I learned how to play Dungeons and Dragons with! Before I started playing with my group, I had a few requirements for myself to make sure the game would be a success:

  • The game needed to be an open table game. To make this work in a mega-dungeon (or more accurately, mega-pyramid) crawl, the group would need a safe room to begin and end sessions in
  • The game would need to require almost no prep work. To make this work, I spent a few hours before I started the campaign, working on a reference document, which you can download here.
  • The group voted to play the game in 5th edition, rather than 2nd edition. While not my favorite, I was more than happy to play, and I spent an hour referencing monsters from the module into the 5th edition monster manual.

Sessions 0 and 1

Session 0 started with character creation. Some of my players had little to no experience with Dungeons and Dragons before, so this took quite a while. After character creation, I ran the characters through a short character connection activity. You can download the pdf here

Then, we started the adventure! You can check out the recaps and what I learned in the video below.

Sessions 2 and 3

These sessions were instructive to me with how to run B4: The Lost City. There were two important rules I clarified or changed during these sessions.

The first, is that I made sure that the “safe room” concept only existed between sessions. The safe room is an idea that ensures a player’s character is safe if they happen to miss a few sessions – in other words, a wandering monster in the pyramid won’t harm them, or their stuff, while the player is unable to play. However, the safe room cannot be used during a session as a safe room. In session 3, the characters were looking to take a long rest, and we had a short discussion about what this would look like outside a safe room.

The second, has to do with the factions. In the module, each faction has restrictions on who can become full members. For example, the membership restrictions for the Magi of Usamigaras state that, “Only magic-users, elves, thieves, and clerics may become full members.” The other two factions, the Brotherhood of Gorm and the Warrior Maidens of Madarua, state that only male fighters, and female fighters respectively, may become full members.

I believe it was the intent of the designer (Tom Moldvay) to encourage different characters to join different factions. These factions are important to the module, as the characters will need somewhere to spend their treasure and gold they find! What I noticed with my group, was the characters were already splitting themselves up and joining the factions, irrespective of the stated restrictions in the module. So, I decided that the restrictions in the module no longer apply, and any character may become a full member of any group.

The last note I wanted to make (which I forgot to cover in the recap) is that two of my members earned a promotion within their faction! Perros, who had joined the Maidens of Madarua and become “Maiden Perros”, earned a promotion and is now “Perros, Maiden of <insert season here>”. So, depending on what Perros decides, he may become “Perros, Maiden of Winter”. Rhogar also earned a promotion with the Brotherhood of Gorm (while playing both sides and also secretly becoming a member of the Warrior Maidens as well), and is now known as “Brother Rhogar the Destroyer.”

You can check out the recaps and what I learned in the video below.

More Recaps

My goal is to create more recaps every few sessions, let you know how things are going, and help you learn from my failures, and my player’s successes. I hope it helps!

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