Elves, Elves, Elves Everywhere for this is CM7 The Tree of Life

5.000.000XP!

This is the amount of XP to be divided between the characters, when creating a group of characters for the 1986-module The Tree of Life by Bruce A. Heard. With five players you get level 10 elves with one attack rank (or magic level, if you are like us including the rules from Gaz5 The Elves of Alfheim).

High Level Characters with the Basic Rules

We are playing various old D&D (BECMI)-modules, and after X3 Curse of Xanathon with skipped the Expert (X)-series and went on to the Companion (CM)-series, and neither I nor my players are experienced in playing high-level games, and with D&D-elves we have combat-abilities, spell casting and awesome saving throws (proved when one of the characters resisted the full onslaught of a beholder for more than two rounds avoiding being disintegrated, petrified, enchanted or telekinetically grappled).

The many resources allowed the players to pick a broad assortment of spells, and quite a few were burned just tp try them out. We had a lot of fun here.

The Joys of BECMI D&D

It is fast, oh so fast. Not just with the creation of characters even by players not particular experienced with the D&D-rules.

Combats are fast, the use of the rules are quick, and character generation is fast. This is a joy. Having been using the 3rd, 3.5 and 4th ed. rules the last eleven years, the speed of becmi is pleasant. Later we will explore AD&D 1st ed for a short while mostly to have fun with the quirky aspects of the rules. Also I got a copy of J. Alexander’s Legends & Labyrinths – since I too have payed to support the project – and I look forward to try that version of D&D.

By the way we use the following rules for creating characters:

Roll 3d6 eight times, keep the best six results and place them in any order. Stats in the old D&D don’t influence other stats that much, and you don’t need an average of 15+ to have a proper character. Furthermore we use heroic hit points to give the PCs a proper base of hit points, and that is easily needed, as D&D is still quite lethal.

Onwards to the module

An elven Tree of Life is dying and the clan has sent its best to investigate. They begin at the outskirts of their home village with a map, a few other things and a suggestion to visit an ancient clan leader’s grave. So off they go.

During their travel through the forest they encounter enemies carrying an identical mark revealing the presence of a mysterious villain. They chat with various residents of the forest, among others an ancient ent telling them to find the spiritual roots of the dying Tree of Life in order to find a cure. Various visions created by an evil dragon leads them astray and into an ambush between the dragon and its ally, a beholder, whom they defeat and they send the dragon retreating. Somehow these two creatures are involved with the case of the dying tree, but how? A mystery waiting to be solved.

In the beholder’s cave they discover a wormhole leading to unknown places. They decide to explore the tunnel, though they suspect they missed important information, since they did not investigate their ancestor’s grave. Thus ended first session.

Impressions

It was fun. Not epic, at least not yet, as this was just the initial exploration of the situation. Next time the story will hopefully pick up speed. The contours of a conspiracy are slowly being built.

What I missed was the scenario spending more time on the great council – it summarised in a text box – and thus let the PC’s have a greater understanding of the importance of the situation.

Secondly there are two ways to get to the location, where the main part of the story takes place. One is a mysterious and dramatic journey using a rainbow, and a whole chapter is devoted to it, and the other is the wormhole. The last was chosen mainly because, the players were unaware of the other passage, and this creates a different flow in the scenario, as the wormhole approach does not seem to be the actual intended part of the scenario for the PCs to travel.

Those were the impressions of the first part. I am looking forward to continue this module.

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About Morten Greis

Historiker, etnolog, brygger, fægter, rollespiller, science fiction entusiast History and Ethnology, brewer and fencer, roleplayer and science fiction enthusiast View all posts by Morten Greis

2 responses to “Elves, Elves, Elves Everywhere for this is CM7 The Tree of Life

  • Playing CM7 The Tree of Life (old school D&D) « Roles, Dice and Fun

    […] I spoke of the module earlier, but having played a few more sessions, two things become clear. One is that the elves have tremendous resources available. The group contains four ten level elves (that is more or less fighter 10/Wizard 10) and a wicca/shaman centaur (using the supplement PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk) since a healer was necessary in the group. Little do they fight in combat, but mostly just bombard their targets with fireballs, lightning bolts, ice storms, hold monster, charm monster, magic jar, polymorph other, dimension door and telekinesis. Many encounters are solved in this manner in round one. […]

  • Can’t Stand Essays | The Write Stuff

    […] Elves, Elves, Elves Everywhere for this is CM7 The Tree of Life from Roles, Dice and Fun (mortengreis.wordpress.com) […]

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