Recently we began playing DL1 Dragons of Despair, and we are doing so with the AD&D 1st edition rules as I covered in my previous post. It is interesting to play DL1. We are doing so solely on the module and with a vague memory of the novels. Since we are not using the DragonLance AD&D 1st ed.-supplement (or any later supplements for that matter), one of the things one notices is how little the module tells you about the setting, and this applies to both pre-generated or newly made characters. For instance the PCs are soon directed to “Xak Tsaroth”, but nowhere are there any clear instructions as to what this place is, and there is even less notes about, what the PCs are expected to know about this place, nor what they can learn before going there.
So what happened?
The PC’s meet for the first time in five years having tried to find a true cleric, but without any success. They get attacked by hobgoblins looking for a blue staff on the orders of Onyx. The leader of the hobgoblins (Toede Fewmaster) disappears without a trace, once he has issued his command to his troops (not just from the scene but also from the module, as he is not mentioned again in the text, so I have to cheat the players from following his trail).
Then the PCs reach the town of Solace, they enquire a little bit in the town and pick up a few clues, and the next day they are on their merry way, when they suddenly encounter to persons, who begins singing and playing instruments. Now it is naturally time for Goldmoons song, but the situation is actually quite awkward. Why are these two persons standing in the forest singing a song about their hardships? Also I can’t sing, so I ended up parafrsing the text instead.
Also I made the “error” of translating the names, Goldmoon and Riverwind, to our native language. It sounds silly.
After joining with the mysterious strangers and their magic blue staff, they all agree, that they should go west to Xak Tsaroth, thereby ignoring a long series of encounters, and now they are crossing a great plain having not met any draconians and only picked up vague signs of something being wrong, and yet they have played correct, making logical choices etc.
This leaves me with the conundrum as to how much we should play the module as it is written, or if we should play it closer to the implied narrative, thus for instance have the PCs encounter disguised draconians trying to trick them to reveal their blue staff?
Well, no matter what, we will next session reach the ruins of Xak Tsaroth and most likely spend the session navigating the swamps, and perhaps peek into the first part of the dungeon. I am really looking forward to this.