M2: Curse of the Kingspire Goodman GamesThis blog post was originally going to be a review of Master Dungeons M2: Curse of the Kingspire by Goodman Games. However, once I got well into reading the module, I decided I was going to run this adventure for my Carnus D&D 4E campaign. It’s an excellent adventure, full of combat, puzzle, and roleplaying opportunities. Excellent sword and sorcery!

After deciding to DM this module for my group, I needed a way to fit it into my existing campaign and current plot threads. How do you catch player interest and hook them into a new adventure mid-campaign? Here is a simple model that I am applying for adding M2: Curse of the Kingspire to Carnus.

1. Character Link

Relate some aspect of the adventure to a PC. What element of the adventure directly relates to a character, or could be tweaked to link to a character?

Having something in common with the environment, NPCs, or back story is effective. Shared hobbies, useful skill set, and common beliefs are other ways to overlap PC with module.

Players see adventures through the lens of their character. Wielding a hammer makes everything look like a nail, as the saying goes. So, an elf PC sees the world through elf eyes, a fighter through fighter eyes, and an orphan through orphan’s eyes.

Anything that pattern matches this viewpoint will catch a PC’s attention. If you can sustain the link through the adventure, here and there (don’t be obvious or heavy-handed), you keep the PC’s interest.

2. Adventure Hook

Plot hooks have been covered in past Roleplaying Tips issues. More than just a character link, hooks relate strongly to PC goals and objectives. The character pursues something with a plot hook, and there is some kind of success at the end of the pursuit.

A great way to hook modules is to scan the treasure piles, interesting NPCs, back story, and encounter locations and tie one or more things back to a PC motive. What does the PC want? Where does that exist in the module? If it doesn’t exist, drop it in or change something already in the adventure. Then, let the PC know the object of his desires connects with the plot line of the module.

3. Quest

Quests are a form of mandatory hook. Whereas a link is a point of interest, and a hook is a compelling option, a quest is a clear set of instructions of what you’re after and other possible requirements, such as deadline or methodology.

Quests are fun because they simplify gameplay and make what the PC or party must do crystal clear. Great for groups who don’t enjoy sandbox play or want a break from it. However, some players might find quests heavy-handed.

Mix It Up

To layer on a bit of complexity and involve the group in interesting ways, spread links, hooks, and quests amongst the party rather than just working with one category across the whole group.

For example, rather than questing the whole group as a way to hook them into Curse of the Kingspire, give one PC a quest, give two others hooks, and supply two other characters links. Next adventure, switch it up. Even better, modules are often broken into parts or arcs. Switch things up between each part.

Do you drop modules into existing campaigns? What methods do you use to hook the PCs and integrate the adventure into your running plots?

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