I once ran an adventure that resulted in a TPK. Darn Hodags. Everyone rolled up new characters and wanted to take it on again. It was a playtest, so that wasn’t a big issue. However, I wasn’t quite happy doing an exact reset and sending the players through again. I didn’t think they would be able to resist knowing where the secret doors were or having their characters come up with surprisingly relevant guesses.
Solution? I advanced the timeline of the world and set the party up as a reserve team sent in to find out what happened to their predecessors. I kept things as they were at the time of the adventure end and added in a few more challenges. I essentially re-molded the adventure as a subsequent encounter. The group had fun “discovering” what occurred to the previous party and making snide comments about the people who obviously weren’t good enough to get past this trap, or just barely escaped from the cave-in that occurred.
Doing this started me thinking about ways to re-mold already written adventures in order to use them again. Here are some of my thoughts.
Same Stats – Different Skin
If it has stats that work, you can apply any skin you want to an adventure. The key to re-skinning an adventure is locating the elements that need changed and making them fit. If some enemy or encounter has a special power that won’t work with the new skin then remove it or switch it out. If the layout of the dungeon seems too familiar, turn it upside down or change the locations of some doors. Don’t be afraid to make major changes in order to match the new theme of the adventure.
Islands Out Of Time
Does it make more sense, based on the character’s failure to stop an invading army, to have a village be ravaged and destroyed instead of whole and intact as written? Cross out the names of 1/2 the NPCs and use it with a different description. While the original plan might have called for the PCs to rest at the village after having derailed the invading army, it doesn’t make sense given the story changes. The element needs remolded. If you’ve designed it as a standalone element, which can be moved and changed, then it is easy to make the necessary adjustments.
Different Characters, Same Players
This can also be a good way to add some replay value for players who have gotten too powerful to game within the sweet spot. Often players enjoy getting to insane power levels, but find that the play at that level doesn’t feel as fun. Using different characters for a session or two can provide some of the previous play experience while not revoking the player’s hard earned rewards.
So these are a few of my ideas on how to remold adventures and game elements for re-use. What do you think? Have you used any of these methods before? Have you re-used an adventure? How did it work? What other methods can you think of for re-molding game elements?