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klecser

Reading "Defending Apple Lane," Coming from both CoC and DND (spoilers)

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As an avid Call of Cthulhu Keeper, I've come to appreciate what a well-constructed scenario looks like. Whether sandbox, branching, or linear, there are a lot of potentially great elements that give players and GMs options to tell fun stories. That said, CoC is a game of avoiding combat. Heck, a lot of the rewards for scenarios are based upon preventing a group of people from being harmed or simply getting out alive in retreat. And I love that. But every game is different and it just strikes me as prudent for Chaosium to have IPs that complement each other so well.

So, I'm coming to Runequest with a largely DND-focused martial perspective. I'll be the first to admit that I saved scenario reading in my slipcase until now simply because I made the poor assumption that it would be "here is the list of things to fight and where they are." Sweet Orlanth, was I fool. Reading Defending Apple Lane is teaching me how combat might look very different in Runequest from what I am used to. And I like what I'm reading. If you are a reader of DND supplements, you know the drill: "There is a monster here. It attacks the PCs." Absolutely riveting. <<< (That's sarcasm.)

Defending Apple Lane is breathing life into the enemies, their goals, and their plans of action. These enemies, in an intro adventure, hold back reserves, have contingency plans, have perspectives for taking and ransoming prisoners, have retreat conditions, and future plans if they do retreat. I'm not saying these things don't exist in DND supplements. They just read as afterthoughts in those supplements, or are tactics/strategies that are "reserved for boss monster entries." And there is indeed an optional boss monster here - Redeye the Boar. But you better take "optional" very seriously before choosing to fight it. You gonna get wrecked. I've always appreciated martial games where things outside your skill set can exist anywhere your characters may be. And anyone assuming that they're going to take out Redeye where he is presented, without a detailed plan, is in for a shock.

But I'm not done. I'm also noticing how the reward structure for this scenario plays into the themes of the wider world as a whole. Will you become Thane of Apple Lane? Sounds great. It comes with  extensive responsibilities. Head to Clearwine, get recognized, defend the village, watch out for the common good, you have five households under your jurisdiction. The scenario can get the group the classic "home base," but deeply rooted in the culture of the world. That is modeling how Glorantha works at it's finest. It's truly a teaching scenario. As a professional educator, I appreciate sound modeling that invites new players joyfully to the hobby.

If you look at the recent Call of Cthulhu Starter Set, that is a case study in game introduction for new players. The revamped writing of those three classic scenarios is coming from the perspective of easing players into how Call of Cthulhu "works." The same thing is happening with Defending Apple Lane.

Am I the only one that thinks that Chaosium is just leading the HOBBY right now with writing and production values? I know I'm fan-gushing a bit here, but if not here, where?;)

Edited by klecser
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