Sunday, January 31, 2016
Module B1 - Reply to a post
It is impossible to look at B1 now as it was when it was released. For me this was the first published module I'd ever seen other than Temple of the Frog from the Blackmoor supplement. Each step within those halls was filled with danger and mystery and every encounter was something new. Just that first encounter with the magic mouth became an iconic image in the future lore of the game in the same way as Tomb of Horrors Green Devil Face or Undermountains decent into the shield-lined pit from the center of the Inn. B1 is a test for the DM and either a frustrating experience or a spur to creativity.
And a further reply
You seem to be implying that the fond memories of B1 are a form of nostalgia and that the module itself is lacking. The module itself is fantastic but I'm not sure that modern imagination and creativity is able to appreciate it. There is a sensory overload involved in the amount of material presented to those involved in modern RPGs that is inherently distracting to the creative and imaginative mind that simply did not exist 35+ years ago. We were presented with a fairly blank slate at the time RPGs were born with few if any options to fill in those blank spaces with anything other than what our own imaginations and creative inspiration could steal from other mediums. If you wanted to run a Cthulhu scenario you read Lovecraft or Lovecraftian fiction and distilled game material from that, If you wanted a dungeon that descended deeper and deeper into the depths you drew it passage by passage, room by room, and stocked it to the best of your ability. If you wanted to push your adventure up a notch you had to make it up because Holmes Basic just stopped and pointed you in the direction of Further. There is nothing like absolute necessity to spur creativity. B1 provided inspiration but never tried to force direction. B1 points to far horizons that have no limits. It provides a template that can simply be repeated but beckons to be personalized, expanded, strangely altered and enchanted by the hand of a DM who wants to make the game their own. I look at B1 today and it still inspires me to go in new directions, or revist old ones and think it is a shame if this small piece of magic has been lost to the world of gaming in the intervening years.