While the world of Greyhawk has been fleshed out for decades, allowing me to fall back on names, places and things without having to pour any effort into designing a world from scratch, this was only Greyhawk by name.
For example, Pitchfield was quickly replaced by the small hamlet of Eastbrook, where our adventurers would forge their beginnings. Naerie was now a small fishing village. The Tomb of Horrors is in the Vast Swamp.
None of them were familiar with any Dungeons & Dragons tropes; role-playing game clichés were unknown to them. Also, if something conflicted with Greyhawk history, it wouldn’t matter.
Interlocking modules together like puzzle pieces is old hat, but I was not about to bore myself with rehashing scenarios that I had previously run players through in the past. Still, being able to steal from any module in my library was an exciting realization.
As an aside, when Mansions of Madness first came out, I was browsing for some “Lovecraft Music” to play in the background, while Tess, the Keeper, slowly whittled away our sanity within the game. I typically do not use ambient music for role-playing games, but it seemed like a good idea to try it out for this new board game that we were enjoying as a family.
One google search lead to another and I found myself at Swords Against the Outer Dark, a treasure trove of articulate ideas presenting the “bastard child of Sword & Sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos.” From using existing rules within the game to stimulate the feeling of “horror” to sharing his wisdom about what the OSR meant to him (yes, I realize the irony in having the OSR logo on this site link to his message about dogma), here was a fantastic site that would end up influencing The Delvers’ campaign theme over time.
DM: You both find yourselves in a dimly lit smoky tavern.
No, their adventure did not start in a local tavern, but they would not have groaned if it did. Again, all of this was new in their eyes and I found myself mulling over this potential.
This could be awesome, I thought, but I still wasn’t sure if the two girls were actually going to enjoy the game at all.
Then we started our first session.