Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown are two of my favorite introductory modules. The main reason is their focus on exploration; in particular, they feature extensive possibilities for the players to interact and play with an unfamiliar environment or mysterious items (e.g. the Laboratory and the pool room in B1; the "Workshop" and Workshop/Telescope areas in TotS). Furthermore, they seem to evoke a sense of wonder in the PCs through the bizarre and the weird, and I find them particularly suited as introductory modules.
My question is: how can I design and introductory adventure similar to Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown in these respects?
"Heavily based on exploration and interaction with the environment" is perhaps a bit vague as a descriptor; I suggest the following criteria to better explain what I mean.
- Players can or must interact with the environment, where interaction happens in a "descriptive" way (ie. the interaction should not be resolved in a abstract way, with a single roll). Example: a trap with which the players must interact intelligently, and that is not simply discovered and disarmed with a dice roll
- Players are confronted with mysterious/bizarre effects, items or features of the environment. They can acquire knowledge about the effects/items/features through experimentation and trial-and-error, eliciting a variety of effects. Example: a shelf full of potion with bizarre effects, which can be discovered by tasting them. The Organ in the Chapel in Death Frost Doom (the players can play it, with various effects depending on what is played).
- The aforementioned features are prominent and should represent a significant component of the adventure.
I have an OSR gameplay in mind, and I'm interested in designing an adventure that would be suitable as introductory module for beginner players.
If possible, examples to illustrate your points taken from published adventures are welcome.