by Lorne Marshall
Freely distributed by Dragonsfoot
This is a 2E module. IE: two small encounters somehow turned in to 44 pages with “mood setting” read-aloud text, almost no treasure, and irrelevant backstories galore.
A) The Dragonsfoot guys did a great job on making this look like a professional product. B) This product describes a village and two small adventures and somehow comes in at 44 pages. How does it do this? By being a near perfect example of the style I strongly associate with 2E. Railroad hero nonsense before the unnecessary bits were boiled off to in subsequent editions. Fair Warning: I LOATHE this style.
It takes nine pages to get to the first relevant information, the village of Goblin’s Tooth. Cover page, title page, copyright page, table of contents, forward, prologue, and then two pages of DM background. The six dense paragraphs of Forward reads like standard boilerplate: tune it to your campaign, beginning players and DM’s, read-aloud text, how the encounters are marked on the map. Ug. The prologue, though, tops this. It takes three long paragraphs to frame a fourth paragraph of read-aloud text. The text in question? Flowery bullshit that describes an eclipse. This is supposed to be read aloud to the players before they reach the town. “[blah blah blah]The ribbons of light shed by the full moon caress the landscape with their inconstant arms, shrouding hill and tree and road first in deep blue, then silver, then velvet [blah blah blah].” Sorry, I couldn’t finish the quote; I threw up a little in my mouth. Fucking second edition bullshit. It has absolutely no purpose in the adventure. Yeah, the eclipse is referenced later but that’s just some pretext. That prologue, and the two-plus page DM’s background, which is full of the history of the area is too long and not necessary, leads me to believe that a certain someone is a frustrated author. There’s no place for this kind of stuff in an adventure. It gets in the way of someone actually trying to run the adventure. An adventure needs a few words of inspiration and then it should take off. It should provide just enough information to let a DM fill in the rest themselves. I need something that inspires me, not something that tramples on me. I fucking hate 2E.
The village has twenty-two places described in it and houses about 250 people. Yeah, the ratio of non-farmers to craftsmen is off but I don’t really care about that; I’m looking for fun and interesting, not realistic, in my home base villages. The various places get a decent amount of description. Generally there is five of six sentences that describes the business, appearance, and temperament of the people who live and/or work there. This is a little strange in some places, such as the three paragraphs it takes to describe the dairy. The village feels lifeless, especially given all of the background data and all of the descriptions. I think this is because the villagers don’t really interact much with each other. While some personality is given for many of them they don’t really have much going on in the village; they don’t interact with each other or hate each other or are in love with each other, or have rivalries, or anything like that. Ok, there are a couple of engagements listed but that doesn’t really go anywhere other than simply noting it. What brings a community to life is the relationships between the people and there’s just none of that here. Oh, hey, guess what else … the village has a dedicated guard of at least 20 and a militia of quite a bit more. Of course with all of those people they just can’t spare a single man to go handle the two problems/adventures … the Heroes get to do that. Yeah, you heard me right: Heroes. Not mercenaries. Not murder hobos. Heroes. You know what that means, right? I’ll tell you what: no fucking loot and bullshit story awards. FUCK YOU SECOND EDITION!
Adventure The First: The Bear.
Another two pages of background. Goblins are back and they’ve killed a farmer. The guard and militia mobilizes but can’t spare a man to go out to the farm where the attack occurred. Queue the chumps^H^H^H^H^H^Heroes. The farmhouse and dead farmer are not in the style the goblins usually leave people. If someone in the party makes a wisdom check then the adventure can continue otherwise you don’t find the trail and there is no other option for continuing. Oops. That’s not cool. No fucking skill checks or attribute checks if the players NEED the information. Ok, the players make the check and they find the goblins and they talk to them. If they don’t then they start the next iteration of The Goblin Wars. Oops. It’s pretty obvious that the goblins are friendly, but still, that’s bullshit. They got kicked out of their cave by a bear and for some reason are incapable of finding food on their own. Why does living in the cave mean they are well fed? Stop asking questions. That’s the problem with words: you stick too many in and I start poking holes in what I’m reading. You leave it fast and loose with a little inspiration then I can fill in the blanks and I don’t/can’t poke holes in the plausibility shroud. There are some wandering monsters in the forest but they mostly suck, even though they are long entires. They generally boil down to: the monster attacks. Oh, hey, there are, like, five places along the trail in the forest to discover. One of them has goblin bodies. If you bury the bodies you get XP as a story award. Isn’t that nice? I guess those of us who would take a dump on them don’t fit the designers vision of “Heroes” and don’t get anything. Otherwise, there’s an ettercap in forest, a couple of traps, and a cave with a 5HD bear in it for the players to kill. Oh, and the treasure! Mustn’t forget the 51gp! You want some XP? Then do what the designer wants you to do.
Adventure The Second: Wrath of the Hooded One.
Another three pages of extraneous background, this time detailing the meal choices and excretory habits of the villain, or something like that. The vast majority of irrelevant and anything that’s tangentially relevant is expounded on in great detail. Seriously, there’s an OCD amount of background here to tell us that a wizard has taken over a goblin tribe via a disguise. It’s like a fucking Russian novel, and not the good ones full of sex where chicks throw themselves in front of trains. Oh no, this is like one of those ones where you learn EVERYTHING about some tertiary character who the protagonist passes on the street on his speeding horse. Anyway, the goblins from the first adventure tell the town that a new giant goblin has shown up and taken over the tribe to the north and is planning on attacking the town and blah blah blah irrelevant motivation blah blah blah floating wagons blah blah blah wizard twice removed creates novel blah blah blah eclipse show of power. The Reeve is SUPER busy and just can’t be bothered to spare a fucking man to go find out about the horde so would the murder-hobos please go? Oh, you won’t put your life in danger out of the goodness of your heart? You want a reward? Ok, how about 100gp for going out to get yourselves killed? Not enough? Then he asks the characters to leave the town and there’s no adventure. Why not just have him shout “I’M A LAZY FUCK AND YOU’LL DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO OR FUCK YOU!!!” I believe I may have suspended my disbelief somewhere along the line. Anyway … GO THE WAY THE DESIGNER WANTS YOU TO OR DIE UNDER A HAIL OF A HUNDRED GOBLIN ARROWS A COMBAT ROUND FIRED FROM BEHIND SUPER COVER!!!!! Right, so the players get to go through the swamps because that’s what the designer wants them to do. How do we know this? Because he spends two pages describing the instal-kill death-trap goblin ambush that happens if they DON’T go through the swamps. Just run the four pre-prorgammed encounters and shut up. Blah blah blah, swamp, blah blah blah lost patrol blah blah blah. The encounters all take a page because of the crappy-ass flowery text and needless detail. Once in the goblin village the players find no goblins; they are all out at the death-trap ambush five hours away. The new leader is hole up in an old mine with three levels and twelve rooms. The party of ten kills four goblin guards, four more guards, and then an ogre and the fake goblin/wizard. That all happens in the first four rooms. They then get to pick up their meager loot (weeee! 164gp and some gems!) What if they explore the rest of the mine though!!! Giant rats! And then some piercers! Oh, and a goblin scout from the other tribe that can lead the party back to town faster. Don’t forget 400xp each for completing the mission! Yeah you! You are winner! Fuck you 2e! Fuck you for condoning this kind of bullshit in your modules TSR! I know it was fucking you! I remember the 2e crap you put out! FUCK! YOU!
Hey, I’m pretty sure there’s a second module in this series …