Ranger's Hideout


8, 8, I forget what is for
Malrex asked over in the "When to Skip Illustrations" thread for feedback on his product

Special Area: The Ranger's Hideout - The Merciless Merchants | DriveThruRPG.com

Which is a free "supplement" for Rangers. Here's the original request:

Malrex said:
It keeps nagging me in the back of my head...I hate the layout on one of my adventures and I may update it. It was one of the first adventures I've ever done and I've learned a few more tricks since then so I feel I could really clean it up. Plus, I may just make it Black and White, get rid of some of the art/backgrounds, and make a POD option for it.

I've lost the files for it in my layout program, and I don't know if I like the maps in color so may have to redo those...bleh, a lot of work and a serious pain in the ass. But I do plan to make more Special Areas....so if anyone picks up Special Area: The Ranger's Hideout (its free) I'd love some hardcore feedback to improve it. You can message me here, or email me at themercilessmerchants@gmail.com or I'm fine with ripping it apart on its own thread on these forums as a learning tool for others.

Your input would affect a few more that are coming down the pipeline...some day (druid, bard, assassin, and warrior).
Before I get to it, I want to make a few disclaimers:
  • I've never published anything D&D related. I have opinions, but no qualifications to back them up.
  • I've got a heavy OD&D/1e bias/ascetic, so I'm going to end up telling you not only what I don't like about your product, but also (inseparably) what I don't like about the vibe of later-edition D&D.
  • Everyone tells me I'm too wordy. I try to type text messages in full sentances and with proper punctuation. (...and make a lot of type-o's)
  • I'm busy as heck right now, so this is going to be a slow reveal---just an observation or two each post, not a monolithic review.
  • I'm well aware that Malrex in editing the next Footprints issue that I hope to have a submission in, so I expect there will be some shoe's-on-the-other-foot-now-ahole instant karma waiting for me (i.e. way it's easier to critisize than create).
Also, this thread is for anyone/everyone to chime in, debate, and refute.

Still sure you want to do this Malrex?
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
Yep. Burn me at the stake boss. Don't sugar coat it. Only way to get better.

I'm not going to attempt to explain the supplement (unless you have questions), but will only say its more geared towards 2e play.

I will also say, that your efforts will not be in vain and that I promise, publicly, at some point, in the future, I'll update it....some day. It doesn't follow my usual format in that its backwards with the bullets and the pictures have white backgrounds and...ugh..stuff is wrong with it for sure. But I was also playing/experimenting with it and my new programs (mapping, layout, etc.).

Also, if you want to join in this "lesson" or "ass-kicking" or whatever we want to call it, please don't feel obligated to pay for the supplement. Just grab it for free, read it and gang up throttle sque kick squee cry maybe we can all learn and transform something better for the OSR universe.


Centre-page page numbers are bad, because when viewing a single page electronically they don't give a visual clue as to whether or not your page faces the previous one, and aren't as easy to see if you're flipping through a physical book (think how you quickly flip through a book to orient yourself: you're normally hunting for the page numbers, and benig able to look to the corners makes this much easier).

Page 2: The "For Gold and Glory" box is at once clashing in colour pallette, too big for the space, not bordered (which always gives a superimposed art element that "pasted on top" look), and low-res in appearance.

Page 3: The "players shouldn't read this because it's an adventure" para is completely useless. You also appear to alternate between one and two spaces after punctuation; my preference is one for multi-column, and two for single, but you should pick one and stick to it. Your note about being intended for FG&G could be struck, as that's advertising copy: it would appear on the DriveThru page and/or the module's covers, the reader already read that and made their decision, and now they don't need to be told again, at this point owning the product.

Page 4: NPCs, not NPC's. Also, I dislike single thin-line borders for call-out boxes, as they look amateurish. I'd suggest some kind of double-line frame instead. Your column margins are a touch too small: I'd suggest at least 0.9 cm, and to ensure that your call-out boxes and most art pieces obey it as well. Your text and art is too high: it creeps right up to touching the ivy-looking top banner, giving a cramped appearance.

Page 5: This is where the call-out boxes not obeying the margins makes the page look cramped. Also, with your text rising too high towards the ivy banner, it starts to move into the darker yellow colouring of the background that's also up top, making it harder to read. The "Spark" box looks to have two instances of double-spacing in the middle of a sentence. Under "Adventure And Training", areas could be given page numbers and/or hyperlinked to make referencing easier.

Page 7: The grey for the table rows is not complementary to the rest of the colour scheme (and is a bit dark besides). You also have the text aligned topwards, rather than in the middle, which gives an odd and cramped appearance. Again, your table is too close to the top and the art lacks a border or some other way of making it blend into the page rather than feeling like it is pasted on top.

Page 8: Map text is quite hard to read.

Page 9: The text running down onto the art looks bad.

Page 14: You haven't collectively indented the text in the callout box. As a result, it hugs the left border and looks bad.

Page 15: Uneven column text (right column starts a line lower than the left).

Page 17: Text too close to art again.

Page 19: Art works better thanks to transparency, but it looks a bit crowded down there. In particular, having the text of a text box bend around the art, without the box itself being affected, looks off.

Page 22: Something weird going on with the first line of the fourth bullet point.

My general thoughts on art is that you should either use a page background, or non-transparent art, but not both. Your art, with all its whitespace, really clashes with the otherwise nice background template you have.

Hope this helps.
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
Hey Palindromedary! Awesome! This is a great layout review.

Never thought about the page numbers like that--Noted! But in this particular adventure's defense, the background template had a place for the page number and I think it would of been weird not to use it for that purpose. Note: I purchased the background template, I didn't create it, so couldn't of changed it.

Agreed on all accounts for pg 3. I don't add that stuff anymore and usually attempt to use 1 space now.
Good idea on the single line call out box.
I'll have to check the column margins--never really fussed with those, but I think I was having some initial problems as I was learning the layout program at the same time.
Pg. 8 maps--yes, text choice was poor. I've also learned how to manipulate maps overall to get a cleaner image, but not sure even that would of helped in this situation.
Ill have to go through it with the rest of the recommendations when I get home.

The whitespace of the art is what bothered me the most which I know how to fix now. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the color yet...I much prefer black and white but was trying something different. I think if I update this, its going to be black and white....or I would require myself to learn how to do colored background templates because otherwise the background template can just be labeled 'stock art' as well.

I really need to take a PDF course and learn how to hyperlink and all that crap.

Thanks for your time.

Palindromedary for on credit page or would you prefer something else?


8, 8, I forget what is for
Okay. Sorry for the delay. Here's my heavily colored and probably minority opinion on the first few pages.


My first impression was the the front cover looks very cool. I liked the mysterious figure on the front---a cross between Snake-Eyes from G.I.Joe and Robin Hood.

Would I buy a comic book with this cover?---maybe (if I still bought them).

Would I buy a D&D product with this cover---zero chance.
Would I even open it to browse?---probably not.

Why not? It sends me completely the wrong vibe. There is a thing that happened to D&D---and this is something I'm going to keep coming back to---a fetishizing of the player character---and this cover stinks of it.

When this happened exactly I'm not sure, but it was in full bloom around 2e (and pedal-to-the-metal pretty much there after).

I never was really attracted to the term RPG. When I first heard it said out loud I assumed it was spelled "ROLL Playing Games" because you rolled dice (and I'm a bit dim some times). I was never into the "Role Playing" thing---I mean I was nerdy, but that crossed some sort of psychological line for me. Yes, I do it when the situation requires, but I (as a player) am fundamentally me...in an impossible world...acting situationally appropriate. Little more. D&D moved from war game players (i.e. I am the general moving my pieces on a map), to I AM that character (or he/she's who I really want to be)---listen to my cool back-story. (gag)

When outsiders mock and misrepresent the hobby, that's the thing they focus on. It's embedded in the whole "elfgames" insult.

Ironically, when the type of people who might mock others for ROLE-playing, actually try to play D&D---that's the thing they latch onto. It's a weird ego-driven/social-status thing...except THEIR character is tricked-out-super-cool so it's okay.


No matter how edgy-awesome you make your alter-ego, it's still weird...and for me it's not true D&D. It has nothing to do with what makes D&D fun. At all.

Edit: Role playing is a necessary mechanic---just like combat is a necessary mechanic. D&D is no more about role-playing than it is about rolling dice. Both are required for the virtual experience. Where do you want to go? What do you want to (try to) do? That's the point...and the recipient of the virtual experience is you, the player---not your character (i.e. your vehicle). Futzing around with the small details of your character is equivalent to putting on a VR headset to preen in front of a virtual mirror---it's Narcissistic!

Don't get me wrong. I love Aragorn and the Dunedain. My favorite class just may be well the ranger (although I gave up playing them in favor of magic-users because I could never get the rolls---and, because...spells). I've put a secret society of rangers in my home campaign (who just so happen to have a tree-house/safe-house that I've never had to detail yet)---so at face value this should be right up my alley.

Still...I'm not buying this book (at first sight). It projects the wrong energy. Sorry.

(Also, the title invokes about as much awe and wonder as watching paint dry.)

What kind of product would tempt me?...I'll talk about that next post.
Last edited:


8, 8, I forget what is for
Moving right along...(are you sick of this/me yet?)


These are filler pages. But believe it or not, they almost do a better job of selling me on the product.

If the image on page 2 had been on the cover, I might pick it up and thumb through it.

It's about LOCATIONS, man. Mysterious, amazing, magical PLACES. That's the vibe that entices me. I, as a player, (or a DM) I want the feel of walking in Middle-Earth, or Naria, or Neverland, or Lankhmar, or Hyperborea, or the Dreamlands. I don't give a hoot for making the PCs the main protagonist in an "epic tale"---I just want them to have the chance to explore the half-glimpsed corners of books. Interact with all of the weird peripheral characters. Enter Galadriel's Court. Chat with Treebeard deep in Fangorn. Try to find the Endless Staircase in Moria. Join the Theives' Guild in Lankhmar. Fight pirates along side Peter Pan---whatever....all the while trying to "win" at whatever hand Fate deals them. But as I've said before, as player or DM: "It's not about your (stupid) character---It's about exploring the magical, wonderful, terrifying world!" ....(and the ensuing hijinks)

Feel free to disagree (and be soooo wrong).

To that I'll add a few stylistic nits:
  • You get the thing about alpha-transparency, right? Fixes your white borders by letting the background bleed through.
  • Man, you chose a HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY, page style. It total robs you of usable space and density of info with its massive borders, visually saturated colors and curly-cues. Tone it down. The text, the maps, the table, the images---they should have center stage (without competition from your zero-info-content page-border). Total WoTC move.
  • You realize these two pages are essentially identical, right? Same scene. Same layout. Make them a single page and get on with the good stuff.
more abuse forthcoming coming...(unless you cry "uncle")
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
3 pages so far...we rolling..lol.
Back when there was only 1e, I would get jealous of the DM because they always had 'something to work on'. When 2e came along, I felt finally the player had 'something to work on' with researching kits, deities and spheres, and whatnot. So it's strange to me why one gets so bothered that a player wants to put extra time into the game but its ok for the DM to do so.

To me, your way sounds similar to Monopoly. You represent a marker piece and don't need to change your personality. You roll the dice to see how far you go. And you collect 200$ when you pass Go. Why are their hints to personalities to NPCs to "help the DM out" if roleplay is "It has nothing to do with what makes D&D fun. At all." I get it..it's fun to work with friends through an adventure and figure out everything like your group is Special Ops.

Then the backstory players...roleplay...ew...and all that...lol. I'm not a huge fan of long, elaborate backstories. I do like it when the DM roleplays NPCs. I like it when players roleplay once in awhile as well (don't need it all the time though, nor do I need funny voices).

I think I'm more of a 'front story' player. We create a character. We may have a little backstory or why this character is here in the back of our heads but don't really share unless asked...then we develop personalities and more importantly--goals of the characters through play. While your way, you are concerned and focused on the 6 hobgoblins...with my playstyle, the concern for hobgoblins is maybe 2nd or 3rd on my list as I know my character pissed off Rolf the barbarian earlier and is he going to knock me on my ass while fighting or will he have my back?, or should I help the cleric in hopes that they heal me later even though I renounced their deity....its like fucking Game of Thrones within the party. Alignments are in the book for a reason.

But honestly...there is so much nerd rage out there about what style of play is better or 'the way' to play, that I try not to get involved with it. As long as people are having fun...then good!

So..back to the cover. The product is a supplement for Rangers. It's for 2e. It's sorta a 'down-time' product for when a character levels, how they may receive training for the next level and little adventures for a ranger character that focuses on ranger skills (stealth, animal friendship, etc.) if the whole group couldn't show up one night...so a single picture of a ranger on the cover makes sense to me. This supplement is "a fetishizing of the player character"
So I know you are going to absolutely LOVE it!

Your pg 2-3 assessment:
I don't consider pg. 2 a filler page. Got to have a credits page.
I like your opinion about LOCATIONS for the cover---I agree, that makes a lot of sense. I can see why the original cover doesn't jive with you. I could see changing the pics for the update. But yeah...this supplement is more of a focus for a player's character than exploring the great unknowns--but there is some of that too. It's 2e bro.
pg 3 is filler...I like having a little authors note though to help explain the product or just say thanks to people or whatever.
The nits:
--no, didn't know about it back then. I'm self-taught. This was one of my first attempts at publishing.
--yes, I agree. I was going for a 'forest theme vibe'. But I prefer B&W.
--yeah, I agree.

Keep it coming.


8, 8, I forget what is for
Malrex said:
I think I'm more of a 'front story' player. We create a character. We may have a little backstory or why this character is here in the back of our heads but don't really share unless asked...then we develop personalities and more importantly--goals of the characters through play. While your way, you are concerned and focused on the 6 hobgoblins...with my playstyle, the concern for hobgoblins is maybe 2nd or 3rd on my list as I know my character pissed off Rolf the barbarian earlier and is he going to knock me on my ass while fighting or will he have my back?, or should I help the cleric in hopes that they heal me later even though I renounced their deity....its like fucking Game of Thrones within the party.
Honestly, it doesn't sound like we are worlds apart in what we like. I think you misunderstand me, or perhaps I have gone hyperbolic in an effort to make my point. Player goals are essential.

What I play/played is a far cry from Monopoly, and when it works, it is utterly immersive and magical. And yes, the DM does his darn-est to "role play" the NPC accurately (i.e. the world as straight-man)---as do the players (i.e. don't take ACTIONS that are out of character). Accurately being the key word (as oppose to obsessively). The difference is the players aren't "actors" assuming roles, they are players (much like themselves) trying to succeed in the alien environment. The reactions to events and success/failure drama is completely in earnest (although it can get silly). What the DM brings is a veiled world. What the players bring is honest effort to engage and a suspension of disbelief (not their own character's life-story and desired script-changes) . What unfolds is anyone's guess.

PC are still the focus of all the in-game cause & effect, and are still emotionally invested in success/failure---but that occurs potentially through many characters. Yes, they always get (too) emotionally attached to their characters---but that's more of an unfortunate side-effect of D&D rather than a good game mechanic. D&D's "dark side" so to speak. With TSR/WoTC focusing on, and catering to that is a bit like an opioid pharmaceutical taking advantage of a junkie---preying on human frailties---as opposed to encouraging healthy emergent play. It's an easier path, but ultimately a self-indulgent one that leads to a bad end.

EOTB has a great post on his blog that details his personal rules for being a good player. I whole-heatedly agree with them.

The whole race/classes explosion is an outgrow of PC infatuation. Gygax once said he thought it might be better if players were always human. That bothered me when I first heard it since I always liked playing an elven magic-user. But there is a nugget of wisdom in that. PC should start as nothing and GAIN abilities through adventuring---not start special. Also, even though I was an elf, somehow I always lacked the nobility and class of the elven NPCs we encountered. In comparison, I always came of as far crasser and clumsier---as I grubbed for GP=XP and magic items. I was an "elf" on paper---but I played just like a human (because, unlike Lord Mark, I am one). Look, when your players meet exotic entities, it's natural for them to want to "be" them---then you are doing your job well as DM. Unfulfilled desire is a major motivator for action in real life too. The mistake is to cave in and actually fulfill it---because it will never satisfy and it hurts the game (e.g. darkvision).

Also, by no means is there guaranteed cooperation. Inter-party politics happen. It doesn't need to be sought out or injected artificially. And it can be good fun...or it can be game destructive. With the group I played in as a youth, you had to be very careful not to appear "too successful" for fear of getting targeted by your own party. I could tell you a story about that sometime...

Lastly, there's a multitude of great ways for a player to engage themselves in between games: Designing the fortress/tower you want to try to build. Writing up new spells or magic items you want to try to craft. Writing up session reports. Doing artwork. Cleaning up the player's map. None of these require a new game mechanic. (I think you were just born to be a DM.)

I know this isn't the review you were hoping for, because it eats away a bit at your basic premise for the product. What you are getting (from me) is candid consumer feedback (why I wouldn't buy it) and suggestions on how to make it OD&D-ier (I think) if you choose, so that I would covet it. I think the concept is salvageable. Shift the focus away from "fluffing you're PC's feathers" towards a cool interactive SITE. Make it an intriguing place to visit. One that works for solo play or in-campaign level-training. More Yoda-on-Dagobah, and less "awesome man cave spec".

Enough rebuttal, back to the task at hand...
Last edited:


8, 8, I forget what is for
Another small addendum:

Why do we all agree it is bad for the DM to fall in love with his favored NPCs...but then say it's okay for the players to do so?

(Yes, I know, the DM is unfettered and suppose to be impartial...so abuse of power and all that...but I think it's worth taking a moment to consider the parallel.)
Last edited:


8, 8, I forget what is for
We push on...

The picture: Yuck! This is my neighbor in cosplay. D&D is suppose to be the Theater of the Mind. I don't want the Dutch Masters painting hyper-realistic images of the nobility. Think about about most early attempts to bring comic book character's to the silver screen ended up making them look a bit dopey. How stupid was Peter Jackson to show us Sauron standing like the Black Knight in the bright light of day in the opening scene of LotR? Less is more---just ask Hitchcock.

Again, the camera is focused on the wrong thing. This is a vanity portrait. It is not a location that inspires exploration. Where does your player go in this image?

Here's an image I grabbed from cyberspace that gives me that intriguing forest mood
What I like about it is that the figure gives you perspective (the trees seem unnaturally large) and adds mystery (who is that guy?), but it's not blatantly about characterization. (Small aside: The 5e WotC books are SO character-centric with their imagery. It's a major turn-off. I mean when the F*** did elves get blue-skin and giant pointy ears that stick sideways off their heads like Dumbo the Elephant?) I prefer a less realistic or impressionistic style. It allows my mind to fill in the gaps in a manner that best suits my temperament. More allusion...less In-Your-Face-You-Unimaginative-Sods.

On naming: (Dramen Blarr) Most folks don't need two names. It's very modern and renfair to me. Think of how many characters in fantasy books only have one name. It's also less impressive. Bono. Sting. Madonna. If you are a local legend, you can get by with one name. (Easier to remember too).

On stats: Okay, this guy has got some killer rolls. Do we even need to know them? He's 7th level (8d8) --- average HP should be 4.5*7= 36 HP. He's got 62! Yeah, I know, it's the 15 constitution bonus (+7 = 43), but still. Also, he's got +2 this, +2 that, +3 str bonus. Blah blah blah. Why? The dude is injured---he's not going anywhere. He won't even have to fight unless the PC attacks him for all his +2 stuff. (WAY too much magic stuff for my campaign BTW...and why? Think functionally for the scenario.). Honestly, he comes across as a Mary Sue character---the cool ranger I always wished I had. This guy is just way too much Dude---try instead Yoda-strange/unexpected. Also, you've given him the cliche personality. It's boring. He's boring. Byrce would eat you alive for that.

On the set-up: "He welcomes you." ..... More creativity, please.
First off---how the heck did you find this guy? THAT's the adventure seed. And why would he even want to train you? That's step 2. (Again, back to my ranting---It's about want you can do in the collectively imagined world as the human player in the real world...not about what you're character is in your private fantasy-life: e.g. a *R*A*N*G*E*R* (glitter bombs explode). Honestly, there is nothing happening here. The background paragraph sounds like you are applying to be a National Parks ranger. Zero potential energy.

The bow is a cool item. Just doesn't need to be +2. Might want it to make it something to quest for---not something your trainer just "has" because he's the dude-ly-est dude amongst dudes.

EDIT: Apearently he needs a Ring of Warmth because he forgot to put sleeves on his ranger-vest (...gun-show, y'all!).

(I am so mean, and you really put yourself out there time and time again. You don't deserve it. Oh well...it's all for a good cause, right? What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger...and all that. You can always remind yourself that you wrote Red Prophet and I've produced absolutely nothing!)
Last edited:


8, 8, I forget what is for
How about something more like this...

Local legends speak of the Old Man of the Woods that lurks in the ancient growth that hugs the feet of the Dragonback Mountains---a mythical keeper of knowledge of the Primordial Forest that has been sought out by some of the greatest hunters of their generation. Elusive (either fictional or else long dead) and dangerous (Devourer of Babies?), the only clues available to those foolhardy enough to seek this forest boogey-man can be found in nursery rhymes and old-wives tales....
He's not a character---he's a monster (or a figment of drunken hunters' imaginations). No rules apply!

Maybe he's Yoda...maybe a vampire?...an Ent?...a possessed bear?...or an Elder Spirit like Tom Bombadil! Maybe he doesn't even exist and you can just bump into some other bandit-rangers in the woods that will train you (Robin Hood-style). Maybe he's scary. Maybe he's insane. Maybe he just comes to you in fever-visions as you slowly starve, lost in the woods.

Maybe all of the above!

It's suppose to be a big, wide, mysterious world out beyond the boundries of civilization---and we (players) so insignificantly small and clueless, stumbling our way through it.

Role-play that!
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
The player doesn't go in that picture...its Dramen motherfucking Blarr!!
Dramen Blarr needs two names. I mean Conan has 3 names!!!!--i.e. The Barbarian :LOL:
Stats--well, rangers usually have good stats to be rangers. The +'s you don't like is 2e. Read at the end...he might have to fight. And who knows, the player MIGHT fight him--doubtful. I usually give stats of major NPCs unless there is no way they would or could be involved in the adventure. Why does everyone need to be average? Why can't there be sometimes a dude...the dudeliest of dudes with high hp. His personality could be worked on though. I think an older/quirkier ranger might be better...but then I would have to get rid of that ranger picture you love...sigh.

Set-up: How do you find him? Well that's up to the DM right? Sheesh--Explain too much or too little--you get bombed. The adventure seed could be worked up though, maybe even a little wilderness adventure to find the dudeliest dude of dudes or a set of rumor tables/adventure hooks. He wants to train you because he is injured and can't patrol his territory. It could probably use more work.

The bow...meh. It's an idea someone can riff from and place it somewhere in their own adventure somewhere as a new magic item.

Local legends....ya, that's better than what I have. With an adventure seed like that, I would need to put together a random wandering encounter table (or maybe I have one in there already, can't remember) and explain how far it is away from town? And the closest town name...


8, 8, I forget what is for
Local legends....ya, that's better than what I have. With an adventure seed like that, I would need to put together a random wandering encounter table (or maybe I have one in there already, can't remember) and explain how far it is away from town? And the closest town name...
Depressing...I know. Sounds like a ton of work.
Quality generally is.

Re-read my posts above---heavy editing post-facto.
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
So...my takeaway so far...is you would rather see Dramen Blarr become a talking stump, and perhaps if you chop some wood off this stump you can craft a cool bow. Perhaps his spirit is cursed to stay in the stump and he knows how to break the curse, but doesn't want to send a young ranger to their doom so he offers to train him and provide guidance. The last quest could break the curse. Or if you wanted a vampiric stump/tree we can name it Lord Mark, but that is 2 names and goes against your rules..
The new title could be called...ta da da daaaaah : The Ranger's Stump.
With a tagline: This adventure will stump your characters!!

And it also sounds like you want to make it a epic adventure into a "big, wide, mysterious world" but keep in mind the point of the supplement is to provide some 1-shots to help a ranger character of different levels to catch up with higher leveled characters or provide more of a roleplay session of how they get better ranger skills for an hour or so or an opportunity for them to die. Anyways...Rings of Warmth ARE important when sporting the ranger vest. I got quite cold when rocking mine when I was writing this supplement.....continue on. :LOL:


8, 8, I forget what is for
And it also sounds like you want to make it a epic adventure into a "big, wide, mysterious world" but keep in mind the point of the supplement is to provide some 1-shots...
Epic? Did I say epic? This is just the staple fare in OD&D. Everything you want takes time, adds risk, and consumes resources...that's how you sustain a campaign and play out character-driven motives. They end up with a huge back-log of "things they want to do" and "places to go". Perfect! (and none of it requires leveling-up). It all becomes a series of "A Funny thing happened on the way to..." events. Are we in a hurry? Do we have a plane to catch? Is this short-attention-span theater? Quick! Let's dispense with all this nonsense so we can get to high-level play (even though we all know it's kinda busted).

Remember what John Lennon said, "Life's what happens to you while you're making other plans."

Small intended scope...small result? Should I dial back my critique/expectations?
Do you instead want this to seem routine? Simple & easy? Just a little color added while checking a level-up box?

(Yes, I know...I'm being a PITA.)
Last edited:


So ... slow work day? Every day?
Small intended scope...small result? Should I dial back my critique?
Oh hell no...this is great! I'm enjoying your quips.
Seriously though, I'd like to rework it and make it better and open to your suggestions.


8, 8, I forget what is for
One of our memorable sessions was little more than the party trying to convince a senile hobbit to leave his home before the goblin-army arrived (while he kept trying to sell them hats), followed by them leading a caravan into a zombie-infested town---and then high-tailing it out of there without entering a SINGLE keyed area!

Laughter. Fear. Emergent play surprises. Was beautiful.
Last edited:


8, 8, I forget what is for
Also, try saying "Dramen Blarr" with a Hollywood Transylvanian accent...it totally works. You could write the next Curse of Strahd!
  • Like
Reactions: Ice


8, 8, I forget what is for
Another thought...

The "wounded leg" thing is a weak game mechanism. You love this Blarr dude like a favorite child and you're being too kind to him. A ranger with 63 hp is FINE. (He doesn't need an apprentice, he needs a cleric.)

Instead...if you stick with a human trainer: he LOST his leg (maybe both), has 1/4th the hit-points as a result. Losses dex bonuses, moves at 1, and fights at a -3 penalty in melee for attack and defense.

Now, he needs some help.
(...and maybe bitches like Professor X in the Logan movie when he gets assistance going to the bathroom.)
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ice