Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine

By Logan Knight
Last Gasp Grimoire
Level 1

Parasitic infections, stylishly cursed armour, amateur veterinary surgery, unreliable incendiary devices, edible mushrooms, spells unheard of, a wizard in need. Disgusting glory and lost limbs await you within the Sleeping Palace of the Feathered Swine

This is a cute little thirteen room cave adventure that manages to out-Lament most of the adventures published by Lamentations. A cave with excellent descriptions, gross stuff, interesting encounters, and enough of that Lamentations GRIM without going overboard in to cannibal corpse territory. Absolutely worth checking out.

The hook is, to quote “Find the wizard Felix Longworm cowering by stones and a mournful tree.” There’s another sentence that describes his former mission (removing cysts from the swine) , and then two short paragraphs that describe the process of removing the cysts. Given that the hook is one, maybe two sentences long, this is GREAT. In fact, I would suggest that the actual hook is only the first sentence and the second sentence the entirety of the “DM Background” crap that usually, in some overblown form, plagues adventures. It really doesn’t take much to get a party into an adventure in a good way and this is an excellent example. It piques their curiosity. They learn they can profit, in money or spells or equipment. Sold, AMERICAN!

The actual text of the room descriptions/encounters is divided into roughly three parts. First comes some initial impressions, followed by some DM text that elaborates on the impressions, and then there’s a small outline of the room at the bottom, showing the general shapes, entrances and exits, etc. This is an interesting format that has some similarities to that used in the more recent Maze of the Blue Medusa. These formats recognize something important that most adventures do not: it’s meant to be run by the DM. The layout/style/whatever is directly targeted at the DM, at providing them what they need to run the adventure. I’m not necessarily advocating with the particular choices made in this adventure (although I do like it) but rather lauding the choices made to aim the writing at the DM.

Adventures are technical writing with a very specific purpose. Aid the DM. Further, they’ve got a very hard problem: planting the encounters seed in the DM mind where it can grow. I mentioned above that the first part of the room descriptions are the initial impression. This is the seed pod portion of the encounter. “Dark entry cavern, rocks and shit and nothing too special. Sells of cold, stale air. Your eyes feel dusty.” It’s these feelings and impressions that are critically important to the DM. Important to lodge the room ideal in their head so they can expand and grow it, organically and on the fly, as the characters encounter and explore the room. Feather Swine does this well, keeping these impressions short and flavorful and evocative. The DM text that follows could use a little more formatting and editing to make it a bit clearer and easier to read, but that’s a pretty petty complaint.

Feathered swine presents interesting little situations. Press your luck situations. Curiosity situations. Lots of little things to get the players to risk their characters. In one room there are some holes in the walls. Crawling in to one of them gets you pulled in, all horror movie style, by the creature inside … unlike the first two holes with goodies.

Ooey ooky monsters well described. Horrific situations to encounter. Weird objects to bring back home. Easy to run by the DM. Imaginative, with a lot in common with the Weird Environments modules from Psychedelic Fantasies. Absolutely worth checking out.

This is available on DriveThru.

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8 Responses to Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine

  1. Bryce,
    Have you ever considered doing pre-release “reviews”/critiques/consultations? For the sake of helping someine who is about to release?

    • Adam W. says:

      That’s cheating Brandon, publish and be damned!

      Personally I were writing an adventure I’d do everything I could to ensure Bryce never found out about it.

      • Lolz,
        I guess that’s fair too. However, though it would be useful for me as well, I meant more in general, possibly as a lucrative business model for Bryce.

        For myself, I’ve been keeping a lot of Bryce’s “tips” (criticisms of other works) on hand, and as I work on a piece (I hope to someday publish), I occasionally look over the list to make sure I’m not going to outright piss him off in case he someday reads it. 🙂

        • HDTran says:

          Man, if Bryce had a rate for what he does, I’m sure some of us would love to pay for it just to get constructive criticism on what needs to be done–even if we never share it with anyone else.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I sprinkled my USR Sword & Sorcery campaign with the magic items from this module into a moldering ziggurate inhabited by a treacherous sorcerer. The PC’s would not touch the stuff.

  3. Logan Knight says:

    Wow I’m really late in finding this, but thanks so much for the review! It means a lot.

    Feathered Swine came from an experiment in prepping an adventure when I wanted to introduce my brother’s new character (Felix Longworm), and when it worked so well in play I basically threw some layout on it and hit publish.

    The big text with the sensory impressions wasn’t quite intended as boxed text, it was more written down in huge letters in my prep notes to prompt myself (which is why it doesn’t read very clearly), but since publishing it I definitely realise it looks like it’s meant to be read as-is and that a lot of people chose to use it that way – which is a good lesson for me to apply to anything else I publish.

    I’m slowly getting back into writing D&D after a bit of a hiatus, but I’ve had a basically-completed second adventure sitting around that I need to polish that tries to follow the same usability as Feathered Swine but with much more moving parts, so I’ll be keen to see how you feel about it when it’s done.

    Thanks again.

    • I’ve only been gm-ing for 2+ years and Logan if you can stand a bit of abject flattery, Sleeping Place is what slapped me out of titrating Tolkien qua the Forgotten Realms over and over again. For me at least it remains the punchiest, easiest-to-run mini adventure I’ve nested into my games. I’ve never looked back.

      Aside from trying to start an illegal, for-profit goblin-wrasslin’ league (whole nuther enchilada) it’s the one venture my players still talk about. In and out of game. One of them just has to say “you know…… the cave” and the rest are like “dude, too soon.”

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