By Frank Schmidt
A religious festival in the nearby town of Saratoga is the spot your introductory level PCs have opted to begin their careers. With so many people coming to the festival the group anticipates finding information on adventures they can start their budding careers with. Action begins sooner than expected as the celebration is interrupted by a group of Stirges bothering some of the revelers and it quickly gets worse…
This 32 page starter adventure takes characters to level four from adventures in and around a small village being attacked by undead. Single column, bad read-aloud, bad DM text, “challenge” orientation … There are certain things in adventure design that make you say “ought oh!” and anticipate the worst. I’m not saying it’s right, but it happens. A high page count to low encounter count is one such thing. It doesn’t always mean trouble, but can. Another is PROMINENTLY DISPLAYING YOUR TRADEMARK NUMBER ON THE COVER. Priorities may have been misplaced. This is the usual combat dreck.
This adventure has a point of view and it embeds it in the text, deeply. The player background is a good example of this. “The time has come for you to be the hero you want to be” and “your master has explained …” and “you’ve finished your training and said your goodbyes …” Typical of most railroad adventures, you’re told what you feel and how to be. The player is robbed; their story is no longer theirs but the DM’s … or designer. This isn’t a village being attacked by undead that the characters encounter; that kind of open ended thing that you can slot your game in to. You’re told who you are and why you are there. This is embedded throughout the adventure.
Moving on to the DM text we’re told “The path of an adventurer is not an easy one and great care should be taken in selecting associates of a similar train of thought.” and “Although it is a small village, the area of Saratoga is about to present the young adventurers will a very large opportunity for their careers.” This kind of nonsense drives me nuts. It’s filler. It serves no purpose. Unfocused writing, not understanding the purpose of an adventure.
The read-aloud is consistently weak. “A quick look around shows several people near the edge of the festival attempting to fend of large flying creatures. As you look on you realize that this is a problem.” Really? They realize that this is a problem? Large flying creatures? Well that certainly makes the mind race and the pulse quicken. And the DM text for this? It starts “The first test for the new PCs will be a group of four Stirges …” Weak read-aloud, unfocused DM text …
The adventure is essentially linear, with programmed events occurring. Skeletons come down the path to the village, after the stirge attack. If you’re not there then a small child comes to get you. No skipping! Then you go to the cemetery and enjoy text like “You wanted a little adventure in your life, seems it has found you already.” Then on to the next encounter/challenge. No real village to interact with, generic descriptions …
You know, there’s something to be said for Just Do It. It’s admirable. Dude wrote and published an adventure. That’s a hurdle a lot of people don’t get over. He’s also charging for it and didn’t disclose that the fucking thing was 5e! Uncool. This thing is just a series of combats broken up by read-aloud.
This is $3 on DriveThru. They have it in the OSR category. Nothing could be further from the truth. The preview is two pages and it shows you EXACTLY the kind of content you are getting. Ponderous read-aloud. Ponderous DM text. Embedded plot. Enjoy.https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/219845/SQ1–Yearning-for-Adventure?term=yearning+for+adventure?affiliate_id=1892600
Well, someone feel free to correct me otherwise, but so far my experience from cheking some PWYW samples in drivethru has been that anything with the header “Adventures in Filbar” can be counted on to be Dungeon article level dreck…
In the main, that is probably fair comment. I have a handful of the remarkable number
of “Adventures of Filbar” materials. (Does the single author have time to do anything else?) Their virtue is that they are free or cheap. FD5 Venture into Sordack Valley is a bounty hunt for two criminals that I like. PL5 Phoenix Island and GF16 Currents of Adventures could be used as hexcrawls. And for those who play solo (no referee) adventures, TS1 Heart of Darkness is decent and substantial, FS2 Tabernacle of the Ka-Sik-Fal serviceable. (The latter has a with referee version as well.)
You made me curious enough to look on DriveThru, and there certainly are a lot of adventures. From a completely unscientific sample of the descriptions, it seems like the robbing of player agency is a common theme. Most of them would be better suited as the introduction to a Fighting Fantasy gamebook.
Well … fuck.
I ended up buying another one, accidentally.
Two is my limit. No more.
Is there any way for users to flag incorrect or outright lying DTRPG categories like this one and all the other shit called OSR?
I know someone out there listens. They recently added “Into the Odd” as a filter for system! Surely they can deal with falsehoods like this!