By Sean Liddle
System – Unknown
Level – Unknown
You and your friends are in deep trouble. Children of respected knights of the realm, you’ve been slacking away and causing trouble. Thankfully the King and his people respect your families and you haven’t been banished, or worse. Now you must travel down the southern coast to investigate a long standing rumor of a missing shipload of treasure from one hundred years past. You will visit hidden port towns, island enclaves and see sights you’d never see from your boring northern stone city. Pirates, sea monsters, a mystery to solve and wealth to retrieve for your king and country to help fund a coming war against the Drow. It’s time to search for the Lost Colony.
This 43 page adventure involves a sea voyage to various ports while looking for a lost treasure of old. It is linear and almost incoherent in its stream of consciousness style.
There are no stats. There are no credits. There is no game system mentioned. There is no introduction to speak of, other than a “this is the first in a line of adventures and we will expand some areas in others.” Everything is in a single column. A cursive font is used in places, making vast portions nearly unreadable. Other interesting font choices seem to fight the reader to be clear. All of these choices combine to make it VERY hard to read the adventure, let alone use it at the table.
The writing is mostly stream of consciousness. Linear, events, and encounters all mixed together in single paragraphs, without a traditional room/key format. It’s as if this is an outline, or you were sitting in a bar after three drinks and describing an adventure. The first 28 pages are the sea voyage and the various ports visited, rumor tables, and merchants to visit, along with a couple of encounters that the DM can use to “keep the adventurers on their toes.” Like giant Crabs coming out of the water and snagging a womans children. Multiple paragraph read-alouds, you visit three or four cities and then end up in a forest on page 28, ending on page 33 before the maps start. The main encounter, a dwarf vault, is on one page in paragraph/conversational form.
I don’t even know where to start with this. It is as incoherent as it can possible be and still be legible. This needs a formatting, bad, for readability purposes. Once that’s done then the conversational writing style could be addressed.
This is $1.75 at DriveThru. The preview is perfect, showing the first six pages. The cursive font. The long read alouds. The stream of consciousness writing on page five for the events. It’s quite representative for what you are getting. I encourage you to check it out.https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/181092/Southern-Coast-Adventures-LC-1–The-Lost-Colony?affiliate_id=1892600
You should review modules for the Shadow of the Demon Lord RPG.
a o k
This seems like it suffers from a case of the “Too much flexibility, but not really”. It just reads like a DM’s off-hand notes to an adventure he once ran, and wanted to optimize sales potential (or, if you wish to be less cynical, appease a greater audience) by leaving out all the raw gears and axles that tie it down to any specific system.
That being said, I’m piqued by the oddity. Its strange writing and alien, disconnected design are a curiosity… I’d almost buy it just to see the rest of this strange thing play out.
Also, the preview is dreadful. It never gives me the impression that the narrative railroad is going to end anytime soon, and requests so much being invented by the player that raw improvisation can match what is offered. (Again, based purely on the preview’s pitch)
The Wizards of the Coast guys have been making a really big deal about this new “Tomb of Anihilation” book they’re put out – bigger than any of their other 5e adventure paths, so far. They’ve been doing big events for If and getting half a dozen of those podcasters who stream their D&D games to run through the module as a promotional thing starting last month.
They really, REALLY seem invested in playing it off as this edition’s spiritual successor to Tomb of Horrors, right down to the green demon mouth trap featuring on the front cover. Is a much bigger undertaking than a lot of the DriveThruRPG modules you spotlight here, but with this being marketed as 5e’s “Old School” adventure and you being the only guy out there I’ve seen take a real, serious critical eye to the other major modules they’ve put out, I’m wondering if you’ve considered giving this one a look? I’m interested in seeing what an OSR-centric blogs take on WOTC’s lip service to old school adventures would look like.
Call me cynical, but that just sounds like a poor idea. ToH was most of all a product of its time. It’s unique strength is that it was a 100% terrible idea on paper and works primarily as a meta-suggestion. Which is to say, your players know what they’re getting into, and that’s half the fun.
It’s like trying to remake a good movie or video game. Ultimately, the comparisons will drag it down, and considering WotC’s… skills, there’s a good chance it’s a lot of copying and the kind of bland replication stuff that makes 3D printers look like artists.
That being said, I’ve not seen it. I’m just saying that ToA, by sheer proxy, starts off next to a steep hill. And with 5e being what 4e was not, I can sort of see them doing a good job on it.
Tombs of Horrors may get all the attention but most of ToA involves a modified version of Dwellers of the Forbidden City hidden inside a hex crawl like X1 or X6. That part looks fun but could take many months to play.
Tomb of Horrors was just a product of its time. Death traps were a monthly occurrence in Dragon; when Dragon stopped publishing them, Grimtooth was there to carry on the idea. Other similar trap heavy lairs were done by other publishers, many loosely inspired by a bunch a lot of bad movies set in ancient Egypt. Even early Traveller had some ToH style adventures given a SF reskin.
ToA’s version of ToH switches over to post-Ravenloft style with spirits that will recount their life stories and one death room can be defused by figuring who the ghost was in life.
The preview alone hurt my brain. Byrce, you are a legend for the community and at the same time a glutton for punishment for all the work you do.
That’s too bad because it sounds like a great story!