The Oracle of Basylthor

By Walter J. Jones Jr.
New Realms Publishing

Your boots scrape off the bloodstained flagstones as you step into hall. Fluted columns rise to support a arched ceiling lost in the shadows. A scrape of leather on stone and a jangle of mail echoes off the walls as a mail-clad skeleton steps out from behind a column.

Well, fuck me. NOT an adventure. Not in my taxonomy.

This fifteen page “Adventure” is organized around a deck of cards. You print out a deck of locations, a deck of encounters, and a deck of treasures. You draw a room, roll for an encounter, and maybe a treasure. After experiencing about eight rooms you get to the boss, a harpy, and finish up the adventure. It’s straightforward, generic, and solo capable.

None locations. “Empty shelves line the walls and broken crates and tattered sacks litter the floor of this room.” or “Broken shelves and crates and toppled weapons racks litter the floor of this dusty room.” None monsters. Nine treasures.

Now that I have seen the adventure then the description makes sense. It says there are none cards of each. What I failed to comprehend, from the description, is that this is the ENTIRE adventure. A card driven “walk in to room, killa thing, move to next room” until you reach your eight room goal.

Man, I gotta pay more attention when buying.

NOT an adventure.

This is $6 at DriveThru. The preview is three pages and doesn’t really inform you that you are buying just a couple of card decks.

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6 Responses to The Oracle of Basylthor

  1. Dave R says:

    If you read the whole product description it does tell you what you’re getting.

    The idea’s not totally out of bounds, but to make it work I would want each room to have a unique and challenging environment. The room where you’re fighting on rope bridges over a pit of spikes, the room where everything’s on fire, the room where the floor is greased, so on. Then if the monsters were interesting, and the treasure included things you could use on later rooms I could see it coming together. Maybe a nine-room map where each room has space to lay a card, so you could have an actual layout instead of a literal straight line.

    It sounds like the rooms don’t meet that standard at all. Are the monsters original, or just out of a book?

  2. So you’re just buying the ADND Random Dungeon tables?

  3. Brian says:

    Among the solo RPG crowd (that is, folks who enjoy playing RPGs alone, by themselves, without any other humans actively involved), an oracle is a device used to generate unexpected content for your game. Generally, they’re used to replace a GM by automating world-building. Oracles can include the village generator from Scenic Dunsmouth or the reaction chart from Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert D&D.

    That kinda sounds like what they were aiming for here. Doesn’t sound like a good one, but if that’s not what you were expecting, I can see why you’d be taken by surprise.

  4. Commodore says:

    Looks like it was so bad it broke Bryce.

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