(5e) The Right to Arm Bugbears

Curtis Baum

AAW Games


Level 6

Strange humanoids are gathering in the nearby Forest of Mists and have been exploring ancient ruins using maps stolen during the robberies. Can the party stop these creatures before they are able to raise an army of kobolds, gnolls, and bugbears?

This 28 page adventure contains seven encounters. I don’t even know how to summarize it. There’s nothing to it but, essentially, monster stats?

Sometimes I am a loss to convey what an adventure is and this is one of those times. 

Let’s imagine a minimally keyed adventure with seven encounters. “4 orc guards” and “1 bugbear sargeant” for example. To each of those lets’s add some read-aloud. Something like “The bugbear sergeant notices you and says It’s time for weapons practice boys!” But also lets make read-aloud lengthy in places at a couple of paragraphs or more. This is, essentially, the adventure. Yeah, I know, if you abstract enough you could describe many adventures this way. You don’t need to do much abstracting to this, though, to make it happen.

Each scene (since that’s what they are, not encounters), has a little section at the beginning. It describes doors. Lighting. Mood. History. Walls. It’s the same offset format for all locations, covering each of the same topics. It’s as if someone had a form they had to fill out and they just blindly went down the boxes typing things in. Some of the form boxes are clearly supposed to be mechanical. Giving the DC of a door in some sort of fixed format has been popular for awhile, especially in Tactical Miniatures of 4e. And that’s what this feels like. Just a little bit more pasted on, just like 4e adventures/encounters/scenes were, so you could call it something more than a wargame/boardgame. This adventure is just one step removed from the The Fantasy Trip, and it’s not a big step either. There’s a puzzle at some locations to work ot after your fight. You get to roll perception to figure out some guards talking to you are actually Orcs In Disguise! Monsters attack no matter what, even if you give then a 200gp bribe. Just fight your fight and go to the next DM encounter. 

Look, I know D&D covers a wide spectrum. But something has to mean SOMETHING, doesn’t it, in order to have some kind of interactive discussion? The scene setting in this is terrible, perfunctory. It takes 28 pages to describe a couple of combats. This is not the D&D I know and love. I don’t know, I’m glad people feel enabled to write stuff. I just fucking wish they’d take some time and figure out HOW to write stuff. I just can’t go on with this review. THERE’S NOTHING TO THIS FUCKING THING

This nonsense is $7 at DriveThru. The preview is excellent, you can figure out exactly what you’re getting from it. I suggest page two for an excellent look at the “scene overview” form, read-loud, and bold adventure styling. 


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10 Responses to (5e) The Right to Arm Bugbears

  1. It’s a shame really. The title is pretty evocative to me. It promises a humorous adventure dealing with goblinoid arms dealers and the fallout thereof. Interacting with the goblinoids in a way besides combat. Making serious decisions about monstrous industrialization.

    I just want bugbear arms dealers goddammit!

  2. “Deep Snaptooth” (Named for his jagged teeth an uncommon cunning) has a proposition for you filthy manthing.

    Snaptooth and his ‘Dealmakers’ can’t hire on as mercenaries to protect the Voivode’s thin stretched supply lines, but you can, and Snaptooth wants a wagon or two to go missing – nothing too violent, no hairy mob of bugbears swarming from the briarwood and necessitating a reprisal – just a little bit of common thievery and low order skullduggery. Because he likes your tiny soft faces Snaptooth will pay you 3,333 piece of green fey gold for each wagon of arms and military supplies you manage to steal, and 3,333 more if you can deliver a red crate which has something special inside.

    No, you don’t need to know what devious bugbear criminals want with wagon loads of good steel weapons, no, he won’t cover costs, and no, of course the fey gold won’t melt into leaves and blow away in a fit of tinkling laughter if you expose it to sunlight – now go get your buddy Snaptooth some steel before your face gets a nibble.

  3. OSR Caveman says:

    “Big Goblin” Bugbears were a mistake second only to “Little Dragon” Kobolds

  4. cosmicfrog says:

    I like the idea of monstrous adventurers stealing maps and exploring a location themselves. That’s solid. I mean you just have to take a few moments and imagine a few reactions that are more interesting and fun than “they attack”.

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