By Alexander Langlet Stealth's Modules & TRPG Content 1e levels 1-3
… Pillage the Halls of the Bonelord, an ancient king who’s name has been lost to time. …
This five page adventure is a dungeon with twenty rooms. Single column, It is one step removed from being minimally keyed. There’s a decently evocative sentence or two here or there, but is short on mundane loot and interactive content.
Well, I say “short on interactive content”, but … to its credit the adventure does not have every monster attack as soon as the party opens the door. There’s snake, shadows and skeletons that only attack when the party fuck with them/their room. In some cases this causes to arise that most delicious of things: zany party plans to get the treasure. A long abandoned alter, covered in dust, obvious loot on it … and a shadow flitting about. Fuck yeah I’m goon try my luck! Or a large snake, coiled around some loot. Or some skeletons guarding a massive set of double doors. This is some fine examples of exploratory D&D play. Pushing your luck is tied to the resource mechanic in Gold=XP systems. And I fucking love temptation (and, as a player FALL FOR IT EVERY SINGLE TIME.) Beyond a few instances though, there’s not much here beyond some combat. And that’s too bad. Interactivity means more than combat and those few examples of pushing your luck are not really enough, I think, to support a twenty room dungeon.
Treasure is low here, there’s not much at all. Which I always find weird in an OSR game. The goal of the game is to get the loot and I think there’s an implicit agreement between the DM and the players that there WILL be loot in the dungeon, especially in a single isolated level like this. If not then the DM will, I think, fall short on players in a classic Gold=XP style. What’s in it for me, as a player, if you remove the gold from gold=XP but keep the system? There is a decent amount of potions and a wand … maybe I’m just discounting the XP from those too much.
The main baddie is a 3HD AC3 skeleton. That’s a fearsome combo for lower level players, but probably ok with some running away. There’s also a room with 60 cubic feet of green slime in it. Yes, CUBIC. A 20×30 room 10’ high filled to the ceiling with green slime. My mind is furiously working out all of the possibilities with that much green slime at my disposal …
There’s a sentence or two that’s a good start to some room descriptions. “Piles of dry and cracked snakeskin are scattered in this room …” or a dry & dusty room with two skeletons with polearms guarding a set of double doors. A sack is tattered and a bowl engraved with opals. A bock of grey stone with a black cloth draped over it, a silver bowl and fist-sized gem on top and everything covered in dust. It’s not bad. Not enough of the rooms do this and it’s inconsistent in the rooms that do.
The room content is close to being minimally keyed. In one room a couple of kobolds stand guard armed with slings and staves. That’s the extent of the room description … Vampire Queen turned from stat block to sentence.
Low loot, inconsistent description, low-ish interactivity … at least its not padded.
This is $1 at DriveThru. There is no preview. Put a preview in. Even if the adventure costs $1. Even if it’s 2 pages long. Give us a view of what we’re buying!