At the High Point Inn

By Bill Reich
Level 1

This fourteen page adventure is set in an inn. There’s a fight, I think, that happens? In the inn? More than that I’m not sure. I’m not even sure what system this is for. It’s very hard to figure out what is supposed to happen.

As best as I can tell, you go to an inn to stay the night, someone hires you, or tries to, for protection. AT some point during the night three dwarves staying in the inn star a fight. Or kill the guy? Or something? It’s never really stated. This is really as close as the adventure gets: “If Barnart Hartwell is alone in the Taproom, the dwarfs prevent him from sounding an alarm that might warn other inn residents. Barnart may survive an attack by these ruthless, practiced fighters.” So ….

This IS, I think, all there is of the adventure. Arrive at inns common rooms. Maybe get hired. Hear and/or engage in a fight with three dwarves.

And now on to the system. It’s listed as OSR and the cover states OSR/D20 systems. But then it talks about air, body, and power magic. That’s not OSR/d20? And a point of magic protection and two points of undead protection? That’s not D&D? Or d20? Mineral fiber and plat over fiber? Is that some system? It’s got AC, HD, and HP, as well as a single “Save” number. Weapons are d4/d8. Spells include some recognizable ones and “Darkness Globe,” I have no fucking clue what system this is for. Money is in $, 80$ and such. No clue.

The first two or three pages are oriented at the players, I think. I think it might be read-aloud. I think. It’s not formatted like that. But it does use language “Upon entering the taproom you recognize …” and other first person kind of text that seems oriented toward telling the party what they see, feel, think or do. The lack of … understanding? Formatting? Provided to differentiate the text is one problem and text that IS read-aloud that tells the party what they think or feel is another common mistake. There’s also this weird abstraction of detail that’s present. Or time dilation? “Table H is the rowdiest table in the room, what with three dwarfs playing cards and drinking by-the- mug lite. Later, as they switch to a by-the-pitcher dark brew, the table quickly fills with bronze coins. You hope that they are not mean-spirited when drunk.”  Note not only the “You hope …” text but also the “Laster, as they switch to … “ text. Rather than playing EITHER section out in the game both are summarized. The You Hope portion should be something that the players actually feel, rather than being told that they feel. The “Later …” section should come through roleplaying. Instead it’s this weird time compression. And almost all of the first few pages are like this, the text weirdly summarizing things and telling the party what they think … without any regard to the formatting. It’s almost like there should be a boxed about the first two pages of text, to indicate read-aloud.

Later, during the night, “Any PCs in the corridor come to the aid of Hobson and Bifur.” Uh, no I don’t …

There are some timelines present, and some NPC’s, as well as a summary sheet of a BUNCH of NPC’s. I THINK the party is supposed to talk to people and that there are supposed to be differing alliances from the NPC’s and the party talking to them is supposed to do something, like make the fight larger? But that’s conjecture, there’s nothing like that. I’m just guessing because there are a lot of NPC’s presented and some kind of political overview about internal and external dwarf factions. I have no idea about the timeline. Someone takes a bath at 3am? Is that relevant for some reason? The action happens before then, pretty sure, based on the timeline. 

So, the system seems all over th place. The text is all over the place. I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen in this “sandbox” expect for a fight … lethal, non, no clue. It seems like the NPC’s and timeline should interact with everything somehow, but it’s not clear how. 

This is $.5 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages. Pages two and three are that weird maybe read-aloud? Page six has an adventure overview section that details the action? I think? Based on this can you run the adventure? Because the other other pages don’t really help much more. At all.

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11 Responses to At the High Point Inn

  1. Ron says:

    The money in the module is in dollars? That’d be different. I’m intrigued if anyone comes up with the system. I’m not sure that saves this adventure, but I hope! Thanks for the review Bryce.

    • Ron says:

      My money question, since I was not specific, is in reference to this:
      >I have no fucking clue what system this is for. Money is in $, 80$ and such. No clue.<
      So, not in GPs or whatever then?

    • Bigby's Affirmative Consent Lubed Fist says:

      That’s a TFT, and possibly GURPS feature. Yeah, TFT had day jobs for adventurers and dollars as the basic unit of currency.

      Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad a trope, with one s.p. equaling one dollar, relative prices are easier to figure out. I also like the g.p. being equivalent to the twenty dollar bill, formerly known as the ‘Yuppie Food Stamp’, that staple of the ATM.

  2. squeen says:

    Makes you think a cool adventure would be set in an Inn with weird time-loops and dilations happening so that incomprehensible scenes kept playing out of order, and you couldn’t leave until you fixed the underlying problem with the time-stream.

    Very Dr. Who.

    Now, if someone could pull THAT off in a product…they’d be a true genius.

  3. Slick says:

    The man has created his own esoteric rule system mid-adventure. He stands at the pinnacle of DIY D&D, bow before him.

  4. Edgewise says:

    Reading the preview is enough to tell me not to get this. It jumps right into the minutia of dwarven politics. Right off the bat, I can see that the author’s priorities are all wrong. Do I need to change the politics of my setting to enable a tavern brawl? And that’s far from the only problem I can spot in three pages.

  5. Jeff says:

    There is a “non-OSR” version of this adventure on Drivethru that is apparently for the “Glory Road” RPG. (The Glory Road RPG is also available on Drivethru – by the same author, unsurprisingly – but details are very sketchy.)

    Seems like the conversation to OSR wasn’t done very well, but even actual game companies with editors often struggle when converting adventures between systems.

    • Robert, OSR Heretic says:

      I’ve always wanted to create my own game system to hammer out the things I don’t like. I can’t imagine having the hubris to think someone else would actually want to buy it. I *definitely* can’t imagine having the patience to write it out in a cohesive, easy to follow manner.

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