By Tony A. Thompson Outpost Ownbear S&W Level 3
The stories tell of Fendoom Groom and his powerful magics. His life long study of the arcane arts benefited so many until one day he came to the village babbling and muttering. He purchased some of his usual items and returned to his tower just outside of the village. The next morning a loud explosion awoke the village who went to discover that Fendoom’s tower had collapsed and evidently sealed the wizard to his death. The village mourned their mage and life slowly returned to normal.
This five page adventure features a small twelve room dungeon under a ruined wizards tower. It tends towards minimalism and does the best job it can, I guess, with a limited map size. It’s also trying to hit the interactivity parts of adventuring, but there’s a critical component missing in most cases: why? And fuck you all, I’m not giving up some smll adventures yet. A man can dream, can’t he, of short and good adventures? Focused to a razors edge. But not this one.
This thing is using a description style that is on the minimalism side of the spectrum. Fact based, a little abstracted, just a sentence or two in most cases, and with room dimensions up front in a format that, for once, I will NOT be bitching about. Here’s an example: “20 x45 room appears to be a temple and shrine to the Moon Goddess Netia. Searching under the statue reveal a secret compartment of various treasures as noted below.” The dimensions come up front, in a format that’s easy to follow and either take advantage of or ignore, so, pretty much a perfect way to include that information, if You’re going to. The core room description, though, is lacking. “Appears to be” is almost always a sin of padding, as if the “If you search then you find” format seen in the second sentence. More seriously, though, is the rather dry and abstracted nature of the room description. There’s almost nothing there for the DM to work with. I guess “Moon Temple’ is better than just “temple?” Better yet would have been replacing that sentence with a one sentence description OF the moon temple instead of a conclusion statement that it IS a moon temple.
It’s trying to be interactive, with a number of rooms having something hidden in them or some object to interact with. But, most feel a bit hollow, as if they were just half realized. One room, for example, has six stone columns that reflect different elements. (air, fire, stone, etc). To what end? Nothing. That’s the end of the room description. Another has a stone tree. When you touch the leaves they fall gently to the ground. And when you chop it then the tree explodes. Why chop it? Or, better yet, why is there not a hint that chopping the tree is dangerous. If the leaves disappeared with a little “poof” of incineration when the hit then the party would have some clue of what to do. As it stands, the interactivity almost seems random. If you do this then this thing will happen, will little ability to tell good from bad. Level 3 is a little early for that, IMO. Weal/Woe helps.
Treasure seems both heavy and light. Gold/gems/jewels is very light indeed, but there is a fairly large number of magic items present for a small 3rd level tower with 2 wights at the end. The map for the place has its own page, but only takes up about one quarter or less than the page. Hats weird. Why wouldn’t you use the entire page if it’s not being used for something else? Rumors are trying to be in voice and are better than most rumors in products because of that.
So, ultimately, it’s a VERY basically described dungeon with some attempts at interactivity that fall short of their goals. A little more design in the interactivity/puzzles/things and deleting the rooms descriptions to replace with them someone a little more evocative, and about the same word count, would get you something easy to scam and run with, hopefully, some decent room evocativeness and interactivity.
This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $0. I’m glad to see it PWYW, that’s the way most adventures should be until you get your feet under you. There’s no preview, which is not the biggest sin since it’s free, but, still, I do like a preview to show a few rooms of what you’ll be buying, so you can evaluate beforehand.