By Matt Kline Creations' Edge Games S&W Levels 2-4
You’ve been hired by Silver Hammer Trading to investigate a river trade route, running through Night Crystal Pass, that has fallen into disuse. Unfortunately, the dwarves they send along as observers have their own agendas. And then there are the goblins… hideously transformed goblins.
This 23 page adventure describes an eighteen room small dyson map of a dungeon/temple along a river. The usual. DM text long and unwieldy. Read aloud fairly staid and misused. A couple of NPC’s accompany the party. They add nothing except a hidden victory condition.A pretty typical OSR adventure, with all of the implied meaning that phrase has.
Ok, you’ve got a six hour river journey ahead of you, with two tag-a-longs, and you roll for wanderers every hour. 3HD and 4HD wanderers. With 2d6 being the roll and 2, 12, and 7 being “No Encounter.” Yeah .. this thing is a little rough for level 2’s.
Hanz and Franz go down the river with you to make notes on the journey. One wants to collect magic crystals and the other LUVS a dwarf goddess. That’s their secret agendas. So, they wander off at times, or can, to do their things. It’s not really an issue with party interaction. I would probably let them wander off and not care. Until, of course, you get to the end of the adventure. THEN, if they are not with the party when you reach the town at the other end of the river, you don’t get paid your 1000gp. So, it’s a fucking escort mission with two dumbasses but you don’t KNOW it’s an escort mission. Easily solved by an up front DM, but it still pisses me off. It reminds me of that Cracked sketch about every escort mission ever.
Read aloud is the usual. Things are described as “large” and “low.” Boring adjectives and adverbs that do little to convey any real concrete impression of an area. “It looks like an attempt was made to …” that’s a conclusion. Conclusions don’t go in read-aloud. You describe an area in such a way that the players draw the conclusions about the area. That’s a big part of the fun of D&D, or any RPG for that matter. The discovery of something. If you tell them everything up front then it’s just a slog through combat after combat and you can do that in Advanced Squad Leader instead. Or maybe Gloomhaven. There’s also broken interactivity through oversharing in the read-aloud. The read aloud goes in to too much detail. Rather than present an opportunity for the party to investigate, and discovery, through an interactive back and forth with the DM, it instead just tells you the secrets up front. It’s fucking boring.
DM text is long, of course. Full of the history of the rooms, of course, that add nothing to an encounter. Full of conversational style of detail that makes it hard to scan. A page for a simple encounter with a couple of monsters and a barrell in the room.
This smells, at this point, of someone just cranking shit out for the sake of cranking shit out. That pisses me off. I feel cheated, as if our goals are the not the same. Someone seeking the lucre as opposed to doing the best the can because of enjoyment of the game. I come back to publishers who have done bad work, time and time again, because I’m always hopeful that they’ve improved their game. Some have! There are positive examples! And then there’s the people who are just cranking shit out. Tomorrow, I do something different, I hope!
This is $1.50 at DriveThru. The preview is the first four pages. Which is all filler. So you don’t actually get to see any of the encounters. LAME! Do you think, perhaps, I’m wrong? Perhaps I’m wrong and the reason for the preview button is to ensure that it is black text on a white background? No? Yes? I don’t fucking need this shit in my life on a Monday morning during a lockdown, or, to be frank, ever.