By Arnold Kemp Goblin Punch GLOG Level 0
This 54 page adventure is both an introduction to the GLOG rules as well as a zero level funnel with two levels and about fifty-ish rooms. It’s quite interactive and does a good job with creature and item descriptions, less so with evocative room descriptions. They are easy to use and scan, after a fashion. I’d pick this to run over a lot of other adventures.
The intro pages to this, the first fifteen or so pages, are used to describe the basic GLOG rules. It’s clearly B/X derived, with lower stats and a few other things borrowed from other systems. More important;y to it’s B/X heritage is the philosophy of adventure. There’s a nice little section, one for the DM and one for the players, which serves as a pretty good overview of the B/X mindset. Rulings, not rules, run away, use cunning, don’t fight fair, etc. Good enough that you could use both the DM and the player sections as handouts to give a great overview of how the game is played, philosophically. So, basic understanding of D&D? Check!
The maps have a couple of loops in them, good since there are enemies to avoid, including the titular “Lamb.” The lamb resembles a gigantic hairless obese cow. It’s head resembles a bloody horse skull with sunken eyes and a black tongue. It drags its belly as it walks. When wounded or scared it calls out “Father! Father!” in increasingly loud tones. That’s a mother fucking monster description right there! It is going to SCARE THE LIVING SHIT out of the players, which is what monsters should do. Further, the description inspires the DM. It places a nugget of flavour directly in to the central cortex. How can you NOT be excited about running something like that? My mind LEAPS to the possibilities of how to use it … which is exactly what a good description should do. Oh, and if not utterly destroyed then three little lambs wait until it’s quiet and then chew their way out of otis belly. Bad. Ass. Father Bastoval shows up in the dungeon a couple of hours after the Lamb is killed, looking for the killers. If he kills a PC he gains a level and then the DM is instructed to forever more introduce him further as “Bastoval, Slayer of X”. Goovy!
There are a handful of ghouls in the dungeon, which may talk, cooperate, or actually help the party, if the party help them. Japer – Theater & politics. Lutz – Cooking, butchery, & lewd jokes. And so they go. Just a short personality each. This is SPOT ON. No paragraphs and paragraphs of backstory. Just what you need to run the adventure. Short. Sweet. Evocative. Something y ou can work with. As 0’s, you’re trapped in the dungeon, escaped sacrifices to the lamb, and you can free your other three PC’s. There’s a hole in the walls that leads to the city, fist-sized, and a dude on the other side who will extort you and buy things to you, to pass in to you. Again, short & sweet personality and directly to the point of enabling adventure. The adventure does this over and over and over again. Direct, short, quick hits that provide meaningful play opportunities.
Interactivity is HIGH. Just about every room has something to play with, use, reuse or something. Things to collect. Classic statue puzzles. Pools of water. Creatures and NPC’s to talk to and bargain with. There are some giant rolly polly bugs at one point. You can use them to bowl a specific obstacle over that will fuck you up otherwise. Rooms are linked with info in one room related to another room, and you can return to rooms a few times. Cross-references to this are almost always present, allowing the DM to quickly reference what they need. The room text says things like “You can smell vinegar coming from the west” and “you can see faint light from the east”, handling the dungeon environment well. Characters motivations are present. Beyond getting out, you need to find supplies, including water … water which is most notable present in a pool .. that the Lamb hangs out in. You start with a -4, due to dehydration, so you’re motivated to Wacky Scheme the Lamb to get that water … it’s good.
Room descriptions are easy to use. Good use of Bolding, highlighting, boxed offset, bullet points and whitespace to separate and draw attention to various subject headings. The longest/most complex rooms may be about 3/4 of a column but they are quite easy to scan thanks to the format.
What I am not overly enamored with are the actual evocative nature of the room descriptions. Unlike the creatures the rooms are more than a little fact based. “A stone trough half-full of vinegar. Investigating the reeking liquid reveals an empty wine bottle. Another stone trough that stinks of stale milk. It is empty.” From a usability standpoint this is great. From an ITEM description it is pretty good. From a holistic room standpoint, not so much. It is describing the objects rather than the room. This gives me the impression that only the objects matter (and, to be fair, they do from an interactivity standpoint) but it gives the impression that the immersion, the room proper, is not so important.One sentence, at the beginning of each room, describing the room proper, would have sufficed and I think developed the entire thing much better.
Still, great adventure. Loads of magnificent individual elements. I’d run it.
This is free at the Goblin Punch blog.