By Ben Barsh Pacesetter Games & Simulations S&W Level 8!!!
The town of River’s End has always been a quiet sanctuary for those outcast by society. These exiles share one thing in common: wither rot. This disease relentlessly withers the body down to a corpse in a short period of time. However, with the help of magical healing properties provided by the Ravenscroft River and an advanced mage named Mortimer, the people of River’s End have been able to create a fruit called Dragonberry. This fruit stops this ailment from running its course. However, Mortimer has recently fled the town leaving nothing but an ominous note of revenge. Without him interacting with the crop and river, the upcoming Dragonberry harvest will be incomplete leaving the people to once again suffer the full consequences of their wither rot. It is up to you to help the vulnerable citizens before Mortimer and this malicious disease successfully destroys the respite of River’s End.
This 28 page adventure uses about eleven pages to describe a two level dungeon with about thirty rooms. The writing is verbose, dull, and there’s not much interactivity beyond stabbing shit. But, who am I to tell you what to like?
So, this is one of those “it’s a trap I use to lure adventurers in!” dungeons. Not a super big fan of those. It seems like lazy design. Like, I can’t think of another reason for all of this shit to work together so I’m going to just say it was on purpose as a test, challenge, etc. In fact, let’s discuss free will for a minute.
The people in this village suffer from a disease. Every year a local wizard casts a spell which allows the villagers to grow a fruit that staves off the deadly disease for one year. This year the wizard got pissy and left the village. You’re sent to stop him/bring him back/blah blah blah. It’s a little vague. Anyway … do the villagers have the right to force the wizard to cast the spell and/or expect him to? He’s not getting paid, there’s no vow of eternal servitude, etc. Further, what is the wizards obligation, morally, to the villagers? If he can save the lives for 250 people is he then OBLIGATED to, morally? What if it took a year off of his life? Or just an hour off of his life? Does he, in fact, have ANY obligation AT ALL to the villagers? How about with regard to the spell? Is he obligated to share the spell even if he doesn’t cast it? What are the implications as the price of the spell approaches (calculus wise) “eternal indentured servitude?” Have you stopped beating your wife? How about you, Mr Adventurer, acting as the third party agent for the villagers in this scenario? As a villager, you don’t hire a private army and not expect to use it for some killing. What’s the point of having a nuke if you don’t use it?
Ok, so, none of this is actually a part of the adventure. I mean, the wizard can cast the spell and if he doesn’t then the villagers WILL die. Oh, and, conveniently, he IS a poly’d evil dragon playing “the long game”, so, being evil, you can just stab the shit out of him. Not a super fan or orc babies, but this one kind of interested me. Rather than a potential future represented by orc babies, this deals with the free will of someone when others will, ultimately die. I think the adventure would be better for having a “good” wizard in it, instead of an evil dragon, and then just let things play out. As a GM, you don’t make ANY moral judgements at all. No alignment BS at all, just let the players do what they will. Actually, I don’t mind orc babies either, as long as they are handled in exactly the same way. Who cares what choice you make … I mean, beyond yourself and how you just defined yourself?
Long time readers know that when I go off on a tangent like this then it’s because there’s not much to say about the adventure. And there’s not.
“A sudden and loud noise comes from the forest. The sound of uprooting trees fills the air. As you turn, you see two trees-like figures uproot and begin an attack!”
“Unlike most dragons, they create a complex lair strictly to watch wanderers or adventurers suffer inside.”
This campsite was set up by an adventurer a long time ago. He stumbled upon the cave and rushed in when the treants attacked him. However, he was wounded badly and bled out. Mortimer already took his belongings, so there is not much of value on his person.”
“The shark tooth necklace is a magical item created by Mortimer. However, he is just beginning to dabble in the creation of magic items. The necklace functions just as a ring of swimming.”
The descriptions, as noted in the examples above, are full of “you do this” and “you do that.,” They embed history and backstory in them, explaining why, padding out the text. Interactivity is quite low, beyond just They Attack!
This is just another of the sort of plot based adventures that contain muddled text that make it hard to run and have little to intrigue a party. And it’s all a test, to lure in adventurers. *sigh*
This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview is only four pages but it does a decent job of showing you the writing and encounter style used throughout, so, good preview.
Why are you still reading this blog? It’s as empty as this adventure.