By Jason Duff Earl of Fife Games Mork Borg
You find yourself at a quaint and idyllic inn. The sights and smells are all perfect to rest your weary bones. But the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end as your sixth-sense tells you something is wrong.
This thirteen page digest adventure involves one scene in an inn. It’s not organized in any meaningful way and I find it hard to believe that you can get two to three hours of play time, as advertised out of it. Sure, spend your money on it. Whatever.
You come across a quaint idyllic country inn. (Danger Wil Robinson! Danger!) The family is super nice and the rabbit pie is great and it’s very comfortable. (Danger danger! High Voltage!) When you go to sleep you find rocks in your bed that say “In the barn.” In the barn you find a bunny pen. Make a save and you see them as trussed up humans yelling for help. An illusion fey then attacks you. Everything else is “how to get the party to the barn if they don’t go there.”
I don’t know. What do you want me to say here? You want me to talk about encounter density? The idea that you can have one idea and stretch it out to a large number of pages in order to justify some arbitrary price? “Oooo! High page count! It must be worth it!” When in reality a high page count causes me to think nothing other than “How the fuck will this one be padded out?” Those little two page thingies maybe a something I avoid but at least they are not padding out to an excessive amount.
Play time? Two to three hours? Seriously? To stop by the inn and go to the barn? I often use the phrase “sit at the table, bored” to describe my interest in plot based scenarios. It’s no wonder people pull out cell phones if this is the degree of engagement expected.
So, you’ve got this one combat, I guess. Certainly D&D is MUCH more than combat, but let’s talk about this one. How can you make combat interesting? You could make it some kind of cat and mouse thing. Use the environment, Night of the Living Dead style, to fend off a creature. Or you could go the way this adventure does and just say that the thing attacks. No real advice on using the illusion powers it has. No real tactical options since there’s no maps and nothing given on anything to make the scenario more interesting. Just make your save and see the fluffy bunnies and get attacked.
The writing style/organization? Just paragraph after paragraph with “first this happens and then this happens” with some major bolded words every couple of pages as a section heading to provide an option for the players not going to the barn, sleeping, whatever they do to NOT go to the barn. Paragraph after paragraph is no way to write an adventure. If you find yourself, in encounter areas, writing multiple paragraphs to describe something, or the course of the adventure, then you’ve made some kind of terrible mistake. Paragraph style is useful to orient the DM the first time the adventure is read through by the DM. After that first time, while the adventure is being run at the table, this sort of “just a plain paragraph, once after another” is the worst way possible to orient information. Bold a few words. Better section headings. Use of whitespace to organize. Maybe bullets. SOMETHING. Nope.
This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is five pages. The last page of the preview, and maybe the one before it, are good examples of the writing style you will find throughout. Is that’s what you want your adventure to be, have at thee. I think it stinks. It’s also not obvious, from the preview, that this IS the adventure and that’s the style used throughout, without having seen the entire adventure. So, poor preview.