The Headless Haunting of Berengar Manor

By Timothy Lanz
Adventure On
DCC Levels 1-2

Dark rumors have been whispered in the village for years of the vile deeds of Berengar the Brutal and his wife Ra’za’zsu the Cruel. Their manor, now long abandoned, still haunts the nightmares of those who worked there in their youth. When two of Berengar’s fromer servants go missing and their grandson seeks help in finding them, will your adventurers be ready?

This sixteen page adventure details a haunted house, With serious Wall of Text issues. So much so that it is nigh unreadable, let alone playable. Oh, Wall of Text, how I have missed thee!

I had been not reviewing DCC adventures of late. There tends to be more linearity in them, not in terms of plot, like a 5e adventure, but in terms of dungeon design. This one seemed to be different, with a haunted house to explore, and who doesn’t love Tegal/Saltmarsh? To its credit it does present a short section outside of the house, with the grounds and a few outbuildings to explore, as well as a house that, while small, is not linear. Small sections of text also give an overview of the house and grounds, as seen by the party, which is good to see.

That is all.

While there are small vignettes that are fun to explore (the old “skeleton laying under a broken rafter with an overturned chair nearby” gag) the thing is plagued by A LOT of text issues that add up to a horrible horrible wall of text.

There’s A LOT of read-aloud for rooms. Multiple multiple sentences that kind of cause the eyes to glaze over; I can’t think that I’d be patient as a player, listening to it or recalling what been said. The read-aloud is also in italics, which causes my eyes, as the DM, to glaze over and lose track of where I am. Then the read-aloud gives too much information. Small details, like the hasp of a chest being broken, destroying that back and forth interactivity that should exist between a DM and their players. So, too much read-aloud for the players, badly formatted for them DM, and the read-aloud gives away too much information … with it sometimes slipping in to first-person also  “you clean away the …”

And then there’s the DM text. There’s A LOT of it. Again, your eyes get lost because it has very little formatting to help you run it. And mixed in is TONS of backstory about what rooms used to be used for, what happened in them, why something is there, and so on. A LOT of it. SO  much so that the DM text ALSO turns in to a Wall of Text. 

It’s a pretty simple “kill the monsters” adventure, with a few things to figure out, as the players, but it is COMPLETELY unusable, as a throwback to the late 80’s or 90’s style. And EVERYTHING is exacerbated by the smaller font used. 

This is $5 at DriveThru. The pview is only four page, and only shows you a little of one encounter. You do get to see the font size, some read-aloud, and IMMEDIATELY see the wall of text issues in the intro. But, a few more encounters would have been better in the preview.

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2 Responses to The Headless Haunting of Berengar Manor

  1. Shuffling Wombat says:

    Completely unusable seems harsh: could be (or needs to be) better presented and organised is probably fair comment. Further evidence in favour, assuming that the preview is the first few pages of the module, is that what is really going on in the manor is so exciting it even needs to be kept secret from the referee: I don’t see a module overview, you get a briefing for players, what the village elders know, a rumour table, and then into the keyed areas.
    Many of the official DCC adventures have beautiful maps, but they are of the linear gauntlet variety; you lose the exploration aspect. However you might try some of the DCC Lankhmar line: #1 Gang Lords of Lankhmar and #10 Unholy Nights in Lankhmar (a mystery) seem to allow different approaches. You are forbidden to review #3 Acting Up in Lankhmar until the Prince of Nothing has had his chance!
    And your reward? You could be introduced to single malt whisky.

  2. Chibi says:

    Unpopular opinion I got from reading DCC adventures: They all seem to have bad formatting in the form of just walls of text for areas. Can usually not distinguish between text for the players and text for myself or find the key elements.

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