A Tomb to Plunder, dungeons and dragons adventure review

By FEI Games
FEI Games Inc
Levels 1-3

one-off 1st-3rd level OSR hack-n-slash mini-adventure. Includes the new monster “Guardian Statue”

… Your party is traveling from one place to another when you spot a rotting backpack that is still worn by a decomposing body partially hidden in some tall grass. Closer inspection reveals a hand drawn map that hints to a location that might be a small tomb or crypt. Could this be worth checking out? From the various landmarks drawn on the map this location appears to be in this area. The next village is not far away and they might have some idea on where this is located …

This eight page dungeon describes three rooms, a door, and two hallways. The shovelware industry is alive and well, with little content, no good descriptions, and padding and abstraction galore. Plus, FEI Games can’t be a man cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me, DEVO version. 

The first sentence up there, the one that doesn’t start with a capital letter? The one that inspires the imagination with it’s “includes the new monster …” statement? That’s the publisher blurb on DriveThru that’s supposed to make you want to buy the product. Look, I dont’ marketing either. As a good midwesterner it feels wrong. But you have to do SOMETHING to let people know what they are buying and get them interested. I mean, I might not like to do it, and it might feel wrong to me, but you need to engage in it to get people to want to buy the thing, right? Even _I_ recognize that. The second paragraph up there is the first one in the adventure, all in italics as read-aloud, and serves, I think, as a much better blurb. I mean, there’s nothing to that encounter other than what it says. And, it’s a masterful work of abstraction. You are travelling “from one place to another”. Wow! Exciting! “Hints at a location …” Sign me up! “Various landmarks …” Oh boy! I can’t wait! This is textbook abstraction. It’s nothing but padding. I suspect it’s written like that to insert in to any world, but specificity is the soul of narrative. It still sucks. 

The adventure is full of such abstractions and padding. Rooms “appear” to be empty. Which we all know is never the case. And it just padding. Everything in the world “appears to be “ something. It’s the way your senses work in a world cursed by consciousness. Padding and abstracted.

“Put in your treasure” a column of text tells us. Joy. Not even the loot is done. Why would you want this? If you had to do the work yourself then why would you buy the adventure? Does it make sense that a DM is going to creature interesting treasure on the spot for a party that just reached the end? No, of course not. 

“These tattered banners are worthless but may be of interest to a historian” … with no treasure value listed. Making something worth more to one party than another is an good concept, but you need enough to put in to make it worthwhile. Likewise, another room has unknown writing. The fucking game has a spell that has a decippher language impact. What the fuck does it state, even generally? We’ll never know. 

“You feel like something bad is about to happen.” and “as the last person enters the room the door slams shuts and locks.” OMG these are bad. You don’t address the party in read-aloud. You don’t, especially, tell them what they feel. You describe an encounter in such a way that the PLAYERS says “oh, wow, I feel like something bad is about to happen …” THATS what makes a good description. And, the old it slams shut and locks trick? LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! LAME! 

“The monsters have no treasure” the adventure tells us. Well no fucking shit, man. That’s why there is none listed. That’s not how one spends their word budget! Most of one column is spent describing one simple poison gas trap. This ain’t no way to run a railroad.


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