Rangers of Arkwood, adventure review

By Matt Kline
Creation's Edge Games
S&W
Levels 4-6

For years, a benevolent group of hunters stalked the trails of Arkwood, keeping the forest clear of dangerous creatures. Now however the group has vanished, and some very concerned people want you to find out why.

This sixteen page adventure features a manor with thirteen rooms. It harkens back to the early days of the OSR craze, with abstracted details, laundry list contents, and implausible contorted situations. A real classic!

The backstory has a ranger being attacked by phase spiders and creating The Rangers of Arkwood to protect the forest. He will get no prize for originality. Three rangers fight werewolves and are nonchalant about it in the backstory …. Which is itself weird. This is not the low fantasy of dreams but the high fantasy of RenFaire D&D. The only interesting thing in the lead up is the party being offered 3k cash by the Bards guild to find out why the rangers aren’t active anymore … because without them there’s no new songs. I guess it pays well to be a bard? Then some holy sisters show up to offer the party 2k to find out what happened to them. That’s the end of it, but I’d push this to absurdity if I were running it, having the local lord, the MU’s guild, the assassins and thieves, the executioners, the alewives, the gravediggers, and some kid with a mangy dog all show up to offer the party cash. Cause I’m a little fuck sometime.s

You wander around the forest rolling wandering monster checks until ten hours have passed, meaning you encounter, on average, eight wandering monsters. Seems high, but, no one is going to do that anyway, so we’ll just ignore it also.

You finally ind the rangers fortress and a brave badger man confronts you. He tells you they are all werewolves now and here, wouldn’t you like some potions that turn your weapons silver? This is my life. This is what D&D is, to a large portion of the population. This smells a lot like the designers own PC.

Inside the rooms are stuffed with werewolves. They won’t have names. They don’t react to sounds of combat in adjoining rooms. They just sit in their rooms and get killed, I guess. Long the way you get long descriptions of rooms that amount to nothing. A cloakroom takes up a quarter of page, listing how its used in detail, only to tell us it now only has a quiver of arrows on a hook.

It’s full of “this room was once.” that are meaningless to the adventure.
It’s full of laundry lists of rooms contents that are trivial and meaningless.

It has no joy. It’s just a hackfest. 

No names. No relationships. No factions. No interactivity. No interpersonal struggle. Nothing.

Just a minimally keyed adventure full of werewolves that has been expanded with trivia and padding.

The end has a bright point. There’s a list of further things that could happen, which is a bit interesting. If you took money from the halfling cook werewolves, and killed them, then they haunt you. Likewise bards follow the party around making fun of the party. Or telling how the rangers had to save THEM from werewolves. This is no way to run a railroad. This is the way you compel the party to slaughter NPC’s. Which, to be clear, I’m ok with both as a player and a DM, when this kind of shit is pulled. For a simple laugh? Ok. To build up the party and have fun WITH them? Ok. For punitive measures? No. Adversarial DM’ing with your 30/30/30 Gish Orphan Protectors is fucking lame. 

This is a throwback product to the early days of the OSR, where people just wrote the same stuff as always and stated it for OSR play. There’s nothing here.

This is $1.50 at DriveThru. There is no preview. 


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/315836/Rangers-of-Arkwood-A-Swords–Wizardry-MiniDungeon?1892600

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3 Responses to Rangers of Arkwood, adventure review

  1. Reason says:

    Goodnight Springton.

    There will be no encore.

  2. And then a Federation kill-squad makes an emergency landing to offer the PCs 10,000 credits to find out where in the fuck those rangers got to!

  3. PaMar says:

    “That’s the end of it, but I’d push this to absurdity if I were running it, having the local lord, the MU’s guild, the assassins and thieves, the executioners, the alewives, the gravediggers, and some kid with a mangy dog all show up to offer the party cash.”

    I think I must make a mental note to use this in some distant future.

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