By Rodrigo Oliveira O Mochileiro Shard Swords & Sinister Spells "Try to survive"
A long time ago, an ancient civilization inhabited the world. Nothing is known about them, except for the ancient scriptures that they left. They used an ancestral dialect, which was forgotten, along with themselves. Some powerful wizards who researched ancient knowledge, know how to speak and read this language, because they believe that they possessed enormous magical knowledge. Popular belief says that this civilization ceased to exist overnight, simply disappearing. No one knows how, no one knows why. Many believe that this civilization was transported to another dimension by means of very powerful magic, and whoever manages to find out how to find it, will probably have access to all this knowledge, in addition to countless riches.
This 38 page adventure to a misty island has about ten pages of content that describes the trip and the natives, sacrificing people, on the island. It’s a simple oneshot that lacks much in the way of adventure due to its flowchart like plot.
This is using a flowchart like mechanism to run the adventure. If you stay on the ship then go to scene STAY or if you explore the island go to scene EXPLORE If you try to escape the prison cell go to scene BREAKOUT, or go to scene SACRIFICE if you stay in the cell. There’s maybe ten or so scenes, most of them take about a third of a page to describe, with the rest of the single-column page being devoted to giant art pieces from what looks like old word masters.
You start on the ship, on the voyage which, I must say, has some interesting rumors Things like a map hidden in the library or the captain alone on the deck muttering to himself. These are great because they spark roleplaying on the ship. The party searches the library or watches/interacts with the captain. If only … the crew and passengers had anything to them. No names or personalities, just the number noted, so nothing here to help actually run the adventure.
The ship runs ashore in a mist on an island and this is where the flowchart like scenes start. Some of them can be quite railroady like “If the characters are in the AMBUSH scene, everything happens very fast, they will be strongly hit and passed out before they even understand what is going on.” So … ok. Why do this? There are plenty of other scenes that don’t do this but just have notes about the natives capturing the characters … so why force it in one particular scene? This sort of removal of player agency is never a good thing (outside of a hook, sometimes.)
The height of evocative writing is in the sentence “On the island’s soil there are trails made by different creatures, some of them can be known by the characters, like giant spider, giant centipedes.” There’s clearly a second language issue here, but I don’t really care about the awkward phrasing, Mr. Jefferson. What’s more to the point is the straight forward fact based writing that carries little to spark the imagination and wonder of the DM, the thing that an adventure lives and dies on. You just wander from scene to scene, fight natives, fall in a pit, and eventually arrive at a sacrifice ceremony where, maybe, an alien magician shows up.
It’s all just more than a bit boring. I’m sure it doesn’t match the vision the designer had, but there were, as is usual, issues in communicating that vision to the purchaser. It’s a few steps above a Steve WIllet adventure.
This is $10 at DriveThru. There is no preview, which would have clued the buyer in to what they were thinking about purchasing.