Dead Flood of Dwfn Eir-Gron

By Stephen Yeardley, Thilo Graf
AAW Games
Levels 7-8

When a sacred dweorg festival is raided by the drow, with hundreds slain and even more enslaved, abducted, and turned into undead servitors, a deity weeps. When the divine tear becomes a flood that puts to rest the undead, the party has the chance to follow the legion of living dead on sturdy dwarven kayaks through the caverns, riding the Dead Flood of Dwfn Eir-Grøn. The undead and their drow masters are stranded, briefly, but can the party prevail against a sheer endless legion of the living dead, punish the drow and rescue the few hardy survivors that remain?

This two page adventure is actually one battle. I know, I know. So let’s talk about it. That, not this, I mean.

I remain interested in shorter adventures. I think there is a lot of potential in them. They are not overstaying their welcome and the shorter format should enforce a kind of discipline on the designer. Let us not forget that G1 was only a few pages long! Further, modern adventures flow a different way than classic OSR ones. Gone are the exploratory elements, and, therefore I assert, the longer page count that even G1 has. You should be able to, I think, create a modern “plot” adventure, with just a few encounters, in just a small handful of pages. Imagine that, a hook, investigation, and your 5 page lair dungeon all in just a few pages. Form + Function, recognizing that 5e/3e/Pathfinder are different than a OSR exploratory thing. I’m interested in such things and thus I torment myself looking in to them. 

Thus, looking at a 2-page 5e adventure, you can see how my rosey worldview worked. Decent production values, a couple of pages, sure, I can imagine a possible world in which this is a good adventure! (Wasn’t there a system of D&D where you could worship an idea rather than a god? A possible worlds paladin – In some possible world, this action is good! *smite*) 

It is not good. It is a “4e adventure.” Meaning it is not an adventure at all. It’s a fucking Warhammer game.

I fucking HATE warhammer games. If you want to play mini’s combat then go fucking play warhammer, or blah blah blah one of the fucking clones. Or make the fucking advernture for 4e, the officially recognized “i don’t want to play D&D I want to play minis combat” version of D&D. It sucks the fucking soul out of D&D. 

You’ve got this map. It’s, maybe, 20 squares by 30 squares. Underground, I guess, in caves, with a bunch of water scattered around in it, representing a river. There are five encounters. SE, SW, NE, NW, and center. Original design, isn’t it? Like, no effort at all?  You enter on kayaks on the western side, driven by dwarf commoners. Otherwise someone might have to drive the kayak and not get their AOO, or their 5’ step or whatever. At each encounter is one bad guy. They don’t help each other or interact in any way, in spite of being, I don’t know, less than 80’ from each other? You know the deal before I even write it. “I’m a 8th level drawven gravesmiter assassin with beads of force and a penchant for my description revolving entirely around my battle tactics.” There is NOTHING to this adventure EXCEPT the battlefield notes and the opponents. NOTHING. Pure fucking fantasy battle mastabutory wankfest. Mini-dungeon my ass.

The backstory is lame; I know, fluff is subjective, but, when did the drow become masters of the undead? I guess theming doesn’t mean anything anymore. You’re just looking for a villain of CR9, or whatever, and Drow came up. 

This adventure does ONE thing interesting. Every square on the map, except the water ones, every single square, has a zombie in it. Ostensibly you are trying to save them by pushing them in to the river, which is actually a flood caused by a gods tear, which acts as a gentle repose spell, which lays the (dwarf) zombie to rest, which is the goal of mission, to “save” as many dwarves as possible. I mean, it’s Warhammer, but it is an interesting battlefield thing. 

It took two people to write this thing. Instead of a long backstory, instead of a quarter page of artwork, but not write an actual adventure? Why advertise it as an adventure when you could advertise it as “four hours of nonstop hacking zombie action in the style of your least favorite 4e adventures!” 

Oh, and that river, the one that acts as a gentle response spell? That, my friends, is a classic example of “explaining why.” It’s a gods tear, you don’t need to have a book fucking explanation for why. It kills the magic. It kills the mystery of it all. Wonder is no more. Another example has the drow using three different book poisons on the dwarves, so as to, I assumer per game rules, give them all three levels of exhaustion. I fucking hate this book shit. Infinite possibilities and and we get a 4e battle with book explanation for wondrous things.

This is $1 at DriveThru.

Speaking of DriveThru, let’s look at how much life sucks by examining the Rule Systems=OSR, Product Type= NonCore, Adventures. 

Adventure of the Week – Just a plot hook, it looks like.

Dead Girls in Sarkash Forest – Emmy Allen thing. Looks like a digest procedural thing, and, being for Mork Borg, has the required “I used an “interesting” giant font. I may end up reviewing this.

Geppetto’s Folly – A filbar thing, so, you know, not going to be good.

Casa Matildo – In spanish. Good for them. But not fodder for me.

Some one page dungeon, but in Russian.

MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2 – I assume not actually an adventure

Dungeon Crawl Solo – Ug. Solo.

Another Voxelhouse in Spanish. I might have to learn spanish. HOLA. BUEON GIORNO

“Adventure of the week”, one in French and one in ENglish, both just plot ideas.

Some kind of zine, collected from someones blog

Zero level players guide from Starry Knight. Bun me 293 times, shame on you

A one page Mork Borg adventure

14 Zweihander “adventures.”

So, maybe, one thing to look at, the Emmy Allen thing. And this is a good week. 90% of “adventures” are not actually adventures and 90% of the ones that are are total crap.

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20 Responses to Dead Flood of Dwfn Eir-Gron

  1. Shuffling Wombat says:

    You seem to have missed “Squirrel King Plumpkins”. That must be marvellous. Twin with a travelling circus of animal jugglers for full value.
    It sounds, however, that you need some tender loving care. Gang Lords of Lankhmar wasn’t so bad, was it. So how about a mystery: DCC Lankhmar #10, Unholy NIghts in Lankhmar? Or Welcome to Eastwood, which seems to be something of an homage to Westworld. Or if you can be tempted to review a Fantasy Trip adventure, Citadel of Ice is a melting dungeon with factions.

    It is worth remembering that you were supposed to have your Monster Manual at hand when running G1, so 3 Hill Giants (hp 39, 36, 33) was a sufficient description. The Gygaxian classics packed a lot of material into a few pages.

    • Gnarley Bones says:

      G1 famously has 8 pages and packs more details into those 8 pages that modern box sets do. It has exploration, tactics, two complete stocked dungeon levels, factions, excursions into the Weird, and vivid descriptions that every gamer recalls. Heck, all that and some excellent pieces of art. It’s the Platonic model for modules, so very few can be expected to match it.

      But somehow I feel a 2-page one-battle scenario is the mirror-world dark version of that – and not in a good way.

  2. Evard’s Small Tentacle says:

    I do my DTRPG filtering slightly differently- non core-adventures, genre-fantasy. It gives more crap to wade through but also helps find interesting stuff.

    Additionally, I think what you are looking for might have done before during the 3e days by AEG. These are of varying quality but really do try to give that broad big picture adventure (including more than 10-12 hours of gaming from a few pages.

  3. Knutz Deep says:

    @Bryce, if I may be so bold, maybe you shouldn’t review anything that doesn’t have a preview. Seriously, if an author can’t be bothered to provide a preview then fukk em. That still won’t eliminate every not-so-good/bad adventure but it should help a bit.

  4. whereismywizardhat says:

    *raises hand*
    But I like using 5e D&D as a tactical puzzle. If the game is going to give me a million different ways to fight an enemy I want to use them.

    Also, I remember reading Cavegirl’s blog notes on Dead Girls In Sarkash. Seemed like a good halloween oneshot, playing as walking corpses fits Mork Borg like a glove.

  5. Jonathan Becker says:

    This. This is why I am simply rewriting Dragonlance modules.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There are a ton of reader requests not done yet that will not likely hurt your soul!
    SAVE GABOR FOR THE DARK TIMES city supp and new Echoes.
    NOD 36, Mothership megadungeon, don’t straud Necrotic Gnome adventure
    Through Titans Door 3 part 1 2 and 3 BY MOTHER FING GUS L BBBBB
    There has got to be new Dungeon Age and Kelsey Dionne stuff too

  7. Thilo Graf? Isn’t that the Endzeitgeist guy?

    • John Whyte says:

      Yes, yes he is. He’s gotten a few writing credits. And it reflects his views of what is a good product.

      • Evard's Small Tentacle says:

        But he thinks 90% of products are good…

        • John Whyte says:

          Good means adhering to the systems rules of creating monsters and encounters.
          He did slam frog god games Quests of Doom 4 pretty hard though. 2 and 3 stars

  8. Gnarley Bones says:

    What’s a dweorg?

  9. Bigby's Affirmative Consent Lubed Fist says:

    It took two people to write this thing.

    Bryce, old chum, it took two people to create the flumph.

    That being said, flumphs are great.

  10. I’m obviously biased, but may I suggest you review XP5: Throne of Gondira?

    I think you might like it! 🙂 At least, it checks most of the boxes on your list of what you’d like to see in an adventure ( ).

    [Apologies for possible double post.]

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