By Diogo Nogueira, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul Gallant Knight Games For Coin & Blood
It seems that this is actually two separate adventures, totally distinct downloads, bundled under one product listing on DriveThru, with the teaser photo being the core Coin & Blood cover photo.
The Hunted – Diogo Levels 2-3
This sixteen page digest thing is a description of an NPC hunting the party. That’s it. That’s the adventure. Oh, you get some ideas on how they do that. FUCKING LAME!
I was disappointed when I saw the two downloads thing, but then was upbeat when I saw Diogo’s name. He says, a couple of times, that his is an “unconventional” adventure. Yeah, no shit. Because it’s not an adventure.
You get a description of an NPC bounty hunter, a tale for why they might be hunting the party, one for sme tactics they use, a table of traps they mights use ot places they might attack the party, We are told to sprinkle the stuff in during the parties other adventures, a kind of expansion of their downtime.
So, look, I’m not opposed to this. In fact, I think downtime shit can be one of the more memorable parts of a campaign, And I love sprinkling stuff in to a game ahead of time in order to make the world seem more real and lived in. I’m just opposed to everything about this.
We get a 2.5 page description of the NPC. Only a few sentences are the actual description and mannerisms, and they are fairly generic. Tall muscular woman with dark hair. That’s great. My imagination burns. I’m not fucking around, other than dark leather armor and a crimson cloak, that’s what two paragraphs gets you. The rest of the pags of her description are right out of a “let me tell you about my character” story. She has basilisk skin armor and it’s hard as metal and if you hit ger you make a save or take 1d3 damage and are at disadvantage net turn and she has a sin seeking dagger which ignores your armor and does 1d4 damage per round and she has a ….
After this are a couple of tables. How she undermines you, who hired her to kill you, and some traps. “A former ally hired her who was hired by the powerful opposition …” “a demon who needs the parties souls but can’t take direct action against them …” the usual not very good stuff and controted reasons. Traps like “oil barrels open and spill contents on the party as they pass under a bridge” or “in a wizards lair she puts fake books on the walls.” Contorted stuff. If this is how Coin & Blood is played then I’m super not interested in it.
The “undermine the party” table is not too bad, but still has that implicit contorted game world shit where she does this instead of just poisoning them with cyanide, or something. She starts lies about the party, she sends messages from people the party has killed in the past, she fucks the parties home base inn, etc. A little too much “she uses her doppleganger cream” in them, and, still, the whole “just kill them” thing, ala Dr. Evil & Scott, but, whatever. Magical ren world.
Oh her and her former adventuring partner broke up because of an “emotional conversation.” Why, isn’t that generic? Nothing like that to liven things up and cement an NPC in your minds.
Sickness, Elizabeth Chaipraditkul, No Level Range
This sixteen page thing is one of those skeezy abstracted adventures, mor forge-like story than an adventure. Guidelines? Toolkit? Or, maybe, “I had an idea and wrote down four ideas and then expanded it to sixteen pages but didn’t include anything to support the DM.” I am not amused.
Maybe you could have an adventure on the way through the city while looking for who framed you. Maybe the party should find out who cursed them and spend some time in the city doing so. Maybe there are guards at the house and maybe the party bribes them or something.
This, then, is a cardinal sin. If the job of an adventure is to support the DM, what if the adventures DOESN’T do that? What if I jotted down some notes on a notepad. Something like “Get hired by a cult that uses a theater as a base.” “Kidnap a guy from a naor for them.” “Get cured with an illness.” and “Evil baddie behind it all was at the manor all along!” That’s your adventure! Pay me!
Ok, ok, I’ll expand it some. How about I write A LOT of read-aloud in italics, so it’s hard to read? How about I support the DM with some ideas. Like, I could write that there are some guard patrols at the manor and the party could, like, ambush a ship captain to steal an invite to the house. I’m only half-assing this, so I’m not going to write much more than that, above. Oh, and one of the “acts” is for the party to go find out who cursed them. They should go do that. “They should go do that”, that’s enough support for the DM, right?
This “adventure” is devoid of content. Abstractions and generalizations. A lack of specificity. No actual support, AT ALL, for the DM. Just some ideas. Hey, maybe the party should find out who cursed them. You, the DM, should handle that. What the fuck? Seriously?
Thanks to this adventure I do haze a skeezy new business plan to offer my readers. Find a newly released RPG. The hotness. Write an adventure for it. Maybe, I don’t know, have like four ideas and jot them down, expand them very generically, don’t try very hard. Slap a cover on it and release it for the game. Profit. Maybe do a second one, or just move on to the new Hotness. I expect 10% of your take.
“The person he wants the characters to abduct is a young man by the name of …” Padded out enough for you? Jesus H fucking christ. It’s all conversational long paragraph form writing, impossible to follow or reference during play, impossible to find anything or key in on the interesting bits. This is the perfect example of an empty shovelware adventure.
The entirety of “sneak in to the mansion” is handled with “Players could avoid the guard entirely—by watching the guard’s patrolling pattern the character could slip into the mansion without noticing.” like, seriously, what the fuck? No map or anything? It’s just a list of fucking ideas of things that the party could engage in with little to no support for them. Sandboxy? OSR. Plot based? Modern games. Opened AND plot based? Devoid of content.
This is $5 at DriveThru. I’d be pretty fucking pissed if I got this for Christmas.
This has been episode “I knew there was a reason I skipped over shit on my wishlist!” of Bryce reviews everything on his DriveThru wishlist.
BONUS FEATURE! – The Anatomy of an Adventure
It seems Senor MT Black is going to tell us how to write an adventure! Let’s see if it’s better than the DCC one. Or Vengers. Or any of a billion other ones …
Clocking in at 106 digest pages, this is less a book on how to write an adventure and more of a designers notes for some of Blacks adventures, that serve as anchor points for some lessons in marketing, player choice, and a few other concepts. I like designers notes, so, as a “this is how I do adventures” it’s not a bad read. Further, there is absolutely a place in life for people to get inspired and gain the confidence to do the thing they dread, and this could serve that purpose also. I mean, I listen to the Frutiness mix of Welcome to the Pleasuredome and get a brand, but, if you need to read about someone else doing what you want to do, good on you. Plus, his essay on meaningful plater choice is a good one, although not really covering much new ground. He does have a great bibliography in the back with only a few stinkers in it. A light read and covering a genre we could use more of: How I Do The Thing. The definitive guide is still missing on how to create an adventure. Well, until, you know what happens.