By Andrew Sammler Self Published 5e Level 8
With the continual darkness still overhead, adventurers embark on a journey to deliver Good Mead supplies to some of the Ten-Towns to lighten the mood and allow people to blow off steam. On the journey, the characters will be providing joy, light, hope, celebrations, competition, honey wine, and baked goods.
This 35 page adventure uses about fifteen pages to describe a couple of combats (three?) and a few skill challenges, the rest of the page count being the appendix monster stats. It strikes me as a 4e AL adventure: a pretext and then a [fight or skill challenge.] With logical inconsistencies that tear at suspension of disbelief, I guess it’s fine if all you want to do is roll-play.
Your level eight characters get to escort a wagon full of mead barrels to two towns. Escort mission. Of beer. As level eight’s. It’s not magic beer or anything. It’s just mead. Because the two towns haven’t had any for awhile and it will make them happy. I don’t know man, maybe it’s a thing in this setting that level eights deliver beer. Oh, and the quest giver is an asshole, f you ask questions he starts to get rude and impatient and berate you. I’ve never understood this. “Ok, fuckface, how about you deliver your own beer? Maybe you haul it in your asshole since I’m about to start shoving these barrels up yours!” Yes, I do want to play D&D tonight, why do you ask? Ok, yes, I suck it up “we will deliver your beer Mr ungrateful asswipe. Please, pretty please, allow me to go on this adventure and play D&D tonight.”
On the way to the first town a blizzard starts. This if course means that you are about to be ambushed. And you are, by undead. Who form ranks with the rear rank shooting arrows at your mead barrels while the front rank protects them. I must say, this pretty much robs the undead of any wonder or mystery, treating them like the robots in the prequels. Nothing really undead about them, they just act like die rollers, which is what everyone in this adventure is. Flavorless die rolling. Oh, and, there’s a dude sneaking up behind you. Afterwards you can track him. Even though there’s a blizzard. I don’t know. Hang on, I’ve got a call from my wife, I have to go home. What? Why, yes, I am divorced for a couple of years now. Oh, I misspoke, I meant to say it’s a spam call and I can keep playing D&D.
When you get to both towns you are given some busy work. “Were gonna have a party tonight, I need your help.” Trovus suggests that first thing in the morning the characters clean up and prepare the warehouse space for the battle of wits tomorrow, which would include dusting, straightening tables, lighting the torches, preparing the dragonchess sets, etc. Slow news day I guess. Then starts the party and our friendly D&D players get to make a series of skill checks. Want to play dragonchess? Make a series of skill checks. Want to do the riddle contest? Make some skill checks. Want to participate in the handstand contest? Make some skill checks.
The issue is not the festival. This sort of party participation shit has been around forever. The issue us the abstraction of the game. There is NO detail to the contests. Just make some skill checks. No “And Frenkie performs the Rubinate hook moving his platinum dragon to Huma-well 4!” No drama or local colour. No favour of any type. Just make some skill checks. This is the worst sort of things. Roll dice. *YAWN*
Oh! Oh! I forgot! The dude who sabotages your mead barrels in the ambush? If captured, he won’t give up his employer. Because, I guess, “sabotaging some mead barrels” is the crime of the century even when compared to the fire & toture that the party will bring down on him. Th real reason is, of course, tha the designer wants to have a climactic battle with the bad bad, complete with reveal, at he end of the adventure and finding out sooner would spoil that.
Did I mention that there’s an assassin in a little hut you visit, trying to kill the person inside, and the MASSIVE FORCE OF UNDEAD waits out back, because, that’s what you do as the big bad; when you have a massive force of undead 10’ away from your victim you instead send one lowly human to do the job. For that matter, the entire adventure revolves around a necromancer wanting to make the town unhappy, and thus sabotaging the mead delivery. A necromancer that seemingly has a bajillion undead at their disposal. Why not just fucking kill people and burn their crops, houses etc? Why fuck around with “sabotage the beer delivery?”
Because that’s the adventure. A pretext. Written for the wrong level. A pretext. An excuse to roll a bunch of dice in combats that make little sense. A pretext to have some abstracted skill challenges. It reminds me, for all the world, of those terrible 4e RPGA games I used to play up at Winter Fantasy in Fort Wayne.
Sure, it’s formatted nicely enough. But at some point you have to recognize that you’re playing Warhammer and not D&D. What does it even mean anymore to say “I like playing D&D? What does that mean?
It’s 11:11am and it’s time to drink.
This is $5 at DriveThru. The preview is fourteen pages; more than enough to get a sense of the writing style, formatting, and what you are buying.