The Ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha

By James & Robyn George
Olde House Rules
Pits & Perils
Levels 1-3

Years ago, a sudden earthquake buried the Abbey of Saint Tabitha and ever since, evil things stalk the hills east of Dunkirk.  Can a novice group of heroes reclaim the abbey for law?  Let your players decide!

This 48 page adventure details 27 rooms in a ruined abbey. Partially keyed, room backstory, conversational writing, and generally low interactivity makes this something to steer clear from.

Let’s cover the layout/formatting first. It’s single columns and uses a faux-typewriter style. I generally don’t like weirdo fonts and choices because they tend to reduce legibility, but, surprisingly, neither of these choices seems to impact legibility at all. It brings the nostalgia without the legibility issues. The Same cannot be said for the map, which uses a kind of “we pasted this together” style, and leads to thick black lines between certain areas that could be open to interpretation as to if they two areas are connected. And, level one (there are two levels) is essentially linear, the “abbey” being tunnels and rooms carved in to the side of a mountain. 

The big deal, though, is the B1 style keying. Each of the rooms has five of so “blank lines in which the DM can fill out trease and creatures, with some room descriptions offering some advice to the DM on how to do this. “The referee can place several small coins at the entrance and/or top steps still visible through the murky water (by way of enticement.” One of the appendices has a second set of minimal room keys that detail the treasure and monsters for the Pits & peril game, such as “The shambling zombie that initially greets the party here has a silver

dagger worth 3 GP in its belt. This will never attack.” So, if you want to run the game you need to key the place yourself or consult the two keys at the same time, the descriptions and contents, and put it together. I have absolutely no idea why someone would choose to do this. I mean, I understand why b1 would no this. Literally no one knew how to play D&D. It had tables to roll on and taught you how to stock a dungeon. But this? Why would you not just stock the thing in the main room key? So you can have a generic/universal adventure for other systems? It’s far FAR better to create a fully formed and cohesive environment, that a DM can then convert, then to just write room descriptions and tell the DM to go do work. If I wanted to work I’d write my own adventure.

The room descriptions, such that they are without the encounters/treasure, are written conversationally, with  lot of used to be’s and so on. This bads them out, filling the descriptions with anthropology information that’s not relevant to running a game. “Observant players may notice …” the dwriting likes to tell us. Or this statement “Prior to formal consecration, this sacred place might be inhabited by nearly anything, as determined by the referee.” Great. “Prior to consecration …” “might be anything.” I feel empowered knowing these things. The prior to consecration thing, which is something that the party MIGHT do, at some point in the future, if they take the place over, is really a great example of these sorts of filler phrases. 

“This somber place was once a well-tended garden, a lovely portion of the creator’s paradise on earth.” This is how the very first room description starts, and exemplifies poor adventure description writing. Don’t tell us what USED to be here. Tell us what the place looks like NOW. That famous Dungeon Magazine trophy room has a very long reach, it seems. “Observant players, meaning those who ask, may notice small (goblins) footprints in the loose dirt leading to the abbey proper.” Note the extensive padding. Rewritten this could be something like “Withered Garden: Dry & dead shrubs in loose dirt, but for tangled ivy overtaking the walls and weathered stone benches. Barely noticeable goblin footprints leading in.” Dishes done! The adventure writing engages in these sorts of descriptions over and over and over again.

Interactivity is … poor. For a fantasy game. There’s the nudist pool you can walk through and maybe set it on fire cause there’s oil in top of the water. And, maybe, a secret panel or two to find and open. You can do some praying, etc to get some blessings/bonuses. A few natural hazards, mostly in the “water to a depth of 4 foot” variety. I guess for a low./no fantasy game it could be cool, with bandits in the place. I mean, the undead would be a problem. Maybe they could lepers, or mutilated people instead? I don’t know. I guess what I’m saying it that it seems a little staid. No much to do except stab people.

Well, except for that room that you can use weekly that has a 33% chance of healing you and/or curing disease. If _I_ were playing this, I’d clear this place out, retire, set up shop, charge, and become king from the income, funding my next PC to go, I don’t know, find the Hand & Eye or something like that. Fuck me, 33% each week, per person?I wonder if I should charge more for syphilis? 

There’s like six kitchens & dining rooms & pantries in the 27 rooms. The thing needs more cross-references for the big bads, to more easily locate information.

Someone spent some time writing this. And editing it. And locating/creating art. And doing the layout and getting that typewriter look right. And doing the maps and fidgeting with them. And dreaming about it. And making it their baby. And what it’s competing with are the other 10,000 adventures on DriveThru that were released today, as well as every other adventure that has ever existed ever. Journeyman products CAN be produced, and are worth supporting. But, you have to put worthwhile effort in to creating them. You have to understand the craft and the purpose behind the decisions being made. And this doesn’t.

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages and shows you nothing of the adventure, so you can’t make an informed buying decision.Six reviews with 4.5 stars as a rating. We are DEVO, D.E.V.O.

This entry was posted in Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to The Ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha

  1. Thanks for the review! I know you don’t like doing older stuff, and this one’s a dinosaur. Imagine my surprise when you actually did it. Also, we’ve expanded the preview and hope it helps folks make an informed decision; but it’s really meant for P&Ps old-school demographic…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Whats Devo mean in this context ?

    I am rooting for olde house rules. They have great feedback and I want to ee what they do next with all the insight

  3. Anonymous says:


    Love you Bryce!

    I was thinking on the band

    Also when Portlandia guy goes to computer store to get his computer fixed

  4. The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

    I miss the old days when Bryce would review a product like this and tear the writer a new anus, with a verbal rusty chainsaw and with no anesthesia of any kind. Kinder, gentler Bryce these days?

    • Edgewise says:

      Entertaining for us, but not as useful to helping adventure writers learn. Which is more-or-less his stated mission for this blog. It sounds fun until it’s you.

    • I’m a retired military officer who had to train and develop personnel and help them grow in a demanding scientific specialty (meteorology). I’ll tell you right now that ridicule is the worst possible way to reach people and help them get better. Really. It’s bad leadership and bad instruction. It helps to tell people what they’re doing right as well as wrong, focusing on improvement. Praise should be clear and enthusiastic. Criticism should be objective, factual, and non-emotional. You have to build people up and help them see what they’re capable of, which is a selfless act. Ridicule is selfish, serving only whoever dishes it out and maybe a certain type of person who likes to see others bullied…

      • The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

        And yet any number of professional critics (food critics, movie critics, book critics, music critics, etc) make their living on just such ridicule and derision so there is room for both building up and tearing down in this world. Some people need to hear the truth and sometimes that truth hurts. Tough love has its value.

        • squeen says:

          I don’t think OHR is wrong. Sadistic derision serves only one person, but MFoV is right that the whole handling of everyone’s ego so tenderly and over-obsessing on self-esteem causes just as many (if not more) problems. If the 50’s leaned too hard one way (in part because of the massive military involvement of that generation and overwhelming success of it in WWII), then its children (Boomers) leaned way too hard in the opposite direction when it was their turn to raise kids.

          When Bryce arrived on the scene, all DriveThru reviews were “5 stars!”…”A+ for trying!” It’s been a long time since the 50’s, and the pendulum swinging back that way was overdue. The problem is that most folks handing out “strong advise” now have no real-world experience or metric upon which to base it. These are chaotic times, but also decadent ones. Therefore most are just shouting untested opinions loudly—“Personal truths” that exists in a vacuum.

          I think Byrce is dealing out a more mature tough-love these days. The unvarnished truth of his convictions, plus a little more guidance on how to course-correct. It’s a nice mix but also a thankless job, to which I say to him, “Thank you!” 🙂

          • The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

            I don’t think OHR is necessarily wrong. What he says has a lot or truth, although as a military man he should know that if drill instructors were all touchy feely back in the 40s and 50s, then our world might be a very different place now. A tough hand is needed sometimes and I fear that our world is trending in the wrong direction filled with safe spaces, conflict avoidance, and having to walk on egg shells around everyone. I’m a Gen Xer and I don’t like what I seeing coming down the pike, especially for my daughter.

            I will agree that Bryce’s approach today has value but I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some of those dumper fire reviews of yore. They were very entertaining.

            And there are still too many 5 star reviews and too much ass grabbing on DTRPG

          • Bryce Lynch says:

            Resignation, perhaps? A slip from my cheery optimism in to cynicism, or at least realism? (But, isn’t that how all cynics characterize their worldview, as realists?) Time is Zoloft, level setting, instead of the highest highs becoming the lowest lows. Except for the cash grabs, those should still be flamebait.

            If it helps, just imagine me saying “Is this seriously the best you could do?” at the end of every review. It’s what I tell myself about the product, as well as the review.

            It is important to remember that this is not a review blog, it is just my diary. I am the consumer, paying in either money or time for the product. I have no moral obligation to build someone up or provide constructive criticism. I have no obligations to anyone. Sure, I cheat on those statements sometimes, but thats because I’m a hypocrite.

            Mortgage almost paid off. Kids almost gone. Retirement in 42 months. (Fuck you Evergrande! #LargeCapGrowth) If I can figure out how to, morally, take care of the cat dumped off on me then I’m soon free & clear. Or, almost so. This is, I suspect, the beginnings of the attitudes that turn so many older adults in to assholes, not giving a shit anymore about anything. Let’s see if I can steer a path through their bitterness and irrelevance and retain the optimism that creates such emotional turmoil in the reviews.

          • squeen says:

            I think “giving a shit” is just ingrained in you at some early, formative age. Even if you stop caring about one thing, it’s just to make space and time for caring about something else.

            Old a-holes were probably once young a-holes…but now they are getting even less feedback because everyone has written them off as jerks.

      • Trust me, I’ve had to bust some balls as a commander. I’ve also fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I appreciate what my drills taught me…

  5. Hidago Daniel says:

    I never use to believe in lottery winning spell until i met Lord Zuma who help me to win the lottery number, This is a great testimony on how i won $100,000 in my play lottery in the mega million lottery jackpot , I took an advice from someone called Wilson the person who talked about this great voodoo spell caster called Lord Zuma the person placed a testimonies on a blog also on a facebook saying how Lord Zuma helped him win the lottery by sending him the winning number i was curious and i thought it was all joke not until i contacted this spell caster to know for myself how this work cause i have spend a lot buying tickets and i never win. I contacted him and he told me the necessary thing that need to be done and i did it and he told me to wait for 2days and truly he gave me the winning numbers to play the lottery which i did, Can you believe my name was the first among winners. He told me (my son all i need you to do for me is make sure that you share this testimonies to others so that they can also win the lottery cause i do not have much time to spell on the internet) so that is why i am sharing this testimony with you that if you want to win the lottery this is the way online tips can not help you,, i will forever be grateful to you, Email him for your own winning lottery numbers, He alone have the winning numbers to win the lottery, Because he is a gifted human being who is fully blessed to help other who are in need, All you need to do is to contact this man and make your life easy and wealthy. His email address: and whatsapp number +15068001647 For all problems and pains to be over i win my game.

    • Anonymous says:



    • Franky says:

      Winning the lottery, meh. Can Lord Zuma impart his voodoo knowledge unto me so that I may make Zombies? I’ve always wanted to be a zombie master. Halloween is just around the corner, and actual honest to goodness zombies would make for perfect decor. I’ll pay more if they are the sort of zombies that can do useful things, like serve my party guests drinks and snacks.

    • Anonymous says:

      “cause i do not have much time to spell on the internet”

      Waaaait a second

    • Anonymous says:

      I want Bryce to review this Spam.
      That looks like a potential hook, to me

    • Lord Mark says:


      Lord Zuma is an imposter. He is not a vampire! Zuma lacks potency! Zuma’s title was not granted by an accredited monarch! Zuma claims lottery based sorcery, but has not won a game of chance in years – even at bingo!

      Stick with Lord Mark. #1 in internet based vampirism and sorcery since 2014! Ignore the rest, incant with the Best! Lord Mark a trusted name in spampirism … your friend in the sorcery business.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lord Zuma is a Zak S puppet.

  7. Anonymous says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *