Legacy of Blood

By Jonathan Hicks
Open Ended Games inc
Against the Darkmaster
Levels 2-3

Once one of the mightiest families of all the Nine Kingdoms, the Leorics have now fallen on hard times. Dark tidings and unspeakable rumors surround this once noble house. But a chance at redemption may still be at hand. In a desperate race against time, the heroes must recover a cache of lost magical artifacts before they fall into the hands of agents of the Darkmaster. Only this way they can restore the fallen noble family’s legacy, and stop the darkness spreading through their domains. Can they reach the treasure before the agents of the Darkmaster pursuing them? Can they sneak past the dragon who has made Castle Dulgroth her lair? Can they survive this Legacy of Blood?

This 37 page movie uses 22 pages to describe a fantasy novel. 

Like what the fuck man? What the serious fuck. Are you proud of this “adventure?” This is what you dreamed of doing? This is what you lay awake thinking about? No? It’s just a fucking paycheck for every single person involved? Oh? Rlly?  I couldn’t tell.

This thing is crap, from start to finish. I’m not sure there’s anything good about it at all. It doesn’t feel like a cynical money grab, but, rather, a product mired in the past. As if someone active in RPG’s from an earlier era decided to produce something and had learned absolutely nothing in the meantime. Cycnically, I think it’s just pushing out product and who the fuck gives an actual fuck the morons are going to buy the fucking thing anyway so why actually give a shit in producing something good?

This is now, what, the second fucking review in a fucking row of a movie plot adventure? You don’t have agency here. What you have here is columns long read-aloud text in which NPCs dump fucking exposition at you. All in italics, of course, because no one gives a flying fuck about usability or readability. And then the overly dramatic read-aloud exposition is then followed by mountains of DM text all arranged in just normal paragraph form. It’s fucking impossible to find anything in this. There is NO scanability, at all. This is Dungeon magazine, the worst of Dungeon magazine, all over again. In 2021. 

You ready for some hooks? How about an exciting one, like “They are looking for new opportunities and have swords and spells to hire out.” Yeah, that’s the extent of the fucking hook. The others are similar. A fucking hook that says absolutly fucking nothing at all. Why the fuck is this included? Do you seriously think that this is adding value to the product? Do you seriously think that this is helping someone run their game? No? It’s just fucking boilerplate? THEN WHY THE FUCK WAS IT INCLUDED? Because there was a word count, perhaps? 

Blah blah blah, … Desperate Race Against Time. Uh huh. You put that fucking shit in your adventure description and I know its crap without even reading it.

Ok, so, what’s up here? The actual adventure? It’s a fucking movie. You will get almost no choices at all. You will go overland and get attacked by The Darkmasters forces. You will win, and then an overwhelming force will descend upon you. The goal is to get the party to run, so there can be the next section … The Exciting Chase! And of, course, whats an exciting chase without a rescue from a mysterious ranger?! And then, of course, the chase must resume so you can flee in to a barrow and have the entrance collapse just in time separating you all from the darkmasters forces. And then you explore to escape only to find a tunnel that leads to where you want to go … pursued by the forces breaking in to the barrow. Only to come to a vault. Where the ranger betrays you! Ohs nos! And then the darkmasters forces arrive and attack! Ohs Nos! And then the dragon above shows up! Ohs Nos! 

“Anything can happen on this journey; perhaps a small scout force of Orc wolf riders intercept the players as they head to the barrows.” Yeah. That’s what you’re fucking paying for. To be told anything can happen on this journey. This thing is padded the fuck out. Backstory and motivations. The animated skeletons “have sworn to protect the riches of the barrow and they will do so!” Uh huh. That helped me run the game. “The water is ankle deep which could signify that the barrows are below the water level of the lake and the water is getting in somehow. “Wlel, just fucking wonderful. The price of tea in Taiwan while we’re at it? 

The absolute worst kind of drivel. Cinematic bullshit. Meant to tell a fucking exciting story. It might as well be a video game that is nothing more than quicktime events. This is why we play D&D? To have no choices? To just roll dice in combats? To have no control over the fate of your own lives? 

My cynicism here is strong. It’ is SO depressing to see shit like this. I get that different games have different vibes and the extreme agency of exploration D&D is not the vibe of every game. But to have little to no agency at all? Like the serious fuck? Didn’t that go out decades ago? Shall we forever cursed to relive this shit, because of designers or publishers unwilling or unable to liearn from the past? Shall I be generous to people who have made little to no effort to learn and update based on the times? Is all there is just banging two rocks together, forever, with no progression beyond that?

This is $9 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. You get tp see that magnificent hook page and a couple of pages of irrelevant backstory. So, terrible preview that in no way helps you make a purchasing decision.


Hello. This is the Bryce Emergency Review protocol. Bryce writes about three weeks ahead and has not written a new review in about three weeks, so this script has snagged an emergency review to post instead. Bryce has also been emailed and told to get back to work instead of engaging in whatever delight he is currently using to manage ennui.

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14 Responses to Legacy of Blood

  1. Anonymous says:

    So this is like Descent to Avernus?

    • SaveVersusAndrew says:

      This comment made my day! A coworker of mine ran Avernus for over 50 sessions… but how? It is a novel with interactive moments. Whenever we talk about RPGs, it is like we are speaking different languages.

      It does not surprise me that independent creators are publishing adventures like this when the flagship publisher is putting out similar dreck. Unfortunately, some players are seeking out passive DM-driven adventures, so here we are.

      Also, the irony of calling the publishing company of your railroad “Open Ended Games”. Anything but!

      • Yora says:

        Any time I see people saying they had fun with these, I think they only say that because they have no comparison for what a good game looks like.
        They think it’s good because they don’t know any better.

        • Andrew Newport says:

          That’s the thing though… I ran a Hot Springs Island game in 5e for this coworker, among others. Ignored survival (they were not interested) to focus on faction play. Made alliances, gathered artifacts, had a big battle at the end. Decent 5e / OSR hybrid play.

          Coworker becomes a DM, immediately gravitates towards railroad adventures. Started a Critical Role -esque stream.

          The OSR is not for everyone, but really? This is the best you can do? At least run something where players can make choices. Without choices, it is an experience, not a game.

  2. Gnarley Bones says:


  3. Yora says:

    The title sounds cool, but even the cover image looks incredibly dull.

  4. Monkey Bars says:

    I guess it’s a “module” for DMs that don’t have any players. It’s fun to read, not fun to play, but they’ll never play it anyways so it fulfills its purpose.

  5. So . . . you didn’t like it? 🙂

  6. Jonathan Becker says:

    That dragon on the cover looks pretty big for characters of 2nd and 3rd level.

    But, hey, I guess it doesn’t REALLY matter.

    3.5 stars at DriveThru. And a Copper seller!

  7. squeen says:

    There definitely been a divergence in how “D&D” is played. Folks on one side of the fence don’t even see the other.

  8. Kent says:

    ==== The animated skeletons “have sworn to protect the riches of the barrow and they will do so!”

    Skeletons: We cross our hearts and hope to die

  9. Tamás Illés says:

    As much as the authors want to portray vsDM as a spiritual successor to MERP, it will never become one. MERP might be RoleMaster light, but it still aimed for a degree of verisimilitude – and things like handwaving treasure, prices, encumbrance goes not only against its spirit, but is also lazy as hell. Then we get adventures like these, while early RoleMaster and MERP were famous for modules like Iron Wind, Vog Mur, The Court of Ardor, which were regional books and sandboxes instead of narrative driven bullshit. MERP was not the “Lord of the Rings RPG”, but the “let’s adventure on Middle Earth RPG”, and it seems vsDM fails to grasp this badly.

  10. Ben says:

    Weren’t the original Dragonlance adventures close to this in nature? My memory is fuzzy, but I seem to recall similar structure in them.

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