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.