By Ivan Richmond Self Published OSR Level 1
The gnomes of Rockswald have asked for your help. They operate a mithrl mine, but it has recently been invaded by goblins. They will reward anyone who can rid them of the goblins.
This twenty page adventure features a mine/dungeon with about fifteen rooms or so. I have had a strange relationship with my own mortality since my early twenties. This adventure helped me resolve that. By making me wish I was dead so the pain would finally be over. If dude isn’t going to try then neither am I.
So, the entrance to the dungeon has a small tunnel you have to crawl through and centipedes and beetles crawl on the party and they have to push aside cobwebs. That’s pretty cool! It’s not something most adventures deal with, but, the mundanity of the situation and the notes of visceral realness add a lot to the entrance. It’s the kind of thing I wish more adventures would do, imagine the scene in terms of real life, the messiness of it all. And I don’t mean cobwebs, but the messiness of thescene laid out before you. Shadows flickering. Wet. Guano. And even centipedes and cobwebs. Imagine every time you’ve anted to crawl in somewhere and the environment and how it made you feel. I love that this does that.
It also has a second entrance to the dungeon, a stream that you can follow in and two hidden rooms that can only be found by going up the stream. I love that off the beaten path kind of stuff. It rewards the players who think outside of the box. It’s also got a weird pacing to it, where you explore the upper caves, find a gnome village beyond them, and then explore the gnome mines, killing goblins in them. Kind of a pre-journey, just to get to the main adventure. Again, I like the realism of that.
But, those are all conceptual things I like.
In reality you get exciting room descriptions like “They enter a cavern full of stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, and columns. Tunnels lead off in various directions.” or something like “It is full of giant quartz crystals.” That is seriously a room description. I get it, yes, but, maybe include a few more words to make tha scene come alive? Write something evocative? One of my favorite rooms is “This cave complex contains the lair of the West Goblin tribe.” Come on. This is nothing but facts. Regale me with descriptions! Throw in some things! These are the yellow cap goblins, right? The cave should be the lair of hte yellow cap tribe, for example. Describe whats going on. The noise. The smoke from the fires? The goblins from the other tribe roasting on a spit? Something? Anything?
Instead we such compelling content as “The New Mines
If they go right from the Gnome Village, it will bypass the Mithrl Vats, since they can’t get there
that direction, but allow access to the Mithrl Refinery. If they go right from there, instead, it
will take them to the east entrance to the Halls of Light (left) or back to the Gnome Village (right).” … The exact same thing that is shown on the map.
This is my life.
Hey, who wats a magic sword! You can get one in the dungeon. It is a magic sword! That’s all you get. Nothing more. “Magic sword.” I am inspired.
And yet …
The gnomes made a gazebo out of mithral. If you go in then it begins to spin and turns in to one of those carnival rides. It forces the party up against the razor sharp crystal walls. And a buzzsaw comes out. Ok, sure. That’s something that the gnomes make. … And put in the mine portion of the mine.
You get a suit of mithral chain mail that a wizard can wear and still cast spells if you clean out the goblins.
Mamma said there’d be days like this.
I don’t want to shit one someone. Seriously, I don’t. But ,come on! You gotta make a fucking effort! You’ve seen an adventure before, right? It gets the coveted 2 out of 10 rating.
This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is nine pages. Try page five on for size.
Argh! Mithril is the new silver.
“They enter a cavern full of stalactites, stalagmites, flow stones, and columns.”
Hey, at least from a pedagogical standpoint, this is useful- it might get some readers to study basic speleology.
Are the basics really not universally taught in schools any more? Reasonably sure I had the stalagmite/stalactite mnemonic committed to lifelong memory in first grade. Which was a few years before D&D was a thing, even.
Ya know, putting a killer gazebo in an adventure is a baller move.
Hideous Daylight has a gazebo on a hill with everything dead around it. “Eric and the Dread Gazebo” never crossed my mind and I didn’t want anything to do with it!
(I’ve only played, not read it.)
Room 6 and 7 are named “Upstream Room” and “Downstream Room” in their descriptions. But other rooms talk about them using the names “Side Cave A” and “Side Cave B” (wow, evocative) — which you can only decipher if you notice these alternate names on the Map Key. (Have someone play editor before you publish!)
All the tunnel/stream crossing descriptions in Room 8 were totally confusing, but could have been omitted altogether if you’d drawn them correctly on the map.