By Nobboc OSE/BX
This is a one page dungeon from, it looks like, a book on monsters from folklore. While I don’t normally review one pagers anymore, Nobboc asked and Nobboc is not a git, so, a review it is! I assume the book is about the folklore monsters and they are includin a short adventure for some and/or all of the entries. This is the one for the Velue “the shaggy beast.”
This is landscape formatted, a one pager. The left colum, maybe ¼ or 1/5th of the page, has the monster description and stats. The rest of the page is taken up by a small map of around eight rooms of a cave complex, it’s lair, and the keys for it as well as a minimal hook and instructions for running the monster.
The map is a pretty good one, for its size. Essentially two paths running parallel to each other, as a cave system. The effect is a long snarky path, essentially one hallway running to chambers. I’d normall call this liner, except for the cave features throughout, like the overpasses, underpasses, rivers, and the other parallel tunnel system. Things are made more interesting by making one of the paths too small for the Velue to fit in to. Hit & run tactics then become available … which may in and of itself be a problem for the DM. There’s also a short system to determine if the Velue is at home in its lair and where it is, as well as a way for it to flood certain parts of the system using its water control powers. Overall, it does a lot in a small space with the map and its features.It’s a good cave system with the vertical represented.
The descriptions are terse, as one would expect in a one pager, and relatively evocative. “Pebble beach by a river” is the first location … notice how the room title adds additional context to the encounter. We’ve already got a brief description that “1” alone just doesn’t convey. On top of that there’s “a pestilent small forming from inside the cave.” Great! We’ve got a little bit of foreshadowing, a little bit of a hint that something lives here, and little bit of the mythic underworld, if played that way, implying things are about to get weird. The second line is a strange crow on a rock that says “She’ll give me your eyes! Before flying off. Nice scene, but, “strange” is a poor word choice. HOW is it strange? Strange is a conclusion, you see. You want the description to convey to the players “oh, thats strange”, not tell them its strange.
I know it’s a one pager, and sospace is limited, but this whole “give me your eyes” thing could have been touched on again via a callback. It’s the only time it’s mentioned.
Room two is a stinky cavern. I’d prefer a sulferous cavern, or something to convey the smell of death, as the room title, since the caracasses of many rotting creatures lie within. There’s rando cave paintings showing men coming down from flying ship. A “very old” cave painting. A better word could have been found for this, and the cave painting has no impact on the adventure. I would have liked to see it contribute. There IS a dead gnome body in a crack … wearing a ring of invisibility. Nice way to hide treasure; I approve!
Room three is a foggy cave, with a knee high mist hiding a troll in a pit … the mist coming from a hot spring in the bottom of the pit. Interesting. I like the trap/trick aspect of the room, as well as “knee high” to describe the mist. Maybe one more line about the troll and how he interacts? The rooms continue like this, generally some interactivity with some decent writing that could be better. The treasure is book, but it’s also one page.
So, it’s a decent little adventure that suffers from all of the usual problems of one-pagers: its too constrained. I can see how a little lair dungeon would buff up the monster entries in a folklore book, but … I’m not sure that the mythic nature, or even the specific aspects of folklore, are captured in the entry. The usual issues, it’s too constrained. I don’t think you need to go all 100 Bushels of Rye on the thing, but, there must be a happy medium here. It’s about as good as you can do, in a one page format for a lair, but … in a one page format.
Nobboc posted this over ath reddit in the OSR group, so, it’s free: