Luke Self Published System Agnostic/Generic Level ... 2?
This is an entry in my Wavestone Keep adventure design contest. Which I held to combat the crushing ennui I feel when reviewing too many bad adventures in a row. The challenge was to write and short adventure, eight pages, inspired by the concept and marketing tagline of the Wavestone Keep adventure. Now, to combat my crushing boredom, and the perfectionism which prevents me from working on larger projects, I’m going to review the entries!
The pillar of stone can be seen peeking up from the turbulent waves like the fin of a shark. According to the legends, this pillar should be none other than Wavebreaker Keep – a swimming tower made of stone crushing the hulls of every vessel unfortunate enough to crash upon it
This five page adventure features a sea tower with nine-ish rooms on six levels, with …. Lizardmen!. A mini-dungeon, it’s got some decent ideas but, also, it is what it is: Luke jotted down some ideas in a word doc. Luke’s never written a module before, and is afraid of being roasted too hard. In a stunning turn about and abrogation of responsibilities, I’m not going to. Mostly because I’m seeing The Vix today for green chilè hamburgers at a food truck instead of joining a work call that I. CANT. FUCKING. STAND. (and, said as much to the call runner just ten minutes ago, ranting for awhile. I was told to just check out of it and not pay attention. Well excuse the fuck me, if I’m not present on the call then why the fuck do I need to be present on the fucking call?)
Ok, so, good news first: Not an absolute disaster. What we’ve got here is an underwater tower with just the roof sticking out on top of the water. So, our first room description is “The top of the ancient stone tower rocks beneath you as the turbulent waters crash against it. Upon the crenulated tower top, you see a closed trap door made of wood caked in seaweed and soaked with water.” and i Kind of like the imagery of that. Just a low stone platform out at see, Crenelations, waves crashing up against it, maybe breaking over it. And then a kind of hatch on top leading to the inside … a kind of submarine!
The designer also does some other nice things. Lizardman reactions are briefly notes in each room … and I mean briefly. Like “One runs to get his buddies in room 3”. Which is kind of how I like my monster reactions, when they do react. And the baddie leader yells things during combat like “And lookie here, fresh morsels coming right to our table here. Dig in boysss!” Which is fun! Yes, it’s a lizardman who’s a captain and acts like a pirate, I guess? That’s disconcerting, and not in a good way. But, het, I like it when the things in the dungeon have personality. It’s a little abrupt here; that theming could have been present in more rooms and/or some foreshadowing or something. Right now its comes across as “you fight lizardmen, normal lizardmen, and then you fight this pirate captain lizardman yelling weird shit at you.” Juxtaposition … and not the pretentious kind found in art.
There’s another couple of nice elements. The entire tower is built ont he back of a leviathan, and if freed they might take you to shore and maybe give a boon at some point in the future. I find that fun; not enough Algernon’s being freed. And then if you deface the God of Seas temple room then “If any players attempt to deface or destroy the shrine, the God of the Depths angrily backlashes upon them conjuring the tower’s old inhabitants as shades to slay the players resulting in a deadly battle against six shades. It takes a moment for them to wink into existence, granting the players the first move. They chase the players so long as they remain inside of the tower.” So, not the best description but the concept is pretty rocking. Shades winking in, all shadowy Paths of the Dead style.
But, also, this is a first effort and it shows.
Italics read-aloud. “They hear you coming” in the read-aloud and other “you” statements. Overreveling room contents in read-aloud. We keep poorly maintained blood stained gear in the DM notes, only saying that there are weapons in the room, awaiting players to examine them to reveal that they are poorly maintained with red stains. And, it’s padded out with phrases like “In contrast to the rest of the tower …”. Plus, there’s a certain abstraction of content, the way we see in 4e/5e. Magic a Knowledge (Spellcasting) check to disable the magic circle! No. Absolutely the fuck not. You blow out candles. You fuck with the salt around the edge. You save the sacrifice. But you do not abstract this shit in to a die roll. The solving of the puzzle IS what D&D is. It IS what roleplaying is.
Oh, hey, also, another room with lizardmen feasting on human bodies, this time with turkey leg/arm human body parts and a side of intestines! Grooooovy!
Good first effort Luke! Time to forget this one and crank out another one that’s better!
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