Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos

By Bill Bengham, Mackenzie De Armas, Dan Dillon, Steve Kenson, T. Alexander Stangroom
Levels 1-10

The greatest minds in the multiverse meet at Strixhaven University. Professors convey fantastic secrets to eager students, and life on campus is frenetic. But danger lurks even here. Campus hijinks mix with mishaps and sinister plots, and it’s up to you to save the day.

Strixhaven is yet another shitty adventure from WoTC, coming in at 226 pages and with four railroad adventures that take you from level one to level ten. This time it uses a scene based design to rip off Harry Potter as a mashup with Magic the Gathering. It’s generic, shittily written, and contains almost nothing that could be described as wondrous … at a multiverse university. 

Yes, I know, it’s a 5e review, and older product at that. But Daddy Stirring requested it, so, I’m doing the review. Or no more pedialyte and bug bite stix. Ok, so, we’re not gonna harp too much on modern D&D. We’re not going to mention that its devoid of a soul. We’re not going to mention that it’s actually an activity and not a game. We’re going to accept that some people both think that this is what D&D actually is, that they want to play magic ren faire game with talking trash cans and continual light poles and sphere of annihilation garbage disposals everywhere with level fifteen wizard working as baristas at a coffee shop. People like this shit. We’re going to accept that. We are, however, going to rip the living shit out of this PIECE OF GARBAGE for how it enables, or more to the word does not enable, that game style to occur. 

First, the setting. Strixhaven. This is some Magic the Gathering crossover thing, I think? Sure. whatever. I mean, you should expect it. Did you know that here’s someone QUITE senior at The Hasborg who has a job made up entirely of mashing two of their products together? So, like, if they own Barbie and GI Joe then this person is like “Barbie should appear in GI Joe and the Joes should visit Barbie land, like, do a commando raid on her dream house.” I am NOT making this shit up. Their job is to find and encourage brand synergies. The idea is that The Hasborg should NOT own both Barbie and GI Joe UNLESS they both can feed off of each other to generate even larger profit$. It doesn’t matter how successful each brand is, is they can’t synergize with each other then the company SHOULD NOT own both. You own multiple brands to make EVEN MORE money than owning either separately would. So, we get a Magic location, Strixhaven, popping up in D&D. Yeah. I feel both synergized and just a little more cynical about the world.

And, of course, there’s the Harry Potter vibes of this thing. IDK, was Strixhaven a Harry Potter rip off? I’m not a fucking moron so I don’t pay to win Magic and thus don’t follow it. But, even if Strixhaven the MtG thing isn’t a Harry Potter rip off then Strixhaven the D&D game is absolutely Harry Potter with the lawsuit filed off. Sure, whatever. But, it’s all there. The  mini-book plots all leading up to Voldemort. The “arc” of the students. Love interests and relationships and passing classes and quidditch. This is the Harry Potter supplement for D&D. 

A BAD Harry Potter supplement.

Because it’s not a setting.It’ is four adventures that take place IN a setting, Strixhaven. It tries to embed the players characters in to the setting, but it is NOT a setting. Or, maybe, it’s just a really really crappy setting? It’s not oriented around the setting, it’s oriented around the adventures. So, if you want to know about the Forbidden Forest, err, Stinky Swamp, then you gonna have to find the adventure, and the scene of the adventure, that deals with that and read the couple of paragraphs that describe it. It’s this way for all of the locations on campus. There is no unifying whole. It is NOT a setting. There are throw away sections on building relationships with NPC students and taking exams, in the front of the book in the setting section, but its all tacked on and it FEELS tacked on. But, overall, it’s like, idk, you had a 226 page version of the caves of chaos section of B2. As if just the caves took 226 pages to describe. And then tried to run a different adventure int he caves than the one the designer intended. It’s just not laid out right. 

This is NOT intended to be a setting. Or, if it is then it’s the worst fucking piece of shit setting book ever written. It’s MEANT to run four adventure. You create a character and then play the four adventures, one for each year of university. And it hits the beats and the pacing of the Harry Potter movies. You jump, in large swaths of time, from one scene to another. It’s suddenly several weeks later … There’s just not room, or support, to run filler. You WILL be running these shoitty adventure as they are written, making sudden leaps during a session. “Ok, no, it’s four weeks later. It’s time to take your Slaadi exam ,,,:  Not a setting. Four adventures. I don’t think its possible to run it as a setting without a fuck ton of iffues for the DM. Instread, maybe just watch the first Harry Potter movie, maybe the next two also, and run a Harry Potter game from what you learned. It will be better than whats in here.

I said I wasn’t going to botch about modern D&D, and I’m not. But I am going to bitch about the shitty bolt on rules for exams and relationships. And, in general, using D&D for something other than D&D. D&D, from the 70’s, is about dungeon crawling. That’s the game. Everything about the game is built on that premise. The whole fucking thing. If you try to do something ELSE with it then you are going to have trouble. And yet people have been trying to do something else with it forever. Lets run a detective game using D&D rules! Yeash, but, the rules let you have all of these detect spells at early levels. They do it so you can detect poly’d princesses and doppelgangers and their ilk in the dungeon. When the wizard memorizes that then they don’t learn Fireball, making a choice. The spell lists WORK AGAINST a detective game because of this. If you want a detective game then you need something that doesn’t have detect evil/alignment/read minds, etc in it at low levels.But people force the system to do what they want anyway. Lets run a romantic love game! No. Maybe try some indi rpg game to do this? But , not, they try and mak D&D do it. Yes, the game has evolved, through 3e and 4e and 5e. But, its roots are still in dungeon crawling and the rules show that. You can’t escape it

Even for a game involving wizards at uni haing to study and, for some fucking reason, building relationships with other hand taking part time jobs. I’m a fan, in general, of little mini-mechanics in systems. I love the way they can easily replicate something or motivate. But these don’t do that. It’s just some bolt on garbage, that takes WAYYYYY too long to explain and doesn’t really have much of a reason. In fact, if you want to minmax, you should avoid them. And min/max you will.

For this book/setting/adventure has no soul. None. Did you make a well rounded character to fully explore the setting? Then yo’re a fucking idiot. You should have min/maxed. Because the designers are fucking idiots. This piece of shit relies on skill checks. You want to pass an exam? “The day before the Exam, the characters can study the course material. A character can use any ability check and skill during the Studying phase.” So, use your athletics to study for your Sladdi knowledge multiple choice test. I, rather famously in my friend group, did this in a 4e game, where I used Know(religion) in a skill test to make it past two city gate guards. It was St Bartos day, and no gate guard looks left on St Bardo’s day. It was not allowed. Which, I guess was cool since I was actually commenting on how dumb the skill challenege system was. But, it’s fucking cannon now, do what thy wilt! And, min/maxc that shit! Just make your DC skill check or you fail the exam. There is NO reason to do anything other than min/max. In another section, if you’re caught more than once, failing checks, then you’re punished with your job taken away, failed exams, etc. Just fucking min/max your shitty ass character and make thedie rolls. D&D, roll play not role play. The meme that people attribute to old school play, which was never true, is now actually the official way to play. Wonderful. Just shut the fuck up and roll the dice. 

I’d like to talk about the Harry Potter movies, and, specifically, the first one. I think it does a magnificent job of presenting a wondrous world that is being exposed to hHarry and seen through his eyes. There’s a joy and awe in his experiences to the veil of maya being pulled aside. That’s kind of the point, of the first movie, and they did a good job at it. That’s the kind of reaction that I’m looking for in D&D. I want awe and wonder. This is a magical place. There should be mystery and a magical experience in it. Awe & wonder. You know what it should not be? Another shift at the coffee shop. The mundane drudgery of life. Gee, that’s fun, right? But, that’s what this supplement/adventure is. They’ve managed to take the greatest minds in the universe at a magical university and make it one of the most boring things I’ve ever seen. There’s no awe. There’s no wonder. It is like it has all been surgically removed to some generic abstraction. The worst trophy references, abstracted. This is not a new thing for WOTC, they seem to have a particular skill in taking whatever content is produced (I’m guessing) by their writing staff and then yoinking anything good out of it so it’s all just bland generic mush. There is NOTING magical about this. Not in the setting and not in the adventure. If you squint, REALLY hard, then maybe you can see what they are trying to do. But it’s not done at all.

“Explain the [the libraries] areas in detail before the characters begin this scavenger hunt, so they have an idea of which areas the clues point to.” Great. Yes. Exactly. That’s how you run an adventure. You monologue to a hundred hours so the players can solve the riddles. The first year adventure could be summed up as “there was a surge of wildmagic in the swamp.” (if not running a campaign. Why the fuck would you not run all four/the campaign?) But, still, a surge of wildmagic? That’s whats behind eveyrything? Its so fucking boring I’m falling asleep in class. No? Not good enough. I know. But it’s all the snark you’re getting from me for this piece of shit.

Oh, o! At none point the read-aloud ACTUALLY says “You can’t let someone ruin the first day of classes; time to step up!” Jesus H Christ man. Seriously? And none of the creature encounters are anything more than a tacked on encounter. You’re doing frog races in the bar, betting on them, they turn in to giant frogs. COMBAT! Yells the dm and everything stops, you fight the frogs, and then move on. No actual integration. No synergy with the bar. Just the worst kind of “they come out of stasis” vibe, as if the rest of the setting, where the fight took place, who is present, doesn’t exist. 

It’s just generic abstracted railroad. It’s fucking BAD. ANd it’s $45 fucking dollars. Just go watch some Harry Potter movies or buy some HP roleplay game and run it using the 5e rules. You’ll be happier, by far.

This entry was posted in 5e, Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, My Life is a Living Fucking Hell, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos

  1. Gnarley Bones says:

    Yep, Strixhaven is MtG and, yes, it’s Potterverse-esque.

    /moron here who has spent far, far too much money in a collectible card game for Ages 10 and up.

  2. The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

    It’s products like this that make me long for the early 80s when I got into D&D. TSR takes a lot of shit from a lot of people (much of it deserved) for how they ran their company, especially post Gygax but I’d take that all day every day over this feces. This is what 5e D&D players these days want to play??? It is to weep.

  3. Yora says:

    Why does so much 5th edition art seem to be all laughing people around a table?

    That’s not adventuring. Being chased bleeding through dark dank tunnels by big things with long teeth is adventuring.

    • Matt P says:

      I’ve wondered the same thing! The vast majority of 5e art I see seems to be just a group of magical people (usually of a carefully curated appropriate level of gender/ethnicity/species diversity) kinda…. hanging out. Action shots of actual adventure seem fairly few and far between.

    • squeen says:

      I’m with the owl who appears to be thinking “How do I get away from these two idiots?”.

      I think this is the worst piece of D&D art I’ve ever seen. Not in execution, but in content. Ouch.

    • Kubo says:

      I believe the laughing people has a lot to do with the game company. A board game cover with people laughing and enjoying themselves may make it look fun to play to a potential buyer, and they may find they actually sell more product with such covers. But I agree with you, I prefer to see more dread and action on the cover than people gathered around a table at an inn or wherever.

  4. Matt P says:

    When I was a kid, I was all about planning GI Joe raids from the other side of the room on the corner where my sisters played with their Barbies.

    My sisters weren’t particularly enthusiastic about the crossovers, though. Said I was bothering them.

  5. Shuffling Wombat says:

    A glorious return to full power Bryce. Talking trash cans eh? Shades of Dusty Bin and Metal Mickey. 1980s UK television was used to punish the populace.
    Are you now ready to tackle Squirrel King Plumpkins? A polemic that the acorn horders are just rats with bushy tails and an excellent public relations department is expected.

  6. whereismywizardhat says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of Potter-with-serial-numbers-off media in the past couple years. Part of it is the kids that watched those movies are now brand managers at companies or story tellers or whatever, and I think part of it is some attempt to reclaim their childhoods from the bitter old bigot that the author became.

    That being said, Strixhaven is one more example of how the people running WoTC care more about printing DIY self insert fiction then adventures to play through. A multiversal wizards school in 5e DnD should be a lot weirder and wilder then discount Hogwarts. I can write my own Coffeeshop AUs for my adventuring party, thank you.

    • Or perhaps it should be less weird and wild – a lot of these magic schools for D&D seen very over the top and full of uber-powerful high level wizards and weird artifacts that doesnt make much sense given the worlds overall balance of power. One also wonders whether the typical PC wizard ever went somewhere like that rather than undergoing a one-to-one apprenticeship with a master as is more traditional in a medieval setting, and what advantage that anyone of more than 1st level gains from going to a school, or teaching there, within the context of the D&D game system…

      That said, the magic school trope isn’t limited to Harry Potter; i think the best pre-Potter example was Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earth Sea from 1968. It’s interesting that it never made it into Appendix N (Gary said in an interview when asked that he vaguely recalled reading it but it didn’t make an impression on him, although there are some theories that the Intellect Devourer was inspired by it).

      • whereismywizardhat says:

        Unfortunately, while there is wizard school media that predates or is contemporaries with Potter (I was quite partial to The Circle of Magic books, which revolved around a far more mundane school of magic in a pretty grounded fantasy setting), that’s not the well that Strixhaven pulls from. The multiple houses each with their own culture gives away the Potter influence.

        • Gnarley Bones says:

          Yep, Strixhaven (strix = owls, get it?) is a very unashamedly Potter-inspired set of cards. It all works well and good in the MtG game, where, ostensibly, the cardplayer is rping the role of a wizard casting spells against his/her opponent; literally trying to run D&D in the Harry Potter universe, though … meh.

        • Jacob Bonnari says:

          On magical boarding schools, the earliest I’m aware of is 1974’s “The Worst Witch” by Jill Murphy. The eight books featuring useless student witch Mildred Hubble (as in hubble, bubble) are actually very good kids books. My wee sister had all of them but I’ve only read the first to my daughter about 5-6y ago.

          Anyone reading these books might see similarities to the HP books, but there’s no over-arxhing villain, just a series of small-school rivalries and funny mishaps.

  7. Brandon H says:

    From what I can tell, this book wasn’t very well received with the 5e crowd. Didn’t stop them from selling a boatload of copies, certainly, but I’m not sure it *entirely* represents what modern players want out of D&D.

  8. OSR Fundamentalist says:

    perhaps even

  9. Gus L. says:

    That really sounds disappointing. I had hopes, ‘cause the last two of these I looked at at least seemed interesting – going to hell is always good, while the forever winter one had a crashed spaceship city and wanted you to talk to monsters. Baby steps towards alright. This sounds not alright, even in the context of 5E.

    It leaves me wondering… Can anyone write a decent magic school adventure/setting for D&D…Will WotC 5E complete its transformation into offbrand MCU script you can act out with your friends on the stream… Does 5E implied setting even remotely match its published adventures anymore, and will they need mechanics changes to make it so … Does a Noir style mystery where the PCs know who did it but they are powerful and protected have a better chance of working … Why don’t any bars I frequent have amphibian based contests?

    • morganwestridge says:

      There were several magic schools done for 2e and 3e I think.

      • Jonathan Becker says:

        BECMI had the Principalities of Glantri whose wizard school (and adventure ideas) seem to have had at least some influence on Rowling’s writing (it was published years before, anyway).

    • Longtime reader first time poster says:

      I am very convinced you are genuine in your intentions and you are not getting cold feet over years of atrocious behavior, cancellation attempts, false accusations of nazism. As a longstanding reader but first-time poster this post puts me, the afficianado of oldschool DnD, the purveyor of fantasy adventure gaming, at ease. My guard is down and all is well. I am now ready to be replaced by whatever demographic you think will assuage your wounded pride. I for one will make no attempt to look into your conduct on the OSR discord.

      • OSR Fundamentalist says:

        Now I’ve got no problem with throwing shit back in Gus’ face when he posts his hypocritical and self-righteous diatribes, if you just reply to every single innocuous post he makes with a shitpost it makes ya look like a ding-dong diddly obsessed schizo mark who worked himself into a seething shoot

        Touch grass
        Eat meat
        Take meds
        Git gud

      • APONymous says:

        It’s odd, Gus calls people names to their faces, not great, but then he ignores them. Prince of Nothing posts under every single one of Gus’s comments as a sockpuppet, with the same tired years’ hysterics. I think it’s pretty obvious which one of them is a skulking 4chan troll trying “cancel” people around here.

        • OSR Fundamentalist says:

          Gus lives in that guy’s head rentfree and Prince lives in yours
          Spend more time playing games and less time seething + malding, mark

          And follow the advice I gave the other guy

          • Mr. I?ve?s? says:

            It is very obvious him from his writing style. There are even algorithms you can use online to compare writing samples from. Not to mention Prince absolutely has fash leanings and those types always have meltdowns like this when they’re called out for what they are.

          • Rent-Free says:

            “We are dissatisfied with a lack of genuine review culture in the “retro-game” or “classic” scene. This absence stifles healthy criticism that might foster improvements in design. It also suppresses visibility for new material and authors. To the extent this has need has been met, it has been by a smattering of blogs, mainly boosting things the bloggers love. There have been a couple of more critical review sites operating for a long time now. But these sites have been single authored, and so promoted the point of view of single reviewers. *Some are also written by, or host comment sections full of, trolls.*”
            – Bones of Contention Blog

            Star-crossed haters.

  10. Sven Ove Johannson says:

    I, too, was thoroughly disappointed with this sorry excuse for an adventure.

    First of all, most of the encounter areas suspiciously look exactly like what what I do when I only have an hour to prep tonight’s game, am all out of ideas and then scramble for a battlemap and minis to slap something up. So if you’d like to see what game night is like when I can’t be bothered, check out Strixhaven!

    Second, nothing screams ‘Wizard School!’ to me like realizing the optimal party setup is just a bunch of fighters with a thief or two thrown in for recon stuff. I mean, you’d kinda expect a lot of challenges easily or more easily overcome through diligent use of spells in Harry-Potter-Land, wouldn’t you?

    Third, Strixhaven already has a Voldemort-like villain baked in. So, naturally, you won’t be fighting him and his Death Eaters, but some d00d whose main claim to infamy is … I dunno … ‘wasn’t subjected to a stern talking-to by an Ethics committee during his formative years’ or something?

    Fourth, man did they drop the ball on this relationships thingy. It’s almost as if the cool kids weren’t using relationship maps and all that claptrap 15 years ago. – And I think a simple 1D100 table or somesuch would have done the trick just fine. ’03: Slytherin bullies kick the books of a Hollywood-ugly nerd. What do you do?’ – There! Done.

    All in all, hard pass. Now I *did* support my FLGS through buying the fancy alternate-art HC of this, but I should have spent the money on MtG boosters; at least I might have pulled a chase mythic that way. 😀

  11. Laeral says:

    “We’re going to accept that some people both think that this is what D&D actually is, that they want to play magic ren faire game with talking trash cans and continual light poles and sphere of annihilation garbage disposals everywhere with level fifteen wizard working as baristas at a coffee shop. People like this shit. We’re going to accept that.”

    I really, really struggle to understand this stuff. It’s obviously not new, it goes back at least to 2E. My very tentative guess is that after D&D took off in a major way a lot of people who started playing it, unlike the first crop of dorks, didn’t really read much genre fiction, so they never really exercised that part of their imagination. So when they looked at the tools meant to create a fantastic feel, they took them way too literally: “so this magic item is a hole that sucks in and obliterates everything, I guess that’s a thing that exists in this universe then so logically they’d use them as garbage disposals”. Just no familiarity with the themes or ideas, a completely outsider perspective building D&D from the rulebooks alone. Then somehow enough of them got into writing positions to create a long, self-perpetuating tradition of shitty, shitty adventures.

    Sound plausible? I can’t think of another explanation, unless these adventures are being dashed off in half an hour over lunch and then turned over to a team of underpaid temps to finish before deadline, but that still wouldn’t account for the adventures that are supposedly labours of love by hobbyists. At least slap a veneer over it: “this is where Professor Bigby botched a ritual and got sucked through a pinhole in the universe, now we throw all our trash down there”. And this is all completely besides the failure to write an actual adventure or setting.

    • Mirror says:

      No, this doesn’t sound plausible. Its ok to have adventures where you look at magic items at technology. It can be done well with D&D. As ignorant as you paint the other crowd, you sound just as ignorant yourself in your inability to even attempt to engage with the other perspective.

      • Laeral says:

        That doesn’t address anything I said, other than to negate it. I quite clearly /am/ trying to figure out their perspective, despite my distaste and regardless of whether my guesses are right. And what I’m wondering is not whether or not it’s “OK” to like things I don’t, it’s where on earth this style of adventure came from. It’s not from any fiction I’ve ever read or watched, so how did it arise if not from an interpretation of the game materials?

        “Magic items as technology” is fine – how about Skerple’s Magic Industrial Revolution? How about Harry Potter, with eccentric replacement systems like owls delivering the post and magic powder-powered fireplaces in place of public transportation? It can be done competently and creatively. Are you really going to defend the schlock?

        • Shitty Adventure says:

          He’s not going to defend the schlock. All he wants to do is to take issue with you for your seeming lack of understanding the separate realities of anyone who might like this garbage. I suppose he’s done his duty on the internet today by properly chastising some random anonymous person for their lack of empathy and perspective.

    • Kubo says:

      Your thinking sounds plausible to me, Laeral. On the other hand, I’ve found that D&D can have many vibes that work in play. For example, there are high-magic and low-magic games. I think Bryce enjoys the traditional flavor of the game the most, kinda like you describe, with its basis in classic myths/superstitions, medieval/ancient history, and pre-1970’s genre fantasy/sci-fi fiction (Tolkien, Howard, Lieber, etc.). I think I do too. I used to have the attitude as a teenager when I learned the game that a serious game with horror elements was best. But you can have a light-hearted, even humorous game that works as well. Interestingly, the Castle Greyhawk module from 1988, one of the worst modules ever written, had one bright spot for me, Level 4 by Jaquays, which opened my eyes to what the game could be. Jokey from start to finish, and we had a ball playing it. Its only blemish was fusing it into the rest of the dungeon. Actually, by the way it was written, it did not synthesize well with the dungeon at all, which makes me think that it was written independently from the rest of the crap. Anyway, it’s worth testing out games that seem outside of the box to see if the work. I suppose a Harry Potter type game could work, but it has to be fresh, much in the way that Greyhawk and Blackmoor weren’t Middle Earth sideways.

  12. squeen says:

    Sounds like WotC is writing Bobbsey Twins Adventures for young teens (who actually are physically their 30s). D&D originally was edgy and underground. This is as mainstream and bland as fantasy gets.

  13. Nobboc says:

    Your life is a living fucking hell.

  14. Anonymous says:

    While I think 5e is a fairly decent rule set and definitely more accessible than 3 and 4, my experiences of 5e adventures are they are by and large garbage. It kind of amazes me but I think these books are primarily meant to be looked at first and maybe, as an afterthought, to be actually played.

  15. OSR Fundamentalist says:

    > I think these books are primarily meant to be looked at first and maybe, as an afterthought, to be actually played.
    Dude that’s like 85% of all modules both D&D and non
    fr fr no cap

  16. Melan says:

    This is end stage Fun Engineering. Polished, inoffensive, and it leverages those brand synergies like mad. Corporate Memphis by way of a roleplaying game (consumed through Youtube playthroughs). A television jingle.

    Let’s look at the positives. There is a certain kind of guy who will look at this stuff and be so absolutely disgusted he will deliberately swing to the polar opposite. In the better case, old-school gaming can be part of that polar opposite: homemade, rough, earnestly violent, and inoculated against the feelgood dystopia around them.

    Do not imitate, differentiate.

  17. Camila Acolide says:

    I LOVE your reviews of official 5e products. It was the Rise of Tiamat review that made me first discover your site, and I’ve been here ever since. I really wish you would continue to review them. Thanks a lot!

  18. Artem says:

    Any plans for Wild Beyond the Witchlight? We all know you love circuses and carnivals in D&D 🙂

  19. Would have preferred you gone more into the details as I don’t come off knowing exactly what’s wrong with this besides being based on one of the dullest franchise in the history of movie franchises. Seriously each episode following the boy wizard and his pals from Hogwarts Academy as they fight assorted villains has been indistinguishable from the others. Aside from the gloomy imagery, the series’ only consistency has been its lack of excitement and ineffective use of special effects, all to make magic unmagical, to make action seem inert.

    Perhaps the die was cast when Rowling vetoed the idea of Spielberg directing the series; she made sure the series would never be mistaken for a work of art that meant anything to anybody?just ridiculously profitable cross-promotion for her books. The Harry Potter series might be anti-Christian (or not), but it’s certainly the anti-James Bond series in its refusal of wonder, beauty and excitement. No one wants to face that fact. Now, thankfully, they no longer have to.

    > a-at least the books were good though


    The writing is dreadful; the book was terrible. As I read, I noticed that every time a character went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the character “stretched his legs.”

    I began marking on the back of an envelope every time that phrase was repeated. I stopped only after I had marked the envelope several dozen times. I was incredulous. Rowling’s mind is so governed by cliches and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing. Later I read a lavish, loving review of Harry Potter by the same Stephen King. He wrote something to the effect of, “If these kids are reading Harry Potter at 11 or 12, then when they get older they will go on to read Stephen King.” And he was quite right. He was not being ironic. When you read “Harry Potter” you are, in fact, trained to read Stephen King.

    • Jonathan Becker says:

      I was reading Stephen King at 11 and 12.

      Rowling is crap, though the books have some nice illustration. There are much better introductions for children into fantasy, myth, and folklore. Sadly, they do not have major motion picture franchises and dedicated Lego lines.

    • OSR Fundamentalist says:

      dangerously based

    • Mr. I?ve?s? says:

      You took that last couple paragraphs from a well-known copypasta.

      • PrinceofNothing says:

        You wanted to tussle right?

        You tried to imply I was courting a fascist audience because I allow Kent to post (as one should), yet Kent posts here and Inverse is silent. Why? We know why.

        If you follow the link on Mr. Inverse’s name you will see an empty blog. He produces nothing gameable and his comments are all one sentence snipes.

        • Anonymous says:

          Holy shit, lol. I really must have got in your head for you to not only remember me from a single one-off comment on your blog but to also respond here where I replied to someone else entirely.

          Yeah, I do think you are courting a fash audience because you allowed a pretty disgusting diatribe by Kent to remain in the comments of your blog. But let’s face it, you clearly come from a recognizably edgelord 4chan internet tradition, given the tone of your writing and you’ve shown your reactionary side in other comments here before, so it isn’t any wonder why these things do not bother you. The only thing that does seem to bother you is when it is pointed out the Prince has some stylish, Hugo Boss-inspired clothes.

          It’s unfortunate because I really do enjoy your writing and your reviews most of the time, but I think you are either unaware of your own positions or being lax in cultivating your community or both. And yes, even though I haven’t stated it here before, I think the quality of commenters on Bryce’s blog has really taken a dive as of late also. But I also haven’t seen some outright drunken fascist diatribe in the comments here and I expect (hope) Bryce would probably do something about it if there were.

          As for my empty blog, yeah, I made that like 15 years ago and promptly forgot about it a week later lol. I used this account name because it popped up when I hit Reply. Simple.

          Anyway, I know I started this comment antagonistically, but I don’t think you’re necessarily a bad person Prince. I’m not trying to troll you or be a dick, but I do think you show reactionary leanings and you seem okay with letting that into your community. It’s almost a cliché at this point, but the problem with letting Nazi punks hang out at your bar is that they invite their friends, they drive others out and eventually you run a Nazi bar–I mean, aside from the whole being okay with ignorant shitheads who want to maim and murder people for innocuous lifestyle choices have a voice on your platform thing.

  20. Jonathan Becker says:

    I actually considered buying Strixhaven. Not because I liked its concept or wanted to run it (I don’t play 5E), but because I wanted to DESTROY IT…to craft an adventure where the usual 1E rogues could break into the university and loot it.

    Unfortunately, even a brief perusal showed (as Bryce points out) that there is NOTHING TO THIS. There is no real setting material, no maps of the school/campus, no list of teachers, forbidden items, special-specials worth stealing or…well, anything. As a setting book it is CRAP, and any thoughts of “repurposing” the thing would require creating my own “magical university” from scratch, basically.

    It’s just another 5E circle jerk with IP tie-in and pretty pictures. Yay. The usual WotC cash grab.

    Those fools laughing on the cover? Portrait of the Hasbro execs snickering at the rubes who’ve once again put money in their pockets.

    • OSR Fundamentalist says:

      Bro, the setting book is a whole separate (but still shitty book)
      This is DLC for the setting book

      • Jonathan Becker says:

        Aha! Did not realize even more shitty content was being produced via different media outlets. My bad!

        [had to look up “DLC” — see? I *am* an old geezer!]

  21. Kent says:

    I am selling off the rpg collection I acquired since I discovered the idiot web. This is 95% of what I own and worth several grand.

    On ebay I can’t figure out what items are worth because the tick box in the margin doesn’t seem to work. Any advice on how to price highly regarded rubbish from the 1980s?

  22. Shitty Adventure says:

    Just to put the capper on this. As of today, Strixhaven has 1,374 ratings on Amazon with a 4.7 out of 5.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Mind Boggling

    • Reason says:

      Had a look at the reviews though and a good proportion (1/3 or more) seem to be underwhelmed and giving it 3 stars.

      • Matt says:

        > …1,374 ratings on Amazon with a 4.7 out of 5. …

        >> …a good proportion (1/3 or more) seem to be underwhelmed and giving it 3 stars …

        Indeed. Amazon “rating” summary is a lie … sells more products. The lying isn’t new by the way, just most people still don’t know it / believe it.

        • Endless says:

          Some Amazon customers also review the quality of the shipping instead of the product itself. I’ve seen some 1 out 5 stars and the entire review is about how the shipment got a scratch, and no words on the actual product, so that makes it even more unreliable.

  23. Tom H. says:

    One single solitary point in favour of the cross-brand tying of D&D and MtG: Mythic Odysseys of Theros actually *is* more of a setting book than an adventure, and has some really productive worldbuilding in it. (It’s also got a couple of ill-balanced mechanics, but nothing you can’t hack around.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *