Eldrad Wolfsbane Self Published OSR Level 1?
The kingdoms of the Northwestern Lands have fallen and the wars have been lost! MAN, ELF, DWARF and HALFLING are on the run or are waiting for THEIR DOOM! Gnolls from the northeast! Piece of S*** Gnolls! F*** Gnolls! Goblin’s, Hobgoblins and Bugbears from the East! Killing! Snorting! R*****! Goblinoid F***S! We hate them! Fleasheaters! They kill and eat the women and children! They even eat the babies! The ROTTEN Undead from the Southeast! That ROTTEN Undead! That SMELL! In the Kingdoms of the East, Mankind is being wiped out! The Southwestern lands have the chasm one must pass! The Chasmfort saves us all for it cannot be taken! Beyond the chasm, it is safe! From there, wandering! The Middle Lands are full! The Empire to the south has fallen as well! Go west! Nobody wants us here! True grief and sadness! Rumors of the farthest southwestern settlement. One can take the trail or the sea! The High Forest! HIGHHILL Town! This place is being flooded by the desperate refugees fleeing from their lands and is quickly becoming crowded. Every day, add 1d100 people. Now there are rumors that the Pig Orcs have came out of the ground to the Southwest and now are plaguing this land so say the Rangers. Ever growing in numbers! The rangers killed many but there are around 30 or so, getting a base ready! There is no other place to go! There is one thing we must do! Make them DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! PIG ORC!
This 24 page single column adventure details a small region and dungeon with around twenty rooms. It channels some old Judges Guild with its encounters and format, appealing to that sense of nostalgia. And like those products, when it’s good its very good, but its so inconsistent, and all over the place, that it’s hard to recommend. And yet, the heart wants what it wants … and this IS one of the more old school things I’ve seen in a long while.
That fucking marketing blurb is BAD! ASS! You should check it out on the drivethru listing, where it’s formatted better. In the product, what you’re immediately confronted with a hand drawn map of the region with computer text overlay conveying a lot of the same information, in visual form. THE EMPIRE TO THE SOUTH HAS FALLEn. GOBLINS< HOBGOBLINS AND BUGBEARS and so on. EAST KINGDOM MANKIND BEING WIPED OUT. So, yeah, some names could have cool instead of EAST KINGDOM, but, you get the sense of scope of it, which is the purpose. And in the middle is Highfell Towne, where our merry little adventure takes place. You gotta go west, young man! Next up is, out of nowhere a ten entry rumor table. It’s not labeled as such, but that’s what it is. It just IS. Nice presentation harkening back to the old fucking days. Yeah, it’s a fucking rumor table, do I need to tell you that? No, you’re not a fucking idiot nd you kow it’s a rumour table? Damn straight1 Our rumors are in voice. “They gots a pack of them giant jackals that lurk them Creepwoodes. Old Smelt is they pack leaders name! He be kill you!” I’m in LUUUUUUUUVVVVVVV! “Everyone say hide at night as Specter comes from the
graveyard and haunts Olden Towne.” That’s what a fucking rumour in a D&D town sounds like!
Next up is a description of the town on two pages. It’s ok. There’s something mysterious, generally, in most entries. The bazaar has foreign merchants speaking in strange unknown tongues and thick common accents running the place. Nice! What’s up with them? Doesn’t say .. but there’s PLENTY of room for the DM to run with that as the game unfolds. My fav is the campground, with “poor ass people and those not wanting to be found lurking here.” Shanty town! Also, monsters lurk on the outside, waiting for their next meal/victim. Roll on the forest or swamp table. I like it!! Something coming out of the swamp to feast on the poors! That’s the kind of normalization of despair that happens in real life. It’s fucking simple as all shit, but works. The encounters for the town are worse, but still prob something you can work with. 1d10 whores out for a nigh. An NPC party. Drunk merchants.Old Mr. Gunderson the old dead Werewolf Hunter … so evil he’s now a specter! It’s just that kind of random shit that you would get in an old supplement … that somehow made sense in the context of the town/place they were being encountered in. Enough to riff with!
We then get a “wildecrawl” with around 20 to 25 places. It’s really just another hand drawn map, with no scale and some (easy to read) computer lettering. You’re gonna have to work a bit, as the DM, to make sure nearby things are aware of the party or they are aware of them. It’s a clean map and easy to read. No scale, and you’re gonna bedoing some lookups, especially in a couple of the encounter dense areas. That could be better, but, also, that’s one of my traditional hexcrawl bitches: seeing whats over the hill/next to you from the map alone. Anyway. Brigands led by DEATH MONGER the brigand! A lake with 32 nixies. A green dragon. “Just some hungry bears trying to make it in the world” Right on dude! The encounters are a mix of one liners and things that are MORE. “This terrible creature haunts the night out of some old ancient stable. Nightmare” Ok, so, I think I can run that, but, also, pretty minimal. Compare to this encounter: “MORLOCKS, they live in The Tangles, a huge growth of swamp vines that overtook and entire area. The tangles actually block out the sun. They are part of the former civilization that ruled here. They plan to protect the land from the Orcs and prevent a greater evil, the opening of The Deadmoore Crypts. They still have the problem of really liking to eat people, elves, and halflings. Dwarves, not so much. Morlock (38)” So, straight out of the hex crawl textbook. More than enough to work with. And then this: “Giant Worker Ants live in the big anthill. Everyone is terrified of the ants coming back like they did around 10 summers ago.” hat’s a real encounter. The 10 summer shit is nonsense, there’s no way to communicate that without a hint beforehand about it, but, also, very evocative if you COULD work it in. I’m down! Very old school!
Ok, the main event! Die Pig Orc Die! The map is two long hallways with rooms hanging off of them. *SIGH*. Our pig orc friends are in the first “section” of five rooms before they barricaded a huge double door. Orcs (26). “THIS should be a major battle. Warn the PCs that they should have as many NPCs as they can.” Well, fuck. Maybe you should have put that up in the front in the towne section, not in the middle of the pig orc fight? The rest of the dungeon is full of such things as “Another room with cracks in the ceiling. Giant Centipedes come forth! Centipede, Giant – 6’ or “A rooms with a fireplace, sealed for hundreds if not thousands of years. Completely empty.” This smacks of procedural generation WITHOUT enhancement. I’m chill with table generation, but you need a guilding hand with it to turn it in to something. This ain’t that. It’s essentially minimally keyed, which is such a disappointment. I guess it’s full in line with that old school product that it harkens back to, but, still, it’s 2022.
And the last line of the adventure? “This is just some dude and his computer and is not supposed to be a polished product.” Hey, man, we put that in the marketing blurb so we know what we’re buying. Some people are gonna be chill with it. Others are not going to be chill dropping you money for a Not Finished Product.
Old school chanelling? Absofuckinglutly! And I can get down with a great deal of it! Two column would have improved it. A little work on the dungeon encounters, and even less on the overland, would have really done wonders here and turned in to something majestic. But, simple hallway dungeon with minimal keying? No recommendation from Brycy.
This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $2. Preview is seven pages. You get to see those hand drawn maps with computer text overlay … good job on those. And the rumor table. But, o real encounters shown. One page of the wilderness and dungeon would have been better than just slapping down the first seven pages of the product. AND PUT A FUCKING LEVEL RANGE ON IT MAN!