By Stephen Ashmore Sword and Tower Games OSR Level 5?
The Tomb of Kor is a legendary tomb of the great king Kor, never before opened, until now. Your players will venture into this legendary tomb that robbers have recently opened, inside they will find secret doors, traps, and treasure; and may awaken mummies who have been sealed away for centuries.
Kor was man!
I mean, he was a mummy man
Or maybe he was just a mummy
but he was still Kor!
This seventeen page adventure uses nine pages to describe an eight room tomb with a mummy. Two encounters. Lot’s of boring traps. And a writing style aimed at two years olds. Yes sir, it’s a banner day in the old brych place, full of the fucking dreck that makes life worth living!
Let us talk my loathing of the hallway trap. Random. Out of nowhere. Take damage. Or, I mean, you can search. And slow the fucking game down to the crawl. Yeah yeah, I know you disagree. I’ve never seen it NOT slow the game down. You know what else is fun? A room with six pit traps in it ! In fact, there are pit traps everywhere in this place, with five more making an appearance in other places! Weeee! Pit trap! We get a paragraph up front at the start (or, actually, three) telling up how to run a pit trap! You can search and find one! Blah blah blah. Roll a search to find one. Does it find ALL of the pit traps in the room? It doesn’t say but I presume not. I’d be shitty as a player. But, as a DM, I’m shitty because of the text. Ready kids? “Traps and other room mechanics are handled in the same way. The room determines all skill checks’ difficulty levels, including finding secret doors, dodging a trap, or investigating something. For example, in room one, the DC is 14. That means to find or disarm a trap, it requires a roll of 14. It also means that to find a secret door a roll of 14 is required.” Congrats! Now you know how to run a pit trap! Just like every other trap. Just like every trap you’ve EVER run. Good thing the designer was there to tell us how to do it!
But wait, there’s more! We are also told that “… two secret doors can be found in this room, as well as several traps. Floor traps are small, five-foot by five-foot pit traps that are triggered by any weight above a handful of pounds leading to a drop of around twenty feet. Ceiling traps spill large quantities of debris, sharpened quartz stones, and various sharpened pieces of bone when anything steps on a pressure plate on the ground below. Both kinds of traps deal 2D6 damage, or half if a reflex or dexterity save is successful.” Yes sir, the text repeats! Yeah! Now I’m not dumb anymore! I’ve been told how to breathe AND then had it reinforce! An excellent use of space and a text budget!
No? Ok, how about this: “How the adventure works: Each room of the dungeon is listed separately, with a description that should be read to the players.” Yes, the designer has told us how room keys work! No one, in the history of the fucking world, needs to be fucking told how a room key works. Jesus H fucking Chris. Maybe, also, you can tell me how to count to eight so I can follow that as well? I mean, what the fuck were you thinking? This? Thiis is good adventure design?! This is whatyou dreamed of doing and stayed awake at night pouring over in your head as youlay in bed? How to tell people what an adventure key looks like and how to use it?
“ To increase their chances of finding a secret door, allow extra rolls for searching different areas of the rooms. Perhaps a failed roll can reveal the location of the door, but not how to open it.”
IE: do not play D&D.
“Searching the room can lead to treasure with a successful search check. Roll 1D6 on the following table to determine the treasure. Each character can search one time.”
IE: life is fair. I want to puke. (That may not be the adventure, I had eight shots of fireball and three long islands at hte bar last night. Hmmm, or, maybe its a combination of the adventure AND the liquor? Whatever; I’m blaming the adventure.)
The adventure backstories. “Brought here at great expense is the Throne of Kor How do you know this? You don’t. How does it improve the players experience to know this? It doesn’t. How does it help the DM to run the room to have this information presented to them? It doesn’t. “The room has been disturbed recently” How do you know this? You don’t.
Here’s a great example of some room text. It embodies the spirit of the entire adventure: “Pulling the players in: There are a few ways to position Kor’s Tomb as a hook for players. First, the king of the land, or some other ruler, hires them to chase down the tomb robbers who have broken into the Tomb. Second, perhaps the players come across the tomb while exploring the desert. Third, the players could be associated with the tomb robbers themselves, arriving to help their friends. There are certainly many other ways to draw the players to the tomb, it should be made clear that the tomb is famous for being undisturbed, full of traps and legendary treasure.” That paragraph says nothing. NOTHING. It’s just words. Filler words. Words that add absolutely nothing to the adventure. No specificity. NOTHING. Nothing to work with at all. And that is the adventure room after room of that nothing.
The tomb entrance was covered by a large boulder of marble, too heavy for most to move.” and then in the read aloud “it has never been moved until now. The tomb robbers who entered before have not been seen since.” Note the contradictions.
It’s just crap.
Did I mention all the, long, read-aloud is in italics?
Save yourselves, my children.
This is $2 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. It shows you the traps page and a couple of rooms, so, good preview. Enjoy the fuck out of it.