By Josh Domanski & Reilly Qyote Exalted Funeral OSE Level 0 Funnel
Terror descends upon a quiet town, kidnapping citizens and thrusting them into a hellish nightmare. Trapped aboard a vessel crewed by prophecy-driven shapeshifters, unfortunate souls must band together—or perish. Fight brutal monsters, avoid devastating traps, and test your wits against an inscrutable enemy in … ZED & TWO NOUGHTS
This thirteen room single-column adventure contains about nine encounter areas on an alien spaceship. Descriptions are good, and it’s well organized, but it lacks substantial interactivity and there are some annoying deviations from the format and editing missteps.
This is a zero level funnel, with a decent chunk of the book, maybe half, devoted to creating funnel characters and how to run one. That leaves about sixish pages for the adventure adventure. It starts with the characters being abducted from their village by a spaceship and ends, hopefully, with the characters escaping the nine room ship.
It has some decent descriptions in it. Evocative, and working hard to create an alien environment that is still recognizable as a play space. Our opening scene starts with “sounds of destruction exploding in the dead of night. Fires rage, buildings topple, and townsfolk flee in every direction.” That’s not bad to set a vibe. Toppling buildings. Fleeing people, raging fires and explosions. That’s a good use of descriptive words, non-typical ones, that paints a dynamic scene for the DM to then rif fon. Which is exactly what a good description should be doing. The spaceship is a writhing disk of tentacles. The hallways and floors soared in tiny hairs. You are pulled through slimy circulatory tunnels in the ships walls. Circulatory … that it’s evocative.
Our first actual room, the prison, contains the following one line “teaser” description “Warm metal floor littered with confused townsfolk.” Perfect! I’m oriented to the room now and everything I take in will now be in that context. It’s followed by “Fleshy walls sprout hard bunks like scabs. The ceiling squirms overhead, as bulbs of glass emitting sterile light form across its surface. Seven bowls on stalks stick out from the floor around the edges of the room, resembling the placement of numbers on a clock.” The descriptions here are good. Squirming, stalks, sterile light. The two descriptions parts work together to build on each other.
Following the description are some bullets with more information about important things. It’s laid out well and easy to scan, although, a two-column format probably would have worked better and made things trivial. This isn’t the OSE house style, but a good example of one of my favorite styles. A brief intro, a good description that’s short, and then bullets to follow up on things.
When you finally make it to the alien overlords they react to the party base don their actions. Great! “Were they murderous and cruel? The Observers are fearful and ready to defend themselves. Were they clever and competent? The party is met with respect and deference.
Did they lie, cheat and steal? The Observers are suspicious, ready to take control or strike a deal. What about the foolish and humorous? They are met with condescension and mockery” We see consequences of the play style chosen. Big fan.
There are a few things I can criticize. The escape pods are … pretty non -escape pod looking, and in the lab. That’s going to be hard to put together without some direct DM assistance. It’s not clear to me that the bowls in the prison are toilets, or that you can crawl through arm holes … both of which are mentioned in a different room, in reference to things in the prison … that should have been in the prison room. In retrospect, the phrase “a friend from town is squeezing in to one” should have clued me in, but it appears a little randomly in the DM notes, with no reference to what the “one” is. Another room has some important “general” information, magical instruments floating on a stage, buried in the DM notes instead of up in the main description. Just these little issues that really should have been caught in editing and fixed up.
More seriously, though, I’m not sure about the interactivity. The various rooms are a little sparse on things, and there are only nine, including the village abduction. Primarily, i think, it’s supposed to come from the Random Events table … which is supposed to be rolled on every turn. Yikes! That’s a lot! And there are only ten entires, some of which are unique enough to make reuse difficult. Overconfident bully from town taking over the party? Maybe the second time its a spineless one? A young dwarf, bloodied, who’s an imposter/alien? Maybe the second time its the exact same and they ALWAYS do the young dwarf thing? So, yeah, maybe … but, also, it’s pretty frequent, and I’m having a real hard time with the … length? Lack of interactivity? Things going on? It IS a small space, so maybe I just need to adjust for that?
I wish there was more here. I don’t know … I don’t tink size … I’m just left a bit feeling empty. This one is close to a regerts … and maybe it should be one. I’m just not very excited about it.
This is $10 at Itch. Which I’m chill if, if the adventure is a good one. We do lack a preview though. Never a good thing, and always a good thing to give the suckers a chance to see if they are going to vibe with your selling them ahead of time.
Should we expect a nine-room alien spaceship dungeon contest?
“Hapless medieval peasants on board a UFO” is a pretty great elevator pitch, honestly.
Ten dollars and no preview? I should have read the last paragraph first. Saved me the time.
Played this one with a group, I do recommend it. I thought it was pretty sparse myself at first but the length ended up being just about right for a 3-4 hour session, at least for us. I used a weird funnel hack of Trophy Gold and ended up offering a roll on the Random Encounter table as a devil’s bargain, which was great fun and added some good variety.
Oooh, is the TG hack yours (and if so, is there a place to see it)?
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a celebrity in our midst. The author of the critically acclaimed Snotsoil Mire has deigned to visit this humble abode!