By Richard Ruane R. Rook Games B/X Level 0
For many decades, the towns of the valley were guarded by Olkana, a kindly, young brass dragon, who lives in the even older Dragonmaw Cave to the north. No one has seen any sign of her in months, though, and recently livestock and pets have been stolen, travelers have gone missing, shrines have been desecrated, and even some wells have gone foul. You and your friends have traveled three days to Dragonmaw Cave to see if the elusive Olkana can help.
This 24 page adventure uses five pages to describe eight rooms in a cave system. It’s minimally keyed, but with expansive text that turns the entire thing in to a meaningless slog of a deathtrap.
This zero level adventure features two cacodemons! Yeah! And a 5hd dragon with “armor as plate.” Like, what the fuck man? I don’t even know … like, I get it. It’s OSR. You can have overpowered challenges. But, things you are meant to kill? Like, placed in your path as an obstacle, or, the goal of the adventure? A 5HD dragon? With breathe weapons? Ok, sure …
Oh, wait, I’m supposed to say something good or nice in each review. Here, this is a cute thing: “If the PCs don’t immediately attack, she’ll offer to wrestle one of them in exchange for safe passage. If the PC wins, Hano will create an icy bridge so that they can cross the underground stream safely.” That’s an ice mephit, doing that. The wrestling thing is cute, as is the ice bridge. Very folklore, both of them, and you know I love folklore. Of course, the rest of the adventure has no folklore elements at all, and no vibe at all in that area, but … again, I’m supposed to something nice at least once in every review, says mom. Oh, and there’s no hook. And I’m taking that a bonus. Or, rather, maybe I mean there’s no intro text, no lead in to the adventure in town, etc. It’s just what’s in the marketing blurb. And I’m totally cool with that. This is a location, it’s got some shit in it to stab and steal from, and all you need to know is what’s in the marketing blurb. There’s enough there tossed out to play with. Fouled wells. Ship missing. “Desecrated shrines” … like what the fuck is that? Covered in dragon shit maybe? Idk. But, whatever. You don’t need a lot of background shit to get goin in the adventure.Just give me a bit to riff on and a location to go with.
One room has a dragon nest “lined with several silver chalices.” No word on how many. This drives me nuts. Put in the fucking amount man. Same thing with monsters, when it happens. This is pretty basic fucking shit. And room keys. Put it the fuck in. Stop fucking around and fulfill the basics of the format. Once you get a few under your belt and don’t suck donkey balls anymore tTHEN you can experiment.
Let’s see, room descriptions. How about “This location is guarded by the ice mephit
Hano, who’s bored with working for Calder. …” Yeah. Nothing. Or, how about “Amari the hatchling spends its time resting atop its small hoard here. …” There are, essentially, no location descriptions. There’s maybe a line, that says what is here, and it devolves in to mechanics. Lots of wordy mechanics. Lots of wordy tactics. Lots of focus on shit that don’t matter.
The rest of the page count is a fuck ton of new classes and zero level rules.
This is $6 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages and shows you a few rooms, and some of the new class shit. The few rooms ARE representative, so, good preview.
Now that shits over with, let’s talk important shit: New cars. I give my car to my son, who got his license two weeks ago. He’s starting his first job at the home of Winter Fantasy and, no, you are not riding the fucking bus for ninety minutes like a peasant when you could drive ten minutes away. So, all I’ve got is the truck, which I have turned in to a camper with a camper shell. It’s an old Frontier, so, small, but still not something for running around town in. I start looking and think I want a Miata. Go look at some, manuals of course. I’m looking forward to getting twelve speeding/reckless tickets in the first two weeks and then driving in to a pylon and dying. THen, I think, woah, no backseat. And the girlfriend has three-ish young kids. That’s not a cool relationship move. But, I still want something fun. So I start looking at two door Wranglers. Right?! Softtop, fun, backseat for kids. Perfect! Ain’t none new. Used is looking pretty ratty. One dealer has a new one but what’s a $500 window etching fee, I walk out over it and they don’t chase me down, even though I’m paying fucking cash. “We’ll sell it tomorrow.” Fuck, the market is hot, especially for Wranglers. Depreciation websites show that they are the #1 least depreciating car. Wow. I try Carvana. Find a 2012 with 98k on it for $1k MORE than the 2012 window sticker was. Wow! I grab it. Comes in. A little loose (jk) but, hey, it’s a fuck run around town car, right? That’s cool and adds to the charm. On the way to the mechanic (which I bribe each time with a meat and cheese gift platter. Always tip folks, it gets you better service.) the check engine comes on. Great. I get a call two hours later “You DO NOT want to buy this car.” I go in. Misfires on #2 and a main seal leak. Ouch! I go straight out and try to look at some buy here pay here places, but all they got are jacked the fuck up four doors. I find a dealer with a 2-door sport thirty minutes north in BFE, go up, and buy it on the spot. Fucking thing will never leave the pavement. Gonna take off the roof and door and put two yellow surfboards on top and drive it around year round like that. Off road is for the truck, man!