Exploring the Unknown

By Joseph Mohr
Old School Role Playing
OSRIC
Level 1

Lord Huet was once a powerful warrior who slayed dragons and explored dungeons with other adventurers. Recently news of his untimely demise has come to the village near his keep. Adventurers are gathering to explore this keep as the retainers of the lord have now run off with everything that they could carry. What treasures might still remain?

This 28 page single column adventure features three levels of a linear dungeon with about 33 rooms. It’s using the “populate yourself” mechanism from b1. 

I am, I guess, a sucker. Most of you know this by now. But, man, Mohr knows how to suck me in with his marketing! I see the cover, I see the description, I buy the thing, and then I look at the designer. Rought Roh Raggy! Remarkable, though, in getting me to buy it! Dude has the Make It Appealing part down pat.

The rest, not so much. 

The maps are three Dyson affairs, essentially small cramped linear things. Text is single column to pad the page count out. And, of course, it’s b1. Except it doesn’t DISCLOSE it’s B1 until you’re purchased the fucking thing. Ug! Had I know I wouldn’t have bought it. Of course, it also says MOHR on the DriveThru page and I was clearly able to ignore that, so, who knows.

The text is shitty. Recall one of my favorite room description examples from Dungeon Magazine? The trophy room that went to great length to describe it, only to end with “but that was long ago and it is all looted now?” Yeah? Remember that one?

“Entry Hall – Those who enter the keep must enter here or through the secret tunnel

leading to area 14 of the dungeon level. This area was once ornately decorated with

tapestries and golden candlesticks. Someone has run off with most of the valuables.

The heavy reinforced door has been left unlocked as the servants and retainers took off

with much of the treasures that remained here.”

Great, so, we’re told what the map shows. Then we’re told what the room once looked like. Then we’re told why the door is unlocked. Is there an actual description of this room? Of course not! Why bother with something like that?

Sometimes, I like to engage in a little game called Thing Explainer. When having a conversation with someone I like to take something they’ve said and define it for them. So, if they say “pants” in some conversation we are having, then I will say something like “Oh, the things you wear on your legs that have pockets that you can hold things in!” It works remarkably well to alleviate my boredom with the moron I am currently talking to. Let’s look at the Guard Post description: “Guard Post/Barracks – This area has several bunk beds. There are empty trunks at the

end of each bed on each side so that each guard could store their clothes and valuables” Mohr has done an excellent job playing the Bryce game. He’s defined what a footlocker is. 

Linear map. Nonexistent room descriptions. A b1 clone, down to fountain rooms and hidden things in statues. And, i’m a sucker for marketing.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $3. Preview is six pages, but you only get to see one sentence of one room. Bad preview,  not giving you an idea what to expect. But, I mean, great job in running a business. You don’t need to do anything like have a good product to sell things!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/401052/Exploring-the-Unknown?1892600

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10 Responses to Exploring the Unknown

  1. Boggit says:

    Why do people publish adventures in single column format? WHY?

    • Shuffling Wombat says:

      When your eyes get old, you will know why.
      I leave you to fathom the mysteries of needing a leak during the night. Or “putting down a cube” as we wombats say.

  2. Jonathan Becker says:

    Damn. This review gave me a good, out-loud chuckle reading it. My apologies, Bryce: I should not laugh at your pain.

    It IS a great cover. Maybe you need a new tag for well-marketed shit-pieces like this? Perhaps something like “Mohr-esque.”
    ; )

  3. Jonathan Becker says:

    Mmm.

    You know what? This review led me to go back and read through every single Joe Mohr review on this blog (Bryce has reviewed MANY of this guy’s adventures). Which then led me to check out Mohr’s own web site, AND his listings on DriveThru. Dude has more than 100 adventures/supplements which he’s credited as a contributing (or more often) sole author.

    Mohr’s been grinding for years.

    That doesn’t mean he’s great at it, nor that his lack of technical prowess (he continues to make the same mistakes) deserve a ‘pass’ of any kind. But there’s something to be admired in the man’s sheer stamina…this is just what he does, churning out pages and pages of adventure, unapologetically.

    I respect the effort, even as I deplore the lack of development (maybe he’s too busy writing to read his own reviews?).

    Just wanted to put that out there.

  4. Kubo says:

    Mohr is like the Mendoza line of the RPG world.

  5. 3llense'g says:

    I don’t get it. The cover is a literal empty room. A stock room (https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/stairs-in-a-dungeon-gm503167774-82378529) The premise is “a nice guy died and his stuff was stolen. Check if there’s anything left” What’s the appeal?

  6. The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

    My theory is that this is the kind of stuff that Mohr wants to produce. He’s not going to come here and suddenly have a revelation that he’s been “doing it wrong” all these years. This is what he does. this is what he wants to do. There really is no point in Bryce reviewing any more of his stuff. What you see is what you get with Mohr

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