Scales of the Seafarers

By Tyson Acree
The Leaky Lantern
Level 3

A barge of Lizardfolk from a distant land has crashed upon the shores of a local river. The good natured Lizardfolk speak in a language so strange and foreign than many mistake their friendly diplomats for viscous raiders. They now guard their crash site while they lick their wounds.

This adventure is on a river barge, with three levels and nineteen rooms, full of good lizardmen. It’s formatted ok, I guess, but is essentially a non-adventure since everyone is good. 

You know, I’m rethinking the review I gave of the Orchid adventure. That one was fun, at least, in parts. This is your usual “oh no! The monsters are really good guys!” adventure. Our enemy roster is a bunch of good lizaermen who dont speak common, but rather communicate in colors, and so get confused and get slaughtered by the party. The pother enemies are the usual beasties, like rats and crabs and the like. The wandering Locath ar goodies also, but the pirates and bandits are evil. Go figure. King Dipshit, the head lizardman, when you reach him in the last room, understands how they were misunderstood and forgives you for slaughtering every last one of his good aligned lizardman crew. Yousee, they were just here to share their treasure with the locals. Seriously. 

It’s a fucking game, people. It’s ok to stab shit. At this point, I’m surprised, in a review, when the humanoids ARE evil. Sure, go ahead, do something different, make then eat babies or some shit. Yum! Delicious human babies! Oh, look, the princess is evil and dragon is good. *Yawn*

So, theres a grounded barge on the riverbank. There are lizardmen on it, with sacks of loot, and mumble mumble mumble, go get em tiger! If you try to esp their asses then all you get is flashes of color, since the adventure relies on the party thinking they are evil.

I don’t know, what else? They got some geckos, and alizing statue and a paint golem. Also they have a museum on board. I don’t know, because they do.

There is nothing going on ere. You go in a room, stab some good aligned lizardmen in a colossal mistake, and get some loot. Sometimes it’s a giant gecko you stab. Also, the wandering table is a d6, but the designer left the 1-6 off the text, by mistake I assume. Whoopsie.

I don’t really know what else to say. “The room has recently been cleaned and sited.” Ok.There’s an Art Supply room. I guess for the paint golem? Or to show they are refined creatures? 

Does any of it really matter? I mean, just stab them and stake their loot. LG, LE, who cares. They got loot and the designer wants you to stab them, so go ahead them. 

Today, the ennui is winning. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll take a chanc eon something that might be good.

This is $7 at DriveThru.

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24 Responses to Scales of the Seafarers

  1. Artem of the Floating Keep says:

    Another Wavestone Keep flashback!

  2. PrinceofNothing says:

    Wasn’t U2 about slaughtering a tribe of Good-aligned lizardmen?

    Treat yourself to an UDG or Peril in Oldenwood review. Hell, try an Lotfp review. All this low-effort OSE stuff is getting you down.

    • Beoric says:

      Those lizardmen were a faction that could be allies against the baddies from U3, the sahuagin. IF you give them their loot back and pay weregild for the ones you killed. There are no impediments to the PCs figuring that out if they try. The lizardmen are self interested, and their alignment is not just a “gotcha” to make the players feel bad about killing humanoids. Sounds like this is not the same scenario at all.

    • PrinceofNothing says:

      So a greatly diminished, inferior copy of the infinetely more nuanced, deep and playable U2.

    • Do you mean Danger at Dunwater, part 2 of the Saltmarsh series?

      I would say their “goodness” per se might be kind of sketchy, but yes, that one has a similar “more than meets the eye” and is definitely 10 times better than this “stupid but saintly LG humanoids you should feel bad for slaying, no matter how shit they are at communicating those good intentions” pretentious drivel of a so called adventure.

      • Tyson says:

        If I may ask, what was pretentious about my module? I’m not arguing with anything you said in fact I certainly see the connection to Danger at Dunwater.

        It’s funny, Danger at Dunwater is one of my favorite adventures of all time and I didn’t see the similarities to it until now. I think for me a big difference is my lizardfolk don’t speak or understand common so the misunderstanding is more a result of their alien nature/alien minds than them preparing for a war with another group.

        btw I’m not trying to seem argumentative or anything with my comment, I’m here to learn and get better. That’s why I asked Bryce to review my adventure in the first place.

        Thanks in advance for your insight.

        • Shuffling Wombat says:

          In fact that is also a feature of U2 Danger at Dunwater, as only a few of the Lizard Men speak Common (and let us assume none of the party speak Lizard Man). It is an infiltrate and realise there is a chance to ally dungeon; you are very likely to kill a few of them. (However do listen to an interesting play report by YeOldeGeek on YouTube.)
          I would definitely play the exciting set piece at the end of U2, either as reparation for lives taken/damage caused, or to show the Lizard Men the party would make powerful allies.

        • Beoric says:

          I think what you are doing would work in a sandbox, where the adventure doesn’t end there and you deal with the consequences either way (like U2). But when the module is all about the lizardfolk I think the solution needs to be telegraphed or the players don’t have a fair opportunity to succeed.

          It is worth noting that this is actually the third time I have seen this. In the Eberron setting there is an area peopled by at least 3 lizardfolk cultures (well, one is dragonborn), and the human settlers in the region can’t tell them apart. The settlers are there to harvest magical crystals. The settlers don’t know that the crystals were put there on purpose as part of an enchantment to bind an archfiend.

          The Cold Sun lizardfolk are trying to maintain the binding, but (for in-world reasons that are unimportant here) are unable to communicate with anyone outside their culture. All the humans know is that they raid their camps, kill the prospectors, try to cripple mining operations, and take the crystals – and then don’t do anything with them.

          To complicate things, the Poison Dusk lizardfolk want to release the demon. They also raid the settle camps, but don’t damage the operation or kill people (they are happy to have prospectors dig up the crystals for them), they just take the crystals for their rituals. They could communicate with the settlers if they wanted to, but they have to desire to because the humans are already doing exactly what they want.

          So, first of all, this is a setting, not a module so it may not matter if the players figure it out. Secondly, there are differences between the cultures that the players can recognize and investigate if they choose – that is, the situation is telegraphed. Third, if the players don’t figure it out and slaughter a bunch of Cold Sun lizardfolk, nobody is ever going to tell them they made a mistake – the remaining Cold Sun can’t and the Poison Dusk won’t. So there is no perception of moralizing, they can blissfully enjoy their loot.

    • PrinceofNothing says:

      At least we are assured that the author had the right opinions.

    • Shuffling Wombat says:

      If Bryce were a film reviewer, he would be the only one not to have covered Top Gun: Maverick or Minions: The Rise of Gru by now.

    • Edgewise says:

      Seconding Prince’s capital recommendation of Peril in Oldenwood. The designer of that adventure is clearly some kind of genius.

  3. Tyson says:

    Hey Bryce, author of the module here. Thanks for the review! I agree with your main points certainly. I think I hoped that the twist of the lizardfolk being good-aligned (a subversion that I wasn’t aware was so common) would be enough momentum for the party to explore the barge.

    But you’re right when you say nothing much is going on, it’s just a lot of rooms and some monsters and while I do think many of the rooms have interesting ideas (if I may say so myself hehe), there isn’t an internal story on the barge pushing the group forward other than the misunderstanding.

    The next module I’m working on has, I hope, a stronger story for the location. I think a goal for me is to provide a rich backstory to an area but then SHOW that backstory. For the barge, there were 1 or 2 places that basically just showed that the lizardfolk were good aligned as part of the mystery, but there was no other story. I didn’t go into detail about why the lizardfolk are here really, how they ran aground, and so on. My next adventure should have a rich backstory yes, and the group should be able to see that constantly in the adventure.

    • Shuffling Wombat says:

      It might be interesting to have a few factions, none of them wholly evil but not completely trustworthy either, and let the party ally with whom they see fit. Your lizardfolk faction might have the advantage of being more reliable than some of the others, but hopeless at co-ordinating their attacks with the PCs.

    • Stripe says:

      Great attitude! Take a licking, keep on kicking. Get better!
      Looking forward to your next!

    • squeen says:

      Don’t get too carried away with the NPC/monster’s backstories. That’s a major pitfall of bad writing. Make an ADVENTURE instead. White knuckle escapes, eyes like saucers with wonder, etc. You know…like they used to be before…stuff.

  4. Gnarley Bones says:

    So this is a re-skinned Danger at Dunwater?

  5. Anonymous says:

    For lore

    I appreciate your work and honesty Bryce. long time fan here.

    Bryce Lynch says:
    July 31, 2022 at 9:00 pm
    Well, you’re not gonna be a fan for long …

    Tyson says:
    August 1, 2022 at 12:36 am
    Well the way I see it that means you’ll either pass on reviewing or are about to drop a bomb on it.

    If it’s the former, that’s alright, I know you get millions of requests and I don’t begrudge missing one.

    If it’s the latter, I’m looking forward to your criticisms as they can only help sharpen my work in the future.

    So either way really, I’m sure I’ll be fan for a time yet. I look forward to a bruised ego!

    Annon here, I like this authors jib. Cant wait to see what they do next, keep improving!

    • Tyson says:

      Thanks anon, yeah, that’s my exchange with bryce in the requests page of the website. He warned me what was coming when I made my request haha.

      Like I said, I’m happy to get a bruised ego in return for my next adventure being better.

      • Edgewise says:

        Kudos for your attitude and thick skin; it’s much easier to improve when you can listen without your ego getting in the way. I’ll keep a lookout for your next adventure.

        • Shitty Adventure says:

          Agreed. Normally, I’d rub salt in the wound but this guy has the right attitude. It can’t be easy for an author to hear this but the idea is to use the criticism as the impetus for improvement.

  6. Adam W. says:

    I’m sure you’ve reviewed this one before. One of us is going mad…?

  7. 3llense'g says:

    I don’t know if the module supports this, but I would love to see a group of players try to puzzle out the color meanings and start communicating using flags or something.

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