by Moritz Mehlem
Brave Halfling Publishing
Larm isn’t specifically an adventure module. It’s more of a home base village for the party to explore from with three small adventures in and around the village and numerous other small tasks. The concept is a good one but it’s poorly executed in this product. Larm comes off as a boring place full of boring people who need help with the simplest of tasks. Forward, to Boringtown!
There are about 35 locations detailed in the village. These house the 112 people who live in the village. It’s a mixed community that includes demi-humans such as dwarves, halflings, and elves. It has has a decent number of classed inhabitants up to 5th levels with quite a few third level folks. The building are described in basic detail: who works at the inn, their stats, how much things cost, etc. There is generally a single sentence like “she’s the best waitress ever seen in the world” or “he’s a bureaucrat who keeps endless lists.” These are almost all normal facts and don’t generally even fall in to the quirk category. Nothing too unusual or interesting. The best, by a long shot, is that he wife of the militia commander is publicly cuckolding him. This could degenerate in to something cool: he’s a powerful man and in charge of a lot of fighters … what if he gets tired of it and kills the mayor, or does something else stupid? Alas, this is not explored at all.
There are several little hooks given to the DM to work with and they are introduced through a nice little mechanic: notices on a board outside the mayors office. I shit you not. What’s better is the nature of them. “We’re going to all be killed by goblins. Go see the militia commander to help stop them” or “We’re all starving because of the giant rats in the mill. Go kill them.” So … over 10% of the population is in the militia … they drill daily … there are several 5th and probably 10 3rd level prominent people in the village … and they are going to starve to death because of 4 giants rats? Look, I don’t to sound like the guy who bitches because something is unrealistic, or because you called a pike a bill hook, but come on, throw me a bone here! There has to be something at least a bit plausible! Let’s take another example: the village temple. The head of the current temple feels ‘evil’ in the old temple but doesn’t want to risk his people. ‘His People’ refers to the hordes of 1st through 3rd level clerics that man the temple. So, 10% of the village is fighters in the militia and 10% are clerics … but they are still starving to death, live next to an evil temple, and are about to be invaded by 15 goblins.
The three adventures provided involve cleaning out the mill basement, cleaning out the evil temple, and cleaning out the goblins. I swear to fucking god that the next review I do that has someone cleaning out a basement/attic of vermin is going to get a 2 word review: “Sux HaRd!” The mill basement has two rooms with creatures: a couple of giants rats and a couple of centipedes. Now, there could have something cool here. You see, one of the shopkeeps had an apprentice who took a knife with him to solve th problem and was never heard of again. Finding his body, or knife, or some mutated apprentice … any of those could have added some good elements as the party then had to deal with his master, etc. Nope. The module explicitly says there are no remains/signs of him. Cleansing the temple involves LITERALLY a linear route, taking a spiral linear path, room after room, fighting undead, until you reach the of the line. The goblin camp is the most interesting because it’s the most freeform. There’s a map of the camp and a general description of the what the goblins will do and how they will react. There are a couple of interesting non-standard magic items. Candles that give you some effects, a book that gives you a point of wisdom (two, in fact!), and a sword that gives an additional bonus against undead. Those are nice and I wish that their imaginative nature were extended to the village and adventures proper.
What’s a shame here is that this is targeted for new players and DM’s. God help the people whose first D&D adventure is clearing out the millers basement of its giant rats; that’s nothing like the D&D I know and love.
This is available on DriveThru.