The Toxic Wood

By Lazy Litch
Lazy Litches Loot
Level ?

Lazy Litches Loot


Level ?

You have been hired by a secretive council of wizards, who refuse to meet in person with you, to rescue the survivors of Mugwort – a town which was thought to have been destroyed and lies deep within The Toxic Wood. The Wood is corrosive and the air is not safe to breath there, so the wizards have given you a magical orb which will create a safe dome of air around you. The orb must be fed with fuel containing life force to continue operating properly. They have also gifted each of you a less effective necklace which will create a temporary small bubble of clean air around your head as an emergency measure. The Wood became noxious a couple of years ago after a dragon known as Ion moved in. You will have to navigate to Mugwort without Ion noticing if you are to conduct a successful evacuation.

This 32 page digest hexcrawl features a forest with an otherworldly vibe and several factions and LOTS of fucked up shit going on in it. I dig the fucked up shit. I hate the lack of keys and the lack of focus for the hex descriptions. And, all you fuckwits upset by TODAYS YUTS got nothing to worry about; Lazy Litch appears to have sold out and not included any content that would offend your delicate belief facade.

This is a hexcrawl, I don’t do a good job reviewing them. Also, So, yeah, we all know Gamma World is my fav, right? And I really dig the Chtorr series? And Annihilation? Yeah? Well guess the fuck what … this thing hits all of those. You get sent off in to the toxic wood to free rescue a town and wander through what is essentially an area so mutated as to appear chtorroformed. And I dig that! The entire places is FUCKED UP, in a good way, and this is heavily complimented by the art, which has a sort of vaguely Kingdom Death vibe to it. You know I don’t usually mention art. I feel it seldom compliments the adventure. But, here, it helps lend to the sort of organic gothic vibe … almost with an art nouveau thing going on, that the environment has going on. 

Ok, so. This shit is weird. You need to know that. I’m serious in that it has a Chtorr or Annihilation vibe. Like, straight out of those. If you want an exploration in a non-familiar place then this is it. It’s better than those Paul Keigh adventures that Geoffrey put out. It’s more complete. More viscerally different. And yet its familiar enough that if you squint you are walking through the fungi forest that is typical in an RPG adventure. It’s just a really REALLY well done fungi forest … that has few fungi. 🙂 So, not really gonzo at all, at least how the term is typically used. 

It’s got weird plant life. It’s got weird creatures moving through it. And it’s got weird encounters. A knight, in full armor, hanging from vines, pierced by thrown, still alive, dreaming. And a useful tool. A witches house moving about, Baba Yaga style, on, like, vines from the bottom. Two insect sisters, one of whom has captured the witch in the house, who is key to stopping things. The village you are trying to reach, surrounded by a temporary bubble, three factions inside. Four if you count the solitary wizard keeping the place running. 

This place is so fuck up/interesting … but not completely so, that I’m having trouble describing why its good. There’s this tower in the forest with two trees growing through the roof. As you approach voices from you magic orb, keeping you alive in the toxic wood, warn you away. On the ground floor is gelatinous mass, full of eyeballs, that ALL turn away from you as you enter. If you ignore it you can pass. If you fuck with it, or address it, it gets pissed off. DONT LOOK AT ME! Going upstairs to the other floors gets you more weirdness. Until you reach the roof and discover a secret related to the Order of Six Circles. 

Who the fuck are they? No clue. There’s a LOT like that in here. A bunch of names and things thrown in. It’s fucking magnificent. Maybe this is elaborated on in another book, but, here, by itself, its perfect. It communicates mystery and wonder. Enigma. Who the fuck are they? What the fuck are they doing? It’s EXACTLY what you do to get peoples minds running away on them. Perfect!

I don’t know. I still am not communicating things well. Look. The encounters are fucking awesome. The flora and fauna are fucking wonderful and creepy as all fuck. The art showcased on the product page, is some of the weakest. I wish the new monsters pages were shaed. Or the NPC pages. Short, terse descriptions and a drawing that communicates a bit like Scrap did in DCO. But, none of the abstractness that offends the more delicate consumers amongst us. And, that’s an important point. It’s all relatable, or maybe just a bit unrelatable, but not too far over the line. It’s not abstracted. Each of the hexes gets about a half a page of description, a few more for the major ones. So, as the DM, you WILL be riffing on things and adding yourself to it, in the grand tradition of a hex crawl … even if there IS a little plot along the way. (I did mention this thing is FULL of factions, right? Or, maybe, “mostly self interested groups and people” would be a better term for it.)

Ok, so, spoiler, I’m gonna Regert this thing. It’s too flawed for me, but, I think for many of you, you’re going to enjoy it. Let’s talk flaws.

“This hexcrawl adventure focuses on game-able content and being easy to use at the table. It is graphic and art heavy and utilizes a lot of random tables to make it easier for GMs to run with minimal prep.” Uh huh. In my best Project Farm imitation: We’re gonna test that! 

The fucking thing is keyed wonky. Meaning there ARE no keys. You get a two page hex map with icons in every hex. Go look up the icon on the map to another page that has a reference to it. Find the name, lets say “Mugwump Village”, then go find Mugwump village in the text. This thing needs keys in addition to names or a whole fuck ton of cross references to page numbers. It’s fucking difficult. Further, the tree symbols, that cover the map, all kind of merge together and each is a different environment. GO look up your specific tree hex symbol and find it on the table to describe what it looks like and get the wanderer table. That shit just aint working for me. It needs to flow easily and its not doing that, Lazy Litch.

And the plant life table, that adds so much? I don’t have any clue how it is supposed to show up or be worked in to the adventure. I mean, “random plant” shows up on a couple of wanderer tables, but not enough to justify the amount spent on the plants … I must be missing something?

And speaking of missing something … the hex map is huge. 20×15 or so. You can explore one hex a day or travel three hexes a day. In twelve days things come to head and there will no longer really be asolution to the toxic wood. And thats after you’ve mutated a few times. I am more than a little skeptical that the travel/explore shit works the way Litch thinks it will … the ties between the various important locations are too tenuous … as to be nonexistent, that I think you canfind shit and/or actually “travel.” Litch has to be making some assumption about playstyle that is not being communicated. 

Finally, the text is a pain to dig through. This isn’t the ArtPunk Morg Borg nonsense. It’s something else. A hexcrawl should have a little section of text that sets up a situation. And this does that, to be sure. But, lso, it goes on just a little too long. It’s using a traditional paragraph format and that’s just a little too much text. And the font i a little too small. And the backgrounds a little too busy in places. It’s all just a little too much to reference during play in a meaningful manner. And then integrate in the environment? I don’t think so. 

So, there are some issues with the mechanics of running this, I think, both in how its to be run and the formatting used to facilitate communication from the text to the DM. But, the environment proper? Really kick ass. It does a GREAT job of communicating that weirdness of an environment. Annihilation, Chtorr … it’s familiar and yet OFF, by a lot. A lot of you are going to really like this.

This is $6 at DriveThru. It’s easily worth that. Ain’t no fucking preview though. Or level range recommendation. Boo! A lazy litch indeed!

This entry was posted in Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, No Regerts, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Toxic Wood

  1. Dragonsdoom says:

    mad props for repping Project Farm in this totally unrelated corner of the internet – don’t buy a tool without him 😛

  2. Anonymous says:

    Chtor finished when? Too much stuff to start incomplete things

    I could have missed a release idk

  3. Libra says:

    I was able to see a preview this evening. 12 pages—it looks like some unique awesomeness.

  4. 3llense'g says:

    The key missing can be fixed with a sharpie, but we shouldn’t need to do that.

  5. rekalgelos says:

    I own this…..totally worth it. As Bryce points out …yep has flaws, but is a densely packed idea generator and that makes it an easy recommendation!

  6. Vorshal says:

    How the in the nine hells is he supposed to respond to such an accusation without providing so sort of bonafides. I am not the author. Here’s what I have done. I bought this. I liked it. Wow. Not good enough- really?

  7. Gnarley Bones says:

    I picked up the Haunted Hamlet. I will say that I liked it, but it’s more of “Adventure Seeds” that you have to fill in the details, as opposed to a ready to run, fully-fleshed project. Something that is becoming something of the norm lately. Having said that, they were *quite* the adventure seeds and I’m a tinkerer by nature anyway, so I do recommend it. I will probably pick this up. Word of Warning, though: Lazy Lich LOVES its black space; that’s a lot of ink to blow through when printing out. Give people a softcover option, Liches!

    NOTE: Preview is now up. Still giving us the finger on Character Levels. 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is it worth reading even if it never ends?

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