The Witch, The Shepherd, His Goats and their Daughter

By James Mishler, Jodi Moran-Mishler
James  Mishler Games
Levels 1-2

Help the Shepherd find his Goats and Daughter who have been kidnapped by the Witch of the Woods. The woods are home to all manner of strange, fearsome, and fey monsters… not to mention the witch!

This twenty page adventure, with a fairy tale vibe, has the party exploring a wood with twelve locations to bring back a dudes daughter and goats and kill the witch responsible. Chill vibes but padded to all fuck and back. And you know what we say at tenfootpole: “Are you a fucking masterpiece? No? Then you better get your shit together if you want me to run it.”

It’s the day after Christmas and Sants brought me some Vegamite and olives stuffed with anchovies, in my stocking. So that’s breakfast. Along with an IPA. And this thing.Later today I’ll be making a suit out of garbage bags, buying thirty bottles of champagne and reading the Wizard of the Crow. So, you know, D&D will definitely NOT be the highlight of the day. Because of this.

We’re pretty close here. It’s got a vibe, brining a good fairy tale thing to the party. Shepherd lives on the edge of a BIG FOREST in a little cottage. His goats have been stolen by the witch of the woods, along with his daughter. You get 5gp per goat returned and 50 for the kid. (Who’s 19.) So close. Dude is a miser and cold-hearted, which is the source of all the troubles for him. I’d change it to 5gp per goat, and another 5gp for the kid. But, whatever. And, the kid is 19? Nahhhh, she’s fucking sixteen. See, dude made a deal with the witch, in exchange for a magic goat hed give her the kid at 16. But he didn’t. Do the witch plotted for three years for revenge? Nah. Make her 16. And keep the rest the same, I guess. Cause the kid hates dad also, and has been taught witchcraft by the witch and is in on ot. IE: some elaborate revenge plot going on here by these two. Fuck if I know man  … I guess they want to turn dad in to a goat and have some “put the amulet around his neck” thing going on. This part makes little sense. I get that you want the main witch to disguise herself as a black goat, very VVitch. But we’re straining here.

Otherwise, chill vibes in this one. A dwarf trapped in a fairy circle, complete with bird nests growing on him. A goat on a hill that won’t come down. A goat on a log in a pond. Giant goats next to a goat giant. A harpy … with the head of a goat. It’s all very fairy tale. 

One page per encounter. And it’s all padded out to fuck and back. 

“The Treasure Tree is a place where, long ago, some dwarves hid a BURIED TREASURE they won from some trolls. They buried it with many runes and curses against it being found and stolen… then they forget about it. Over the centuries the runes and curses came to life, animating the soil around the chest of treasure, creating a TREASURE GUARDIAN. Recently an adventurer found a map to the long-lost treasure for him, the Treasure Guardian overwhelmed him and his bones now grace the form of the guardian – as does the recently deceased body of a goat!d has tried to recover it. “ That was about 80% of the description of this location … and it has nothing gameable in it. History. What was. No description of what we’re looking at. No idea what to do, as a DM. 

It’s not until paragraph three that get one sentence “The chest is half unburied, with the shovel of the adventurer currently stuck in the body of the guardian.” That’s it. That’s your description. There’s another paragraph that has another description of the history of something in a manner that cant be used, also.

This is a classic “read it” adventure. It’s written to be read. You can’t use it during play without some serious time with a highlighter and note taking. The focus of the writing has to be on the DM using it at at the table. It is almost always the case that how the situation happened is not interesting for gameplay, and especially not so at he start of a description. We don’t dig through three paragraphs of useless info when the party enters the room. WWe need the data, now, to related to them. 

This don’t do that.

And I got other adventures to run that do.

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is ten pages. More than enough to see the actual encounters. Good preview.

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11 Responses to The Witch, The Shepherd, His Goats and their Daughter

  1. Anonymous says:

    But reddit told me Shadowdark’s going to be the next big thing in the OSR scene!

  2. Reason says:

    Mishler keeps making the same mistakes everything he writes… History you can’t interact with, padding, little attention to what the players can actually game with at the table.

  3. Haha, you read Thiongo’s Wizard of the Crow? That book took a loooong chunk of my pandemic-time reading. The title character was good though, a charlatan fortune teller in a world of real magic, I used him as an NPC in my campaign.

  4. More typos Bryce, please!

  5. SG says:

    … the Shepherd, his Goats, and their Daughter?

  6. Matthew Hayes says:

    I actually ran this for my group (before reading this review) as a one-off last Saturday and they loved it! Yes, some of the encounters need a bit of working out beforehand but not that much. No goats were rescued, though, except for the wrong one.

    • Dave says:

      I’ve had that experience with another adventure, middling review, perfectly good session of play.

      I’m still on Bryce’s side, I remember the bad old days when bloggers only gave 4 or 5 star reviews to not burn their links in other blogrolls. The Best usually is the best, and Do Not Buy Ever is on point, but I look at some of the mixed reviewed adventures still.

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