By David Maynard Self Published 5e Level 3
The ambitious King of Octavia has promised a title and a portion of profits to any prospector who can find the source of the lustrous ore recently panned in the river near Walton’s Point. This boundless and “empty” land, previously only thought of as a curiosity only relevant to scholars for its Elven ruins and odd weather, is on the verge of annexation by the crown. Its residents are scrambling to profit off of the discovery – or to avoid displacement. Kingdoms of yore sold their souls to assert dominion over their neighbors. Will history repeat itself?
This wilderness pointcrawl has about 26 locations and a small dungeon with about thirty rooms. Decent formatting and descriptive text compliments it, with rival parties and a timeline augmenting play. A decent adventure, if slightly … generic?
First, the good. A decent adventure. Travel through the pointcrawl wilderness to another town. There are things in the forest that interact. So, the goblins want loot to let you pass … maybe divert back to that ruined elf city to find some? Or, the two rival parties wandering around ar ein your way. Or, the witch of the wood will make a bargain with you for something else if you go fetching. So, a decent amount of the wood feeling like it s real, like the things in one location impact the things in a another location.
And the descriptions are relatively good, especially when they come to rooms. “A dry fountain peeks out of rubble and dust. Or “Thick hewn stone blocks and roof tiles are scattered on the eastern side of the tower strewn about the forest floor.” This is all decent imagery. A black pudding “glomps” its way somewhere. Just a few selected words and the place does an ok job of coming alive.You can talk to a lot, and there are little places to explore along the way, a ew rooms at a select number of stops in the wilderness.
So, a decent little adventure.
I think my issues with this adventure are two..
First, the theming is a little sparse. So while we get the title “THrough the Foglands”, we don’t actually get much in the way of fog. The kind of misty environment, with low visibility. The old growth rainforest of the pacific northewest, with fog creeping up. If you take THAT, for example, and then, for almost every encounter, try to incorporate that feeling in to things. Maybe not the fog, proper, but at least the vibe that kind of otherworldliness gives you. There are hints of it, here and there, but it’s not frot and center. Hitting this theme, over and over again, would have, I think, elevated all of the encounters and make them that much more evocative., This is where I get my somewhat generic statement, from earlier. Without that strong theming coming in then its just another encounter with a ruined tower. And, thusly, the adventure is somewhat weaker.
There is also some weakness in the overall situations. I mentioned a linkage between locations, loosely. This is, by far, not the strongest part of the adventure. There’s a mechanism, that I am particularly fond of, of explaining the situation through the text and encounters … as opposed to, say, some summary text of what’s going on. It works well when its pulled off right. I THINK that’s whats going on here … but not in anything like the best way. Take the overall hook. I thought, from the adventure summary, we were going up river. No. while it’s never really explained, we’re actually travelling from one town through a forest to the second town where the gold in the river is. Once there we get a paragraph about panning for gold. If you make your check you find the source of the gold. Done. Nothing more.
Likewise the witch of the wood. While its supposed to be involved, I believe, in a major way in the adventure, its kind of almost like a separate encounter. The linkages to the other parts, how they make sense and so on, is done very well. Or the holy order of knights in the dungeon ruins. I thought they’d be outside. But instead there’s just a note or two inside. And they don’t really seem to give a fuck about much. It’s all more than little disconnected, the smaller “point” situations from the larger issues. Given time, highlighter, and notes, you could make things clearer. And, also, there are few to no cross-references. You’re taking me to see your leader? Great … which room is that/
And there’s A LOT of fucking statues in this thing. ?
So, we’ve got a decent little journeyman effort here. It needs more consistent theming and a better way to integrate the larger situations in to the text. But, hey, it’s better than most.
This is $5 at Itch.io