The Isle of Beauty

By Michael Robinson
Basic Fantasy
Levels 3-5

Embark on an unforgettable journey to the mysterious Isle of Beauty, a land brimming with all manner of fantastical creatures and beasts, including succubi, nymphs, sirens, a fearsome kraken, playful fairies, and alluring mermaids. Explore its many wonders, including the towering Witch’s Tower, the remnants of a once-great sorcerer’s tower now in ruins, and the hidden underwater lair of the mermaids. You have been hired by a wealthy merchant, desperate to uncover the truth behind the legend of the Isle of Beauty, a place said to hold the key to immortality. The quest for the artifact is no easy feat, and you’ll need to navigate the treacherous terrain of the island, facing its numerous dangers head-on.

This 63 page adventure uses 26 pages to describe about forty hex crawl locations on an island. It’s generic garbage, with no specificity to speak of. And, almost certainly, automated in production.

Look, this thing is crap. It uses three pages to describe about forty hexes, and has a couple of locations that take up the rest of the twenty pages it uses. There’s no specificity to speak of. None. Even more so than usual in a shit adventure. It is AGGRESSIVELY abstract. “Beachcombers: The adventurers encounter a group of friendly beachcombers who live on the island and know its secrets. They can offer information and assistance to the adventurers in exchange for help with their daily tasks” or “Succubus Lair: The adventurers find a cave that serves as the lair of a succubus, a powerful and seductive demon who preys on sailors and travelers. She will try to charm and lure the adventurers into her trap, but they can also try to defeat her and take her treasure.” So, absolutely nothing there. It IS going in the right direction. This is more than the Isle of the Unknown hex craw nonsense. There IS a situation going on. But, there is nothing there for a DM to really gloom on to and use as a springboard to the encounter. And, I note this absolute GEM of a sentence in one of the hex descriptions: “These

beautiful and graceful creatures can be friendly or hostile, depending on the adventurers’ actions.” Got it? Nothing but padding. Abstracted. Garbage. 

There are about twenty pages devoted to a couple of locations on the island … a couple of dungeon type places. These have boxed text full of “you see” and “you enter hesitantly …” We all know that’s bad, right? And then there’s some DM text. Except, it’s ALSO written like read-aloud, with some “As you explore the room, you will encounter some of the twisted experiments of the witch who resides in the tower. These creatures will not hesitate to attack, and they are immune to normal weapons. You will need to use your magic or wit to defeat them.” SUper bizarre wording for DM text, right? And, then, you get a section labeled “For the DM”. Hmmm, something fishy is going on here 

Did I mention that there are a dozen or more pages devoted to Midi the Succubus? The most powerful Succubus on the island (there are, actually, quite a few …)  You remember Midi, right? She’s the designers mastabatory fantasy that shoed up in another of his products, The Isle of the Succubus. I guess she’s on this island now, but as an also-ran. Fuck, maybe this is a reworking of that adventure? Who knows. I will continue to assert, though, that you should disguise your included sexual fantasies (Mintotaur bartender adventure, I’m looking at you!) enough for good taste.

But, on to the fun: I’m more than a little suspicious that an AI was involved. In multiple manners. Most of the art included looks a little too good. Except for the Midi shit, which absolutely looks hand drawn. The rest though looks computer generated. It’s got some of that really good oil painting look that is a tip off to me. I could be wrong. I don’t think so.

And the writing. It’s a little too much the same for each entry. The cadence of what is described when. The way things are described. The use of “you” in the DM text descriptions. A little too similar for a person to have generated it. 

I don’t really give a shit, one way or another. I REALLY don’t give a fuck about AI art for these commercial uses. And, even for my house, I guess. If the fucking AI can make me feel something then good for it. Most art for adventure sis just filler and doesn’t actually contribute to the adventure. We will politely say that the designer and artist failed to communicate well. 

And as for the writing … again I don’t give a shit. A person, an AI, or a thousand monkeys, it doesn’t fucking matter to me. I am looking for quality. And if the machines can do it better than the fuckwits then I pledge my undying loyalty to my new AI overlords. 

Going further down our utopian timeline, we get to a point where the machines CAN do this effectively. Commercial art and commercial writing, at least. We then ask ourselves about Man as a creative entity. If the machines can create then what purpose does mans own creativity fill? Perhaps, then, this will be the time when the shovelware ends. Or, at least, the human shovelware ends. Perhaps the designers will actually give a shit about their works. Create for their own personal fulfillment. Producing works of quality based on their own visions. Spending some time to figure out what works and doesn’t, freed from the burden of the production line. Ulysses, instead of Microwave instructions. 

Or, they’ll just keep turning out crap. 

This is $4 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages and shows you nothing. SHitty preview. Also, it has one review … ONE STAR! Maybe the world IS a better place?

This entry was posted in 2 out of 10, Do Not Buy Ever, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to The Isle of Beauty

  1. Artifex says:

    Honest question: What’s wrong with “You see..” ? What would you use alternatively?

  2. mary mary says:

    You should take a look at the free preview for his book of spells. It’s just nothing but AI padding for hundreds of pages of shit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This was an entry for the “Mysterious Island” contest over on the Basic Fantasy RPG forums ( As the author states there it is an experimental work and is indeed primarily AI-generated. As such, it was not well received.

  4. The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

    One of the true pleasures of creating an adventure is actually, you know, creating the adventure YOURSELF. What is it with this AI bullshit? You opt out by using AI to write the damn thing and then go find some free maps on the internet and you don’t have to do much of anything. There aren’t enough facepalms. Stop the world. I want to get off.

    • Anon says:

      It’s a tool like any other. It can be incredibly helpful, especially with generating lists, providing simple definitions all in one spot, and smashing together ideas. The trick of course is that it is really easy to use it to generate things that seem decent, even good at first glance, but are hot garbage.

      • Also Anon says:

        When a “tool” does the whole work for you, it stops being a tool and starts being a cheat. Like writing the answers of a test in your hand, or commissioning from someone else and by some way weaseling your way out of paying them. You cheat the system… and also cheat yourself, for in doing this you stunt your own growth. You never learn, you never improve, you never even support and compensate those that DID learn and improve.

        You can’t write a short adventure module on your own. You can’t imagine the scene, evoke the challenge, draw up some simple squiggles of background art and hex-maps and such, nor put a word down on paper by your own strength. This in itself is not such a grave sin, for we all have things we don’t know how to do… what’s so much worse is that you REFUSE TO LEARN these things. You think it’s just a hassle and busywork, rather than the main meat, the heart of it, the thing that makes it all satisfying, and so much fun.

        If you don’t have fun doing it… then why are you here? To make a quick buck. To scam us. AI makes it so easy for you, why shouldn’t you try? What’ve you got to lose?

      • Also Anon says:

        For lists and idea-smashing we’ve already got a whole bunch of random tables and generators, anyway. Just roll the dice and you’re good to go. And even without making any rolls they’re fun to read through and get you inspired. What’s not to like?

  5. AB Andy says:

    The author was also confronted on reddit for the use of the hexmap. Apparently the contest allowed (or suggested) the use of the dungeon maps but the hex map was not included. The author of the map never gave permision or something.

    In any case, I’m with Bryce here. If AI is used cleverly, correctly, it can help writing to a great extent. But this author copy pasted everything the AI gave him, probably without even reading it. No wonder it leads to garbage content. And let’s say, OK, he did it. Whatever Why the hell does Drivethru allow such works to be on their storefront?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I was curious to see if whoever left that one star rating also left a review. They didn’t, but I did see this bizarre response in the discussion:

    “This is an older draft version, it doesn’t have the table of contents. Dedicated pirates should look harder if they want the best version!”

    Who chooses to make access to their product more difficult? That’s ridiculous.

    I wouldn’t buy it, but if I wanted to I would at least like to know where it is. Why not just tell me?

  7. squeen says:

    Computers don’t have hobbies, and ergo shouldn’t be major contributors to OSR products. This is suppose to be about people having fun creating things. Bringing in the tools for mass production and profit is obnoxious. Shove that wrong-headed and lazy notion you-know-where.

  8. D.M. Ritzlin says:

    I think it’s pretty funny that the author misspelled his own name four times on the credits page.

    Contributors: Micheal Robinson
    Cover Art: Micheal Robinson
    Artwork: Micheal Robinson
    Proofing: Micheal Robinson

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