The Stonehill Ruins

By Joseph Mohr
Old School Role Playing
Level 1

For as long as anyone can remember the ruins stood at the top of the hill overlooking the valley below. They had stood there longer even than the village at the base of the hill. A band of warriors stood in battle there long ago fighting off the Orc invaders who swept through from the wild lands to the east. It was said to have been an epic battle: A last stand of a small group of men against a massive group of invaders. It was the stuff of legends. But that was ages ago. No one now even remembers their names or why they chose to fight when so many others ran before the invading hordes. Now all anyone remembers is that the walls are crumbling and are dangerous. A few children have climbed up to the top of the hill and found themselves trapped in the falling stone walls. Parents in the village are careful now to keep the children away from this dangerous place. What mysteries might be found there? What forgotten treasures might still be left? Brave young adventurers might cut their teeth exploring ruins like these.

This twelve page single-column adventure uses three pages to describe six rooms. It’s the reason I started reviewing. It has the distinction of having a one star rating on DriveThru, Something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Mohr just keeps cranking them out. Old School Role Playing! Starter Adventure! Free! All the right words to suck in a new person to the hobby and crush their dreams. When I came back to the oSR< all of the forum people were listing all of these great adventures. Best Ever, they’d say. You get excited. Dreams of all of the great times you’ll have. Laying awake at night. You go grab a few, and then a few more. Paying money for some. Others are free. You take a look at them and you think Is That It? This Is Good? But, everyone is saying how great they are. You shake your head a little. You adjust your expectations a bit, maybe. This must be what a good adventure is? But, of course it’s not. Not even close to being good. It’s just fanboys. And forum friends being supportive of each other. And reviewers softballing shit so they don’t make anyone mad at them. 

Note that in the publishers blurb there’s nothing about level ranges. Or on the front cover. Or in the title page. Eventually we get to something buried in the text that says “starter adventure” and “low level characters.” Perfect. We’re starting strong out of the the gate.

There’s a village at the bottom of a hill. On top of the hill is a ruined castle. Like, 100 feet away? No details on the village, which is explicitly called out in the text. Great. Nothing but the village ruin. Got it. And two crocs, with 3HD each, live, like 50 feet from the village. Sure thing. Absolutely. 

Up the hill and in to the ruin. Which has three rooms. Fight two goblin lookouts. Then fight like 2d4+2 goblins inside the room they are guarding. There’s also a giant spider in a ruined tower. Which you already know if you’ve ever played D&D before. There is ALWAYS a giant spiderman the ruined tower. Let’s see, you get a magic battle axe, a magic ring, like four magic potions and about 500gp in loot. Off to your next adventure1

“Bryce, you always swear off Mohr” I know, I know. Dude has some kind of genius level marketing skills. Between covers and marketing descriptions. 

This is just junk. A quick write up that no doubt took an hour, seemingly, and he pushed out. It’s 

This is free at DriveThru. The preview is six pages, which lets you see like four of the encounters. Good luck with those.

This entry was posted in Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Stonehill Ruins

  1. Kubo says:

    This adventure is truly sad. Generic with no thought whatsoever. On average the players find 1 magic item per encounter area. It’s like the game world is a magical candy store. I’d like to know how the children going there did not find anything of value before or how they managed not to get eaten by monsters when stuck under fallen stones.

    • Gnarley Bones says:

      Is one of the goblins at least wielding the +1 battle axe? A telltale sign of missed opportunities is when the baddies are guarding the magic goodies, but never using them.

      • Kubo says:

        No. Opportunity missed. And the Axe is +2 vs. orcs. Goblins don’t want to upset any orcs by using it, but it’s great to display in their lair to interested adventures.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bryce, we feel your pain

  3. theawfuldm says:

    Aaaaa! I looked at it! Why did you make me look at it?

  4. Bucaramanga says:

    So it’s both “humanoids in a hole” and “spiders in a cellar”? Two done to death scenarios in one!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Bryce, you need to learn your lesson. Mohr is less.

  6. Vorshal says:

    Finger snaps

  7. Knutz Deep says:

    I’m trying to understand what Mohr is hoping to accomplish by publishing something like this. The concept of a starter adventure has been done to death by this point and has been done far better than this product.

    I really don’t want to pile on Mohr, after all, he is prolific and obviously enjoys producing content, but why this type of generic content? What does it add to the spectrum of D&D-type adventures that have come before it? It’s not breaking any new ground. There have been hundreds of (if not more than that) starter adventures produced since tabletop RPGs were created. Why not try to stretch yourself and move beyond your comfort zone?

    If it’s simply the pleasure of creating then fair enough but I can write an adventure like this. I’m sure that many of the folks who read this blog can write an adventure like this. Why should I plop my hard-earned dineros for something I can produce myself? (yes I know this one is free but you get what I mean.)

    Too bad he can’t morph that “genius level marketing skills” into similar genius level adventure creation skills because right now he’s just regurgitating easy to produce and sadly, soulless material.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Plot twist: Mohr died March 4, 2020, a week after returning from Italy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *