The Goblin Gobbler

By Daniel Kingsley
Ripped Tabard Adventures
Castles & Crusades
Level 3

The goblins have killed Sam the Spear, the mayor and leader of the village of Sounding Grove. They have been quiet for a very long time, but no one is wondering why they are active again.  The foul creatures have started causing problems again, and no further thought is required!  What better way to have them dealt with than send an adventuring party to deal with them?  They are only goblins after all, how dangerous could they be for professionals?

This 25 page adventure is pretentious garbage with two combats. And long read-aloud. And terrible everything. A monument to the folly of man and  hubris of conceit.

Everything is wrong with this adventure. Everything. Ok, so, it looks nice. I guess the marketing has succeeded. EVerything else sucks ass. And not in a good way. 

This is a complete railroad of an adventure. (Which, I would assert, means it’s NOT an adventure, but I know there are fuckwits who disagree with that assertion.) You show up in town and a dude lies dead in the town square, a bolt through the eyeball. The townfolk have gathered and are lamenting. The DM notes tell us that “The party has been traveling for days and living rough. They are tired, hungry, and dirty.” O, really? This is the first clear indicator that this adventure is going to be shitty. It tells the party what they are feeling. We don’t do that. We can set up a description. We can lean that way in our manner, as the DM, but we don’t tell the party what they feel. Or, dictate, to this degree, their own personal conditions. Eight pages later we get through the hook, and town description, and can go fuck up some gobbos that did this to poor Sam the Spear. Well, I mean, after this quick note “The party can go now and suffer exhaustion and poisoning from drinking too much ale” So, I guess, they drank too much? Cause the flavor text says so, that’s why! For the second time, now, we are being told what happens, removing the player agency. Plot. Railroad. And not, I mean, even GOOD plot. ZThis is is just trivia shit. It doesn’t matter. It’s just that the designer has dictated that the thing will go this way so it’s written this way. 

The encounters, likewise, are dictated with predetermined results. The intro has some DM advice which goes something like you should talk to people, rushing in leads to dead characters, blah blah blah. And, then, we can look a tthe three creature encounters in this adventure. The first is with bandits in the forest. Four of them, desperate. We are told, without too much more info, that they attack. That’s because the designer has determined that this is a combat encounter and thus they will attack the party. They get no personalities, or detail, because that would be useless … they are attacking. Then comes the one goblin encounter, with the entire tribe. And a matriarch who speaks to the characters, explaining that this is all a big misunderstanding. There’s a LONG read-aloud here. And a predetermined sentry encounter to ensure that the matriarch monologue gets read. This is NOT meant to be combat, so, it gets a fuck ton of detail. Finally, there’s an ogre, bullying the goblins, which is meant ot be a combat. So he gets no personality other than he attacks. Because … that’s what the designer has decided should happen. 

No bueno. The designer doesn’t get to determine these things. The designer creates a scenario in which things can happen. Sure, there are percentages here, but when things are written as a railroad plot you have fucked up. I note that, this tendency here, in this adventure, include a completely linear map. No deviations from the path, lowly player! Did I mention that, if you don’t attack the ogre then the ogre smells your horses, on the way back to town, and he attacks you. I guess you have horses. You WILL fight the ogre!

Read aloud is Looooooong. Which is, of course, bad. And, weirdly, the town is described in a combination of locations and actions. One site, in particular, is called “Stealing from the pyre.” I thought dude was laying dead in the middle of the town square? I guess he;s on a funeral pyre now? Who the fuck knows. You can, however, look forward to amazing room descriptions like this one from a ruined temple “Empty Storage Room: This room was once storage for the worshippers of the temple above” ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?! Clearly, value added! 

The adventure does do something I like … but, I think, by accident. Maybe. When you meet the gobbos the matriarch gives a speech about how this is all a misunderstanding. I reproduce it here: “I think there has been a terrible misunderstanding. You see, we went to Sounding Grove to ask for help with an Ogre. We have worked very hard at making peace with the other humanoids in this valley. We do not steal from you, eat your babies, or put a curse you, making you break your hoe. We are not evil creatures who lurk in the night to cause you pain and suffering. Instead, we are peaceful creatures who have been persecuted since the dawn of time. We do not match your description of beauty or ethics. We have different gods. We eat different foods and wear different clothes. But does that mean we deserve to have to live in caves for fear of being slaughtered? Simply for being? So in response to how we are treated, we made a home here and removed ourselves as much as possible from your kind. So, brave adventurers, members of the more “advanced” races, before you kill many of my children to make a point, how about you help us stay peaceful and rid us?” Indeed! The poor, much maligned gobbos need your help! I do this shit all the time in my games. To quote my favorite line from the 4e rules “Talking is a free action.” Absofuckinglutely it the fuck is! Meanwhile, my gobbos would be fileting human babies in the back room and maneuvering to ambush. But the designer is, I think, serious. In the monster description, in the appendix, for gobbos it says “They are like any other sentient race, but the bias against them runs very deep. A clear case of socioeconomics and bards telling tales about them.” The socioeconomics line makes me think its a joke, but, I’m not so sure. Because the fucking adventure is WRITTEN for the players to take the gobbo monologue seriously. Fucking weird. Also, to answer the hanging question: yes, it’s time to kill many of your children to make a point, lady.

Also, all that gobbo socioeconomic shit is right below “ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil” and the gobbo plan is to breed up until there are enough of them to wipe out the human village. Heh 

Just another garbage adventure. Disappointing.

This is $5 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. Enough to see the read-aloud issue, ad the read-aloud of the dude that doesn’t seem to care Mayor Sam is dead. Heartbroken, that one is …–A-Castle-and-Crusades-Adventure?1892600

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10 Responses to The Goblin Gobbler

  1. Prince says:

    Rough. This was also a 5e adventure. I’ve completely bypassed any sort of C&C reviewing and there is so little mention of it I considered disqualifying it outiright for NAP III. Does anyone know or interact with the community there? What type of games do they play?

    • Kubo says:

      Not sure what you meant by “the community there”, but C&C is fairly popular and generally appeals to old school gamers. However, although C&C prides itself for having a campaign world “most like Greyhawk” and having published the first level of Gygax’s Castle Greyhawk as Castle Zagyg in 2008, I can’t say they are really holding the banner for old school gamers generally. Come to think of it, a lot of their adventures feel railroady although they have some good ideas in them. I’d also say the writers/players are less wargamer, just plain RPGer, in that there is less tactical play than with old school gamers. Wargamers look for advantages against their opponents to fight on their own terms while plain RPGers just react to encounters – not much forethought, which may be why railroads actually appeal to them. Never thought about that much, but there are passive gamers that actually prefer to play a railroad adventure instead of a sandbox adventure.

    • Dave says:

      I played C&C when it was new. I enjoyed it and would still consider it, but as a game engine its not the compelling choice it used to be. Too many other good choices.

      What I’ve seen of the adventure line (which I’m not up to date on) reminds me more of eighties and early 90s quests based published adventures and home brew adventures than of trve OSR jacquayed dungeons. Or I’m even slightly reminded of Kingdoms of Kalamar, which was 3e but had a somewhat AD&D feel, except sometimes railroady.

      The C&C publisher forum is active enough they clearly have fans running games, but I don’t see much discussion of C&C in other OSR forums, or even in plain old school forums like Dragonsfoot. So I’d call it forked off from current year OSR, even if that’s not how it started.

      To get a fair sample of the line you’d need to review adventures that weren’t conversions or dual statted. Then you still might not be impressed but it would be both more representative and less bad than this one.

  2. Artem of Spades says:

    What an absolute shitshow. And with a free lecture on anti-goblin racism to boot!

  3. I wonder what goblins smell like.

  4. oTTo says:

    Kill ’em all and let Maglubiyet sort them out.

  5. Article Writter is a Crybaby says:

    I mean Jesus christ, where to start. Your shopping article filled with wrong words like trivia instead of trivial, the random letters slapped infront of other words becsuse you dhat this article out about as fast as the “adventure” creator shat out his product. You claim that the creator of something has no right to decide if an encounter is guaranteed to be combat, that’s just categorically incorrect. Some encounters are combat with no other way around it, deal with it crybaby. You’ve not the right to decide what this module can and can not announce, you’ve full right to not like it and not play it. You arr a whiney, entitled, man child.

    • The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

      Oh geeze Mr. Article Writter, you sure told him off. Boy howdy, is Bryce going to have a hard time sleeping tonight.

      Maybe instead of wasting what little brain power you have haranguing (look it up) Bryce, you should start your own review blog so we can see just how superior you are to him. Go ahead, let’s see it. We await your amazing and enlightening insights. Of course, you won’t because that would take effort and it’s much easier to spew your verbal excrement here. Go fornicate with yourself troll.

  6. Daniel Kingsley says:

    Well, I guess I have to thank you for buying it before blasting the crap out of it, right?

    I guess I also have to thank you for providing constructive (?) criticism for me to work from. The test players really dug it, so there’s that, I guess…but their opinions, I guess, are wrong.

    I also looked at your review of Muddy Mess. Thanks for that, too.

    A new one called “Lurking Beneath” is up. Feel free to read that over. Make sure you let me know when that is up. I’ll read that review, too.

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