Order of Succession

By T. Elliot Cannon
Sleddog Games
Level 5

“You must come to Castle Vezio for the Yule season. We have a special present your father told me to pass on to you. Your uncle, Lord Uri of Lake Unterfallen.” You knew the trip to Castle Vezio would take a few weeks, and the story about your father and your relationship with him has never been a topic of your conversations. You wonder though, what gift did he set aside for you? Why now does your noble uncle reach out from his small wintery kingdom in the northern mountain lakes tucked away from the world?

This 44 page digest adventure is …  useless? An outline of an adventure claiming to be an adventure? At what point is something a useful adventure and at what point is it just an adventure idea?

We start this adventure with … a two page read-aloud. Because life is pain. I hope, by now, we all know why this is bad. Anyway, what follows is a series of scenes. (Or, outlines of scenes, I would suggest) and then some maps/keyed locations for three places. We get Uncles castle, which is just a generic castle description with no action taking place there. Then a little monastery where everyone is dead … that only impacts two of the rooms though … everything else is standard boring monastery. Then a nine room “glacial cave” that serves as the hack part of the adventure, where you kill giants and drow. Everything ends with you falling unconscious and waking up in chains, so the next adventure in the series and start that way. Joy. Fuck off, man. 

There’s a good description in this. EVeryone in the monastery, including A BUNCH of children, have had their hands tied behind their backs, had their throats slit, and then been hung up inside the chapel to bleed out. Gahhhh! That’s rough! That’s the kindo f shit that should motivate people to get hacking! I like!

Otherwise …

The adventure doesn’t really start until page twelve, by the time you get through eighteen different “How to Play/To Run This Adventure sections. That say nothing of consequence. Again, not a good portent of Things To Come.

What follows is a series of chapters, that could really be called scenes. Uncle takes you out. Want to explore the castle and talk to people? There are a series of things you could learn … mostly trivia. But … there is nothing there to SUPPORT that play. No NPC’s. No attitudes of people in and around the castle, or even names of anyone other than uncle. You get to make it all up. Yeah You! Each “chapter” follows the same format. Eventually you get some map/keys, at the end, to support the hack portion. And the non-hack portion … even though you don’t in any way need them for anything other than the final assault chapter. You don’t need a map/key if the play doesn’t require one.

Anyway, the outline nature of the adventure is the difficulty here. No real specificity to speak of. A lot of “just handle it” advice in the main text. Or, “in my game the players blah blah blah so I blah blah blah.” There’s nothing really here to support any sort of play beyond the bare minimum that minimally keyed thing might provide. 

An adventure needs to support the DM. It needs to provide them the tools to run a great game. Yeah, the party could learn something in the rumors by just talking to someone random, and the DM could make them up on the fly. But, part of the value add is the designer providing something. Something specific. A NPC with a quick, to provide the information, or a vignette to show instead of tell. You don’t have to drone on about it, but the DM needs SOMETHING to hang their hat on to riff on for the party. Without it, youve’only provided an outline of an adventure. And, I would suggest, that even if you WERE providing an outline, as the core product, you’d still owe the DM a little more to help bring it to life. 

But, this, has no life. Ins pite of trying RALLY hard to have an heir behind everything, who saves his chick friend from the slaughter, and then gets double-crossed by the giants and drow. Cause thats what always happens. The animosity between the heir and the uncle is NEVER brought to life in any way other than “try to make the party understand he hates his uncle” Great.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a suggested price of $5.The preview is thirty pages. More than enough to get a sense of the adventure/outline/chapters thing.


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19 Responses to Order of Succession

  1. Gnarley Bones says:

    Being presented as “Level 5” signals that this was not written to be an OSRIC module. OSRIC is legal 1E; there would be a level range provided.

  2. Prince says:

    An unusually joyless batch. Are you mortifying yourself in anticipation of NAP II?

    • Anonymous says:

      Prince…NAP II reviews aren’t coming…you need to wake up…

      • Anon says:

        Reviewing things with obvious, superficial failings is likely easier.

        • Bryce Lynch says:

          Collections of adventures take a lot of time. The current process is that I review one from the collection as time allows, in between other reviews. Then, one day, I have them all reviewed and can post. It’s not ideal, but, also, anthologies are hard to review …

          • Anonymous says:

            I think we get much more value from paid or unknown products. Everyone knows or suspects that NAP2 is worth to at least read. But others shown here with few exceptions were unknown to me. I’ve found gems and avoided shovelware because of that.

          • Anonymous says:

            Disagree…potentially ‘good’ adventures should still be reviewed. The exposure can help a lot–why punish good adventure writing by not giving them exposure?

          • A former reader says:

            Consider the amount of 4chan style fuckery that NAPies already pull here and the way the whine and insult you for not doing what they want fast enough. Then ask yourself if you want this to be a NAPie site or not. If not, pass on that bullshit.

          • Anonymous says:

            Because everyone in the OSR circle knows about it. I suspect everyone has downloaded it anyway. Whether or not Bryce reviews it or not is irrelevant. I don’t say that good writing should be punished, I never had problem with Melan getting reviewed although we all know his adventures are going to be good. But the amount of traction NAP2 got renders a review here irrelevant. Expensive products from famous designers like demon bone sarcophagus, or hidden gems are much more valuable to hear about.

          • Prince says:

            While I am flattered that my little contest about making adventures for actual D&D is considered an existential threat by what I will charitably refer to as people, these attempts to shut it down are hardly sportsmanlike. Perhaps these wretches could simply compete in an honest fashion?

            Arguing that because there are a handful of comments asking for reviews, which happens all the time, it should be shut down does not follow right conduct. This in particular because most of the trolling has been done against NAP, as the above comment illustrates. There is no way to verify who is a Napster or an anti-napster. In fact, I will state with confidence that every time there has been annoying behavior it has been from an antinapster trying to disrupt the event. In fact, every time there has been any behavior whatsoever that was annoying, this was all antinapsters.

            Shutting it down will simply open you up to further disruption efforts further down the line, and we know full well which side will take advantage.

            A statement that it should not be reviewed because it is well known also does not follow. Demon Bone Sarcophagus is well known, as are a host of other adventures. We want to see your opinion, as one of the OSR’s few genuine reviewers. Since some of the participants are on your forum, it is a fine test on how well your design ethos holds up.

            My suggestion is that you ignore all commentary, including this one, and simply proceed as you would. But then this suggestion is obsolete.

          • AB Andy says:

            I think Bryce couldn’t care less about fanatics on any side. He’ll review it, but not because of people begging or not, but because it’s a book of adventures that’s been requested. For me personally, I don’t understand the fanatics on any side.

          • Prince says:


            Unfortunate necessity. But in the meantime, enjoy the fruits of our labors, freely given.

        • Giant Goose says:

          “Expensive products from famous designers like demon bone sarcophagus, or hidden gems are much more valuable to hear about.”

          I see your point and have used this site’s review of the expensive Gunderholfen to put that on the top of my “to-buy” list, but consider the comments that are sometimes on Melan posts – people haven’t heard of the guy, despite OSR diehards knowing that he’s the best of the best. Sure NAP got traction but I doubt the big reach makes it a waste of time to review – there’s probably some overlap, probably some not.

          I agree that the comments are getting ridiculous. I’m sure there’s some 4D chess falseflagging going on. Bryce deserves to read something that doesn’t make his life a living hell, and I’m sure we knew how this would go when the “T. Elliot Cannon” name was seen 🙂

          • Giant Goose says:

            *I doubt the big reach of this blog makes it a waste of time to review.
            There’s many non-OSR diehards who read this blog too! Let’s recall that 🙂

          • Gnarley Bones says:

            Gunderholfen is glorious.

  3. It’s not a bad hook. I don’t need to buy a 44 page document to get that tho.

  4. rekalgelos says:

    I expected better from THE T. Elliot Cannon..just kidding, no, I didn’t

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hey at least he removed the AAA game designer part from his name this time. Cut him some slack.

  6. Anonymous says:

    In this decayed hole among the mountains
    In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing
    Over the tumbled graves, about the chapel
    There is the empty chapel, only the wind’s home.
    It has no windows, and the door swings,
    Dry bones can harm no one.
    Only a cock stood on the rooftree
    Co co rico co co rico
    In a flash of lightning. Then a damp gust
    Bringing rain

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