Milk and Blood

By John Cunningham
SBM Press
OSR & Dark Albion
Levels 1-2

… in the village of Bacton in Herefordshire in 15th Century England, but can easily translate into any fanasy setting. The PCs are called upon to investigate the disappearance of a child amidst a rising tide of pranks and odd goings-on that has caused the local priest to beg for help.

This eleven page adventure details a small “investigation” in a village with an imp in it. Oops, gave it away. Now you wont be able to enjoy this outline of an idea for an adventure.

Well to do chick wants to marry a petty aristo kid. But her parents die, so shes sent to the country to live with granpappy orchard man, who is a bit of an ignorant lout. And now shes too low to marry the aristo, so, to improve the orchard she gets the local wisewoman to tell her how to summon brownie, and is wanted against mixing in blood to the milk becauseit will summon too powerful an entity. She wants a great orchard, so she adds some blood and get, unknown to her, an imp. Who is doing shit around the village. And eventually convinces her to get it a baby for its more powerful blood. Oops. 

The editing here is not great. The opening paragraph is immediately duplicated as the second paragraph. The imp is noted as a Imp of Desire. And then an Imp of Conceit. These are, of course, minor issues, and only stand out as witness to the more serious affair.

It’s an outline. You get a VERY basic list of major NPC’s. With descriptions that focus on background rather than the bits you need to run them. Griff and acerbic. Clever and oddly charismatic. I’m a fan of these sorts of quick hit descriptions for an NPC, but these don’t cut it. They are too abstracted and need supported by more, and I don’t mean their character history.
And then, as the main part of the adventure, you get a list, in bullet form, that takes up about two pages. This is, essentially, a list of 24 things that the party can learn as they investigate the village and ask about after the missing child. It is, essentially, a rumor list. Mixed in to it, though, are a few things to learn is you talk to NPC Frank, Sur, or Mary. And they all start with “If you talk to Sue then you will earn that … “ or something like that. Obviously, not the best presentation for information. You can’t make the DM hunt for things. It should be easy to locate the specific NPC and what they know. 

And, I should note, most of the rumors are from a rando villager. As in “There’s a Full Moon in a few nights, best to be indoors that night if you know what’s good for you!” or “Another villager complains their cow has run dry.” We don’t get these villagers. Just the core NPC’s. 

On top of that are the consequences for what’s going on. We get a couple of paragraphs describing complications. “they must realize that if Annes dies or is executed for witchcraft the High Sheriff will be angered, as will the Talbots when Humphrey holds them to blame.” Will they, though? Has the adventure done ANYTHING to help the DM communicate this AT ALL? No. Gonna blame the wise woman? She aligned with the House of York. Ok. And? I get it, War of the Roses, but, …. And? How does the party know this? How are the consequences made clear to the party? 

I could be missing something here. The main rulebook for Dark ALbion could have a great villager generator and make it clear all the consequences. But, even if it does, that’s no excuse for the information presented in this adventure. It is a rough outline of an adventure. A rumor table. A list of bullets that an adventure would then be designed around. It’s missing EVERYTHIGN that a modern adventure should have, meaning, supporting the DM in the play of the game. Theres none of that here.

This is $2 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages. You get to see all of the major NPC”s and all of the adventure bullet points. ALl that’s missing is that short consequences section … Good preview.–Blood–an-OSR-and-Dark-Albion-Adventure-12-Level?1892600

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5 Responses to Milk and Blood

  1. Artem of Spades says:

    “Provincial intrigue” is a cut above “rats in a cellar” and “orcs in a hole” as far as lo-level adventures go, but still is boring mudcore. Hard pass.

    • The Heretic says:

      Well designed low level investigation-based adventures are hard to find. Unfortunately, this adventure does not well designed.

      • Stripe says:

        Agreed. The most fun I’ve had as a player and as a GM has been in an urban setting. Low-level provincial intrigue *done right* is *great* D&D. There are a whole lot of pitfalls and cliches to avoid, but don’t toss the baby with the bathwater.

      • Bailey says:

        I had a good time running Scenic Dunnsmouth. It can be done.

        Though in my case the players eventually had enough of the locals’ bullshit, cut the heads off the worst of them, declared victory and went home. So I’m not sure we got the full intended effect of an investigation scenario, but it was still a good couple of sessions of play.

  2. Chainsaw says:

    Doesn’t matter to me if a low-level module features low-level monsters like human bandits, vermin, insects, undead, etc. as long as the motivation’s interesting, the key’s fun and the map clever. What monster populates it isn’t the most important component.

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