By Sage Paoilli, Dean leonard, John R. Brennan Armored Storyteller Publishing OSE Levels 8+
The civilization that once worshipped the Baboon King no longer exists, and only a few scattered ruins remain. None remember its name. A few rare scholars and priests deciphered fragments of the ancient city- state’s history. The humidity of the region devoured most scrolls and painted images left behind. Only the stories recorded in worn stone provided a clue into the past.
This 33 page adventure details a dungeon with 24 rooms. I kept thinking I was in a 5e adventure instead of an OSR one. It’s fine, I guess, as linear dungeons go. Whatever. It’s so bland and yet polished that my eyes have glazed over in looking at it.
I don’t know why your level eights are afraid of a baboon, king or otherwise. AC0 with 101hp, I guess. Along with a 4d6 bite and two 6d6 claws. Meh. What is that, more than a huge red dragon? Or a Trex? Sure thing man. I guess this is one of those “Bryce doesn’t know classic fantasy fiction” things again, where Conan or Elric or someone masturbated a bunch of baboons and now we have to think they are cool or something.
The map is terrible. It’s too small to read. It’s one of those full color things, with detailed floor tiles. A garish monstrosity that you can’t make out any detail in, or even the room numbers. And it’s linear. Yea, linear. So you are almost doing, like, 24 rooms all in a row, in a straight line, to make it to the end of the adventure. That is SOOOOOOO anti D&D that I don’t even know how to describe WHY it is. There’s no exploration. No choice. No unknown. No mystery.Just a boring nonstop of first this and then this happens to you. Who the fuck would want to play something like that? Room after room in a straight line. I’m not sure I even made dungeons like that when I was eight.
Let’s see … book magic items. A wilderness and dungeon wandering table in which 95% of the entries have a sentence or two of text that amounts to “They Attack!” Yup, we’re doing everything right it seems.
The encounters, the rooms proper, are … something. Basically it amounts to a surprise in each room. In this room your surprise is: water pours in to flood the room. In this room your surprise is: walk the CORRECT path of wisdom on the floor tiles. In this room your surprise is: poison gas drives you crazy. In this room your surprise is: wait, it’s just some monsters attacking if you open some caskets. That’s the first four rooms. Then there’s eight mummies. Then a spear trap. Then the ever-present falling portcullis and bronze golem. And then vines in the room. It’s all the same. It’s shit you have seen a thousand times before implemented in exactly the same way it’s been implemented a thousand times before.
For each room you get a paragraph or two under the heading of What Is Noticeable and a whole lot more text, many paragraphs, under the heading of What Is Not Immediately Noticeable. Nice idea. Terrible implementation. Rooms take a page. The first room takes a page and a half for a flooded room trap. There’s a one page stat block in another room. This is just TERRIBLE. What were they thinking?! There’s three of them. Did NO ONE stop and say “Hey maybe this is a bad idea.”
I’m just incredulous. AT level eight. In B/X. OSE is basically B/X, right? Level eight. How the fuck do you make a level eight D&D adventure boring? How do you put a challenge in every room and STILL make the adventure boring?1
GenCon is in two days. Dear baby jesus, please let me find some joy there …
This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. You get to see that first room. It could be a longer preview, but, I guess it does show you a room.