By Simon Miles Dunromin University Press OSRIC Levels 3-5
Thelkor Boghammer and his band of Dwarven murder-hobos opened up the tomb of the Gnomish Firkin family a few months ago. They had a bad time of it and the sole survivor, Tutlin, is drowning his sorrows and desperate to sell the map he made of the tomb to any eager adventurers he comes across. His map contains a clue to a secret way he never realized was there – can any more noble adventurers decipher the clue and find the riches without being slaughtered by the Undead guardians? Or, failing that, could your characters do it?
This 46 page adventure contains a dungeon, with three themed areas and about sixty rooms. Long read-aloud. Long DM text. Nothing to do but stab people. It harkens back to the old days. The bad old days.
Come and listen to my story about a man named Bryce, A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed … Do you remember how the jungle used to go? Back when the OSR was fresh and new? I do. It was hell. I mean, it’s hell now. It was a different hell? Instead of the Flavour System of the Month system we have now it was more of a Slog Through Meaningless Text style. Lots and lots and lots of read-aloud. Lots and lots and lots of DM text. And not much actually going on in the dungeon. Lots and ots of stabbing, I guess. And that’s what we got going on here. Lots of text. Mundane to the point of simulationist. A bad time.
Abstracted text. “You are all sat in the Inn considering your recent experiences and wondering what you might do next. The discussion turns to rumours and legends you’ve heard …” Yeah, sure , it’s fucking intro. But we don’t abstract text. And we don’t use the word “you”. No second person writing in adventures. Ever. We right specifics. That grounds the adventure. And no, you don’t need to describe every fucking thing. But you DO need specifics on some things. Like making the fucking intro something that I’m not going to sleep through. “You stand at the crossroads of a hallway …” Jesus christ man, I thought this shit was known? I thought it was fucking obvious that you don’t do this? But not in this throwback adventure. It’s like the last ten years have not existed. Same old same old.
And there’s read-aloud. Lots and ltos of read-aloud for every room. And there’s DM text. Lots and lots of DM text for every room. It’s perfect. The players will be bored while listening to the read-aloud, the boring read-aloud, drone on and on and then they can be bored again while the DM tries to scan the mountains of text that make up the DMs notes for the room. Fucking paragraph after paragraph. Wall of text levels of writing in places. It’s fucking insane. Again, it’s like the last fifteen years have not existed. I’m not sure how someone can be so disconnected. I mean, I don’t follow the crowds too much on social media, but I know enough to know which way the fucking wind is blowing and what the trends and lessons are. But this … How do you publish on DriveThru, for OSRIC, and still be this out of touch with what you need to do in an adventure?
“There is no hazard here and everything of value has been robbed out. The plinths are solid stone.” Yeah. Sure. Mountains of read-aloud for that. And mountains of DM text for little to no interactivity. Just that the room is empty. That the barrel is full of water. That the crate is empty. You can stab things. You can stab a lot of ghouls. That’s fun, right? And then you can stab a lot of hobgoblins in the second part of the dungeon. And then you can stab a bunch of goblins in the third section of the dungeon. Stab stab stab. Stab stab stab. “The hobgoblins in this room will respond to the hobgoblins in the other room in two rounds.” Well, great. Maybe put that fucking information in the room where we need it?
“The floor of this chamber is …” That’s how, I don’t know, 80% f he rooms start. “This chamber is … “ It’s fucking padding man.
There’s just nothing here man. Mountains of text to no effect. A throwback to the bad old days. You gotta make an effort man. You gotta get better. You gotta make at least a small effort to learn what to do. I mean, you kow enough to use english and not random gibberish, right? And to write from left to right? Why not expand that jut a bit and figure out how to present a good adventure for the DM? That would be effort? Ah
This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is ten pages. You get to see no rooms. But, take a gander at that writing. Imagine those are the rooms. You’ll get what you need to know from that.