By Zzarchov Kowolski Self Published OSR/NGR Level ... 2?
A vicious Tikbalang has been reported in the area and it is terrorizing the village. The townsfolk are too frightened to attempt to hunt down the beast and the village elder is cautious about emptying the town of defences, since there are pirates in the neighbouring village. A heavy reward in golden treasures is offered if the rumours can both be proven true and solved by bringing the head of the beast to the elder. If the beast is not slain, the villagers may need to kill those it assaulted, lest they give birth to more Tikbalang. It is hoped that, if the original beast is slain, the children will be born as normal human children.
This sixteen page adventure describes a simple situation in a small primitive village. It’s got that air of believable humanity that Kowolski excels at, while also being a bit simple for the page count.
You are summoned to small primitive fishing village. A young maiden has been attacked in the jungle by a tiklabang and is preggers! All is lost unless you kill the best so her child will turn out human and not tiklabang!. Her fiance came upon her just as the beast disappeared. Another young lady has been attacked also. A local hunter has seen tracks in the forest of its hooves. The wise woman has has a vision of it. Oh, uh, her fiance didn’t actually see the beast. And he thought the sounds he heard sounded good, not like an attack. The other chick needs to be te center of attention. The hunters brother is sweet on the preggers chick. And the wise woman is VERY senile. Yuppers. The headman is trying to keep a bunch of people from getting killed, especially the first chick and the hunters brother. Cause the fiance is a corn fed lad in his 20’s with a fucking machete, leader of the village militia. A good example of what Truth s in an adventure, I’d say. There’s something going on, but its not exactly what the surface might appear to be and the party is going to have to dig a bit to get there. A far cry from the very earnest villagers we find in nearly every other adventure. This is the way the world actually works, people doing their best with all of the pettines and greed seeping through where possible if they think they can get away with it. The party isn’t so much heroes as much as cleaning up a fucking mess that is dumped on them. This is life. And, the mess can be cleaned up by grabbing a horse head … the only one of which is available is in the next village, 2km away, which is currently occupied by pirates! The journey is the destination in man Zzarchov adventures, just as it is here.
There’s this air of believability, of relatability, in the adventure. The hulking young man with the machete, ready to kill his fiance if she cheated on him. The actual lover, who goes crazy is confronted too hard, attacking the party against all odds, with a small iron knife. The entire thing comes across as imagined first. “This is the what could happen, this is the way life works” and then put down on paper and turned in to an adventure. The concept not constrained by the game system. And these are, i think, some of the best adventures.
This is a sticky adventure. It’s a relatively simple one, so its got that going for it, and the concepts and people involved are easy to remember and run. One quick read-through and you don’t really need the book anymore. Which is a kind way of me saying that you can’t run this at the table using the book. It’s just free form paragraph formatting. That;s not reference material you can use at the table. But, making the content sticky is a valid methodology as well and it works here, partly because it IS such a simple adventure.
A few more villagers would have been nice. And, the attack on pirate village is not really detailed. No map. No events. Just a note that the captured villagers wont be happy to see the party either, for fear of being blamed for the horse theft.
I’m going to regret this. Like Old Bay, this thing is going to stick around with me forever. As a side trek one pager it could be great and I’d think of it that way. Not really verbose, not really wasting words, but, the stickiness of it makes the book not needed once you know it. And while you COULD run it based just on my review, why not buy it, since it’s a charity adventure?
This is $4 at DriveThru.