By 1st Adventures 1st Adventures 1e Levels 1-3
The Buried Settlement of Khandar Thung is a First Edition adventure designed for a group of 3-6 first level players. Characters can advance to level 3 if they successfully complete the adventure. Embark on an epic quest in the enigmatic village of Riverfront Dale, a place plagued by mysterious disappearances. Venture into treacherous landscapes, face ancient magic, and delve deep beneath the mountain to unveil the secrets of a long-lost buried settlement. Will you reveal the truth and save the village?
This “Thirty page” adventure features two dungeons with about 35 rooms total. It’s a VTT only adventure, requiring Roll20 to even look at. An attempt to go to new places, technically, it fails at every turn.
We are not luddites at the 3.048 meterpole. Pushing the frontiers of adventure design, trying new things, finding better ways are embraced here. I mean, it’s gotta be better than the same old second edition formula, right? Time marches on, friend, and we need to get with the meta! In 2023 it just seems like the polite thing to do is include a map and/or art handouts that can be easily uploaded and shown to your players on some VTT platform. I mean, in person is absolutely the best experience but I recognize that virtual is here to stay and thus we should do some kind of bare minimum to bring value to that platform also.
How about, though, the VTT exclusive adventures? The ones that exist no where else but on VTT? You don’t get a download, just an import in to Roll20. That’s … interesting. 1st Adventures here has one of those for us to try, for 1e. I am a bit perplexed on the No Downloads thing, since that would make it far, far easier for the DM to get an overview of the adventure and do a read-through, but, sure, I’m open minded. Which will only lead you down path in D&D adventures … this is shit.
There are four scenes, I guess. Little girl yelling for help in the forest. Then find a witch in the forest. Then go in to the caves. Then go from the caves in to the lost city. There’s supposed to be this town also. There’s a photo of it and it’s fucking hyperlinked all the fuck over the place. There is no detail of it though. We’re supposed to learn that a lot of people go missing, but, we get nothing but an artist rendition of a village. Perfect. If you can’t handle this much then your selected format isn’t worth the virtually free bits it’s composed of.
The map and DM text is on the same “page’ in the adventure. I don’t think this works well for screen shares, but whatever. The very first read-aloud in the adventure is “You walk through a green and lush valley.” Yup., It’s all in second person POV. This, alone, should be enough to condemn an adventure to hell for eternity.
Oh, wait, wait … the adventure is supposed to get you to level three. All six of you. What is that, at least 24,000gp in loot, if we assume 20,000gp per? The first caves have about 1300. Hmmm … me thinks we’re not going to hit level three in this one, kiddos.
Ok, so, full color maps that are terrible for the DM to read. They don’t even look that great, being muddled and full of useless detail. One of my favorite parts is the fonts used. The background is black. The text is white. The higlighted color is purple. SO you get a purple font on a black background. This is nigh impossible to read. Why not just make the highlight color charcoal instead?
Encounter one is “Emerge from the forest, you see a girl running towards you in desperation. She has a pale face and her eyes reflect fear and worry. “Please, help me!” she says with a trembling voice. “My older brother, Ashle, has disappeared. I don’t know what to do, please, help me.” — Yup, ‘emerge’ from the forest. And the the next lines, for the DM text say “ they can decide whether they want to help her or not. If they decide to help her.” This is what we get. This is what your money buys you. The DM text letting us know that the players can have their characters help the girl. Or not.
The witch of the forest? She’s a druid. And the fucking garbage text REFERS to her as a druid. In read-aloud. This is TERRIBLE. We DO. NOT. do this. She’s a fucking witch. She looks like a witch. Describe her lik she’s an old hag. Don’t fucking ruin the fucking mystery by telling the fucking party that shes a druid. And ESPECIALLY not in the read-aluod. Fucking christ.
Which tracks with the rest of the read-aloud, which over-reveals room details left and right, destroying the back and forth between the players and the DM that makes up the heart of D&D.
It wants to hyperlink. We get 300 hyperlinks to that artist rendition of the village. In the most ridiculous places. Like, when you free prisoners in the caves it hyperlinks to the photo because the village name is mentioned. Just a simple search and replace, I’m sure. And, the creatures, which are hyperlinked to stats? Well, some are. And some are not. And those that are get 5e char sheets and some weird ass textual stat block that is clearly programmatic.
THis is just fucking garbage. Fight after fight with almost no interactivity beyond that. Garbage read-aloud. No real formatting. It’s just fucking terrible. So much so that I feel the need to point out that all VTT adventures can’t possibly be as bad as this, can they?
1e my ass.
This is $7 at DriveThru. No preview, since you can’t own it unless you have a Roll20 account.