By Frank Mills, Greg Lambert Dueling Dragon Adventures OSR Levels 1-3
In the shadowed vale of Hazelmoor, Where the twisted trees and silence snore, There lies a secret, dim and deep, Of folk gone wrong and the oaths they keep. From man to man go tales of old, Of a wild god, untamed, and bold, And those who dared its name to scold, Burnt to ash, or so it’s told. So woe to thee, if thee draws near, To hear their chants and feel their fear, And witness as the beast draws near, In circles black; your soul they shear!
This twenty page adventure is an exercise in frustration. For the DM trying to run it. It’s got a bit of wicker man-ish shit in it, but not done well at all. It’ long paragraph cinematic focused garbage
The Harpers have lost contact with a dude in a town. You’re sent in to find out what has happened. Ok, so, it’s not the Harpers, with the Watchers, but its the Harpers The dude, the local innkeep, stopped sending letters to them a couple of months ago. Except when you get to the town he’s been gone for about a week, says the dude in the inn. Except somewhere else, when you find a bloody letter, he’s been gone for a a couple of days. The adventure contradicts itself several times. Likewise there’s this witchfinder on the hunt for witches and wizards to hang, burn etc. He got to town a week ago. Or maybe a couple of days ago according to another note. Except, also, when you are in the mayors house the witchfinder bursts through the door to announce himself and that hes here to burn witches. So, I guess he just got here? There’s a mute girl in this adventure, except shes not mute, she whispers to black goats. Except she also talks to you later. So, I guess shes not mute. The adventure love nothing so much as to not have its facts straight, which is going to frustrate the players to no end, but, whatever.
Whats is supposed to happen here is tat youtube to town, find the dude missing, go look at the wicker man they are constructing in the town square, follow the mute girl, look at the dudes house, get attacked by cultists, get their key and somehow learn you should go in to the forest where the key lights up and leads you to a small dungeon. WHen you come out it is suddenly night and you are surrounded by villagers. Back in town you see the witchkeeper about to be sacrificed, are attacked by villagers, and then the giant burning effigy comes to life and attacks. Maybe you untie the unpleasant witchfinder and get to work killing folk? The End.
This has got a couple of things working for it. First, the witchfinder dude is totally unpleasant and cruel. And, yet, dude IS right. The entire town ARE cultists bringing back an evil (or at best “cruelty of nature” neutral) and they really do need some murdering and rooting out of evil. Second, the adventure has a town wandering table that has at least a half dozen or so nicely creepy things in it. From a swarm of rats who turn out to be eating a human hand to the Witchfinder dude standing in the middle of the street in the rain, just staring at the inn at night, asi if just waiting for something to come out of it. There ARE some groovy things going on in that table. The table is far too big to support the adventure, given its size (three evenings of play my ass, this is couple of hours of play at best …)
The hook here is that your patron senses/fears great evil may be at hand, because innkeep dude missed sending him a letter and a barrel of ale, and you’re sent to investigate. Very 1960’s EVIIIIILLLLLL dramatic. It would have been far better if you’re sent to look in to, like, eight agents who didn’t send a letter this month. Someone fell off a horse. Someone went to see his mom, a letter got lost/stolen … a bunch of little mundane things. And THEN a Oh Yeah The Entire Town Is Evil thing.
Let’s see … no level range on the cover. Also, inside, we learn that there can be no magic users or animal people in the party. Great! Good to know AFTER You buy the adventure, I guess.
Let’s see … when you find the innkeep he dies in one round. Perfect drama, I guess. You need t get a key from the rando cultists attack. It’s covered in dist. Except its been hanging around a cultists neck. So, you know. Makes no sense.
It’s all written out in long paragraph form, like a CoC adventure. Even the little dungeon is just explained in text. It’s fucking nonsense. It’s all mixed and mashed up, I guess in “plot” order. It’s as if you were having a game tonight and needed an adventure and write down a few ideas on an index card “mute girl talks to black goat and disappears in to mist.” And, then, you expanded that in to twenty pages without really adding anything of meaning to it. It’s just long form garbage with no formatting to turn it in to the sort of reference document you need when running a game.
I did mention the end fight with 4d6 cultist villagers and a giant 8HD burning effigy, right? At level one?
With no formatting and an emphasis of forcing cinematic scenes, this is a garbage adventure
This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $1.The preview is six pages. You just gotta intuit that this IS the adventure … everything is like those first six pages.