The Orc Farm

By Felbrigg N Napoleon Herriot
Self Published
Level 1

The PCs are tasked with clearing a farm of the Orc raiders that have taken it over … but the PCs are not the only ones with the same objective. Another party are out to earn the bounty and the Orcs will not be walkover as they have started digging out a dungeon and prepared to repel any heroes.

This thirteen page adventure uses five pages to describe eight cave rooms under an abandoned farm. No descriptions to speak of. Only stabbing. No treasure to speak of. Why these things exist is beyond me.

The cover image is nice. Or, maybe, I like that style? Anyway, there, I said something nice.

There’s this farm. It’s in the woods for some reason? Like, they cleared out some land so there’s this big clearing with farm fields and farmhouse in the middle. I have no idea why. Anyway, orc raiders killed everyone and then didn’t leave. That’s been awhile, but I don’t know how long. Long enough for the fields to be overgrown? Anyway, you’re sent in to clean them out. 

So, you get to go in to the farm. There’s an orc patrol outside so you kill them. Then, the farm. A barn, a pig pen, and a farmhouse with three rooms. This is the extent of the farm description. In an adventure called The Orc Farm. Seriously. Oh, there’s a trapdoor in one room that leads down to the caves under the farmhouse that the orcs discovered and hollowed out. 

There’s this subplot about another group of adventurers also trying to clear the place out and failing. There are two dead bodies next to the road, stripped of gear, and three people hide in the woods watching. That’s ALL you get. I mean, yes, you’re told to make a reaction roll to see how they deal with the party. But that’s it. No other advice on anything related to the rival party. This is, as you can see, par for the course by now with this adventure. A lot of backstory explanation and not much in the way of actionable adventure beyond a minimal Stabbing situation.

The very first read-aloud section of the adventure deals with bodies on the road. “You find two recently deceased human males laid naked beside the path. They were killed by hacking blade attacks, but despite that, they appear at rest. Someone has closed their eyes, crossed their arms across their chest and placed wild flowers in their hands” Quiz time! What’s wrong with that description? Did you answer “over reveal?” The description over reveals what’s going on in the read-aloud. It doesn’t allow for the party to ask follow up questions of the DM. That back and forth, between the players and DM is the main cycle of D&D. And when the read-aloud tells you too much then it leaves no room for a follow up. It indicates a lack of understanding of what D&D is and how it works.

Other descriptions are wonder of evocative writing, such as a main room that says “If the PCs make any noise, or use a light, they will be met here by the orcs from room C.” That’s it. Nothing more. Or “This room has been set aside for a small group of Goblins that are kept as slave workers by the Orcs. The Orcs have been making the Goblins dig out this cavern system. They have no treasure and only some worthless furs to sleep on at the back of the room.” Are you not entertained?! No description to speak of, just a backstory. And this would be similar to most of the rooms in the caves.

Why does something like this exist? There was clearly no playtesting by another DM. There’s little understanding of what D&D is or how it actually plays. It’s a stabbing adventure. Mini-s combat without the grid. This is what fun is?

This is $2 at DriveThru. There is, of course, no preview so you have no chance of seeing what you’re buying before you shell out for it.

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10 Responses to The Orc Farm

  1. Bucaramanga says:

    So, a platonic example of “orcs in a hole”? And, I presume, no supernatural elements whatsoever for extra mudcore points?

  2. Anon says:

    AI cover? That bench outside the door is sus.

  3. Gnarley Bones says:

    Wow, just brazenly throwing ‘Orcs in a Hole’ out there like that.


  4. Stripe says:

    When’s that next contest again? What was the subject again? “Orcs in a hole,” maybe? Winter is the perfect time for contests!

  5. Working on an orc farm . . . says:

    If orcs in a hole is the theme, we’ll have a dozen or so adventures without orcs or a cave. In fact, it will just be a bunch of short dungeons that people have already written up for their own campaigns and DMs faking how they drew inspiration from the contest theme.

    • Artem the Orc Blade says:

      Tighter theming could work. E.g., it HAS to be orcs (or some other typically evil lo-level humanoids), the dungeon needs a minimum of rooms, and it HAS to have a shtick or at least a minimal supernatural element to keep it from pure mudcore.

    • Commodore says:

      Orcs-in-a-hole can be fine, there’s nothing preventing them being fine enemies. It’s very strange how the premise always disappoints.

  6. John Paquette says:

    So an orc farm isn’t a farm where they raise orcs as livestock? 🙂
    I have done an orc lair a time or two in my day. There’s a lot of things that you can do to spice things up, particularly if the player characters are mid-level, e.g. ogrillons or half orc leaders that’ll be tougher than the players expect, the 1E MM tells us that “ettins are closely related to orcs” – maybe there’s an ettin living with the orcs? Maybe there are two orc tribes (or a tribe of orcs and a tribe of goblins or a tribe of hobgoblins) who are rivals, and one faction can be played against each other?

    • Gnarley Bones says:

      The farmhouse is a gigantic mimic and the orcs have been feeding it from below.

      Adventure improved.

      (c) 2023 Gnarley Bones

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