The Blue Lotus

By Sylathar
Xal Sylath
Level 2

If you’re a novice GM: everything will be OK. Its all simple. You’re not supposed to be Kurt Vonnegut , Hermann Melville or Stephen King. Its a social game and the players are responsible for their fun. “What if everything goes wrong?” Consider the movie “the big Lebowski”…every character in it, has a plan that fails eventually yet the ending is satisfactory to say the least.

This ten page adventure features five scenes, the last of which is a dungeon with ten rooms. It answers the age old question: what if a D&D adventure was written by a smug & condescending asshat. A collection of ideas, mostly, by someone who likes to hear themselves talk and thinks they are the cleverest person on earth.

People who use the phrase “the players are responsible for their own fun” are usually asshats, in my experience. Sure, that’s true, but, it’s usually meant to justify something the speaker has done, or more frequently, not done. It’s more that you don’t have to spoon feed the players, not that you don’t have to try. 

There is a page of this sage game advice right up front. And, the, after the first scene, which lasts half a page, there is ANOTHER half page of this asshattery. Condescending and patronizing. “Your zen moment: the guys at lake Geneva and the Twin Cities, managed to create out of war games and ‘make believe’ – a form of game and quality more associated with Art. Its much more abstract than it appears to …” … sorry, threw up in my mouth a little. Hang on … speaking of game commentary “… nitpicking on mechanical differences and taste is usually regarded as an attempt to educate other people about their logic. Don’t go there often. It can be, at times, a subliminal cesspool of passionate chaos.” And, yet, you just vomited up a page of this shit, kettle. Shall we continue? After the intro we get the following: “What’s written above is the framework. The cliche. The basic story told in kindergartens all across the world. Its something known and the Ether around it is the actual adventure. We might find out Aibon turned into a nazi/cannibal or a unicorn dancing in the meadows – but the goal remains the same” And I’m supposed to take this seriously? There’s a footnote on the page: “*for those too young to know who the hell was Dennis Hopper – watch blue velvet/apocalypse now or enjoy this link:[youtube link]” Why, in the name of all that is unholy, would anyone every listen to anyone this condescending? I ask myself this, and, yet, there are fuckwits who think that Taylor Swift is some kind of pentagon agent. Anyway, dude who write this adventure is a condescending ass and the adventure is full of it.

And, he likes the sound of his own voice and thinks he is the most clever person in the room “Here be the gang of Vorjas the cruel (since he’s a gnoll – no point calling him Vorjas the babyface is it?!)” And we have to listen to these little quips spaced VERY frequently throughout the text. And this is what I’ve selected as a hobby. 

Ok, so, five scenes, the last of which is a ten person dungeon. The scene framing is mostly garbage. Scene one is your hook and one of the scenes is the wilderness journey, so, more of a typical adventure structure but  with the added asshattery of calling them scenes.  Rich merchant dude has a sone. He’s gone to look for the Blue Lotus, which can cure his wife’s illness. But, since then, his wife got better. He’s portrayed as nouveau riche, and slightly racist. “I’m thrilled to know dwarves use forks …” It’s not bad. It appears as a confused mass of text that has too many shit fucking quips and condescention in it, but also, not bad. Dude has his interview with you in the garden, cause he doesn’t trust you in the house. If you bluff or sneak in to it then the following is provided as some ideas for the DM: 1: flirting with his daughter/younger

son/trophy wife (they’re all over 18 ok?!), 2: Finding a pentagram made of flour at the kitchen and a weird mute cook. 3: Get bitten by the pet greyhounds (1 HP damage).4: Offered to buy for a fraction of the actual price – some jewelry from a thieving servant. 5: Find Ariana smiling for nothing, all dosed on sedatives and a doctor explains she’s hysteric

Man, that’s pretty good shit. In another scene, at a farmhouse, you meet the farmers kid, maybe. He’s lost his mom a couple of years ago. He’s made friends with a fey who visits at night. Kid in trouble for stealing milk and cookies. The party might overhear the kid and the fey: “The kid will pour his heart out to the fey (“I miss mommy so much…” – “she’s dead kiddo…just remember her in your heart…now the cookies”)” Both the compassion and the greed! Noice! And, then, if the party attacks the fey: “The kid will run to his rescue with a small switchblade and his father will stand by the kid of course” A fucking switchblade! 

I note a couple of commonalities in these. First is the emphasis on situations. You’ll note this in the merchants home, in particular. And, then, the reliability of the situations. The kids father, of course, siding with him. Even pulling a switchblade. Not a dagger. This is a place that has been imagined, without respect to the rules. And that’s how to create an adventure.

The forest part of the adventure has the advice “let them wander around a bit,” Which, as always, is terrible advice. Not for 5e or some such, but not in an OSR game. 

The descriptions, when not referring to situations, are middling. Better than average but still not the quality I’d like to see. From the final room in the dungeon: “Description: A rock filled cave. Dank and full of dirt. Suffocating aroma. Blue mushrooms give a pale light. All is miserably worthless…yet there beneath the rocks stands the blue lotus…Royale blue.”Dank, dark, dirt, suffocating. Not bad. Needs some polish but not bad. The encounters, though, are really just combats or empty rooms. The situations, so strong in the rest of the adventure, are no where to be seen here. 

It’s all a muddled mess. Just a bunch of ideas thrown down on paper, for most of the adventure, without thought to formatting. No real structure. The ideas not expanded upon at all. Just a lot of “wing it” advice. Which, is great if you are a DM … but, we’re not paying for a designer to tell us to wing it. We’re paying for design. Without the pretentious condescension. 

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $3.

Bonus Review – Sisyphus Dice Game

Who doesn’t love Sisyphus?! Since the death of God we’ve only him and his eternal struggle to comfort us. Roll a die . 1-2 you go up the hill a little. 3-4 you stay in place. 5-6 you roll to the bottom again. We deserve better than this. But this i s all we’ll get.  This kind of shit used to be on blogs and now it’s for sale?!

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6 Responses to The Blue Lotus

  1. AB Andy says:

    I had the same impression when I first read this adventure. It felt like I was reading condescending thoughts of a person. And it affected my judgement. I didn’t really feel like reading further after the intro and a couple of pages.

  2. Bucaramanga says:

    This is Jonathan Tweet levels of Reddit-tier smug condescending masturbatory asshatery. This Marvel-esque style made 13th Age undreadable for me.

  3. Gnarley Bones says:

    It’s 2024. No human downloading this file from Drivethrurpg requires a tutorial on the what, how and whys of D&D. That is truly a waste of words.

    In bright and shiny 1978, Gygax introduced G1 to a world where D&D was actually new and starts off the module with, what, two paragraphs for the DM?

    There exists no reason in modern times for any module to include a “What is Roleplaying Game” sermon.

  4. Steamtunnel says:

    The comparison to major authors and the use of the word “scene” tells you everything you need to know about what the author thinks an module is.

  5. William Beckford says:

    It is understandable that fags (I refer here to fantasy adventure gamers), who are less intelligent than the average population, would gravitate towards games that are explicitly light on rules and thus do not require taxing mathematical operations, sobriety or even basic literacy.

    What is galling is that when they are permitted, against better judgement, to participate the net result is always negative. There are no instances when such unfortunates, once welcomed, will attempt to pick up the slack. Instead like termites they attempt to erode the foundations of the house they are in in an effort to allow even bigger fags (fantasy adventure etc. etc.) to also enter the house and erode it even further.

    This downward spiral has gone through multiple iterations until we have reached the current status quo. Who is to blame? It is not the fags, who cannot help themselves. It is the fag enablers, the mouth-breathing gay retards with an ‘OSR for all’ in their twitter bio. The pseudo-academics writing fake reviews praising the excretions and expulsions of the fags. G+ for not instantly reporting anyone opining on RPGs there as a memetic terrorist.

    The label OSR is rapidly becoming an invitation for verbal abuse, a bat-signal to attract bullies, an indicator of negative quality. I would propose a controlled demolition is desirable in order to perform at earlier levels.

    EDIT: Bryce here. We’re not doing this. Sit it out for a bit.

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