Tales of the Wolfguard

By Andrea Tupac Mollica
Hellwinter Forge of Wonders
Level ... 3?

Blizzard Vale is the northernmost province of the Empire, conquered with great endeavours centuries ago. It’s a frozen, hostile land with sparse patches of conifers, icy rivers, and lakes. The Wolfguard, an old garrison of soldiers and scouts, watches over the vale and protects the town of Ysvindur from the barbarian Elves and more sinister threats.

This is a 56 page regional setting with a couple of places to explore. It’s the boring land of boringness. Except this time it’s got a light veneer of winter.

So, there’s a regional setting and then there’s a regional setting. One has a little sanbody area that you can explore, with a home base, some hooks to get you going and sites to explore and so on. The other is a fluff piece. Maybe more of a gazetteer. This is not the sandboxy thing I thought it to be, from the blurb. I can get behind reviewing a regional setting. But, fluff? I don’t know. When’s the last time I made the analogy of getting inspired by the morning constitutional? 

The analogy is not far off. We’ve got a little valley. We’ve got a little town in the valley. The valley is a valley and the town is a boring little town. Typical town descriptions. Elk jerky and icicle mint tea at the bar. The usual townfolk descriptions. The only notable things are a ice statue in the main temple and an assassins guild in town. THAT comes with a little table to spice up life. Drugging wells, killing folk and so on Drop in a random roll to spice up the game, it says, and I agree. It’s BY FAR the best thing about the town or the vale. Otherwise this is a generic outskirts town, but with a winter theme. You’re The Wolfguards! Lairing at Wolfs Den, your base in the valley, with the town nearby. What you’re guarding against I have no idea. There are also some elf barbarian tribes nearby, but they don’t really get much to them, in spite of having a decent word and page count. And such it is; it’s mostly fluff with very little actionable data. Bird people live in the mountains. Great. I’m bored. There have got to be a half dozen better supplements for a town to run from. Fuck me, Pembrocktonshire is better and it’s just a list of weirdos in a town. I loathe the focus on the mundane. “Your dour eyes hold the echoes of grief and regret, and your footsteps resonate with the determination to leave behind the darkness that clings to you.” *bleech* That’s the little intro text we get to inspire the DM. 

Oh, you do get a little table on how to spend XP to upgrade your Wolfs Lair tower. It’s kind of a cute idea. Spend some XP and find something hidden or some such, or get some other bonus. It’s a cute little upgrade thing. 

Ok, so, we’ve got some dungeon and an explicit adventur ein this thing also. Seven dungeons. Each one about a half page. It’s a map, a half page map, with some text bubbles pointing to an area and saying something like “Nest of a rust monster’ or “Amber golem guarding the libraries entrance.” That;’s the extent of them. You enjoy that.

The actual adventure is just a little better. You’re out riding, on the way to your first assignment … the Wolfs Den! Lair. Whatever. Oh no! You see some elf barbarians with wolf helmets fighting some elf barbarians with Eagle helmets! What do you do? That’s scene one, a fight. Scene two is an elf come running up after the fight and saying “your supply wagon was taken its your problem now,.” Ok. Scene three is a little six room dungeon over three pages. You’re in a cave. You have to roll, when in the same room as a campfire, to detect the campfire smoke. That don’t make sense, right? According to the little map (which looks like a little Dyson cave map) the room can’t be more than 20 feet wide? Except the room keys seem to to use a one square equal seven feet scale. Then, I turned to a different map, a full page map of the same cave, included in the appendix. Seven feet? No. Five or ten feet? No. The scale is one square equals five hundred yards!!! Well, that was unexpected. And not present on the map at all that is inline with the text. Huh. Still, “footprints go east” to nowhere. I think the designer meant south. It’s weird, that’s the second time they made this mistake, I think. In another mini-dungeon they have a text bubble that says something like You hear sounds from the east … where the east is a cave wall. The hallway runs north and west. Dude did, I think, confuse themself … they use some non-traditional “up is not north” compass. Like, North is to the Southeast on one map. Why the fuck would you do that?

The adventure and mini-dungeons are not value adds. The regional setting is not interesting, from a dynamic gameplay standpoint, except for the assassin table. This is not a place to explore. 

This is $3 at DriveThru. There is no preview. There are, however, seventeen five star ratings. *sigh* What can men do against such reckless hate?


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15 Responses to Tales of the Wolfguard

  1. Goblino says:

    Was excited for this one, but after reading it I feel the same as Bryce. It’s just not very good.
    The amount of 5 star reviews for this product is absolutely baffling.

    • Corathon says:

      Dishonesty isn’t rare, sadly.
      Neither are flattering/unrealistic appraisals of your relative’s or best bud’s work.
      I don’t know if DriveThru could detect sock puppet reviews.

      In short, it’s probably pretty easy to get 17 5-star reviews for a bad product.

    • Prince says:

      It also has to do with a different context. A drivethru review of 5 stars for a product from a casual or uninformed buyer is not hard to obtain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then you should go on there and give it an honest review. I am.

  2. Shitty Adventure says:

    How many village hipsters were at that bar drinking their icicle mint tea.

    Too bad the elk jerky wasn’t elf jerky. That, at least, would be interesting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anyone know the RSS feed for this site?

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Can someone do a wellness check on Bryce? All these shitty products are gonna push him over the edge.

  6. Kubo says:

    Anyone else think an assassin’s guild is out of place in a little town on the edge of nowhere?

    • Reason says:

      Assassins in a remote mountain village. Well I _think_ the original hashashins had some remote mountain lairs (no idea how remote though).

      I can roll with that as a DM- finding the legendary assassins is a trek to secure their services- adds some mystique. They aren’t some simple crew who do jobs on an hours notice. They may take time, but it’s always a result.

      Also helps keep revenge at bay, they have eyes and ears for miles and on the way in and countless opportunities to assess who is coming and counter as needed.

      • Knutz Deep says:

        Think of the assassin’s guild in the remote village as their corporate offices. They have branches everywhere.

        Or it’s like when Homer and Apu searched for the first Quickie Mart on top of a mountain.

  7. Joe says:

    I felt like you were being overly harsh on this one, so I bought it and read it for myself. And I’m sorry to say that you’re wrong. It’s worse.

    There are a few things I like. It has a handful of interesting ideas. But, yeah, the adventure is dumb, all the perception-like checks are annoying, and the NPCs are uninteresting.

    But wholly cow do they beat it into you that the elves are barbarians! The uncivilized Barbarian Elves are not only uncivilized barbarians, but they do barbaric things, like selling animal pelts, and fighting with other barbarian elf clans, and wearing barbaric totemic animal trinkets.

    Oh, and don’t forget to try the included mini-game of… seducing the female leader of the Barbarian Elves. Was this written by a 15 year-old? “Can I roll to touch her boobs?”

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