Duirdun Vale

By Mark Kerruish
Imagination Underway
Level 1

“Look here,” says the dragon. “I know you must be a bit feeble of mind not to run and hide from a hunting red dragon. My condolences on your thick-wittedness. Take my advice and run next time.”

This 24 page adventure presents six encounters, linear, on an overland journey between a village and a city. This is no whimsy or wonder. It is boring dreck with too much read-aloud and nothing going on.

How bad is this? It’s is close to being Eliminster ‘Heal!’ bad. At one point “Later that day, lake gulls from Lake Mimrise fly low over the party and drop a bar of soap for each person present.” Uh huh. Cause if you’re a stinky person and try to get in to the city then the guards look weird at you. That’s the final encounter. In the adventure. Of the six encounters that’s the final one. The gulls dropping soap (“there’s a nearby stream” the adventure tells us) and then the gate guards sniffing the party and telling them the Earl doesn’t like stinky people and the city is very clean. That’s where the adventure ends.

Oh, fuck, right. That doesn’t make sense. You see, this is an ESCORT mission. You’re escorting a young monk from the village to the city. I know, I know, escort mission. But, no, not like that. He’s not going to be in danger. Instead he’s going to silently judge you and you’ll get less reward, I guess, when you get to the monastery in the city. You’re never TOLD this. You’re only told you’ll get paid by the monks in the city when you arrive. I guess you have to intuit that the dude is going to rat out your misdeeds. Or, whatever he thinks are misdeeds. So, you get to the city gates and you’re not paid. The adventure just ends. There is no payment. No monastery. I guess that’s the next adventure? 

So, six linear encounters on the road. The entire thing is very 5e in its layout and art style and so on. No doubt this is from a template. The art is AI, but I don’t really give a fuck, except to say I hate it. In fact, I think I hate absolutely everything about this adventure. 

I hate the long and pointless read-aloud sections. These are SUPER common and SUPER long. Her’es just a portion of one, one paragraph from among many when starting the adventure “It’s a grey, dreary morning with a chill drizzle. Liss, the innkeeper’s help, brings you a hearty breakfast of sausages, bread, and gravy. She glances out the window as she puts the plates in front of you. “Unseasonal, ” Liss comments. “Looks like we’re in for an early autumn.” She walks away to let you get stuck into your breakfast. You’ll need all the energy you can get if the road turns muddy.” I hope Liss dies. Truly. Isn’t this the way of it? You, someone engaged and interested in the world around them. Full of joy and wonder for the new day ahead. Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride, ain’t nothing gonna slow me down! Then Lizz appears. With his drivel. The mundane pointlessness. Prosaic. Liss deserves all of the abuses of the mundanity of the world … I’m going down in a hole in the ground. Oh, also, this read-aloud is pointless. You get it, it’s the novelization of the adventure rather than the adventure proper. 

We get, like, 2.5 pages of wandering monsters for day and night. For when you go off the road in to the forest or some such. But you never do. You stay on the road. It’s like throwing in the deep ocean encounter tables. 

So, escort mission, right? First encounter: a bridge over a mud puddle has collapsed and a horse is sinking in to the mud while some men watch, with their wagon. It’s exactly what it sounds like, nothing more. It takes, like, 2.5 pages for the designer to tell us all about it. Encounter two: Frank the goblin is looking for some dude named Bob. Oh, also, do you  want to gamble? You can say No, it’s ok. That’s another page and a half. Then you meet some … hmmm … stereotypical eastern european travelers known for reading fortunes. Not Rromani. Those are real people. The designer is using the other word, which polite society no longer uses. Anyway, a page and a half for a fortune reading that uses a nicer version of the Deck of Many Things. Then you find a scroll on the road and a wizard in the next town who confronts you for stealing it. Another two pages for this, but, interesting: “If the party killed anyone, a gallows is constructed in front of them while they are in the stocks. They are executed as murderers the next day” Well now, that took a turn! Just like guessing what action the monk wants you to take, you get to guess what action gets you hung! But, also, fuck me man, nice one! I mean, you’re coming at it from an overly moralizing position, but I like the brutality of it. Some fuck around and find out shit right there! But, also, we telegraph shit like this, or should anyway. It’s only fair to the party when you change the rules or game world in a major way. Let’s see, then we’re taking a couple of pages to maybe fight some ogres. Then you meet a red dragon, which is actually a gold dragon in disguise. That’s it. You can do the entire thing without combat. Ignore the mud thing and walk around it. DOn’t talk/gamble with the goblin. Ignore the travelers. Ignore the two wrestling ogre teens. Talk to the dragon/polied dude. Take a bath with the soap. Adventure over.

23 pages for a couple of wilderness encounters. In becmi. IN BECMI!!!With nothing really going on. Just stand there and let the world roll by. Because there’s no treasure. After defeating four ogres, in their lair, you get about 260gp in loot. You fucking enjoy that new fucking level. Then again, it’s six do nothing encounters, why should you level for that, or get even close? 

I have no idea what this thing is and I have no idea why it exists and I have no idea how one could write something like this. 

This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is eight pages and shows you all of that wonderful town/hook read-aloud with the sausages and gravy, as well as part of the wandering tables, which you won’t be using. Bad preview.


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2 Responses to Duirdun Vale

  1. Sevenbastard says:

    “Just like guessing what action the monk wants you to take, you get to guess what action gets you hung.”

    I’ve played with DMs just like this. Not this dude, I checked his name, but DM who Expect you to know shit but doesn’t tell you how then berates you for not understanding there “logic”. Then it would lead to some absurd trial where he would jerk himself off about how superior he was till we got bored and just let him kill us.

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