The Burning Firmament

By Dave Chenault
Troll Lord Games
Castles & Crusades
Levels 4-6

Goblins have fallen upon the town of Oorerestberg, besieging the walls and gate. And in the chaos and fear Gisella von Gripp, a druid of some renown, calls for aid in securing a wonderous books of potions. This to keep it from the goblins and others she deems unfit!

This 23 page adventure describes three scenes: a quick explore of a simple tower in a town under siege, a chase through town once the attackers are in, and then a finale in a ruined monastery outside of town. It’s the Trolls usual style, which just means info dumps of text in paragraph form with victorian inventories and perfunctory descriptions. In a 23 page adventure.

The Trolls are who they are. As is Northwind. I like to poke my head in sometimes to see what’s up; a good adventure CAN transcend publisher idiosyncrasies. But those are few and far between and remain so.

Ok, you’re in a town. It’s under siege by goblins about to break in. While running through a square someone else, running also, stops you and says she needs to grab a prayer book from that tower right there to bring to her master defending the walls. If you refuse she uses her Cloak of Charm Humanoids on you. That’s nice, eh? I don’t like it when things are that convenient. It reminds me of all of those DUngeon mystery adventure where the villain has sixteen magic items in order to prevent you from casting the first level spell you need to discover them. Anyway, you go in with her or perhaps after her when an old servant inside comes out yelling Thief! Thief! You go through some boring rooms, maybe get attacked by a pet mimic (again, ug!) and then discover shes escaped with the book. You chase her through the streets, having five encounters from a random table. The encounters have nothing to them other than “2d6 goblins” or “1d10 townfolk.” EVerything else is left up to the keeper, even though this would have been better handled by just stating out some encounters for the party to have. Why make this random? It’s not a wanderer, meant to push the party, it’s just that five of these WILL happen. Why not just describe them in a way that makes sense and brings some life to the adventure? Anyway, you come to the gate out and there COULD be a mass battle, and it COULD include some townfolk you might have picked up from the two suggested static encounters. Kind of nice there as they huddle close to the party, the kids get in the way of your feet they are so close, the men try to help and get slaughtered, the women don’t try to help and get slaughtered. No good deed, eh? Would have been nice if the townfolk had a little character. But there’s none provided, they are generic. You get outside and track her through some snow, that is now falling, to a ruined monastery nearby. Stabstab stab, the end.

Along the way we get EXTENSIVE backgrounds. Otherwise how are filling those 23 pages? The thief  gets several paragraphs of backstory. This is one: “Gisella is a worshipper of Toden, long ago disparaged in this area. She has been tasked by her superiors with coming to this area and reestablishing Toden’s influence. She has been here for a decade or more and has had little success in doing so. She has intended to leave for quite some time and now, with the city about to be slaughtered and potentially herself along with it has finally decided to leave.” Yeah, nothing there that is gameable. Wasted effort.

Our room descriptions frequently will be in Victorian inventory style. Here’s one he paragraphs hat describes the basement: “The basement contains, 3 chairs, a broken table, a brass candelabra, some sheets, a clothes rack, some pans, a pile of broken glass, an old rug, 4 lanterns and a lamp. There are 10 boxes of various sizes. Half are open and none locked. They contain sheets, cloths, winter clothes, incense burners, vials of oil, candles and candle holders, a sheaf of clean papers, dried inks, pans, rotten fruit and other assorted used or forgotten household items.” None of that is useful. None of that is important. None of that contributes to a feeling of realism. It’s just tedium. 

And our rooms generally start with some kind of backstory. Again, not in any way gameable or relevant to whats happening NOW: “This room was once used for study and prayer. When located, everything in it was piled in the center and burned or dragged outside and burned, thus very little remains. However, years ago a deeneert made his home here and left some treasure when he went off on a hunt. The demon was subsequently killed.” There’s no real formatting other than paragraph breaks and some indenting for read-aloud. Other than that, its just paragraph after paragraph of long form text for you to wade through while running the adventure.

The trolls are who they are at this point. You should know what to expect by now.

This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview is six pages. You do get a good sense of what to expect from it, so it’s a good preview.

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8 Responses to The Burning Firmament

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a DM I am already pissed off that i have to pronounce “Oorerestberg”. Only knowing my players will forget the towns name and call it “O berg” or “O Town” then just spend 80% of the session making sophomoric sex jokes. Normally they only spend 60% of the session doing that.

  2. Avi says:

    69% spent doing Sophomoric Sex jokes

    Oh wait WTF 😉

  3. HueBR says:

    Are this guys not suposed to be the harbingers of OSR? Are you saying the troll’s adventures usually sucks?

    • Reason says:

      I kinda like C&C as a system if you want slightly updated 1e similaracrum (as opposed to simulacrum). Runs fine mostly (or did last time I played it).

      But yeah I gave up on their adventures years ago.

      He’s not kidding about every troll lords adventure being a mess of weird layout, walls of text, missing maps or no scale or missing parts etc etc. And a lot of druids calling for your help.

    • Kubo says:

      Reason is spot on about TL adventure problems. I kept an adventure I read through before and liked, but realized that it would be a complete mess to GM when I picked it up again maybe 8 years later and it remains on the shelf unplayed. I think its next destination is the junk pile in spite of what I admired it for.

    • Anonymous says:


      There is a reason the precursors of the OSR did not become the fulcrum for the burgeoning movement despite pulling some (at the time) impressive names.

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