The God With No Name

Panayiotis Lines
Leyline Press
OSE
Level ? Mid?

You cannot touch their face and cannot touch their hair. Their voice sings in the wind of the valley and sobs at dawn. Once a vast primordial sea creature, the God with No Name slept and was buried under the salt and silt as the earth dried around it. As Dwarves came to mine the salt centuries later so too did they unearth the slumbering giant and it’s formless shadow child the void doppler. Still the pure and valuable salt lies here as temptation to any would would dare to venture so deep.

This twelve page adventure uses seven pages to describe about thirtish rooms in an old dwarf salt mine, that is actually a colossal living creature. It wants to be a kind of horror adventure, with a creature stalking you and stealing body parts from you. But it comes across as Yet Another Dull Dwarf Adventure. 

So, yeah, Dwarf salt mine. But, no rules or guidance on salt related shit happening to you. It’s actually the case that you are inside a giant creature. SO, heart, lungs, stomach, etc, will make up the theming of some of the rooms. Oooo, it’s the soul room and if you kill the soul node then a howl emanates throughout the tunnels … Stalking through the place is the void doppler. It’s a good pile, ala The Thing, that rips off your mouth, runs away, and then attaches the mouth to itself. Walla! Now it has a mouth! Repeat with other parts. Also, there’s a crazy elf in it, trapped in rubble, and three trolls upstairs, outside of the mine. That’s your enemy compliment. Look, i don’t need an adventure that has nothing but stabbin, but, also, an adventure that has little to no stabbin really needs to sell me on that conflict. I’m gonna need some tension there. If you’re leaning in to ANY trope, as the central theme of an adventure, to the exclusion of most of the elements of the others, then you really better be prepared to sell me that theme. A few hints. Some guidance. Are you only putting wandering monsters in and the whole adventure is about them? Then you better do something more than say “use the table from the book.” The concept, as always, is supporting the DM at the table … especially when so much of the adventure hangs off of one concept. Don’t have room? Add a page. Or, maybe rumours are not as important in this adventure? More than just saying “use hit and run tactics”, you need some atmosphere here.

And that is something that is lacking. Has there ever been a good dwarf dungeon? One that is atmospheric, I mean? Oh, boy, another colossal empty chamber. Unlike other offerings from Leyline, this one’s writing leaves a lot to be desired. “The main entrance to the mine is a simple wooden construct, dilapidated with age. It gapes jagged and open. There is a thin trace of void secretion around the edges of the entrance within the shadows.” That’s not exactly inspiring with regard to a mine entrance. “This area is blocked off with rubble” or “An excavated area of the tunnel.” There’s nothing here to bring forth ANY type of feeling or atmosphere, much less the sense of foreboding that one would want when being stalked by a solitary creature. “Crumbling statue of ancient dwarf king” or “heavy area of salt deposits.” Joy. I am inspired.

The map is trying a bit too hard to channel a real-world diagram. The core map is an ok affair, if, linear as a mine shaft might be, with small offshoots hanging off of it. But, also, there’s an attempt to make notations on the map, like handwritten things one might find on a real map. These DO NOT work AT ALL. They are small and scratchy and impossible to read with any clarity without trying hard. We have forgotten the first rule: it has to be legible. 

The descriptions here are quite weak. There is little atmosphere communicated. The challenge here is mostly one of the main creature, almost to the exclusion of all other play types/interactivity … but that sort play is not supported at all by the designer. And we combine that with more padding and empty words than Bastard King had, by far. 

This is, by far, the weakest entry I’ve seen from Leyline so far. Well, that’s only two, and the first one WAS quite good. It’s not like this is a piece of shit, it is, just, at best, Yet Another Throw Away Mediocre Adventure. And we don’t do those here.

This is $4 at DriveThru. There is no preview. For shame! Let us see what we are buying first!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/405441/the-god-with-no-name?1892600

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16 Responses to The God With No Name

  1. Artem of the Floating Keep says:

    Perhaps it’s time for a Dwarf Dungeon contest?

    • Kubo says:

      Then we’d get several dungeons that do not have dwarves in them at all (some other mining humanoid/creature is deemed cooler – like mutated alien pigmies!), and several more that have only a token dwarf connection (a dwarf found a cave, camped outside, but didn’t do much there, except going back to town to spread rumors reaching ears of adventurers). If it ain’t Mines of Moria, it ain’t a dwarf dungeon. The challenge is making a dungeon distinctly dwarven and creating the same wonder as when you first read Frodo’s journey through the Mines of Moria. Do I have to say how difficult that is? Bryce may die of boredom before reading a worthy adventure, and still wind up liking the mutated alien pigmies better.

      • Reason says:

        `well yeah, it’s the internet bro.
        Some people will internet. Or interpret.
        And some people will make some amazing stuff in a niche currently occupied almost exclusively by shite.
        And I will be happy for that.

        And yes, someone may make an entry you consider dwarf adjacent rather than dwarf forward and you’ll just have to adapt to that one.

      • DP says:

        I almost never see dwarf dungeons with actual dwarves in them. Wonder why that is? Dwarf dungeons are old hat, tropey, boring set pieces at this point – why keep using them if you aren’t centering the adventure around, you know, actual dwarves?

        • chainsaw says:

          Agreed. A few years ago I had an idea for a dwarf dungeon, but it was evil dwarves in forge fortress in a lake of lava. Enslaved fire giants, mutated orange spiders and bats, blah blah blah. Someday maybe!

          • DP says:

            Sounds like the sort of things you’d see in a typical adventure involving a Fire Giant lair, except you went small-stature dwellers and not large.

            Perhaps an interesting “polar” opposite would be dwarves who are obsessed with the cold and whose halls have a frosty theme: magically-treated ice that’s harder than steel, vast frozen underground lakes, sled teams pulled by winter wolves, huge ice augers plumbing the depths, etc.

          • chainsaw says:

            Yeah, that would be cool. 😉

  2. Gnarley Bones says:

    What a good idea, though! Alas, it seems not to have translated onto the page.

  3. Yomar says:

    “Has there ever been a good dwarf dungeon? One that is atmospheric, I mean?”
    One that actually commits to the dwarf theme? Hammers of the God. Excessively wordy, though.

    • Roger says:

      Hey Yomar,
      Was very curious about Hammers of the God (HotG) as I have not yet been able to find a Moria or dwarven fortress type of adventure for use in my future 1e world. I found a free pdf download of HotG online but strangely, has a map that only covers 27 out of the 100 rooms described. Any idea where I might be able to find a full map or a reasonably priced copy of the module? Copies seem to be very expensive or non-existent.

    • Roger says:

      Nevermind Yomar, I now see that the map is complete. The “1-100” rooms I was looking at actually refer to the 1-100 books/tomes that can be discovered. Duh.

  4. chainsaw says:

    It’s hard to do a cool dwarf dungeon because dwarves have become a stupid comic relief garbage race cracking dwarf tossing jokes in Scottish – it’s hard to suspend/ignore that mental imagery. You need a really skilled designer. Skalbak Sneer’s the only good one I can think of.

  5. Tom H. says:

    “Peaks and Valleys: Among the Dwarves” is OSR/ACKSish, but it’s a setting / hexcrawl / mini-campaign (91 pages) and the dungeons aren’t super dwarfy-themed. (Already covered at https://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=2998)

    The Dragon’s Gullet is an OSR adventure in a site *built* by dwarves, but no living dwarf residents & not much dwarfy theming – although the concept behind the site has my players fascinated to figure it out. (Also already covered at https://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=8425.)

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