Through the Weirdwood

By Jonah Lemkins
Self Published
Generic/Universal
Levels ?

The Old North Road goes through the Weirdwood. It’s too far to go around it at this point. The barmaid at the last tavern said, “Only the strangest of folk go romping through that wood, and IF they come back, they wind up even stranger than before.” Best keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you — you wouldn’t want to end up weird.

This fourteen page hex adventure details seven hexes in each of two different woods settings. “Details” is a strong word for “nothing is really present except some ideas that the DM may or may not turn in to something.” This is not a hex crawl. It’s nothing at all.

There’s no real intro to this adventure. It’s just four bullet points that say you might be escorting a wagon or looking to harvest magical flora and fauna and the like. Nothing more than that. And then the hexes start. No movement rules. No hex size. I guess there is a small table, in the back, of twelve encounters you could have.  But no indication of frequency or anything like that. Meh. Then the hexes start.

Fourteen pages and fourteen hexes; one per page, right? Nope. Hex two is the Coalition of Cognisant Creatures. It consists of four bullet points that take up a very small portion of the page real estate. “Magic items & scrolls litter the underside of Zulie’s tower, and their magics leached into the water. Many nearby animals are now brightly colored, sentient, and some have minor powers. The herbivores and carnivores are starting to bicker .Plan to bring all animals here to drink and rule the Weirdwood, but are beset by the Boogeygourd” Ok man, Go!  You get to make something out of that. If you can. And most of the hexes are just like that one. Something weird going on that is described in a few bullet points. 

If I were to look at that encounter in the context of, say, City State, then I might not have an issue with it. There are, literally, hundreds of other encounters to be had and the overwhelming force of them means that no single encounter has to carry the weight of the adventure on its shoulders. But this isn’t City State. Or, really, any sort of hex crawl. The size, and some of the inter-related hexes, would seem to dictate that each of these encounters must stand on their more, more like an individual encounter in the modern day. If you’re gonna have three encounters in the adventure then they should each be a good one. And those four bullets are not an adventure to be made. 

Let us look at another one of these hexes: “ Campfires, tents, dancing cultists, & vast cabbage patch surround an enormous brainlike cabbage. The Gigacabbage might be an eldritch entity with mind control powers, an unthinking weed spreading cabbage growths like a cancer, or maybe a friendly forest spirit with much to teach. Cultists are friendly unless you diss cabbage. Will warn PCs about the heretical members of the Sect of Sauerkraut hiding in the woods nearby. The Sect of Sauerkraut aim to become as gods by fermenting and eating the entire Gigacabbage” So, yeah, we should talk about tone. If this were just tossed in to some far off hex then, cool cool, a one off sort of thing to have fun with. But the tone here is not inconsistent with the rest of the adventure hexes, and, in fact, might a little on te tamer side of weird in the Weirdwood, especially once the Fey side of the house shows up. I get that some people are going to be ok with this sort of tone. And I am, as well, in VERY small doses. But too many encounters of this type and we devolve in to silliness, which this adventure is. 

Teeny tiny hex descriptions of three or four bullets. They generally have little for the party to interact with. Or, rather, there is little reason for the party to interact with the people in a hex. Wander by the hex, look at the weird thing in it, and then move on to the next hex and do the same thing. The hexes don’t really have any reason, at all, to interact with them. They don’t mess with you. Or have wealth. It’s just another aimless museum tour adventure  where you star at things and then move on to the next room.

This is $1 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. On the fourth page you get to see hex one, which is VERY atypical. Most are just a couple of bullet points.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/484632/through-the-weirdwood-a-small-sandbox-adventure?1892600

This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Through the Weirdwood

  1. AB Andy says:

    ” Gigacabbage might be an eldritch entity with mind control powers, an unthinking weed spreading cabbage growths like a cancer, or maybe a friendly forest spirit with much to teach”

    May I ask why authors do this thing? Might? Can’t you just tell me what it is, you know… the thing you imagined it is when you were writing the adventure?

  2. Gnarley Bones says:

    The gigacabbage sounds like it’s in its own separate adventure and one that’s better than this product.

  3. Jonah says:

    Thanks for the review and the feedback! Always looking to improve! o7

    • The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

      @ Jonah, good attitude regarding the feedback.

      However, next time pick a ruleset and actually design the adventure for that ruleset. Generic/Universal is lazy, lazy, lazy. Also, please take note of all the folks in this comment section complaining about ideas not being fleshed out. As consumers, we are not paying for your ideas dump. We want a completed product.

      Best of luck with the next one.

  4. Dave says:

    I like the sound of the gigacabbage, I could do something with that, but in a published product pick an option and work it up to the point every DM can run it out of the box.

    This is the curse of adventures going way back. “I’m the ideas guy; my work here is done.” I picked up Broadsword for Traveller from 1982, and it’s got points where the GM is invited to work up a map to run an optional but likely encounter. Well, how many GMs have or could have run that over the years? Might as well do it once for everyone and stick it in an appendix. So I hate to pick on this adventure too much when it’s a template some writers are imitating, but damn, set it aside and don’t copy it.

    • Dave says:

      Or, more charitably, some of them are good at improv, and don’t conceive of anyone not being good at improv, so they genuinely think Ideas Guy prompts are what an adventure is.

  5. Reason says:

    C’mon it’s the height of laziness or hubris not to finish your idea before publishing.

    We all have 7 decent brainfart ideas before noon. The actual WORK part, the PUBLISH part is dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s- thinking it through. And y’know, making an actual effing adventure out of it. To pay for.
    The. Idea. Is. Not. The. Hard. Part. (the part people pay for)

    I think these kind of half assed efforts think that everyone is going to applaud their 4 whimsical thoughts even though they are barely coherent and go “oh choices, options! not a railroad!” because they have no idea what those things _actually_ mean or how to write anything gameable.

    • Crooked Nose says:

      I can’t stand this whimsical shit that poolutrs so much of Fantasy RPGs these days. So much of it is Disney Theme Park silliness. When did this happen? I returned to RPGs 2 yeats ago after leaving in the mid 80s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *