Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reviews: Samore’s Daughter, North Battlement Sector, The Disappearance of Harold the Hedge Mage, The Warlock’s Digest of Dungeon Dwelling Denizens

Zac pointed out that there are a lot of free adventures out there, but very few reviews of them. He asked us all to help address that by giving a short review of one of the many free adventures available. As I am a firm believer in helping out, here are 4 reviews.

Samore’s Daughter
by N. M. Wright of Lawful Indifferent


Samore’s Daughter is a classic DnD location based adventure that takes place in a generic fantasy setting. The basic premise is that a Baron/Duke’s trusted adviser's illegitimate daughter has been kidnapped and he hires the adventurers to get her back. There is a city mentioned, a village given a brief sketch, and a cave in the woods. There is also a little local unrest due to a few poor harvests.

The adventure clocks in at 4 pages, including the cover. It fits easily on a single sheet of paper if printed in booklet format. There is no artwork, and the 2 column formatting is easy to read. The layout is such that it could probably be reduced to 2 pages without much difficulty.

The political/economic background, though sparse, hints at a rich possibilities. If you enjoy intrigue in your roleplaying games Samore’s Daughter does offer a lot of room to further develop in that direction.

Overall this adventure doesn’t really offer anything new. On the other hand it is just the sort of back pocket idea that a DM can use for a pickup game if caught completely unprepared. I do think that it should either be tightened up a little bit, or expanded so that it fills 3 pages. Also, is the guy a baron or a duke?

North Battlement Sector (for Terminal Space)
by Chris Robert


North Battlement Sector is more of a mini campaign setting with numerous plot hooks than a proper adventure. Of the 100 hexes in the sector only 6 contain planetary systems, while 20+ are covered by a massive dust cloud. One of the systems is unreachable due to a local phenomena that prevents FTL travel, while another is an imperial garden world that really doesn’t welcome visitors, and another is a demon infested treasure trove, further limiting the number of places actually available for adventure.

The setting clocks in at 6 pages, plus a paragraph pushing it to 7 pages, plus a map. There is no artwork (except for the map on the last page), and the 2 column formatting is workable and easy to read.

The overall vibe of the setting is a fairly desolate and lawless. Of the 6 systems, only 3 are really usable, and the dust cloud only offers a 5% chance of an interesting encounter every day. The interesting things that are going on in the sector are definitely worth plundering, but I wouldn’t use this sector without fleshing it out considerably more.

The Disappearance of Harold the Hedge Mage
by Todd Hughes


This is a low level location based adventure for ADnD set in a rural village, the nearby forest, and an abandoned mine. The adventure is 17 pages long, including the cover and 4 pages of maps. Two of the maps detail the mine, while the other two are the local area around the village, and a cottage floorplan. None of the maps have a scale or key, and the dungeon maps have a significant excess of black, which makes me cringe at the printing this out full sized. I added a blank page after the cover to facilitate booklet printing. The cover has the modules only piece of artwork, a passably done scene from the dungeon.

The adventure itself involves the investigation of the disappearance of the local hedge mage, first by getting clues around the village, then moving on to the mages cottage, and then to the mines. The vibe is typical fantasy, with nothing in particular to distinguish it, or help it stand out. The twist at the end was unexpected, but if I was a player, I’d hate it.

I had real issues with the way the adventure is written. It’s very linear, and the spots that seem like they might give you a chance to make a significant choice all bring you to exactly the same spot. I also disliked that the description of each location is written like boxed text.

The Warlock’s Digest of Dungeon Dwelling Denizens
by bliss_infinte of The Warlocks Home Brew


As described in his blog post this is “a no frills old school monster statistical reference in digest format. It lists the stats only for all the monsters published in the Swords & Wizardry Core rules with a couple others monsters that I've used in my campaign thrown in. It sports ascending and descending armor class so it should be helpful in most old school style games.”

That description sums it up pretty well. In going through it the only thing I noticed was that some of the headings seemed unnecessary. For instance, under F there are only giant frogs. There are 4 different giant frogs, and giving it a specific heading seems redundant.

Also the Ballroch Demon is repeated.

Aside from that, it’s a really nice quick reference. I especially appreciate that it is formatted specifically to be digest sized.

2 comments:

  1. Hey David, thanks for the shout out. Thanks for pointing out the problem areas, I'll take a look and try to tweak those up.

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  2. My pleasure! It's always nice to get a fresh pair of eyes looking at one's work. I certainly appreciate it!

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