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DG1: Secrets in the Dark
Publisher: Dan Hass Endeavors
by Tom H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2017 17:45:51

This is fundamentally not what I'd call an adventure: it's a series of fight scenes with scaling opponents; as other commentators have noted, the difficulty level seems off. There's not a world, not an actual meaningful location for players to exercise skill and agency upon. The author's grasp of the rules seems shaky and inconsistent. Treasure and xp are both sparse and seem miscalibrated for any edition of D&D; there are multiple places where the author has just left up to the DM how much treasure to include - abnegating authorship.

That's enough that I get no use for it, but the poor quality is further reduced by the editing (spelling errors, awkward writing) and problematic layout.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
DG1: Secrets in the Dark
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Creator Reply:
If you have a specific instance of something contrary to the rules, that would be very interesting. More likely you have made a mistake, and need to review 5th edition rules. Treasure is deliberately left the DM. As stated in the sidebar, treasure is a defining characteristic for a DM's game, and Dimgaard adventures are designed to accommodate as wide a range of play styles as possible; part of that is leaving almost all treasure up to the DM to decide. On a related fact, 5th edition leaves much about XP up to the DM, as well. If a DM wants faster progression the DM can award XP for traps aligned to the challenge the DM feels it presented to the party. Creature XP is more explicit.
Gauntlet of Spiragos [free 5E OGL adventure]
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Tom H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2017 13:19:22

Perhaps not technically a railroad, but not an adventure I'd ever use. Starts out with three "optional" encounters - all fights - and notes on how to add a fourth optional connected enemy (who's a dangerous human intended to be a recurring threat throughout and after this adventure, yet not given any name or hint of personality - just combat stats). Then another fight. Then two more fights, and an optional fight. Then... fights? And more fights!

There's no map, because no map is necessary, because it's a railroad. There's no scope for players to make an informed choice that has an effect on the outcome, except for how they fight the things they're foreordained to fight. During the adventure the players never have a choice, it's just assumed they're always pressing "onward".

There are quantum ogres lurking - if the players lack a certain useful item, for instance, the DM is encouraged to add some to the loot they got earlier, rather than expecting them to problem solve or to not achieve some part of the story that the author has dreamed up. There are things left up to the GM: the players get however much treasure the DM thinks they should but not more than 200gp each. There are unexplained mechanical effects - if the characters hang around too long, they get scared, but there's no game-world justification for why they're getting scared, nothing that would make sense to a character.

The creatures could be useful, and the magic items at least have some individuality, but that's 9 out of 44 very wordy pages.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Gauntlet of Spiragos [free 5E OGL adventure]
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Castles & Crusades Town of Kalas
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Tom H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/07/2017 15:54:53

Wordy anachronistic high-fantasy pap. If that's what you want it'll serve, but it's not a setting I see myself enjoying running.

Plus: lots of suggested hooks. Minus: sense of humor.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Town of Kalas
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Madness of the Rat King
Publisher: Maniac Brews
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2016 14:23:07

Three things were annoying enough that it was hard to read through this:

(1) ridiculous-but-not-actually-funny throughout: "explodey rats", "laser rats", "rat-bear-pigs" (2) quantum ogres: if the party is mostly level 1, they face these enemies, but if the party is mostly level 3, they face two or three times as many enemies. Why? What sort of sense does that make? (3) incredibly verbose statblocks, complete with pedantic notes on combat tactics; they read like the excesses of 4e instead of something actually written for 5e.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Madness of the Rat King
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Creator Reply:
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the adventure, Tom. I'll try to answer: 1) I know the humor can be hit-or-miss depending on the reader and playgroup so I'll try to avoid that next time. 2) The intent with the "quantum ogres" is to provide flexibility on what groups can run the adventure while still providing the correct challenge level. Instead of just assuming your group is a party of 4-5 characters that are level 2 and it's up to the DM to tweak if it's not the case, the adventure gives guidelines for the encounter if it's a party that is level 1 or level 3, or less/more than 4-5 characters, or the characters are stronger/weaker than expected. I'm not sure why you find it annoying? 3) The statblocks are the same that you'll find at the back of your PHB or the MM; in fact, some of the statblocks, like the giant rat, are direct copies from the MM (they are covered in the SRD). I appreciate the feedback and hope to do better in the next adventure.
Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia
Publisher: Necromancer
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2016 15:15:54

Quite the disappointment. I'd heard good things about this as a setting, but it's only 1/4th poorly-edited setting material, with its game rules not power-balanced anywhere near where a sensible or typical 3.5 campaign would be (in my view). One canonically bad edit: the map doesn't contain half the cities described, and half the cities on the map aren't described. Two regions are given random encounter tables - but why? Again, one of them isn't even labeled on the map, although its general vicinity is alluded to in the text. Why those regions and not any of the many others? The book is heinously inconsistent; in just three paragraphs about the legal systems of Mesopotamia it manages to completely contradict itself. Editing matters!

The remaining 3/4ths is an adventure which at least tries to lay out a sandbox. It fails for classical 3e statblock bloat reasons. For example, the nominal homebase gets one page of description. The faction most commonly met there, who presumably will be the source of most social interactions, still has more space allocated to statblocks and combat statistics than description and hooks. The next faction, the Brotherhood of Kalab, gets three pages: half a page of art, a third of a page of description, a quarter-page of adventure hooks, and 2 pages of detailed combat statistics.

Any setting influenced by the real world that doesn't provide a bibliography or suggested readings loses a star in my book, dropping this from POOR to outright BAD. They allude to so many things in their setting, but leave me to start from scratch when I want to better understand the history to bring them into my campaign.



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Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia
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The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2015 20:08:28

The anachronism... it burns. This location reads/is mapped like a mansion out of Jane Austen, not something for the LotFP timeframe, let alone something that'd work with any sort of typical OSR renaissance/medieval/ancient fantasy.

On a more minor note, the spatial relation of the eight levels and dozenish outdoor features is left to be inferred from the details of the keys, which end up unclear. It could have used a half page or so describing the overall arrangement of the spaces, which would be a reasonable replacement for the wasted "blank page to track monster hit points". The second-lowest level has a layout that reads like a d&d convention, rather than having any clear relation to the narrative reason for the existence of that level. There's also a completely unexplained mystery in the second-to-last location (#50); there's no motivation, no viable cause within the bounds of the module for why that event happened 10 years ago or presents itself to modern explorers in the way it does. This reeks of authorial laziness.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Stygian Garden of Abelia Prem
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