I had been intending to pick up some of the Expeditious Retreat Press Advanced Adventures modules, for quite some time. While I had my eye on Mr. Finch’s The Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom, when White Dragon Run appeared on RPGNOW, the preview sold me! I bought the PDF and printed it out.
White Dragon Run is exactly the kind of module I prefer. It details a village on the edge of civilization, with its surrounding area, then provides a couple of small adventure sites, with more ideas for further expansion by the DM.
First, an overview of the area is given, along with a hexmap and several encounter tables. The hexmap takes up about half a page, with the map scale being 1 hex = 1 League. There’s also a table given, for generating the content of “empty” hexes.
The Village itself is then presented, with a keyed map, a description of the major NPC’s, location details and information on the rest of the population. A map and description of the local Inn/Tavern is part of this section. Some history, rumors, flavor and whatnot are given for the area and village, providing the DM with plenty of entertaining material to riff off of.
After the setting information, two small dungeons are provided. Both of these tie into the background of the area. The dungeons and their denizens are basic stuff, but well done. They’re solid low-level adventure sites and serve their purpose of helping the DM get things started. An appendix, being excerpts from a local book of lore, provides some more adventuring ideas and history for the region.
As always, Peter Mullen’s cover art is a welcome addition and looks quite nice printed out from the PDF. There are nine interior illustrations. The various maps are well done and serviceable, though the grid on the Village Map printed out too light on my laser printer.
My only real complaint, is that the Publisher formatted the front and back color covers as one page. I have plenty of printing resources at the moment, which has led me to purchase several PDF’s, when shopping for OSR items. I would much prefer to receive my PDF’s with separate pages for the front and back covers. Especially when we’re talking about covers with Peter Mullen art, which I’m certainly going to look forward to printing out! :) It’s kind of a hassle, to separate the cover pages for a traditional printout.
Mr. Boney has done a damn fine job, with his 14 pages. Today’s time-harried, Old School DM will find White Dragon Run to be a solid basis for a new campaign. The whole design comes together very well and I enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the location. With, for example, the addition of a self-designed mega-dungeon, or one of the commercial or freely available ones, you’ll find yourself all set to go!
New DM’s will find White Dragon Run to be quite accessible as well. In providing the bottom part, for a bottom-to-top designed milieu, the modules contents will serve as a firm support for the neophyte DM, as he goes about the business of building upon the setting and learning his chosen craft.
If you enjoy modules that are non-linear, mini-settings, then you’ll probably find White Dragon Run to be quite appealing. If the idea of taking this type of set-up and Running With It, strikes your fancy, then White Dragon Run is exactly what you’re looking for.