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Village on the Borderlands 1E $15.00
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Village on the Borderlands 1E
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Village on the Borderlands 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:57:41

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #0: Village on the Borderlands

by Mark Taormino, 64 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Justin Davis, Jacob Blackmon, Carlos Castilho, Daniel Commerci, Jeff Dee, Felipe Faria, Mark Lyons, William McAusland, Brian McCranie, Matt Morrow and JE Shields. (How's that for a who's-who among OSR artists?)

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

A lot of us freely mixed Basic D&D and Advanced D&D back in the early 80s. It was not uncommon then to find groups that had gone through B2 Keep on the Borderlands and T1 The Village of Hommlet. Mark knows this, and this adventure is a nod and homage to that experience. This is also Mark's biggest adventure to date.

While this could have come off as pastiche or, even worse, a bunch of hamfisted clichés, instead it is a nod and even an homage to not just how much fun those old adventures were, but also to the experiences we all had. Don't get me wrong, there is a great a adventure here; but if you were playing the Keep or the Village or Giants series back in the early 1980s then this will hit differently.

The is best described as "what if the Village of Hommlet was set outside the Cave of Chaos and not the Keep?" You have a local village in need of help. There are roving bands of ogres and weird fungi and skeletons. Whats a local farmer to do? Easy, call upon some brave, and expendable, adventurers for help.

There are some hooks for the adventure but for me they are unneeded. THOUGH I will add that the whole Valley of the Moon was a great hook for me. Not just because the name is similar enough to where my characters Maryah and Asabalom were from, but it is nothing if not a nod to one of my earliest crushes, Moon Unit Zappa.

We have all sorts of classic monsters, rumor tables, nods to (in)famous NPCs, tarot readings, standing stones, name puns, an inn to meet in, places to buy equipment and weapons.

The Inn of the Whistling Pig is wonderfully detailed and loaded with all sorts of characters. In fact, while reading, I half expected to see stand-ins for Duchess and Candella.

I said, "Caves of Chaos," but there are only a few caves where a lot of the "out of town" action takes place, and that is plenty. The Hill Giant cave is the first. There is also the Forest of Fallen Oaks, the Ruins of Sternholm Keep, and the Caverns of the Wicked Peaks.

A great non-linear adventure where the party can start at the Inn and head out in any direction to find adventure. They can come back, heal up, spend their loot and go back out, OR keep going. That last one is not advisable as everything here has a good reason to see the PCs dead.

There are hooks here to other Maximum Mayhem adventures, too.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Village on the Borderlands 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Michael [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2023 04:23:02

A neat little sandbox for use with a new/low level party. I will most likely make use of this module, but it is not without flaws. There are many spelling errors, and the boxed text is kind of a slog. Considering the hamlet of Taldren takes up more than half of the page count, there is not a lot going on there. I'm not entirely happy paying £12 for this product, so I would definetely recommend waiting for sale.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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