Bryce said...


Should be playing D&D instead
"Layout, as a means to facilitating comprehension by the DM, is a good thing.

But, the reputation is that layout is pushed too far until IT alone becomes the focus, losing the fact that it is supposed to facilitate DM comprehension of the adventure. Pushed so far that it becomes a detriment to comprehension.

And it’s clear that most Morg Borg adventure revolve around one idea, a single concept, and could almost be, or should be, one room dungeons."

This struck me as great advice on modern layout focused template adventures. Very considered take. OSE templates are a great thing, but there needs to be substance. Same as any other medium. Layout is so important, but not everything. Keep it DM friendly and then make the impossible burger rich


8, 8, I forget what is for
A recent one on evocative descriptions as good adjectives:

Bryce said:
So, in practice, lets look at this.

3 Fire Beetles (1hd, armor as plate, corrosive spit 2d4) Perfect! It’s short and sweet, and reminds me a lot of the Ready Ref monster sheet, which I absolutely fucking love. There’s room for the DM to fill in. I know what the fuck I’m doing. I can run this thing just as written.

Then, comes the room description. For the beetle room (2. Workshop) we get the room name. Great! I’m oriented now to what the room actually is and I’m thinking “workshop” as I read the rest of the description, my mind now framed correctly to fill in details. “Ladders descend from above. The beetles’ abdomens emit a ruddy glow like a torch. Shelves around the walls contain spare parts for the statues atop the pyramid, clay pots holding remnants of lubricant oil, and metalworking tools. A small forge completes the workshop.” Great! Just a couple of sentences here. We get some evocative room shit, like the ruddy glow from their abdomens. Ruddy, that’s a great word! The choice of adjectives and adverbs helps enhance the room. We also get some remnants of lubricating oil. Again, great, something for tehh DM to work with as they run the encounter. Spare parts for the statues is enough for me ot fill in, and the room description, for the workshop proper, whats in it, is not an exhaustive list of is evocative enough that I can get an idea and fill things in. This is the appropriate amount of detail for the room. It’s good room description. Terse, evocative, it’s got some light elements to work with.

Another room, containing seven stirges, has “Four glittering gems lie in the shards of an amphora, worth a total of 1,700sp. The stirges have entered through a crack in the stonework.” Note the glittering. The classic image of gemstones in a ruined vase, spilling out on to the floor. And it’s got an element of pushing your luck. You want the loot but the room has stirge in it! Want the loot? Make the decision to face the sitrges!

Or, how about an acrid smells coming from a room with an obvious green slime covering the floor … with some amphorea in it! Or, a dead body in a bronze ibis mask, his arm swollen and purple! Great description! Just enough detail to run with. You don’t need to go hog wild and give everything an evocative description, pick an element or two and craft that fucker.

I’m a big big fan of these. Decent amount of interactivity, embedded in almost every room. An emphasis on humans, with some fantastic elements thrown in and a good use of vermin and giant animals. Some classic elements, like a rotating corridor and sliding statues. It’s good.


8, 8, I forget what is for
This is definitely how I use modules, if I don't just carve them into chunks first. Emphasis added.
Bryce said:
Then you’ve got my favorite type of system agnostic adventure, the ones that are really just an adventure without stats or mechanics to speak of. I mean, sure, a small mechanic or here, but, generally the designer trusts the DM to do what they need to to run the adventure, and maybe stats things for BX or something. This is, I think, the way most people run adventures anyway. You take something for some system, probably not your own, and do a kind of conversion on the fly. Maybe monster stats ahead of time but the rest is on the fly.
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8, 8, I forget what is for
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The bear claw goblin tribe gets no real “bear claw” descriptions, but, sure, what the hell, why not have each of them holding a cruller?


My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
This was a good one (colour emphasis mine):

"We need to be careful here. I do not assert, nor ever will, that you cannot have fun with ANY of the adventures I review. This is, after all, the famous phrase “A good DM could …” There’s little one can do to account for the DM (or players) in a good mood, a bad mood, a good dm, bad players, a rough commute home, or anything else outside the bounds of the adventure. And, thusly, we fall back on the criteria. Does the adventure help the DM facilitate that environment? Or does it hinder it? The continual feedback is “adventures are too hard to run.” Then why do people write adventures that are too hard to run? Why don’t they write adventures that are easy to run and actively work to facilitate the DM enabling that fun?"

I think the tenfoot orthodoxy has been in the woods for a while, but this is a solid distillation of where the general thrust of recent reviews has been going?