Thursday, 1 May 2014

Review: The Hanging Garden

This is a 4-page version of an one-page-dungeon by Richard LeBlanc. Link to the product: http://savevsdragon.blogspot.fi/2014/05/free-oe1ebx-mini-adventure-hanging.html

The first thing to catch the eye is the picture chosen for the cover of hanged fallen grail knights. Really evocative piece of art by Arthur Rackham. But let's see what is inside...

The story of the adventure is simple. Orcs taking people captive. There's a nice 1d6 rumor table with various equally good rumors what villagers think is going on and why orcs are doing this. Also a beaming light is seen...

It is extremely easy for the characters to find the right way to the adventure location if they choose to find out what is going on. In the adventure there will be many orc encounters.

I like how in the area descriptions characters and monsters are in bold, so those are easy to spot reading the text. Unfortunately most of the rooms are a little dull. Not necessarily in a bad way, as this is quite generic fantasy adventure. But maybe that is a point, as there are also weirder monsters around and for them one full page is dedicated with random generators.

This is a simple easy to run adventure to put in any fantasy campaign. The dull-ish rooms I think are there to make the ending more horrific or weird. But there is one major problem. The adventure doesn't itself answer some big questions but those are easy for a GM to figure out himself I think. Quite clear what the light is and why the people are kidnapped. But for some reason I think the adventure lacked a grande finale.

I do understand that for one-page-dungeon the space is limited and in this 4-page version first page is a cover, two pages are the adventure and the last page is random monster generator. GM can easily use the generator to generate other types of monsters too I think what makes the generator pretty cool.

The adventure is simple, easy to run and for player characters easy to start. Mundane beginning does go somewhere not expected. Only problem might be that there is lots of fighting, even before you get to the location. The problem here is that that amount of fighting might be a little dull if the character party doesn't come up with other ways to deal with aggressive encounters. But after killing maybe even dozens of orcs you get to kill something more interesting.

For me this wasn't that gory, but I like LotFP stuff so there's not many things that shocks me anymore. Still I like how there is something weird and a little gore-y and it is not how a GM reads it but how he plays it and how the player characters react to it. With proper descriptions and setting the right mood this might be quite frightening in the end - in a gore movie way.

I like this. Not brilliant but not bad either. This is something I would most definitely run as it is feels really easy to GM. And little weird is not bad thing at all!