Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Warren Review — Tucker's Goblins?

When I think of fantasy fiction, I think of powerful swordsmen cleaving hordes of enemies, defeating monsters, and foiling the plans of gods, and reaping overflowing hoards of treasure. Apparently others read fantasy fiction and see nothing but drudgery, misery, and toil, apparently some sort of cathartic re-living (or pretending to) of the Viet Nam and Korean wars.  Part of this is the obsession with low level monsters being super tricky and planting traps and such and thus challenging for high level parties.  (To be fair, this idea goes back to the old days, with articles in Dragon and White Dwarf about it)

The Warren is the first module in the Dunromin (or rather, Barnaynia) setting and is one of those modules, meant for 1e/OSRIC characters, levels 5th to 8th. There's a rather nasty bunch of goblins with a rather extensive cave complex, or warren, and the PCs are hired to clean them out, at the munificient rate of 3 gp per goblin head. It's hard to fathom why any 5th level party would accept that offer, much less 8th.
  For that matter, it's really not clear why this would be the work of a band of an adventurers, and not the baron's (the person hiring them) army. For the goblins are not so much acting like monsters, but an invading army that sets up a base and raids from it. This scenario would probably be more interest to wargamers than typical RPGers, though that solution would probably involve sieging the Warren, not sending a party inside of it.

Still, if they do decide to go inside, it's basically three levels of traps and goblin lairs, with just over a 100 keyed locations. Most of the stuff is fairly straightforward — choke points and such where invaders can be ambushed. There's a handful of more traditional dungeon stuff as well.

I know I should elaborate further on said contents, but it's all very rational and logical and dull as heck. Also gone is the somewhat amusing tone used in the Dunromin city products.

The PDF is nice enough looking, somewhat plain, but easy to read. The art is somewhat comical by design and decent enough. One thing that's noticeable is that the PDF is "locked", meaning you can't print or copy and paste stuff from it, which makes it rather hard to use when running a game (I like to copy and paste stats for monsters, myself). Still, it's not too hard to unlock stuff. Double strange is that there are sheets to help track the sheer number of goblins. Unless you write on your computer screen, you need to print that out.

While The Warren is very well done, I can't really imagine it's much fun to either play or DM. Unless all of you happen to be masochists. With that said, a large segment of the OSR audience does appear to be that, so you might find it up the alley. But even then, they seem to like weird, bizarre, off the way misery, like say, Apocalypse Now rather than the common place horror and drudgery in M*A*S*H.

1 comment:

  1. You can screen capture! Just turn the document on it's side. Hide the menu bar in Adobe Acrobat. Make sure right and left side bars are closed. Then Press the 'Windows Logo' Key and then the 'Print Screen' key. Then go into file explorer and turn the image to the right. Then if you have something that edits photos & graphics like Affinity Photo, crop the image. Then you can print it out!