Your heroes have come to the village of Nubonne on the borders of Domerre and Orde to help the villagers stop vicious attacks by giant wolves and local bandits. These contested borderlands have been unpatrolled and lawless in recent years and the people need brave adventurers to step up to the plate. Will your heroes help these kind folks who have lost children and friends in senseless attacks?
This 28 page adventure describes a ten-location village and a fifteen-ish room ruined fort with some brigands in it. It is laid out well but is just about as generic and bland as an adventure can be. It is magnificent in its ability to convey bland facts in an organized, yet wordy, manner. The adventure has exactly one bright point, at the end.
Some borderlands village is being attacked by a monster wolf, along with some men who claim to offer to protect the village form it. The party works for 100gp to go look in to things. Or they do it out of the goodness of their hearts. Or they have “bad dreams.” This is the first indication that something was up with this adventure. Three hooks, all generic and uninteresting. A hook to stir one’s soul?! No. You get paid 100gp. I note that the protection racket is charging 50gp A WEEK. If I were a player I’d take over the brigands work and optimize it, seeing a far more lucrative future in their work than in goody-goodying.
Anyway, the village presented is boring. The ten-ish keys are presented in about a column per key format. Sometimes they have QUITE lengthy read-alouds. On the order of three paragraphs, full of flowery “may the sun and moon bless us!” kinds of shit. The long area descriptions are supplemented by lengthy NPC stat blocks. And both provide NOTHING of interest to a DM. “Shaved head and well-kept beard. Wears brown robes.” That’s the priest description. His possessions are listed as “staff, holy book, robe, pouch.” This is the wal of all the NPC descriptions. They have no meat to them. All facts, and boring facts at that. There is absolutely nothing memorable in any description. The inn serves “fair quantity at a fair price” or something like that. The smith is a big man with a good heart. It’s like a magic white people village where everyone is that dude from the Lego Movie; so bland that they are immediately forgettable. There’s nothing here to hang your hat on. And yet they STILL go on for a column of text. A generic idyllic village in which there is absolutely NO drama, except for the wolf. This sort of stuff is not helpful to a DM running the game. A blacksmith who fits the stereotypical blacksmith mold needs no explanation. Likewise we do not need a in-depth description of what a bedroom looks like if its a normal bedroom. The designers role is to give the DM something to work with. To describe what’s different & interesting FROM A GAME ABILITY standpoint. Play focused. Otherwise it drifts, as this adventure does, in to the realm of description for the sake of description.
The ruined fort likewise suffers from the same fate. Descriptions of things that are not very meaningful. There’s nothing interesting going on. A bunk room. With a long description of a normal bunk room, with long descriptions of of the brigands that add nothing, Not even any mention of how the brigands react when invaded. The ONLY interesting thing in the entire adventure is that the boss commits suicide when you bust down the door to his room. (Because ofthe 6HD spectre haunting the room.) THAT’S interesting … but will leave the party bewildered, a mystery mired in a backstory that is independent of the party and only impacts them by being window dressing.
The simulationist mess extends to the wanderers table for the wilderness trip to the ruins. “You see a squirrel and it runs away”, along with a separate entry for a rabbit and fox and … a bird. What?!?! No mention of the fallen tree limb that stands its ground, unwilling to yield to the party’s approach?!?!?
One room skews THE OTHER direction. The jail cells read, in part “each cell has a 25% chance of loosing a ghost if opened. Even if unopened, any ghost spotted by a PC has a chance to Frighten the party. (Save vs spells.)” THAT is closer to gameable information than anything else in this adventure.
Ravage – Dungeons of Plunder
Anti-Hero dungeon crawl coming to Kickstarter
Ain’t no Heroes in this game, you play a band of Blackroot Orcs delving dungeons for loot and teef, that’s right you are smashing in the faces of your enemies for teef! The tile based game is designed and illustrated by artist Ian Schofield (Achtung! Cthulhu, Mutant Chronicles, Terra Tiles: Misty Moorlands and Coasts & Rivers). Ian will be launching the Kickstarter next week.
Ian found work in horror and terrain illustration commissions however still craved high fantasy work that he grew up on, so started creating a project he would have chewed his right arm off to work on, a dungeon crawler called Ravage.
The game boasts 3 play modes:
Solo Survive the dungeon and its random boss encounter for victory, there is no resurrection in this mode.
Adventure (Co-Op) Play co-operatively with your friends to complete quests, bury the head, defeat the cave serpent and destroy the spider’s lair.
Treachery (VS) You each control the dungeon and monsters that you pull on your turn, pitting them against your friends, setting off traps, looting your opponents whilst you try to keep the dungeon at bay. Each hero kill will gain you promotions, become the war chief to win.
You get to pick from one of the 4 castes:
– Berserker – Unleash powerful attacks charge at your enemies, frenzy and attack multiple foes.
– Shaman – Using your tribal magic transform into a raven or a bear, summon spirits and blood wield your enemies.
– Cultist – Inflict fear, life drain your enemies and even summon the undead to fight for you.
– Head hunter – Use poison and flaming arrows to destroy your enemies and even take head shots.
Each player’s orc has a set of weapons and ability cards that require energy to use, once you have enough energy you can unleash these devastating attacks on your enemies. Exhausted energy turns into experience, gain enough experience and level up your abilities.
The dungeon is presented in a deck of cards, cards are drawn each turn for you to explore the dungeon, they include hallways or room cards, for you to construct your dungeon randomly every time. You will encounter traps as you traverse through the dungeon it’s not a safe place to be, as you and your friends will discover. The custom dice determine trap outcomes, your attack and defence rolls and allow you to gain energy. The different coloured dice represent low, medium, or high odds of a successful outcome.
About Ian Schofield
Ian has been creating Ravage – Dungeons of Plunder for the past 2 years, working on the game design, illustrations, graphic design, also working with Tony Strongman on the stories for the quests. His friends helped out with inspiration, stories, rules clarifications and play testing.
Ian played Ravage with the Modiphius crew back at the UK Games Expo last year, and have been in communication with them since and we are delighted to say Modiphius Entertainment will be co-publishing Ravage, handling distribution and supporting his Kickstarter which launches next week.