Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tommy's Take on Adventure Most Fowl

Old school adventures are all over the place in the post-3rd edition retroclone wake, and Grey Fey brings us this adventure, involving goblins and pilfered chickens.

Ethics in Gaming Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary review PDF from the publisher. This review also includes an affiliate link to RPGNow, and using that link may result in me receiving a portion of the sale, which is typically used for RPG books that I will later review.

Just the Facts: Adventure Most Fowl is a 48 page adventure that includes separate files for the relevant maps. It is written with Swords & Wizardry in mind, and is for 4-6 characters of level 0-1. Set in the fantasy town of Kith, the adventure could be used in virtually any standard fantasy setting with minimal effort, so long as it allows for the possibility of goblins, magic and chickens. You can get the PDF at RPGNow for $3, or the print version for $8 (with the PDF included free).

(Warning...some spoilers will follow.)

SIX THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

1) Low Level Dungeon Crawl. As noted above, this is for (very) low level characters, and provides a nice change of pace from killing giant rats. At this level, it can easily be a first time adventure for the PCs, though your group will likely have to provide the "how we met".

2) Not System Agnostic, But Adaptable. While meant for Swords & Wizardry, it is easily adaptable to most versions of D&D. I have no doubt I could run this in 5e with very little modification, as 5e seems to the Rosetta stone of D&D based on how easy it is to slide material from each version into. So even if you're not a Swords & Wizardry guy (or gal), don't let that keep you away.

3) Definitely Not Taking Itself Too Seriously. The adventure is about goblins trying to summon a demon and accidentally mutating chickens into monsters. It's either going to be played as tongue in cheek or as full on horror, depending on your group, but the writing doesn't play it terribly straight.

4) Good Utility. The town of Kith is detailed, with NPCs, as well as a full hex that can be dropped into a larger hex map if you are running a hex-crawl type campaign. There is even a place flagged as a suitable "home base" for your PCs coming out of the adventure. Additionally, a couple of new monsters (a goblin-runt variant and the aforementioned mutated chickens) are included, the latter coming with mutation charts to provide extra variance for your mutant chickens.

5) Art. I don't know how much was commissioned and how much was stock art, but the art is a definite mixed bag. Some pieces are great (goblins on pages 33 and 38, for instance), while others are...not good (the portraits of the residents of Kith are very rough and have creepy flat features, which was not the intent). The maps aren't bad, and are certainly very usable. The cover doesn't have any bearing to the adventure that I could see.

6) Layout. I call this out because of a few issues, namely a couple of charts that are not laid out as charts, causing my brain to not parse them as charts until I re-read the preceding text. Never hurts to make a chart look like a chart, for simplicity's sake.

Conclusion: A nice change of pace for a campaign starter, which also provides you with a good base for continuing the campaign by populating the included hex and building up from there. Don't feel constrained if you're not a Swords & Wizardry fan, either, as it wouldn't take much work to port this into your D&D of choice (aside from maybe 4e). The art issues were jarring enough that I had to point it out, but the art is never a dealbreaker for me, and some of the pieces are really quite good. I can't call it a must buy, but there's a lot of usable material for $3 for sure.