Sunday, March 6, 2022

About The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford

 The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford is, well, an excellent OSR adventure, and you should probably stop reading now, click on the image, and buy it straight away.

As I'm writing this, it is even part of the GM's Day Sale at DriveThruRPG...

But since you are still reading, I'll give you a bit more context.
TBWoB is a sandboxy pointcrawl adventure for level 1-3 characters, with statistics compatible with most OSR rulesets of the od&d/BX/BECMI type. You find AC, HD, and so on. Treasure is in line with the gold/xp progression of those games.

It takes place in a small forested area, pretty much the size of a 6 miles hex, with a river and some mountains at the north.
The town of Brandonsford is the only civilized settlement, and the adventure starting place.
The citizens refuse to go outside the city walls because a dragon has been sighted for a few weeks.
This is the basic set-up.

The module includes two dungeons (one is 6 rooms, the other is about 20), and several other smaller locations. The city of Brandonsford includes several NPCs, and others (including a whole humanoid faction) live in the woods.

The theme/implied setting is vanilla fantasy with more than a sprinkle of fairy tale/folklore vibes. I like it.

What's so great about the module? Three things:
  • Number one, everything connects with something. The NPCs in town have their hooks and miniquests and information bits that may lead the adventurers in new directions, look for certain areas, investigate places, and so on.
  • Number two, freedom. There is nothing the group has to do in order to "solve" the scenario, but there are lots of different paths of action that can make the battle against the dragon much easier. Even the "miniquests" are great, interesting situations with no predefined solution but a variety of possible approaches and outcomes. Everything is open-ended, but tightly designed to push adventure on.
  • Number three, great formatting and text. As far as I'm concerned, they're pretty much perfect: sweet and short and well organized, without useless fluff. In just 18 pages you get hours and hours of gaming, and they're very easy to understand and prepare thanks to a clear layout and use of bold and bullet points.

Is it perfectly perfect? Well, almost!
There's basically only three minor flaws that I've found, and you can fix them in 5 minutes.
  • Some creatures don't have their stats in the adventure: I remember the fauns and the witch, not sure if that's all or I'm forgetting something. This is solved with using stat blocks from your game of choice. And if doesn't have them, you can just wing it using the gnoll stat block and a level 4 magic user, I guess! For Old-School Essentials, you have Satyrs in the Advanced Fantasy monsters book, but no witches it seems!
  • Exploring the outdoor area, and familiarizing with the town and the locals is intentionally left to the GM. This means you must think how to start the scenario and run the exploration. Luckily, you may use these maps I've found on Reddit: hex map of the area, and Brandonsford town map, both by  Bricky (reddit user BadRussell). Oh and there's also this colorized map on Imgur.
  • In the goblin castle map, number 3 and 4 are swapped; and so are 10 and 11 in the Barrow Mound. This was pretty obvious from the room descriptions.
[Please note my observation is based on the Print on Demand version I bought last week. Later versions (especially the PDF) might have these little things fixed], yes, I'll just copy-paste the first line of this post now.

 The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford is an excellent OSR adventure, and you should stop reading now, click on the image, and buy it straight away.

1 comment:

  1. Bryce Lynch liked it as well:


Popular posts