And now for something completely different…

Prince goes on vacation to the DDR and stands in line waiting for bread with Settembrini and Dave Damage as they discuss Reviewing, Artpunk, His Backstory, Palace, the craft of Module writing and more!!!!

Recorded June 28th. This aged quite well I must say, although James has since let me know that the similarity stems from the Sussurus in Fiend Folio, so any resemblance from DFD to Lichway should be taken as accidental. Don’t believe everything you hear kids!      

15 thoughts on “And now for something completely different…

  1. I’m about a third of the way through: you still have your kneecaps at this point. I would argue that there are more very good modules for 2e than 5e, although this has something to do with the massive official catalogue for the former.
    Boxed sets: Night Below; Return to the Tomb of Horrors.
    Greyhawk: City of Skulls (with Iuz the Evil).
    Dark Sun: Road to Urik; Dragon’s Crown; Merchant House of Amketch.
    Al-Qadim: Golden Voyages; Assassin Mountain; Caravans.
    But this needs to be balanced against the mountain of mediocrity (or worse). You claim Bryce has stared into the abyss, but has he reviewed the whimsy trilogy of Puppets, Gargoyle and Child’s Play, or cast his eye over Patriots of Ulek (more choices in a one way system) or Border Watch (key encounter missing)? Survivors weep quietly in corners, listening to “Careless Whisper”.


    1. Haha, it might very well be true, but there is no way in hell that I am going to review anything by official 5e unless it’s Tomb of Annihilation. I remember Al-Quadim stuff as being sort of vague, usually a series of encounters strung together, occasionally with branching paths, but there were good ideas in there certainly. Nog and Kadar were well done.

      Dark Sun has worthwhile material? I might have to revisit.


      1. Previous reviews have given you an excellent background to consider Tomb of Annihilation. But I am wary it could be like Curse of Strahd, the new material is mostly fine but leads to a bloated product that lacks any elegance of the original.
        Dark Sun (during 2e times) is a real mixed bag. Road to Urik is a war module ( recruitment, muster, scouting, then battle); Dragon’s Crown is an epic journey across Athas, after powerful psionicists attempt a takeover; Merchant House of Amketch is an intriguing undercover mission. That is the Good, but there is the Bad and the Ugly as well. Extolling the virtues of Black Flames, Marauders of Nibenay and Forestmaker would be the equivalent of recommending instant coffee to Italian friends.
        I give Al-Qadim more leeway regarding “story”, although it must be one with which the PCs can have meaningful interaction. Here you are trying to capture the feel of old Sinbad movies.


  2. Good interview, I’ll agree with the host that you should definitely try some old Avalon Hill hex based wargames. Those are incredibly present in the DNA of early TSR, in addition to being some of the most fun you can have with your brain.

    Trying not to be sad about your PWYW comments, I always try to be as professional as possible, less “slapdash shitbrew”. Still, art budgets and all that are out of the PWYW grasp, I suppose.

    I don’t know if you want to subject yourself to this, but listening to this I realize you have a good familiarity with the Appendix N background, with old TSR modules, and with the OSR greats… but I don’t think I’ve seen you review a current WotC module and a current Paizo module. Many of us making content are reacting to our first experiences with one or both of those gigantic influences.


    1. Hahaha don’t break out the razorblades just yet, I was quite fond of your Sea Cave Module. My sentiment regarding PWYW is simply that the burden of the quality is less well defined, I did mention some of the best stuff out there is PWYW if you recall 😉

      I might do Tomb of Annihilation as part of my delve into ToH lore. Are there any major modules you’d recommend?


      1. I don’t have the numbers, but from what I hear from the 5e and Pathfinder communities, the two most-played are probably:

        5e: Curse of Strahd, which as you’d expect from the name is a Ravenloft adventure. As you said, Critical Role is a bigger influence than anything written, but the community, such as it is, seems to love this one the most. I’ve never read it, but I’ve heard friends praise it. The praises make me nervous, though…

        Pathfinder: Burnt Offerings, the first book of their Rise of the Runelords adventure path. I don’t know if you’re a reader of Joseph Manola’s Against the Wicked City, but he’s put a lot of work in mining gold from the Adventure Path turd rivers, he liked the dungeons of this one. This adventure is absolutely the most influential, for better or worse, of the Paizo productions.


  3. I wanna highlight that I think Prince did partially miss my point, or I failed to convey it properly: the whole idea that a “product” results is [wrong if you ask me as well as] different form sharing. PWYW and amateur press is different from the culture of Early FO! and what my personal ideal is.
    When Prince is talking about the PWYW-Money divide and the arena of scrutiny a person enters, you can see how much he is concerned with a hierarchy of “good and bad D&D”.


  4. Finally made it to the end, and what stamina from the participants. I did not detect any suspicious 10 minute monologues whilst others took a comfort break.
    I’m perfectly happy if people are coming to the OSR as a source of excellent modules. They may not be writing their own (but reading and amending, making it “table ready” has always been part of my preparation). But reading for inspiration, and especially playing are the lifeblood of a module.


    1. Yeah, I think there’s merit in the idea that playing someone else’s work makes you better at making your own shit. It at the least gives people a better understanding of what’s possible with DnD.


  5. Very interesting / fun interview…just had a chance to listen to it. Now I wish I could speak German (to understand their other podcasts).

    Hadn’t realized how young you are! Early 30s? You must have started your 2E gaming in the 90s (long after EGG had left the company). With THAT influence, I find it a bit surprising you ever found your way back to this “old style” of play.

    You *should* try the one minute combat round (and AD&D 1E generally) some time. There’s really no reason not to, now that the original books are available POD.
    ; )


    1. Hahaha I was aware of both the books and OSRIC thank you very much 😛 Congrats on making it all the way through, we do tend to ramble on.

      Yeah I started at the tail-end of 2e, did a stint of D20 for a while, did a longer stint of Dark Heresy, and then during my college years I discovered Grognardia and fell in love with oldschool gaming all over again.


      1. Amazing, your journey. Truly…I’m amazed.

        The podcast was long, but it had fascinating content. I am such an American…I generally walk around with the (unconscious?) assumption that non-(native)-English speakers can’t possibly have any kind of nuanced an opinion/perspective on a game like AD&D. I mean, Germans? Really? Aren’t they all juggers and beer-swilling Euro-trash board gamers?

        Actually, that’s me being facetious…my ACTUAL general assumption is that Europeans tend to create their own RPGs, with their own cultural biases. I’ve seen many of those: French, Polish, Swedish, etc. (of course, WHFRP for the English). Why would Germans be different?

        So…to find folks who grew up far from the heart of Gygax country (i.e. the American midwest) extolling the virtues of 1E and having frank, intelligent discussions on various aspects of the OSR movement, adventure design, and how it pertains to the historical game, wargaming, and their own (current) 1E groups…well, it’s pretty wild. And surprising. Y’all seem far more thoughtful and well-read on the subject matter (and in general) than myself.

        I’m now listening to their other (English) podcast interview with Melan (Hungarian) and a Russian cohost discussing the industry in general. Another three hours of good stuff…much better, in fact, than most of what I find amongst American podcasters. I mean sooooo much better.



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