No Artpunk Entry #16: Vault of the Warlord



Vault of the Warlord
Justin Todd
24 pages
0e (or Basic/AD&D)
Lvl 1 – 3

Notice cover is also naturalist art piece, saving Prince precious googling time



Another entry in the ‘could just be published for money for sheer production value alone’ listings. An entry by what I perceive to be a recent convert to the OSR but certainly a bright one. The choice to go for 0e reveals a disdain for convention and a willingness to experiment, as we shall soon discover.

28-rooms, a township and an outdoor area. The gods are generous on this day. The Warlord, half-divine by the sorcery of his evil father, terrorized all of the known world before he was put down and imprisoned within a tomb, that his evil may never rise again. That his followers would never find it, the true vault was hidden away in another plane. FOR LEVELS 1-3?!? Someone has a case of Halls of the Blood King syndrome.

THE PRISON OF THE TEN THOUSAND HYPER-MONARCHS OF THE MULTIVERSE. FOR CHARACTERS OF LEVEL 1.



Maybe one of the most useful modules in the contest? Neat notes on the assumptions so the conversion between 0e and 1e (which IS non-trivial) may proceed smoothly. Pre-mades in the back (with a single useful line of elaboration i.e. ‘bastard child’ or ‘knows Cordelia’, procedures for running it as a 4-hour one-shot, and some helpful ‘tools’ in case the PCs start to dally. Focused on Actual Play. Some notes near the end that help you understand the meaning behind it. I love it. Modern module technology.

The writing is not minimalist but somehow reminds me of 0e. Very utilitarian, stripped of embellishment. Hints of flavor, set in an area reminiscent of Colorado or some other Northern State of America. Logging camps, fishermen and no high level cleric in the town.

The landscape around the Lake is littered with pine wood cottages. Lumber is exported, taken down the road & loaded onto ferries. There is a giant beaver dam, tolerated due to the abundance of wildlife & fishing opportunities of an expanded lake. The town is just a few buildings inside a low stone wall. Visitors check weapons at the Gatehouse. The manor will have basic supplies for purchase at a 50% markup, & a blacksmith.

It’s good to see that some tricks have either been discovered independently or some knowledge has been absorbed from the classics, in this case T1. The town has functional notes (i.e. you can sleep in the stables for 1 sp/day OR in the manor for 10 gp/day but heal at twice the rate, buy Potions of Curing and Alchemist Fire from the local Sage [1] and gather various rumors) but also some complications in the form of a Thieves Guild deserter, a secretive Order of monastic guardians that are willing to use force to prevent the True Vault from being opened and various other town personages. Pretty good. Bonus points for the occasional concealed strongbox with gold pieces, or the ability to rouse the town garrison against a nearby bandit camp. You see these interactive hints throughout the module, and they feel like they would come about as a result of things the PCs tried, or perhaps Vault is extremely good at predicting player actions, either way, well done.  

The area of Pine Lake is given a wilderness map, excellent!, with an obvious gripe being the lack of a scale, though to its credit, Vault specifies the travel time between the Vault and the Town, allowing one to make a rough approximation and use the random encounter tables. I am thrilled at the amount of different entrances into the Vault proper and their method of concealment. There are no less than 5 entrances, one of which is underwater, one extremely well concealed (though there are several characters who know of its location), one in a ruined tower, in the back of a troll cave, or blocked. They are neither insultingly easy to find, nor monstrously cryptic, so well done. The module also avoids the mistake of making every area a potential entrance to the Vault or linking it. A lesson of B2? There’s a bandit camp, a ruined tower haunted by a Spectre at night (rawcks!), a Giant Beaver Dam, some hills etc. It feels like the wilderness you imagine when you read the Monster Manual Wilderland Encounter Tables for the first time.   

Woods encounters can be very tough on the unlucky. 1d6+2 bandits for a party of five + a few henchmen is fine, but 1d2 Owlbears might turn into a few casualties. I dig the use of Giant Beavers, particularly since they can be negotiated with to possibly dismantle their dam and thereby lower the water level so you can enter the dungeon easily (which will also lower it in the dungeon proper!). Some of the encounters, like The White Tree and the Gravestone of John the Adventurer, seem like they would be more fitting as locations, but I can understand tying them into the random encounter table so as to simulate stumbling upon them while wandering the woods. Still, 1 in 36 is still very large when it comes to finding a gravestone in a dense forest around a lake, but this is a minor gripe. Standout encounter is Joe the Ogre, a Troll that has been geased into guarding the trapdoor entrance to the Dungeon, and only harming men in self-defence. Nice job.

Rocks.



The Vault proper is an interesting, and probably lethal affair. Strong influence of Tomb of Horrors, partly underwater (I am sensing a recurring theme in this series), locked, stuck, wizardlocked, illusionary and secret doors galore. The true vault proper is placed outside of space and time and can only be revealed once a Dimensional Piercer Item is used in one specific area and its bizarre guardian defeated. As far as tombs go, it’s a fine entry, I would have enjoyed a map key that indicated which areas of the map were under water. The encounters have the wild feel of pre-1e, semi-funhouse, dark but at times slyly tongue in cheek. Animating statues bursting out of walls, an Asian Vampire Prince, an Illusion of a grotesquely muscular man with tiny faerie wings (The Singularity). I am also slightly confused how it flows, but if I understand correctly from 20 onwards all vaults are connected so you either enter from 20 or from 26 by way of the secret tunnels. There’s not much in the way of interconnectivity to the various challenges but that is par for the course for this format. The mimic I think would have made more sense if it was placed in some sort of bottleneck location, but the ability to befriend it and maybe transport it validates it.

One can spot the influence of modern OSR. The trend of using monsters that were significantly more powerful than the party and must be circumnavigated in some other way is a recurring, even defining feature of Vault of the Warlord[2]. This is a module for characters 1-3 that has a 15 HD Black Pudding, An avoidable Spectre, a basilisk, a 30 ft long Zombified Crocodile that is stuck in the geometry of the level, a mimic room, a Blind Vampire and, what the hell, a fucking 14 HD Vampire Lord that you might actually get killed by if you are retarded enough to unstake it.

I dig this style. The module is constantly offering you rope to hang yourself with. ‘Not today,’ says you.
‘Are you sure?’ says the module. ‘I put 115 gold bars each worth 500 gp in this room, completely unguarded!,’ replies Vault of the Warlord.
‘Yes,’ I sigh. ‘I am sure.’
‘Why not take one or two?’ says Vault. ‘It’s free!’
‘No I am going to pass on it this time thank you.’
‘What about this immovable rod holding up a giant crushing ceiling 30 cm from the floor? Or this room with a beautiful gold-plated treasure chest in the centre?’

But it doesn’t suffer from Ed Greenwood Night in the Museum ‘Here is a cool wizard place full of cool wizard shit now TOUCH NOTHING OR DIE’. You are not disincentivized from interaction, though towards the end the module does start breaking out the scumbag death traps. I caught myself nodding approvingly. A carpet with a green devil face on it, behind which is purple glowing doorway in the middle of the room. A secret door that opens into a vast area with a 15 HD Black Pudding. A pit trap with room on the sides, but the pit trap is illusory and the sides are actually spring-loaded traps [3]. It’s not pure traps either, this is only the gauntlet in the last section, the preceding section is more akin to traditional dungeoncrawling fare, with more specials or weird curve-balls. There’s innovations like the random encounters no longer occurring if you have taken care of the cause of the disturbance, like, say, a huge pile of wandering dead in a defiled shrine.

Treasure is good. Not overly elaborate, but not stale either. Something like this is on par.

At the workbench, there is 600gp worth of glassware and the keys to Area 12. Additionally, there are 2x Potions of Healing (yellow), 2x Potion of Water Breathing (blue), 1x Flasks of Alchemist’s Fire (clear), & two “platinum” bricks… easily “worth” 2,000gp each.” Each brick is pure sodium, a soft metal which reacts explosively with water. The only warning is six seconds of smoking before the sodium explodes for 3d6 points of damage.

Surprising, occasionally hidden, a few odd cursed items thrown here and there to keep players on their toes. Do I even go into different petrified segments of a Saint that you can recover and somehow re-assemble to restore a 9th level cleric to the town church? What of the final reveal, the true vault, with a fight followed by a Cursed Hellsword of Death that is definitely not Stormbringer that might cause the Warlord to be reborn? Do I go into the option of introducing a good and an evil dragon that want to either destroy or use the Blade? What about throwing a Lawful NPC party in there?

Very ambitious take on the standard Tomb format. Good, maybe Great Stone-Age DnD, and good on you for having the confidence to crank up the lethality in a (mostly) controlled way. There’s an unbelievably balanced mixture of combat, exploration and occasionally rewarding social encounters. I don’t know what I think about bandits knowing the entrance to the tomb and just wandering around in there, there’s some minor editorial mistakes and the potion-seller opens the yawning portals to Hell but other than that this is an incredibly strong entry for a beginner and even if I don’t choose it you should publish it. There might be some soft booing from the fantasy snobs (i.e. me) that it’s a bit gamey or that the scale is off for 1-3 level characters but as a whole this entry is strong, surprising and fun. A good illustration that rules or procedures CAN in fact be selectively broken as long as one is aware of them. In this case the various high level threats are used with precision and restraint [4]. It really feels like Justin cut the brakes and pushed the pedal until it was all the way down and it shows. Great work man.

[1] This of course is a big faux-pas that merits instant death, although 100 gp per potion and a maximum of 2 potions per day at least limits the horror somewhat
[2] I am sure this trend of having encounters that must be avoided, tricked or defeated via a special tactic and are a net loss to fight directly existed before, in, say, City of Skulls, D3 or arguably Khartoebah in B10 but I feel its use has become more prominent in the OSR. By way of Lotfp? Repeat offenders DCO, God that Crawls, DFD and of course Palace of Unquiet Repose.
[3] That one HAS to be either straight from Tomb of Horrors or Grimtooth. The damage for the Spear trap in the next room omitted btw
[4] Last example. Basilisk room. FUCKING DICK MOVE. But!!! You just see a room with a bunch of statues (half submerged), with a burrow in one wall. Only if you WAIT AROUND, you hear skittering, and THEN you get to face the Basilisk. Control.


33 thoughts on “No Artpunk Entry #16: Vault of the Warlord

  1. It’s neat how different most of the entries are from each other, representing diverse (but equally valid) approaches to the game. If you ignored the directions and took a party of 5th or 6th level characters who were tough enough to actually take on some of the overpowered monsters into this place would it still be fun and challenging? I’m becoming increasingly of the opinion that dungeons that work in different ways for characters of widely different levels – that a low level group can succeed by stealth and trickery where a higher-level group can just kick down the front door and start blasting away at shit – is a strength of old-D&D (in contrast to the mandatory meticulously-calculated CR economy of modern D&D) and is something that we should strive for when designing our stuff in order to help make it feel more distinct. It’s definitely a more Judges Guild-y than TSR-y approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I love different approaches too, which is why I should probably be careful with any sort of style I try to promote. A sort of OSR biodiversity seems desirable. Is improving 90% of stuff with a systematic approach worth the 10% who might otherwise try something wholly original or is this problem fake and will people attempt to tinker regardless? I don’t want an end to RC 1 style stuff or Unbalanced Dice Games or The Well 2e stuff but in this War we fight not for total domination but for pre-eminence.

      I don’t think it would work well as a high level adventure with just straight up fights, because its because of very precise modifications that all of its High Level monster placement becomes ‘fair.’ If you were higher level you could just exploit those qualities and run roughshod over them, or worse, evade them too.

      I like the idea of the JG approach (and it reminds me of Tower of the Time Master) but it seems a formidable challenge. Probably some sort of naturalistic approach, with lots of complexity allowing for different approaches, might be the best way to go about that. Just create something, knowing the underlying rules that determine treasure etc. and let nature decide its ‘level’ if you will. I think a prior step would just be extracting all of the modifications and variations that come with mapping, treasure placement, monster placement and then some beginning steps into higher level organization and put that in a blog post with some reading suggestions and that would probably help people improve their DnD on the gaming front. Then there would be another layer, which is the flavor, the atmosphere, the ideas, the foreshadowing, tension etc. etc. which I’d see interacting with the above in a way that I would like to be as seamlessly as possible.

      Ultimately the core idea determines its potential and all of these techniques are applied during or after the creative process to render the whole more dynamic or fit for purpose if need be. Shiiiit I want to write Vaults of Oblivion now. My group is on hiatus for 2 more weeks. Domine salve Nos.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Take it from me, who wrote a lengthy, lengthy guide to writing a particular style of 40K fanfiction: people will tinker. Especially when they shouldn’t. Nobody genuinely talented is actually held back by rules. They can figure out when to break them, or ways around them. And the rules DO help the less talented.

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    2. Prince recently reviewed “Wizard’s Vengeance” which lends itself to different approaches depending on the power of the group, e.g. low levels had better use trickery, negotiate, and snatch what they can quickly, higher levels might try and take over the tower and rule the area. A TSR module which also fits is U3 The Final Enemy (climax of the Saltmarsh series). One of the most misunderstood modules of our time, as I’m sure the expectation was exploration and scouting under cover of polymorph for the underwater levels, yet I’ll bet some/most fought it out (and likely died). The latter tactic could work for a higher level group. Indeed you might combine the two.

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  2. I’m fascinated to hear how something this deep (congratulations on that, Justin) can be hewn down into a 4-hour one-shot, that’s a bit of design work almost entirely incidental to the dungeon building itself but I think it’s also incredibly important.

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    1. I don’t know if it would qualify as Deep but ‘extensive’, ‘well-crafted’, ‘creative’ or ‘meticulous’ all comes to mind. Of the entries thus far, Melonath is something I would probably consider calling deep. It implies some sort of other layer of gameplay beyond the one that is usually present. I would take as example the difference between a dungeon where you just have a set of one room encounters that you beat up or one where you have the opportunity to negotiate with certain groups and play them out against eachother. Or Tomb of Horrors vs any number of death trap dungeons. Stewart mentioned something about his kickstarter adventure having a chivalric culture and traps based on that type of behavior, where the PCs have to figure out how the culture works in order to avoid the traps. Now that I think about it, fucking around with the Beavers to lower the water level inside the dungeon is probably a good example of Depth, so you are indeed right and I am an idiot.

      That being said, the 4 hour session mode requires the omission of the overland area and I think it cuts down some of the rooms and encounters in the dungeon. For me it’s not a qualifier but depending on your audience it might be a godsend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s no rule, but putting it in displays a good knowledge of the practical restraints often faced by play groups; multiple sessions are harder to get groups for particularly for experimental playtests. Having a deep (and I was thinking less figuratively, more just physically extending deep into the ground) dungeon that can be hit for a satisfying single session despite not being “finished” is a good bonus goal. If you want something to finish in a single session then you can just paint by numbers a make a five-room-dungeon (which is a format I actually do use if I’m forced to come up with a dungeon completely on the fly). Having a complete dungeon in this requested 20-30 room range that is also “chunkable” is a worthy design goal.

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      2. Oh! Thanks for the clarification. Fortunately, it hasn’t been a design constraint I’ve ever been forced to deal with.

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  3. Mmm.

    System is an important part of context. 0e, Basic, AD&D…not only do these systems function differently, they have different assumptions of play. Yes, you’re still rolling D20s to attack and make saves, you still have hit points and armor class, you’re still trying to find treasure. But there are nuances. An ogre is a different threat in OD&D from 1E, despite having the same stat line in both (and B/X). Ignoring these differences can result in “bad things.”

    But, hey…don’t take my word for it. Play and find out.

    I’m not a fan of the “adventure with threats a party can’t handle that must be navigated/avoided some other way.” This is not the way of heroes. One, two, perhaps three such encounters in a single adventure? Okay, maybe. Vampire lords, spectres, black puddings, basilisks, owl bears, giant crocs (zombie or not), extra-planar hijinks? For an adventure aimed at 1st – 3rd level characters?

    No. This betrays a misunderstanding of the game’s assumptions.

    PCs are supposed to be protagonists. This is not Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. High level danger (and commensurate reward) is EARNED through good play, advancement, and development. In computer game parlance, new content must be “opened.”

    “Disdain for convention” and “willingness to experiment” …these are good things. Contempt for the game is not.

    But I haven’t read the adventure. I’m basing my comment on a review. Apologies if it sounds ignorant and overharsh.

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    1. I would be interested to hear if you still hold this opinion after you have a chance to read the module. I will say- I am on vacation with my players at the moment- we very much enjoyed reading Prince’s review. Everyone laughed at the line about giving the players rope to hang themselves- that is how I have always run the game.

      I think the danger is perhaps overstated, almost all of those threats could be overcome by a single 1st level character with access to a mirror, garlic, and fire. There are only two threats that are explicitly insurmountable, and of the two there is no reason at all to engage the Specter. I placed it as an explicit “fuck you” to the mindset that everything in the game is a CR-appropriate monster you can fight.

      I do not understand your comment about Protagonist heroes who are video game characters. You almost seem to be saying the unspeakable.

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      1. There’s a way around the challenges that do not involve fleeing and leaving a stinking brown trail of fluid behind onself certainly, but the conventional method of ‘roll d20s until someone dies’ will accrue severe casualties beyond those normally expected. Don’t knock yourself, I think the use of powerful opponents works for this one, and its a trope that is old as the stars, as even JB (who I will remind everyone had 26 horned devils in a pit of eternal fire) will grudgingly admit.

        I consider at least one encounter that might result in death or at least severe resource depletion if it is not tackled cleverly to be a sign of good design, not unheroic play or whathavethee.

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      2. Yeah, I really won’t be able to give an informed opinion until I’ve had the chance to read it. Even then…well, sometimes you just have to play/run a thing to see if it works.

        RE “protagonists”

        I, perhaps, differ from the opinion of nuOSR folks who consider PCs to be grubbly-punks fit only for retirement at level 5. The idea, stated in the early texts of the game, were for players to take roles similar to various pulp heroes. While such characters certainly find clever ways to navigate challenges, they are generally bold, adventurous and NOT prone to running from threats (this includes example characters of both sexes).

        Too many “run away!” encounters tend to de-stabilize this assumption of gameplay.

        The video game reference was a borrowed phrase, not a borrowed concept. Pretty sure that the vids took the idea from tabletop gaming, not the other way around.

        RE “grudging admissions”

        Prince is definitely correct that the deadly encounter that could have been avoided (i.e. the PCs hanging themselves) is a time-honored and worthy trope. Blundering into the bandits mess hall…or the goblin common room…while the entire tribe is at dinner is a good one. So is swimming the (monster infested) subterranean lake or pulling the stake out of the paralyzed vampire’s chest or stepping through the planar gate without any means of return. Lots of ways to give the players a big old “death button” to push.

        Of course, not all death buttons are created equal. A sleeping dragon is fairly suitable for PCs that aren’t going to be paralyzed with fear (that’s a 1E mechanic). A magic idol that summons Asmodeus from the bath (telegraphed or not!) probably isn’t. And if there are too many such encounters in an adventure that need to be avoided rather than confronted, it feels a bit like the PCs are swimming in the wrong end of the pool. Which ain’t a very heroic feeling.

        But, as stated, I can’t really judge without reading the thing.

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  4. Also, as I have recently corroborated, even twelve year olds can find and will use the gaping holes in B/X to RC. Stacking magic missiles, before engaging with the big baddie. If there is no time constraint and a big monster is telgraphed in any Basic D&D, it is dead as meat if the M-U & Elves players are just slightly smart children.
    Everyone prepares all of his first spells as Magic Missile, casts them all before entering and let them all loose round one. Boom.
    Also, phantasmal forces is a 2nd Level Fireball or FInger of Death as written by Mentzer and Allston. (BECMI/RC).

    You do not have all these gaping holes in 1e, so these big monsters pose a much more serious problem for 3rd level groups.

    And so on and so on.

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      1. It specifically says you can keep the MM floating next to you for 10 minutes. So: cast another one and another one before you enter the room etc.
        There is more ridiculous shit like that in Basic, some of it in B/X, too. At 6th level it is really something, when you get 3 mms at 1d6+1 er slot. Recently a telegraphed Dragon on a Mt pass had to eat 11d6+11 from the MU 6 and Elves 5 before the battle was even joined.

        I run it for a bunch of kids (5-14 at start, now 7-16) and I grant them every loophole they find and applaud & cheer them. They make other mistakes that even the playing field. But I do not plan to play BECMI or RC ever with adults. The items are also oftentimes brutally abusable, the Mentzerian and Cookish writing is just sooo sloppy.

        Also, limitless resurrection, technically even without material costs. So free raise deads all the time. Sigh. The whole “no spell compomnents” thing is just not working.

        I am slowly coming to the conclusion that most self-proclaimed “B/X” fans actually use a lot of AD&D isms to rein in that clown fiesta of an edition. I actually found that one of the first things most retroclones do is silently remove the most blatant red-nose-parts…

        Do not get me started on initiative…maybe a good subject for a podcast show, the ultimate SPECIFIC B/X vs 1e smackdown. Not the generalities we all politely have exchanged. But actual, factual rules discussion.

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      2. Settembrini exaggerates somewhat, I find Magic missile is hardly touched at lower levels and while it makes for a fine boss-disposal weapon, stacking only obscene amounts of magic missile means you are at a disadvantage when it is time for the GM to break out the humanoid hordes, which in B/X is always. Shield counters immediately, spellcasting makes noise,a botched ambush means you just spent all your magic missiles on nothing etc. etc. This holds true until…probably 9th level when it becomes ridiculous, but then again BECMI also has Fireballs that go all the way up to 25d6.

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      3. Haha. There is only one true D&D.
        ; )

        B/X is still the best version for learning the game (especially for individuals teaching themselves).

        RE BECMI/RC

        I thought damage was capped at 20 dice, not 25.

        OH…and shield (in B/X) does NOT provide the same protection against magic missile that it does in AD&D and the Rules Cyclopedia (the latter of which only provides the caster with a save, not immunity).

        [just to be clear]

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      4. Re Shield:
        Mentzer also only allows a save vs individual missiles of the magical kind.

        Re humanoid hordes: Mentzer/Aallston Phantasmal Forces do them in, starting at level 3 😉

        Re B/X:
        what sets apart B/X from the Mentzerian nightmares is the tone, the spirit. It is very much clear that not everything is there in the rules, not even regarding spells. Moldvay managed to convey his very own voice, look & feel of streamlining and ordering OD&D without utterly shutting out its more open and free-wheeling, imaginative, interpretative aspects.

        Red Box onwards otoh is written in such a way as to allegedly cover every circumstance, so you have to read the rules and spells in their precise wording. And it is there, were it cracks.

        Also, hippie-font, cover and reading suggestions vs. a literal encyclopedia of laws.

        Curiously, in my limited understanding, most retroclones went for the Mentzerian way, but fixing the most abusable parts, as said above, quietly.

        @Justin Todd: I hope you did not take anything I said against you or your work! I was triggered by JBs comment, not your entry.

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    1. “Intended for use with 0E or other old school systems such as B/X or 1E” is I believe the exact line I wrote. I have no experience with either B/X or 1E. Prince correctly intuits that I did not become interested in the OSR (or D&D at all) until perhaps 2014 or so, having been introduced to 5E and LotFP by Gen-X aged players.

      Perhaps it would make greater sense to just say the module is for 0E and leave it at that. I do not know all the implications, but for example a vampire is far deadlier in 1E as it has level drain. In 0E they have high hit dice but they do not even need to be turned, they are horror movie creatures repelled by garlic or a cross.

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      1. Vampires drain levels in OD&D just as in 1E. They may be repelled by a cross, etc. in 1E (without resorting to turning checks) just as in OD&D.

        I’d agree that it would probably have made more sense to write for a single system.

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  5. I’m liking the multiple entrances. But would you really mistake (soft) sodium for platinum? Silver and platinum are more plausibly misidentified (and I seem to remember that being exploited in a S4 treasure trove?)

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      1. Sodium oxidises (or tarnishes), and is close in colour to platinum. (Or so I believe, perhaps readers can send me big lumps of platinum to check.) But their durability and hardness are different. However the trap is a clever one, and perhaps it could just be described as two blocks of silvery white metal, letting the PCs reach their own conclusions.

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  6. This is stupid. The lake is on the wrong side of the dam. As is, dismantling it would raise the water level, not lower it. The author must not have been allowed to build sand castles as a kid because the beach has too many germs in it. Or perhaps he’s just Amerifag and this explains why the yanks keep getting wrecked by hurricanes.

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    1. I had imagined an alpine lake fed by mountain runoff- the pictured river is intended as outflow. I’m no expert and did only minimal research. If such lakes do not exist I would be interested to hear that this arrangement is impossible.

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      1. Hey Todd. Don’t take me too seriously, I’m just a troll who likes to neg. I’m not an expert either but as a Dutchman who has spent nearly his whole life below sea-level this seems very dumb. But now that I have your attention what is with the stone walls?
        Some idiot decided it was worth it to spend 10K’s of GP (if not hundreds since there is no quarry in the immediate vicinity) on a stone wall to protect a few hovels. How many mercs could that coin have bought? Surely enough to make a 1st level adventuring party redundant. Kudos for this actually being playtested before release though. From the review this looks quite playable.

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      2. There were four playtests by myself, one completed after seven sessions. Another was run by a friend using the 4-hour one shot rules.

        The low stone wall is similarly based on my vague understanding of the world, ancient ruins I have visited, & imagining the task being completed over many years by just a few laborers piling up stones- I have not figured out how many billions of gold pieces Gygax would have charged his players for something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

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