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Mythoard May 2016: Swing and Miss

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Here is this months Mythoard. The Dig, Pixies on Parade, The Dungeoneer #17, 1980, colored potion tokens, and Cards of Yith. Those little potion tokens are going right into my DM toolkit, whether I’m going to drop them on the dungeon as dressing or hand them out as potion tokens, I’m not sure.

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The Dig, by Shoreless Skies, is a rules-lite story RPG where the players all work together to create a story in the dwarven mines. It is built to be open ended and to have quick character generation. I am not a fan of narrative based games and I dislike that it is very episodic. The game happens in a number of rounds or ventures, with each venture hitting a material, craft, and social round. Honestly, this book seems more like a mini-game of what your players could do in their downtime than a full game. I may keep it to steal ideas from, but I doubt I’ll be playing this.

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It is nice to get a view on some older magazines like the Dungeoneer, where you can find crazy long lists of everything under the sun. See the right page which has four different bolts that each do some variation of fire damage. Wouldn’t be old school without that intense attention to detail. A good source of ideas to convert to 5e, but I wouldn’t mind not seeing an old magazine in the next few Mythoards. I’ve got plenty.
IMG_0988Pixies on Parade by Stephen Rowe is an adventure based on the premise of the player characters as children trying to save a town from malicious fey. The puzzles, tricks, and encounters in this book are solid gold. They all have multiple solutions, put interesting twists into play, and encourage player agency by listing the motivations of the enemies. The major flaw in this adventure is that it either has to be the first adventure your players go on or you have to shoehorn some reason for them to be children (or some magical reason the adults of the town treat the players like children and don’t believe that fey are causing the various problems). The first choice doesn’t fit well with the difficulty being set for 6th level characters and the second sort of defeats much of the theme that works around the players being children. This one will be on my shelf as a place to draw encounters, tricks, and traps from, but I won’t be running it as is.

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The Cards of Yith is another half page, laminated adventure seed that I’ve really come to enjoy from Mythoard. This seed focuses on a random town having come under the special attention of a vindictive and angry demi-god. The atmosphere of the encounter is creepy and the curses in the cards that can be found are for the most part interesting drawbacks rather than strictly mechanical penalties. This seed is just begging to be filled out into a full adventure hook that involves the players tracking down the godling and getting justice for the town. On the downside, there is very little if any agency on the players part. Each of the encounters just happens, there is not warning of what is within the town nor reflection of the player’s actions except once they get into combat. The cards are almost entirely negative with no warning or reason for the players to seek them out, making them to be a one-off ‘gotcha’. I like to go the route of having my tricks be obviously dangerous or risky but occasionally have a good payoff, meaning that if the players continue to engage after warnings and ill-omens they knew they were gambling with. I can add or modify things as the DM, of course, but as written the town is basically a spooky painting that curses you right when you look at it and keeps cursing you when you keep looking. Why would anyone want to explore what you’ve written when you do that?

 

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