In my last installment of "Start a campaign for free", I have marveled at the question whether it would be possible to start a new campaign without paying a single buck and introduced you to The Lonely Coast by Raging Swan Press as a free default mini-setting. Now, after you had enough time to digest the cozy piece of land, I'll venture on to look for a free adventure to spring upon your players. My requirements for the adventure were as follows:
- It has to be easily adaptable to a new setting/be generic enough. Thus no campaign-setting specific adventures.
- It has to be long enough to cover multiple sessions of gaming.
- It has to be free. (D'uh.)
- It has to fit in the mini-setting established in the previous installment, both in atmosphere, technology and the magic-level.
That seem to be quite harsh criteria, however, I was able to unearth one adventure that fit them all:
Horror at Dagger Rock by Sagaworks Studios.
For those of you unfamiliar with my review of the adventure, I'll repost it here:
This pdf is 74 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page OGL, 1 page credits that leaves 70 pages of chock-full with adventure.
The module features 6 adventure hooks and several maps for almost every location in the adventure:
5 small maps of houses in the adventure, 1 player's map of the town Relford without any annoying letters or revealed secrets. Very nice. Furthermore, we also get 2 pages of DM-maps.
The adventure per se, a dark tale about a cult with a nod towards Lovecraft county, is highly detailed and can be described as a sandbox-style free-form investigation followed by a hardcore dungeon crawl that is very atmospheric and expects players to use both their brain and their common sense to defeat the obstacles they'll face.
The investigation works fine, due to the excruciating attention to detail that has been given to the NPCs - even wives and children have their own names, every entry features DCs to glean information in addition to the massive 1 page rumor table.
The adventure also features MASSIVE handouts for players (at least for such an "indy" production): A 4 page journal, 2 One-page letters, 1 One-page missive and 1 One-page crude map. This should be standard.
We also get 2 new monsters, one of which is a template.
The quality of the prose is high and the atmosphere evoked makes the adventure a nice read.
The writing is very concise and offers the DM the tools to pace the investigation and modify the difficulty/pace. Make no mistake: This adventure cannot be run spontaneously and should be carefully read and prepared, it's too densely packed with information and fluff to be glanced over.
My only criticism is the lack of interior art, which would cost one Rudi.
As mentioned above, I'd normally detract one Rudi due to the lack of interior art. However, the adventure is tightly and intelligently written and: It's for free! It's a large, high-quality adventure and it's for free. If you are somewhat into old-school gaming or like horror, check it out. My final verdict, taking into consideration that this adventure is free, would the be 5 Rudii.
All right. Now we have a mini-setting, a first level adventure and what do we still need? Bingo! Additional goodies! Next time at "Start a campaign for free" I'll look for some free supplemental material. I'll also soon post some reviews of other stuff, so stay tuned!
Thank you for your patience and good gaming to you and yours,