Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mini-Module from Jason Sholtis

I have no idea how you can get this; Jason sent it to me and it arrived in the mail while I was still almost delirious from the poisons and medicines involved in a ruptured appendix and concomitant surgery. Probably you can get one from Jason, but I don't know how much they cost. His blog is Underworld Ink.

Zogorion, Lord of the Hippogriffs, is a micro-adventure that works with any old-school game -- stat blocks are for S&W, so it's directly usable with anything from OD&D to AD&D to C&C.

Awesome Feature #1: the map is separate from the booklet.
Awesome Feature #2: the b/w cover has so many interesting little things going on that you will spend several minutes doing nothing but looking at the cover.
Odd Feature #1:photograph of fire-breathing chihuahua on back cover. Plus or minus? Definitely not your normal back-cover material.


The Review:
This is a digest-sized booklet of 16 pages. The font looks like Times Roman and it looks like 12pt to me -- very readable on the fly. The map is detached and is excellent; this module is entirely done by two artists, so the art, maps and layout are all sweet.

The fact that it's done by artists somehow comes across in the text. The Lord of Hippogriffs is a chain-smoker and his cigarette stash comes from a portal to a 20th century back alley. The decade isn't specified, and if the characters end up going through it, the results are up to the DM. One gets the sense that it will be hilarious, and this module does NOT back down from entering the realms of the wacky if that happens to be the way it swings. Bring pretzels and beer.

Once I finished reading it, I realized that at least for me, the best way to use this would be as a place that has a guy in it. This is a total sandbox location, although the module uses its 16 digest-sized pages on the assumption that there's going to be treachery and mayhem rather than butterflies and alliances. If it leads to an alliance rather than a battle, that's left to the DM -- which makes sense, since beyond that point it's really the campaign again rather than the adventure.

So ... the way I'd use this is to spend the 10 or so minutes required to read through it, then use the map on my left and the back cover of the booklet (a monster roster) on my right. The map can't be used as its own DM screen because the illustration has spoilers, as most front covers do. It's incredibly usable.

The only real downside I can see here is that it's so short that it might not supply a full gaming session. I'm guessing about 2 hours max, actually. Also, unless the party is really high level, the DM will want to leave out room 9 (easily done since it's a side corridor). Room 9 is the reason that the difficulty level has such a wide range (level 3 to 7).

If you are fantasy-serious enough to hate adventures with twists like a chain-smoking hippogriff, a gate to a back alley in 1980 or 1929, or similar wackiness you might not like this one other than as reading material, but if off-road wildness is your bag ... then this micro-module is a total home run.

In terms of railroad versus sandbox, this tiny little module immediately zips off the rails and takes off like Ozzie's crazy train.


  1. Got mine yesterday. It's a brilliant little piece of work which I'll inflict on my NOD pbp players as soon as I get a chance.

  2. Thanks very very much Matt (and the other Matt!)! Interested parties can follow the link from the UNDERWORLD INK blog or go directly to The Dungeon Dozen blog (conveniently linked in the blogroll to the right) where ordering info awaits. For US orders, it's a mere $2 including postage.

  3. Thanks for mentioning this, at that price point it is an instant buy with no though involved.