Wednesday, November 21, 2012

To The Edge of the World by Wolfgang Baur

One of my friends has been running the Shackled City with no break for many moons and done so through several essential TPKs. I told him that I saw an adventure that I could get for review purposes but I wanted to actually play it. I’ve already read it a few times and I like the idea that “To the Edge of the World” is high in scope in terms of not killing rats and other low level vermin that players have to traditionally slough through.  Should have played it last week but work was beating me down mightily with overtime and with all the Kickstarters I’ve been supporting, I had no space to say no.
However, with the days of Turkey Slaughter upon us, I’ve managed to reread the adventure. One  “To The Edge of the World” by Wolfgang Baur.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. I already told the players to expect a one shot with some second levels characters to give Tom a break. They were okay with that although they were a little disappointed in the level as we’ve already got past that in Tom’s Shackled City.
In terms of layout and appearance, the book is great looking. This is bad for a PDF. Great looking full color cover, full bleed yellow background pages. Anyone want to print this out for me for reference? No? Okay, I’ll keep using my Toshiba Thrive Tablet to read it but man, it isn’t easy. The tablet is great for some reference work but not necessarily for reading full on. One reason I was hoping that 13” Excite Tablet was coming out….
So fancy borders, full color interior art, full color interior maps… yeah, it’s a fantastic looking piece.  In terms of PDF, it has a nice section in its bookmarks and is easy to navigate around. Great art, solid maps, and if this was a print product, it would earn some oohs and ahhs for its appearance. As a PDF that I’d like to print out? Not so much.
While that’s an annoying problem that I can overcome, what’s no quite so easy to do are the numerous references to other works.  We hit page four for example, and get a reference to Midgard Campaign Setting and then another one for Journeys to the West. Neither one of those is vital mind you and this is a campaign specific adventure so I can see those being included.
Looking at a potential encounter on page five though, we have seaweed leshy with like three monster stats and a reference to Bestiary 3 and right above that, a reference to Bestiary 2. These stats, in my opinion, are not enough to run the encounters. In addition, there aren't even full descriptions of the monsters.
That might be okay for something like a goblin or an orc. For a reefclaw? No. If you cannot run the adventure without outside references you are doing it wrong. That’s my opinion. In a PDF especially, there is no need to reduce the amount of pages if it would’ve taken extra room for it. Some might go, “What about the file size?” To which I’d point out the elaborate graphics and full color illustrations. There’s also a reference to the Midgard Bestiary. So… something like five extra books to get all the references here? Disappointing.
I’m still going to run it but will have to make sure to have all those game stats printed out or haul around several big books and well, as I don’t even own the Midgard Campaign, Journeys to the West or Midgard Bestiary,  that would be even more problematic.
I’ll post a playtest report. With my group and their foreknowledge that it’s just a one off, I suspect that it’ll be a fun romp. Someone may say, "Man, you just spent all that time talking about the problems and think its going to be fun to run?" For me, I know my friends. These are all people I've gamed with for years. Not having the full stats and descriptions is annoying but since i have most of the material thanks to the recent Paizo sale and have it the Bestiaries in hardcover anyway, I'm just thinking of how muc MORE annoying it would be for other people who don't have that material.
Anyone else read this one yet? Playtest reports?