Fall 2020 RPG Writer Workshop Review Wrap-up!

Banner image for the Fall 2020 RPG Writer Workshop, with the works workshop participant on it.

Wow, that’s a mouthful of a title.

Way back in November 2020, I took part in the RPG Writer Workshop to try and write my own adventure. While I’m very proud of what I achieved, the biggest take away from the workshop was (as in any good journey) the friends I made along the way.

I decided that since I had a blog, I’d ask around and see if some people wanted me to read their work and write a little review of it. I was putting out a post a week at the time, and thought that maybe I could find 4 people willing to participate, and do a couple of posts that I could easily write up so I could take some time off during the winter break.

Oh what a fool I was.

It turns out people really like getting reviews and talking about their work, and what was meant to be a couple of easy weeks turned into a 3 month labour of love. I can never thank the people that were willing to participate enough. For their willingness to participate, their comprehension when the schedule was completely messed up (can we all just forget January existed? Yeah? Thanks), for their ability to somehow understand my increasingly obtuse interview questions and unfailingly finding something interesting to say in reply. All the people mentioned below are incredibly talented individuals, and definitely deserve your attention.

Before I list off the 28 adventures that were reviewed, I think I can speak for all of the participants in thanking the Storytelling Collective, and its director Ashely, for the work that they have done, and the amazing community that they have created. They are an incredible force for good within the TTRPG sphere.

Finally, I’d like to thank you, dead readers, for putting up with all of this. I hope that in the various works discussed, that you can find something for you. If you can’t, well, maybe it’s time to write your own? If you do, be sure to let me know.

DriveThru RPG Bundle

The Forbidden Beat by Robert J Grieves. Cthluhu mythos for the 21st century, set to thumping techno-beats and covering both everyday and cosmic horror, this scenario is an amazing take on the genre (Call of Cthulhu).

Following the Tracks by Wilderling. Set in the savannah this story provides two separate paths to follow that will challenge the morals and ideals of your player’s characters (Pathfinder 1e).

In the Land of the Dead God by Seedling Games. Dino-riding chase scenes! A rescue mission in a dry and barren land that makes for a really nice change from medieval countryside (D&D 5e).

DMsGuild Bundle 1

A Mischievous Mess by H.R. Bumga. A delightful investigation adventure that plays with Celtic myths and house spirits to keep thing light and bubbly. An excellent palate cleanser, and ideal for families.

Organized Chaos by Dialectrical. Explore the adventure version of an Escher painting as your characters wander around the sandbox that is D&D’s version of the Stanley Parable. It’s absurd, and a whole lotta fun.

Road to Rock by Jacob Colosi. I described this as “if Jack Black wrote D&D adventures” and I stick by that. An innovative take on the traditional Feywild adventure that immerses you within it’s fun and free-flowing world. Oh and the layout is great too.

The Stoneheart Ruin by Jonathan Swadley. An excellent example of how to foreshadow high level threats to low level characters. Your players discover the alien Mindflayers through their abandoned ruins and remaining minions, with the threat of something darker looming large.

Unsettled Ground by David Wright. Excellent at building up the anticipation aspect of a horror scenario, and an absolutely disgusting final boss to make the payoff worth it. Arachnophobes best avoid.

DMsGuild Bundle 2

No News From Nerlin by Sinan Turnacioglu. A classic adventure that’s excellent at introducing game mechanics and narrative possibilities directly through gameplay. Great for new players and families.

Riches of the Earth by Basil Wright. Do you like to eat potato chips in front of a horror movie? Well this adventure combines those two passions, in a way you never knew you needed, backed up by some excellent descriptions of the environment.

Shark-Raid-O by FeverDreamStudios. A tier 3 adventure where your characters will face off against an entire army of sahuagin and their captive dragon table. High stakes and very interesting battle mechanics keep things fresh.

Smog on the Water by Avelino Danandha. Quite a dark investigation tale, where level 8 adventurers will be plunged into a web of lies where they’ll have to watch every step they take.

The Great Zodiac Race by Alyx Bui. Inspired by the Chinese Zodiac myth, this dream-sequence like adventure through a shifting realm of legend is an excellent way of engaging with folklore in a new and innovative way.

To Undo the Glue by Alex Niederberger. At the heart of this investigation adventure lies a surprisingly deep story about love, hatred, and the many ways that they can be combined.

DMsGuild Bundle 3

Everyone’s Been Naughty by Christopher Waples. Very much based in the grimmer winter stories, this is ideal for a Christmas special with players who have a dark sense of humor.

Fear and Fury by Stefan Terry. Perfect for a Theros campaign, it draws on some of the lesser known aspects of Greek myth to create both an appropriate scenario but also enemies and items to plunge your players into the world.

J.W. Talcum and the Blight Factory by Mike Beach. A blend of medieval and modern western, the adventurers will have to fight nature itself, cumulating in an exciting ending set piece and cinematic escape.

Lost in the Sands by Gerard Dwan. A great starting adventure for a desert campaign, or one if you need to move your players from one area to another. It also has camel racing!

Midnight in Moonlight Grove by Karl Kreutzer. An excellent use of a hag as the main villain, this almost fairy tale story will have your players immersed in the ancient history and struggles of a village.

Riddles of Ravenfair by Stephanie Guerreiro Lourenço. Perfect for players who enjoy a puzzle, this adventure will test your characters, and their players, mental aptitudes to the maximum.

The Soul Violet by Bobby Ellis. A very open adventure with an intriguing plot involving ancient magics and time travel shenanigans, all set in a world that leaves you wanting to know more.

What’s Mine is Ours by, well, me. A bit of a cheat here, as this is mine, so it’s not actually a review. But I did write up what you might find interesting in it.

DMsGuild Bundle 4

A Town Called Mud: The Haunted Mine by Benedict Hall. Wild West meets D&D, with a splash of necromancy and culminating in an exciting, and possibly quite deadly, boss fight.

Red Gold by Yvris Burke. Escape from the magical version of an oil rig, trying to stop cultists and ecological disaster on the way, with an excellent use of the ticking clock mechanic.

The Floods of Hardbuckler by Francisco Villaverde. A fast paced adventure that has a mechanically complex end fight that tries something quite innovative in terms of its presentation and scripting.

Three Sheets to the Wind by Jeffrey Pannell. A fun Eberron adventure that has some interesting takes on classic enemies, and an exciting plane hopping chase scene.

Extras

These adventurers were written as part of the RPG Writer Workshop, but due to timing issues they weren’t included in the bundles.

Zahra’s Woeful Wedding by Chaakir Benzina. A cleverly designed investigation in a setting that you just desperately want to know more about. A really refreshing change to the standard European setting, while still being medieval in nature.

The End of the Line by Bring Your Own Dragons. A steam powered adventure perfect for when your characters need to travel from one town to the next, but will they be able to avoid a catastrophic end?

Well, as a certain porcine would say, that’s all folks. Again, my many many thanks to all of those that participated. It was great fun talking to you all and reading your work. Maybe, the reviews are just the friends we made along the way?

Until next time, be more kind,

TTFN,

Sam

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