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Virtual Scribe Reviews

Unknown Whom by Rob Twohy

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First Impressions: 3 Stars, 31/50 Points
This is a creative concept for an adventure, both in the base premise with a plot twist and with how the characters start at zero level. But it is written for someone who already knows the details of the adventure and is proficient in the assumptions and conventions that are used throughout. It really needs to be polished and the execution enhanced before it can ascend to the excellence the ideas merit.

Quality: 6/15 Points
Sentence structure is a little less than ideal at times and there are a few minor spelling errors, making reading require a bit more effort and care. But, that’s not a significant concern, however there are two major concerns that are prevalent; organization & assumptions.

The organization suffers significantly, especially in the character creation section. Because Rob presents a new means of character creation, it’s important that it is organized in an easy to use and understand method, and it’s not. Several ideas are repeated in the setup section of the adventure, and sometime without any appropriate context. A checklist and step-by-step guide would help not only a DM, but the players as well. In general I found disjointed thoughts throughout many of the longer text entries, not just during character setup.

There are also numerous assumptions throughout; things that an experienced DM will probably be able to just roll with, but leave substantial room for misunderstanding and problems running the adventure. Two examples;
First is during character creation; “Roll 4 drop 1” is given as instruction for ability generation, but something more complete such as “Roll 4d6 and drop lowest” would prevent any errors or prior knowledge.
Second is indicative of what is often found in the adventure section; the section on the Face in the Wall at the start of chapter 4 fails to give any examples of questions or conversations that would elicit the puzzle to be solved. This is just an example of something that an experienced DM will not have problems filling in, but is something that I expect to be detailed in a published adventure.

Completeness: 5/10 Points
Perhaps along the lines of the organization and assumptions deficiencies, there are a lot of areas that could provide complete FG functionality, but may not prove more than a nuisance for an experienced FG DM. For example, navigation throughout is not consistent, some story entries have links to the next entry while other do not. If you like to navigate story entries from a map or the Story list this is not an issue, but if you like to link from one entry to another, you won’t be able to. There are also numerous references to rules such as; races, backgrounds, spells and things such as drowning and are missing links pretty much everywhere. For instance;
Attachment 17421

Though it doesn’t affect DM’s or players, the full text of the OGL is missing from both the PDF and FG module as required by the OGL itself.

Creativity: 9/10 Points
The concept behind this adventure is very creative; players start at what is effectively level zero, there is a creative twist at the end (even though it may cause some issue with follow-on adventuring) and Rob has even creatively provided a solution in the event of character death. The adventure itself is pretty mundane and close to linear; which can be a boon to DMs wanting something simple to run, but despised by those who protest “railroads”.

Maps are nicely done. Not works of art, but clear, simple and more than just usable. There are things I would like to see added, especially some indication of elevation on the second level to more clearly assist with the water levels. The DM maps are oversized, they should be lower resolution versions, not just the same high resolution player maps with secrets and labels on them.

Value: 8/10 Points
At less than $2 USD, I’ve got no complaints about the value of this product. Experienced DMs shouldn’t have any problems running this adventure and will be able to use this for many hours of enjoyable game play.

Versatility: 3/5 Points
The zero level starting concepts presented in this adventure are something that can be adapted as desired to pretty much any starting campaign. Though given their disjointed presentation, DMs will have to do some work to clean them up for re-using elsewhere and will need to make some adaptations for other story lines.
The maps are generic enough they can be used elsewhere, but the modified NPCs aren’t interesting enough to bother with. The other contents probably won’t see much re-use.

Comments on the PDF
Not all of the artwork made available in the PDF is made available in the FG module which is disappointing. The layout of the PDF is attractive and easy to read. Finally, the PDF does not include player versions of the maps, so a DM would need another tool (dry erase map, etc) to facilitate play.

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Review , Adventures



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