Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review & Meditations On The 'Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir' Adventure By Marc Braden From D3 Adventures

Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir Adventure  is an adventure that was sent to me via a second hand Facebook message from Marc Braden. This isn't a bad adventure but its one of those generic Drivethrurpg  adventures that might work as a fill gap for a generic retroclone horror style campaign. The problem I have with it is the fact that its so generic. The layout, the cartography, the lineage, the entire package needed an art editor, cartographer, etc. in other words this was a garage band produced adventure and it needed a group of professionals to really make it shine. Even the byline premise for the adventure has potential.  According to the D3 Adventures blurb;"
The Town of Tunere’ has been blessed with fertile lands and abundant crops. It has grown from a small village to an incredible city. However, it has a dark history. Every year a youth is sacrificed to maintain this prosperity, but now the Grey Man is coming much more often to claim the tributes.
The mayor and businessmen are desperate to find a solution. Can the heroes stop the sacrifices or will doing so destroy the world? Why is the Grey Man coming more often? Has some other dark force altered the delicate balance?"  Great premise but it didn't live up to its byline unfortunately.

 Tangent! The Grey Man of Chapel Weir  clocks in at twenty pages & the plot is straight out of the Golden Bough and given a few twists and turns for someone's Call of Cthulhu or D&D game. As a mater of fact this adventure is way too generic, it feels flat & without its own individual colour to it at all. There's no personality here and a complete lack of a distinctive feel that one gets with a true OSR product even the bad ones.
"The Town of Tunere’ sits upon fertile land in the northern reaches of its kingdom. Its prosperity comes from these very lands, in the way of bountiful harvests of crops and grapes that are made into fine wines. This richness and blessing are tainted though. For more than a thousand years these lands have been protected by a terrible sacrifice. In order to hold at bay two primordial rivers, each year has required the death of a virgin of no more than twelve years old. This sacrifice is collected by a strange Grey Man that emerges from the swamp to collect the offering. Disappearing back into the mists, he returns to his home; an ancient building known as the Chapel of Weir."
D3 Games The Grey Man of Chapel Weir's maps are painful to look at and look so generic as to have absolutely no individual personality on their own. They all came from 'drag and drop' mapping soft ware that gives the product a grocery store feel.
The 'read this text' is horrid with weird green text bubbles and boxes around them that remind me of horrid Nineties educational comic books that were handed out in middle school in certain parts of Connecticut. The text is rife with descriptions that are as generic as the rest of adventure. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about;
"Before you, great evergreen trees rise up out of murky water. No branches seem to start until at least twenty to thirty feet from the water’s surface. Patches of unnatural fog hang in the air, shifting as if to conceal shadows moving behind them. Strikingly, one would expect to hear the chirping of insects, yet all is quiet as if they are hiding." It almost seems like the flavor & personality of the text has been sucked out or cut to make it even more generic to fit any DM's campaign. I understand that you want to make products that are universal but this is the gaming equivalent of a quick one size fits all horror adventure module that can fit a D&D style game
Yeah I'm going to be avoiding anything from D3 Adventures from here on out. I'm sorry that Marc Bredan chose to go with this outfit because Mr. Bredan is a very talented designer/writer. There is flavor here but its buried under tons of bad maps and reworked elements until the Grey Man of Chapel Weir has become completely and utterly generic.  The Grey Man of Chapel Weir Adventure  has real potential but needs to be completely reworked to be truly something unique and interesting. I would suggest kickstarting this adventure & then hiring either Monkey Blood Designs or Dyson Logos to revamp the maps and art direction.
Two out of five folks.

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