Friday, August 12, 2011

Postmortem Studios' "6-Pack Adventures: Black Rock Bandits" by Tracy Hurley

Black Rock Bandits is a standalone mini-adventure written by Tracy Hurley as part of the "6-Pack Adventure" series, which I can only assume means short adventures that one can run and play over the course of drinking a six pack. I mean, at least that's what I'd do. All 6-Pack adventures are short, 2-3 encounter adventures, and they can be finished likely anywhere within 3-5 hours; in other words, in a reasonable night of play.

The adventure begins with a quick (1 page) overview of the setting, the town, and some of the major locations and NPCs associated with those locations, then it launches very quickly into the first scene, in which the PCs are given their quests and have the opportunity to interrogate one of the eponymous bandits, who has been captured. Wasting no time, after availing themselves of what the town has to offer, they are pointed to the ruined temple where the bandits are supposedly making their hideout, and offered a monetary reward for each bandit whom they can prove they've defeated.

It is a straightforward enough setup, but what the players discover in the temple is quite surprising and a very good twist. It is an unexpected turn of events and a quite good introduction to the world of Dungeons and Dragons as a level 1 adventure. If I had a prospective new player who had never played D&D before, I suspect that this module would easily rise to the top of my mind as something I could quickly run as an introduction to the game and to the world in which the game exists.

Just shy of half of the overall page count of the module are numerous pregenerated PCs, so the module can literally be printed and set up within minutes. If the point of 6-Pack Adventures is to have a fully-contained mini-adventure which can be played with little or no preparation on behalf of either the DM or the players, I would consider Black Rock Bandits a resounding success.

I have but one complaint, and that is at the beginning there are two blank pages, and at the end there is another blank page, which reduces the "printer friendliness" by a little bit. The blank pages make it exactly 30 pages long, front and back covers included, so it's a tidy number. But if I were to actually print it out, I would likely remove those blank pages and put them back in the paper tray; it's a waste, paper is expensive. I'd probably print it double sided as well, and exclude the front and back covers because they're very ink-heavy. Either that, or have it printed at kinkos.

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