Howdy! I’m back from possibly the worst travel itinerary I’ve had inflicted on me in my 17 years working at my company. From Thailand to Minneapolis, I sat in hotel rooms or airport layovers for 36 hours, while actually moving from place to place in cars and airplanes for perhaps 24 hours. I am pretty much a wastoid right now, but soldier on anyway.
In any case, we’re entering the last six days of the Kickstarter. I was greeted by three reviews or pieces of commentary on my return, and all paint a favorable picture of Lost Hall of Tyr. I’ll present them in the order I read them, and quote them in full where appropriate.
Actual Play Report
The best feedback is “I played the game and it worked for me.” That’s the summary of this report by Anders:
“Lost Hall of Tyr” is Douglas Cole’s adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, made to showcase his Dungeon Grappling rules. It is set in Torengar, a country heavily inspired by the Old Norse and the goal is to regain lost books supposedly penned by one-handed Tyr, god of war, law and sacrifice.
I ran the adventure with seven 5th-level characters (which is probably more than it is recommended for) and it took about four hours to run. Cole has done a good job of capturing the flavor of Norse mythology and blending it with the Dungeons and Dragons feel. The adventure contains plenty of both fighting and non-fighting challenges. We had a lot of fun with the game, although I’m a little worried about how the final challenge would go with a less powerful party. You might have to adjust for that.
The adventure comes complete with a map of northwest Torengar and encounter maps for all the challenges that require them. It is excellent quality and I would recommend anyone interested in 5th edition to pick it up and play, and (obviously) to back the Kickstarter.”
I should note that his players didn’t engage with the grappling rules at all, which was good proof for me that in fact you can just run it straight. They went full hack-and-slash through the entire thing.
I will put in some advice about the final encounter, though, into the section on Alternatives for that fight. There are some things that aren’t entirely obvious about the big fight at the end that make it easier, and a few switches that can be thrown if the party is truly understrength.
Eric Diaz (Methods and Madness)
First impressions on +Douglas Cole’s Lost Hall of Tyr, based on the 52-page, yer unfinished, PDF:
It seems like a very genuine exploration of Norse culture and conditions. It uses not only norse gods, it seems, but norse religion, with beliefs, rituals, folklore, etc.
It has detailed (and very reasonable) rules on cold, starvation, dehydration,e etc.
The adventure itself if more focused on overland travel than the actual Hall. It is a very straightforward adventure, with branching paths, multiple ways to solve each encounter, and so on.
The art I’ve seen so far is very good to – above average IMO. It also contains rules for Dungeon Grappling, Douglas’ last supplement – which I reviewed and enjoyed quite a lot. The PDF is $5 with this kickstart and I would DEFINITELY recommend getting it too.
If you want a realistic, norse-themed adventure, with support for overland travel, check this one out.
Justin Folkerts (Kickstarter Reviews)
So this one, I’m conflicted about. not about the project – looks awesome. not what I would purchase because I don’t tend to get adventures unless they are HUGE and mega (wink wink).
But, D&D has this dungeon masters Guild http://www.dmsguild.com/ which is EXACTLY suited for this sort of project, and a location that is desperate for high quality products like this one obviously appears to be.
Ideally, and with synergy, a KS project like this would follow the below arc:
- Stage 1: kickstart the project to fund it, get it built to the quality standards you are looking for. this pays for the upfront costs of art and cartography and editing etc.
- stage 2: kickstarter funders get the opportunity to purchase a dead tree version or some other exclusive as a reward for funding this project
- Stage 3: once published and released to the funders, IMMEDIATELY put this project for sale on dms guild for general release. make it PDF only, or because dm’s guild it run by drivethru, have a POD option.
- stage 4: help grow the dm community via releasing top notch content.
Good luck to this project. its already funded and not heading into stretch goal territory. I know that many game companies started out this way. Frog God games, Kobold press, Goodman, etc, but honestly, I’d like to see the tools that already exist be used for both amateur and professional products to help raise all ships. just my $0.02
Anders’ report (I know him from the GURPS boards) is of the most interest to prospective backers and players, because it answers concretely (if anecdotally) a few things:
- It took four hours to play
- It was playable in “hack and slash” mode
- It played well enough that it didn’t engender a list of things that needed horrible fixin’
- The scenario will prove challenging to overstrength parties, and I might need to rescope the bottom end of things a bit.
In truth, the GenCon experience was done with six or seven 4th level characters, and it wasn’t a cake-walk. I’ll probably recenter this one a bit.
Eric and Anders (who is Swedish, I believe) both said nice things about fidelity to Norse mythology, which makes me happy.
Justin brings up some questions about why not the DM’s guild that bear answering, and it can be summarized in two lines from this page.
The two in question are “publish my original campaign using 5th Edition rules,” and “print and sell my 5th Edition…product on my own.” Both of which are answered “no.”
I’m not sure if it’s always been there or was a clarification, but I used to think if you published on the DM’s Guild they had claim on your IP. This has been addressed formally:
Does Wizards own any unique IP that I create in my DMs Guild publications?
Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP. That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.
Ultimately, this adventure and the Dungeon Grappling product are part of a creative universe that encompasses my “Etera” Norse-inspired campaign world. I definitely want to print and sell it on my own, and should this Kickstarter suddenly sprint to the finish and get 375 print backers, getting a high-quality offset print run of this or future books is something I very much wish to do.
Anyway: the news is good, so spread the word!