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Review: From Here To There, 9 Adventures For The Road

Posted By John Arcadian On January 4, 2011 @ 1:30 am In Reviews | 8 Comments

image So imagine this situation, it is about 1 day until game time and your encounter with the BBEG or a very important plot piece or fight is slated to happen in the next game. Unfortunately, the characters aren’t quite ready to take it on or the player who has backstory hooks isn’t going to be there. Darnit, what do you do? The obvious answer is to stall and delay the big game until next session, but you still want to run today and you need something to run. The PCs are on their way there, so you need to throw something in their path.

Enter From Here To There, a Goodman Games adventure pack containing 9 adventures. The nine adventures contained in this book are all fantasy based adventures made to be introduced to PCs while they are travelling. They are listed as 4e compatible and have all the requisite stat blocks and gridded maps required. The adventures are easy and small enough that they can be converted into a non 4e or a non D&D game system fairly easily. Reskinning for a different genre may take some work, but I can see some of the adventures being usable outside the fantasy D&D setting.

Format
The format of the book is what you would expect of an adventure book. It gets right down to the point and presents each adventure right after the necessary book elements like a title page and copyright page. The chapter listing has suggested levels included which is a very nice feature.

Adventures
The adventures themselves follow the same format, allowing for easy use and quick incorporation. Each adventure has an intro paragraph from the author talking about the bare bones or concepts in the adventure. Following this is an Adventure Summary section which lays out the basic flow of the adventure. In each adventure you will find an Encounter Table, summarizing the encounters, types, and locations; a Scaling Information section, providing tips on how to modify the adventure for stronger or weaker parties; an Adventure Background section, which gives the motivation and impetus for NPCs and enemies; a Getting The Players Involved section, which provides information on how to introduce the adventure to players; and finally all of the encounters and relevant adventure information with each encounter.

Each adventure is short, made for about a session’s play. The adventures are all written by different authors and they each have their own style and feeling. I read through three of the adventures: When Madness Seeps Through By Philippe-Antoine “Chattydm” Menard, The Toll Station By Adrian Pommier, and The Hanging Tree By Lee Hammock. Each had a unique flavor and feel, but each was well crafted and followed the easily runnable format. My game of choice isn’t D&D, but it is a fantasy game and each of these adventures would be easy to run and modify for my games.

image Look And Feel
The adventures contain illustrative art, which is very good and evocative, and maps that could easily be drawn out. Printing the maps seems possible, but the size of many would require the blueprint printers found at big box office supply stores. The entire book, save the cover, is in B&W, but the art is of a style that emphasizes and works with that. It is definitely a pretty book to look at, and that helps inspire the GM when looking through the adventures. Some adventures even have printable handouts with the art included. These make for a great addition to the physical space of the game.

Conclusions
If you run 4th Edition D&D, or any fantasy game, this is a great book to have when you need to throw something at the PCs while they are on the road. The adventures are easily usable and would take much less than an hour of prep to incorporate them. Enough information is provided to jump right in. I’ll be using two of these adventures, When Madness Seeps Through and The Hanging Tree in my upcoming games, making some modifications and joining them together. At $6 it is hard to pass up. I got my copy on Drive Thru RPG. Goodman Games website lists it as available in stores, so if you want a paper copy check with your FLGS. This is definitely worth a purchase for any Game Master to have adventures on hand and ready to go.

About  John Arcadian

John Arcadian is the head of Silvervine Games, a freelance writer and art director, a website developer, a builder of sonic screwdrivers, and a purveyor of kilted mayhem. When he isn't out causing trouble in his kilt... Well, no, that is pretty much what he does when he isn't running RPGs or or trying to take over the world.




8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "Review: From Here To There, 9 Adventures For The Road"

#1 Comment By BrianLiberge On January 4, 2011 @ 8:49 am

I’m always wary of these types of products. They can be a lifesaver when you have absolutely nothing, but when do you really have absolutely nothing these days?

I’m curious how they treat the monsters within. Are they stated at all? How specific to combat tactics get? Are they tied to abilities the creature may not have in your game?

#2 Comment By Roxysteve On January 4, 2011 @ 10:27 am

Sounds like a nice product for the right price. I have taken to scouting for small, single session downloads for all my games in order to have a standby for the exact scenario you suggest. Unfortunately I don’t run fantasy very often, and 4e never so this particular book may not be for me (though if I see a copy I will give it a good look because of this article).

As a linked thought I’d like to say how useful it would be to have a product like this in which the stat blocks were provided for all the major players: 4e, 3.5, SW, GURPS. Of course, the daft licensing restrictions make this unlikely, but it would be oh so useful to those of us GMs who are “switch hitters”.

And no, I’m not anti-licensing or naive about remuneration, I just think there are times when the intent of such laws gets in the way of an otherwise non-threat to the IP.

#3 Comment By Roxysteve On January 4, 2011 @ 10:31 am

@BrianLiberge – Well, you, I and John may have been running RPGs so long that we have large libraries of stuff upon which to draw (actually, I don’t have anything for fantasy since I so rarely run that milieu). But what of the person who got their first copy of 4e for Xmas?

If there were no market for these products, “Eureka” wouldn’t have ever gone to press.

#4 Comment By John Arcadian On January 4, 2011 @ 10:42 am

@BrianLiberge – You are right, products like this are often a crap shoot. There are many adventure books that I’ll often avoid if I can’t get a decent glimpse inside. I was well pleased with this one though. If you are playing 4E then they are fully statted and fleshed out. Combat tactics descriptions vary by the adventure (since they were written by different people), but most are well fleshed out. There is a tactics section in each combat encounter that describes how the enemies will or should attack. I’m actually running a very non 4E fantasy game and they worked out fine for me. I was able to mimic any ability found in the statted blocks with ease and the tactics section gave me some guidance even when not in 4e combat.

@Roxysteve – A product like that would be very nice and, as you state, slightly unlikely. That was part of the reason we did Eureka as we did, trying to put even a few stat blocks in would ignore someone amongst the major players. IP law is often highly restrictive because of possibility. I find that most small companies are willing to make deals to let people do things which increase their brand exposure, even without a monetary gain. However, too much of this and you tend to lose the ability to make money and stay in business. It is a tricky tightrope to walk. Just ask Mark MacKinnon of Guardians of Order.

#5 Comment By BrianLiberge On January 4, 2011 @ 11:34 am

Agreed. This may be just the product for a newer DM, especially in book form. I think the pdf starts to get a thinner argument for user’s of 4e. Having the Monster builder at the table gives you a wealth of creatures to run at a moments notice, searchable by all manner of necessity, ready to drop into any trope or whim.

It’s really made products like this, and especially 3rd party monster books, a far less valuable resource.

#6 Comment By John Arcadian On January 4, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

@BrianLiberge – “It’s [the Monster builder] really made products like this, and especially 3rd party monster books, a far less valuable resource. ”

Very true. Having a resource like that removes a lot of viability from any published material containing stat blocks for 4E. They are still great in the context of the adventure, but they are rarely necessary IF it can be guaranteed that the end user has the monster builder. However, for an adventure to be “out of the box” ready, every base like that has to be covered. While I’ve become a convert to GMing from the laptop, mine were both in repair during the last game I ran. Since I bought the PDF of this, I just printed off the adventures I used and ran from there. Had I been running 4e everything I needed would have been in front of me and that would make it incredibly handy. As is I just had the section of the book with enemy ratings out and modified on the fly. I think there will always be a place for paper at the table, but electronic resources like the 4e monster builder are making that a thinner and thinner area.

#7 Comment By Roxysteve On January 4, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

@John Arcadian – Well, I don’t feel that a bunch of stat blocks threaten anyone’s brand myself, but I won’t argue the point.

The only GOO product I own is Tekumel, which is a beautiful book presenting a version of a long-established RPG world wrapped in a convoluted Tri-Stat-ish RPG system.

Loved the book, loved the world (for over 35 years) hated the RPG system.

#8 Comment By ChattyDM On January 5, 2011 @ 7:48 am

@John: Thanks so much for the Review, I’m glad you liked the gist of my adventure enough to adopt it with your own game. I wrote this (ages ago) when I was trying to get a grasp on the 4e mechanics but I mostly wanted to write an adventure that answered one thing I’d never seen before:

“What if, for once, the adventurers were too late to stop the cultists”

I guess it ended up all right. :)


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