Feb 272012
 

92043[1]By Thilo Graf

This pdf from 0one Games is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 17 pages of content for this b/w-adventure, so let’s check it out, shall we?

As always, this being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. If you’re a player, please jump to the conclusion!

Still here? Ok!

As befitting of 0onegames, the map of the brewery is beautiful and adheres to the highest quality, but what exactly is brewing there? Witchcliff is a famous brewery, located in the middle of nowhere and has been continuously expanding. Unfortunately, the brewery is operated by a group of anarchists that are up to no good and want to use their brew to topple organizations/kingdoms/tyrants etc. Via one of several possible hooks, the PCs get to the brewery (if they’re not eaten by a bear first) and can try to infiltrate the place, which is harder than it looks like: The small brewery is a front for the anarchists and their cave-complex, hidden from sight inside the cliffs is teeming with foes waiting to skewer people who ask too many questions. (Though not without a sense of honour, mind you!)

Further complications might arise due to the love between the local nymph and the leader of said group. The whole adventure is presented in a nonlinear fashion and should be considered a kind of sandbox that can fit many roles, from a resistance-base against a despot to almost crazy anarchists and even chaos cultists, the brewery offers some neat ideas. Not all is rosy, though: The map provides no key-less version to cut apart and hand out to players and the namesake brewery is actually a rather minor part of the complex: A bigger brewery with more environmental peculiarities and hazards would have been nice, as would a map depicting the connecting tunnel between the backdoor of the complex and the brewery. Seeing that this is essentially a set-piece, no truly intriguing story goes along this adventure, relying wholly on the DM to make this work in an exciting manner.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed 2 minor punctuation glitches. Layout adheres to the elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the quality of the b/w-artworks and maps is top-notch. The pdf comes with excessive bookmarks. This pdf is a bit hard to rate for me, as there essentially is nothing wrong with it. The idea of using a brewery is more than neat. However, I also feel it falls short of its own potential and by quite a stretch, but let me elaborate: The brewery, that is the rather innovative location of the adventure is only a side-location that barely figures into the covered ground when it easily could have been made into a truly unique, exciting location. To cut a long ramble short: The brewery is too small.

While there’s nothing wrong with sandbox-style adventures, I would have also liked some more ideas to make an infiltration out of this venture instead of a slugfest. The fey-subplot doesn’t really go anywhere and could have easily made the brewery a much more alien, far-out and special place to explore. I also would have liked some advice on how to turn the opposition to the PC’s side, as the main antagonists are actually sympathetic characters I can see working with the PCs against some kind of tyrant after initial misunderstandings. These are just some ideas that have not been realized. This adventure, with perhaps 10 additional pages, could have been an absolutely epic place. Seeing the untapped potential herein, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3 stars – an ok sandbox adventure that has painfully squandered the potential its location and antagonists offer.

Endzeitgeist out.

B&W Adventures: The Trouble Brewing at Witchcliff is available from:

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Paco G. Jaen

Born in Spain with a talent for dyslexia, I am gamer, player, graphic designer, photographer and psycotherapist. Also online magazine publisher and writer. Yep.. I do lead a busy life!