Bryce Lynch
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Mesozoic Press
B/X
Levels 1-3
Explore an abandoned elf treehouse!

This eleven page adventure details a nine room elf treehouse that has some living plants. A conversion, it’s has good magic items, lack monetary treasure, and a has cumbersome writing style. Just more grist for the gristmill.

While walking through the forest (this is a drop in adventure) the party sees an area with larger undergrowth, wild, with trees 50% larger than normal. Investigating, they see “an usually shaped construction” up in the treetops, supported by three trees. Turns out it’s a big old elf treehouse.

The intro DM text does two things well: it brings a slight sense of wonder, with large berries, larger trees, etc, notifying the players that THIS IS AN ADVENTURE SITE. Same as the entrance to the mythic underworld, it denotes that things are going to get D&D around here. Second, it provides a hint of what’s to come. No one can encounter overgrown plants without getting their Round Up spells ready. Plant monsters ahead!

The magic treasure is also above average. A belt buckle, in the shape of leaves, that is a ring of protection. Herbicide. A couple of berry types. A broach in the shape of the leaf slows falls “to that of a falling leaf.” Good theming.

And … that’s it. It’s only been a couple of months but everything is rusted and ropes decayed. The “unusually shaped construction” in the trees is an abstraction, a conclusion. “Well, what’s it shaped like” says the players …”unusual” says the DM. Not cool.

Treasure is LIGHT. This is quite clearly a 5e conversion. Cash is meaningless is 5e. Cash is everything in B/X, it’s your XP. Sure enough, there’s a 5e version listed on DriveThru. These conversions Drive. Me. Nuts. It’s like you marketed a “Spooky CoC adventure!” and then filled it converted a normal d20 Espionage adventure. It’s fucking shitty. These games require cash to level and yet there is no cash. Meaning the designer has little understanding of how B/X actually works.

Tis the writing, though, that sucks most, as per usual. The rooms have exhaustive lists of contents. A walking stick, boots and cloak in the cloakroom adds nothing to the adventure. What it DOES do is subtract from the ability to run it. The text is written, one paragraph after another, each describing one thing in the room, with n intro/summary paragraph. His means that to run the room you have to read the ENTIRE entry. The characters walk in. “What do we see?” Well, hang on, let me read these five paragraphs so I can tell you. The only way this works is when you have a bit of summary as the first paragraph to orient you to what’s to come. Then, while the players are fucking about, you can scan the appropriate paragraph. This shit is KEY. And this thing don’t do that.

Paragraph one of room one tells us “Entryway: The slope leads up to a wooden platform that juts out from the main building. A large wooden trough stands in the north east corner used to collect rain water but it has become dark and stagnant with a film of slime across the top.”

Good job using a room name, and bolding it. We now know all mundane features.
We don’t need to know about the slope. It’s shown on the map and is mentioned in the intro text before the keyed entries begin. It’s just detracting from the important text.
The trough text is overwrought. It’s “A trough with dark & stagnant rainwater, a film of slime across the top.” Done.
There are four more paragraphs of this shit.
It’s a lot of filler text with very little content that either evocative or actually gameable. Two rooms with a couple of plant monsters in them does not an adventure make.

This is $1.50 at Drivethru. The preview is three pages long and shows you almost nothing. Just some shitty backstory and the parts of room one that I quoted above.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/267962/Ruins–Adventures-2-Aldairs-Arboretum-B-X-Essentials?1892600
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