Richie BuzzKill talks to Alan Bahr about Carrion Lands
Adam, Brendan, and Richie welcome Ashley from Mammary Alpha Podcast.
In this episode:
– Gaslands Refueled!
– D&D Decent to Avernus!
– Ashley’s gaming schedule!
– Answers to patron Wolf Mungus’s most burning Questions!
– RBK eats crow.
– Ravenous Design Diary 3!
– Tiny Frontiers review by Ashley!
Sponsored by Exalted Funeral
Recorded at the Arizona Game Fair Warehouse arizonagamefair.com/
If you are into checking out the Gauntlet, find them here:
Also, check out our sister shows:
Darker Days Radio:
Red Moon Roleplaying:
Dungeon Punx (the real one):
Twin Cities by Night:
On today’s episode, Brendan talks to Alex from Blackoath Entertainment!
We talk about his design inspirations, process, Disciples of Bone & Shadow and his brand new game, Seekers Beyond the Shroud coming soon from Exalted Funeral!
Follow the link below and don’t miss a thing:
Check it out!
In this BONUS EPISODE the notorious RBK interviews Michael Orr of Wet Ink Games about their latest Kickstarter: Tenebria! Check out the interview now, and follow the link below to check out the KS! If you slept on Never Going Home, now is the time to make up for it.
Wet Ink Games on Facebook:
First let me confess that at one point I watched a good deal of the live show this material is based on. But with the departure of Chis Perkins who really was a great comic straight man and DM I have lost interest in the series. So I was sort of the audience for this book like a year or 2 ago. But with the growth of D&D and most of the new players exposure coming from show like Acquisitions Incorporated this book seems like a no brainer for Wizards of the Coast.
So the concept of Acquisitions Incorporated is Adventuring group as Corporation with a Comic twist. Think The Office with swords. While the concept of adventuring group as a guild or company or guild is older than D&D. I think this concept has potential for a solid campaign setting.
This book contains a campaign to take characters from level 1 to 6 based on the idea that the players are starting a new Franchise of Acquisitions Incorporated with the characters gaining a level each chapter instead of the carrot on a stick XP. Which I like and it makes sure that the campaign moves at a decent clip. The adventures are pretty good but mostly standard fair find the pieces of an Artifact that is can destroy the world before someone that wants to use it for evil. I think what separates this from just your run of the mill Fantasy game is the downtime activities to help you build your franchise, live in the town, or investigate the mystery.
There is a section to help you build characters for this game and these are a new path for a City Barbarian, character backgrounds, race, and spells. The City barbarian is interesting as a kind of mob enforcer and the Spells have a new component type where every time you cast it the original creator gets a gold.
Humor elements and the characters of the show are woven into the DNA of this book but is not as intrusive as you would think. This book is dense new people that pick this up expecting to be laughing as much as watching the show will probably be disappointed as this book is good fan service but lacks what makes the show any good the people that bring it to life and fails to transcend to something more.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a recent release from Wizards of the Coast for the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition roleplaying game. In the interest of full disclosure, we here at Full Metal RPG were given this book free of charge by Wizards of the Coast for the purposes of review, and will be raffling off the limited edition cover variant. Ghosts of Saltmarsh (GoS) is a series of nautically themed adventures, some of which are part of a linked narrative, while others are stand alone dungeon crawls. The adventures are appropriate for various character levels, not necessarily flowing into each other easily. Often there are level gaps between where one adventure would end and another would begin, or no threads tying the narrative together.
The intro of the book details the town of Saltmarsh, and is easily the section from which I would derive the most utility. Set in Greyhawk, Saltmarsh is not part of the current Forgotten Realms default setting, but there are sidebars about porting things over to other settings in the line. The town is laid out and explained in a way that makes sense. The various dramatis personae and factions dwelling within the town are explained with enough detail to allow the GM to flesh out and explore the politics and tensions. The are mentions made to the Pirate Kings and various kingdoms, but no details given on those factions, so expect to do some additional research if you would like to include any of that content in your game. Saltmarsh is listed as having a population of 5,000, with 100 active guards, which feels incredibly high given the talk about how much smuggling is reported to occur. That is one guard for every 50 people. Assuming the average family is 4 people, each guard could personally inspect 3 dwellings a day without having to exceed a five day work week. How good are these smugglers? Or perhaps how lazy are these guards? That quibble aside, the town would make for a nice grim dark low fantasy location for something like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or something more OSR and less epically heroic than D&D. At a certain point, the type of characters you grow into in the World’s Most popular Roleplaying Game are no longer going to want to hang around what is basically a glorified fishing village.
After the chapter on the town come the adventure modules. There are seven in all: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater, Salvage Operation, Isle of the Abbey, Final Enemy, Tammeraut’s Fate, and The Styes. Finally, the book contains three appendices: Of Ships and the Sea, Magic Items, and Monsters and NPCs.
The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is billed as a haunted house adventure, which I found an intriguing prospect. As someone who loves horror, I was very interested in what they were going to do with this concept. The answer, disappointingly, was that the house is not really haunted at all, and is instead a fairly standard “murder all the baddies” room by room search. This felt like a missed opportunity to do something really unique with the line and grow it in a new direction. The adventure is fine, but nothing remarkable. I would do something different with it, playing more on the haunted house angle.
The next adventure, Danger at Dunwater, is intended for 3rd level characters. Continuing off of the first, it sends the characters on a mission of diplomacy to some lizard folk. While the leader of the council impresses on the characters that this is an information gathering mission, it is entirely possible to slaughter your way through the dungeon and not bother with negotiation at all. Given the usual way these adventures run, this is how I would expect things to play out. I prefer this adventure over the one that preceded it, as smart characters can avoid a fight entirely, though I would certainly make it very clear from the outset that killing absolutely everyone is not the desired solution of the town leadership. With branching paths and multiple means to success, this tale is one of the more compelling to appear in the book, though by no means the best adventure.
Following the crawl through the home of the lizard folk is Salvage Operation, and adventure for 4th level characters. This adventure is not connected to the first two in any way, and sends the party off to retrieve a chest from the cargo hold of a nearby shipwrecked craft. The confines are tight and the idea of exploring a derelict craft is appealing, but I wish it had gone for a more supernatural theme instead of the more standard fantasy creatures employed. Spoilers: Servants of Lloth show up! Good old Lloth, who as the Drow spider goddess of course makes perfect sense as a villain in an adventure set at sea. I suppose octopuses have eight legs, too, so maybe there is some kinship. I wish they had played up that angle, honestly. This is shortest adventure in the book, coming in at all of seven pages.
Next is Isle of the Abbey, intended for 5th level characters. The town would like to claim a small, strategically located island in order to build a lighthouse. The island is home to burned out abbey, which is itself home to cultists who survived a recent attack by pirates. Getting on the island involves making landfall on a beach, with threats buried beneath the sand. From there the party explores the ruin and drives out the remaining cultists. Rather standard fare, honestly.
Continuing the story from Danger at Dunwater is the Final Enemy, an adventure for characters of 7th level. Having either murdered all the lizardfolk, or agreed to aid them against a common foe, the party is once more sent on a reconnaissance mission is the stronghold of the Sahuagin. This is a slog through a dungeon packed densely with foes. It is possible to complete the investigation without needing to resort to violence, but not probable given the number of threats contained within the confines. There are some nice set pieces here, and it can be a little overwhelming in spots.
Next is Tammeraut’s Fate, an adventure for 9th level characters. The characters are sent to investigate an island recently reclaimed by a religious order. Of course, something has gone terribly wrong, and the party must perform a room by room exploration to ferret out the enemy and stop a terrible evil hidden in the depths of the sea. Spoiler: It is Orcus. It is always Orcus. I do not know why you cannot have an adventure without Orcus showing up as the bad guy at some point, but here he is, for anyone who was worried he would not make an appearance in a nautical adventure and the writers might use a more appropriate villain instead. When I think of the ocean, I think of Orcus and Lloth.
At least we come to the final adventure, and the standout for me: the Stye, for characters of 11th level. This is a street level, Lovecraftian style murder mystery with dark conspiracies and an evil cult. It is probably the best arc of the lot, however at 11th level are characters really interested in skulking back alleyways and dealing with peasants getting murdered? It is a shame that so many of the iconic and disturbing monsters are reserved for characters reaching a point where they can venture to other planes and take in strange, otherworldly sights.
There are three appendices, the first of which covers ship stats and ocean travel, which I suppose is useful for people who want that level of detail and immersion in their game. This seems like it would have been good information to have at the front of the book, given that several of the adventures involve travel over open water and will likely require the characters to have access to a ship. There are rules for ship combats and environmental threats and challenges, along with tools for undersea and shipwreck adventures. The next two entries cover magic items and NPCs and monsters appearing in the book, which is to be expected. Nothing too controversial. This is the portion of the book most likely to entice the nautically inclined.
In terms of physical quality, this is a Wizards of the Coast product, with high production values and the quality of art, maps, and construction you would expect. You will not be disappointed in the book as an artifact. WotC makes quality goods.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh is an odd little book. Clearly not meant for new GMs or players, it is a nostalgic uplift of older modules from various sources. The different adventures all orbit around the sea, but it all feels disjointed. I would expect GoS to appeal to older, more experienced gamers, the kind of people more than capable of taking an old adventure and tooling it to the current edition themselves, should they so desire. Perhaps it is merely meant for aquatic enthusiasts, but the lack of rules for pirates or a royal navy faction would seem to limit the appeal to that audience as well. It gives rules on constructing ships and ocean travel and environmental threats, but was this something the community was clamoring for? I have been disconnected from the Dungeons & Dragons world for so long that perhaps this is the case. In the end, I would expect the people this type of content speaks to know who they are, and completionists will purchase a copy because that is the nature of being a completionist. I would have a difficult time recommending this book to anyone who is not enthralled by the core concept and the idea of oceanic adventures. There is not enough there to entice me to do much with the book.
You ever have one of those friend’s who is just so entranced with the sound of his own voice that you just have to sit there, patiently nodding while they blather on?
Well, Adam does.
In this episode listen to Brendan, high as a kite on Bang energy drink, gnaw on your proverbial ear with his hot takes. Get at it cultists!
Whaddup cultists?! In this episode we are doing something a little different and talking to Pat Lewis, the community director for Mantic North America. If you are not familiar with Mantic’s line of exceptionally written miniature wargames, we hope that you’ll stick with us and take a listen!
In this episode we talk:
Kings of War
Starfall Summer Campaign
We hope that you will join us for the Phoenix branch of the Starfall Summer campaign starting Thursday, August 23rd at Games U, 5pm.
Check out Mantic here:
Sign up for the Starfall Summer Campaign here:
Check out our friends at Darker Days Radio here:
We’re back from Gen Con and no less sleep deprived than we were a week ago!
In this episode we talk:
Gears of Defiance
Trail of Cthulhu
and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!
Get at us cultists!
and check out the show of our friends at Darker Days Radio!
Brendan and Adam are back from Gen Con roused from slumber by a guest that they met at the Lamentations of the Flame Princess booth, Zak Smith aka Zak Sabbath! We’ve wanted to have Zak on the show for a very long time, so this was the culmination of a big goal for us.
Zak joins us to talk:
Gen Con 2018
Check out his next level Kickstarter below:
Also check out our webpage with all our back episodes:
And our good buddies at Darker Days Radio!
See you out there cultists!