Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Worst: Horses, Chickens and Donkeys

"Portals of Irontooth" by Rudy Kraft, 1981:

11     Stable: The animals in the stable include Horses, Chickens and Donkeys.

To balance "The Best" there has to be "The Worst", and for every fantastic bit in a Judges Guild module there is a truly dismal bit in another! The Portals modules ("Portals of Irontooth", "Portals of Torsh" and "Portals of Twilight") by Rudy Kraft are an interesting conceit; each describe a different world, accessed through a system of magical portals. They lack a certain "zing" so are far more likely to inspire you to write your own adventures than to be played as written, but their main failing is the sense that the author has been told they have a page count to fill, a deadline to reach, and a bucket empty of ideas, never better expressed than this hilarious page:

I particularly like the fact that the animals in the stable "include" these animals - presumably there are others which you will just have to invent on the spot - and there's two lines for you to write your list of extra animals.

I challenge you to find anything of interest on that page; the Vroine fruit are a valiant attempt but I think they need an interesting look or taste to succeed. Imagine what it would say if this was a fruit in Vornheim! (Apparently you get no hits if you google "I hate Vornheim" - except, of course, now you do...)

You'll have to get the module yourself if you're desperate to know what a number 7 type Barracks is.

This module is from '81, and this style of module was shortly to be extinct, wiped out by the Boxed Text epidemic of '82, but this only masks the underlying problem which gets rapidly worse over the years until you get a glut of text which obscures the fact there is often absolutely nothing of any interest in the entire page of a module (and sometimes not in the entire module).

Never mind the quality, feel the width.

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