James Desborough, Portmortem Studios, $6.50 PDF
If ever there was a candidate for “doing exactly what it says on the tin”, then this is it. 101 Fantasy Adventure Seeds is a series of scenario ideas for fantasy games. No stats (since it’s not tied to a particular system), not much in the way of illustration (but not marred by this I might add), just ideas. Lots of them.
101 Fantasy Adventure Seeds is a PDF download, available at RPGNOW.com. It’s produced by Post Mortem studios, the publishing imprint of James Desborough, who did most of the work on the supplement himself. Considering that this is the case, he should be applauded. At $6.50 (about three quid) it won’t break the bank either.
If as GM you’ve ever been at a loss for ideas five minutes before a game (you know you have), and have needed ideas quickly, then this PDF is for you. It’s a series of scenarios for generic fantasy games, so here you’ll find all your staples of goblins, princes, merchants, vampires, dragons and so on. What you’ll also find is an entertainingly written set of adventure seeds. So if you’ve run out of ideas, get that nail file ready, since you’ll find it easy enough to remove the serial numbers from these and insert them into your game.
The tone of the writing is spot on. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is helpful, amusing and friendly. It’s the type of book I’d recommend for a newbie GM, but sadly its PDF status will probably limit it to more experienced roleplayers, who won’t get the full benefit from it. That said, it would still be a handy resource for any busy GM.
Each scenario is a page long, so if you’re looking for detailed ideas then you won’t find it here. Despite this, each adventure idea is given a different spin in the space available. Every one has a series of twists to help spice it up, along with an idea of where to take things after resolution. Some also have a couple of general suggestions to help you along with running a game based on the ideas. I won’t detail any of the adventure ideas here, since they vary in approach quite a lot.
Generally the quality of idea is pretty good, and many have a nice moral twist applied to them that thoughtful groups will lap up. These occasional morality plays make the ideas stand out from other sets of adventure seeds I’ve read. Too often fantasy scenarios are black and white, but here we get a fair few morally grey areas to play in.
Are there any problems? Well, the copy editing is a bit ropey in places, and some sentences run on a bit. Considering the author did everything himself I think he can be excused these, since many more “professional” publications suffer from the exact same problems. Also, with 101 ideas to choose from there’s going to be a few that you like and a few that you loathe, but that’s just ‘cos there’s so much choice.
Overall: If you never have a bad day when the inspiration fails to flow, then you won’t need this. If you have plenty of experience as a Ref/DM/GM/ST you probably could come up with these yourself given time. If time is short, and you need a kickstart for a game, then 101 fantasy adventure ideas is a good place to begin.