12/26/2014

Frugal GM Review: The Gnomes of Levnec

Frugal GM Review: The Gnomes of Levnec
I've been a little naughty this holiday season because I've bought so many things off of DriveThruRPG.....seriously, my downloads folder is a mess that I have to sort through just to find stuff to review (and file away appropriately for later use). There were tons of offers I just had to have, and at least one that didn't really interest me, but I ended up getting anyway.

One of my interweb buddies alerted me to an odd-ball promotion being offered by Zzarchov Kowolski regarding his The Gnomes of Levnec adventure: The $5.59 adventure was PWYW until 13 people had downloaded it for free. Now I don't know how many were downloaded as PWYW, or how long this promotion lasted, but I can tell you from experience that with PWYW I'd say only about 3-5%

OK, while I didn't really care to get an adventure I'd probably never run, what the heck....I had to take part in this....and I'm really glad I did.

There was very little I didn't like about this adventure and I think even those things were pretty insignificant. I'm not even sure "didn't like" is an appropriate term.

Overly informative back cover
The first, and biggest, is that the PDF has a lot of dark, almost muddied, pages and each page has a huge black band. It is really obvious that this was designed as a professionally printed physical product that was sold as a PDF. I looks great on the screen, but I wouldn't want to print this at home.

Another thing that bugged me a bit is that this is a low-level adventure for the "Neoclassical Geek Revival and OSR Roleplaying Games". Now I don't know what this NGR game is and the first mention of this other system is on page 5 when a "stat" is listed as OSR & NGR. I didn't have a clue what NGR was until I read the back cover and then only the Neoclassical Geek Revival name. The level "range" is also on the bottom of the back cover.

Last is one of those really stupid things for me, but is telling (I think) of how the PDF was designed (i.e. What makes me think this was a simple PDF made from the production files.), is that there is a "special thanks" to a blog author for inspiration with a printed URL to the specific blog post. Why that isn't a hotlink in the PDF is beyond me. Another reason I think this was designed as a printed product is that the page count comes in at 20 pages. At least this PDF doesn't have any security and is not watermarked....always a huge plus with me.

I'm not going to go over the finer points of this PDF too much because it is a great read and I really don't want to venture into spoiler territory, which would be far too easy to do. This was one of those rare few adventures that were a sheer joy to read. I don't think I'd ever play this with my regular group because there are elements that scream "KILLER GM", but if it was a one-off type thing with somewhat disposable PCs....oh yes.....let me adorn my GM shield with some more skull stickers....it's been far too long.

There is a great table set for being lost in the woods that is brilliantly complex and simple all at the same time. Just this one idea alone made the PDF worthwhile to me.

Frugal GM 5 Star Review: The Gnomes of Levnec
The adventure itself is a little free-form and I think it would really work well as more of a setting area for some other adventure where the two were intertwined some. The area map is nothing really needing to be used (it works just fine though) and everything is loose enough to really integrate into something else if you wanted.

The Gnomes of Levnec is a great little adventure that is worth getting to read, get a new table idea, or possibly screw with your players some. I think it is totally worth it, even at almost $6....which is saying a lot for me.