I wasn't but a couple of pages into this adventure when I had to reach out to Matt and basically ask "WTFO?!" There was so much that was a departure from his norm that I thought maybe his name on it was a typo. Nope, it was his work and there was a reason why he layed out this adventure as he did.
At first I thought maybe this was a bit of a joke adventure because I thought maybe he was having a dig at Venger Satanis over at Draconic Magazine (not a magazine by the way). It wasn't, by the way...a dig at Venger that is....but he was "inspired" by some design choices from a way-too-popular LOTFP adventure. I'll let you pick which one.....
We chatted back and forth and he sent me some art examples that were inspiration and the best I could say was, "Who the hell uses their kindergartner's scribblings as RPG art?" Now I don't have kids and I can't draw worth crap, which is exactly why I don't draw or feel compelled to use refrigerator art in anything I do.
After chatting with Matt I don't think this is the beginning of a new direction for him, but maybe an artistic phase, and something I really hope is just a "one and done". Hey, I'm obviously biased, but I really like Matt's Old-School Maps. I've used them in the past and will use them in the future. I'd actually like to get to the point where I could commission some for my use....
....as long as they don't suck like they did in Bloodnut Pass.
|A much better way of supporting Matt|
The PDF is completely unsecured, not that it really matters in this case, and it is sized 5.5" x 8.5" and laid out in a single page format. If you want to print it out, don't forget to set your printing to "booklet printing" or you might end up with an awkward blown-up to full page layout....not that I did that or anything. I do like Matt's font selection...meshes well with the chosen rule system....and the five small pieces of art, while crude, actually fit the text they accompany. Just don't blow it up to a full-page print out because it'll look off.
I am not really familiar with the Pits & Perils system the adventure is statted out for, but it works for me. There is one hotlink in the document and that seems to just be something that the LibreOffice PDF distiller automatically put in.
The adventure itself is decent enough...a bit over-the-top for my tastes for sure. It feels like it was designed by, and written for, a group of pre-teens trying to play an "adult" game. The accompanying map, which I obviously don't like, is a bit crude and of low quality. It doesn't actually look like it fits with the adventure as far as layout goes. Parts of the map are blurry, almost out of focus, and it looks like he spent more time on filters than drawing it. The graphic next to the map title really helps solidify the crudeness of the map and the adventure.
I am glad that I got to chat with Matt before finishing this review because I think he nailed the aesthetic he was looking for, pun intended*, but he should stick to the quality work he normally does. To loosely paraphrase one of my favorite dumb movies, which is also appropriate:
Mr. Jackson, what you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent prose were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having adventured in it. I award you two stars, and may God have mercy on your soul."
*If you've read this adventure you'll get it....