Our Favorite Adventure Modules, And What We Learned From Them – Essay Book

Front Cover
Front Cover

Here’s another item I picked up from the Goodman Games warehouse sale. This is also a collection of essays from a Kickstarter. This one was for “How To Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck” (also in PDF).

This 32 page booklet is entirely in black and white and published in 2017. There are no illustrations. As you can see below, each essay is publicly listed within the updates of the Kickstarter. This is just a compilation of those essays in a single booklet.

There is quite a range amongst these essays. There are well written articles, from the likes of DCC usuals Michael Curtis and Brendan LaSalle. Classic authors like Jim Ward. Enjoyable reads, like “The Solitaire Adventure that Changed My Life”,  “The First Campaign”, and “Castle Whiterock”. But then there’s a page dedicated to something entirely unintelligible by Merle M. Rasmussen and then something I can only call “WTF did I just waste time reading?” from Chris Clark. I recommend skipping pages 23-26 entirely. The finale is the original article titled “How To Write Adventures  That Don’t Suck”. Originally published in The Crusader by the Dark Master, himself.

Foreward
Foreward

Table of Contents

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Tales from the Magician’s Skull Issue No. 0

Tales from the Magicians’s Skull is a periodical, published by Goodman Games, focusing on Swords & Sorcery fiction. This presents contents from Issue No. 0.

Tales from the Magician's Skull Issue No. 0
Tales from the Magician’s Skull Issue No. 0

Tales from the Magicians’s Skull is a periodical, published by Goodman Games, focusing on Swords & Sorcery in the vein of “Appendix N” authors. It is inspired by classic pulp magazines, like Weird Fantasy. It was initially funded via Kickstarter. Issue No. 1 was released a few months ago (PDF) and issue No. 2 was recently published in print and PDF. No. 3 is in the works. Unfortunately, that kickstarter was just prior, to me realizing what this whole “Appendix N” thing is/was or finally taking the advice of Hankerin’ to read DCC RPG.

I may create another post specifically reviewing the regular magazine, but this is a post focused on Issue No. 0. You also might see it referred to as “Special” since that’s what’s printed on the cover. This small magazine was given out to backers of the kickstarter who pledged at the Legion of the Skull level. And, let me tell you, I’m very disappointed I missed that. It’s exactly the kind of thing that I love to see happen in Kickstarters. Snooze you lose!

I happened upon No. 0 when Goodman Games published on their blog that they found a bunch of limited edition stuff when cleaning out their warehouse up in Fort Wayne. No promises by the time you read this, but it’s currently still in stock. Maybe it’ll get listed on eBay from time to time?

This issue is mostly a collection of essays that were published as public updates to the Kickstarter. It is 22 pages (including the front and back cover) with some classic DCC RPG style illustrations by Ian MillerBrad McDevitt, and 3 illustrations from an artist that I can’t determine (maybe Michael Wilson?)

The short story is a quick and interesting read. I don’t happen to know the author (yet). I get the impression that the main character, Hanuvar, is a recurring character in other stories? He’s a cool guy, is a badass, does a heroic thing and saves a girl. I’d call it a story reminiscent of REH Conan, and certainly in the vein of Pulp S&S fantasy (IMHO). I’m simple. I like these kind of stories!

The essays are certainly interesting. The first one, “Defining Sword & Sorcery”, I think, does a very good job of exactly that. At least, I learned something from it. A couple essays are Excellent jumping points to other authors/books that I’m already making a list to check out. Other essays are just some thoughts on the genre, and others probably give some good advice to an aspiring author…. or to DMs? I think so. I’m gonna mull these over tonight.

In the Table of Contents listed below, the title links to the Kickstarter update. The exception is the single short story titled, “The Way of Serpents” that is exclusive to this print magazine. So, in that way, the entire contents (minus illustrations) is public domain.

Tales From the Magician's Skull No. 0 Foreward
Tales From the Magician’s Skull No. 0 Foreward

Table of Contents:

Tales From the Magician's Skull No. 0 Back Cover
Tales From the Magician’s Skull No. 0 Back Cover

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Yes, there are some affiliate links above. Don’t use ’em if you don’t want to!