Author Topic: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)  (Read 235 times)

Offline PetrusOctavianus

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REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« on: March 02, 2017, 04:40:59 PM »
One of the 2017 One Week Challenge designs, and to my knowledge Jadefang's first design for FRUA.

The party is hired by the lord of Crumpton to deal with a worker rebellion.

The best part of the design is that you can choose to follow the Good path or the Evil path. It turns out the Good path is the swift and painless one, and I assume the "canon" path. The evil path is slower and longer and I didn't quite finish it due to one of my pet FRUA peeves: traps you can't defend against (unless if maybe (I haven't checked) you walk around with permanent Search on and spend weeks in the forest maze). Most of my party was wiped out including my Paladin and Cleric, so no use hitting the Fix button (aka the Anti Trap button), so I quit the evil path there.

Overall a nice design, with no spelling errors and no bugs or technical problems that I could detect.
Combat was well balanced, as far as I played the evil path. The good path is maybe too swift and easy.
Very little XP to be gained, and no magical items.

Offline hans

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 12:38:28 AM »
When I read that the Average Playtime for "The Crumpton Uprising" by Jadefang was 10-30 minutes, I expected it to be a brief mini-mod.  Nothing wrong with that, especially seeing as how the mod was produced as part of the One-Week Challenge (http://ua.reonis.com/index.php?topic=3429.0), and this was also the author's first UA design.  I was quite surprised, then, to discover that a player is allowed a choice which vastly changes how the adventure plays out.  Two paths for the price of one!  And I enjoyed playing them both. 

Bringing modern social and moral sensibilities to a (fantasy) medieval milieu has been a much discussed and interesting topic on many a d&d forum.  And one of the options in Jadefang's design allows a player to apply these very values within the game.  Nice.   :)

Yet pleasing me even further is that a player is not penalized for not choosing that path.  That is, some game characters (which we were then brought into conflict with) may have derided my party, but we were not hit by lightning or otherwise harshly judged by the author, either directly or indirectly.  Rather, the less enlightened choice was treated as a legitimate one, allowing for its own fully rewarding gaming experience.  Very nice.    :) :) 

Further thoughts:

Having "Search" on in the forest is a pretty good idea.

The fights were fairly well-balanced for the suggested party level. 

I found no bugs and only noticed one spelling error. 

Well done, Jadefang   ;D

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 10:36:06 AM »
I just played through "The Crumpton Uprising". It was the first UA design I chose to play in ages, and I picked it over all the other designs I haven't played yet, since it was advertised as the shortest - which goes to show that creating short designs can actually draw attention to your work as well, maybe even more so than that epic design you might never finish.  ;)

My experience was similar to the reviews above. I chose the peaceful path first, and then replayed opting for the sneaky bastard path this time. The peaceful path was nice enough, the sneaky bastard path was exciting at first, but like PetrusOctavianus I didn't finish it due to the second part, in my case because it contained a confusing maze with map view turned off and repeating random encounters, so I got hopelessly lost and then worn down and slaughtered on trying to find my way out, while being a little bored by the repetition.

Apart from that, I was positively surprised though by the choice the design gives you and by how the gameplay, the text events and even areas differ a little depending on your choices. As for the player not being penalized for choosing the "evil" path, I think the gold and xp reward is actually much higher if you do, but on the other hand, you don't really have to work for the "good" path, so I guess it's fair.   

Offline Jadefang

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 07:41:30 PM »
Thank you all for the feedback. I'll be sure to avoid making things like the forest maze in future designs.

Offline Ray

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 08:59:07 PM »

I very much enjoyed playing the Crumpton Uprising by Jadefang.  As an entry into the seven-day challenge, this game was made under considerable time constraints, but those constraints scarcely show.  Six months from now, when a player unaware of the challenge loads this game and plays through, there will be no sense that it was in any way abbreviated or made under a time crunch.

The story is timely and purposeful, giving the option to play in a hopeful world without ever seeming saccharine or naive.  The story is succinct but covers a great sprawl of the fantasy world in which the game takes place.  It is clear that Jadefang is showing us a small portion of what is happening in this setting, but there is no sense that anything is missing.  Just as those original Ed Greenwood articles in Dragon Magazine gave a taste of his Forgotten Realms but never seemed lacking because of what wasn't included.  We just knew that there was a lot more out there, and we knew we'd enjoy seeing that, too!

There are some very important choices to be made while playing this adventure, and the fact that these are actual, weighty choices--and not just the illusion of choice--makes the game feel truly meaningful.  This isn't an illustrated story, this is a real adventure.  Well-written and compelling--very much worth recommending.  It is also brief, making it ideal for players who find that "real life" does not allow time anymore for epic campaigns.


Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2017, 10:08:46 PM »
Thank you all for the feedback. I'll be sure to avoid making things like the forest maze in future designs.

A few things that I think might improve such a design:

- The random combat events weren't bad per se, the first two were actually fun. It's only when they started repeating that I lost interest in them. I mean they weren't quite the same, the number of opponents was different, but the text and the species were nothing new anymore, and for me personally that matters more in UA than slight variations in the composition of a combat. In my opinion, random combat is less frustrating, if it doesn't feel that random, if I don't feel that I got unlucky for having to go through another of these familiar events, but feel that I got lucky for stumbling into a new adventure. So make every encounter special and different, with new pictures and/or descriptions, and possibly new, unfamiliar situations, even if triggered randomly. Avoid repetition. It's a bit more work, but also more rewarding for players.

- Making the players find their way through unfamiliar terrain is fine, too, even with the map turned off. But it's more fun if the layout of the dungeon is such that there are more reference points, clear landmarks, and not too many dead ends looking alike.

- The trap/damage events could be replaced by encounters with choices, e.g. describe the impending doom and let the player choose how to try and evade the trap, giving them a chance to avoid harm.

- If the dungeon is bigger, harder to navigate through and/or features several combat events (especially random ones, so that as a designer you don't quite have control over how many of them the players will run into), how about allowing the party to make camp in specific spots, e.g. a clearing or a small cave in a forest? Or maybe you already did that and I just didn't find the spot?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 10:11:07 PM by Olivier Leroux »

Offline Jadefang

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 02:37:58 AM »
A few things that I think might improve such a design:

- The random combat events weren't bad per se, the first two were actually fun. It's only when they started repeating that I lost interest in them. I mean they weren't quite the same, the number of opponents was different, but the text and the species were nothing new anymore, and for me personally that matters more in UA than slight variations in the composition of a combat. In my opinion, random combat is less frustrating, if it doesn't feel that random, if I don't feel that I got unlucky for having to go through another of these familiar events, but feel that I got lucky for stumbling into a new adventure. So make every encounter special and different, with new pictures and/or descriptions, and possibly new, unfamiliar situations, even if triggered randomly. Avoid repetition. It's a bit more work, but also more rewarding for players.

- Making the players find their way through unfamiliar terrain is fine, too, even with the map turned off. But it's more fun if the layout of the dungeon is such that there are more reference points, clear landmarks, and not too many dead ends looking alike.

- The trap/damage events could be replaced by encounters with choices, e.g. describe the impending doom and let the player choose how to try and evade the trap, giving them a chance to avoid harm.

- If the dungeon is bigger, harder to navigate through and/or features several combat events (especially random ones, so that as a designer you don't quite have control over how many of them the players will run into), how about allowing the party to make camp in specific spots, e.g. a clearing or a small cave in a forest? Or maybe you already did that and I just didn't find the spot?

Thanks for the advice. I think the area ends up being as such because it was essentially transplanted from an area in The Mystery of Filos, but hadn't really accomodated for features FRUA didn't have that DC did that made for better quality of life, namely Automap. In retrospect, I should have also removed some pointless choices like being able to Talk to the animals when they'd all obviously attack (more of a joke holdover in that regard). The random encounter events and the trap event setup ended up taking up a huge chunk of the 100 event limit of the dungeon.

I also should have foreshadowed the trap a lot better, or made some hints that searching/using Find Traps would help, but it was a design decision to make the player work for finding "hidden" objects like that, i.e. using the PARTY IS SEARCHING or using the PARTY IS DETECTING TRAPS triggers (I feel like I'm the only person who uses the latter...). It was sort of foreshadowed with the enemies gaining surprise if you ran into them while searching, but I do realize some authors also hate parties doing constant search and making obnoxious step events that happen every step you take with Search on, and some players might have become jaded from that.

Sometimes I find it kinda hard to make landmarks in forest-like areas when two of the wall sets are reserved for the very identical looking TREES A and TREES B, and the third wall set might not fit in the middle of things.

Offline steve_mcdee

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 04:21:09 AM »
You can, of course, use text to create landmarks by description, particularly with "must press return" turned off.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 04:44:23 AM »
In retrospect, I should have also removed some pointless choices like being able to Talk to the animals when they'd all obviously attack (more of a joke holdover in that regard).

Oh, no, I actually liked that! I chose it once even though I predicted the outcome, but I still thought it funny.  :)

Offline Nol Drek

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2017, 02:39:42 AM »
Crumpton Uprising is an enjoyable short adventure with two endings based on choices you make during the game. I played through both endings with a party of newly created 2nd level characters. The story progresses quickly and one option involves diplomacy over violence. The combats are well-balanced and the plot brings up an ethical choice which the PC's must make.  That Jadefang wrote not one but two story lines in a single week as part of the one-week challenge is impressive. A fun short adventure that left me wanting more.
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Offline Dinonykos

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 10:18:12 AM »
I just played through the design chosing the "Good" path. I generally do not like if a design forces me to do "evil" things, so I appriciate a way to win a design without fighting very much! I particularly liked that that I was not tricked into a bad end by making good decisions, which would also have been an option.
Thank you for this nice experience, Jadefang!
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Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: REVIEW: The Crumpton Uprising (by Jadefang)
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2017, 12:33:19 AM »
One more review before fading:

Jadefang's The Crumpton Uprising - in-between adventures and entering the entitled town for some r&r (and possibly still more r), our group of intrepid adventurers get caught up in the social woes of a struggling country.  The obvious path was outlined clearly and with subtle characterisations of those involved (hee), but I still went back and played through the 'other path'...  I was gratified at the way both paths were wrapped, though one path was far more combat-heavy and the other featured no combat at all.  Still, I really enjoyed the fact that the npc groups involved all had their own motivations and aspirations, regardless of what my party opted to do.  The sense of humour in the game was great, and even though one of the arcing plots allowed the 'main villains' to pretty much escape without just desserts I still savoured the end of their particular journey.

One thing noticeable is that I encountered nearly no bugs whatsoever, which was fantastic, aside from having a combat encounter repeat that had no actual enemies in it (possibly from a random combat encounter list having an empty roster?), but hey - my party wasn't complaining.  The wolves probably just ran away.

A great thing about this particular design, and something I have much trouble with, was the logical setup of the design and execution of its various parts.  I peeped in the toolset and must comment on the easy-to-see layout Jadefang used during construction, which makes this a prime example of toolset use for those of us new to FRUAdom to wet their feet in and whet their designing appetites with.

Great adventure, fully wrapped and presented.  Thank you muchly, Jadefang!