Author Topic: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)  (Read 139 times)

Offline hans

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REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« on: March 22, 2017, 09:22:53 PM »
Another of the ten! entries by Ray Dyer for the One-Week Challenge  (http://ua.reonis.com/index.php?topic=3429.0), Game44, Red Hand Trail is my first real disappointment in playing the "Thunder Rift" campaign to which they all belong.

Given Ray's conscientious fidelity to the p&p modules he converts, I don't believe the fault lies with him.  The setting, the basic plot, and simplistic backstory, are all completely hackneyed.  Missing are the detailed descriptions, interesting story twists and surprises which marked the previous entries. 

Ray seems to have done what he could.  There are some very nice Pics, particularly of the goblins.  There's cool music.  The FrameSet is an old favorite.  And the bats cave Wilderness was a delightful visual treat.  But, despite these efforts, on the whole I felt like I had been there, done that, and fought these fights thousands of times before.  As the saying goes "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."   :-\
   

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2017, 07:33:44 PM »
 * This review follows the designer's advise to run the Thunder Rift series (along with game07: B10 Assault on Raven's Ruin) in a particular order.

 * Party rolled: Human female Paladin LG, Dwarf male Cleric LN, Halfelf female Ranger CG, Gnome female Magic-User NN, Halfelf male Cleric/Magic-User CG, Halfling male Thief CN -- Ray's Realm allows such racial classing as part of the adventuring package and encourages his Realm players to mix in as many races and classes so as to enjoy the breadth and depth of any given adventure... so's I dids!

 A word about the Thunder Rift modules: these adventures were created in 1992 (when some of us were youngers just starting to explore the game) and were meant to be a sandbox of sorts for DMs and players both new to the game.  They allowed for a lot of modification and were interconnected only by threads, to be filled and fleshed out by the DM running things, adaptable to any of the gameworlds.  As such, there is ample opportunity for Ray to put his Realmstamp upon them, which I am pleased to find to be the case.  I didn't think I would recall as much as I did about the wilderness spread of the adventures, but it didn't affect my play of them in the least.  Ray's done the project a fine service in his importation to the Realm, with custom music and graphics detailing each design individually. On to it, then!


  After some well-earned rest and a bit of wandering in the plains south, we received word from our contact in Kleine (the outfitter who'd tipped us to the mayor's looking for adventurers before) and boarded the first riverboat heading north.  The village had undergone a few transformations since we'd resolved the mysterious thefts and explored the ruins nearby, most notably that some new constructions were underway and a good deal more farmers fleeing some awful goings-on to the distant west had migrated in.  We met the new trustee at the Melodious Harpy Inn, where apparently adventuring-business and ale sales were still going hand in hand, and were advised that though we'd put an end to the humanoids and their thieving, their lair had finally been discovered.  The Red Hand tribe would have to be dealt with, and of course we agreed to the terms and accepted the job.

 The Red Hand Trail adventure includes the eponymous goblins, and a good deal more, for which I as a player was not prepared.  There are some new tricks Ray's let out his sleeves here... My party suffered its first fatality here, and our halfelf ranger died messily to an encounter I shall let remain shadowed in order to protect the guilty party.  Thankfully, we encountered a lonely centaur (!) traveling the vale on the return trip who, also a ranger, gladly accepted our offer to join up and accompany us.

 Before we completed the task, however, I will note that although some of the setting here is repetitive, there was enough to poke about with to satisfy my spelunking urges for quite some time to come.

 Once we had completed the job, we were properly feted at the Melodious Harpy (who at this point must be getting kickbacks of a considerable nature, what with the mayor practically operating from its by-the-kegs berth) and rewarded handsomely.  Our party gained their third levels (with the exception of our newly-added centaur ranger and the cleric/magic-user), and mid-training we were interrupted yet again with an interesting offer: a rider had come from a distant frontier town requesting aid.  We took one look at the expensive-looking carriage and, though our ranger would have to lope along behind, decided to accept the proposal.

 At this point I entered the training hall and [R]emoved the pcs, for copy-pasting into the save directory of our next adventure!

Offline hans

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2017, 08:12:22 PM »
I don't remember a centaur...  Maybe I missed some stuff.  Yet I was sure I explored everyplace.   :-[

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2017, 09:31:37 PM »
I don't remember a centaur...  Maybe I missed some stuff.  Yet I was sure I explored everyplace.   :-[

Hey Hans :)  You didn't miss out on that... I simply rolled up a new ranger character (half-elf) and used Ray's centaur icon to replace the one that died. 

Offline hans

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 11:03:13 PM »
Heh.  Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake.   :icon_geek:

Online Ray

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2017, 08:16:36 PM »
Once we had completed the job, we were properly feted at the Melodious Harpy (who at this point must be getting kickbacks of a considerable nature, what with the mayor practically operating from its by-the-kegs berth) and rewarded handsomely.  Our party gained their third levels (with the exception of our newly-added centaur ranger and the cleric/magic-user), and mid-training we were interrupted yet again with an interesting offer: a rider had come from a distant frontier town requesting aid.  We took one look at the expensive-looking carriage and, though our ranger would have to lope along behind, decided to accept the proposal.

 ;D ;D ;D

Love it!!!

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: Game44: Red Hand Trail (Ray Dyer)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 05:20:52 AM »
While I agree that the story of this adventure isn't as interesting as in the designs that preceded it (going by the order recommended on Flopsyville), I still found it to be an exciting dungeon crawl, due to Ray's skilled conversion. It's just so much fun to lead your own party through these masterfully crafted mini-mods that the fair criticism mentioned by hans didn't affect my enjoyment of the design in the least.  :)