Little Devils (OSR)
This little PWYW-scenario clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages, so let’s take a look!
If that stuff is relevant for your interests, the module makes use of ascending AC as well as the silver standard championed by LotFP et al. The pdf begins with a table of 10 male and 10 female names as well as 10 last names and 11 more fantastic names. From an internal consistency point of view, I don’t get why the latter table has no separate column for male and female and separates them with an “or” – but that is just me nitpicking.
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
Only referees around? Great. So, 3 kids have gone missing, the friendly neighborhood murderhobos are contacted and the priest suspects the pagan burial site to be the source of the issue. The path to the mound can sport a random encounter (or not) – the creatures featured herein can be found on a total of two pages on cut-out style mini-cards.
The missing boys, btw.? They are a random encounter. They are talking of devils and want home….which may be, at least for mercenary type adventurers, an end for the module before it even began.
The culprits, the devils, would be the eponymous little devils – basically constantly cursing anti-cherubs that can spit with various effects: A 2d4 table lets you customize these fiends, with hair/horns making for a cosmetic variation and spit for a mechanical variation: Their spit can cause hallucinogens, grease, be acidic or be fire, with the stat-cards sporting the precise effects. The burial mound is a brief 4-room exploration and slash-fest versus these anti-cherubs…only to find a desecrated statue whose fingers have been broken off save for middle finger and thumb. It is said vandalism that births 2 of these devils an hour. Yeah…better solve the vandalism…with more vandalism and destroy it utterly.
Editing and formatting are pretty good, I noticed no significant mistakes. Layout adheres to a basic two-column b/w-standard with VERY bright, red highlights for tables. The (very) small map provided is decent enough and does its job. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Whether you enjoy Edward Lockhart’s little devils depends on basically two things: Do you think that an adventure killing goat-legged, horned cherubs with vestigial wings and various spit attacks sounds like fun? You may like this. Do you think it’d be uncomfortable at your table? Well, don’t get it. When seen from the perspective of a PWYW-monster-spotlight, this is a decent offering. As a module, it is severely lacking, with the burial mound being horribly opaque, bereft of interesting interaction points or atmosphere building. As written, exploring the place and not running into the kids is very possible, which mirrors a ploy used in a more controversial LotFP-module, though, due to its brevity, it can’t really build up to it.
In short, as far as 1-page adventures (+supplemental materials) are concerned, I have seen better. Being Pay what you want, you can easily check it out and determine whether you consider it worthwhile. With the weaknesses in setting the locale, I can’t go higher than 2.5 stars for this one, and in spite of being PWYW, I can’t really round up – the trope with its shock value is represented better in other modules, if that’s what you’re going for.
You can get this scenario for PWYW here on OBS.