After School Adventures: Adventures in Wonderland #2 – Down the Rabbit Hole (5e)
The second module in the Wonderland-inspired series of mini-modules for the youngest gamers clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This being an adventure-module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. Young ‘uns – sneaking a peek here can spoil your fun – don’t do it, okay?
All right, so the PCs have chased the white rabbit through the forest in #1 and this module begins as the players fall down the rabbit hole…wait, no, they are not…they basically are floating, with no means of propulsion and the sides of the tunnel too far away to reach. As the PCs ponder their predicament, a blue dictionary will float over…you know, it’s hungry and wants to be fed with words from A – Z. This little vocab test, including an Intelligence or Wisdom check to help them for the more difficult words, is a fun start. Then, things get more difficult with the letter “I”: The next array of words needs to have the letter AND two syllables. Once the PCs reach “R”, they will have to work backwards from Z to S. Oh, and the read-aloud text of the dictionary is intended to be sung to “Pop goes the Weasel” and rhymes appropriately. And yes, I had to look the tune up. XD
As the party finally floats down, they will reach a table with a drink and a cake…and we all know what these do, right? But there’s a twist: A) If the PCs are itching for a fight, the table will happily oblige. And B), the doors open to show the peek-a-boo – a unique monster that has the proper key to pass…and it teleports to other doors when the PCs try to take it from its mouth. Here, multiple strategies help: Making the creature laugh, guarding doors, using logic, making it cry – oh, and the module does use this chance to teach the players about using attribute checks to determine information about creatures – which, however, sports a minor hiccup – it refers to Intelligence (Lore), which should probably be (History) or (Nature) instead.
Bypassing the friendly creature in this game concludes the adventure for now and should see the PCs reach level 2.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no issues apart from aforementioned little hiccup. Layout adheres to Playground Adventures’ beautiful two-column full-color standard with Cheshire Cat on top and all. The pdf’s art is sparse, but similarly child-friendly. Spells etc. are hyperlinked to the PRD for your convenience. In spite of the module’s brevity, it features bookmarks – nice. This time around, the module has no cartography, but it doesn’t really need maps for the encounters herein.
J Gray’s second Adventures in Wonderland-module is more rewarding than the first: Where the first module focused its efforts via a boardgame-like playing field on teaching the very basics of roleplaying, this one focuses a bit more on the actual roleplaying aspect and problem-solving skills of the kids that play it. This renders the module more palatable for older kids as well. The content herein is btw. appropriate for kids ages 4 and up (with my suggestion being that players ages 8+ will probably start having less fun with this due to its cute tone) and even the most scaredycat, sensitive child will not be frightened by this one; this is pretty much the definition of wholesome and harmless, with literally each encounter focusing on unobtrusive engagement of the mental faculties of kids rather than just rolling the dice and defeating foes. Even the optional combat is not something anyone would consider problematic.
So yes, this very much achieves its goal; it has versatile challenges, nice visuals and is a fun romp. My one complaint would be that a hard-mode version for the challenges would have been nice for particularly smart kids, but then again, one can easily improvise the like on the fly, based on the material that is provided here. (The syllable angle can be easily expanded; I had them actually spell the words…but only do that if the kids are already reading a lot and capable of spelling…you know your audience best, GM!)
So, how to rate this? As mentioned, I consider this to be better than the first module and while older kids won’t have as much fun with this as the young ones, for the target demographic, this is awesome indeed. The unobtrusive educational angle’s here and the locations are unique. The small hiccup and the fact that the conversion of the creatures is a bit more conservative than I like is all that costs this version the seal of approval, leaving me with still a final verdict of 5 stars.
You can get this cool little module here on OBS!