Tag Archives: Midgard

Review — Midgard Tales by Kobold Press

MidgardI’ve recently discovered the joys of running roleplaying games on the Internet. It’s an easy way to get people together to have some fun. I am, however, a busy guy and I don’t always have time to come up with my own GM-made adventures. Luckily, I picked up Midgard Tales by Kobold Press at Gen Con this year.

Midgard Tales is a hardcover tome (or pdf) that contains 13 Pathfinder adventures spanning levels 1-11. All the adventures are (as the title suggests) written for the Midgard Campaign Setting , but they could all be easily ported over to nearly any fantasy setting with a minimum of effort. I should be clear that this isn’t a campaign; it is 13 separate adventures that you could connect (or not) as you see fit.

First, let’s talk about the usability. The adventures are presented in numbered level order (1-11) with the level number easy to spot in the upper corner. Finding an adventure is as easy as flipping and looking. Once you’ve selected  the adventure you need, things stay pretty simple. The adventures are presented in a straightforward manner, with a quick adventure overviews, ways to work the adventures into your game, and a clear delineation of what is for GMs and what is for players.  In some cases, I only had about a half-hour to prepare, but I was able to run the adventure like I had been preparing for weeks.

The adventures themselves run the gamut from straight-forward dungeon crawls to treks through fey-marked wilderness to intrigue at a masquerade ball. I appreciate the effort to make each game experience unique; my players get bored if they are just simply killing monsters and taking their stuff all the time.

As for presentation, the art helped capture the mood of the adventures. Good art helps me get in the right mindset to run a game session. The art is all black and white, but it goes well with the book’s “yellowed-paper” aesthetic. The maps are simple to follow and easy to recreate on a battle grid. As a guy who can barely draw a straight line, that’s a big help. I also like the thickness of the paper in the book. I’m willing to bet that this tome could take a little punishment.

To conclude, I want to give a special shout-out to Richard Pett, the author of the “Sorrow” adventure in Midgard Tales. My players absolutely loved this adventure and told me it was the best thing I’d run in a long time. So thanks for making me look good, sir!

I’ve now run a number of the adventures contained in the book, and have read through all of them. I am pleased with the purchase, and I highly recommend Midgard Tales.

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Review — Midgard Adventures: The Raven’s Call

RavensCall-231x300It’s not often that I make my players start at level one in a Pathfinder game. I have a couple of reasons:

  • First level characters never seem to have enough options.
  • They’re so…smooshy. It takes nothing but some unlucky die rolls to take them out.

In other words, it’s hard for first level characters to feel truly heroic. But, worse than that, they often feel ineffective!

When I got a copy of Midgard Adventures: The Raven’s Call, though, I got pretty excited. Finally! A chance for first level PCs to feel a bit of agency in a dangerous and deadly world!

Most of the time, published adventures are not really my bag. I’m not a big fan of dungeon crawls, and I really hate being constrained by adventure modules that (in my experience) are pretty linear. When I create my own adventures, I try to keep them as open-ended as possible; you never know what kind of monkey wrench the players will throw in your plans, so having a less linear approach generally helps me come up with things on the fly.

That’s why I was so surprised by The Raven’s Call! It wasn’t linear. In fact, it set up a fun sandbox for the players to adventure  in and gave them multiple possible motivations to move things in the right direction.

Here’s the premise of the module: A group of nasty raiders has taken over a town, displaced the townspeople (or imprisoned them in a barn), and begun consuming all the supplies. The players are motivated in some way (there are options in the book for creativity when it comes to said motivation), and it isn’t a hard leap for the adventurers to want to right the wrong.

Saving a village from a bunch of raiders might seem like a daunting task, but Wolfgang Baur’s design in the adventure really shines. With a bit of bravery, luck, and some well placed magical items, the PCs can be the heroes they were meant to be. With multiple ways to approach the adventure, there are many opportunities for characters with different skill sets to show off.

The various elements of the module are detailed enough to help the game master if the players get off the beaten path a little bit, but they’re not so detailed that the information gets lost in a morass of text. It was also really easy to fill in small details with some of my own information, which helped set the stage for further adventures.

The art and included maps were both very well done. The sketch of a trollkin on the final page of the adventure really stood out to me. I have to admit there were a few times when I’d be scrolling to that page to get some information, and I would find my eyes drawn to the sketch rather than the info I needed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though.

What victory looks like.

What victory looks like.

Overall, I’ve never been disappointed by the art in any Kobold Press release, and this adventure module continues that great tradition.

What’s the most rewarding thing about The Raven’s Call? The fact that my PCs really felt like they had “won.” The adventure was challenging enough that they felt a real sense of accomplishment when they rescued the village. At the end of the day, that kind of euphoria is part of the reason why we play RPGs.

Once again, Wolfgang Baur and Open Design have impressed me with what they bring to roleplaying games. If you are looking for a low-level adventure for your party, this is one I highly recommend!

You can pick up Midgard Adventures: The Raven’s Call at Paizo and DrivethruRPG

Notes from the adventure:

My session featured four players, each with varying degrees of familiarity with the Pathfinder RPG.

-An elf fighter
-An elven archer (like The Raven’s Call, the elven archer is a Kobold Press creation that I’ll review in another column)
-A gearforged wizard (gearforged are clockwork beings specific to the Midgard Campaign setting)
-A human paladin

Quotes from the players (both during the game and afterward)

“Being able to play a gearforged character let me indulge in my inner steampunkery, and that’s awesome!”

I want to ride the crab!”

I’m an elf; I’m not telling you my name.”

Let’s just set it on fire!”

I’m not eating any of their food.”

I really suck at climbing walls.”

“The D20 is a cruel and fickle mistress.”

“The setting is fun and not too terribly difficult, which is good for a core group of level one characters missing a dedicated healer. Best results with full five-member band.”

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