We had the pleasure of meeting the folks from Edgeland Games at Valor Con in Chicago, this past weekend. Edgeland has a Kickstarter event launching this week called One-Shot Wonders--which is a set of pre-made, scalable adventures for Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons 3.5.
We spoke at length with Jacob and Colin from Edgeland about how they came to make their product, and as long-time table-top roleplayers, we're very excited for their Kickstarter campaign. What makes One-Shot Wonders special is that the folks at Edgeland didn't set out to create a campaign setting--they set out to solve problems that every Dungeon Master comes across when trying to run a Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder game. Among those problems are:
1. Some of the players don't show up to your gaming session.
2. You only have a few hours to run an adventure.
3. Character creation takes too long to bring in a new player.
4. You can't remember obscure rules when you need them.
5. You don't have time to plan an entire adventure.
6. You can't remember the adventure that you spent all of that time planning.
7. You have too many books that you need to reference.
One-Shot Wonders--a collection of pre-made adventures, which includes maps, pre-generated characters, and even minatures. The adventures are written in such a way that you can play them with as little preparation as thumbing through the adventure for a few minutes before running. All adventures are designed to be played within 3-4 hours. The set of adventures offered on Edgeland's Kickstarter campaign contains 15 one-shot adventures. They're written so that they can be played at levels 1-6, or 7-11. All of the stats for each encounter are included in each adventure book. You can even work an adventure into a larger campain, either as a side quest, or perhaps as the seed for a larger adventure. The boxed set will even come with miniatures to go with the pre-made character sheets.
The Play Test:
We were lucky enough to test 2 of the adventure modules that are included in the One Shot Wonders release. Colin from Edgeland as our DM for both adventures.
First up was "Trouble at House Highmorrow", a module set in an urban environment. We played at 5th level, using the pre-generated characters that come with the book. I played a halfling cleric, and fellow Geeks A Gogo blogger, Monica Gonzales played an Elven Rogue. Without giving away any spoilers, players are introduced to the mystery of a missing child while dining at a tavern in a town. The party gathers information from the townspeople, discovers hidden places and treasures, and gets involved in the business of the powerful Highmorrow family. The adventure even had a nice little hook that could lead into the next One Shot Wonder adventure that we played.
Next, we played "The Hollow One", an adventure in a woodland setting. Again, we played the 5th level version of this adventure module. The adventure begins with the players traveling down a road on their way to search some ancient ruins (or insert here whatever objective you want to work into your campaign). The players are soon confronted by a party of hostile adventurers, but of course, the situation is not as it seems. The players must fight their way through the forest, and befriend some of the local inhabitants to discover and destroy an evil hidden deep in the woods.
After a playtest of two adventures, I must say that Edgeland's One Shot Wonders offers some well-written adventures that I would rank very highly among the pre-written adventures that I've played (and certainly far better than the many, many adventures that I have read and passed on running for my friends). I would put One Shot Wonders on the level of some of my favorite pre-written adventure modules from TSR and Wizards of the Coast--with the only difference being that they come in smaller doses.
The gameplay for both adventures delivered on its promises. The games offered a few different paths of action for the players--we didn't feel railroaded into a single course of action. As well, each adventure offered plenty of exciting combat, with 3-4 combat encounters per game, with a challenging final encounter in each. Both adventures were fun, satisfying, and easy to play through.
And I should mention that the quality of the products that I saw was very high. The books are spiral-bound so that they lay flat on the table (an important feature as any seasoned tabletop gamer knows). The artwork was even far better than what I've seen in a lot of 3rd-party modules from other companies.
What I found most impressive was that Edgeland manages to keep its adventure modules light enough so that they really can be played in a 3-4 hour window. Each game that we played came in at around 3 and 1/2 hours--which is an impressive feat for a Pathfinder adventure with a full self-contained story and a lot of action. That's what makes One Shot Wonders such a great product.
As an aging gamer, whose friends have all grown up, this is a product that I really appreciate. When I go back to my home town, my friends and I like to get together and relive the days when we would spend our weekends gaming until the sun was about to rise. These days, we have jobs, families, and other responsibilities that make it harder and harder for us to get together for even one night during a week to spend a few hours gaming. I know that I'll be supporting One Shot Wonders on Kickstarter because it makes it so easy to relive those nights when my friends and I could all gather around a table for a few hours and have an adventure together--because at most, it seems that getting together with my buddies and finishing an adventure in a single night seems to get harder and harder every year.