Monday, November 26, 2018

"They weren't very good merchants I guess," a Hommlet Podcast

I've gone on record as being a dude who doesn't care for adventure logs so I'm probably twice as surprised as anyone else that I've found myself listening attentively to the podcast GGNoRe* wherein a posse of gamers--who exhibit an array of southern accents ranging from full-Gomer Pyle on down to the guy who occasionally says "y'all"--take on a bunch of modules and games from all around the RPG-verse. Of note to a crotchety old loon like me is their sojourn into everyone's favorite adventuring town: le village d'Hommlet. While I usually find listening/reading about someone's foray into a home-brewed adventure to be comparable to suffering through a co-worker's description of the dream they had last night, listening to these guys charging through Hommlet was more akin to watching a re-make of an old movie that you kinda' liked. At least that's my excuse for listening. Either that, or the southern accents.

This place? Again?
I should warn you: the G'Gnore folks have an unabashed insouciance when it comes to TSR history, telling us with conviction that "the T [in T1] stands for tournament," ** and even asking the listeners to write in if they have any info on how those tournaments played out. In his defense, there is a disclaimer in the text of the website indicating that the DM might have been wrong about this one. There is no disclaimer about the other factual errors.

The DM also proclaims that the module came out in 1980 even though a quick glance at the title page will reveal a 1979 pub. date, with a later edition in 1981. Perhaps because Jeff Dee signed his famous ripped-halfling cover illustration "D. '80"?

Oddly, the DM also points out that the module, despite being labeled "for ADVANCED D&D Game" came out before AD&D was even a thing. It seems likely he reached this conclusion from his belief that the Moldvanian rules, published in 1981--apparently he did look at the title page of this one--were the first of Basic D&D rules to be published. The logic is not flawed--it would presumably follow that a game called Advanced D&D would not precede the basic version onto the market--except of course that it was the 1977 Holmes basic rules that set the table for the advanced game. 

Impressively, the gents are aware of Dave Trampier and his legacy--including his abrupt, unexplained break from TSR--though they are unable to discern whether the art in the book is his or Dave Sutherlands'. These guys clearly haven't spent as many hours obsessing over every millimeter of ink in that slender little book as, well, me.

Anyway, the G'Gnoré dudes run through V of H using 5er rules (I think, coulda' been 4th or even 3½th for all I know) and very nearly got their butts kicked on a few occasions, just like everyone else who's ever ventured into the ol' Heap-in-the-fen. I'm not actually sure how they didn't bite it in the crayfish hut; I think hit points must be handed out pretty liberally in 5ed.

What I like most is how the DM played up the Cuthbertian vs. Druidic conflict quite a bit, even going so far as to create a flow chart for determining potential actions the agitated Hommletians might get up to. Also positive: the PCs putting on drunken scheming "montages" when developing plans for achieving their mischievous goals. What I liked least: the frequent use of the term "Yolo."

I won't spoil the action for you so, if nerdy podcasts are something you're into, by all means go have a listen. Also notable: the fellas keep the language clean--other than the yolo thing--if the kiddies are listening along with you.

And if you're wondering about the title of this post, refer to this incident.

New Terms Learned:
Decrement: I think it means something like "incrementally decrease", as, at the end of every turn, the DM calls out "Decrement torches!" It's a pretty handy piece of vocab, even if I can't imagine that I'll ever bring myself to say it out loud. 
Mudbug: The first hundred times they said this it sounded like "Mudblood" to my non-southern ear.  Without any Harry Potter characters at hand, this was somewhat puzzling until I eventually figured out they were talking about the crayfish.

* I confess that, being a geezer, I had to google this term and now I can't unlearn it. Henceforth, I'm pronouncing it Gignoré.
**The "T" stands for "Tamarack" obviously.


Sailorchronos said...

Just a very belated "well done" on your analysis of the Unfinished Adventure from the DMG. I'm planning to use the same map for an adventure in my own game with the Village of Hommlet as inspiration for encounters. (My players are preparing to take on an evil cult.)

Timrod said...

Thanks very much, Sailorchronos. Despite being nearly 7 years old, that post continues to pay the mortgage around here. Good luck with your evil cult!