I almost missed this one at Gen Con 2018 — I was walking by the Game Trade Magazine booth that puts out the monthly GTM magazine that so many of us use to stay informed about new games and their release dates. I have a subscription to the magazine, so I wasn’t going to stop at the booth, but I did just to see if they were handing out the latest issue that I had not yet received. I picked up the latest issue, said hello to editor Jerome Gonyeau, and noticed he’d just dropped a small stack of what appeared to be a comic book titled Rolled & Told. I picked up a copy, put it in my bag to examine later, and then forgot about it until Gen Con was over and I was on the plane heading home.
Rolled & Told is published by Quillion, and it’s going to be a monthly release that has an interesting premise — inside its pages the reader (it’s geared towards Dungeon Masters) will find two complete adventures… ready to run. The adventures will includes maps, pre-gen characters of a suitable level for the adventures (in case your players don’t have them), and complete room-by-room descriptions similar to what you’d find in standard published adventures. In addition to the adventures, though are two other items — a short comic that sets up the adventures (or possibly contains a scene from the adventures) and a monthly article with tips and advice for DMs — Issue 0 has a Memorable Monsters essay on a famous creature.
Issue 0 (handed out free at Gen Con but I also saw a bunch of them at my local comic book shop last week) contains a single adventure titled The Thunderlock Barcrawl. The first few pages contain an isometric view of the ‘dungeon’ along with a Legend table and some closeup drawings of details that may be of interest to players. I’m including the map image below; if you’re a player, you might want to skip it if you think your DM might be convinced to run the adventure.
Following the map is the start of the comic that runs two pages; I don’t know if future issues will increase the length of the comic or not. (Honestly, I’m fine with a short comic and more details for the adventure.) Below is an example of the artwork from the comic section.
After the comic comes the real value of the book — the adventure details. The adventure starts out with a description of what the DM will need (such as the Dungeon Master’s Guide or Monster Manual) as well as what level characters are suitable. This particular adventure also offered a modification to DC rolls for mid-tier players, lvl 5-10. Text to be read to the players is in a different color (and italicized) and any special notes or rules are then provided. After that intro, the DM is given complete room/area descriptions to read to the players followed by the for-DMs’-eyes-only info.
This adventure description runs 15 pages (in a 32 page Issue 0) with some minor artwork tossed in here and there. Not bad at all. I’ve run some published adventures that run about 16 pages and cost $10 or more. The monthly issues will consist of 64 pages and two adventures that are supposed to provide 6-12 hours of play time.
After the Issue 0 adventure is the Memorable Monster essay — it 0 focuses on the Mimic and the four-page essay is written by game designer and author, E.L. Thomas. In this particular essay, Thomas takes the mimic and ‘upgrades’ it a bit, with some discussion on modifying the well-known creature to make it a bit more deadly or mysterious. I honestly enjoyed the essay more than anything else, and I’m hoping more famous creatures will be covered in future issues.
Wrapping up Issue 0 are four pages containing four unique pre-gen characters and full-color drawings of each — a rogue, a wizard, a fighter and a ranger. All are level 1 and well designed. They’d fit into any campaign, not just this adventure. I don’t know if or how many pre-gens will come in a standard 64-page issue or if players are to use the level 1 pre-gens in Issue 0. I also do not know if future issue adventures will be part of a larger campaign or one-offs… I will try to find out.
All in all, I’m quite excited about Rolled & Told. I’m impressed with the writing and editing, and while I’m not typically fond of comedic-style adventures, this first one didn’t bother me… it’s a nice gauntlet-style adventure to test the mettle of eager adventurers. I’m hoping future adventures will be a mix of locales as well as more serious fare. Time will tell. I’ll be posting a review of Issue 1 when I get my hands on it, but as a DM I see this as another source of inspiration and ideas for my own games.