Just after Gen Con 2018, I wrote about Issue #0 of the new Rolled & Told comic book. Well, comic book might be too simplistic a term. It definitely has a short (VERY short) comic strip in it, but it’s filled with artwork, pre-gen characters, articles, and adventures for a Dungeons & Dragons DM. I’ve been eagerly waiting for Issue #1 to drop, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Unlike the single adventure in Issue #0, this issue comes with two adventures. I’m going to call them mini-adventures, because the first one is 14 pages in length and the second one is 9 pages. Both adventures provide maps for the GM as well as details to be read aloud to players and the nitty-gritty details for the DM’s eyes only. There is artwork scattered throughout the book (including on pages containing articles and charts) that is relevant to the two adventures in the issue (and often drawn by more than one artist, so there are some subtle differences in styles).
The first adventure (without giving away too much information) titled Hoist the Jolly Gobbler! involves a party of 2nd-3rd level characters assisting a gnome clan in retrieving a certain lost aerial vehicle. As with the single adventure in issue #0, this first adventure leans towards the slightly humorous. Not my favorite type of adventure, but it’s a real adventure and can be played by the DM without the humorous aspects if desired. Suffice to say, the adventure starts with an attack on the party by a certain farm animal. That’s all I’m going to say on that matter. The adventure ends with a few options for the DM to read aloud depending on the overall outcome (success or failure) of the adventure, as well as XP and rewards. Creatures encountered in the adventure have their own stat blocks, and I’m quite impressed with the four unique updates/varieties of a quite generic and common 5e creature.
Next, an article titled “Adventure Craft: Class-Centric Adventures” provides a DM with some thoughts on customizing certain gatherings (but not all) around a specific class that has reached a milestone level. As examples, writer E.L. Thomas offers up a Level 2 cleric mini-scenario suggestion followed by similar mini-scenarios for Level 5 Thief, Level 5 Fighter, and Level 11 Wizard. The argument is that while no player should ever be left out of a night’s adventure, every player should have their own night to shine. The article makes a solid argument for this, and reminds us DMs (myself included) that every player class deserves a chance to be the real hero for the night.
Writer Justin Penison follows this article up with one of my favorite reads of the new issue — “House Rules: Critical Care Unit.” While he discusses options for rolling natural 20s and how to make them more realistic or at least more tense, it’s his discussion (and an included table) on how to handle natural 1s and their follow-out that really had me thinking. (I even snapped a picture of the table, printed it out, and taped it into my DM notebook for use starting in tonight’s game.) If you’re a DM, this article is not to be missed.
E.L. Thomas follows things up with a piece titled “Random Nonsense: Bring on the Booty!,” a collection of “pirate” themed charts for rolling trinkets, art, treasure, and magic items. I’m hoping to see this “Random Nonsense” article continued with other themes. I can think of a few — deserted town, abandoned temple/wizard tower, jungle, and maybe a creature/non-humanoid bazaar. Six tables in all, and some great trinkets and items to pull out and use if you’re not currently in the middle of a pirate themed adventure.
Wrapping up Issue #1 is the final mini adventure titled Pull Your Weight. This one is VERY interesting to me due to its setting. After the included map, the DM is provided with the background of a small town that has experienced a major catastrophe (of sorts) and is now fractured into floating zones. A renowned pirate of the air has been spotted — will the players join the crew or fight? Options are provided for the DM to allow the players to decide how they wish to align themselves and then the adventure begins. The NPC captain and some new creature stat boxes are provided along with a new magic item.
And there are four pre-gen characters (with images) scattered across the 64 pages — Level 1 Ranger, Level 1 Rogue, Level 1 Wizard, and Level 1 Fighter. Each has a bonus magic item that isn’t overpowered but matches the overall theme and personality and artwork of the character.
All in all, I’m very impressed with Issue #1. It’s a hefty book for $8 US — well worth the price IMO for the mini adventures, the articles, and the DM resources such as charts and pre-gen characters.
Issue #2 is the Halloween issue… I’ll report back next month on its contents.