Review Dungeon and Dragons Adventurer Magazine Issue 2 Review

The Grinning Frog

Explorer
Publisher
20231009_134903.jpg

Okay, so, round 2, by which of course I mean issue two.
This little puppy cost me £4.99 and the question is - was it worth it?

Although, the real question is, should you subscribe?

Contents:
  1. Magazine 24 pgs, A4 size, thin paper (80gsm at a guess), has basic rules and according to the cover a 'New and Exclusive Adventure'
  2. Set of yellow dice
  3. One sided Map
  4. Marketing flyer
Magazine

  1. Advantage, disadvantage and inspiration (2 pages, lots of reused art)
  2. Resting and hit dice (2 pages, lots of reused art)
  3. Spell Casting (4 pages, lots of... can you see a pattern yet?)
  4. Humans 2 pages of utterly worthless nothingness including this gem - 'Because many humans are able to live fully in the present, they can be well suited to the adventuring life' or this one 'Sometimes being able to see a version of your real-world self in the game is the best way to become fully immersed within it.' Maybe I'm just old and cynical but those lines make me want to bang my head on the table they are so utterly devoid of value.
  5. Rogues (4 pages)
  6. The Forgotten Realms (2 pages)
  7. The Adventure - (6 pages)
To be very clear when I say X pages, I mean that's how much is printed on for that topic, not how much is written on. There is a LOT of art and few words. I don't recognise some of the art but I do recognise a lot of it and I question strongly if ANY new art has been commissioned for this magazine.

Articles 1,2,3 and 5 are all explaining the rules. It could be said that WOTc have sliced up their rulebook into small slivers and are hoping to (re)sell it to a) geeky fans who buy everything, b) newbies who don't know better. It could also be said this is a cynical cash grab as they know that these rules are changing next year.

I know I'm going out of sequence but I'll do the adventure at the end - dice, just about okay for cheap yellow light plastic dice, map, would have been 1000 x more useful if it had reference numbers in the grids AND the fuzzy, soft detail of the lettering and terrain markings makes me think this has been blown up from a smaller, existing map and printed. I like a hex map, and part of me likes this, but meh, it could have been so much better. Still, it is printed on quite thick stock - I'll give the map a thumbs up - just, marketing flyer well look at the cr- -, I mean the great giveaways - oh wait, '4 exclusive miniatures' except they are NOT miniatures. They are standees. That is a different thing! WOTc have spent years selling miniatures, they know this. And sadly, that misleading marketing leads us straight to this weeks 'adventure'...

Adventure - The Forgotten Vault

Except it isn't. It's an Encounter.

You know how we know this? Because it says that on page 7 which is the start of the adventure. On the next page is says Adventure 1: Encounter 2. Which ties into what I said on the last review. Maybe they will turn this into an actual adventure by connecting the encounters... except no. There is NO connect with this issues ENCOUNTER, from last issues ENCOUNTER - and in both issues, they say 'adventure' on the cover.

20231009_134924.jpg

They use six pages for this encounter - one page is a hand-drawn handout map for the party which spoils the ONLY trap in the encounter, they take two pages to intro the adventure, and they use up a page and a half on stat blocks and creatures pictures. (I'm back to wanting to bang my head on the table.)

'But, Stephen' you intercede, 'what about the quality of the page and half you do get for the encounter?'

Well, there is the bit where I am fairly sure the map icons are wrong and that locations v5 and v6 should be swapped around otherwise you are MORE likely to encounter the real treasure room BEFORE the false treasure room. There is the river that serves no purpose other than to possibly take a character out of the game (they could have had it accessible at two points and allowed travel along it and/or had a fight in the water as the party cross the river - otherwise you are slowing them down for no purpose) or shall we lament the lack of wandering monsters, map positions for creatures and treasure and did we mention the descriptions lacked detail?

Also... god help me... also the one room which contains mimics, contains ALL the mimics that you will encounter. No spreading the fun out.

No NPCs in this issues adventu- sorry encounter. Well, unless you count the patron, who doesn't go to the location with you.

'But, Stephen' you intercede again, 'there must be something of value?'

Actually, yes. I liked the fact that the treasure was magicked so that once you left it, you forgot about it. That was a nice touch and I though the NPCs motives for hiring the party were valid. It's just a shame about everything else.

The adventure was done by Will Doyle according to the credits. I did like the DM Top Tips that you can see in the red Christmas bauble looking circles above. Possibly the best advice to be found in the magazine. Again, as I said last time, I wonder what limitations Will had put on him. He does not have much space to craft something more detailed. I'm more than willing to blame his bosses. Whoever is responsible, it letting down DnD with this shallow work.

Conclusion

I bought this so I could review it. I like the forgetting the magic trick with the magic item, I also like the magic item is a 800lb statue that will force the party to think about how to get it out. (Great challenge for a party of new players.) Sadly, that challenge is gutted by the fact that little to nothing will interfere with the party as they manhandle the statue so it becomes an exercise in maths more than creative thinking or fighting/resource management. (Personally, I'm floating it out of the river using the wooden doors that we are told are again 'thick oak' (other woods do exist, Will), or at least trying that.)

Is this worth it for newbies? No.
Is this worth it for collectors? No.
Should anyone buy this? No.
Does it have redeeming features? Yes but not enough to save it.
Will I ever use any of this content? No - apart from the forgetting magic item trick (I like that)
Will I buy the next issue? Maybe but only to provide the public service of reviewing it... maybe.
Should you subscribe to bag the extra goodies? No.

Whilst you are here

I'm not one for saying my work is better than someone else's work and I won't do that now. But if you do want a new adventure - feel free to check out my kickstarter than has just over five days left to run: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thegrinningfrog/crucible-of-ixium
I can promise maps with icons, NPCs with depth and detail and doors that are sometimes not made of oak...

Kickstarter Campaign Pages Crucible_1.jpg
 

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Clint_L

Hero
I’m a little confused by this review. You refer to WotC several times, but this is not a WotC publication. Also, WotC does not sell miniatures, as you claim.

That aside, thank you for providing a review of the magazine, though I have to say that just getting a quality map, standees, and dice for five bucks doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, regardless of the quality of the adventure.
 

Knorrrssk

Explorer
I’m a little confused by this review. You refer to WotC several times, but this is not a WotC publication. Also, WotC does not sell miniatures, as you claim.

That aside, thank you for providing a review of the magazine, though I have to say that just getting a quality map, standees, and dice for five bucks doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, regardless of the quality of the adventure.
To clarify for them, the standees are with the next issue; which comes in at the regular price point of £8.99.
 

The Grinning Frog

Explorer
Publisher
I’m a little confused by this review. You refer to WotC several times, but this is not a WotC publication. Also, WotC does not sell miniatures, as you claim.

That aside, thank you for providing a review of the magazine, though I have to say that just getting a quality map, standees, and dice for five bucks doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, regardless of the quality of the adventure.
Its an officially licenced product and lists a Wizards of the Coast product manager, editor, art director and producer in the contents. I think it's fair to say this came from WoTc.

The map is passable, could have been much better (reference numbers in the grid would have made it so much better), the dice are borderline fine. I'm not feeling the value.
 


The Grinning Frog

Explorer
Publisher
I’m a little confused by this review. You refer to WotC several times, but this is not a WotC publication. Also, WotC does not sell miniatures, as you claim.

That aside, thank you for providing a review of the magazine, though I have to say that just getting a quality map, standees, and dice for five bucks doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, regardless of the quality of the adventure.
Also WOTc produced the DnD Miniatures game which had a long running series of miniatures produced for them.
 



Clint_L

Hero
Its an officially licenced product and lists a Wizards of the Coast product manager, editor, art director and producer in the contents. I think it's fair to say this came from WoTc.
No, I don't think it is. It would be fair to describe it as you just did, if those are the facts (and listing those employees doesn't necessarily mean they were involved in the production of this product, it could well mean that they are being credited for their work that was adapted or reprinted). In any case, a licensed product is not a WotC product, and if you're doing a review, these sorts of facts matter.

Similarly, it is misleading when you write, "They are standees. That is a different thing! WOTc have spent years selling miniatures, they know this." This is not a WotC product, but your words again imply that it is, and secondly WotC have not sold miniatures since 2011; I believe this magazine company has a deal with Wizkids, as mentioned above (who also produce under license from WotC but are actually a subsidiary of collectables giant NECA).

As for the value: a set of cheap but, looking at the photograph, okay dice, a decent quality cardstock map (going by your description) and some standees (were these actually included?) along with a short adventure for five bucks is objectively a very good price compared by what else is on the market - those WK standees by themselves are about a buck apiece. Compare to the Wizkids encounter sets which are six times that price and don't include that much more (e.g. WizKids Encounter in a Box: Wagon Ambush).

Truth matters in journalism. If your point is that WotC should be more careful with their licensing because some of the products released under it are sub-par, misrepresentative, or overpriced, then write that; you'll get no argument from me. But I'll be straight with you: being slippery with the facts, especially after you've taken them to task for being misleading, makes your article read as biased, so when you finish with a plug for your own competing product, it's not a great look.

That said, I followed the link to check out your kickstarter...and it looks really good! I think your pocket-sized games look ingenious, as well.
 
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The Grinning Frog

Explorer
Publisher
No, I don't think it is. It would be fair to describe it as you just did, if those are the facts (and listing those employees doesn't necessarily mean they were involved in the production of this product, it could well mean that they are being credited for their work that was adapted or reprinted). In any case, a licensed product is not a WotC product, and if you're doing a review, these sorts of facts matter.

Similarly, it is misleading when you write, "They are standees. That is a different thing! WOTc have spent years selling miniatures, they know this." This is not a WotC product, but your words again imply that it is, and secondly WotC have not sold miniatures since 2011; I believe this magazine company has a deal with Wizkids, as mentioned above (who also produce under license from WotC but are actually a subsidiary of collectables giant NECA).

As for the value: a set of cheap but, looking at the photograph, okay dice, a decent quality cardstock map (going by your description) and some standees (were these actually included?) along with a short adventure for five bucks is objectively a very good price compared by what else is on the market - those WK standees by themselves are about a buck apiece. Compare to the Wizkids encounter sets which are six times that price and don't include that much more (e.g. WizKids Encounter in a Box: Wagon Ambush).

Truth matters in journalism. If your point is that WotC should be more careful with their licensing because some of the products released under it are sub-par, misrepresentative, or overpriced, then write that; you'll get no argument from me. But I'll be straight with you: being slippery with the facts, especially after you've taken them to task for being misleading, makes your article read as biased, so when you finish with a plug for your own competing product, it's not a great look.

That said, I followed the link to check out your kickstarter...and it looks really good! I think your pocket-sized games look ingenious, as well.
Having spent 30 minutes of my business time taking pictures and writing the above review of the product, I didn't feel it was out of order for me to mention that I happened to have a Kickstarter running that might be of interest to folks who had read the review. I reviewed Issue 1 without mentioning the Kickstarter I had running at that time because it wasn't a fit for the audience.

https://www.enworld.org/threads/dungeons-and-dragons-adventurer-issue-1-review.699910/

I'm surprised that the sticking point seems to be regarding the company behind the product. As an officially licenced product (that logo is on the website right down at the bottom in case anyone queries this Home - Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer) I hold the parent company as equally liable for the product as the company producing it. If this was done by a third party, with no connection to WoTc, then I wouldn't assign any responsibility to Wotc.

For example, I produce a monthly RPG magazine (which I haven't even named in either review) whilst it is aimed at fantasy RPGs/dnd esq. systems it has no official links to any other company and any reviews of that magazine should pick on me and me alone. This adventurer magazine is officially licenced - and in my book that means the parent company who have given out, and approved the licence, have responsibility for it.

The standees are in the next issue by the way.

As it has caused some confusion, and I feel taken away from the focus of the review, I will refrain from referring to WOTc should I continue to review this product line. Which I think brings us all to a positive conclusion. I appreciate your positive comments on my Kickstarter and the add-ons.
 

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