TSR The Cult of Abaddon - Release from NuTSR/TheEvilDM

@Morrus they are using your name, sue for copyright. lol.

The falling damage is pretty much the old 1e/2e damage. 1d6 per 10'. It's written so wonky however, that sussing that out takes a re-read or three...
 

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Stormonu

Legend
I guess the falling damage thing is “to make sure” people aren’t using the compiled damage Gary once noted as being the intended way to calculate falling damage (i.e., a 30 ft. fall would be 6D6; 1d6 for 10 feet, 2d6 for the next 10 feet, 3d6 for the third 10 feet). But an absolutely horrible way it was written out, and rather unneccessary all-in-all.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I guess the falling damage thing is “to make sure” people aren’t using the compiled damage Gary once noted as being the intended way to calculate falling damage (i.e., a 30 ft. fall would be 6D6; 1d6 for 10 feet, 2d6 for the next 10 feet, 3d6 for the third 10 feet). But an absolutely horrible way it was written out, and rather unneccessary all-in-all.
It's really confusing the way they've written it - it's listed as 3d6 damage but actually it should be 6d6 except we'll never mention the actual final calculation of 6d6 in our example and end it with "making it 3d6" so that it feels like the final calculation ends with the roll being 3d6.

Also having a special falling damage rule in a module is a weird thing anyway unless its there because the adventure really features falling such that you don't want the GM to use whatever falling damage rules are in the OSR ruleset they're using - like is it a mountain climbing adventure or something?
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I know this isn't the main thing wrong here but why are there "scare quotes" around "fresh water"? And that the word Water is capitalized in that last sentence. Do we find out later that there's something wrong with the water? Are there stats for The Water in the back where its revealed that its actually some kind of monster? Is "fresh water" a game term defined elsewhere? (That would at least make some sense since the first sentence already implies that the water is drinkable).
My thought is that whatever OSR game or edition they're using (or just their own table) differentiates fresh water from contaminated water; i.e., the river is safe to drink from. And then they forgot to specify that in the text of the game.
 


adamantyr

Adventurer
My thought is that whatever OSR game or edition they're using (or just their own table) differentiates fresh water from contaminated water; i.e., the river is safe to drink from. And then they forgot to specify that in the text of the game.
If the water (and it's quality therein) is not a part of the adventure, then the paragraph is completely redundant and pointless to even have.

I recognize the style though. A lot of the oldest D&D modules would do that because they were locked into the idea of "We have to describe everything so the DM can run a proper simulation." Somehow I don't think a DM is going to be like "Oh no, the players are asking me if the water is safe to drink. WHAT DO I TELL THEM?!"
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I consider myself representative of "most Americans" and I don't think that the presence of fish in a river makes the water undrinkable.
It's not the fish. Well, no, it is the fish. And their poop, and the parasites, and metal particulates, and the rotting animal carcasses upstream (some of which were fish), and toxic plants and algae, and lots of other nasty stuff.

It's why basically every culture has either beer or tea--both of those things make the water safe(r) to drink.

If the water (and it's quality therein) is not a part of the adventure, then the paragraph is completely redundant and pointless to even have.

I recognize the style though. A lot of the oldest D&D modules would do that because they were locked into the idea of "We have to describe everything so the DM can run a proper simulation." Somehow I don't think a DM is going to be like "Oh no, the players are asking me if the water is safe to drink. WHAT DO I TELL THEM?!"
And this as well. I seem to recall something in the 1e DMG about rolling each month to see if you picked up a disease.

But yeah. I can very much see saying that there's a river that connects the two towns, since it provides atmosphere. But anything else--including have the second town, which appears to have little or no bearing on this adventure--is unnecessary.
 

The original reason for the 'over descriptive' text was in 1e, there were no rolls for basic searches.

So if you didn't say there was a table in the room, there was no way to check the table leg for the hidden 'Ring of Feather Fall'.

In modern gaming, it might be good flavor text (if it's well written anyway) but it's also mostly unnecessary.
 

If the water (and it's quality therein) is not a part of the adventure, then the paragraph is completely redundant and pointless to even have.
But yeah. I can very much see saying that there's a river that connects the two towns, since it provides atmosphere. But anything else--including have the second town, which appears to have little or no bearing on this adventure--is unnecessary.

This is an area where I will come to the adventure's defense. The water is being cursed by the cult, and is killing people in both towns. Stopping the curse (and fixing the water supply) is the central plot. This is spelled out in the next few paragraphs.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
This is an area where I will come to the adventure's defense. The water is being cursed by the cult, and is killing people in both towns. Stopping the curse (and fixing the water supply) is the central plot. This is spelled out in the next few paragraphs.

Well, that makes more sense.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
This is an area where I will come to the adventure's defense. The water is being cursed by the cult, and is killing people in both towns. Stopping the curse (and fixing the water supply) is the central plot. This is spelled out in the next few paragraphs.
Ah. Makes sense, then!
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
It's not the fish. Well, no, it is the fish. And their poop, and the parasites, and metal particulates, and the rotting animal carcasses upstream (some of which were fish), and toxic plants and algae, and lots of other nasty stuff.

It's why basically every culture has either beer or tea--both of those things make the water safe(r) to drink.
.
And why so many people die of dysentery on the Oregon Trail.
 

adamantyr

Adventurer
This is an area where I will come to the adventure's defense. The water is being cursed by the cult, and is killing people in both towns. Stopping the curse (and fixing the water supply) is the central plot. This is spelled out in the next few paragraphs.
Ah, nobody said that was the case earlier. That explains the quotes.

Mind you, it's the wrong place to be vague; the DM isn't a player. Be literal and up front. "The villagers of both towns are unaware that the river is being poisoned by the Curse." How hard is that to write?
 

adamantyr

Adventurer
In fact, I think I see the issue with this and many other attempts at module writing. A lack of a technical writing class. Modules are not just stories, they are instructions.

When I was completing my software engineering degree I was required to take a technical writing class. A lot of the engineers hated it; they thought they had left English class behind. But it was great training in how to write simple concise sentences and avoid metaphors, colloquialisms, and meta references that would just confuse your reader. (Who, in the software engineering world, may have English as their 2nd or 3rd language.)

You can have your descriptive text and passion. It just needs to be where the players hear it, and maybe a bit of fluff to get the DM excited to run your module. The mechanics of your module need to be clean and technical. You have two audiences to write for.

(And I've edited this post a few times now just to make it better. Editing is never over.)
 


I have some minor and interesting updates on Cult of Abaddon.

First, the PDF copy is no longer available for sale. Vince Florio edited his page (link in the OP) to add "Due to some legal advice I was given, I decided to remove the PDF from sale. Thanks for inquiring folks!" The adventure is also removed from lulu. I don't know when this change was made.

NuTSR has claimed on Facebook that they have fulfilled all orders for CoA. Their website still shows it as "backordered". However, we do have proof that hard copies exist. One of the photos from TSR Con shows a copy on a table. And at least one person bought a copy, had it signed by Ernie, and did a review on Youtube. That person is Jason Schattner, aka Wolfphototech, who runs the channels "TableTop Gaming with Wolfphototech" and "Wolfphototech Interactive Entertainment". We also know from FB that he has applied for a job at the DHSM, has been in direct contact with LaNasa, and started making the rounds on some Star Frontiers pages.

His video can be found here:

He doesn't go into very much detail or useful information about the module. But he does show some video paging through it. From what I can see all the artwork is identical to the PDF, and in one shot I can verify that the inexplicable "Cover Art by: Madre Shipton" note is still on the back.

Jason claims in this video to have dyslexia and Asperger's (his word, not mine). So, I don't want to harp on this too much, but he doesn't get the name of the module right. He call is "Cults of Abandon", which may explain why this review is hard to find on Google. "Abandon" isn't just a typo; it's how he pronounces the name. Also his mention of the "Curse" of Abaddon" is a reference to the fact that Ernie mistakenly referred to the adventure as "Curse of Abaddon" on FB when they announced that the hard copies were shipping.

Jason doesn't go into any detail about the editing problems in this video, but in both the video before and after this one on his channel he goes into weird side rants that are clearly justifications for the errors. This includes a tangent about errors in other books, and a justification that "old people with bad eyesight" should be forgiven for editing failures. To me, it feels like a lot of whataboutism, and hardly justifies the scale of the errors in a 17 page book or the misuse of artwork. YMMV.
 


Sir Brennen

Legend
Old people with bad eyesight... or any writer for that matter... shouldn't be editing their own work. Your brain knows what you meant to type, so you often don't see the actual errors.

If you can't hire a professional editor, at least get someone else, or maybe a few someone elses, with a good grasp of the language your work is written in to proofread it for you.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Old people with bad eyesight... or any writer for that matter... shouldn't be editing their own work. Your brain knows what you meant to type, so you often don't see the actual errors.

If you can't hire a professional editor, at least get someone else, or maybe a few someone elses, with a good grasp of the language your work is written in to proofread it for you.
Or at the very least, but it away for a few days or weeks, then read it out loud.
 


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