Sometimes a dungeon master needs a basic & down to Earth module & that's where A Pipeful Of Trouble comes in from Bret James Stewart. We get a low level halfling adventure with some heart & heat for the player's PC's. The production & layout are straight up too the level of D-oom Products expectations. This adventure is packed with back to back old school value at seventy two pages of campaign setting set up goodness. This adventure packs in NPCs,nasty opponents & NPC's, lots of dangerous adventure locales,
twists & turns for the PC's situations, plus a brand new
evil monster with its own brand of weirdness.
The cartography for Brierfield, & the Merrywood route to the caves, along with the adventure a cave and dungeon maps are very well done. But I can't help but feel that everything in Pipeful Of Trouble is an old fashioned campaign set up. While the Tolkein flavor is undeniable its not an adventure that talks down the players or the dungeon master. Here the flavor is akin to a fully fleshed out adventure that can be dragged & dropped as a prime introduction adventure.
While this is an introductory adventure for beginning characters the entire adventure feels like a European fairy tale mixed in the with strains of Tolkien shifted through the lens of Dungeons & Dragons.
:Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis - FAIRY TALE (FAIRY TALE OF KINGS) - 1909 has some of the magic of Pipeful Of Trouble adventure ideals.
There's something to be said for bringing in a tradition Dungeons & Dragons style adventure with some solid beginnings for lower tier PC's. At this Pipeful Of Trouble succeeds in spades. The style of this adventure is one with clear goals & roadways of old school campaign ideals. This is a good thing for beginning characters & players in my opinion. The dungeon master is given all of the tools he or she will need to set up a fine campaign to beginning with.
There are several ways I can see using Pipeful Of Trouble, one is for a set up for a game of James Spahn's The Hero's Journey Swords & Wizardry rpg . All of the elements are present in Pipeful Of Trouble to really bring home the Tolkein while grounding a campaign on the dungeon master's stomping ground. The epicness of the adventure's background setting allows the dungeon master to customize certain adventure elements.
But the place where Pipeful Of Trouble really shines is with the Goblinoid Games Labyrinth Lord retroclone game. The whole package slots right into LL with no trouble at all & really brings home that old school feel without giving the players loads of horrid worry. That isn't to say that Pipeful Of Trouble isn't going to kill your PC's dead quite the contrary. But it means that the players can have a solid time with the adventure right from the dice hitting the table.
Pipeful Of Trouble does three things at the table top level & does em right. It presents a great introductory adventure, there is some really nasty business waiting for the PC's, & the adventure serves as a prime price of adventure gaming perfect for introducing new players to the OSR & for killing off the PC's of veterans who get cocky with a first through third level adventure. Is Pipeful Of Trouble worth the money?! Yes I think so. The adventure succeeds on two levels, one it delivers on its promise for adventure!