They've just released two -- Eyrie of the Dread Eye and Ruined City of Cyfandir. I have heard little about both. Has anyone bought or, preferably, played them? Given the general surfeit of free low-level adventures there is, are they worth getting?
Hiya! There are a few reviews on DriveThru RPG.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
Here is mine for Eyrie of the Dread Eye:
The adventure is excellently written with the GM (Judge) in mind.
- NPCs section has just enough description to easily convey how an NPC could be played, without providing so much detail as to overwhelm, followed by proper statblocks for each (why is this missing in so many other adventures?).
- Obscure rules that might otherwise require referring to rulebooks are put in a place where they can be easily accessed in the description, saving the judge a potential distraction during session.
- Random encounters are detailed, including tactics and tidbits about each creature's motivations (just enough info) for the judge to provide context.
It really is the little conveniences that make this adventure a pleasure to read. The author, Courtney Campbell (of Hack n Slash blog fame) does a masterful job succinctly and conveniently presenting just enough information to get a location right, for immediate presentation to my players without having to translate anything in my head.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the maps themselves aren't colorized, but that is a relatively minor gripe, as they're very detailed.
For $5 you can't go wrong with this mid-level OSR adventure for ACKS, as an added bonus, it should be very easy to tie in to the rest of the Auran Empire Borderlands region, if you have any of the other AX adventures, or the Auran Empire primer. It isn't assumed that you'll do so, however, and it should be easily addable to your own sandbox.
Someone else will have to discuss Cyfandir... I bought it in softcover, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I've read Eyrie from cover to cover.
I'm not sure if anyone will have run either of these adventures with their group yet... they haven't been out very long. In fact, the group I am running is on the other side of the Ammasaurean sea from Southern Argolle, so that's a long journey away.
Oh, on another note, one thing you get with ACKS is a very active discord community. If you're up for it, they have personally given me hours of tips and tricks, and general info about the system... so much so that I've made friends there. You can often find the creator of the game, and other collaborators and judges, who can answer questions or give suggestions in a very quick feedback loop.
I've only been using ACKS for a little over a month, and if you're wanting to deep dive into the optional rules or domain play, it can be a bit intimidatingly meaty compared to other OSR games.
In the event you're curious about the discord, I try to keep an active link to join it here on the forums
I've had a chance to skim both of the adventuers, they're both very good. Both of them concern a ruined city and a high level adventure, yet they're very different from each other. The ruined city of cyfandir is a former elven city now occupied by beastmen and other traditional fantasy foes. The "city" in the Eyrie is hidden away deep in a distant mountain range and is filled with gonzo/eldritch type horrors and mutated beings. At least that's how it seems from my skimming.
That said, both the authors have an impressive pedigree. AX4 (Ruined city of Cyfandir) is written by Simon Forster aka theskyfullofdust, who has an impressive collection of 3rd party acks compatible lairs books. AX5 (Eyrie of the Dread Eye) is written by Courtney Campell, of the classic OSR blog Hack & Slash. If my campaign weren't already about to move past their level ranges, i'd be scrambling to put both into my home campaign's world.
I got Ruined City of Cyfandir, but haven't played it. My flip-thru impression is that it attempts to cover too large a concept in too small a place. It's mostly random tables to determine what you encounter as you explore the ruins, with some "set piece" locations for monster camps and the big end-monster. Essentially, it applies the ACKS hexcrawl conceit (random encounters mixed with fixed encounters) which is actually a pretty smart way to do it. It's definitely worth $4, but something like this, the exploration of ruins the size of a large city, should be a larger product.