L4 to be published by Dragonsfoot..
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:29 pm 
 

Thanks for the pointer!  :wink:


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:39 pm 
 

First reactions, after skimming through:

Lots of work went into this. Those that love fidgety little details like everyone's exact HP and stats and such will love it.  In that way it's a lot like L1. Also lot's of connections to L1 including characters and such.

Hate the maps!  I wish they had done them old style/blue like the Old School products do today. They aren't bad, but the "modern" style takes me out of the time period.

First run through not that impressed by the adventure scenario, but maybe a more thorough read will reveal more.  Just seems rather blah and tame, but then Len wasn't reinventing the wheel here. I guess during the intervening years (Len first wrote this in the 80s?) a lot has happened in D&D adventure design.  Probably traditionalists will be much more taken with this than I was.

The companion is a really intriguing look at how Len runs his world, campaign and rules.  If anyone remembers his older "Leomund's Tiny Hut" articles in Dragon, they were some of the most interesting parts of the mag. Several were indispensible in their ideas and suggestions.

Nice that this was free! Len could have undoubtedly charged something for it and published it under one of the retro systems like OSRIC.

Suggest in the future Dragonsfoot not take on 130+ page projects like this...this one definitely could have been broken up into 2-3 separate projects, and not taken 4+ years to publish...

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:59 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:Nice that this was free! Len could have undoubtedly charged something for it and published it under one of the retro systems like OSRIC.

Suggest in the future Dragonsfoot not take on 130+ page projects like this...this one definitely could have been broken up into 2-3 separate projects, and not taken 4+ years to publish...

Mike B.


I dunno; seems to me like they're playing pretty fast and loose with WotC's IP as it is (as much as it sucks, Lendore Isle belongs to them, no?). Charging for it would just be begging for a cease and desist e-mail.

Yeah, 130 pages is too much to digest.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:03 pm 
 

Agree about the maps - not a big fan of that style.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:05 pm 
 

Yep, I'd agree Mike, the product is well produced and seems ok, but does lack that Old School feel a little bit  8)

Nice to add the Companion though I think.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:02 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:L4 Devilspawn and L4C The Lendore Isle Campanion are now available for download over on Dragonsfoot.


In case anyone is having trouble finding where the two download links are:

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... wn#p836984

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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:28 pm 
 

I agree. Maps are crap. Feel embarrassed for whoever had to put their name to those. Maybe they were desperate for someone to draw maps, but they didn't say so, so I suspect the project manager had a buddy who he didn't want to say 'no' to. Deffinately the big let down in the package.

I would have been happy to pay for copies of these if they had been put together more professionally. My first impression is that it's a solid work and I like the additional info in the companion. It goes a long way to tie together the disparate works of L1 and 2, L3 the butchered afterthought, and L4 the final community editting.

Would have been nice to have a polished product, but I suspect Len's heart wasn't really in it. All round it's a good community effort, and despite it's short fallings, it goes to show what a gaming community can do if it all pulls together.

Damn shame about those maps.


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:57 pm 
 

L4 Introduction wrote:It is hoped the new party will travel to Grest at this point based on the information provided in the module introduction. If they sit in Restenford or decide to go elsewhere then kiss this module goodbye and take up fly-fishing.

This kinda thing just bugs me -- especially as there's no information in the module introduction that suggests you need to head to Grest!

Start the adventure on the road to Grest and make the rest backstory, if the players don't really have a choice.  :roll:

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:05 am 
 

Badmike wrote:First reactions, after skimming through:

Lots of work went into this. Those that love fidgety little details like everyone's exact HP and stats and such will love it.  In that way it's a lot like L1. Also lot's of connections to L1 including characters and such.

Hate the maps!  I wish they had done them old style/blue like the Old School products do today. They aren't bad, but the "modern" style takes me out of the time period.

First run through not that impressed by the adventure scenario, but maybe a more thorough read will reveal more.  Just seems rather blah and tame, but then Len wasn't reinventing the wheel here. I guess during the intervening years (Len first wrote this in the 80s?) a lot has happened in D&D adventure design.  Probably traditionalists will be much more taken with this than I was.

The companion is a really intriguing look at how Len runs his world, campaign and rules.  If anyone remembers his older "Leomund's Tiny Hut" articles in Dragon, they were some of the most interesting parts of the mag. Several were indispensible in their ideas and suggestions.

Nice that this was free! Len could have undoubtedly charged something for it and published it under one of the retro systems like OSRIC.

Suggest in the future Dragonsfoot not take on 130+ page projects like this...this one definitely could have been broken up into 2-3 separate projects, and not taken 4+ years to publish...

Mike B.


Further thoughts on a more thorough read through....

Shocked at the amount of typos and badly worded paragraphs here, especially since this thing has supposedly been looked at by many, many proofreaders in the last five years. I found bunches of spelling and grammar errors right off.  Some of the paragraphs are worded so badly I had to read them a couple times to get the gist.

There really isn't an "adventure" here, per se.  More of a sequence of events which I found pretty "railroady" and very, very mundane.  I enjoyed the depth of description to several of the villages and hamlets, which could be transplanted wholesale to your own campaigns. I think it plays better as a travelogue than an actual module adventure. Some of the characters are quite interesting and i could see using them as NPCs.

I enjoyed the depth of description.....to a point. After awhile it becomes far, far too much.  By the end I was wishing for just "Joe, 5th level ftr" instead of the complete dossier on every npc. This level of description is just so unneccesary in several areas of the module.

Lots and lots of cool tidbits for Greyhawk historians. If you're not, I think the excessive details will bore you a bit, I know at a certain point I wasnt interested in some facts because unless you were specifically playing in "Len's World" you'd change them anyway.

The maps aren't just bad. They are hideous.

The more I read, the more I had that sinking feeling I get when I begin to realize I have absolutely no use for the module in question (I have suspected this for a long time in regards to what I had heard about L4, so I wasn't real disappointed).  I actually felt at a certain point it would be virtually impossible to run as written unless you use the specific characters given in the companion, and I would have no interest in doing so.

Len's magic items (described in the module) are a treat.  However, his explanation of magic items, their plusses to hit and damage (either or both), is so unneccesarily complicated I can't see anyone ever using it unless you simply wanted to make your D&D game even more confusing.  In that same vein, certain sections of the module (particularly Rugar's Maze, which gave me a headache), have to be read several times to be understood. I honestly couldn't decide if this was because of the haphazard editing or just Len's writing style.  

All in all, I was struck by the impression that Len's style and this sort of adventure are both artifacts of a long ago time. Dungeon design, writing style, etc have all evolved since the early 80s, and what was acceptable then just doesn't impress me now.  Undoubtedly I would have enjoyed this much more 30 years ago when my standards were quite different.  Now I just was left rather cold and had to mentally compare it to home-brew releases by small press companies like Pacesetter, LOTFP or Three Headed Monsters games and it doesn't stack up well.  In it's favor, it is a free release done by a lot of fans and not a professional publication.  Perhaps I'm just jaded in my old age.  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:22 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Shocked at the amount of typos and badly worded paragraphs here, especially since this thing has supposedly been looked at by many, many proofreaders in the last five years. I found bunches of spelling and grammar errors right off.  Some of the paragraphs are worded so badly I had to read them a couple times to get the gist.

I had the same feeling of surprise when the L4C file was sent to me for layout. I sent a note to the project's coordinator asking whether I could fix the issues I found, and then I proceeded to start fixing them as I did the layout. But ultimately the response was that I should leave most of the issues alone. I was allowed a little bit of leeway in terms of fixing obvious issues, but I decided to avoid any potential for making the wrong judgement calls, and I only fixed a couple small things. (Un-doing most of the changes I had already made.) *shrug*

I can't speak for L4 itself, since I only worked on the Companion. But I'd guess the story there was the same.

I also agree with the general feeling on the L4 maps. Not so great. Some are overly-pixelated, and I much prefer the classic old-school look of the L1 maps, for example.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:48 am 
 

deimos3428 wrote:This kinda thing just bugs me -- especially as there's no information in the module introduction that suggests you need to head to Grest!

Start the adventure on the road to Grest and make the rest backstory, if the players don't really have a choice.  :roll:


I completely agree. It's a horrible way to start out and get the reader interested and involved in the module. It comes across as very unprofessional.

As Badmike said, this project sorely needed to be edited and condensed.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:08 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Shocked at the amount of typos and badly worded paragraphs here, especially since this thing has supposedly been looked at by many, many proofreaders in the last five years. I found bunches of spelling and grammar errors right off.  Some of the paragraphs are worded so badly I had to read them a couple times to get the gist.

Len's magic items (described in the module) are a treat.  However, his explanation of magic items, their plusses to hit and damage (either or both), is so unneccesarily complicated I can't see anyone ever using it unless you simply wanted to make your D&D game even more confusing.  In that same vein, certain sections of the module (particularly Rugar's Maze, which gave me a headache), have to be read several times to be understood. I honestly couldn't decide if this was because of the haphazard editing or just Len's writing style.  


Proofreading - that's just unforgivable.  The fastest way to make any writing (newspaper article, novel, resume, etc.) a joke is to have typos and poor grammar.  Gaming material is not going to end up in the New York Times Book Review, so proofing doesn't have to be zealous - the language can be loose and colloquial - but even a simple text editor has at least spell checking built in these days (heck, as I typed this message, the composer here caught a typo).  I'll toot my own horn and say that I think I'm doing a lot better cleaning up Castle Of The Mad Archmage (and if I'm not, I want feedback!).

Magic items - the notation is crazy...  +1 sword +1 is confusion... How about sword +1 vs. sword +1H vs. sword +1D?  Any experienced gamer not get the difference there in two seconds?


That's my pain just from a cursory glance.  At a certain point, I think this project suffered from itself.  It had reputation, it was large, it had rotating staff...  These things need focus and stability, otherwise the last round of contributors want deniability and to see completion.  I hope work on L5 can be more structured.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:10 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Shocked at the amount of typos and badly worded paragraphs here, especially since this thing has supposedly been looked at by many, many proofreaders in the last five years. I found bunches of spelling and grammar errors right off.  Some of the paragraphs are worded so badly I had to read them a couple times to get the gist.

I don't think it was proofread, or most of the bad grammer and typos would have been picked up. If it was proofread, it was done by people with very bad educations or people with English as a second language. As a freebie you can't really complain about stuff like that. But a lot of people should be embarrassed to have had their name put to that, not least of which is Len himself. DF has done him a grave injustice.
Badmike wrote:The maps aren't just bad. They are hideous.

I remember offering to both proofread and draw maps way back when this project was first started. It is amazing that they picked people who managed to produce such shite in terms of maps and written text. That has to be placed squarely at the door of the idiots who PM'd the project.
TheHistorian wrote:I hope work on L5 can be more structured.

Well, I hope to God if there is an L5 they rewrite L4 and do steer well clear of DF. Working with DF will absolutely destroy LL's reputation as a creative writer. He harped on and on about how TSR totally destroyed his L3 manuscript, and then he goes and published this?! His credibility is shot, and DF have have done a good job of hammering nails into the coffin that is his reputation.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:13 am 
 

Badmike wrote:I enjoyed the depth of description to several of the villages and hamlets, which could be transplanted wholesale to your own campaigns. I think it plays better as a travelogue than an actual module adventure. Some of the characters are quite interesting and i could see using them as NPCs.

That would seem to be in line with L1, then.  (I haven't read L2 or L3).  As I recall, L1 was more about the set of characters in a town than an adventure plot.

Len's magic items (described in the module) are a treat.  However, his explanation of magic items, their plusses to hit and damage (either or both), is so unneccesarily complicated I can't see anyone ever using it unless you simply wanted to make your D&D game even more confusing.

Agreed completely.  There are some nice unique magic items, but the part about the terminology "+1 arrow +1", etc. is a bit too much.  

The only other criticism I have at this point is the detailed color artwork in a PDF.  It just never looks good, and it's because you scale the PDF to your screen.  If you must have art stick to vector-based b&w with clean lines, folks.

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:09 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:Agreed completely.  There are some nice unique magic items, but the part about the terminology "+1 arrow +1", etc. is a bit too much.  

The only other criticism I have at this point is the detailed color artwork in a PDF.  It just never looks good, and it's because you scale the PDF to your screen.  If you must have art stick to vector-based b&w with clean lines, folks.


My main complaint with the maps is that the style doesn't fit an old school product, particularly a 1st edition release.  Old Style blue/white maps would have been a much better choice. I suspect the maps were finished a long time ago, and the team that finally put out the item decided it wasn't worth waiting any longer for release just to have old school looking maps.

And I would like to say thanks for the comments here...it's one reason why I respect the hell out of most Acaeum members. No punches pulled.  I was worried most of the reviews would be fawning praise.  Anyway thanks for reinforcing what I thought, I was worried I would be on an island here as being a bit let down by this project, I was wondering if anyone would agree with me.

I think with all the independent products being released (by guys like Bill Barsh, Guy Fullerton, Matt Finch, Joe Bloch, Jon and Allan, etc) we now have a standard that is expected in the hobby, even for a "freebie" release.  I will say that one great thing about L4 finally seeing the light of day is that with all the go-getters we have in the hobby now, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone independently do a "rewrite" of the module and basically fix it up.  I liked so many of the village descriptions I'm going to essentially cut and paste them and do complete rewrites on them for myself, how long before someone does that to the entire manuscript?

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:08 pm 
 

If the errors are as bad as you say (and no, I haven't looked at it as of yet), it looks as if I'll be having to use my red pen quite a bit. Especially as it took me some three or four years to edit my homage to EGG, and that was with a party of one doing the editing (me).

I don't frequent Dragonsfoot or K&K Alehouse. I'm not welcome at either. The former because of the support by site administration of certain people there who seem to feel that dissenting opinions on certain things need to be resolved with a baseball bat to the kneecaps, and the latter because I support Castles & Crusades. That said, some of the stuff Dragonsfoot has is of good quality. Most of it is of the "take it or leave it" variety. I generally leave it.



  

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:08 pm 
 

I have only had time to skim through:

My overall impression is not so great though I am split. Having such a huge resource with its roots firmly connected to L1 is extremely cool. I will enjoy reading through the entire book. That said, I can see right now I don't think I will ever use it - at least not in its current form. I am not even sure exactly what L4 is supposed to be. Is it a module, supplement or accessory. Or maybe it is trying to be all three. In that case it can't succeed.

1.  Maps: The large geographic maps are fine. All the detail maps are horribly inconsistent. Some have maps have graphing squares and many do not. The scale is a mess.

2.  Proofing: Again, there seems to be a significant issue with grammar and overall readability. I know it is a huge project, but I saw typos on almost every page - and that was just taking a glance. Now, this is a fan project, so my expectation level regarding a professionally edited product are low. So I will not complain too much.

3.  Ease of use: I will need to read the entire thing first. But after reading the first couple pages I am practically lost - what is the mission?

4.  I like what I see in regards to the Greyhawk work. Of course, none of it is legally included. Free or not, WoTC owns all that IP. I think you can get away with a small reference without getting into too much hot water, but this module is loaded with references.

5.  I am sure I will like reviewing the encounters, NPCs and new magic items.


I really do not want to come off as wholey negative. Putting together this mamoth project took some serious work. I really do not care that it took forever to produce as I was not one of those waiting for it. I will get some enjoyment out of reading the entire text. For those of you looking for a ready to play module along the lines of L1, I think there will be severe disappointment. This module, and I use that term loosely, on a cursory examination, falls way short of that expectation. For me, I look it at as a fan project and that is all.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:52 pm 
 

I suspect the die hard DFers will pick up on our negativity and moan and flame about this nitpicking and how "speling ins't that impotent" over on the DF board. I'd be willing to bet the contributor's managed to check if they'd got their own names right though.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:34 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:I suspect the die hard DFers will pick up on our negativity and moan and flame about this nitpicking and how "speling ins't that impotent" over on the DF board. I'd be willing to bet the contributor's managed to check if they'd got their own names right though.

It's not just spelling, though, sadly. The L4 companion has a section entitled "Five Small Cabins" that really only has three cabins ... four if you're generous and consider the hold to be an additional small cabin.

Now this might not be a glitch; the intent might be that there are two additional empty cabins on the ship.

Either way, that's the sort of thing that ought to be caught in the editing phase, and resolved via communications with the author.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:46 pm 
 

While this Acaeum thead is good for Acaeum members to sort out the problems with L4, Dragonsfoot is really the place to post or PM criticisms and suggestions.

[Edit:  Upon careful consideration, I withdraw the  suggestion that people post L4 criticisms at DF.  That would be foolish and counterproductive at best.]

For example, I can post "Can a revised and corrected version be released soon?  Such a version should be easy to produce now that the rough draft has been savaged" all day long at the Acaeum, but that has no real effect on Dragonsfoot.

Politely PMing GnarleyBones and others might be effective in getting some response to the concerns listed in this thread.


Last edited by JohnGaunt on Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  
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