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Trouble at Niven's Creek
by Christopher S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2013 13:58:14
I thought this was a very well put-together adventure. I am not familiar with the Wayfarers RPG, but I feel that this particular adventure would be easily adapted to any other fantasy RPG. There is a small "micro-setting", some good NPCs, and a suggested backstory. The author goes out of his way to suggest possible tweaks to the adventure to suit the GM's needs.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trouble at Niven's Creek
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Trouble at Niven's Creek
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 17:49:59
Originally Posted At: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/02/13/tabletop-review-trouble-
-at-nivens-creek-wayfarers/

I’m a sucker for free adventures with foreboding names and so when I saw Trouble at Niven’s Creek, I knew I was going to download it. Of course, the fact it was a free adventure with one of the neatest covers I’ve seen in a while didn’t hurt either. Even though DriveThruRPG.com lists Trouble at Niven’s Creek as a OGL/d20 adventure, it’s actually for the Wayfarers Roleplaying Game. More specifically it’s for the Revised version of Wayfarers…which won’t be out until later this year. This made going through the adventure a bit more difficult. After all, it’s filled with system specific terminology and without the core rulebook, the lexicon can come across a bit nonsensical. The good news is that the original version of the Wayfarers core rulebook is on Drivethrurpg.com for less than four dollars. Which means if you download this adventure and the system seems like an interesting one, you can always try to make it work with the original version of the rules or wait for the Revised edition to be released.

Trouble at Niven’s Creek is for three to five players between 0 and 2nd level. Yes, there are 0 level characters in Wayfarers. It threw me off a bit at first too, but I remembered 1st Ed AD&D had something similar going on with Cavaliers. That’s not the only thing that will throw you for a loop as you read the adventure. Trouble at Niven’s Creek has neither a clear beginning or ending. Instead, it leaves that in the hands of the GM. This is a bit odd, especially for an adventure that says it was, “created to be run at a convention or as an introductory adventure.” I would think an either of those would be a little more concrete or hand holding, but that’s not how Wayfarers does things. The writers of the adventure itself seem to pride themselves on that, but it also makes the adventure a bit inaccessible to new GMs.

The adventurer revolves around a group of missing surveyors. This party went to explore “The Tomb of Vey Moss” and never came back. The PCs are there to solve what went wrong and recover any bodies that they can. The adventure then hinges on exploring the Tomb along with the DM deciding who betrays who as well as why, when, where and how. The adventure itself gives you a set of possible outcomes but they are only vague threads that the GM need to fully flesh out.

It’s not just the endings that the adventure is sparse on details with, but with locations and NPCs as well. The major NPCs only get about a paragraph of description while minor NPCs get a sentence. The entire town of Niven’s Creek only gets three-fourths of a page. For GMs and players who like a lot of detail to their published adventures, Trouble at Niven’s Creek will probably rub them the wrong way. “How big is this building? What can I search?” Etc. Etc. For a GM just looking for a few plot threads that they can weave into their own unique story however, I can definitely see this adventure going over well.

The one thing that is nicely detailed is the Tomb of Vey Moss itself. I won’t spoil things, but the whole plot of the Tomb reminds me of my old Rastipede from Spelljammer. This fourteen room dungeon gets six pages of description. It’s not the most intricate of interesting of locales, but it’s fine for low level characters. The Tomb contains a nice variety of monsters and magical items for the party to find, although it does seem to have a LOT more treasure than one would expect for an introductory level adventure. The adventure concludes with several pages of monster stats, NPC stats, a list of magic items, a random monster chart and finally, some pre-generated characters. In fact the only thing missing from this adventure is a set of quick start rules. I’m not sure why Trouble at Niven’s Creek doesn’t have QSRs, as that seems like a glaring oversight. After all, the Revised rules that the adventure is made for aren’t out yet and so something should be included to make it a) playable and b) decipherable to newcomers. Sure the contents will make sense to those that already own the original version of Wayfarers, but a free introductory adventure needs to be inviting and sadly, that’s something Trouble at Niven’s Creek just ISN’T.

I found the system in Wayfarers to be interesting, and this particular adventure piqued my interest enough that I’ll probably pick up the Revised rules once those are released, but for now I can’t really recommend the adventure. Newcomers won’t be able to make heads or tails of what is going on and people who already own the older version of Wayfarers will probably want to wait for Revised before picking this up. At the same time, the adventure IS free and it’s an interesting look at a system most gamers are probably unfamiliar with so although I can’t outright recommend, I can say that those gamers who are always interested or curious about gameplay mechanics might enjoy pouring this adventure over.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Characters (Original version)
by Sylvain B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2010 22:46:46
This supplement is the perfect companion to the Wayfarers RPG. A drawback of point-buy character creation systems is the added preparation time needed for the GM to write-up NPCs. This book remediates to this problem by offering a great selection of named and unnamed pre-generated NPCs of various levels corresponding to the most common fantasy archetypes. This product can also be very useful to guide less experienced players in their character's creation.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Characters (Original version)
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Wayfarers (Original 2008 version)
by Sylvain B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/25/2010 22:07:26
I have longed for a game that offered the D&D feel but previous and current incarnations of the D&D mechanics never quite did it for me. Wayfarers is no clone and has a personality of its own but yet offers the familiarity I was looking for. At first, I was worried about the 436 pages as I am getting too old for extensive rule systems. Much to my relief, the game has crunch in all the right places while remaining of very elegant design. This tome is a complete package, it includes everything you would expect from a players' handbook, a GM's guide, a well-stocked bestiary and a non-invasive but interesting setting book. It can fuel gaming sessions for years to come. Talk about value! The point-buy character creation system covers all the bases and allows the design of pretty much any fantasy archetypes I can think of. There is simply no need for countless splatbooks. The game is supported through the Wayfarers Guild Journal but I wish to see more adventure modules published to support the line. This game has actually pulled me out of my fantasy RPG burn-out. I sure hope it will get the attention it deserves.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wayfarers (Original 2008 version)
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Wayfarers (Original 2008 version)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2010 06:25:45
Wayfarers is a hefty new RPG from Ye Olde Gaming Companye. Like many d20 products of the last few years, Wayfarers is a fantasy RPG using the Open Gamin License, but that is only a surface similarity and something that Wayfarers goes to some length to distance itself from. This is not a d20 game however.


The first thing you notice about Wayfarers is its size. Wayfarers is a large book, 400+ pages. The second thing is the overall style of the book. It immediately brings to mind some of the 1st Edition AD&D books. While I find this very attractive, it also had a side effect in that I expected this game to be a D&D clone. WF is not. It is a Fantasy RPG and there are plenty of similarities, but it is the differences that I found the most interesting. Similarities include the Standard Player Character RacesTM in the most familiar guises. The art even reminds me of the 1st Edition AD&D PHB, also a plus, but might work against them for some. WF, unlike D&D, only has five attributes, not six. Wisdom and Charisma are rolled into Presence, which I like to be honest. Though I would like to have seen Perception as well. Hit Points remain as Health Points, but levels are gone.


Character creation is pretty straight forward. You have your five attributes, but they are point buys like GURPS or Unisystem, not rolling dice like D&D. I suppose if random attributes are your thing a 2d6+4 for each one might work, but I am not sure if that would throw off any balance. The real changes from its D&D forbearers come in the addition of Skill points which can be spent on Proficiencies and Disciplines which are roughly analogous to Skills and Advantages ala GURPS. Skill points are awarded by the Game Master for adventures and are spent to improve your character. Every 20 skill points or so you gain a "Skill Level" which is a rough means to judge the power of the character. Proficiencies and Disciplines are the feature worth looking into. Proficiencies work like skills in other games. You spend a number of points per "grade". Proficiencies are checked with a d20 per grade. The highest roll is then used to compare against a target number (read Difficulty Class). The Skill system reminds me a bit of the original system used in 2nd Edition AD&D and a bit of Chill. Disciplines are a bit like Feats, Advantages or Qualities, they are spent with them same pool of points and provide extra features that one normally finds in classes; only far more flexible. Want to be a "cleric" then buy Faith Magic Potential, want to be better at it, then buy another Circle of Faith magic. Want to be a Paladin, buy some combat skills and then later some faith magic. Same with wizards, or monks, or thieves, or any combination you can imagine. Here is the true strength of the system. I spent some time putting together some combinations to imagine various character "classes" and came up with nearly everything including ninjas, rangers and a witch.


Mechanics remind me of 2nd Ed AD&D. 1d10 for initiative, some percent rolls here and there. Combat is still a 1d20 vs. Dodge resulting in lost health points. Some neat rules on mounted, two handed and blind combat. Again, I am left with the impression of this starting with the same roots as *D&D, but going in a different, if not opposite, direction than True20 did.


The magic system is also fairly interesting if for no other reason than how something familiar can be re-used. The spells in form and function look like they are taken right out of the SRD, though altered to fit the system, which includes the three types of magic; Hermetic, Hedge and Faith. Spells constitute a full 100 pages. There are also Rituals that can be used. All in all a large magical section that can provide nearly anytime of magical effect or type of spellcaster.

The book could be easily converted to use in any other 3.x d20 product and visa-versa. The system is both familiar enough to d20 to allow these conversions, and different enough to make such conversions interesting, but not difficult.


The art is appropriate for the book's style, the faux-old-school feel. Some of the art is familiar, coming from various publisher resources, but that is not an issue either. It is all black & white, but at 400+ pages it is steal at $39.95. If the art was color it would be far more expensive.


The problem Wayfarers has overcome is simple, why would someone want to play this game and not say, D&D 3.5 or an older version? Obviously the authors of the game would point to their changes over the standard D&D rules and mechanics. Or even their newer magic system or the world of Twylos. Those are a good reasons yes, but is it enough for average gamer?


Certainly a lot of work went into this game. That is obvious. It has a nice clean look and the layout easy to read, if rather uninspired. I hate to downgrade it for that (I find some funky layouts difficult to read, looking at you White Wolf…), so I won't, but some gamers might. I do like the table layouts, much easier to read than ones in typical 3.x books, again more like a 1st Edition book.

Who should buy and play Wayfarers?

Anyone that enjoys D&D-style games but also felt that GURPS like point-buys were what was needed in their games. Levels and classes are gone, which will make some people happy, though Health Points remain, even if they are not exactly like Hit Points. I would suggest Wayfarers would be a good choice for anyone that liked 3.x but did not want to play 4.0 or True 20. Wayfarers is different enough from the retro-clones to be it's own game, but yet still have some appeal to people that like the feel of those games. So I also think it is a good choice for some people that liked 2nd Ed AD&D, but not 3rd Ed D&D.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trouble at Niven's Creek (Original)
by Robert B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2010 15:57:14
This is a good, short introductory adventure. The rules are "D&D Lite" and while I am unfamiliar with the game found it easy to convert to other quasi-D&D systems.
While the set-up is pretty straightforward (a grieving father hires the PC's to recover the body of his daughter who died exploring an ancient tomb) the adventure truly shines with the level of detail in describing the tomb. The atmosphere is very reminiscent of "pulp fantasy" with bizarre inter-dimensional travelers, horrific rites and obscure drugs. Some of the imagery may be troubling to very young players, but it is a welcome change from generic "monster apartment complexes."
Where the adventure falls a little short is in a couple of critical details, not the least of which is the location of the missing body! It's pretty clear where the body should be, but it is apparently overlooked in the final editing.
There are several further adventure hooks that can seed a starting campaign, which is also a nice bonus. For free, you can do a lot worse.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trouble at Niven's Creek (Original)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, Robert! We have since made a few corrections to TANC, and have addressed the issue you raised about the missing body! -Jimmy Swill
Wayfarers (Original 2008 version)
by Franck B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2009 19:05:12
Here is an absolutely excellent game. More than 400 pages that contains a complete game system, a setting a 3 campaign arcs to get you started. But first what is Wayfarers.

This game, released under the OGL, is a game that takes its root in the old-school gaming, but give a real nice twist that will show you that it's easy to do something new with old flavors. Instead of having an all random, class based system, you have a point based one. Easier and simpler than GURPS, but very deep still, you'll be able to create the archetype you loved in the old AD&D, or create a PC like no other much more versatile than any multi-class character. With a circle system not very far from Earthdawn, Wayfarers is inspired by many games but never tries to copy them, It has its own identity.

This identity is also given by very nice illustrations that give the tone of the setting.

Less than 5$ for such a game, and you can also get the first magazine for free. Why wait?

Hyb'

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wayfarers (Original 2008 version)
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