OAR3

The Isle of Dread (2019)

Here’s Goodman Games’ Original Adventures Reincarnated version of the Isle of Dread (2019). Everything I said yesterday about Into the Borderlands applies here, give or take, so I won’t go into that again. Let’s focus on the awesome.

This is the second rodeo so the book feels a liiiitle bit better realized. There is color inside, for starters (I am not actually sure Into the Borderland ever had color, but my fifth printing, at least, is all black and white). There is a little bit clearer presentation of what is new in the 5E conversion, too, which I appreciate. Isle of Dread, being a hex crawl, also just seems naturally a better fit for this sort of expanded content. Where the caves of B1 and B2 already felt well stocked in the ‘70s, the Isle has vast tracts of wilderness that can be filled. (I should note, interestingly, that North Texas RPGCon expanded both B2 and X1 in supplemental modules that kind of rhyme with Goodman’s additions — we’ll see those later in the year).

The additions and expansions are great. I love the original X1, but its open-endedness lacks a certain underpinning of plot that this book fills in. The way the taboo surrounding the kopru operates is clearer, there is a whole extra dungeon complex in the volcano and there are lots of quality of life updates that make this feel fuller and funner. I particularly like the fact that they changed the random encounters from a list to a collection of lightly sketched vignettes. Despite the renovation, it almost all feels true to the tone of the original. The new art does a lot of work here, showing me old sights in a new way — I love how I can feel my neurons firing when I try an reconcile the beloved past with the mysterious new present.

I want to run this, basically. That’s my highest accolade, I think.

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