Into the Borderlands (2018)

This week, let’s take a look a Goodman Games’ Original Adventures Reincarnated series. These are great! Could they be better in a couple specific ways? Probably!

I don’t have big love for B2; it’s a fine module, but I tend to think it is beloved because it was printed in gigantic quantities, rather than printed in gigantic quantities because it was beloved, you know? Similarly, B1 is the superior introductory module, but it isn’t really a module to fall in love with. For this reason, I passed on the OAR series for a while and for those reasons I am going to pick my nits now so I can be more enthusiastic the rest of the week.

Again, these books are great, they’re gigantic love letters to the original source material, which are reproduced in full. They’re accompanied by 5E conversions that mostly stick to the originals, but also sometimes add or expand the material in fun ways. The 5E sections are accompanied by piles of new art, which helps me re-envision stuff that was previously fossilized in my brain, which is cool. Anyone with an interest in these old school modules will enjoy owning this book.

That said, I think they are trying to do too many things at once. I think the archival effort is fantastic, but along with the supplemental essays and interviews ultimately balloons the page count to a degree that it is hard to use the conversion module at the table — this should really be two separate books. Even then, the lack of PDF availability for the conversion (no doubt a condition of the licensing deal) also diminishes playability (I don’t think I could photocopy the maps without taking the book apart, honestly), which is a shame, because I think the conversion is the real legacy of these books (and their source material). Adventures want to be played!

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