Review: Unbound Adventures

Unbound Adventures is no. 11 in the series of One on One Adventures from Expeditious Retreat Press, . Its objective is to provide rules for play without a GM at all levels; it’s aimed at getting into the dungeon sharpish, killing things and taking their stuff. If you’re looking for a detailed backstory, lovingly-crafted NPCs and a tortuous plot, you’re in the wrong place.

As regular readers will know, I’m a sucker for solitaire dungeons and random dungeon mappers, so I couldn’t resist.

One thing that wasn’t clear to me until after I’d downloaded it was that it assumes you have access to the D&D v3.5 Players’ Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. I do, so that is not an issue for me, but if you don’t and it would be an issue for you, be aware.

HOW IT WORKS

Player Characters begin together in a randomly-generated settlement. Each day they stay there, they have a chance of a random encounter. When they choose, they set out to a dungeon and explore it to achieve one of half-a-dozen different goals, after which they can return to the same settlement or travel to a new one.

If they successfully complete a series of expeditions (one of each type) while based in the same settlement, the inhabitants hold a feast in their honour and grant them a title such as the Defenders of Wyvelrod*. These expeditions can be in the same dungeon, or different ones.

Travelling to and from the dungeon might involve wilderness encounters. The dungeon layout is generated from a set of random tables, using the D&D v3.5 for monsters, traps, and treasure – except for single-character parties, which need lower-level challenges than the Rules As Written provide; for these, Unbound Adventures offers suitable monster and trap tables.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE D&D v3.5

You will need some means of randomly generating:

  • Towns and town encounters.
  • Monster encounters, both in dungeons and the wilderness.
  • Traps.
  • Treasure hoards and magic items.

CONCLUSION

Basically, this is a means of generating a random dungeon map, reminiscent to me of Advanced Heroquest in scope and approach. It’s serviceable for that purpose, but a little expensive considering how much else you need to provide, and the price point of competing products.

If you’re considering this, I’d recommend you look at The Other Game Company’s Dungeon Bash, which does a lot more of the heavy lifting for you.

 

* Wyvelrod is an actual village near which I used to work at one time. I really have to use that name at some point.

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