N2: The Forest Oracle

From 1d4chan
This article is about something that is considered by the overpowering majority of /tg/ to be fail.
Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.

The Forest Oracle, known by module code N2, is a Dungeons & Dragons module created by Carl Smith in 1984 as the second module in the "novice" series intended for newcomers. In this module the player characters have to travel to a great and wise Druid to ask his help in freeing the lands of the Downs from a curse.

That sounds like an awesome and fun adventure for a new group doesn't it? Unfortunately The Forest Oracle is shit. Everything about it sucks.

The module's many problems include a general lack of editing that results in blatant errors like 3rd level NPCs that have HD as though they were 2nd level, HP as if they were 1st level and are said to attack with weapons they don't have. Furthering this lack of oversight is that the module's descriptive text is done in a bizarre style that takes more time describing absent things than actual details, like how fireplaces have no secret passages and the bandits, who are not soldiers, are neither running nor going slowly, nor are they joking or singing as though the author was paid by the word.

The module is a string of encounters that make no sense (and all the dungeons are straight lines). These include Orcs that capture people only to give them axes before ignoring them, a Nymph that begs the player to lift the curse of sleep on her lover (which can be done simply by shaking the man awake), and a former thief innkeeper that doesn't realise wererats are robbing his customers by using Sleep spells that they have no way to actually cast. The Druid? He asks the players to clear out a local group of goblins before he helps, never explaining why the high level caster or one of his mid-level guards didn't kill these goblins weeks ago. All this is topped off by gypsies who the players encounter on their way back to the Downs with the cure. The gypsies demand the party rescue the Pegasus they inexplicably owned from an ogre that inexplicably has a golem (which is inexplicably smart enough to discern if someone is a gypsy) under his command. If the players refuse said gypsies will mind control the PCs with high level magic that they, inexplicably, possess.

(There exists a theory that the module was intended to be a set of encounters a DM could swipe if he needed a non-hostile random encounter in a hurry. This is made more plausible by the fact that there's very little more random then the encounters provided here. If that was the intention, it was a failure, because the encounters in question are completely random horseshit.)

For these reasons and many, many more The Forest Oracle is widely regarded as one of, if not the, worst modules produced. For perspective, the module that is sometimes considered worse is the Avatar Trilogy, A module that has no gameplay except random encounters and impossible fights against deities. One thing often said The Forest Oracle's defense is that this amateur-hour horseshit is often unintentionally hilarious, like a "good" B-movie you can laugh at.