Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ghostwood Haunts, by Johnstone Metzger

Ghostwood Haunts is the third of Johnstone Metzger's Dungeon World series, and while it's the third in the series it doesn't directly follow the events of either of the previous two modules. It does, however, focus on a town called Knifesbridge and Metzger's other series of modules is named River Knife. Crossovers are definitely possible, but don't seem expected or necessary.

I have to say that I wish all adventure modules were written like this.

None of Metzger's previous works feel like traditional adventure modules in any sense of the words, there is never really a central plot or story but you're given an environment, perhaps a mountainous valley or an island or a riverside town, with all of the tools for introducing a series of events that can lead to really bad things happening. In Ghostwood Haunts, if the players neglect or ignore any one event than the greedy brigands or undead things lurking in the shadows will quickly take control of or destroy the township caught in the middle.

In this adventure an unscrupulous mayor holds sway over the town of Knifesbridge where the populace is being terrorized by bandits calling themselves the Wolf Pack. This threat, though formidable, almost seems like a red herring compared to the coven of witch-ghosts that populate the town and the Ghostwood surrounding it. While it takes some work to free these witches from their undead prisons, one careless player could conceivably do it while searching for the Wolf Pack, and one NPC will definitely do it if the players spend too long attempting to smoke out the Wolf Pack from their hideouts.

Metzger illustrates many connections and details between the NPCs and threats, but even if a piece of info seems useless it's still usable and can feed back onto the adventure he has outlined in some way. The names of some of the NPCs seem contrived or lazily written, and maybe that's because he expects you to change them, for example there is no way I'm ever going to refer to the mayor as Old King Cole. But otherwise, I really enjoyed reading this and plan on using this the next time I GM as there is plenty of wiggle room to file off the serial numbers and place this town into any fantasy setting.

You can purchase both pdf and print versions of "DW3 - Ghostwood Haunts" at DriveThruRPG or just a print version at Lulu
Johnstone Metzger also has a blog and a patreon campaign for writing up monsters in Dungeon World and Labyrinth Lord stats