DMs Guild Review – The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh

A large collection of single-page adventures, themed around Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

A review copy of “The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Curated by: M. T. Black

The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh is a collection of 47 one-page adventures. In this case, adventure can mean anything from a dungeon crawl to a murder mystery to a tavern brawl to exploring a chain of islands, all designed to fit within the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign. The huge variety of content is staggering, though it also comes saddled with some annoying formatting issues.

With so many mini-adventures it’s impossible to cover them all. Some I certainly enjoyed more than others, but I didn’t find a single one that I was wholly disappointed with. The worst ones are okay; the best are fantastic.

Every single-page adventure is by a different designer, and vary greatly. Some have full color maps, others are in black and white paper with no art whatsoever. Some try to cram way too much story, even using annoyingly tiny font, while others turn and use landscape mode, which is even more annoying to flip and rotate in a PDF.

As part of the “contest,” the curator brought on a judge to award some of the submissions into five different categories. When reviewing this product, I purposefully skipped this page until I had read through each one, wrote down my favorites, then returned to see how it compared. It was an interesting exercise in differing tastes, though we certainly had some overlaps.

Among my favorites were the island-exploring “Craggy Island,” where PCs collect shells from various encounters to free a Sea Hag. “Dumplings & Dragons” features a nice dungeon crawl with mushroom-harvesting and a skill check to appease a dragon, but I mostly love it for its perfect single-page formatting and layout.

“Ice in the Veins” is a straight-up The Thing horror-adventure, with the entire page devoted to the NPCs, the timeline, and the shape-shifting monstrosity. That adventure was only a runner-up for Best Wilderness Adventure, with the the judge preferring a solid mini-dungeon crawl on a beached ship (“Eye of the Storm”), with a fun pufferfish puzzle door, and a hand-drawn map.

“Quite the Pickle” was one that both I and the judge loved (Best Urban Adventure), fleshing out a suitably pirate-y tavern with brawls, games of darts, and a friendly mimic who can communicate via Thieves’ Cant. “The Dreams of Prince Papo” was another favorite of mine, and I was satisfied to see the judge award it Best Overall Adventure, thanks to its unique, emotional hook of a toddler quest-giver and exploring his dreamscape, with an emotionally powerful ending.

I could go on and on about Kuo-Toa water dungeons, siren caves, a mephit-belching Xorn, a transformed village of Ettercaps and spiders, and an island chain explored on a 6×6 grid that reminded of the old Battleship game. The annoying differences in formatting, maps, and art pale in comparison to the excellent variety and huge amount of mini-dungeons and fun side treks.

Pros:

  • Nearly 50 one-page adventures, dungeon crawls, and side stories.
  • Something for everyone with a huge variety of writing styles, layout designs, maps and art.

Cons:

  • No formatting rules leads to lots of issues, including rotating pages for landscape layouts and terribly tiny font size.

The Verdict: The Lonely SCrolls ADventure Contest features nearly 50 one-page adventures for Saltmarsh, showcasing many veteran and new designers with an interesting limitation.

A review copy of “The Lonely Scroll Adventure Contest: Saltmarsh” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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