I did some reporting on the new 4th Edition “living” campaign Harvestlands a few weeks ago. I was interested in an alternative to “Living Forgotten Realms.” Origins presented the opportunity for me to actually play the first module for this shared world, entitled “Durlock’s Delve.”
Haaldaar and I sat down with a few friends and ran through the module. It was a standard dungeon crawl with some back story. I was a little disappointed that the module was so straightforward. Once the plot hook was in place, the module had very little RPG in it. That is not to say it was any worse than the “Wizards of the Coast” 4th Edition modules I have been playing over the past few weeks. Mike Mearls indicated that the RPG components of the LFR game were toned down for 4-hour slots. Harvestlands has to make the same sacrifice. I give it a 6.5 out of ten, as modules go. Certainly a good early effort.
I was disappointed that there was no tracking information to log your experience for the “living” part of the campaign. I was assured this was in the pipeline, but not available just yet. It would be nice to see how they are going to handle this, as a bad tracking system can kill a campaign. I never played “Living Greyhawk” in part due to its tedious and complicated character tracking.
Up to this point it may sound as though I disliked “Harvestlands”. I did not, but I felt it important to give a full accounting of the experience. One part of the module did impress me very much. The pre-generated characters.
Take a look at the PC I played below.
Even though the nuts and bolts of the campaign are not quite ready, I was impressed with the time and energy put into the pre-gen characters. I especially enjoyed the “Opinions of the Party” section. That is crucial for any decent role-playing and my party had fun with the different PCs. The author even spent the effort to have some original art created. This speaks of real energy and dedication from the campaign leaders. Two elements critical to the success of any volunteer run organization.
Although it is a little rough around the edges now, I think this campaign has a real future. For further information, check out www.harvestlands.com
Trask, The Last Tyromancer