Supplement Review: Midgard Adventures: To the Edge of the World by Wolfgang Baur and Open Design

The concept of a flat earth is one that has often teased my creative spirit to write about. There’s just something about the idea of finding an edge to the world and sailing off that offers tons of fodder for my overactive imagination. Questions abound such as “Is it always ocean?” “What’s over the edge?” “Is the world actually cube-shaped?” flood my brain and some virtual me is left staring into the abyss… But Wolfgang Baur‘s world of Midgard manages to not only provide a forum for exploring these questions, but answers a few as well.

Midgard Adventures: To the Edge of the World - Open Design - Wolfgang BaurMidgard Adventures: To The Edge of the World offers a glimpse at what lies beyond that edge. Though it’s designed for PFRPG characters of 2nd and 3rd level, I think it would work equally well for nearly any flat world with a classical fantasy feel. And though it is designed for low-level characters, it doesn’t suffer from the same issues many low-level adventures have… It doesn’t feel like a low-level adventure. The PCs have the possibility of making a splash and getting known far beyond the normal “small pond” low-level characters often inhabit.

I hope that your PCs don’t get seasick because they’ll be sailing to points unknown from Barsella, one of the civilized areas of Midgard farthest west on the map. It’s a port city filled with pirates, smugglers, sailors, superstitions, and the rampant possibility of adventure. Why wouldn’t you want to go to Barsella to make a name for yourself as a hero? Well, somebody’s looking for a brave band of heroes to take care of a little errand for him. Along the way, they might hit a few unusual ports of call before they return. Or should I say… IF they return?

One of the great things about this adventure is the almost Sinbad or Jason and the Argonauts feel to the ebb and flow. Though the PCs are definitely in charge of their actions, some of those actions will take them into definite uncharted territory where they feel like small fish in the grand scheme of things. But though some of the adventure is a bit linear, there are phases where truly anything is possible. Depending on what they choose to do, they may make it just fine. Or they may not. There are pockets of sandbox-style play that I really like as opposed to the old “everything is scripted”-style modules where everything happens in lockstep.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), the adventure exists in kind of a disconnected space for me. Meant for 2nd or 3rd level characters, your PCs should already have a mission or two under their belt and there’s only a little help with hooks suggesting how to get the party to the opening scene. I wish there was a bit more here, but it will definitely be up to the DM to get the PCs heading towards Barsella in a previous adventure. It would have been nice to have started with a 1st level adventure to get the PCs into the Midgard swing of things before heading to Barsella, but there’s plenty in Midgard to play with so it probably wouldn’t be too tough to get ’em going the right direction.

Also, I wanted there to be more description of the ships and crew the PCs will be using to get to their destinations. Sure, the module should be more about the PCs than the rest of the crew – but every ship and crew has a character all its own. And depending on how long it takes to get from encounter 1 to encounter 3, I feel there needs to be more description there. Perhaps a supplement on defining a quick crew of NPCs with some unique characteristics or a collection of stories, myths, or legends that have grown about this particular ship and crew. Something to get things kick started in style with a bit more detail.

That said, once the PCs get to their first destination and all the way to the end of the adventure, I think the module rocks. The NPCs and locations are unique (and creepy in many places) and should provide a great session or three as the players get their sea legs on their way to wherever they are bound.

Since this is only the first of the adventures in the Midgard Adventures product line, I’m VERY excited to read the next few in the series and see where the PCs go from here!

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