Author – Ahimsa Kerp (@ahimsakerp)
When I downloaded Invasion of the Tuber Dudes by Knight Owl Publishing, I expected a quirky one-shot setting about vegetable people. And, to be fair, I did get that. But it’s so much more. I was shocked by just how much the author was able to cram into this 23-page adventure. Custom spells, character races, and some truly insane setting details made for a very memorable read that I can’t wait to bring to the table the next time I run Old School Essentials.
The setting is a mélange of the Wild West and classic fantasy, taking place largely in a desert around a former mining town. Upon entering the town, players learn that there’s a bandit leader, Jhadar Khale, who’s been kidnapping pregnant women and babies for some (semi) unknown purpose. Without spoiling it, players will eventually have to decide whether to side with the town or become an ally to Khale as they learn he might have justifiable reasons for what he’s doing.
The plot of the adventure is very straightforward – stop the bandit leader or help him achieve his goals. At first, I was disappointed by how simple this plot is but, honestly, it’s perfect for a one-shot. The uncomplicated storyline keeps players focused on their goals and the ridiculous flavor makes even the most mundane tasks interesting and noteworthy. Really, the plot just sort of provides a reason for players to be in this weird west setting and allows them to revel in the weirdness of it all.
I mean, in what other adventure do you have people becoming sentient undead called “skellingtons” or have the option to play a tuber dude? Oh, and don’t worry; the author goes out of the way to explain that “dude” is a gender-neutral term when used in to describe these tubers. Also, I’ve written and read the word “tuber” so much today that it no longer feels like a real word. Hooray semantic satiation!
Speaking of tubers, there’s a variety of tables concerning these vegetable-folk. Readers can learn about the important differences between the beet warriors, taro philosophers, radish rangers, etc. As goofy as it all is, the author took the fun very seriously and provided a satisfying amount of information about every aspect of this adventure.
And that’s what makes this adventure special. As silly as the premise is and as delightfully weird as all the details are, the world the author created feels carefully considered and crafted with intent. And the art! I don’t usually spend much time on the art but the linework by Luka Rejec is truly wonderful.
Every bit of this book feels…consistent, and that’s quite a feat considering just how many disparate things are in this book. A dungeon, magic items, spells, classes, races, monsters, NPCs, it all just works harmoniously and the end result was more enjoyable than I could have guessed. Knight Owl Publishing really impressed me with this and I cannot wait to see what they’ll come out with next.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. Also, this game is normally $10 but I got it for less than that so it totally counts as a $5 indie game. I will be taking no questions at this time.