A downloadable module

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The Wizard is just that. He wears a pointed hat. Never refer to him as anything else, through description, NPC dialogue, etc. He is the truth.

In the tranquil hamlet of Canny, there's a bounty out on a wizard. Allegedly, he wreaked some havoc before escaping to his Tower on the Hill to the north. As the characters discover the carnage he left behind and begin to explore his sinister lair, it becomes increasingly clear that whatever they're dealing with is definitely not a wizard- but he's somehow convinced everybody else that he is. 

A WIZARD is an eldritch horror tabletop game module for OSR systems. The characters ascend the Tower on the Hill, trying to survive in the face of a truly outlandish, capricious threat, and possibly stop it. 

  • A 25 room dungeon - the horrid Tower on the Hill, the wizard's domain 
  • Haunting monochrome illustrations by Lou Ellen Allwood
  • Pulsing, infected maps by Johan Nohr of MÖRK BORG
  • An extensive, optional dungeon - the Abyss, a strange void dimension, written by Jonathan Wojcik AKA Bogleech 

"Well, I am a little disappointed that a module about a wizard is just about a wizard." -Dave Damage

Content Warnings: (gore and dismemberment, vomit, pregnancy imagery, mind control, bugs, unreality, trypophobia, self-harm, forced immoral decisions, hallucinations) 

Purchase

Buy Now$8.00 USD or more

In order to download this module you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $8 USD. You will get access to the following files:

awizardspreads.pdf 43 MB
awizardpages.pdf 44 MB
toweronthehillmap.jpg 21 MB
awizard-noblackbgs.pdf 13 MB
awizard-noblackbgs-pages.pdf 11 MB

Download demo

Download
wizardpreview.pdf 4 MB

Development log

Comments

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Absolutely LOVED reading and playing this! The Abyss in particular is amazing -- just so fun to read and watch the players try to puzzle out its mechanics. The writing in this whole module is so, so good. I often had to restrain myself from revealing too much detail because I wanted to share the writing with the players. As someone else commented below, the sort of  asides/extra details that are for the DM's eyes only really made this extra fun.

I DMed this for a party of 3 who started with level 1 D&D characters, and allowed them all one backup character, which 2 of them ended up using. It may be that their characters were a little too optimized for the dungeon (could walk on walls, high ACs) but I found myself adding extra damage + health dice to enemies. This was also my first time DMing, so I didn't realize how much detail I would need to make up myself regarding enemy stats. If I was a more experienced DM I'm sure it would've been fine, but I found it stressful to try to judge what bonuses made sense to add to monsters' attack rolls, saving throws, etc. without that written into the module. Once the party hit room 21, they did a lot of backtracking around the rest of the dungeon that ended up costing heavily. I did offer checks in place of some instakill effects.. with mixed results lmao.

Also, one small typo -- in the table of contents, Floor 4 is written twice instead of  Floor 4 -> Floor 5. :)

Thanks so much for sharing this module in the bundle for racial justice, and I'm looking forward to playing more of your work!!

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My players thoroughly enjoyed meeting A WIZARD, a pleasant time was had by all! 

This scenario is evocative, well-written, and easy to run without significant preparation. Extra thanks to Ripley for answering my questions on twitter.

I ran it for 2 players, using D&D 5e, starting at 2nd level and finishing at 4th. 2nd/3rd level were about right, 4th was over-powered for the ending. Towards the end, start giving bonus actions to the creatures. 

GM notes/errata:

Canny has too many NPCs, and they don't all move the plot along - consider merging the Bakers and the Shopkeeper. Rename the Baker family to avoid confusion.

Merge the encounters in #4 & #5 - have #5 push back into #4.

Room 9 says the key is for #2 - it's really for #3.
Also in Room 9 - it's hard to tell how much to characterise the character there - should we be trying to evoke sympathy? Should they speak? 

#16 is a great place to have Abyss Encounters happen if your players don't look like they're going to adventure out there -- this also acts as a soft wall to discourage them going back/down. Consider raising the DC to escape the Abyss.

Author feedback: 

For GMs on roll20, it's a shame that the maps show the vents - it'd be nice to have them hidden so the players can't see them. I chose not to use them for this reason.

Thank you for posting that errata on Room 20! My players had a really confused time in there, and it worked well.

Write another! 

Thanks for the review! Another errata or another adventure, haha

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Adventure!

Wizard! 

This adventure is really meme-able, and keeps getting mentions in my group

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Is there a way to get the noblackbgs.pdf in a 'pages' rather than 'spreads' format? Having it already set up in spreads makes it impossible to print as a folding booklet at home.

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I'll try to get something up! Been having some odd issues with exporting the ol' pdf file again recently, or I already would have done it. 

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Thank you! I would love this too!

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 I dont know if its a lot of editing work for you, but a DIN A5 or DIN A4 version would be really awesome. Would make printing the rules far easier outside of the US :) 
Actual review of our experience with the game will follow. So far I have 3 groups that want to go into the tower.

Update: I pulled the whole thing into InDesign and resized as good as possible with the PDFs.  Also got the tower map printed on PVC so we can write on it when playing.
Love the whole module!

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Horror can do a lot with what it shows, but it can do more with what it doesn't.

A Wizard leans on this.

If you dig the movie Oculus, the fatalistic body-horror of Junji Ito, or other slow-burn dread that escalates into grotesquerie, you may enjoy/be horrified by this.

That said, mind the content warning, check with your group, and have a mechanism to stop the game if it hits anyone too hard.

A Wizard is very effective horror, and unless you're used to consuming horror media with your friends, it can be tricky to gauge how it's going to hit everyone. So, communicate, communicate again, and have a way for people to nope out.

Also probably have a way for people to roll up new characters. A Wizard is *very* murdery, and it might be better in the fiction to be a big group of commoners rather than a small group of wandering blades, so that there's always new adventurers to pull from the mob when someone opens a door and gets insta'd.

This is a very well-made book, from the intense art to the strong writing to the bonus dungeon by Bogleech, but it's probably not one to lead anyone else into blind.

As for the wizard, it's just a wizard.

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Thank you very much for the detailed review!

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Got this as part of the  "Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality" and I love it! I'm planning to use this as a one-shot. Any suggestions about what general level the PCs have to be at to have at least a chance of survival? This module reads as very deadly.

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It's definitely deadly. One good way to do it is to have the PC's level up after every 2 floors, so they're level 3 by the final one. You could also give them more chances to make saves or reduce all damage by one step.

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I love the art, I love how much the story does a lot with a little. In a world so full of  knowledge and stats and lore behind every little detail, it's so fun and upsetting to experience something truly unknowable. I might try to finagle this into a 5e setting, and can't wait to throw my friends into a spooky Halloween one-off special with this story.

Thank you! I love holiday specials..

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I backed this on Kickstarter (don't remember how I first discovered it but I'm so glad I did) and just ran it for the first time. Our regular GM needed to take a week off so I decided to fill in with A Wizard, using the One Shot World system. I had a group of 4 willing victims adventurers, most of whom were new to the system and one who was new to TTRPGs entirely. 

I loved it and only heard good things from the players! There were so many cries of "Gross," "Oh God, no" and "Why is it sticky?!" I especially loved the brief but evocative descriptions, using all the senses, and how it turned their expectations on their heads. Nothing was safe, they avoided the actual treasures I offered, ran away from the keys, and yet they kept opening the next door into the next set of horrors. I was so excited to share the art with them every time there was a reveal. I wish I had more time than a single session but I will definitely be running it again when I have a fresh audience.

Thank you for the well crafted evening of unpleasantness and the inspiration for future wizards in pointy hats.

BE SEEiNG YoU.

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Thank you for the lovely review! Happy to terrify players. 

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It makes me go "Oh god. Oh fuck. Hell no" every single page.  Just a normal wizard. Please buy it.

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Got this in the bundle, and dear lord, I love it. But, I especially love The Abyss by Bogleech, given I've been a fan of their work for years and I'd call it the best part of the whole thing, and honestly I'd love to see you write up a full-on campaign in that vein with 'em, just set in that weird void.

If only because I'm still waiting for my full-on Bogleech RPG fix thanks to Mortasheen being stuck in development hell, grumble grumble...

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Glad to hear you liked it! I'd love to work with him in the future, we'll see where the cards fall ;)

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I supported this on Kickstarter, and I just ran my first session of A WIZARD. I'll have to say, without hyperbole, this is one of the coolest, most fascinating, and best modules I've ever read in my 20 years of DMing. I think this would fall in my top three favorite modules. But accolades aside, I'm torn how to review this without spoilers; part of the joy I got from this module was simply to read and discover the wizard's tower.

The tower itself has great encounters that are briefly, succinctly, and imaginatively written, allowing for a lot of improv and exploration. The tower doesn't have random encounters, and other typical OSR elements, instead drilling down to the weird, and focusing on wet, raw horror; we started playing as OSE and the game felt like Mörk Borg by the end of the session.

There's a delicious internal commentary the WIZARD shares with the DM; things are definitely NORMAL and very OKAY. Disobedient apprentices get WHAT THEY DESERVE. This creature has a perfectly NORMAL AMOUNT OF LIMBS...etc

I'm a cheapskate at times, but I will tell you that the $8 (current price) is far too low. The quality of the writing and art is worth much, much more. I'd love to see this embellished further in the future, expanding the town, enriching those NPCs, and incorporating the abyss better (e.g.: what if the players become apprentices? Or, where did the WIZARD come from? The abyss could be used to flesh that out more). 


But if you like horror (gore, body horror, suspense), like to mess with your players, and have a visceral good time, BUY THIS MODULE. (Disclaimer: I have no financial ties; I just was really dang impressed with this module).

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Thank you so, so much for the kind review! I appreciate it. More A Wizard content may be in store for the future... ;) 

Oh that's really exciting! I'm going to run the module again for a different group next Thursday. If it'd be helpful, I could compile feedback and reactions from my players for you. If there's anything I can do to be of support, don't hesitate to let me know!

Please do! Send any of that to my twitter, @Donovanplanet. I'd love to hear feedback, reactions, etc.