Part 1 of a promised 12-part Age of Worms adventure path. And a mixed bag. There’s dungeon where you meet a ghost that wants you to bury his bones with his family. In return he will open a door for you. Leaving you find his family graves looted, leading to a small necromancer tower and then back to the dungeon to finish up the exploration. It’s got some decent puzzles and traps and I like the “exit and return” sub-adventure. It feels like it’s been explored over time but it doesn’t feel forced in either that aspect or the dungeon reset component. This thing has a solid core. But … you can also tell it’s a plot dungeon. In fact, it feels like a video game dungeon. Go to the central core. Go to wing one. Go to wing two. Go get key for wing three. The ghost fetch quest also FEELS like a fetch quest. The pretext is just too obvious. The real problem is the text. Mona has done a terrible job in creating something usable by the DM without MOUNTAINS of work. Read-alouds can stretch to four paragraphs. Endless detail in both the read-aloud and DM text. (And the returns of column long stat blocks.) It’s all nonsense background and vague non-specific descriptions. This is another one of those things that needs a SERIOUS edit. Doing so would reveal a decent plot-based adventure.
Temple of the Scorpion God
By Andy Collins & James Wyatt
Part two of the Shards of Eberron adventure path. Six rooms, six monster fights. Calling this piece of shit an adventure is an insult to the word. And you know what? It makes PERFECT sense. The intro says these came from a D&D session at GenCon in … 2004. My experience with organized play/RPGA/DDAL have been UNIVERSALLY negative. Nothing more than min/max hack & slash fests. One time they took the character out of my wifes hand when she announced she only had a +1 to hit, stating “you must have built your character wrong.” This adventure is PERFECT for those kinds of ass hats. And before someone chimes in with “Different strokes for different folks.”let me come in a preemptive FUCK. YOU.
Chambers of Antiquities
By Robert J. Kuntz
This Maure Castle level is full of treasure vaults and studies. The Maurer levels in Dungeon are so frustrating. Rob has some good ideas and they are well implemented. And they hide behind mountains of useless text about history and background, making the damn things hard to use. There is an INTENT that comes through through, and his DM text, where mechanics are concerned, are pretty well done; understandable without droning on about mechanics. But then you have to wade through three paragraphs of garbage on backgrounds and history and old room uses in order to get there. I wish we could get these levels without all the garbage. Like some of the other levels, the stairs come down in an great open room. Like some of the other levels, the introduction read-aloud for THAT room is pretty great. Like the other levels, the read-aloud falls to simple facts after that, generally useless and uninspiring. And then there are exceptions. For every two well-done mechanics rooms there is one where the mechanics and effects go on for a page. It’s hard to not recommend a Maure Castle level. If you have any interest in the castle then you need this. And if you don’t, or are just intrigued, then start with the old TSR adventure Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure. For it’s faults, its probably one of the closest things every published to the old Greyhawk-ish campaign dungeon style.