Dungeon Magazine #64

Grotto of the Queen
by Paul F Culotta & Shari Culotta
Levels 6-9

This is an overly-verbose attack on a sea temple. Seriously, it goes on for at least two page, three if you count some sidebars, in order to justify the premise of the adventure. Evil Bad Guy hints to a third party that the adventurers are the right people for a certain job, then listens invisibly to the plan, and then teleports to the evil temple to warn them. This is yet another example of an adventure Trying To Explain Things. The byzantine efforts gone through are crazy, and very off-putting. Getting past that you get to a pretty decent wandering monster table, that are excellent little set ups for adventure. A little long, at a paragraph each instead of a sentence, but still good. There’s an evil village with a nice evil tavern full of Potential Energy … and they don’t attack on sight, giving the party a great opportunity for roleplaying and fun. The temple proper is … verbose. It’s trying to explain the room, what the plans for the room were, what happened in the room, and then sometimes what people in the room tell the party they know. I don’t know how many tenses of verb that is. The idea is that the temple set up an ambush, but another group of murder-hobo’s stumbled in to it, and now the party is coming in a couple of hours later to find the aftermath of a battle. There’s a nice timeline that goes along with it, with the temple finally figuring out what’s what. The whole “Surprise, it’s the REAL us!” thing is sure to bring joy to your PC’s. The treasure and scenes are not that evocative, but it’s a decent setup that plays to a group power fantasies.

Bzallin’s Blacksphere
by Christopher Perkins
Levels 12-15

The longest adventure in this issue is a big ol monster zoo battle with just about every evil high HD monster in the book. Primarily a wizard’s castle, with interdimensional protections and wrap-around corridors, it’s chock full of evil wizards, devils, and a shit-ton of other extraplanar evil creatures. There’s a sphere of annihilation growing in a town, and the local mage thinks that the old local mage, Bzallin, has a talisman that will stop it. Then some yugoloths break in and try to kill everyone, name dropping that Bzallin is now a lich. You go to Bzallin’s old ruined fortress, fight some undead and wizards, then teleport to this new extra-dimensional fortress. Kill all of the mages, devils, slaadi, etc in sight, then go home. This isn’t a very interesting adventure, although it foreshadows some of the design elements to come in 3E and 4E, especially the combined arms monster approach to planning rooms. Pick some monsters that could work well together and construct some pretext for them working together. This strains credibility, in my opinion. You have to work within the rules you lay out for your world and this world-view just doesn’t fit mine. It’s just room after room of combat. Nothing too interesting.

Last Dance
by Jeff Crook
Levels 4-6

I can only hope that there is a special hell for the designers of these one-trick pony adventures. The party is lured to a house to be killed It’s full of traps, the most notable are in the form of bodies controlled like puppets. The woman who hires you won’t get out of her carriage (her eyes are hurt by bright light …) and has pallid skin. How many parties, do you think, killed her right then and there? Notably, if killed she comes back more powerful as an evil spirit that possesses the house. Go into a room, get impacted by a trap/effect, repeat. I hate these gimpy/DM torture-porn adventures.

The Mad Chefs of Lac Anchois
by Jennifer Stack
Levels 6-9

A farce of an adventure featuring two cloud giants chefs/brothers running a restaurant in a famous culinary region of the land. Three giants food critics are on their way soon, and the brothers are serving frog legs. But they captured grippli instead of frogs. They kobold waitresses and ogre mage sommelier run interference for the giants, and they are belligerent if interrupted in the kitchen. Frauds, they have stolen their recipes from a Julia Childs cookbook. It’s clearly meant to be farcical, but I think you could fit into a fey-land adventure, or a nice dungeon-town environment. It IS badly organized though, in room/key/description format. Ihe important bits of timeline & interaction should be moved out of the keys.

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1 Response to Dungeon Magazine #64

  1. Chronische says:

    I liked Last Dance. It has a few good aspects – the design of the building is mostly empty space, until the puppet traps are activated, or worse, the lady is slain and the whole building becomes animated and hostile. I’ve run it a couple times using a couple different systems, from 2e to 5e to Dread, and the players enjoyed it each time.

    It depends on how well you use the few things you’re given. I think the feeling of being trapped in a murderous house is a good one for a horror game, to say the least! In theory, if they managed to get through without the lady dying, they could even have a sweet house that is totally haunted to hell and back to turn into a base after doing some MAJOR exorcism work on it, and places like that are hard to come by in Ravenloft! It’s not even too far out of town, but far enough that the troubles in that particular Domain of Dread would have a harder time getting to you.

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