Dungeon Magazine #68

d68
OMG! Why am I writing this instead of playing Fallout!

The Artist’s Loving Touch
by Charles C. Reed
AD&D
Level 2-4

An adventure with no redeeming qualities. A sculptor is turning people into statues. (Weird, never seen that one before.) He’s aided by wererats and jermaine. He thinks he’s doing good. The party is hired as guards for an art event, then they randomly find a woman looking for her missing husband. Rumors abound, a lot related to the sculptor. Telegraph much? This is akin to the notes you jot down in 10 minutes to run your game Friday night, but over ten or twelve pages. No interesting content at all. Wererates. Wow.

Convergence
by Christopher Perkins
Alternity
Level 1

I suck at SciFi/Space, so no review from me for this space station tickery adventure.

One Winter’s Night
by David Zenz
AD&D
Levels 1-2

Side-Trek Uh, it’s an tree cuttinging engineering mini-game. A young boy summons the party to help free his uncle, trapped under a tree. Goblins and wolves are nearby and attack if the party takes too long. There are a wide variety of options offered for freeing the guy, which is good. None of them mention time, which is bad. The adventure makes a point of the timeline and then gimps the timing aspect? Hmmmm … Nice imagery of snow in a fir forest, but it takes a lot of words to get there.

The Trouble with In-Laws
by W.D.B. Kenower
AD&D
Levels 1-3

Oh … so close. The hook in this is finding a locket in a cave. The cave also some dead bodies in it, being gnawed upon by spiders. Checking things out in the nearby town discovers a kidnapped woman, the owner of the locket. Nosing about discovers some leads to an old keep, and ye old assault then begins. This does several things quite well. The hook, a discovered item, is nice. The information in town is organized, with “here’s this person and heres what they know”, and it’s fairly easy to see how one lead can point out another person to seek out. There’s a good encounter near the keep, some attention paid to decent wandering and town encounters, and an order of battle for how the baddies in the keep react. It’s a bit … I don’t know. Dry isn’t the right word. It’s a bit flat. The characters, town, and so on are all pretty one-dimensional and lack the flavor that makes for great NPC’s. I’ll chuck this in to the “organized well” category and also the “lacks imagination” category that is oh so rare.

Al-Kandil
by John Baichtal
Al-Qadim
Levels 5-10

Side-Trek. A cursed magic item: a genie map that has a guy in it instead of a genie. He tries to trick someone into taking his place. Nice idea for a cursed object, if done in three sentences.

Stepping Stones
by Lisa Smedman
AD&D
Levels 6-8

This looks a lot like one of the modern D&D 5E adventures published by WOTC, at least in style. It’s a rough outline of an adventure with oddly specific details thrown in. A blind woman has a treasure map. If you wait a month and find some standing stones you can get a crown that lets you turn some stones into trolls … with their bags of gold. There are some centaurs nearby that know where the standing stones are. They hate dwarves. That’s the adventure. It’s all very general, almost like someone jotted some notes down on a page: “centaurs nearby know the location of the stone but hate dwarves.” And then centaur stats and names. Very odd. It’s more of a description of a potential plot outline then it is an adventure.

Merkin’s Magic
by Brian Corvello
AD&D
Levels 5-9

Imaginative but not evocative. Some dwarves hire you to find out what’s going on in the forest. It’s full of plant monsters created by a now-evil treant that was corrupted by a now-dead wizard in his now-abandoned mansion in the forest. The integration of the monsters into the adventure is well down, they fit. There’s a nice NPC in the form of a were-spider girl. The wizards mansions is nice and wondrous in the non-standard/non-book way that I like, with some great unique items, like a talking door plaque, that the party can grab. It’s D&D as if you hadn’t read all of the D&D books and adventures from the last 30 years. The descriptions are not quite up to snuff and are a bit boring, but the concepts behind them are good.

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4 Responses to Dungeon Magazine #68

  1. Landifarne says:

    Winter’s Night sounds like a more interesting random edge-of-wilderness encounter. If it is cut down to one paragraph then there may be a use for it.

  2. krebizfan says:

    The Alternity adventure is useful to read. It demonstrates how adventure design was awry at TSR at the time.

    1) It is structured around “Objectives.” Each Objective completed give the PCs a plot coupon to get to the next Objective. This despite that with help from the PC’s patron, a lot of the adventure could be skipped. Instead the patron keeps information secret from the PCs for no reason and hampers the success the patron was supposedly paying for.

    2) The early part of the adventure recommends the GM play up how boring everything is.

    3) The final part of the adventure requires the PCs to fight an opposing ship that is much stronger. The PCs have succeeded in the mission objective before then and are likely to court failure for no reason other than a Star Wars knockoff needs a climatic starship fight.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a decent issue. The Trouble with In-Laws is a good take on a classic situation. As it reads, it lacks a really memorable encounter/exciting twist (although one could come out of play).
    One Winter’s Night could work well, and lead to offers of other adventures.
    The review of The Artist’s Loving Touch is harsh. It is a take on another classic theme (or some would say cliched theme). The interaction with the artists at the showing could be fun. The plot is simple and obvious, but do highly complicated plots with nuanced characters really work that well in play?
    Stepping Stones has promise. If the PCs solve the riddle, it is a risk/reward situation as a tough battle awaits those wanting the gold.
    Keep the reviews of old and new rolling in. Did you like They Served Brandolyn Red?

  4. Lee says:

    I put Trouble with In-Laws on my to-run-someday list years ago, but I can never seem to get the enthusiasm to actually run it. I agree, it’s mostly well-written, but something is missing at its core.

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