Dungeon Magazine #131

The Beasts of Aulbesmil
By Skip WIlliams
Level 3

Nice to see Dungeon back in the business of publishing crap. You’re in a village for some lame pretext (an old friend is gone. The church has asked you to investigate … or the baron hires you to find his kidnapped son because his men might be recognized, which is a decent hook.) People have disappeared. Everyone thinks the miller is evil and is behind things. If you go to the mill you are attacked by the evil wererat miller and his thugs. Orcs in the barons hunting cabin are in league with the miller and hold the son. So you show up, get a miller clue, and confront the bad guy in the first ten minutes? “You go to the grocery. Everyone gains two levels.” You do, however, get to learn ALL about how the wererat committed his thefts and murders. Useless information. History and backstory are so seldom of use. The fetish around novelization is depressing.

The Hateful Legacy
By Greg A. Vaughan
Level 12

This ‘Lost Valley’ adventure starts with an attack by an awakened dire ape ranger. And that, alone, was enough to let me know how this thing was going to go. A society of warrior ogres guards the entrance in some kind of watchtower at a chokepoint. (Which might actually have been interesting, but I can’t for the fucking life of me decipher the map. I THINK the entrance MIGHT be area 7, but that doesn’t make sense either … Anyway, it has two more set pieces after the first two and then you get to pick up a bunch of coins in treasure. Joy. The whole transition from adventure and wonder to set-pieces with columns of pages of tactics has been more than a little disappointing for me. The mania to constrain the DM with rules was not a good path.

The Prince of Redhand
By Jesse Decker
Level 15

And then there’s the eighth installment of Age of Worms. Only four more after this. This is meant to be a social adventure. You need to talk to an elf, and she lives in a bandit town. Once there your only opportunity to talk to her is at a dinner banquet. There is a small dragon lair some Ebon Triad nonsense to go kill, if the players insist on stabbing someone who’s not a commoner. Rather than integrating the social aspects in the adventure, or integrating them in to other episodes, they instead have “the musical episode”; disappointing. Getting through the front gate takes a page of text to say nothing important. One event is “you roll some dice and regardless of the results you get an invitation to the banquet.” Another one is “you go to the elf house and get turned away at the door.” Maybe six “events” before the banquet and maybe as many at the banquet proper. The banquet has a host of NPC’s, with appearances, personalities, goals and so on, but it’s all presented in giant text form … meaning you’ll need to take copious notes to run it. Tables. USE. A. FUCKING. TABLE. TO. SUMMARIZE. Ug. Anyway, the events are longer than they need to be, of course, and this being 3e they amount to little more than some skill rolls. That’s too bad. The end result is that the elf chick agrees to talk to yu in a couple of days … the next episode. The events here are little more than a railroad, both before and during the party. That’s too bad. There’s a nugget of interesting adventure here, with a social dinner party and wacky nobles from the capitol … fodder for a 1000 LARPs, but it’s awkward to run.

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10 Responses to Dungeon Magazine #131

  1. No says:

    How many more of these do you have left to review? Because… man are they getting kinda old.

  2. Bryce Lynch says:

    Yeah, 19.

    I feel like one of those idiots on youtube doing a hot sauce challenge.

    “Look at me yall! I pulled off 8 fingernails! Wasn’t that fun to watch! Only two more to go!”

    • No says:

      Yes! Only about five months (nineteen weeks) left of screaming children, poverty, death in the streets, and the truly horrific linear combat grinds!!!

      A lot of RPG blogs and reviewers only review things they like or appeal to them. Your willingness to read and review shit makes you pretty unique.

      Is there a reason behind the madness? Do you have intense self-hatred? Is this your way of slowly killing yourself, reading dungeon mag after dungeon mag until they find you slumped in your room, lap covered in dungeon magazines with a highlighter sticking out of your eye? Is it a misguided sense of right-and-wrong? A self-torturing way to serve cautionary tales to the public? Are you sacrificing your sanity to warn us about the inherent badness of most RPG content? Are you the messiah?

      Seriously though, why do you do it?

      • NPCDave says:

        I think Bryce thrives on negative energy. Some people are like that, and it is not a bad thing. Reading stuff he dislikes motivates him to blog, entertain, inform and instruct.

  3. Bryce Lynch says:

    I knew there was at least one good adventure hidden therein.

    Also, the only meaning is what we bring.

    Also, that last statement is wrong. There can never be meaning.

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