Dungeon Magazine #145

Five more fucking issues. I grow weary of tolerating this shit.

The Distraction
By Tim Hitchcock
Level 3

This is an excellent example of shitty-ass modern D&D adventure design … uh, where ‘modern’ is defined as ‘2007.’ A wilderness outpost is about to be attacked by a gnoll army. The party is tasked with getting behind them and disrupting their cattle to delay them until reinforcements arrive. When I read the synopsis I thought ‘Great! Cool sandbox!’ and then I recalled it was Dungeon and surmised it was probably a linear adventure full of set-piece encounters. Just follow the line of set pieces and arrive at the inevitable destination. The DM tells a story, “and then, and then, there’s this ettercap that stalks the trails and he’s wiped out a fortress and then and then …” I loathe this. The story belongs to the players. It’s too bad, because outposts in the badlands, heading em off at the pass, a haunted forest ala Blair Witch … it’s got great theme ideas that just get crushed by linear shit-fest. WHich is then combined with MONSTROUS amounts of text. We get a paragraph describing a tattoo on the back of the hands of some of the soldiers WHICH HAS NO IMPACT ON THE ADVENTURE. The map uses a cursive font, ensuring it’s fucking hard to read. I mean, you don’t need it, it’s just a linear adventure after all. The haunted forest actually has twig blights in it. “Up ahead, a dark shape resolves into the gutted body of a gnoll, crucified within the thorny branches of a large tree, its cocked head leers down with empty eye sockets.” That’s the entirety of our haunted forest. It’s not a great description AND its not enough to do a haunted forest justice. This alone could be expanded upon to create a fab adventure. In fact, the entire idea needs to be harvested and reworked in to a longer sandbox. The concept here is good … if you can stomach the linearity and have a highlighter and are willing to work hard to run someone else’s adventure.

Vile Addiction
By (five fucking different authors? Seriously?)
Level 8

Part one of a three part adventure path “Seeds of Seehan.” Spriggan drug dealers, says the introduction. Fucking Eberron, sez me. But no, it’s Greyhawk, I think. And it has sewers. I can’t do it. I can’t review another sewer adventure. Oh world, I have failed thee. My only charge and I have failed. I just can’t. Pretext to get you in to the sewers and then SEWER DUNGEON. The map does appear to have pools and bridges, so at least there are some tactical options. In the sewers. Spriggan drug dealers in greyhawk sewers. Tonally, D&D is dead.

City of Broken Idols
By Tito Leati
Level 13

Part whatever of the Savage Tide adventure path.Six pages. It takes SIX. FUCKING. PAGES. To describe a friendly village with nothing going on in it except some disguised monsters attack. SIX. FUCKING. PAGES. An empty village with some couatl’s vomiting exposition only takes a single page, for Tarvinsts sake. I’m not even sure why anyone bothers, the fucking island in the middle of the lake is going to be where everyones attention is, for good reason. It has the 40 room near-linear crawl that has you fighting demogorgon at the end.

This entry was posted in Dungeon Magazine, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Dungeon Magazine #145

  1. Hang in there mate! You’re almost done! I want to thank you for doing these. I’ve read every one. Usually with my Saturday morning coffee.

  2. Fucktard's Everfull Ass says:

    Yes, thanks! Nothing makes me feel better about my own work than seeing just how shitty the corporate machine does it.

  3. Darnizhaan says:

    You are a great read.

  4. Melan says:

    One day, the pain will end, Bryce. One day, it will all end.

    Good to see sewer adventures continue to be the reviled outcasts of tabletop gaming as much as sewer levels are despised in shooters. That’s a fine tradition.

  5. Fucktard's Everfull Ass says:

    Why do sewer levels suck? Do they have to suck by nature or is it just that no one done one properly? Serious question.

    • same question…..anyone?

      • krebizfan says:

        There have been a few clever adventures using sewers. I especially liked Gamelords efforts which used the sewers as paths for conducting the robberies the thief character was to accomplish. Over 40 years, there must have been hundreds of published adventures set in sewers. It takes a lot to make a sewer standout.

    • Gus L says:

      Sewers are the de facto and most cliched ‘urban adventure’ setting. They are the obvious way to put a dungeon in the city and usually (along with ‘dwarven ruins’) people who write adventures involving them will push very hard on the equally cliched ‘sewer’ adventure set of elements – giant rats, wererats, oozes, cultists, maybe an otyugh or a lost tomb or two.

      Almost every sewer adventure will reflect almost every other sewer adventure and they will all have the same twisty map with water features.

      One wonders if Tekumal is just one giant sewer adventure though?

      • Fucktard's Everfull Ass says:

        After 40 years and tens of thousands of adventures, everything’s extremely cliched.

        • Gus L says:

          Fucktard, you’re a YDIS dude your words are the buzzing of flies – stop having opinions and go back to maligning women or something – otherwise your muck dwelling coprophiliac neo-nazi Trumpist pals will worry.

  6. mdhughes says:

    Vile Addiction has a great premise. Drug-dealing soul-eating spriggans, and the drug turning you into a plant thing on OD, that’s good Moorcockian fever dream fantasy. Exag’s a serviceable faux-Mesopotamian city. But the NPCs just direct you A-B-C to the end, there’s no investigation. Nature Spriggans in caves in a sewer is nonsense. Random gnome machinery room.

  7. Graham says:

    Hang in there, there is a scenario in 149, where I think the idea is great, but as always I’m interested to see what you think of it.

  8. VTS says:

    Dang, I was excited to see the 4e issues!

  9. Commodore says:

    There’s an adventure in 148, the Automatic Hound, that was probably my favorite Dungeon adventure, ever. Although as always, I don’t recall if it was because of the adventure itself or how the players, bless their lunatic hearts, took it and ran.

  10. Dave says:

    The dungeon for City of Broken Idols is pretty good. It isn’t near-linear, there are four entrances to the dungeon itself from the outside, although one is extremely unlikely to be found early on as it is underwater. There are four ways to get from the first dungeon level to the second dungeon level. There are three ways of getting from the second dungeon level to the third dungeon level, although only one route allows you to stay dry. While the PCs can’t “beat” the dungeon until they get to the lowest level and find the boss monster’s room, they have some choices and options for how they get there and what opposition they will face to make it that far.

  11. Haak says:

    I hate sewer adventures too, with one reason being the anachronism of it. Medieval European cities – unless inherited from the Romans – didn’t have sewers or aqueducts. But at least there’s an excuse for that in Exag, as its invented in this issue of Dungeon – the city was built millennia ago by Crafters who went back to their own dimension or whatnot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *