Dungeon Magazine #146

Escape from Meenlock Prison
By Tim Connors & Eileen Connors
Level 1

It’s rare I find a morally repugnant adventure. (And maybe interesting what I put in that category …)

A hot fucking mess of an adventure with one redeeming quality that’s not enough to save it. You are hired to go to a black prison and transfer two “disappeared” people to a different prison. I like to play NE and even _I_ have a problem with that! It’s hard to see the party agreeing. Anyway, the prison has been taken over by imposters, escaped prisoners. They get the party to go in and free their two buddies from some meenlocks, through deception. This causes the party to travel down a linear jail corridor, encountering prisoners on both sides, on their way to the “correct” cells. Thus each prisoner has a backstory, personality, and sometimes an interaction with another prisoner. Anyway, you fight some meenlocks and then go to the surface where the first set of imposters attack you. It’s linear and the highlight, the various prisoners, are not really given an opportunity to shine, given the constrained & linear nature of the adventure. It’ back loaded with the meenlocks and combat and really goes out of its way wit be convoluted, up to and including the “lets attack the heavily armed party when we see them again” logic of the prisoners. I like the having to put up k00ks in the dungeon idea, I just don’t think its implemented well here at all. And a black jail? Jeez. It’s like some Carcosa “we need to bloodily sacrifice 12 children to cast healing on you Bob. I’ve got there here, got at it and bathe in their blood once you slit their throats.”

Spawn of Sehan
A shit-ton of authors
Level 9

Part two of a three part series. I think it was the winner of the “design the shittiest series” contest? Sixteen room linear dungeon with nothing going on. The highlight is a succubus feigning damsel in distress. Sorry baby, we kill all prisoners and hostages on sight; it’s safer that way. Walk in a room, get attacked. Open an urn, trigger a trap. There’s nothing to this. Again. There’s no adventure, just encounters. I find this design style disgusting.

Serpents of Scuttlecove
By Richard Pett
Level 15

Part eight of the twelve part Savage Tide adventure path. Chick who hired you has been kidnapped by her (now) undead brother, since none of your party’s actions can be truly meaningful. Also, you seem to care that the pirates have some shadowpearls. The backstory setup takes about a million pages so you can be bored to tears by things that won’t matter. Where the fuck did these people get the idea this was a good thing? You go to piratetown to track people down, only to find your contact kidnapped, ambushes (CR11, you’re level 15. The adventure correctly notes the party could just kill everyone in town, but doesn’t deal with it well. IE: it’s a shittly designed adventre for level 15’s, unless they agree to play along.) It would be more fun as a direct assault, letting the players flex their might, instead of the linear shit-fest with forced encounters and the overreliance on conspiracies that high level adventures always seem to hang their flag on. A Death Slaad guard … oh how the mighty have fallen.

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4 Responses to Dungeon Magazine #146

  1. SolCannibal says:

    The really absurd/stupid thing with Serpents of Scuttlecove for me is… being the 8th part of the adventure path doesn’t mean the PC party has already dealt with seven major adventures/problems in the region in short order/sequence? They should have confronted enough crap in the neighbouring areas by this point that rumours about them as SERIOUS kickers of @$$ would spread far and wide.

    And yet this particular adventure, for all its pretensions at a social games & intrigue, appear to utterly ignore this quite obvious little bit of logical fact, from what you said.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The secret I’ve found to running the dungeon magazine adventure paths: run em all simultaneously, with no regard to the self-contained story arcs or railroading each expects. Boom, now it’s a regional thing about some people trying to get rich while dealing with a looming local apocalypse

    -The dandelion thief

  3. Bigby's Affirmative Consent Lubed Fist says:

    It’s like some Carcosa “we need to bloodily sacrifice 12 children to cast healing on you Bob. I’ve got there here, got at it and bathe in their blood once you slit their throats.”

    Empire of the Pedo Throne…

  4. solomani says:

    @The dandelion thief

    This is so true.

    I ran Shackled City as is back in 3.5 days.

    I then rand Iron Gods in 5e and realised that there is a lot of bloat in these APs but are generally still using if you are willing to do some work.

    The Jade Regent – which I am running now as a full Oriental Adventure Campaign – I have essentially turned it into a giant sandbox after the second adventure. This has worked really well.

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