+1 – The Fortress of the Fungi Chemist


A belated review today from that ENTJ to my INTJ, The Pretty Girl.
As a reminder, I thought it was pretty good. Let us learn, today, what The Pretty Girl consider mortal sin …

Review A – The Pretty Girl

Hello Friend,
Come and sit with me a moment and let me tell you a tale of me. 30 years of rolling dice and 10 years living explicitly in the service of the WOTC have found me.. not the gourmand that Bryce is. Where he delights in the innovative, in the Apollonian or Dionysian dreams and realities.. I’m further on the Hephaestus/ Hades spectrum looking intently to structure, foundation, and brooding over the final outcomes. What I’m driving at is, “Is this a tool a DM can use to make it easier to run a game people will like?”

I look at a module for what value it would provide to a DM. Maintaining an agnostic stance in terms of what kind of adventure ~I~ like or what I might find delightful to read. I see modules as tools. My ratings system is more around if someone wanted to know if a module would work for them.. without that person needing to overlap my personal tastes in any way.

When I built my rating scale I took into consideration one of my favorite modules for content, that conversely ran me ragged trying to get it all tidied up enough to actually run it, vs. a starter set series of encounters that were so clean and simple I made them into the foundation of what I ran for every group of new players I encountered for years and years.

By Michael Raston
Lizard Man Diaries blog
Black Hack
Level 1
Total Score: 3 (out of 22)

A logistical mess of cross purpose(less) tables. And oh my, the tables.. let’s talk math (I like math.. if you have wondered why my scores are non-sequential it’s because they are weighted.. I’m into this kinda thing.)

So if you have about 30 doors to walk through.. how absurd is it going to sound if 25% of the time you are going to find a, “Soggy and rotten locked wooden door. Brass key to lock on waist of nearest Jungle Dwarf” Like, really? Cause if the door is soggy and rotten my players have a shovel, and a crow bar, and a barbarian, and a fighter, and some spells but you are going to FOR SERIOUS suggest that I tell everyone to go look for a hapless dwarf who likes to keep the key to a crappy door. And that door is not the door that, “Heavy and ornate stone door, requires STR test to push open.” So the creator either didn’t think about the fact they were dictating how the players should resolve each door or they thought that the GM would be dim enough to need help coming up with non-interesting doors.
Also, did you really make me just made me flip through a bunch of pages and roll a die to see if the door is locked or not locked? Cause it breaks down to 50/50.. You have just created work for the DM.


Optimal Applications

GM Prisoner or some other person trapped without alternative options.
Players Hostages? Stuffed Animals?


Rating Breakdown
GM Complexity 0
Player Amusement 0
Graphics 0
Language 1
Maps 2

What do the numbers mean?

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3 Responses to +1 – The Fortress of the Fungi Chemist

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for the review!

    “My players have a shovel, and a crow bar, and a barbarian, and a fighter, and some spells” is exactly what I had in mind when I wrote, “Soggy and rotten locked wooden door”. I would think the players may have been playing too many video games if they actually tried to find the key to a door that was so clearly a flimsy speedbump to a shoulder shove!

    As to the stone door, the “STR test” was intended as a quick way of a way of saying it requires a little extra grunt to open than other doors. No way was it my intention to dictate how the players should overcome said door (there’s always going to be shovels, and a crow bars, barbarians, fighters and spells). Personally, if I was playing, I would climb through one of the holes in the roof and come back into the dungeon beyond the door if I couldn’t open it.

    Your points are useful in getting me thinking about maybe clarifying a things/abandoning the door table (although I still like it!)

  2. Adam W. says:

    Assuming that quote is accurate, I think “requires” probably not a word you should ever use in a module unless you really mean it. “Can be opened with an STR test” or something like that might be better.

  3. Edgewise says:

    For what it’s worth, I would have read the quoted passages as Michael apparently intended them. I think it’s a poor GM who would interpret that text to mean that PCs can’t smash their way through the sodden door. And a slightly less poor GM would forget to increase the chance of wandering monsters during such a demolition.

    A compact adventure like this needs an OSR approach (“rulings before rules”) to run effectively. I took a look at the level posted on the blog, and what I saw seemed very table-ready. There are only four pages you need to print and refer to while running this adventure. There’s even a fair amount of flavor on those tables. The emanations are cool. I like the moist door!

    That said, it’s probably not my kind of thing. On the spectrum between a D&D railroad and a book of tables and a hexmap, this tilts a little further to the latter than is my personal preference. I like the original monsters and magic items, but nothing here blew my mind. I’d call it solid, compact and easy to run, without being either super-imaginative nor tired and cliched.

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