Dungeon Magazine #148

The Automatic Hound
By James L. Sutter
Level 4

A beast stalks a village. Killing it just causes it to return the next night. The party has to figure out that the body of a recently dead boy needs to be returned to some standing stones in order to get rid of the beast. The townfolk and churchman won’t want the corpse of the mayors son engaged in some pagan standing stone ritual. The complications of the resisting town, differing and conflicting motivations, could almost make this a Zzarchov Kowolski adventure … if he were illiterate and knew nothing about writing an RPG. The adventure is more like a twelve page outline. There’s very little specific support for the DM, except a six room rooms with lots of room descriptions that don’t matter. The hiring, the investigation, the monster hunt through the village, the troubles with the villagers in returning the body … none of it is supported. It’s just an outline, that should be six bullet points long, expanded endless to twelve pages without actually providing any actual real support for the DM. That’s too bad because if it WERE there then it would be a complex social adventure, with an almost LotFP potential ending.

In the Shadows of Spinecastle
By Stephen Greer & Gary Holian
Level 9

Count Doku wants you to go to an evil town and find his missing spy and/or recover his intelligence information. You go to a bar and get attacked. You go to a house and get attacked. You go to an eight room linear dungeon. End. It’s just set-piece combats linked with the barest pretext of non-combat. Utter garbage. I’d wipe my ass with it but I got a bidet for Christmas.

Wells of Darkness
By Eric L. Boyd
Level 18

Typical computer rpg adventure. Go to market in abyss to get info. Get attacked. Go to palace and talk to demon to get information. Go to prison. Go elsewhere to free prisoner. Have big fight at the end. It’s ponderous, full of the minutia of backstory … I don’t see how ANY person could possibly run this adventure.

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4 Responses to Dungeon Magazine #148

  1. Graham says:

    I happen to agree with you on all of those scenarios, not anything good in them. As for the Adventure Paths, good for laughs if you know where to look, but not much else. Just remember only two more issues and it’s over.

    I am looking forward to your review of 149 though, as one of those scenarios I rather like.

  2. Yora says:

    I had a really great adventure with The Automatic Hound. By using it as an outline. And I heard the same from other GMs as well. It’s a really solid setup and conflict.

    • Commodore says:

      Agreed. My players had a blast; it’s fair to say that it was more of an outline than anything else, but it was a first-rate outline. Not many adventures get the players to fight hard *for* human sacrifice.

  3. Haakon says:

    Shadows of Spinecastle disappointed me as a Greyhawk fan. I know Bryce hates backstory and setting materials, but this could have cool stuff. The Bone March, a conquered state ruled by conflicting humanoid tribes, has potential. However, the actual adventure is as linear and boring as Bryce describes. Most disappointing to me is it never even goes into the eponymous castle, just scratches the surface of the city around it sharing the name.

    Automatic Hound seems interesting though.

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