By Michael Raston
Are you in need of a breeding factory that spews out torrents of mutated weretoads into your campaign world? Do your adventurers enjoy exploring slimy, wet ruins inhabited by depraved, vile creatures? The Towers of the Weretoads is a mini-dungeon you can plop down in the edges of any of the lakes/fresh water bodies in your campaign world. It’s filled with treasure, danger and slime.
This is a six page adventure in a three level partially submerged manor/keep. It uses the one page format to present the levels with a little introduction page, a title page, and one page for new monsters. Good imagery and nice formatting for play are significant strengths, while the it suffers from generic magic treasure, a little sameness in the monsters, and a slightly confusing ground level/outside environment. It’s also free, so …
The imagery in this adventure is great and works well with the one page format. Towers, located in shallows of a great lake, the tide coming in and out revealing various portions. Slimy stone stairs. Near-naked slimy warty idiotic men, drowsy. A flooded basement a soup for zygotes. Crude stone doors on rusting hinges. Creaky ladders down housed in a dead black soggy tree. Stone pots fill with writhing misshapen beige tadpoles. The outside, near the manor has puddles filled with countless toad eggs, and young weretoads croaking pityingly and dragging themselves through the mud to bit .. .It goes on and on. This is all strong imagery, tersly written, and it puts a picture in to your head. The outside, a slightly submerged manor, pools or mud and water, with slime and eggs stacked up in piles against the walls, trees, rubble, etc, and the young weretoads crawling towards you … This sort of tersely written imagery, integrated in to a one page dungeon, is a great example of form and function combining to deliver a useful tool for the DM. Did I mention “toad-bears eating corpse mushrooms growing on piles of long dead adventurers …” and all in that soggy partially flooded environment. Grooooovy!
This is a collection of one page levels, three of them, with an intro page to tie things togethers. I’m fond of these collections of one-pagers, although they do have limitations. They put everything in one place that you need to run the level well. This one uses color to effectively call out certain sections. The downside is that none of these one-pagers does a very good job of presenting a large environment. At best they can combine a lot of one-pagers in to a larger area, as this one does. That’s good, I like it and it’s a good way to present these smaller “lair sized locations.
Mundane treasure is good, with most of it being nice & creepy objects for resale. It falls down in several places when it says “Horde XIV P106LL) in a watertight chest.” I’m not sure why it’s doing this .. there appears to plenty of room to actually describe a treasure found instead of using a random roll. I don’t get it.
When the enemies show up THEY. SHOW. UP. d20 weretoads building effigies. D20 weretoads patrolling. D20 weretoads transporting spawn-pots. Bulging eyes and lolling tongues aside, the combats here tend to be with lots of opponents. There’s generally nothing wrong with that, but in this case the environments they are found in are a little smaller than I would like for that quantity. It feels a bit off. It DOES have the effect of being above to explore most the level without combat, until you meet the big group on that level. There’s a nice exploratory and/or push your luck element there that’s good.
This is PWYW (with a current price of $0) at Drive Thru. The preview is GREAT, showing you two of three one-page levels. This is easily worth the price/time. You can practically run it without even having read it first. This is EXACTLY the sort of supplement you want when you’re looking for something to run tonight.
this post shows in category “Dungeon Magazine” but it’s not
It has a great cover. Not technically proficient, but it sells you on the place. Swamp, bizarre towers, lots and lots of weretoads. What more do you need?
Yeah, having read the module since my comment, I concur.
Personally not a fan of one-page dungeon levels. They are usually terse to the point of losing a lot of potential for flavor. Unless the level if pretty small I think the author probably has to edit to reduce actual content to fit on the page., not just descriptions.
Hey would you review an unsolicited and not commercially available adventure? My friend tetramorph made a wonderful dungeon adventure that’s as good or better than most of the garbage you force yourself to read.
Send it in!
Scott, thanks for contacting Bryce about this.
Bryce, I’m “tetramorph,” on the forums and I’m the one who compiled this module that Scott is talking about.
Here is the problem: most of the content is derived from the room ideas that “Red Baron” wrote up in a thread over on ODD74:
I am trying to contact him for how he would like to be named on the document and whether or not he is cool with me sharing it.
Give me some time to hear back from him. If I don’t hear from him in a while, I will go ahead and send it in.
ODD&$ is ThE BeStEst!
Bryce, I sent you an email last Friday with the document attached. The subject was “Scott Anderson’s recommended module.” Did you get it? Fight on!
I picked this up based on your recommendation and … you oversold it. It’s not even a 1-page module; it’s more of a sketch of a module.
Yeah, I’d like to see it formatted a bit more like a proper module. I love the ideas though.