DB6 – Ulgakur: Dwellers in the Darkness

This is a Castles & Crusades adventure, although it can easily be used with any pre-4E version of D&D.

This product describes a major underground/underdark city. It’s ruled by a lich and the drow are only a minor species, for a change. The subplots and machinations are on the light side so this is really just a framework product for inserting your own plots in to an underground city environment. The tavern fare is nice. (Halfling stew is only guaranteed to contain 20% halfling.)

The underdeep city of Ulgakur was once ruled by goblins, until an evil group of adventurers took it over. Their leader is now a lich and in firm control of the city. He’s (it?) turned it in to a Free City of the underdeep. The vast majority of the inhabitants are made up of humanoids. The drow are few and far between; having been greatly reduced in number and power they are now little more than elite mercenaries. About 28 locations are detailed in the booklet. There are two or three bars, an inn for foreigners, a black library, the lich tower, a couple of evil temples, and so on. Each of these generally has a person detailed along with it’s description. I didn’t find much of interest except for the bars and the black library. The best part of the inns are their menu choices, including the halfling stew mentioned above. The black library is interesting in that it houses a portion of a very evil artifact. I can see that as being something interesting, both in this cities context and in a surface city. There’s a wandering monster table for the market and for the bars however it doesn’t strike me as being nearly as interesting as the visitors to the Vault. For the most part the location descriptions are void of subplot and motivation information. This is Not Good. If the locations are a little bland then we need to rely on the people and their plots. Without any of that then all that’s left is a pretty cut and dried description of an evil city. Market. Evil Wizard. Fungas Patch, etc. You could work at it pretty hard and get something, or perhaps combine this supplement with several other Evil City supplements to get something with some real character.

There are a fair number of extras in this. There are a couple of new races detailed: evil dwarves, and subterranean humans. There’s a new class, the COnjurer. This is a spontaneous caster with access to both Divine and Arcane spells. There’s about 16 new monsters detailed, a significant portion of which are just brutes with more HP than an orc. A couple of new magic items are detailed as well, none of which really fall in to the weird magic category that I’m so fond of.

Underground cities are a tough market. Everyone has seen Vault of Drow which means you not only have to build an interesting city, you have to make it evil, atmospheric, AND different from the Vault. Those are some tough cookies to crumble. I find that my taste in city supplementsĀ is directly related to colorful characters who live in them and the colorful places they contain. The orc bar from … Deadly Nightside? Or the various folks in Pembrooktonshire. That’s the kind of detail I’m looking for, quirky and memorable. Those sorts of supplements are few and far between. Generally I’m happy with a city supplement if I can steal two or three ideas. There’s at least one good idea in this so I’m left with a … Meh.

This is available at DriveThru.


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