FIght On #1 – The Tomb-Complex of Ymmu M'Kursa

Explore the ruins of an ancient monastery. Delve in to the depths of the burial vaults of a decadent city-state. Journey to a corrupt nature node to make it pure once again.
I’m got a stack of Fight On! magazines on my desk, each with a couple of adventures in it. Rather than review the magazine, or review the adventurers in the magazine, I’m going to review all of the adventures in each issue, naming my favorite in the subject line. I don’t know how this is going to work, so comments are welcome. The magazine proper is full of great articles that remind me of the very early Dragon magazine and Strategic Review articles. Defiantly worth picking up if you want some fresh content.
The Ruined Monastery
by James Maliszewski
1st Level
This is a small 14 room dungeon that describes the first level of a complex under a ruined monastery that could be expanded upon by the DM. The map design is relatively simple and would be familiar to players of 3/3.5. The map is small and the wandering monsters rather straight forward for first level: goblins, wolf, skeletons, spiders, slime, and rats. Not much interesting there, other than all of the classic bases are covered. The 14 encounters are spread out over 5 pages, including the map. Thus the writing and descriptions are rather verbose in a round-about way that I don’t prefer. Essentially each rooms original purpose is described. This writing style, not uncommon, sets me on edge. I don’t need a description of what a vestry is, or what could be found in a vestry. I want to know what’s unusual about the vestry. Eventually the room descriptions get around to that point however even then it’s in a round-about manner. The actual encounters are not too imaginative: a scriptorium with yellow mold, a larder with spiders, etc. The weird and wooly world of the idiosyncratic is not present in this adventure. It’s clearly a tribute to Gygax; it’s a shame it’s not a very good one. Overall it’s a serviceable little adventure that’s primary sin is the Vanilla nature.
The Tomb-Complex of Ymmu M’Kursa
by Gabor Lux
4th level? 5th? “Old school mixed” is probably a better level designator
This is a pretty sweet little dungeon adventure. These are the burial vaults of the decadent city-state mentioned in the teaser and they do a good job delivering. There are only 15 keyed entires on the map, although several have (a) and (b) parts to the rooms. The adventure is spread out over four pages so it has that compactness and terseness that I appreciate. The wandering monster table is full of of the usual suspects of undead, from skeletons to shadows and mummies and include an entry or two for generating mixed groups or one of the tombs ‘named’ undead leading a group of 1d2+1 groups against the party if they sloppy/noisy! Ouch! I believe that’s the first time I’ve seen that on a wandering monster table and I like it! The map of the tomb is sufficiently complex to lead to some fun escapades as the party uses corridors to get behind behind or get ambushed by monster doing the same. I counted five loops in the map some of which intersect with each other. The encounters are all wonderfully bizarre and idiosyncratic.  For example, at one point the party encounter a group of statues who’s heads have been decapitated. If the party repairs one then the statue speaks: “We are the men of Konoth, and such is out thanks.” Save vs wands or be decapitated by an invisible sword. A W E S O M E ! That’s the kind of mysterious and strange D&D that I want to play! There are also animated mummy wrappings, cool little unique magic items like “The burial shroud of Ymmu M’Kursa” or “Ymmu’s paw”. Or maybe the potion that turns bodies of bodies of water in to glass from the waist down? How can you not love stuff like that? It boggles the mind how published high fantasy modules can survive when stuff like this is floating around. Plus, there’s an amazon woman in carbonite with a laser pistol and laser sword. It’s a deadly little tomb but it is going to give the party the feel of exploring a tomb more so than almost any other adventure published. Highly recommended!
Nature’s Nasty Node
by Makofan
Levels 4-7
This is a short 12 room adventure through a set of caves near a collapsed tower. A magical nature node has been corrupted and the party needs to purify it again. The map has a little variety near the beginning however it quickly turns in to a linear map after the first 5 or 6 rooms. The nature of the adventure, a magical nature node, immediately gives it a bit more flavor than the standard dungeon dressing of The Ruined Monastery, however in the end it’s really just about the same in content, although it manages to do it in only three pages. Like the first adventure this one is quite serviceable but doesn’t really distinguish itself much. It does feature pixies and a basilisk, both solid Mystic Wood type creatures. This and a few other touch contribute a lot to it’s more mystical feel. There’s also a short little set of tables in the back, a tribute to Bob Bledsaw, which you can use to generate your own Nature Node adventure. Roll a boss, a fantastic monster, a normal monster, a setting, normal treasure, fantastic treasure, guarded treasure, what’s being wielded, and the hook agent and you’ve got yourself a customized adventure! If you assume the point of the dungeon is to show how the table can be used then you’ve got much better  possibilities, but then it wouldn’t be an adventure and I wouldn’t be reviewing it.

This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to FIght On #1 – The Tomb-Complex of Ymmu M'Kursa

  1. Makofan says:

    Thanks for the review. The Node was really an attempt to design a short Wilderness Encounter, a thing I still struggle with after 30 years of DMing. The tables after the dungeon were an afterthought.

  2. Pingback: To the 441+ suckers who have bought into Dwimmermount « Your Dungeon Is Suck.

  3. Melan says:

    Thanks for your review, Bryce. We originally played the Khosura Undercity (of which Tomb-Complex is one sub-level, and which was published in Fight On #10 after the city state in #9) with characters between 4th and 5th level, some reaching 6th in the process, and some meeting their doom underground. I have also used it as a tournament scenario, although it was never found then as the PCs got sidetracked with other adventures, including a run-in with an efreet and taking control of a band of randomly rolled brigands who were also exploring the place for loot.
    It’s one of the pieces I have written which walk a fine line between terseness and colour; I can go overboard with description, but avoided it in Tomb-Complex.

  4. Melan says:

    Addendum: Fight On! #1 can be downloaded free of charge from the OSR Conservation Project at

  5. Reason says:

    Tomb-Complex: I can’t figure out what the puzzle in room 5 means or how the room is supposed to work. Which East wall? What is the puzzle saying- just a trick to lead them to the spikes?

    The stuccoed east wall of which room?- there are two non numbered rooms, either of which might be the enrance but the number is next to a room which isnt clear. Or is the stucco & traps in the secret coridor?

    Is the 40′ pit like the tomb slowly being revealed down there or a deadly 40′ pit?

    I’m confused.

  6. Melan says:

    Behold! The secrets of the Tomb-Complex are at last revealed!

    For the sake of clarity for other readers, I am including the room entry:

    “5. a) The tomb of Ramm. No visible entrance except fresco door on the stuccoed east wall, inscription “RAMM: ENTRY FORWARDS, MESSAGE BACKWARDS”. Under the layer of stucco, the outlines of a stone portal are revealed, along with secret panel – impressing it opens 40’ pit underfoot. To the west, a smaller panel activates iron skewers hidden in the gaps of the wall (4d8 damage). The way beyond is through a stone plug on the bottom of the pit, which reveals a set of descending stairs.”

    Room 5a) is a puzzle of a misleading clue leading the unwary into deathtraps, but revealing a way into the true tomb. The way down to Ramm’s burial vault is found on the bottom of the pit, under a stone plug.

    The inscription at 5a) seems to be a red herring, but strictly speaking, it is telling the truth.
    “ENTRY FORWARDS” means the solution is found right at the spot, to the East, the same way as the inscription: peel away the stucco to find a false door, and a trigger to open a deadly pit trap underfoot… but a pit trap that is actually the proper tomb entrance if investigated!
    “MESSAGE BACKWARDS” refers not to the inscription itself, but turning back and finding a second trigger mechanism in the western wall. This is Ramm’s “message” to the foolish: mess with me and die.

    Here is a diagram:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *