CLA1 – Fortress of the Mountain King

by Moritz Mehlem
for Brave Halfling Publishing
Labyrinth Lord
Levels 1-3

Arms, brains, and legs will be put to a test in this module for beginning adventurers. Can the adventurers defeat the MOUNTAIN KING and his brigand gang who are becoming more and more of a nuisance to the militia of Larm?

This is a very basic adventure. The Mountain King and his men have been raiding farms around the village of Larm. The party gets hired to stop him and his band by going to the old dwarf fortress he calls his base. The fortress has about twenty rooms. The inhabitants are a mixture of humanoid types that the Mountain King has, literally, beaten in to servitude. There is a short order of battle provided for what happens if the party triggers the general alarm, as well as a short section on how the Mountain King falls back to present more and more of his followers to the party while he avoids them and/or maneuvers in to a better position. Otherwise the adventure is pretty basic. Enter a room. Kill the monster. Loot the room. Repeat. Oh, there’s a rust monster in the armory. And a small puzzle on a tapestry that leads the party to the old dwarf treasury. That’s about it. Oh, the King is a kobold with kobold sized Bracers of AC3 and kobold sized gauntlets of ogre power. That’s a nasty surprise, and how he stays in power. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I think a mutant kobold would have made me happier. The bracers and gauntlets seem like some attempt at rationalizing things … but then again I also kind of like the idea of monster-only magic items and moronic monsters actually finding and using useful things in the halls they occupy. The magic items are only kobold size, not even a halfling can use them. Other than those two items everything else is a book item. +1 mace. Potions of boredom. Etc.

It’s not clear to me why this module is the way it is. Do small hobby/vanity companies have deadlines also? Why does one go through all the trouble with editing, layout, etc, if the content is not top notch? There’s not really anything interesting in this module Maybe the kobold magic items, or the orc playing cards, or the puzzle to the treasure room, but that’s it and that’s not really enough to sustain engaging and interesting play, especially not when it’s surrounded by room after room of monsters who attack on sight. I don’t understand this. Why not have someone the party can talk to? Or a faction among his men who hate him and want to revolt, or some old dwarf features to explore/play with, or just about ANYTHING other than hacking another set of monsters?

Is this a review? I’m not sure. If the kobold caves in B2/Keep were published as a standalone adventure without the Keep, would it be possible to review them? Certainly this adventure isn’t THAT short, but it is, in the end, just about as interesting. Oh, except there are no women and children in this adventure. That at least provided some fun in each cave in B2. To be clear, I’m not criticizing this adventure because of a lack of women and children in their complex. I’m criticizing this adventure because of a lack of interesting and fun content. Book magic items provide nothing new. Tired old humanoid monsters add nothing new. Room after room of basic humanoid *hack* encounters add nothing new.

I need a cookie.

This is available on DriveThru.

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One Response to CLA1 – Fortress of the Mountain King

  1. John Adams says:

    Thanks for the review. This was the first module we published four or five years ago – and it shows.

    I am considering doing a complete revamp and conversion of the Larm / Fortress / Dolm modules for DCC RPG and your reviews will be a very helpful tool – if I decide to do it.


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