By Michael Robinson Rutibex OSR Level ?
Can you see through the Succubus many disguises?
This forty page “hexcrawl” describes an island and associated area on level 69 of the Abyss. You walk around doing nothing and meet Midi the Succubus in a bunch of disguises, randomly. It’s not an adventure.
I thought the concept of a Succubus lair, fleshed out, would be interesting so I bought this. I am not amused. This runs painfully close to being a joke adventure, if it can be called an adventure.
Of the forty pages, twenty are devoted to monster stats. There are ten locations on Midi’s island and about twenty more on the surrounding hex map. Midi’s island is supposed to be a hex map also, and looks like it, but there are no hex lines and there’s no numbering for the hexes … so good luck hex crawling that map. You get a wandering monster table to help support a hex crawl play, but it’s just a list of monsters with nothing more, and, for it being an island, no “on the waves” notes for sailing around the Abyss. The maps, therefore, are an abject failure.
Midi gets more than few pages of description. You get five entire pages listing all of her disguises, maybe twenty in all. Every one of them matches her own personality, a bimbo/cutsy type (with accompanying art style) with a heart of evil. Maybe. You get a page of motivations for Midi, about twenty or so, of which about half make her misunderstood or somehow allies of the party. Which doesn’t really jive with her “attach the party repeatedly” thing that she has going on. None of them are very interesting, or detailed more than a sentence or two. This, in particular, is a mistake. These sorts of variables/tables in an adventure do little good. It would be far far better for the designer to have picked one and ran with it. Make the island, and the surrounding hexes, mostly integrated in to Midi’s plotting. Add additional information for the GM to help them along. Make the thing a cohesive whole. But, no. Instead we get a Midi disguise of “Pepper Minstix – An elf lost on this island. She needs help to get back to her workshop” To be clear, that a Santa’s workshop elf, as the art shows us. Midis is supported, in combat, by a small section that has doing hit and runs, and dimension dooring away. So, she gets 500’ away when its her turn. You’re told to roll some wanderers for her support troops if she ambushes the party … but the ambush stuff is never handled on a table or anything. You’re told she’s got a veritable army of people on the island who REALLY love her … but nothing more than that and it never comes up again. She also dimension doors a party member 400’ up in combat .. but I don’t think Dimension Door works like that?
The locations on the island and hexes around it are trying for a hex crawl type vibe. “A corrupted Abbot of Gollidar (Rowan Holmes) is in charge of the eye factory. He is concerned because the new shipment of halflings have not arrived and he needs them for the eye chamber” or “The jails of Midi, where the Rabbit Prince is on trial for crimes against his people. Little does he know that everyone in the jury are not his peers but transformed Quasits!” Hex crawls are a tough encounter type, I think. You need something that is both self-contained and ties in to the other hexes, sometimes. You need something going on, a situation, for the party to get involved in, or use as a resource, or something like that. Not all hexes, certainly, but that needs to be a general vibe. The party is going to want something to do and/or get invested in. Those descriptions locations don’t do that. It’s better than the Isle of the Unknown encounters, but not by much. There’s no real motivation for the party to do anything at all. It’s like these locations are scoped too large for ad-hoc usage at the table. And perhaps that’s it. In a hex crawl the DM is going to making things up on the fly for everything and trying to riff on things to tie the adventure together. And this doesn’t support the DM in that manner. “This grotto is actually the mouth of a particularly perverted and huge demonic toad. It encourages guests and visitors to vacation within the resort he has constructed in his mouth.” Can you do that with that description? Maybe? I guess? But you’ll need other hexes and NPC’s to tie in to that, and the adventure doesn’t do that at all.
This is just disappointing on so many levels. Clearly, the designer just wanted a cutesy shape changing succubus running around and everything else was an afterthought. The core concert is a good one, the central idea. A succubus nin her “lair” so to speak, and using her charm abilities to their logical conclusion. But none of that really happens here.
This is $1.50 at DriveThru. The preview is just a quick one, so useless.
Also, Mohr got me again with his House of Falknor. Bought, but not gonna review.