Lamia Temple

By DMDave, Ninetoes82
Self Published
Level 3

To the locals, the Temple of Healing is a myth, a cautionary tale they tell their children. The legend says that the temple appeared one day on the edge of the desert. At first, the locals thought it was a mirage, as it was the miracle for which they had prayed: their city was in the grips of a horrific plague that had already decimated their population.

This ten page adventure features a symmetrical temple with sixteen rooms. It’s fucking dumb. Poor formatting,inconsistent descriptions, and a shitty implementation of the idea.

“Hey Bryce, is DMDave the Real Deal or just good at marketing or both?” Well, he’s got 4,500 patrons, so, we know he’s good at marketing. Dude is banking $12k a month, at least. Nice! He probably tells his visitors that he loves them, they are awesome and make him feel so special. He interacts with them. That’s how you build a fucking following. And, ultimately, how you make bank. No matter the quality of his work, I’m sure he’s outearned everyone in the OSR by a factor of at least ten. No single work produced can outearn $12k a month, month after month. So, you wanna make bank? Be a DMDave. You can stop reading now.

But, there is something else. In generations to come, will someone find the copper tablet-box and slip loose the ring-bolt made of bronze? Will they draw out the tablet of lais-lazuli and view the works cut therein? Will they be DMDaves? (The jokes on Shelley; .gov moved his monuments when the high dam was built!) No, obviously not. Baby needs to be a black sheep and a whore, outside of society. The cultural hero cannot be OF the culture. Build your walls, plant your orchands, cut your works in to the tablets; it’s as close as we’re getting to the bitter herbs … cause the snake always eats them first. But, fuck it, it’s something, right?! (This essay on selling out and mortality brought to you by Ramses 2, Patty Smith, and Melanie Martinez.)

Ten pages, fifteen rooms. The temple is symmetrical, which ALWAYS bodes poor;y. Symmetrical maps suck shit and are boring to play. There are brief exceptions for small symmetrical sections, especially when hinting at secret areas, but the entire thing symmetrical is boring

We got no hooks. That’s reserved for people who pay DM Dave. (Evidently this is the free version of the “you give me money” version.) So, ok, we don’t need that. We only bitch about hooks if they are actually included. Moving on, though, we see that detect magic doesn’t work inside the temple because everything is magic. We see, right here, that DMDave is not, actually, a good DM. DMDave insists that you experience the adventure the way he intended and fuck you for thinking otherwise. Get on the fucking railroad and follow the ‘Story’ tha the DM tells themselves is wonderful. We don’t do this. Not in the OSR, not in D&D, not in ANY RPG. The party makes the decisions. This is one of the key elements of ALL game play, I would assert. Otherwise it’s not a game, DMDave. The party earned the abilities. They get to use them. If you can’t write a level twenty murder mystery adventure because of SPeak with Dead then guess the fuck what? You’re not writing a level twenty murder mystery. 

Ok, so, back to the actual adventure. Lamia takes over a ruined temple. She cats a powerful illusion over everything to make it looks like its new and fresh and I guess people come to it now for some reason. I don’t know why. I assume she eats them or makes bank, but that’s not really covered well. JJust shit the fuck up and “experience” the game.

The writing sucks ass. “During it’s heydey this section of the gardens was used to grow and harvest verbs used in healing and potion-making.” Fucking wonderful. A history lesson. We don’t care about that. We care about actual gameable content. NOW. When the party enters the room. Whats going on NOW. The number of fuck ass adventure that still do this fucking shit, in this day and age, is fucking absurd. 

Ok, so, illusions everywhere, in where room. Covering every creature, just about. The description tells you what you see. Sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you just get the illusion description. Sometimes you get get the non-illusion description. I guess DMDave can’t actually be bothered to be consistent? Or his editor “The DMDave Team” can’t bebothered to actually do their jobs as editors? What ya doing here man? Pick a fucking path. 

We also get justifications for things, like a cursed pool. “And has been cursed by the lamia with powerful magic.” Wonderful. We already know its cursed. What did that sentence add? You don’t need to justify things. Just do it. Cogito. It is. Stop fucking justifying things in a fantasy fucking game. (Or, any RPG for that matter.)

The kitchen is real. Maybe? Illusions are supposed to cover everything, but it says the kitchen is really kept up? A couple of cooks make food. Its kind of gross. And they are guarded by two cocatrice. Seriously? As intelligent guards now? Are they covered in an illusion? What the fuck is going on?! 

Your reward is a +1 mace. So, you know, full of the majesty and wonder of a game that enables the imagination, this one. That’s the fucking point. The +1 mace, appearing in this, is full on representative of everything wrong. Ok, sure fuck wits, you can have a different opinion when the adventure is stuffed full. But, as a single magic item? This is the thing? A +1 mace? DMDave does NOT know what makes a good D&D game.

The formatting is all over the place. It’s just paragraph form writing, with no effort to enable the DM to run the adventure effectively at the table. We get some building, but that’s just “Trapped Room” or something. It’s an ineffectual format, as it has always been. To use it effectively you have to really focus the writing and that’s just beyond the casual form of writing, and production speed, that DMDave is going for.

Is it good? No. Is it bad? Yeah, kinda. Is he making bank? For sure. So, as a means to that its great! But, if you actually want a good D&D game? No. It’s just Kabuki, like the Pathfinder “most people just read them” shit. It enables the revenue model. Is he as cynical as Paizo? I hope not, so, I’m not going to give this one a Crook tag. But, also, DMDAve must, in some way, like the game. I hope he makes something that embodies that, rediscovering his love, rather than the production line stuff he seems to be crapping out.

This is free at his Patreon.

This entry was posted in 5e, Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Lamia Temple

  1. Jacob72 says:

    Is there really this kind of money out there? $12k? FFS!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bryce: “DMDave does NOT know what makes a good D&D game”. This is all that anyone looking DMDave’s “adventures” needs to know! Thanks Bryce for all your reviews & happy new year.

  3. Sevenbastard says:

    Dig the cross dressing lion on the cover. Not sure if it’s a dude lion with some tits, or a chick lion that glued on a mane? Either way sounds like the persecution for there alternative lifestyle by the conservative village folk drove them to the edge.

    • nerrrval says:

      I think it’s a gynosphinx pretending to be an androsphinx pretending to be a gynosphinx: Victor/Victoria for D&D.

    • SolCannibal says:

      You got to dig how it goes back & forth between leonine gender lines with a vengeance, uh?

    • Kubo says:

      I don’t think they know what a female lion looks like, or like so much in this, the incongruity never occurred to them.

    • Stripe says:

      If you click on it, you can see it has a six-fingered hand growing out of where it’s penis and/or vagina would be.

      And that it has 3 ears.

      (Because it’s shitty AI art.)

      • Deep Down, You Know I'm Right says:

        No, that’s clearly it’s left “foot,” curled up under itself to hold that pose.

        Shame about the mane. But really, bag over it’s head and I still would.

        • The designer missed an opportunity here. This should have been called Labia Temple. Tooth filled hooha for the win baby!! That’s how you create a next level adventure.

        • Anonymous says:

          I mean, it’s AI art, so I agree that’s probably suppose to be its foot, but look again. Its left leg clearly goes downward like its straddling a motorcycle on its stand. There’s no pose it could make and that be its left foot.

          • Gnarley Bones says:

            Agreed and three ears, man. If this guy actually makes the kind of money Bryce is talking about, he could hire a human artist who actually knows what a lioness looks like.

  4. Kubo says:

    Wow, anything referenced as Dungeons & Lairs #58 has got to have problems, and this does. The pictures are well done, but don’t appear to depict the temple shown on the map, and the map has its own problems. The map has buildings around it, presumably to support the temple (sell to pilgrims,etc.), but don’t appear to belong there. The structure seems to be a strange combo of East meets West and North meets South, such as furniture (chairs instead of cushions, etc.) and saunas inappropriate for desert setting. (Who wants a sauna on a 90 degree day? Any takers?) It’s like the mapmaker just used whatever icons/images were available, which is why hand drawn maps are sometimes the better option if the generic mapping programs don’t deliver.

  5. Stripe says:

    5e. Don’t care. Didn’t read.

  6. Anonymous says:

    why does that male lion person have such big tiddies

  7. Libra says:

    The concept of justification in the review caught my eye–the example Bryce gave of the lamia-cursed pool–and I think it’s another good example of D&D writing challenges. No justification for why things are the way they are and the adventure could just be randomly generated or maybe fun-house in a bad way. But trying to justify or explain everything takes the mystery out of it.

    I know this has cropped up before in reviews, and gets at the evocative concept that Bryce often mentions. But I’m particularly interested in those elements of adventure writing that need the right balance. Really tough writing because you’re targeting two audiences: DM and players… with players getting it second hand, through the DM.

    • Dave says:

      I have this idea you could pull off “show, don’t tell” all the way through. With the text for the GM as well as the player-facing content. So if the body in the dungeon belongs to the thief who stole the local lord’s magic goblet, you skip the paragraph saying so. Instead, there’s a line to that effect in the general rumor table, another line to that effect addressed specifically to any thieves in the party (word is out the goblet hasn’t been fenced), the body is in leather armor and short sword, there’s a hastily drawn and somewhat cryptic dungeon map in his pouch (leads to where he stashed the goblet), and the end destination of the map fragment is keyed as having the goblet. So the backstory is all there, and pretty obvious to the GM what the explanation is, but the paragraph of explication becomes unnecessary.

      I’m not yet committed to it as the one true way, but it’s something to think about.

      • Libra says:

        Yes! I love the idea—if I am understanding it correctly, you’d somehow write the adventure in such a way that the GM is learning details of rooms and encounters as players discover them.

        GM would really just governs rules and is “riding” the plot the player create—making discoveries about things as the play progresses.

        • Jacob says:

          This is an abomination. I don’t want to “discover” stuff as a DM. I need to know, and it needs to be clear. You don’t I do dump all the backstory on the entry for the corpse with the goblet, and you don’t shatter the backstory into pieces throughout the adventure because it *will* be missed in play.

          You present it as important and missing somewhere in the overview where it’s relevant. You incorporate it into the rumor tables. At the corpse of the thief you describe the scene and explicitly say “this is that important goblet” btw.

          And if it’s not a big relevant thing for a campaign, you do something like: this goblet was stolen from the king and is magic and important, in the entry and little more than that.

          • Malrex of the Merciless Merchants says:

            I agree with Jacob. Full info up front if important…then DM can do with it as they will as they react to what the players do with the situation with their lack of info. Players can still create the story as the DM can still shift things because they already know all the important info and they may find what the players are doing with the info more entertaining/fun and ride along with it.

          • Libra says:

            Fair enough— I think true sandbox adventures come pretty close to what I’m looking for in this idea, so it’s not really all that novel, or abominable. Fear not—laziness will prevent me from being such a monster to life.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I heard low orbit deathcrawl was good but I doubt it

    • Dave says:

      The preview doesn’t impress (does the Random Treasure thing for one), but sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

      It’s a funnel though, and the problem now with funnels is, while I am a big fan, how many do you really need? So the competition for what to actually run is fierce.

  9. Jonathan Becker says:

    Um…a +1 mace?

    Someone needs to tell DMDave’s supporters that the emperor has no clothes.

    [to which they reply “Huh? Whaa? What emperor? What does that mean? I don’t get it.”]


    5E: making D&D dumber since 2014.

  10. Gnarley Bones says:

    Shouldn’t it be, “Enter the lair of the mistress of illusion and mind control?”

    The whole thing is sloppy. The final entry with the Lamia, described a pink glow and “the woman, still reclining extends her hand.” Wait? What woman? The author left at least one, possibly two paragraphs out.

  11. Kent says:

    Caution. I contribute $100 per month to DMDave. Still.

    I have tried to back out but have found it technically impossible to stop funding DMDave. I was lured in the beginning by his reverend speaking voice on the DMDave YT channel. The first dungeon I received, ‘Damned Daddy & dem Damsels done git Doomed’, was awful so I tried to cancel. This made DMDave angry, so angry that he sends me a ‘personal’ dungeon once a month in the mail. I can’t tell you how shockingly bad these are, worse than anything I have seen published anywhere.

    Do NOT support DMDave at the $100 per month tier, you can’t back out.

  12. squeen says:

    I’m thinking the cover is AI art.

  13. I’m quite the fan of some of the pitches Delta Mike Dave creates, but I’ve yet to see him stick the landing. I tried to run GLAIVE OF THE REVENANT KING for my friend, and at the point where you pass a revenant who exclusively attacks the powerful NPC you’ve just met, despite the fact that she has literally no stat-block

  14. Anonymous says:

    Apologies for the necromancy, but I’m only now coming across this review. I used to engage in contract work for this “gentleman” and can confirm that at its height, his Patreon did substantially more than 12k/month. You wouldn’t believe how many 5e folks were clambering over each other to bask in the lambent glow of Dave’s beneficence. While his Patreon is now at say 70% of its former numbers, mostly due to mismanagement and failure to deliver on a number of projects, he’s still raking it in. And yes, his business model is releasing so much pablum that patrons are incapable of applying any metric to it other than appreciation of the sheer volume. He was once prolific enough to write everything himself, but has now taken to paying various less successful 5e content creators and discreetly deploying ChatGPT to write certain adventures and supplements. The organization is a shitshow behind the scenes; frankly I’d be surprised if his most recent KS ever ships.

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