Tomb of the Twice-Crowned King

By G. Hawkins
Self Published
Levels 8-10

When death finally drew near and the forces of law were at the gates, Heimfell the giant two-headed king built a great tomb in the hills. He ordered his sorcerers to place a curse upon his family and servants, forcing them into a state of unlife to guard his crypt for eternity. Many treasure seekers have died within his halls and to this day the two-headed king is still lord of his final domain

This twelve page adventure features a two level dungeon with about 55 rooms. It’s varied, interesting, and not quite as static as most tomb adventures. It’s a good dungeon, suffering only from a lack of evocative writing, and, perhaps, just a tiny touch of the The Tomb Problem.

This is part of a compendium of adventures. About fifty pages with nine adventures included. Which, doing a quick thumb through, appear to be decent adventures.This one, though, is a two level tomb dungeon housing the skeleton of a giant two-headed king of old. And his undead buddies. And some static shit. And a decent number of traps. IE: What one expects from a tomb adventure. The level here is a bit suspect. Ye Olde Cleric will be getting a workout calling on his god to wash that undead right out of their hair. Chock full of nuts, and undead … with the second level of the tomb having a -2 to turn attempts. Nice try buddy, but eights and tens are still gonna fuck up some undead, I think? Meh, it’s just a resource, like anything else, I guess. 

A lot of what’s going on in this tomb is going to be familiar. You enter a room, it’s got a sarcophagus, and inside is a clawing sound and a moaning female voice saying “let me out, help, let me out.” A wight. Or, Ye Olde Niches With Skeletons In Them. This extends, even, to the classic statue trap/puzzle, of which there are several present. Statue with gemstone eyes, a hand raised in warning, eyes begin to glow and then shoot disintegration beams. These are all classics. Up to and including bridges over chasms and a giant stone rolling ball trap. The classics are present, both in trap form and in creature form. The adventure does a decent job with them. Take that wight encounter. The scratching and the female Help Me (Daphne?!) sound help set this apart. It’s not just a sarcophagus with a wight inside, but the sounds, and lure from them, help to amplify the encounter just a little bit more. 

You could have a room with a wight. Or a room with a sarcophagus and a wight inside, which is better. Or, Make the sarcophagus stone. Or, how about white-streaked black marble. Stick in some tattered tapestries of a stern faced elderly woman. Make them tattered and decayed. Finally, add the scratching at the lid and the Help Me. We;ve gone from a minimalist encounter, a wight, through some other versions to arrive at an encounter that has a smattering of evocative text and has something active going on, the scratching and voice. It’s now closer to a situation and infinitely more interesting than just a boring old sarcophagus with a wight inside. 

And the designer does this, over and over again. “Two 12’ tall bronze statues, two-headed and

holding giant mauls, flank a crumbling stone bridge (60’ long) arching over a canyon. Below, a raging river fed by a thundering waterfall cuts through the black rock; on the other side a ledge before thick, granite doors embedded into a cliff face. The cavern ceiling towers above (200′ high)” That’s pretty good scene setting, but, also … wonder what’s gonna happen with those giant statues carrying mauls … you know, the ones next to the crumbling stone bridge… 

Formatting is great. The maps are clear and interesting, one has an iso view. Different elevations present, rivers, statues, etc. And the text is clear and easy to read. Seriously, this is one of the easiest to read things I’ve ever seen. So much so that I hazard to say that any other font/spacing should be illegal. Bold room names (which, perhaps, could be a bit more descriptive) followed by a short little descriptive paragraph, keywords bolded and expanded upon in bullets below, with brief uses of italics and shaded boxes for more clarity.Nine rooms per page, on the first page, and they feel good. Each room is clearly separated from the rest, good use of whitespace to shift attention. I seriously can’t give it enough praise, especially in the layout/font category. 

That bridge entry is, perhaps, a highlight of the evocative writing in the adventure. It’s not that any of the rooms are bad, but, it does get that “Just another marble tomb room” vibe to it after awhile. How many marble sarcophaguses can you do in a dungeon? But, when there is something more colourful to describe it generally gets a decent enough treatment. Magic items/treasure could be better described, but, I guess that’s the nature of this particular beast. 

So, it’s a solid dungeoncrawl in a two level tomb. More than good enough to challenge the players. I might say tha the interactivity is a bit low/slow, as is similar in a lot of tomb adventures, but it’s not exactly the static place that most tombs are.

This is $5 at DriveThru. The preview is eleven pages and shows you several rooms. It’s a good preview.

This entry was posted in Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Review, Level 9, Reviews, The Best. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Tomb of the Twice-Crowned King

  1. Prince says:

    In AD&D 1e you turn undead once, using 1d20. You affect 2d6 if you are successfull. Powerful undead may (GM’s discretion) act as shields for the lesser ones, raising the overall turn threshold. Anything below a Wight is going to get auto-turned but with the number of combats and combatants in Tomb, that’s perfectly acceptable.

    This was a great entry that did not make it into the original tally because it got eaten by the spam filter. I was honored to include it as a special bonus. I imagine the reworked version is even better.

    • Gnarley Bones says:

      It’s actually the other way around, all turn undead attempts are made against the weakest type of undead first. From there, the cleric has to work their “up the chain.”

      Solving the undead “problem,” and making them remain a threat in that mid-to-higher level range is that 1) all corporeal undead pretty much look alike (vampire being the exception), cadaverous shambling forms; all incorporeal undead look ghostly – so a cleric should never be certain that s/he’s facing. There’s no way to pick out the mummies from the coffer corpses; and 2) mixed undead. The lich should never *ever* be alone; the 1E Turn Undead table is heartless. It should surround itself with a pack of wights, a few shadows and then a gaggle of monster zombies, zombies, skeletons and skeletal animals. That will provide a level-appropriate challenge.

      *Then* your 1E group can argue whether turning may be attempted in combat or if it’s akin to spellcasting (I’m in the former, but oh, the discussions had on the subject at DF).

    • Prince says:

      I was referring to the following passage (p. 65 DMG):
      “If the undead are in a mixed group – for example, 1 vampire, 3 ghosts,
      and 8 ghouls – you may opt to disallow any turning or other effect if the
      most powerful member – in the example above, the vampire – is not
      affected by the cleric. Naturally, this rule applies only to groups of mixed
      undead where the lesser are following or serving the greater. Mindless
      undead, skeletons and zombies, cannot be considered. Otherwise, the
      cleric will affect undead according to the die score, with the possibility of
      the lesser monsters being turned or otherwise affected, while greater ones
      are unaffected.”

      • Gnarley Bones says:

        Yes, it starts the sentence before, on the same page, beginning with lowest-level undead and moving upward … and then Gygax, wraps back around and ends the paragraph by repeating himself. 😉

  2. Artem of Spades says:

    Remember really liking the NAP version. I generally love multi-headed monsters so I might give it a go later in my 5e campaign.

    Also, almost done with a tomb adventure that addresses The Tomb Problem…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Final NAP2 tally:

    The Best x3
    No Regerts x7
    God Effort x1

    Not a bad showing at all, especially for a free product!

    • Prince says:

      Indeed. Ten huzzahs to senior Lynch for platforming new and old creators trying to make adventures using passion and solid design principles and everyone for commenting, discussing and donating. I hope this will serve to clear up the confusion and restore some of the craftsmanship and love of oldschool D&D to the now tarnished and muddled label of OSR.

      Stay tuned for NAP III, which shall consist exclusively of adventures of level 7 and above.

    • Anonymous says:

      Significant achievement by all the NAP2 authors! Really well done Prince!

  4. squeen says:

    Congratulations Hawk! Like Bryce, I think your layouts are The Best bar none. I also feel you bring a fully visualized environment with each if your published works. I look forward to the next.

  5. Hawk says:

    Thanks for the review Bryce, as always, much appreciated.

    Turning in AD&D is a only once per encounter (unless multiple types), but PC clerics should still be able to deal with the wandering wights + ghasts most of the time. But there’s still a chance the turning roll (D12) is going to fall below the number encountered, which for the ghasts shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but with wights you only need 1 or 2 of these to get successful attacks in and some of the party may lose XP levels. With mixed undead groups, any group of ghasts + wights means that under AD&D rules, the wights are going to get at least 1 or possibly two rounds of attacks in, as the cleric has to turn the ghasts on the first round and can’t turn the wights until the second round. This is enough to terrify some play groups; they know the cleric should be able to handle them, but there’s still a chance they might get through…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hawk: ‘no regerts, the best, the best, the best’. Hope the quality can hold up!

  7. Gnarley Bones says:

    I just realized this is by the Gunderholfen/Zorth guy.

    That makes this a must-get.

  8. squeen says:

    Congrats Hawk on a “Best” from Bryce. I totally agree with him that you have cracked the layout code — all of your recent stuff is at the pinnacle of great layout, bar none. Seriously. The Best.

    What I also think you have going for you is an artist’s conceptualization of the environment, making it feel fully realized. It’s also clear you play what you write.

    Bravo to you (and Prince for pulling NAP II together and getting so many motivated to contribute.)

  9. samurguybri says:

    Sometimes the gold is in the comments, this time it’s just a bag of dicks.

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