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Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter $6.99
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/25/2012 08:00:55
Those wizards! Give them half a chance and they will conduct bizarre experiments without a thought for their neighbours... and this adventure, designed for 8-10 2nd-level characters, is all about stopping one such wizard in his tracks. He lives on a clifftop near a village, and the rascal has even been using some of the locals in his experiments. Maybe some of the locals were friends or relatives of the characters, or maybe these budding heroes have been asked to help out.

As well as giving a bit more background about the Emerald Enchanter and what he's up to, the introduction points out that whilst there are a good few dangerous opponents to be faced, there are 'backdoors' that crafty characters can exploit to their advantage, and that cautious groups who think about what they are doing, and rest and regroup at intervals ought to survive with at least most of their number intact.

The hilltop complex is described in detail, making it easy for the GM to set the scene for the players, and to run the action as they explore. Each monster or other threat has a clear 'trigger' upon which it will act as well as notes on how it behaves in combat. And there are some truly novel and ingenious encounters, about which I shall not say more so as not to spoil the surprise. Everything hangs together well, bizarre as it all may seem it all actually 'works' within the alternate reality of the game.

Ending with a cinematic and climactic final battle, this adventure provides everything one could ask for. There is a real feeling of having walked into something bizarre and strange yet within the context of fantasy quite credible. It's an excellent adventure and I cannot wait to round up some players to run through it!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2012 06:58:59
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/07/24/tabletop-review-dungeon-
-crawl-classics-69-the-emerald-enchanter/

I’ve always enjoyed the Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures. They tend to be quirky and have a little more substance to them than the average dungeon crawl hack and slash. I’m an even bigger fan of Dungeon Crawl Classics since the series stopped the Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition/Pathfinder/OGL bit and started using its own gaming system, also under the DCC name. The Emerald Enchanter is the third Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure by Goodman Games to actually use the DCC rules system, but it’s the first I’ve picked up since the switch was made. I was a huge fan of Goodman Games Age of Cthulhu: A Dream of Japan that was released earlier this year, so I was optimistic that The Emerald Enchanter would be just as impressive. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. While The Emerald Enchanter boasted some great artwork and wonderfully designed maps, the adventure itself was a little too dull and two-dimensional for my liking. I’m sure people who prefer roll-playing to role-playing will get a kick out of it, but this just felt like going from room to room and stabbing soft things with sharp things for my liking.

There isn’t much of a story here. Villagers have been disappearing and it appears that they have been taken into the fortress of the Emerald Enchanter. The Enchanter seems to be a strange mix of scientist and sorcerer as he is known to engage in strange experiments. As some of your friends are amongst the recent abductees, you and your party venture forth to free them, take down the Enchanter…and loot his palace. It’s not the most substantive of stories and while playing this, and there were a lot of unresolved points and unanswered questions in this adventure which disappointed those of us that went through this. Why is the Emerald Enchanter green? Why is he doing these experiments? If he can build emerald constructs out of non-living materials, why do it out of living as well. Even if the players don’t get a back story for the antagonist, the Keeper/DM/GM/Storyteller/Judge really should have something to go off of, otherwise you have a two-dimensional and uninspiring villain. After all the best bad guys are those that think they are in the right, no matter how deluded they are. Sure, a good GM can just flesh out the Emerald Enchanter to make the adventure more interesting story-wise, but then what’s the point of purchasing a pre-made adventure if you have to do a lot of the work?

Another odd thing about the adventure is that it is for eight to ten Level 2 characters. That is a lot of PCs running around a little magical citadel. I’m not sure why the decision was made to go with that many characters, especially as the maps show that this would make everything an exceptionally tight fit, especially when you have a horde of enemy cannon fodder in a room with you as well. With this many characters you’d have to march in one very long line to get through many passageways and some rooms wouldn’t be able to accommodate that many PCs, much less the monsters that are supposed to be in there. For example, the last battle would have roughly two dozen characters in a 120′ by 100′ foot room (The biggest room in the entire adventure BTW)…and that doesn’t include that at least a fourth of the room is taken up by machinery and various apparatuses. An adventure that has this many monsters and PCs needs to reflect that reality in the maps.

So what was good about the adventure? Well there were several interesting battles like the Tile Golem and the final battle which has a time limit of sorts attached to it. The artwork and the maps are quite stunning and are by far the highlight of the adventure. It’s times like this I wish I love showing the interior art of an adventure to players – not only to give them a visual idea of what is going on, but because it’s so awesome you can’t help but want to share it. The location is quite interesting on its own and I loved that the adventure actually put in things like a kitchen. Too many fortress/dungeon crawls forget that the big bad needs to eat, sleep and defecate (unless they are undead), and I was really happy to see this particular adventure remembered what so many forgot. The emphasis is definitely on the dungeon crawl rather than any story or antagonist motivation and in this respect the adventure does its job wonderfully.

So even though there isn’t a lot of substance to The Emerald Enchanter and it’s a literal room by room hack and slash without any real impetus for players, the location itself, the monsters within and the level of detail given to the room that most adventures skimp on makes this a decent experience, if not a great one. Again, some gamers are going to want nothing more than a dice rolling hack and slash instead of character building moments of an engrossing plot. There’s nothing wrong with that. Gamers who are looking for something more akin to Goodman Games’ Age of Cthulhu line will probably be disappointed by what’s here, but then Call of Cthulhu and OSR fantasy RPGs are so vastly different from each other, that gamers should know what they are getting into here. The Emerald Enchanter is almost pure combat and that alone should let you know if this is an adventure that you want to pick up or not. If you’re looking for a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure with a little more meat to the plot, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but worry not, as so many small publishers are starting to churn out adventures for this system, that you’re guaranteed to find an adventure that has exactly the right balance between talking heads and swordplay for you and your gaming troupe.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/13/2012 01:24:11
Semi-spoilers ahead!

Villagers have been disappearing—and some of them are your
friends! A number of clues, various old superstitions, and a handful of vague omens point to the brooding citadel of the emerald enchanter. This silent monolith has sat undisturbed atop a windy ridge for centuries. Legends say that a green-skinned sorcerer dwells there, where he conducts strange experiments and builds enigmatic machinery. His emerald constructs patrol the grounds of his citadel, and he is seen only rarely when he ventures out on nefarious errands that end in horrid screams and strange lights coming from his citadel. Now you believe he is holding your friends captive. To rescue them—and potentially acquire some loot along the way—you set off to invade his inner sanctum. -- Player Beginning

Well, if that doesn't describe the adventure, I don't know what does. The Emerald Enchanter is a second-level adventure, by Joseph Goodman, creator of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Like his previous adventures, EE gives the judge the same quality of dungeon: bizarre encounters to challenge the party, "a method behind the madness" to give consistency, a few captives to replace fallen members, and a "backdoor" to reward risk-takers. The adventure is fourteen pages long, shorter than his People of the Pit, but long enough for party TPK. The art is wonderfully evocative, definitely useful for the judge to tell the players how much trouble they're in. It's a well-designed wizard lair, which the judge (or players!) can use as a template for his own ideas.

My only quibble with this adventure is why the heck would you let strangers wander about your house? Won't they scratch the silver and damage the furniture? The encounter where the party initially meets the enchanter lets them cleverly "short circuit" the adventure, but warns the enchanter of these invaders. Why doesn't he send his emerald guards in their direction? (Or, since this *is* a dungeon crawl, who cares?) You could eliminate this encounter entirely. Or you could give a good reason for his non-interference, such as the party inadvertently releasing an NPC who kills him off, but doesn't adhere to the idea that "the enemy of my enemy is a friend".

Overall, I enjoyed this adventure very much. It has nothing to do with, but leads fine to the Free RPG Day 2012 adventure, The Jeweler that Dealt in Stardust. I mean, who else are you going to use to fence all those emeralds into gold?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Matthew T. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2012 10:35:52
I’ve come to expect mysterious, bloody, full-on awesomeness from Goodman Games, and Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter does not disappoint. This adventure module for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game is crammed with combat, traps, weird creatures and magics, and that special new Old School charm that DCC invokes so well. This adventure is designed for 8-10 2nd level characters of all classes: thieves are needed to open doors, find traps and ferret out secrets, warriors will be tested with lots of combat, and spell-casters will find many strange magics to content with. There is lots of fighting, plenty of mysteries and surprises, and even some good opportunities for role playing if your interested.

I must say that the folks at Goodman Games apparently role play with much larger groups than I. 8-10 characters? I’m lucky if I get 4 players at a session! This circle is easily squared however by increasing the level of the PCs, by nerfing the adventure, or, as we did in my playtest, having the players run multiple characters (this option is quickly becoming the norm in my DCC games).

Ah, yes, my playtest. I was hoping to write a playtest review, but the game was a bloodbath, another DCC RPG TPK (don’t you just love this hobby’s acronyms?). As such, I only got to play about a fifth of the adventure, but what I ran was very exciting and what I was not able to run looks great.

If you’re a DCC player, all I can say is that this adventure will exciting and challenging. Tread carefully, think clearly, fight well, or meet your doom!

If you’re a GM, read on:

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. GMs ONLY



The Emerald Enchanter can be easily dropped into almost any campaign, though the introductory text assumes the enchanter is plaguing the PCs’ hometown. Most of the information needed is presented, though the GM should give some thought to the vulnerabilities, immunities, and special properties of living statues, golems, and such constructs (i.e. are golems susceptible to charm spells or paralyzation, etc.). There are also several mysterious entities as well as a dozen or so NPCs within the adventure that the GM may find herself role playing (including 3-4 potential 0-level replacements for fallen PCs).

There is a straight, brute force path through the adventure that heedless, lucky, and tough PCs may survive. But there are also a few shortcuts, mysteries, and hidden resources that a careful, clever, or daring party may use to increase their odds of success. If your players fail, there’s probably something they missed. And if you’re of the mind, you can play this several times before your players find everything.

A few bits of advice: special attention should be paid to the tactics of the enchanter since he will mostly likely be aware of the PCs early in the adventure; creatures suddenly turned from statues into flesh and blood should, in my opinion, be disorientated for a round or two; and the final confrontation may require map and miniature (or at least a few place markers and a doodle), as it is a tad involved. Also, as I reviewed the PDF version of this adventure I can say that if you’re planning on printing the module, you might want to print only pages 3 – 14 and skip the players’ handout and the maps. Nice as they are, they have loads of black space and will suck your printer dry faster than stirge cheating on its diet.

Oh, and one last thing I did learn from my playtest: the emerald enchanter has no adequate fire control in his citadel. If your players, say, climb onto the roof of the citadel, slip down a chimney, and accidently set fire to the kitchen, things will go badly.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #69: The Emerald Enchanter
Publisher: Goodman Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/08/2012 18:22:18
The Emerald Enchanter is the 2nd adventure released in the DCC RPG Line of adventures for 2nd level characters after Purple Duck Games' release of Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror. If you are a referee that prefers to use prewritten adventures in your gaming, the DCC RPG is has the strong beginnings of a varied assortment to choose from.

The Emerald Enchanter isn't just the name of the adventure, it's also the hook that draws the players in - townsfolk have gone missing, and the Emerald Enchanter is the likely culprit.

I must say I'm really digging the adversaries in this adventure. The grunts have a nice twist to them. The more specialized adversaries? Awesome twists to them. I will never look at mosaic artwork the same way again. Ever ;)

The ability to work potential replacement characters into the adventure is in itself a great thing, especially with the potential lethality of the DCC system. I'm glad to see the author placed some replacements if needed.

The challenges are great, but so are the rewards. I think it is a pretty well balanced adventure, both in the challenge department and in the goodies the PCs might acquire. I think having a Wizard or an Elf in the party is pretty much needed for the party to succeed but I could be wrong. It's a shame I won't get a chance to run this until sometime in the future. My PCs are still 1st level.

The artwork is, as always, many layers of awesome. I'll say it again: Goodman, start selling art prints!

Oh, and the PDF is bookmarked as always. Nice job.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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