The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=19815.
Alice had it easy! The Rabbit Hole is an extra dimensional trip that dreams are made of literally. While 5 “rooms” might not seem like much, this adventure will turn players and GMs in directions they never thought or dreamed they would go.
WOW! I have seen some interesting concepts for dungeons, but this takes the crumpet! (tea anyone?). I am astounded by the way the trio of Ben McFarland, Clinton J. Boomer and Matt Banach were able to shove 10 rooms of adventure into a 5 room dungeon!
Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Rite Publishing used a black faux leather cover pattern instead of their normal brown. Some of their more recent products have used a variation of colors and I applaud Rite for mixing things up. The cover art by Mark Hyzer would make Lovecraft proud, and it looks great in black and white. The cartography by Jonathan Roberts is top notch. The actual depiction of what I can best describe as flexibly amorphous rooms were elegant in their execution. Instead of their normal page border patterns, Steven D. Russell and company went with a full color sort of starry night type of drawing on the header and footer of the page (as found in Coliseum Morpheuon). This touch added a dream like quality to an adventure that focuses on those subconscious thoughts that occupy our thoughts when we sleep.
This product lost points for a few reasons, such as some misspellings, but this is minor. There were a few times when the information from knowledge checks seemed to cut off abruptly. In one case it looked as though if the players got a higher result on their knowledge check, they would have the rest of the knowledge contained in the descriptive sentence. If this was the writer’s intention, it didn’t work. There was no indication in the beginning of the adventure as to the recommended level of the players. Not a big issue but it should be noted in a more immediate and obvious location. I think some of the adventure background information could have been re-ordered to make more sense for the GM, but I will confess that I have been brainwashed by the big companies to look for a specific format.
Mechanics: 9 out of 10
There was only one small problem with the mechanics in Five Room Dungeon: The Rabbit Hole. Regardless, this adventure takes the idea of a dimension with flexible laws of gravity and even reality and puts a set of logical if not a bit complicated set of rules to them. This is no minor feat. Anytime designers and writers can place useable mechanics onto a high concept that can change based on the most unpredictable factor of them all (the player), you have something that us mere mortals are not worthy of (cue Wayne and Garth).
Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
This product was designed for a very specific setting and while it could be tweaked to be used elsewhere, its lack of modularity was my only complaint. The fact that this adventure is for high-level characters might cause problems for some and limit the audience to use within the upper levels of the Coliseum Morpheuon adventure, but don’t let that stop you from adding this to your bookshelf (real or virtual). The rules that cover situations where the player can change the surrounding environment and the rules of gravity are worth the full cost of this product. The cartography is outstanding and the complex thought processes that went into creating this should be acknowledged with your money and support!
Overall: 9 out of 10
This adventure is unique in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I went into this product thinking it was going to be a kind of tongue and cheek Alice in Wonderland set up. I was right and I was wrong, there are a few well-done homages to AIW, but those were serious and added great, spicy flavor to the adventure. This adventure does so much to help the GM set the mood and bring a twisted dream realm to life in ways that would make James Cameron blue with envy. Products this complex and well-thought out are rarely produced, and when they are, they are often too complex and not useable. Five Room Dungeons: The Rabbit Hole is the type of product lesser companies could only dream of making.