Dungeon Crawl Classics #0: Legends are Made, not Born
There is something fun with running a module designed for characters just starting out. And not module that I have seen does that better then a this module since it is for zero level characters. They have zero level characters mean a character with one level in an NPC class. And they have six sample NPCs in the back of the book. When I ran it instead of doing NPC classes I used weak racial classes but the power level is about the same and the players found the module to be of the appropriate challenge.
Dungeon Crawl Classics #0: Legends are Made, not Born is an adventure by Goodman Games. It is written by Chris Doyle. The adventure is thirty two pages long with maps on the inside of both covers as well as a taking up a page front and back. Jeremy Simmons did a very nice job on the cartography and that combined with the Erol Otus cover really makes this feel like an older edition module.
This is review will reflect action my players took in the course of the adventure and have many spoilers. Please do not read it if you are going to ever be a player in this module!
The module is set up so the players are part of a village and they need to go rescue some villagers. I had the PCs be from out of the village and be hired to investigate. However one decides to do it there is an ogre that kidnapped the people. The village has been paying the ogre for years and this is the first time that he ever took someone. It seems like a pretty basic set up and a bit of a mystery to solve. Not much of one though as the players will have everything revealed if they are looking for answers or not.
The cave entrance is rather basic. There is a second entrance that the Pcs can use if they learn about it but my guys never did. Inside the cavern is some sheep that could easily alert the first guard but if they can get past them they can sneak up on the Hobgoblin guard. I was surprised to see a hobgoblin with two warrior levels as the first real threat. My players choose to bribe him and have him lead them to the ogre though they did eventually have to fight him. That battle went well as the players ambushed him. Past the hobgoblin is a chained wolf. My players never had to fight it as they just gave him plenty of meat to be happy. There is a trap that could kill a person iof they are unlucky. And then one comes to the Ogre.
The Ogre is a smaller ogre and drugged a bit by the villagers ale. This will really help the PCs when the battle him. Still it is a very tough fight as a good hit was enough to bring down one PC at a time. It can be a tough fight. To get farther one will need to find some secret doors. It wasn?t that hard and the doors are where one would expect them. One door leads to the section of caves that goes to the second entrance. This is a wilder cave that has a dire skunk and a Bat Swarm the PCs could run into. It has a room of mushrooms that can prove deadly but PCs that get by it will be rewarded with some potions found on a dead elf. My players did not want to chance it as it is not obvious what lies beyond the mushrooms. There is also a tomb buried here. One will need to bash or pick the locks on the door. My players ignored it but inside is a ghoul. The importance of this is there is a cold iron long sword that could be very helpful later on in the module.
The other secret door leads to the under cavern where the big bad wizard and his plans are being finished. Basically the ogre was charmed by this weakened wizard and now the wizard is going to summon a big powerful demon. He is following the directions he got from ?the Voice Below?. I?m not goingto completely spoil what that is but it was the toughest battle in the module and that long sword would have helped the players out.
There are some animated books with great names for titles as well as an animated broom the players must fight. The prisoners are easy to free. The wizard is fifth level but luckily he has just the spells to hinder the PCs and not the ones that would out right kill them. But he?s weak enough that good hit or two will take him down.
The module is a good beginning adventure with plenty of room for role playing or pure hack and slash. This can be a good building point on a campaign as there are some things the module foreshadows that the DM can expand upon and have the PCs chase after later. It is a tough module for such weak characters and it is possible for character death even though my group did not have that happen. They did have to retreat out of the caves twice to heal up though.