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Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror is the first release from newcomer Purple Duck games. It uses the Dungeon Crawl Classics ruleset which makes me happy as I’m a big fan of the system. The truth is, though, that I picked up the adventure sheerly because of its title, because it is awesome. Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror is for 2nd level characters, but unfortunately, it doesn’t state how many PCs it is made for. That’s a small, minor issue though, as reading through the adventure will let a Judge/GM/Keeper/Storyteller know if there’s enough here to challenge his or her players.
Like most Dungeon Crawl Classic adventures, Bone Hoard is a straight up hack and slash affair. This means you’ll be going from room to room killing things dead without too much of a plot or storyline. I was really happy to see that the Judge is given a good amount of background and back story so that he can understand why this particular dungeon is there, the raison d’etre of the two possible main antagonists and the history of the locale. I love having that sort of information, which sadly several DCC adventures (including some by Goodman Games, creators of the DCC system) tend to leave out. Judges can feel free to flesh out the story of Bone Hoard as much or as little as they want, depending on how much impetus the PCs need to go skulking around in a long-forgotten death trap.
There aren’t a lot of monsters in Bone Hoard. It mainly consists of some creepy rat-like creatures, some odd spider thingies, and some six inch high automatons. Instead the adventure relies more on mood and the Judge’s ability to set the tone of this abandoned locale. I like that this adventure was combat-lite compared to a lot of other DCC adventures as it made the climactic battle against the Dancing Horror all the more dramatic and impressive. I have to admit, the Dancing Horror is perhaps the creepiest antagonist I’ve yet encountered in a DCC adventure and it almost feels like it was ripped out of the Call of Cthulhu system. I loved its attacks and the horrible things it could do to the PCs. You probably won’t get a TPK (Total Party Kill) situation from it, but this battle will be one the PCs remember for a long time afterward. Even better, there is one more potential surprise here for players: an intelligent magic sword.
All in all, Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror is not only a nice short adventure that can be played in a single session by you and your friends, it’s a very well done affair that has me looking forward to whatever Purple Duck Games next release is. At only $2.75, this adventure won’t break your wallet and it’s one of the more balanced adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics line. If you are a fan of the system, definitely consider picking this up for your game.
[4 of 5 Stars!]