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    Escaping Edgewild: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Ivan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2021 15:31:31

    A perfect adventure for a classic starting premise: "You begin in chains!" Cannot reccomend enough, works perfectly for slotting in to the begining to almost any jail adventure. Adventure is divided into three parts: The cell, the jail, and the fort. Each one is modular enough to stand up to change- the fort doesn't fit the campaign? Do away with it! Ran it for a pirate game as an opening and it worked amazing. Small and punchy, and does exactly what is says on the tin.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Escaping Edgewild: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
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    Orbital Vampire Tower: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2021 21:43:14

    I played this with a group the other night and really enjoyed it. I knew nothing about the setting going in and I really enjoyed getting to explore and figure out what we needed to do as we went. I really enjoyed that there were multiple ways to handle each challenge, and my group made it through mostly avoiding combat, though a fair number of combat opportunities were there. The one shot was really well put together and it provided a sense of tension like what you'd get in a horror movie that was really enjoyable. I'd definitely recommend this if you are looking for something different to try!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Orbital Vampire Tower: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
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    Orbital Vampire Tower: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by lee R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2021 20:40:36

    Played this oneshot in about 4 hours, with 4 experienced level 3 players. This module is Exploration heavy with several ways for the players to have success. Our group is normally pretty heavy on the role-play and there were plenty of NPCs to encounter. We made it through it with a few really unique magic items and a bunch of injuries,and a few mutations, but we found our way out! Something unique to the Author is that they allow for combat and non-combat solutions. This felt like a pressure cooker play style, and I could see it taking up to 6 hours if you explore and interact with everything. Bring higher level characters if you are going to choose combat over wits, deception, and persuation! Looking forward to more that the Author has to offer!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Orbital Vampire Tower: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2021 00:09:18

    This week I soloed my way through Orbital Vampire Tower: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions). It is free/pay what you want at DriveThruRPG . It is for a Game Master and several players. It is a wild and crazy adventure that teleports the characters to a vampire space station. It has 26 pages which include two maps, 17 stat blocks, 17 magic items, and 17 rooms. This is listed as a third level adventure, so I did use six third level 5e characters. If you want the adventure to be more “fair”, you can use level five characters. I soloed it with a solo engine that I have been testing out.

    So, my characters had a chance to do some exploring, but they ended up having to deal with two vampire mercenaries. The first big battle happened in an illusionary beach location (it was malfunctioning a bit). Three of my characters died there. One of the vampires had to retreat because of the turn undead ability. The other was frustrated with having to fight my characters, followed by an octopus, and then a shark. He exited the area. After a short rest, my party found a one way portal back to the glass hatch. They saw those darn two vampires again and ran away from them into the mercenary space ship. They ended up in the control room and started pushing all of the buttons. My three remaining characters and the two vampires could now hear, “destruct sequence initiated”. The vampires beat my team up for a turn and then used two of the escape pods. My characters then used two of the escape pods. The pods landed on the planet below, and once again they were in combat with the vampires (in the dark). Sager ran, jumped into a river, and used his Ring of Gills that he had found in the space station. So, he survived. Barak and Jag were killed by the vampires. Maybe you will have better luck. Give this fun adventure a try!



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Acid Metal Howl: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2021 08:30:46

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This module set in the Dungeon Age setting (easy to drag and drop into any other world) is presented for two systems: OSR, and 5e. Before you have the impulse to groan, wait a second: We don’t get one of these annoying, jumbled messes; the low price of admission actually includes two versions, one for OSR, and one for 5e, so you can just print the version you want. Kudos for that.

    This review was moved up in my reviewing queue due to me receiving a printout of the adventure.

    Both versions come with okay b/w-maps, but we do not get unlabeled versions for VTT-use, and the maps lack grid and scale, which does limit their utility. The module comes with read-aloud text and pretty clever information design – I’ll comment on the latter more below. The read-aloud text is well-written and atmospheric. Structurally, this is a sandbox module that depicts a desert city that long remained dormant, and now has different factions in it; the module manages to evoke a sense of genuine jamais-vu: If I had to describe this and its atmosphere, I’d call it an almost Dark Souls-like sense of antiquity and mystery coupled with aesthetics that reminded me of some of my favorite stoner doom metal bands. That’s the soundtrack I heard in my head when reading this. I’d also ask you to read the entirety of the review, because this’ll be a polarizing one, and I’m extremely torn about it.

    Also very important to note, and something I structurally love: This module sports A TON of interactivity. There is a huge amount of stuff and things for the party to actually do. So that’s a huge plus.

    The OSR-version does not adhere to a specific system, which isn’t ideal, but as far as system-agnostic OSR goes, it does a solid job: The book states HP, HD, gives AC as an equivalent of e.g. unarmored or plate, and attacks list an ascending attack value plus damage, with saves given as analogues to e.g. fighter 5. The module assumes differentiated saves, you know, like save vs. poison, but adapting it to a single-save system is very much possible without much hassle. The OSR version clocks in at 41 pages, with 37 pages of content. For OSR-games, the module is just noted to be for mid-level parties; I’d adjust that to state that mid-to-high-level works best; at e.g. level 5, this’ll be one brutal module.

    The D&D 5e version clocks in at 48 pages, with 44 pages of content left; the increase in length is obviously due to the extended length that 5e’s stats etc. require. The 5e-version is billed at intended for levels 5–8, and it can be solved at this level; it is a difficult module, and certainly can be called “old-school” regarding its difficulty; personally, I enjoy that.

    Now, there is one pretty big strike against the 5e-version, and that would be the integrity of the rules and statblocks. On the plus-side, we get the proper ability scores listed, and all that is required for the stats to be used? All of that’s here. However, the stats cheat in some ways. For example, the HP-values don’t list the formulae used to calculate them, and since the creatures also don’t list their challenge, the whole mechanical aspect becomes pretty obscured.

    This is in as far relevant, as the builds for the creatures are, no two ways around that, wrong in quite a number of ways. This is never as bad as I’ve seen, though. To make that explicitly clear: The author does know 5e and hasn’t just written one of these aggravating pseudo-5e-supplements. The majority of aspects of statblocks? They’re actually correct. Yet, there are hiccups in most of them. To give you some examples:

    For one, no 5e-critter usually nets 2,000 XP. Challenge 5 = 1,800 XP, Challenge 6 = 2,300 XP. And yet, e.g. the dwarf miner herein notes 2,000 XP. While we’re on creatrue-issues: The dwarf miner is listed as having a Strength saving throw of +7, a Dexterity saving throw of +5, and a Constitution saving throw of +6. Due to the missing information on challenge, determining the proficiency bonus is a bit opaque, but it is clear that +3 is the intended value. Why? Because that checks out with the attack values and the Strength saving throw. (The fellow has Strength 19 (+4), Dexterity 16 (+3), and Constitution 17 (+3).) This, however, does mean that the Dexterity saving throw is incorrect, and should be +6. When one takes a look at the listed skills, Athletics +10 and Intimidation +5, the build gets it right: Double proficiency + Strength modifier = +10 for the fellow, and the same goes for the saving throw DC of one of the attacks. Said miner is also missing the senses line, when dwarves definitely have darkvision, and thus leaving out the line can’t be just explained away with “only listing relevant information.” Passive Perception is also sometimes incorrect: The fleshflood (NOT a typo!) has, for example, a -4 Wisdom modifier, but still passive Perception 10, and it doesn’t have proficiency in Wisdom (Perception). The most likely proficiency bonus would be +3 for the creature, which’d mean passive Perception 9, Perception -1 for a proficient creature. On the other hand, the attack value and escape DC? Correct!

    How the jaghul, with a Dexterity of 15 (+2) can have Stealth +3, is beyond me; pretty sure that should be +4, based on the irregular XP value, which places the critter below challenge 4, and thus, at proficiency bonus +2…something the author got perfectly right when it comes to the attack values. Contrast that with e.g. the statblocks for a NPC, where saves and skills are perfectly correct.

    On the formal level, creature feature names and action names are only bolded, not bolded and in italics; while e.g. Melee Weapon Attack is properly italicized and the attack sequence correct, Hit, oddly, is not set in italics. The damage values caused by creatures also do not list average values. These are quality of life aspects for the consumer, but I personally can live without them. However, as noted above, this tendency also has some glitches as a consequence that are, well, not cool.

    Spells are not properly set in italics, okay, that’s not pleasant, but cosmetic. But spellcasting fails to specify the spellcasting ability score used by the NPC, and also fails to list spell save DC and spell attack bonus. That sort of thing compromises function and is annoying for the GM, can grind the game to halt. I do not have an issue with statblocks only listing relevant aspects; but I couldn’t help but feel that the decision to do so here has engendered a rather wide variety of glitches in the critters that the author would have been more likely to catch if he adhered to the default presentation for the stats. This also extends to magic items, and their rules-language. To give you an example from the adamantine shield: “Enemy must make a DC 13 CON save or be blinded by this shiny shield until the end of their next turn.” Okay, how does that work? Does it work at range? Only in melee? Shouldn’t this require a bonus action or reaction on behalf of the wielder? Adamantine helmet lists that the wearer is immune to psychic damage and head injuries. Okay, what is a head injury? No, I’m serious. Would e.g. a mind flayer’s Tentacles attack be a head injury? I think not, because they can do damage otherwise with them, but then again, this sets up Extract Brain, so it is a head injury? And that’s why concise rules-language is important. Items also do not come with the customary ubiquity-rating, or information on whether they require attunement. We have items like Ketil’s Adamantine Cuirass, which is a breastplate that nets AC 19 for 7,000 gp. Another charm protects from stinging insects (okay, does that keep them away, or just prevent damage?), and “grants resistance to all poisons.” Does this mean resistance to poison damage? What about the poisoned condition? No clue. Again, this is why rules-language is important. In OSR, does that mean one is immune to poisons? Or a bonus to saving throws? Because, you know, resistance is not a rules concept in the classic sense in most OSR-games? No clue.

    And it’s puzzling, because the module per se does an excellent, and I mean EXCELLENT job, in both iterations, when it comes to presenting information in a way that’s useful to the GM…which does include highlighting spell references. These are title case, bolded and set in italics in the module text (when 5e’s standard would just be italics), but I can live with that, as it makes sense from a house style perspective. DCs, whether checks or saves, are bolded in adventure text, and key terms for each location are bolded and underlined: When you read “…flowering vines…” in the well-written read-aloud sections, you can look at the bullet point list below the readaloud text, and immediately skip to the bolded header for the Flowering vines-section that starts the information for this aspect. This is AWESOME. You also tend to have all relevant information for a keyed location on one page. So yeah, in the “comfort-to-run”-department, this module is top-tier…once you have fixed the statblocks in the 5e-version/adjusted them in the OSR-version to your system of choice, that is. So yeah, top tier in information design, subpar at best when it comes to the actual integrity of the rules that one requires to run the module…not, let us talk about the actual module’s content.

    The following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

    ..

    .

    All right, only GMs/referees around? Great! Deep within the desert, the sheltered city of Yumar, nestled among sheltered cliffs, thrived – and then it happened: The earth was torn asunder and spat acid, and among the earthen poisonous bile, a mysterious metal sphere was catapulted into the air by geysers of poisonous corrosion. The light of the sun, reflected off the sphere, proceeded to set the city ablaze. The city’s people diverted water to thin the pools, built a roof over the sphere…but alas, it was too late. The city of Yumar died the obscure death that only settlements can, falling into a semi-mythological half-existence, as its reputation was, unsurprisingly, a teeny tiny bit tarnished.

    Now, a team of dwarves has found their way into the city, mining the metal sphere for its mighty adamantine, while three nuns, adherents of Zerah, the angel of chaos and change, have taken up their silent vigil…and they are not happy with the dwarves. Of course, a desert city of ruins was also a hide-out of thieves…but said thieves now hear a voice in their head, and the voice tells them to repent; they are days from starvation, and pretty repentant…or so it sure seems.

    The regions in the city come with a ton of notes on rumors, random encounters, small treasure, little pieces of flavor such as a barely audible giggling, and when run, manages to evoke an atmosphere so dense and unique, so suffused with wonder, it’s a marvelous and unmitigated joy. Encounters presented differentiate between night and day, and there is a ton of environmental stuff, unique mundane treasure (like a glass butterfly and the like), and the hazards? They are neat. That murky water? First, it’s poison damage from the fumes; then it’s acid damage from touch/immersion, and then, if you’re still alive, you’ll have to content with silver leeches in the acid, which’ll have a blast eating you. And yes, these acid-leeches can make you into a leech-walker. The NPC write-ups, with their bolded key-words like Wants or Plans also adhere to this level of detail and play.

    But the level of detail is not what sets this apart for me. It’s how…magical this is. Like the Dark Souls games, this module emphasizes the importance of attentive players, and it is suffused with lore; it is indirect storytelling, and it is awesome. There, for example, are nightmares…and one of them may have the party meet a strange woman…and touching her? Well, that’ll be one mutation for you, gratis, no save. And yes, in this instance, I’m very much fine with there not being a save. Actions and consequences, right? There are several belltowers throughout the city as well; there are ghoulish jackalfolk…and there is the gilded shrine. There is magical ink that can provide similarly magic, but chaotic tattoos…did I mention the spiral tower with its swirling rainbow lights? The collapsible hand glider that provides unreliable flight? Well, in a book with this sort of equipment, we also get aerial encounters. Not even kidding you. I love that sort of thing. I would love it even more if that sort of transportation was required to access some places, but that’s just me nagging at a very high level.

    That being said, as a whole? As a whole, I adore this. And fyi: The sphere contains a herald-level powerful angel-being that is all about change for change’s sake, whether good or bad. A bit like old “Bald Anders” from German folklore—which btw. translates to “Soon Other/Different”. She was scheduled to be unleashed ages prior, but wasn’t…well, that may well change due to the party’s meddling. And, well, even in dreams touching her can mutate you. So…yeah. This’ll be interesting times for the party…

    If this wasn’t abundantly clear by now: I genuinely LOVE this module. I think it is inspiring in just the right ways. It can't be smoothly run as written, but everything about it makes those GM-neurons fire and elaborate upon what’s here. Did I mention the geckos?

    Conclusion:

    Editing is good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, it’s bad. Not atrocious, but not at a level where I can even call it okay. There are plenty of glitches that compromise the functionality of rules-relevant aspects, errors in the math, etc. It can still be run as written if you play loose and fast with rules and don’t care too much about consistence or balance, but as far as I’m concerned, this is borderline functional at best, with pretty severe creaking in the mechanics-department…at least for 5e. For the OSR-version, we have the usual issue of needing to adjust the material to a specific system and reevaluating balance etc., and the rules-language also has hiccups in components like magic items. Formatting, on one hand, does a ton right: Read-aloud text is clearly set apart, the pdf uses bolding to structure information flow exceedingly well, and as far as that is concerned? Great! Then again, there are a few instances where things that should be bold due to the house style aren’t, and e.g. formatting of spells, magic items etc. deviates needlessly from the defaults and compromises the integrity of the content. This also extends to deviations from 5e-defaults that compromise rules integrity or slightly diminish the direct utility at the table.

    Layout adheres to an efficient 2-column color-standard with a white background: printer-friendly, and unlike many color pdfs, the book loses nothing of its ease of navigation when printed out in b/w. Kudos for that, but there is generous white space here, also due to how the module tries to have relevant information for a locale on one page. The pdfs come with massive, nested bookmarks for easy and comfortable navigation. The cartography is solid, but the lack of scale and grid, and the lack of player-friendly versions of the maps would be another comfort-detriment.

    Oh boy. Joseph Robert Lewis is an exceptional talent when it comes to adventure writing. I genuinely mean it. This reminded me, in price, in ambition, in vision and what a single person can accomplish, of talents like the legendary Richard Develyn, whose 4-Dollar-Dungeons are some of the best modules ever written for PFRPG. (And beyond; seriously, each of his modules is worth the asking price, even if you’re playing totally different systems.)

    What I’m trying to say is, that this module is serious “Best of”-material…or rather, it would be. I adore this. As a person, this module blew me away. It scratched the right itch. It inspired me. It’s AWESOME. But it also made me yell at my screen and at my printout more times than I care to count. Because this is so close to excellence. It’s not that the author can’t do the math. There are plenty of examples where math checks out in 5e.

    In many ways, the issues with the details in the design-parts is less pronounced in the OSR-version, which only has a couple of hiccups in the items. On the downside, I actually prefer the 5e-version, warts and all. Why? Because of the sheer density of stuff that is rules-relevant, that has genuine effects…that sort of thing just works better in D&D 5e, because OSR tends to solve a lot more via narrative/cosmetics.

    And here I am. I’m looking at a book that is absolutely fantastic and inspired, dirt-cheap for what it offers…and I can’t sing the praises that I so desperately want to sing, even though the book is so close to actual greatness, to “best of” hall-of-fame-levels awesome.

    Were I the soulless mechanics-review-bot that some seem to think I am, and rate this solely on the virtues of its mechanics, this wouldn’t get past the 2.5 stars, rounded down, for 5e. For the OSR-version, I’d probably settle on something in the vicinity of 4.5 stars. However, if one does take the time to go through the 5e-iteration and fixes it/polishes it, one has a genuine masterpiece.

    So, how in all 9 hells am I supposed to rate this? This does deserve a pummeling for its shortcomings (including the map situation), and I can’t just ignore the serious issues herein. But neither can I bring myself to put this even remotely close to the, at best, 3 stars that the module would deserve from a technical point of view. The situation becomes even more complicated, because I have to settle on one single verdict for the D&D 5e and OSR versions. The OSR-version is, craftsmanship-wise, more refined…but it also loses a bit of the artistry that make the 5e-version shine so brightly.

    In the end, my official final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded up, and this is one of the exceedingly rare books that gets my seal of approval, in spite of its glaring flaws. It is INSPIRING in just the right ways, and it served as a great reminder why reviewing can be so fulfilling. Now I genuinely hope the author manages to iron out these last hiccups regarding rules and formatting, and we’ll have one true master right there.

    If you’re like me and want your modules precise and proper before running it, expect to invest a few hours fixing stats, items, etc. If that bothers you and you’re not willing to invest that time, then consider this to be closer to 3 stars; conversely, if your group plays fast and loose with the rules, or if you want to convert this anyways, then consider this to be closer to 5 stars.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Acid Metal Howl: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
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    Solomon's Screaming Tomb: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e, English)
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2020 07:15:23

    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    This module clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of introduction/editorial/SRD, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

    Okay, so this module is situated in a desert area, and it is intended for a party of characters ranging from levels 5 to 7. I’d suggest the usual 4-6. A general overview map of the region is provided (sans scale), but on a plus-side, the module does come with…(mostly) player-friendly maps! The 9 rooms of the tomb all get their own one-page versions, sport grids, but no scale, and an overview map is also provided for the GM. While labels are on the maps, in several cases, the letters are outside the maps, and can be cut off – this, however, doesn’t extend to all maps.

    The information-design of the module is pretty good, though: We do get read-aloud text, which is generally well-written, and the support extends to dialogues with NPCs – helpful and neat. Below those sections, we have bullet points. Monsters also come with descriptions – a nice touch.

    Now, this was an early offering of the author, and it does show – though the author has improved the book: Originally, the module was missing proper statblocks, providing only abbreviated versions. This has since then been remedied (KUDOS!) – we get full stats for the creatures encountered. On the downside, the statblock formatting could make a clearer distinction between the statblock and passive feature-section, particularly since the passive features (such as Keen Hearing and Smell), while properly bolded, don’t have their names in proper italics. Still: Better formatting than many instances I’ve seen. On the formatting-side, “Hit:” should be in italics: “Hit:” to make parsing faster. Anyhow, beyond these, we have some average damage values being slightly off: 3d6+3 should e.g. be 13, not 12. Skills are also not always correct. One part of the final boss is missing its poison damage immunity that the entire being has. More grating, no HD-values are provided – only HP-values are included. So yeah, while we now have stats, they aren’t exactly anywhere close to perfect.

    On the plus side, the module does quite a bit right: We get some rather neat setups: There are two NPCs – young thief Layla, and the wizard Azzan, are investigating the tomb (looking for missing mentors both), and the PCs can compete with them, cast their lots with them, etc. – or, well, a deaf cobbler found in a dangerous oasis might also provide a hint. In short: The hooks are rather detailed.

    Trekking through the desert also provides some sample hazards, and did I mention the trap-like things lurking in the sands, the sabercats or dune rays? This module manages to establish a fantastic, yet gritty atmosphere from the get-go. A plus: The book has a great reason for not allowing for rest-scumming: It, well, screams. Kudos for that!

    The deaf cobbler also introduces a bit of humor…but yeah, in order to explain more, I’ll need to go into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

    ..

    .

    All right, only GMs around? Great!

    So, the module is per se a straight-forward tomb-exploration: If the party talks to the wizard Azzan Wadi making camp near the tomb, he’ll tell the PCs that his mentor first dealt with the first instance of the tomb screaming, but lost his life doing so. You see, years past, a master thief (the mentor of Layla) entered the tomb and inadvertently-crashed through it, opening a passage to the Dolorous Ichor – a black slime-thing, which is emitting the screams, seeking to lure new prey. The PCs thus have the global effects on the tomb aligned with this antagonist – the black ooze can also animate ichor warriors, which are HARD to kill. There are multiple entries to the tomb (official route or the thief’s), and random encounters with howling (non-undead) ghuuls are also part of the deal. Exploring the tomb, the PCs can meet Layla, and magical monsters (which can affect you with a sight-hampering growth of spider-eyes, thankfully temporary!), spiders with piercing glass webs and the like – some really cool stuff is here. The detail is also neat: The book provides e.g. a whole array of information for speak with dead, and risk/reward ratios are neat: Sure, the NPCs are helpful, but they do have their own agendas…Layla will, for example, not stand for the PCs trying to take her erstwhile mentor’s gear.

    Oh, and there’s a surprise waiting: the missing master Barnabas is actually alive – in a way. He’s sealed in amber, as his spell seems to have gone awry…and powerful magic may restore him. Oh, and then, there’s this white, aggressive arm extending from the wall – it belongs to a massive fiend trapped here, who has a deal: Let it eat a limb, and the character gains power. This forever eliminates the limb, but grants an increase of +2 to Constitution, advantage on death saves, resistance to fire, cold and poison damage, darkvision of 60 ft., and the ability to read and write Infernal. Okay, how does that influence spellcasting? How does losing a leg influence the character? What about multi-limbed races, after all, there are plenty of those available for 5e? This is a solid idea, but its execution is lackluster.

    Conclusion:

    Editing and formatting are okay; on a rules-language level, the book suffers from its deviations from the standards, and on a formal level, the irreverent and well-wrought writing contrasts with some typos – my favorite being the “data palm.” Artworks and cartography are hand-made and functional. I strongly recommend printing the adventure, for the pdf has no bookmarks. Boo! The module comes with a second, low-res version for mobile devices.

    Joseph Robert Lewis’ excursion into the screaming tomb is an early offering, and it shows; it is an attempt at executing a straight-forward dungeon crawl in 5e, and frankly, I liked it much more than I should have. It has some replay value, and the wealth of weird creatures features, the global effects and details – this shows love and a distinct voice. While it is not as inspired as his usual work, the module still has fun to offer, provided you can look past the formatting issues. Particularly due to its more than fair $1.00 asking price, this is worth checking out if you’re looking for a solid dungeon. It has flaws, but it also has a couple of nifty ideas.

    That being said, I’d recommend the author’s other work, like the brilliant Saving Saxham, over this any day of the week. My final verdict for the screaming tomb can’t exceed 3.5 stars, rounded down.

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Solomon's Screaming Tomb: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e, English)
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    Saving Saxham: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Stephen F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2020 22:42:25

    I ran the OSR version of this module this previous Sunday and it was, hands down, the most fun our group has had so far.

    The magic items had them guessing for a good 20 minutes, trying different combinations to get a ring to work that had JUST worked before, but now was just a pretty hunk of metal.

    During one part of the session two of my younger players split off from the rest of the party (insert ominous music here), to explore an underground tunnel. For plot reasons they were trying to avoid the floor, so were swinging from tree root to tree root. Their greed got the better of them and they reached for a treasure they shouldn't have, resulting in one of the players temporarily losing the use of one of his hands.

    You can picture the scene, two elves hanging from the ceiling, both trying to avoid the floor, one trying to regain use of his hand without letting go of the root. The other player tried to assist, but also couldn't let go of the ceiling, so he was one-handed as well. It became a comedy of errors. "I throw my lit lantern on the floor!" "Nope, it's not lit, you told me you were both using your darkvision." "Then I light my torch!" "With one hand?"

    They eventually dropped to the floor and rang another magic item from the module, which caused the stuff they were trying to avoid to be pulled in from a 100' radius. "Yup, of all your options, that was probably the worst thing you could have done."

    It was hilarious and I'm going to have a tough time topping the fun we had.

    Thank you so much for a memorable session.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Saving Saxham: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
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    Saving Saxham: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by christopher s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/07/2019 14:41:40

    This thing is laid out in an easy to glom format, making it easy to run at the table after one read through. I did the presentation overall, the descriptions and how it can be resolved.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Saving Saxham: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2019 20:42:08

    Hello! This is my first review for any module or anything related to D&D/5e on this site or anywhere.

    I mentioned to the PCs I taken liberties for the module and made custom changes and/or additions.

    There will be spoilers in this review.

    I didn't purchase this module at first, I decided get another module for free when I was asked if I could DM a game for my group while our dungeon master was away in Spain for awhile. I used Roll20. So I looked at the two and I felt this one was a lot simpler to look at and simpler to understand. I really like the basic premise of the module, it's very simple! So simple it's hard for players who are into killing creatures or even people. But to just talk and investigate and roll well, no killing was needed! This is a module that works for a party of four from level 1-3. I started off with only two people until second session became five 2nd level players. I adjusted the difficulty acorrdingly.

    I will admit, when reading the instructions. I was glad to see the creator being positive on how we could run this, saying what the module is doesn't have to be the right or wrong way and we could adjust or change things to our liking. Hell, we could of made Saxham a generic town that has places in! For me personally, it felt difficult to understand how things connect setting wise and how they tie together. But obviously careful reading will explain a lot, I did get confused on where things where. Thinking there were multiple ways of entering the tunnels below. But reading carefully will clear things up. However I did think the maps were a little too simplistic that didn't speak well to me, I didn't realise the forest with the roads was actually a forest until my second session while I was editing things, I stared and noticed the drawing made bush shapes. Yet I liked the simplistic design, felt more memorable and easier to keep track of things. But I wouldn't mind a little more detail in places to clear things.

    When they went into Saxham noticing the ruined buildings and some being repaired, they never went into any of them though. And met the people in Saxham, one of the PCs successfully forged a note that Saxham believed instead of 50 gold each was 300 gold each. This got great laughs. And was tasked to protect Saxham and find the cause of the plague and try and stop it.

    I completely changed the elven cemetary, made it smaller and simpler. But still kept the Saxhams there but made it more for elves. The PCs saw a large statue of a former elven queen, and a quote. She was burried in a special tomb with a human male, who found out was her husband. Of course, I made this that wasn't part of the module. I decided I would keep the whole idea intact, saving Saxham but I added my own ideas to make the story more simpler and less content to keep the flow going. I improvised the elven camp, had one elf druid surrounded by elven archers who were higher leveled. She even made a deal if they could figure out the plague, and would give 1000 gold each to the first two. As long as they reported back information and would pay extra if they were able to obstain the cemetary back. But never told them how they should do it.

    When they went back to the square and see Saxham, they tried to convince him that the elves would buy the cemetary back, which the elves never spoke of but not needing to see through the lie. Saxham hated the fact that the elves wanted to purchase something they think they rightfully own and one of their messengers was killed by the elves. And vowed to call for an army to defend Saxham.

    Even tried something with the goblins, to help the PCs learn better but one of my PCs hated goblins so much he wouldn't let one live. So they wiped the goblins out. Not being able to understand more. So I created a custom Warlock on Roll20 called Xesh, one of my PCs actually bonded with this character and called him "Grandpa" he was able to help and explain the situation and even tell the passage in elvish to get into the the tomb. Of course my players DIDNT write this down shakes my dead So instead of them backtracking, I brought him in when they killed the goblins that were going to bring more bodies for the ghost.

    They went into the tunnel and fought some badgers (added more because of the level and size of the group) and a gnoll so happened to find a cute little anime like rock gnome walking down it's tunnel. But they easily managed to kill them. And found some custom gold I put there. However as they were walking back, the ghost who was causing all this appeared at the entrance with two goblin bosses. She told her why, I decided to simply say the plagued stay inside the trees. And managing to get whatever source of life left, she brought her people back and the ooze was the plague slowly dying but the trees were still standing. However our PC who believed extremely in the Raven Queen, killed the Ghost despite the pleas for their help. He believed the undead should remained undead no matter what. She tried to posses him but couldn't. And he was able to kill her, and break the control she had. However, she said before passing away "You...are the one who killed...Saxham!"

    And so they all went back up to warn the elves, to tell them about the incoming human army, which the the druid was displeased that it wasn't there ealier and wondered what the hell they did to get an army on them? And to hear they got to the tunnels, and hearing them out...she realised, Saxham was truly lost and the plague will continue to spread. In rage, she would face the humans in battle and angrily told the party to leave...and even let them have their 2000 gold...but vowed to kill them if they ever meet again.

    One of the PCs didn't like the idea of the ghost reviving dead humans, and knew some were living in Saxham and wanted to kill them. However, they were met with Xesh, the two Saxhams and a band of knights. Refusing to allow the PC to kill innocents for his Raven Queen...Xesh tried to banish him but failed. Leaving to find someone, the others stayed behind...not wanting to be part of this fight. One of them even ran away. And since the PC refused to let the ones who returned stay alive, Saxham had enough. And ordered his knights to kill him. But was faced death when seeing the PC going to strike he rolled a nat1 and Saxham attacked back, rolling a natural 20. Heh. The knight surrounded the PC, and killed the PC. The others decided to flea, not wanting to be caught him and with the coming war and plague.

    The Rock Gnome PC found Xesh the old human warlock, and decided to journey with him alongside her friend who didn't want her to go...until Xesh offered booze which she happily joined. The other two who were part of the same guild, decided to journey together and they all went their seperate ways. Seeing Saxham in flames, skimishes between men and elves. The plagued spreading.

    While I heavily changed things. My players loved the idea of Saxham and my take on it, really recommend DMs to try this out and even play around make things work how you like to work. But try and keep the idea true. It's something completely different. I noticed the guy did something before this, but Saving Saxham has more polish and throught. I can't wait to see what comes next! I promised myself to spend $5 on this if players enjoyed it. And I have done so.

    The party failed to Save Saxham...And their next adventure, is a story...for another day.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Saving Saxham: A Dungeon Age Adventure (5e and OSR versions)
    by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2018 12:24:15

    An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

    This module clocks in at 24 pages of content , 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page of which is the SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content.

    This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue due to me receiving a printed copy of the adventure.

    All righty, this is an adventure for characters level 1 – 3, with well-rounded groups being the preferable target demographic, as often the case. This is a one-man operation, with the maps and artworks provided by the author as well. The cartography in b/w is solid, but does not provide a grid/scale or player-friendly, unlabeled version per se – however, it is cleverly constructed in a way which allows the GM to print it out and cut out the map section sans the labels, making the maps functionally player-friendly.

    Let it be known that this book looks very professional from the get-go: Read-aloud text (which is flavorful) is clearly set apart from the text and color-coded, and important key words are bolded – whenever they point towards a locale, an item, etc. that has its own description/section, we have the information in brackets. This may sound like a small thing, but from an information-design perspective, this renders running the module surprisingly easy for the GM.

    Indeed, in spite of being basically an investigative sandbox, this adventure can be run with minimum prep time, courtesy of its smart presentation. That’s definitely more forethought than I expected from a freshman offering. This is even more evident when it comes to room/locale descriptions – below the read-aloud texts we actually get helpful bullet-points that list items of interest/interaction points, rules-relevant information, etc.

    The pdf also provides quite a few helpful minor magic items – for example a helmet that provides advantage on saving throws versus being stunned. Here, I need to nitpick their formatting a bit – no item scarcity is noted and “Attunement.” is bolded, when it should be both italicized and noted in the line for item scarcity. That would be a cosmetic hiccup, though.

    EDIT: And this is where this module deserves a re-evaluation: Where previously, we got barely functional stats, the revised edition now features abbreviated statblocks in the front, where they are relevant, and full statblocks in the back, in case you need to look up some obscure rules-interaction. This is a VAST improvement for the pdf!

    Coupled with the fact that even e.g. a goblin gets some personality, his own agenda and responses to news and the like, we now thus have the proper mechanics to supplement narrative class: We get dialogue options, guidance and this super-neat presentation; heck, even mundane, interesting items such as letters get detailed descriptions – in the fluff department, this totally excels.

    But to properly explain what’s sets this module apart, I need to go into SPOILERS. Players REALLY should skip ahead to the conclusion. Seriously. Reading on will thoroughly SPOIL the adventure, and you don’t want that.

    ..

    .

    Okay, are only GMs left? Are you sure? One more time: I will spoil this thing! Big time! So, “Saving Saxham” begins as generic as it can be – there is a small village called Saxham, established by the wealthy Sax family, courtesy of the grist mill. As the adventurers arrive in the town, they will be puzzled indeed – a curse seems to have taken a hold of Saxham – houses are dilapidated an overgrown, weeds are all over the fields, and, as a boy tells the PCs en route, monsters are in the woods. All of these observations, save one, are correct – in the woods, there indeed are monsters – and as the local elves have come to investigate, there is a similar problem – the forest seems to be suffering a mysterious blight. Strange variant zombies, so-called clayskins (things of clay) and woodwalkers (basically woodzombies with green berries for eyes) lumber through the forest, with the former evolving into the more deadly, second form over time.

    If this sounds like something that could have been taken straight from a Witcher-game, then you’d be right – the premise does not disappoint: There is no gizmo responsible. There is no evil necromancer with the cliché shadow boss. There is no standard evil humanoid tribe responsible. Nope, the solution is actually much more amazing. The surrounding area, NPCs and small dungeon, all detailed in intriguing ways, does hold a secret most delightful in its implications: You see, the buildings and fields aren’t cursed. Neither are the villagers. 30 years ago, the plague struck Saxham and wiped it out, making it a ghost town – and now, the ghost of the town cleric has risen, and in her despair, raises the villagers, successfully, I might add, from the dead. Okay, they need to shamble a bit around as beings of grave clay…and then as dangerous wooden monsters…but after that, they’ll come to their senses, stumble naked back into town, and have no recollection of what happened. The life-source required is drawn by the undead from the flora of the region. Bound to the cemetery, the ghost requires its minions to dig tunnels – and she is draining trees from below. If the adventurers don’t interfere, the blight will spread, but a town that has died will be repopulated…though, obviously, the elves wouldn’t stand for such a perversion of the natural order…

    This is a fantastic and clever conundrum, a great twist, and frankly renders this one of the coolest first level modules I’ve read in a long while. I absolutely love it!

    Conclusion:

    Editing and formatting, on a formal, and now also on a rules-language level, are excellent; the combination of easy to use shortened statblocks and full stats in the back is amazing. The pdf comes laid out in a two-column full-color standard with b/w-artworks and cartography, and a low-res version as well. The pdf does not have bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort-detriment – I strongly encourage you to print this out when running it.

    Joseph Robert Lewis’ “Saving Saxham” was a HUGE surprise for me. First, I enjoyed the presentation and clever way in which the scenario handles information. Then, my spirits sank as I saw the statblock issue –an issue, which, as per the writing of this review, is no more!!

    I read this...and my reaction was: "Oh boy!" “Saving Saxham” is a fantastic, slightly weird fantasy-ish/dark fantasy module that provides a truly tricky moral conundrum, a clever story and evocative prose. This feels like a module I’d run in my home-game; it is clever, smart, and yes, fun. It has a very distinct narrative voice and is more creative than a TON of modules I’ve read. This is a true winner, and as a person, I LOVE it. If you have similar tastes, then do yourself a favor and check this out!! Better yet, its revised edition now provides the rules-integrity to supplement the amazing angle, making this pretty much one of the best modules for PWYW that you can get. My final verdict for the revised iteration will be 5 stars + seal of approval - get this ASAP!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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