Goodman Games
DriveThruComics
DriveThruFiction
Goodman Games Powered by DriveThruRPG



Home » Goodman Games » Reviews
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info











Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
by Jaime O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2018 12:11:56

This was a great starting adventure both for my mostly-new-to-5e players, and for me as a brand new DM. Interesting use of fey creatures, and establishes a small town that works well as a base for low level characters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #30: Vault of the Dragon Kings
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/17/2018 08:51:19

This was originally written as a tournament module for Gen Con Indy 2005, and so comes complete with scoring information and pre-generated characters... so it's ideal if you are looking for a one-off adventure or happen to need an adventure to run at a games convention. Or, of course, you can run it with an existing party as part of your ongoing campaign... however the results from when it was played at Gen Con make grim reading in terms of survival rates!

The adventure itself concerns an upstart dragon called Myrkjartan who has raided the ancient and long-undisturbed Vault of the Dragon Kings in a bid to establish the rule of dragonkind (or at least, himself) over all sentient beings. There's plenty of background material to get your teeth into, covering the original Dragon Kings and the vault they built when they realised that their days were numbered, and how their passing gave rise to the multiplicity of dragon types found in the world today... and how Myrkjartan is not quite the villain he appears. Maybe. There are notes on how to involve the party - and just as importantly, notes on what they don't know! There are also notes on particular features of many of the traps in the Vault, of the perils of adventuring at high altitude, and of the mammoth scale the Vault is built to, seeing as it was made by and for dragons.

The adventure comes in three parts, corresponding to the three rounds of a tournament game. Throughout, there is plenty of help and direction for the DM, with sidebars reminding of applicable game mechanics as well as detailed room descriptions and notes for every encounter. There are some complex traps that will take smarts as well as brawn to circumvent. They look reasonably straightforward when you have notes on how to defeat them in front of you, but may well prove a lot harder for the party to deal with. There are hints provided, but will the party recognise them for what they are?

It's a tough and challenging adventure with both traps and combats a-plenty, but there are opportunities to interact with at least some of those encountered in the Vault... but the conversation might get cut short if tempers become short. There's a lot here, including some new monsters, spells, templates and other items. The pre-generated characters are provided as dense blocks of text, you'd better transcribe them onto character sheets if you intend to use them. There are some player handouts, to let them see what their characters see in certain situations, potentially helpful especially with the traps.

It's well presented, well laid out, and oh, so very challenging. A good adventure for groups who like high stakes, difficult challenges for both mind and body, and who are not afraid to lose a few characters along the way. Have fun!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #30: Vault of the Dragon Kings
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #29: The Adventure Begins
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/13/2018 08:43:52

This is a massive collection of low-level adventures, deigned for characters of 1st-2nd level. There are twenty in all, and between them they should provide an opportunity for any party to find their feet and begin to make their names in adventuring circles.

Some have appeared elsewhere - The Tower of the Black Pearl was released a couple of years later as an AD&D adventure, for example - but all are inventive and full of challenges. A well-rounded party including characters that can fight, cast spells, heal and play around with things like locks and traps is recommended for all of them.

Each adventure comes complete with a few hooks to entice the party in and a complete backstory, as well as useful DM tools such as scaling information, a list of encounters, and notes on specific game mechanics of particular relevance to the game. Then there's a detailed location-by-location description of the adventure itself, complete with integrated notes on who (what) is encountered there and how they are likely to react to the party. Whilst it is, as ever, well worth reading through an adventure before running it, everything you need it is there on the page. Maps, handouts, and notes on further adventures are also provided.

Each adventure is stand-alone, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It means you can select which ones you want to use and run them in whatever order suits your needs - but it does lead to a somewhat fragmented and episodic campaign. You might want to create an overarching setting in which to scatter these adventures, then throw out a selection of rumours and let the party roam the setting, playing adventures as they come to them, and making use of the suggestions for further adventures to develop areas that catch the party's interest. A very useful tool if you want to start a campaign but don't have time to develop one from scratch.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #29: The Adventure Begins
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #28: Into the Wilds
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2018 13:35:48

Suitable for a campaign starter, this adventure takes a party of very low level adventurers (1st-3rd level) to a frontier keep that's troubled by a curse and assorted marauding beasties. There's plenty to find in (and around) the keep, which is surrounded by an area called the Wilds. Shall we say that it lives up to its name.

Several hooks are provided to get them there in the first place, and it's suggested that you make use of whatever backstories the characters have. There's also a selection of rumours - each charater should have heard a couple of them before the adventure begins. There's a background story - some of which might come out during play - and notes about what the party needs to find and what they should do with them. The local lordling will be pleased to get them back... but of course, other folk also have their eyes on the prize!

We also find out a fair bit about the area of Wildsgate and the people living there, a vibrant community in which any action will have consequences. It's somewhere a bunch of aspiring adventurers might want to stay a while as they begin their careers, and there are some outline notes that give ideas for integrating your adventures into the locality.

The adventure begins with the party on the road towards the keep... and an introductory combat to remind them that civilisation is far behind. There's plenty more travel in the Wilds before they reach the keep too, and plenty to do and see on the way. The really neat thing is that every encounter happens for a reason, even though they are universally violent and hostile.

Eventually they reach the keep, which is well-guarded. The first task is to get in! Within its confines there is plenty going on. It's quite a hub of adventurer activity, and there are lots of folks to interact with. However the lure of adventure will hopefully lead the party forth again, to the caverns beneath a feature called the Goblin Spires, where there are some well-organised goblins to be cleared out... and of course there is much more besides, beneath and beyond. Eventually the quest reaches its end in ancient dwarven tombs, needless to say, well-protected against tomb raiders. Those defences don't care how legitimate the party's business might be, ether!

There's one last obstacle in their way when the party returns triumphant with their spoils - and the range of options presented for handling this last encounter are impressive. This will determine whether the party can stay safely in the area or will be run out of town (if lucky) so they'd better be careful what they do! The text ends with ideas for further adventures...

Well-resourced with maps, descriptions and everything you might need to make the Wilds and the settlement of Wildkeep come alive, this makes an excellent start for a wilderness-based campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #28: Into the Wilds
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #27: Revenge of the Rat King
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/10/2018 09:12:17

I've never quite understood the concept of revenge, but it sure makes for some good plots... and here's one. It's particularly good if you have played Idylls of the Rat King earlier in your campaign, but if you haven't it is either a case of mistaken identity or just a set-up to catch generic adventurers. Slavers have to get their merchantise somewhere, after all.

After the usual plot summary, list of wandering monsters and scaling information, there are a series of hooks to get the party interested in what is going on. They all revolve around an innkeeper called Gotlieb. It may be that the party has been tasked with finding a bunch of slavers, or someone they care about has been abducted by them - or they might even find themselves rescuing Gotlieb from a lynch mob who are certain he's in on the slave trade... This has all been orchestrated by the Rat King, especially if you are going for the default revenge angle.

The adventure falls into three parts. The first bit is a standard dungeon-crawl through the sewers. Then they get captured. This is a given, by the way. Eventually they should win free, get hold of weapons and equipment, and be in a position to deal with the Rat King once and for all. It's an adventure for the thinking character, however, those who like to rush bull-headed into combat will likely end up in difficulties.

As usual with the DCC line, the adventure begins as Gotlieb opens a door in the basement of his inn giving the party access to the sewers below. How you get them to this point is up to you. Run with the ideas given or come up with something of your own. Once down there it's a good if fairly standard delve, with opponents whose conversational heights run to "I'm going to kill you!" and similar taunts, and a few traps to figure out along the way.

The novel central phase ensues, with the party waking up in a dark cell, without their possessions. The cell is held to be escape-proof. Can our heroes prove this assumption wrong? If they are inventive and careful, they ought to be able to win free and return to deal with the Rat King for good and all in a thrilling climax.

Overall it makes a good adventure, particularly for those who like to sail through dungeon delves beating up everyone they encounter and taking their loot without further ado... if they survive they'll approach their next delve quite differently! Yet there's plenty of brawling and trap-defeating goodness and even some interesting loot to be had. An excellent game to be had here...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #27: Revenge of the Rat King
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #26: The Scaly God
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2018 12:44:30

With a glorious cover picture that seems to reach out and grab you, this adventure involves the investigation of a demolished stronghold that leads the party into uncharted depths and face-to-face with a being that the local goblinoid savages hail as a god.

Whitefang Stronghold perches high in the mountains guarding a pass - just find a suitable mountain pass in your campaign world, probably something used as a trade route. It's a nicely-designed multi-level building highly appropriate for its situation. However a recent caravan passing through found the garrison slaughtered and even the structure of the stronghold damaged. The party is hired by the local lordling to investigate. Oh, and to find a valuable artefact that had been delivered there recently.

The encounter list shows that a lot of the opposition is presented by the local wildlife. There's scaling information should your party be weaker or stronger than that for which the adventure was written, and the interesting point that the first part of the adventure - investigation of the stronghold itself - should not provide a significant challenge to the party: that comes later with the discovery of a nearby underground complex! If your party isn't the sort to hire out to local lordlings, a few alternative ways to get them involved are provided. There's also an extensive backstory that explains in detail how the situation they'll find came to be. It makes for a good story, so do try to weave it in to the adventure to enhance the plotline.

The adventure proper starts with the party in the mountain pass, just as they arrive at the remains of the stronghold. The garrison may be dead, but the place isn't deserted. It's all a bit confusing and the party will have to piece events together to discover what actually happened here. Most of the inhabitants want to fight rather than talk (although some are not above the odd taunt), but as noted above, they should not prove impossible to defeat. There are several points where you get handouts to 'show the players what their characters see' although the descriptions themselves convey the scene pretty well.

By the time they've scoured the Stronghold, the party should have picked up enough hints to suggest that finding and exploring a nearby cave complex. There's a handy list of clues in case you are having difficulty picking them out: they are rather subtle and you may find it necessary to signpost them a bit to ensure that the party knows where they are supposed to go. There's also a Bardic Knowledge check and even an optional encounter to nudge the party in the right direction if all else fails! Getting there is part of the adventure, with local wildlife and a rockfall to make things difficult, and once there the complex is crawling with wandering monsters. Things only get more difficult from here on in, and there's at least one encounter it might be more prudent to back away from.

The cavern ecology is quite fascinating, with several groups in interlocking relationships. Few relish intruders, however, so any attempt to study them will be spoiled by the inevitable fights... but most adventurers come to fight not conduct anthropological studies, so that's no problem. There are three layers, with increasing levels of challenge as you descend... and at the bottom there's the living embodiment of a deity! At least, if you listen to some of the more powerful denizens that's what he is... no matter, he's big and powerful and greets intruders with immediate combat. His tactics are laid out clearly, and it should prove a suitably climactic brawl to end the adventure. Pickings so far have been poor, nut there is plenty of treasure to be had here, as well as the artefact that those parties hired by the local lordling were tasked to find.

This makes for a great 'double delve' - Stronghold and caverns - with a lot going on, and certainly lives up to the ideal that all monsters are there to be fought! The way various monstrous races have been used in conjuction with one another is excellent, with creative and believable alliances and relationships that make it all work within the context of this alternate reality.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #26: The Scaly God
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #25: The Dread Crypt of Srihoz
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/27/2018 12:29:04

If someone suggested to me that it was a good idea to take a stroll along a freezing cold and damp clifftop path where only lichen grew, I think I'd pass... even before finding out that there were vampires in the vicinity. The lure is the vast wealth that the vampire in question has amassed, but of course in reality, he's just hungry.

The opening notes suggest that this adventure can be slotted in to any suitable wilderness region on a sea or lake shore. Prefering quality over quantity, the vampire has made the place tricky to explore so only the best will reach him. The list of traps employed is quite awesome! There's some scaling information if your party is weaker or stronger than that for which the adventure is intended, then we move on to how to get them involved - the vampire actively recruits, hiring minions to spread the word about the fabulous wealth to be had in his lair and even giving out directions! Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly...

There's s quite extensive backstory to the vampire and how he came to be where he is. It makes for quite a good read, but the party will need to delve quite deeply into local history to find out much of it... unless the recruiters use some of it in their spiels. It does make the entire complex come to life, though, and there are further comments throughout the adventure text.

The adventure proper starts with the party on that inhospitable clifftop track, standing in front of an iced-up door. Getting them there is, as ever, up to you. It would appear that despite the network of recruiters, nobody has actually entered here for many years, maybe even centuries (judging by the smell!). Once in, wall paintings can give some inkling of the history should the party stop to examine them. Onward, then, through various strange chambers with their complement of hostile flora and fauna, not to mention an array of traps magical and mechanical. It's a remarkably inhospitable place, and there's clear evidence of the deliberate thought process behind making it so - everything follows logically in sequence and it doesn't give the impression of a bunch of random traps and monsters but a carefully-considered challenge. And challenge it is, there's a lot that could easily prove deadly to unlucky or badly-prepared parties.

One feature is a massive underwater combat where some vicious squid are the lest of the party's worries. There are plenty of other set pieces too, with challenges to both mind and body - illusions and the use of suggestion spells for example; and there is copious use of weaponised diseases. It's a nightmare of a place. The vampire himself is a powerful wizard who is credited with inventing an offshoot of necromancy that is even more disgusting - and he makes good use of his abilities as shown by the extensive discussion of his likely tactics once the party finally meet him. If they don't finish him off but escape, pure pride will cause him to hunt them down, and even if they do, most of the traps are still active when they attempt to get back out of the complex.

It's a well-constructed and deadly adventure, those surviving will have reason to be proud of themselves. There's no scope for interaction, that isn't its purpose, but if you are seeking a purposeful challenge, a dungeon that has been carefully crafted to be deadly, this one fits the bill admirably.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #25: The Dread Crypt of Srihoz
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Fifth Edition Fantasy #14: Beneath the Keep
by Mitchell R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2018 16:22:43

Tried this as a one-off with four friends who are all experienced in various RGP adventure games.

I created seven first level characters (cleric, fighter, bard, rogue, sorcerer, paladin, and barbarian), and I let them choose. I let one character silver their weapon at the beginning of the adventure, and I let them have 1 long rest and 1 short rest during.

It took about 3 hours to get through the adventure, and everyone had an amazing time. Really enjoyable, with a variety of different challenges. They had so much fun that one of my players has requested that I run it a second time for a different group.

I am planning on buying another adventure in this series and trying it out as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #14: Beneath the Keep
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/20/2018 07:22:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

Now, if you’re playing DCC, chances are that you will be familiar with this adventure, and it being a classic funnel, it has kicked off countless campaigns – it was the first stand-alone adventure released for the system, after all. This is a pretty well-known adventure, but is it still holding up? Does it make sense today, and could it work in other contexts? We’ll see. Now, this is a funnel – that means it’s intended for 0-level characters. A lot of them. 10 – 15 are suggested, noting that typically, about half of them will survive. The module could be run as a level 1 or 2 adventure as well, though compared to most such DCC modules, it may be a bit easy for those levels. It may be – or it may not. You see, this module does a surprisingly good job at blending rules-relevant aspects and player-skill. While your characters can and will probably suffer a few casualties, their survival will be more contingent on the skill of the player than on the roll of the dice. I will highlight a few examples for this design-philosophy, which I btw. thoroughly enjoy.

Now, on a formal level, as pretty much all adventures in this series released for the DCC-rules, this is a beautiful book: The b/w-artworks are really neat, and the cartography depicts the main-module in a top-down style that is slightly tilted. The map of the bonus complex (see SPOILERS below) is delivered in an isometric perspective. All maps come with artworks and style galore. Thing is, I really wished we got a player-friendly key-less version of the maps, as the letters break immersion for me. Having the maps layered would have been another easy way to ensure that more groups get to see these gorgeous pieces, handing them out, piece by piece as the PCs explore. The module does come with copious amounts of read-aloud text that show the author’s talent for descriptive prose: The atmosphere evoked by these is compelling and captivating. The adventure comes with a handy encounter table that codifies the base module’s encounters by type and provides a handy summary for the judge. The module also includes a list of 10 different rumors pertaining the adventure-locale.

All right, this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great! So, in ages past, when the forces of Chaos (think of a more Warhammer-esque, nasty capital letters Chaos…) were more potent, they had champions – so-called Chaos Lords. Two particularly evil individuals, Felan and Molan, were such beings, but their wickedness did end, with one of them slain, and the other one retreating into Chaos itself, vowing to return once more. This foretold time has come, and the PCs are dumped right into it. As 0-level folks, they are assumed to be villagers and similarly unimpressive folks that respond to the recent abductions and raidings executed by beastmen from a nearby, ruined keep. This, thus is a combination of rescue mission and retribution, depending on your character’s motivations. These beastmen are btw. more versatile than the ones featured in the Warhammer universe: A table of 12 entries allow you to generate spontaneous and diverse looks for the beastmen, which may feature iridescent scales, weeping maggots, etc. – these are delightfully icky. Beastmen as a general notion, are assumed to have animal cunning, with only their leaders retaining a semblance of distinct personalities.

Now, while these beings constitute the primary antagonists of the module, they are not the only foes encountered, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The PCs may approach the keep from a variety of directions, which all carry their own dangers, and it is here that we already see the design paradigm I mentioned in action: Scaling a ruined wall’s slope can trigger an avalanche of rubble that can be lethal at this level, and that destroys equipment. Noticing that, well, scaling a steep slope of rubble may be dangerous can help here. The check is so low that succeeding it is all but guaranteed if the PCs just think. There also is a massive sinkhole, but approaching it may have the PCs tumble to a horrid fate – 500 ft. below, as the area seems to be hollow. The attention to detail here is impressive – the pdf even accounts for the unlikely case that PCs could have 500 ft. of rope! (Yeah, super-unlikely, but still – it’s nice to see this go above and beyond!) The extraction of PCs and approaching the sinkhole safely is noted as well as splaying out on the ground – mind you, this is not a dickish save or die: It does come with a creepy premonition warning the PCs!

In a way, this adventure, from the get-go, teaches by virtue of its design: PCs approaching the keep from the front will have to deal with rather dangerous vine horrors, basically corpses animated by corrupt vines; these things are actually more deadly than beastmen, so avoiding them, may be wise. In the best tradition of old-school modules, two threats are tied to curiosity and greed: Interacting with the Well of Souls can result in death or corruption, introducing the PCs to the potency of such decisions. The tomb of one of the Chaos Lords would be another such example: Lighted by an unearthly glow emitted from the ice covering all and exceedingly cold, the tomb offers treasure, yes. But the tomb is warded by 4 banes – which double as curses that the judge can later use for additional complications and as segues into other modules. Ideas regarding their use are provided. Still, this aspect of the module is completely optional, but that may not be evident.

This would be as well a chance as any to note how clever the adventure deals with magic: Exploring the charnel ruins, where the forces of Law locked in chaos cultists and had them burn. There is a darkened tar ooze that is a deadly foe, but with smart observations, the ooze may not need to be fought at all – smart players can find here an item that constitutes one of the solutions of the perhaps most deadly encounter herein. Placating the ooze is btw. something that smart players can extrapolate from the area and its description. Now, the regular “boss” of the keep level would be a beastman champion with some footsoldiers added, and, depending on how much you want the PCs to explore, you can disperse the villagers to be saved accordingly.

This ties in with the fully mapped “bonus content” additional dungeon included here. At the end of the module, there is an extra mini-dungeon, the “Summoning Pits.” This bonus module is rather creepy and slightly more deadly than the regular complex: These pits are the origin of the vine horrors noted before, and the place does contain a truly deadly and dangerous weapon – the Fiend Blade, which can provide power, but also corrupt and may even help casting some spells…but it does demand a price: It needs to be mentally battered into submission, requiring difficult Personality checks to use to its full capacity…or alternatively, a cost. Note that the danger this blade poses is clearly shown, and once more, the PC’s greed is what may be their undoing, for entering the circle that seals the blade may be rather deadly. Now, I mentioned the vine horrors – the PCs can find a rather twisted scene of these, seemingly locked in place, in the process of providing a human sacrifice. Serving the plant-entity known as the Slow God, they are executing a super-slow sacrifice, as the entity, curious about the concept of worship, dips its toes into the concepts. The Slow God can provide unique boons to brave adventurers, but it may also well lose themselves to its glacially-slow, alien thought-processes. Now, tinkering with the Slow God’s vine horrors may well be one of the most deadly encounters in the module, so once more, we have a sensible risk-reward ration here.

I really enjoy this bonus dungeon, and it may well work as a nice stand-alone scenario for conventions etc. Considering how challenging this one is, it is smart that it’s an optional sub-level, though one with massive benefits. You can completely ignore it – which is a plus or downside, depending on how you look at it. The main adventure’s text does not note the access points to the adventure, and as such, this is truly an optional bonus content. Now, personally, I think it would have been nice to see the main module text modified to acknowledge the existence of this content, but oh well.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes – having defeated the first beastman champion, the PCs can make their way into the bowels of the earth, where perceptive PCs will be able to notice two mosaics, which have been provided as a gorgeous handout. These handouts are important, for they contain clues that are potentially crucial for the PC’s survival. In these darkened halls, smart PCs that do a thorough job exploring may find a potent magical item, the band of fire, which can well spell the difference between life and death. The climax of the module deals with the subterranean shores of the eponymous starless sea: On it, the PCs can see a dragon boat awaiting, and clever characters may also deduce the magical means by which it may be called to the shore, for the waters are dangerous and home to an entity known as the Chaos Leviathan, a horrid, tentacle monstrosity far beyond the PC’s capabilities to best. The gigantic thing may be driven off by super lucky groups, but it also represents more of a puzzle than an actual combat challenge. If the players have been attentive, they may well have an idea on how to placate the leviathan – and while sacrifice is one possibility, it’s certainly not the only one. Tricking the leviathan is also an option, though one that can add further danger and a sense of frantic nature to the already challenging finale.

On an island in the starless sea, there lies a ziggurat, where beastmen are in the process of sacrificing villagers, throwing them into the magical forge crucible that is intended to reunite the body and mind of a vanquished chaos lord. Here, player smarts once more may make the difference between success and failure: Using robes of fallen chaos priests or sneaking are probably preferable, considering that there are quite a lot of beastmen attending the ceremony. This crowd of beastmen also acts as a unique terrain hazard of sorts, with PCs caught in their hands inexorably being moved towards the horrid fate of the sacrifice.

In order to come out on top here, the PCs will have to stop the shaman of the beast-men, and also get a chance to defeat the as of yet unstable form of the chaos lord – the skulls of challengers to the title of the chaos lord, which some PCs may have picked up, represent a potent weapon here, flaring with hatred. Defeating the as of yet weak form of the chaos lord with have pretty epic and cataclysmic repercussions, requiring that the PCs make haste to avoid annihilation, as the cave risks collapse. In the time-honored tradition of adventurers, they should run and get what they can – but tarrying may well see the PCs killed…once more, risk and reward.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. The layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and fits a surprising amount of content into its pages. The b/w-artworks are great, and the module’s cartography, as noted, is inspired, offering a top-down look of the keep and main complex, an isometric perspective for the bonus complex. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks for the headers, but not for individual rooms.

Harley Stroh’s “Sailors on the Starless Sea” is a fantastic adventure in the best sense. It is very dangerous, but never in an unfair way. The adventure manages to transport the notions of a thoroughly magical world without requiring the meta-concerns of RPG-systems: There is method and an internal logic to how magic works within the game; players that think are rewarded, whereas approaching this with solely a rollplaying attitude will result in pain galore. I love this, as the adventure teaches being methodical and consequently rewards players ability over that of the PCs, making this an all out fun module to play. Compared with MANY “first” adventures for systems out there, this is a phenomenal achievement and clearly highlights the strength of the aesthetics of both DCC and its aesthetics. Now yes, I could complain about the fact that integration of the second printing bonus dungeon could be smoother, but that may well be a feature for you. Similarly, the lack of player-friendly versions of the amazing maps DCC modules tend to have galls me to no end, but the atmosphere and epic climax of this complex, the expert prose and fantastic execution make it all but impossible to rate this any other way than 5 stars + seal of approval. This is a great adventure, and one that holds up very well to this date. Much like “Doom of the Savage Kings”, this is good enough to get it even if you’re not playing DCC. Yes, that good.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #24: Legend of the Ripper
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2018 09:46:17

This is a low-level adventure that provides a good opportunity for a party new to the adventuring game to make a name for themselves. It's based on the story of Jack the Ripper, of course, but with some neat fantasy twists that make it credible within the alternate reality of your campaign world and means that even the most enthusiastic student of the real Ripper will still need to work at this challenge.

It all starts in a city. Pick one from your campaign world, it may be where the party started off their adventuring career - or they might be country bumpkins, drawn like moths to the candleflame that is the lights of the big city. Even the investigation is left open. What is known is that the ghost of the last victim of this city's Ripper, who cut a murderous swathe through the city over an hundred years ago, has started walking the streets where she met her doom and there's been an uptick in unsolved vicious murders in that neighbourhood. Under pressure and getting nowhere fast, the city watch call in some outside consultants in the shape of the party.

If you think your party would enjoy an investigation - and you feel up to inventing the details - you can, or you may simply say that the watch have discovered what they believe is the lair of the present-day Ripper and want the party to clean it out on their behalf... because it is at the entrance to that lair, based in and under that last victim's former home, that the adventure text begins.

The preparatory material for the DM contains the usual material: a wandering monster table, scaling information in case your party is stronger or weaker than that envisioned, notes on character death (a real possibility) and on the fact that this is a horror story as well as a fantasy one, and a fair bit of background material.

The adventure proper begins in the squalid back streets of an area known as Miller's Court, where the original Ripper murders (as well as the latest crop) took place. This section involves some investigation and exploration as the party homes in on the particular building that they seek. There's plenty to do and see as they work their way to Mari's former home and the tavern that adjoins it. These form the setting of the second part of the adventure, which is the upper floor of the tavern.

Finally, the party's investigations will lead them into the cellars and sewars beneath... and to dark places beyond. Throughout there are clear descriptions for all locations and encounters, with necessary game mechanical information and notes on the likely actions of those encountered. Sidebars contain expanded information and other useful notes and snippets of further background material which you may weave in as you please. None of this adventure is easy, but the final stages are particularly tough, especially for the low level party that the adventure is intended for. The outcome isn't certain either, whatever the party chooses to do has consequences. Apart from these, there are also several ideas for follow-up adventures - most work best if the party is still welcome in the city, but others can be run regardless.

This is an outstanding and atmospheric adventure for a starting party to really make their mark on the adventuring scene!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #24: Legend of the Ripper
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #66.5: Doom of the Savage King
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:16:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was sponsored by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

All right, this is a first level module for Dungeon Crawl Classics, and in case you’re not familiar with the system and the offerings by Goodman Games, it should be noted that level 1 is not the lowest level there is. It should also be noted that there are no less than three GORGEOUS b/w-maps, with artwork and everything, included in the deal. One map for the village of Hirot, one for the wilderness, and one for the dungeon. Now, I know that pretty much the whole series suffers from this, but I will still continue to complain about it: The maps, stunning though they are, are neither layered, nor are there player-friendly versions provided. While I can understand this somewhat for the dungeon, it’s somewhat annoying regarding the map of the village.

Anyways, this dungeon is not a cakewalk, and DCC is, aesthetics-wise, a pretty challenging game, so yeah – if you’re not up to your A-game as a player, your PC may well die. This is one important thing to note: This book emphasizes PLAYER-skill and agenda over PC-skill and agenda. If you get your character killed, it’ll very likely be because you screwed up as a player, not because of a dickish save-or-die. All deadly challenges within this module felt fair to me. Yes, even the at times very high DCs (for DCC): 23 could only be made by super high AGI chars with a natural 20. On the other hand, clever PLAYERS can prevent this DC from ever coming up, even when triggered. I really adore this design-sensibility.

Theme-wise, this module assumes a quasi-Norse, pulpy environment and should work without a snag in such a context. The other, super-obvious analogue, would be Beowulf. This is basically a dark fantasy-retelling of a variant of Beowulf and mirrors leitmotifs of sögur of the age, contrasting old paganism and fanatically upheld “new values.” In other fantastic contexts, you may need to do a bit of reskinning regarding titles etc., but don’t let that deter you. The pdf does offer quite a lot of read-aloud text for an adventure that champions an old-school aesthetic, and it is better off for it. Beyond this flavorful text, even the non-read-aloud text offers a fantastic atmosphere – the prose throughout this module is fantastic and frankly is beyond anything most longer modules manage to achieve.

All right, since this is an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great! We join the heroes as they trod through the sodden, darksome moors surrounding Hirot; to be more precise, the heroes as they happen upon locals preparing to sacrifice a maiden! The local Jarl will not be happy if the PCs do intervene, and neither will the grim and frightened mob – but standing against the heroes is a bad idea, so chances are good that the PCs may prevent the sacrifice, which will be helpful, as we’re talking about the innkeeper’s daughter here…

Anyways, this encounter foreshadows a lot and sets the delightfully grim and shades of grey tone of the adventure. The lavishly-mapped village, ringed by palisades, is in the grip of fear. The so-called Hound of Hirot, a dread monster, is ravaging the town in predictable intervals, but it seems to be immortal. A d24 table of rumors accompanies the adventure and helps further enforce the atmosphere of xenophobia and fear.

Contrary to the beliefs fostered by the Jarl and his nasty advisor, the Hound can be hurt by mortal weapons – just not slain. Vanquishing it only draws out the inevitable, rage-fueled retributive rampage. There are mystic ways to bind and truly destroy the hound. You see, the module, in spite of its brevity, is actually surprisingly freeform: There are several ways to stop the dread Hound of Hirot…and the PCs better hurry, for there is a lottery going on…and the Jarl and his cronies rig the game to get rid of problematic beings….like the PCs. Oh, guess what? The dungeon? It’s optional. How’s that for guts? A module with this page-count, and it’s so freeform that you can skip the dungeon. And yes, it pulls this off.

The Hound must be bound to slay it: Supernatural power (Strength + good dice rolling) will do the trick; alternatively, the local mad crone offers to weave shackles from the hair of the dead – which can bind the Hound, but woe to the PCs that try to cheat her…she wants to marry one of them in exchange for the service, the whole subplot resonating with mythological tropes.

Speaking of which – there may be another way, and this one actually involves the dungeon: Namely the Wolf-spear of Ulfheonar, which lies in an ancient barrow-mound, where, among other riches and potential doom, a magical cave-bear’s hide may be found. This also is a great place to note the one thing that is most likely to kill off PCs – the mound contains a false tomb with an ingeniously-rigged trap that you can’t best by rolling, only by actual smarts. I loved this, and the b/w-artworks help maintain the atmosphere here. The tomb is also constructed in a way that made sense to me, which is another plus. The true tomb, undead and the means to access it are inspiring and clever (and neatly visualized on the excellent map)…but the module does not end there.

Exiting the mound, the PCs will be assaulted by the Jarl’s men, who seek to kill off these dangers to his power-base…and the PCs may well have to track the Hound of Hirot through the dangerous wilderness to its lair…where a blackened pool offers power, but also madness…and unwise PCs may actually become what they have fought so hard to slay…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. The layout adheres to a nice two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with amazing b/w-artworks and stellar cartography, though the lack of player-friendly maps is a pity and comfort detriment. The pdf comes with basic bookmarks for its sections. I can’t comment on the physical version, since I do not own it.

Harley Stroh’s tale here is fantastic. It feels like it was taken straight from the pages of pulp literature and hits the themes of pulpy dark fantasy perfectly. The prose is phenomenal and the module, as a whole, actually has some replay value for the judge. How good is this? Well, good enough to make it worth converting to other systems. If you’re already playing DCC, then this is glorious. Even if you aren’t, this is well worth getting for the amazing prose and dense, evocative atmosphere. This is a fantastic first adventure for the system and establishes a level of quality only rarely seen. Don’t be fooled by the brevity – this has a lot of amazing gaming waiting for you. In spite of the lack of player-friendly maps, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. This is a truly fantastic yarn, a must-own for DCC-groups, and a great buy for other systems as well. Seriously, the atmosphere is phenomenal.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #66.5: Doom of the Savage King
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #23: The Sunken Ziggurat
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2018 12:50:11

The premise for this adventure is simple: a recent earthquake has exposed a long-buried structure and for whatever reason, the party goes to explore it. Needless to say there's all sorts of bad stuff around and the looming threat of evil being released across the land to goad them on...

The material for the DM includes an overview of the adventure, scaling information, wandering monsters, several ideas for how to get the party to investigate, background information that can be discovered through a little research, and even notes on translating inscriptions within the ziggurat. Well, it's been buried a long time and nobody speaks that language any more! There's also a bit of background story, which may or may not be revealed during play.

There are various ways that the party can get to the ziggurat, once they have decided that it's worth a look. However, no more than a brief outline is given, you will have to come up with the details yourself as the adventure itself begins just as they arrive at the ziggurat. There appears to be a localised storm brewing over its apex, but that's the only way in... and from the outset, there's plenty of opposition to the party's investigations. Indeed traps and monsters are present in abundance throughout the ziggurat.

Everything is explained clearly, with all the information, explanations and game mechanics you need to run each encounter supplied just where you need it. In certain places, as well as a verbal description, there is an illustration to show to the players. As the party gets deeper into the ziggurat, things get progressively worse and - especially if they haven't guessed what's here - weirder. Spirits abound and any paleontologist would have a field day with all the ancient bones. And right at the bottom? Suffice to say, something that the party will really, really hope stays dead!

Every creature here is indeed here to be slain, not interacted with. There's some loot to be had, but rather low considered the difficulty of obtaining it. There are quite a few new monsters, which are given a full write-up at the end as well as having an outline within the body of the text where you need it. There's no follow-up adventures, there again if the great evil escapes there is unlikely to be much of a future for anybody.

Quite an interesting delve based on an unusual premise, but definitely for those who like deadly hack'n'slash delves... it's an excellent example.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #23: The Sunken Ziggurat
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #22: The Stormbringer Juggernaut
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2018 07:31:05

Intended as a sequel to Assault of Stormbringer Castle where the party dealt with a storm giant clan that was extorting protection money from the local community, this adventure sends the party to clear up the consequences: the storm giant in question transferred her life essence into a massive 800-foot long giant-scaled assault ship bristling with weapons of war... and it's now advancing on the coastline!

If your party played Assault of Stormbringer Castle they ought to be aware of this problem and feel obligated to do something about it, but if they didn't (or see no need for their further involvement) just have the local lordling call them in to explain the issue and ask for their aid. Clerics or paladins might be sent orders by their religious superiors, while any elves or dwarves may have relatives amongst those who have been conscripted to construct and man the vessel.

The notes for the DM include scaling information, a list of wandering monsters, and notes about the 'living ship' as well as more detailed background material. It's likely that the party will begin by going to the island of Cairvos where the vessel is in the final stages of construction. There's a little bit of description, but much is left to your imagination. Oddly, although it's stated that the storm giant's husband - thought to be dead - isn't, and has built himself a colossus to stride along the seabed, it doesn't turn up anywhere in the adventure. Something you might wish to conjure with...

The actual adventure provided is a deck-by-deck exploration of this massive ship. Everything is mapped and described in excellent detail, with all the game mechical information presented just where you'll need it. Several new spells have been designed to facilitate certain aspects of the ship's defences, and they are written up in the standard manner should you want to use them elsewhere. There is plenty to find, puzzle out and fight during the exploration.

Finally, in the bowels of the ship, the climax as the party finds the storm giant's 'spirit gem' and hopefully destroy it. Get it right, though, as a mistake might tear the ship apart and sink it. Further adventures are covered - particularly if the spirit gem survives the destruction of the ship. Some new monsters and five pre-generated characters round off the book.

This makes for an interesting and unusual adventure, scrambling round a giant-sized ship.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #22: The Stormbringer Juggernaut
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

The Dungeon Alphabet
by Mars H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2018 12:14:09

A is for Absolutely Awesome Adventure Addition! B is for Bad-Ass. C is for Creative, Conscise Compendium. D is for Damn; how did I get along without this? E is for Every DM, Judge or Game Master can find something to enhance their RPG sessions here. F is for Friggin' order it already. G is for Goodman Games does it again. H is for Helpful. Which describes this product in a nutshell. I is for I won't be listing the rest of the Alphabet. But, I think you get what I'm trying to say here. THE DUNGEON ALPHABET is worth every penny in inspired ideas alone. The fact that it's been updated is even cooler. Thanks Michael Curtis for yet another essential tool for the tabletop.

-MARS.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Alphabet
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #21: Assault on Stormbringer Castle
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/10/2018 10:26:55

Recently, several coastal towns have been battered by storms that have wrecked property and taken lives. Locals believe the storms have been caused by a storm giant seeking to extort tribute, and are in need of adventurers to raid her castle and put an end to her antics. It's a tough challenge for sure... is the party up to the task?

The introductory material for the DM covers an adventure summary, notes on scaling the adventure for parties stronger than the recommended 4-6 characters of 12th-14th levels (it's suggested that weaker parties will only be going to their deaths!), an encounter table, and a few hooks to get the party involved, all based around the 'locals ask for help' premise. The backstory explains why the greedy storm giant has been asking for more and more money in 'good weather tribute' - something the party may or may not find out for themselves, she's certainly not seen fit to inform the locals she is extorting - and a little about the coastal towns affected.

The adventure proper starts with the party approaching the storm giant's castle, which stands on a mountain by the coast some ten miles north of the towns. The first part of the adventure involves getting up to the castle itself without alerting her or her minions, which involves getting past assorted monsters she permits to live on the mountainside. Options include going up the path, climbing the mountain or taking to the air, and means of dealing with pesky adventurers using any of these routes are provided. Once up there, the castle grounds are enormous - and of course, must be crossed to gain access to the castle itself. There's no shortage of monsters in the grounds and on the curtain wall to stand in the party's way.

Once the party reaches it, the actual tower is built giant-scale as well - not very surprising seeing as the storm giant lives there, but it's good to see it designed that way not just scaled up a bit to accommodate her. It's filled with wonders - and some perverted plants - and a tome that brings a whole new meaning to being lost in a book! The climax is, of course, a brawl with the giant herself... but this ends in a way that leads neatly on to the next adventure in the series.

There is a lot to do, see and fight here, plenty of inventiveness in the surroundings and good use of giants - and their cohorts - for what they are rather than the same as anyone else only bigger.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #21: Assault on Stormbringer Castle
Click to show product description

Add to Goodman Games Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 540 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
Powered by DriveThruRPG