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Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2021 21:17:59

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown System- DCC RPG Producer- Goodman games Price- $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/335600/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-2020-Holiday-Module-The-Doom-that-Came-to-Christmastown?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Fun, but you will need to provide your own glue for this adventure! 93%

Basics-Who can save Christmas?! Santa is sick and who can save him? Gather his friends, find the horrible Grinch, and save Christmas for all the good little boys and girls!

Mechanics or Crunch- Goodman Games knows how to make a solid adventure! They wrote the system, so they know how to make the crunch. Solid monsters, solid puzzles, and solid extra tables for encounters. This is a well put together adventure. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is a fun adventure, but the story is a bit off. You don’t need to hit all the major NPC to find the horrible grinch. And the NPCs are the best part! This adventure will pull at your Frank and Bass Christmas movie memories. Lots of the old school heroes like Yukon and even Hermey, who becomes a Dentalmancer!, make appearances and serve to build out the story. I just wish there was more of a reason to meet more of them! Solid parts here, but the glue holding the scenes together here is a bit lacking. 4/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Not really, but it's ok. This is a well executed adventure. I love this one. There are crazy fun puzzles for the players to work through and there are monsters to fight that feel fun. I love all the little touches that are put into the adventure. Heck this adventure even has a new spell for the players to use. You can buy this from Drive Thru and be playing in five minutes based on the easy to read format and beautiful drawings and maps. Goodman Games executes another adventure amazingly! 5/5

Summary-Ho ho holy crap this is a fun one. If you want something fun to plunk down into your DCC/MCC game, this is a solid adventure to run. Mathematically, it works perfectly, and it’s executed well. I love all the little pieces here from new spells to the crazy tables built into this game. I wish the scenes were better connected, but that's the one flaw to this amazing adventure. Check this one out if you get a chance! 93%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown
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VTT Map+Token Pack: DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
by Frank W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2021 13:19:51

Pretty great set! I used it for a group in Roll20 and it worked very well.

Lots of great map art for all the important main and secret areas. Art is also well done for player tokens and creatures encountered throughout the module. Many of these tokens could easily be reused for other adventures.

I'll definitely be picking up more of these packs.

Potential spoilers below:

Loved the extra color props that were included for the dragon ship, and fiend blade however one for the band of fire would have been awesome to include as well.

Including the mural art was a nice touch though not coloring it seems like a slight miss considering all the other art is in color.

Other module art could have been added pretty easily as well. The Vine horror art at the begining of the module, Felan's tomb and the menhir on the shore of the starless sea were all fun to pop up for my players during our run through.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
VTT Map+Token Pack: DCC #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
by Gus L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2020 22:32:56

Sailors of the Starless Sea is one of the early DCC adventure and it captures the spirit of the game very well - a swords & sorcery 0-level funnel with dreadful man beasts and chaos gods all with the bright poppy gloss of DCC. A wonderful introduction to the DCC game and its aesthetic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
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Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2020 02:09:44

https://www.teilzeithelden.de/2020/11/06/rezension-dungeon-crawl-classics-lankhmar-eine-box-fuer-gesetzlose/

Mit Dungeon Crawl Classics entstand vor einigen Jahren ein Rollenspielsystem, das ganz bewusst an die Anfänge des Hobbys anknüpft. Da liegt es nahe, einen klassischen literarischen Stoff aufzuarbeiten, der vor vielen Jahrzehnten das Fantasy-Genre und schließlich auch die ersten Rollenspielrunden mit abenteuerlichen Geschichten prägte. Willkommen in Lankhmar!

Lankhmar ist eine große Stadt. In ihrer Welt ist sie sogar die größte Stadt und ein nur schwer zu verstehender Moloch. Vor etwa 80 Jahren, in einer Zeit, in der noch nicht versucht wurde, in Fantasy-Geschichten auf pseudo-realistische Art das europäische Mittelalter zu rekreieren, erschuf Fritz Leiber eine Stadt, die nach ihren eigenen bizarren Gesetzen funktioniert und ein lebendiger Schmelztiegel der Kulturen ist. Zwar griff auch der Schriftsteller auf einige Klischees zurück, tat dies teilweise aber aus satirischen Gründen.

Die Hauptfiguren in Fritz Leibers Geschichten sind der Barbar Fafhrd und ein als Grauer Mausling (engl. Grey Mouser) bekannter Dieb. Ziel der Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) Lankhmar-Box ist es, ähnlich turbulente, teils bizarre Abenteuer zu ermöglichen. Ein Beispiel gefällig? In der Geschichte Bazar of the Bizarre sollen Fafhrd und der Graue Mausling im Auftrag ihrer Patrone (dazu später mehr) auf einem Marktplatz eine Gruppe Dämonen stoppen, die ihre Kunden glauben lässt, dass sie anstelle von wertlosem Plunder großartige Schätze zu Schnäppchenpreisen erwerben. Während der Mausling sofort dem Bann erliegt, muss Fafhrd allein weitermachen und kämpft vor farbenfrohen Marktständen gegen Untote und lebendig gewordene Statuen. Dem Barbaren bleibt nur die Flucht, aber immerhin schafft er es noch, seinen Gefährten zu retten. Wen erinnert das nicht an alte Rollenspiel-Abenteuer, in denen Scheitern zum Lernen dazugehört?

Eine bizarre, aber doch vertraute Welt Die DCC Lankhmar-Box enthält drei Bände mit Hintergrundinformationen und zusätzlichen Regeln, ein Abenteuer sowie Karten der Stadt Lankhmar und des Kontinents Nehwon, auf dem diese sich befindet. „Judge’s Guide to Nehwon“ ist der dickste Band der Box und enthält neben einer knappen, aber ausreichenden Beschreibung der Länder rund um Lankhmar vor allem zusätzliche Regeln. Auf die Grundregeln von Dungeon Crawl Classics soll an dieser Stelle nicht eingegangen werden. Es sei zur weiteren Lektüre unser Spotlight auf das System empfohlen.

Dafür, dass die Beschreibung der Spielwelt so kurz gehalten ist und auf dreizehn Seiten Platz findet, erhält man einen guten Überblick zu Nehwon. Neben schon vor 80 Jahren gängigen Klischees über barbarische Nordleute, dekadente Menschen in den Dschungeln des Südens und plündernde Steppenvölker im Osten, sind es kleine Farbtupfer wie die mysteriösen, haarlosen Eevamarenseaner, die atheistischen Bewohner von Rime und nicht zuletzt der Moloch Lankhmar, die das Bild von Nehwon abrunden.

Wie aus dem Grundregelwerk von Dungeon Crawl Classics bekannt, sind es vor allem die Zaubersprüche, die sehr viel Platz einnehmen, da zu jedem von ihnen eine Tabelle mit ausführlichen Beschreibungen der Effekte je nach Erfolgsgrad gehört. Dazu gehören auch die Zauber, die man erhält, wenn man sich einem göttlichen Patron verschreibt. Diese Mechanik, bei der sich eine Spielfigur in die Dienste eines Gottes oder einer anderen übernatürlichen Wesenheit begibt, ist bereits aus dem Grundregelwerk bekannt ist, doch es gibt einige Unterschiede.

Denn die Götter von Nehwon sind keine entrückten Wesenheiten, sondern beobachten die Sterblichen mit wachsamen und strengen Augen. Wo immer sie eine Gelegenheit sehen, ihre Macht zu mehren, ergreifen sie diese sofort und sind stets auf ihren eigenen Vorteil bedacht. Wer mit ihnen einen Vertrag abschließt, ist also nicht im Auftrag eines abstrakten göttlichen Ideals unterwegs, sondern darf sich auf regelmäßige, angespannte Bewertungsgespräche freuen, dafür aber auch bei Erfolgen seinen Arbeitsvertrag nachverhandeln.

Bereits des Grundregelwerk von Dungeon Crawl Classics macht deutlich, dass die Spielerinnen nicht in die Rollen heldenhaften Charakteren schlüpfen, sondern makelbehaftete Abenteurerinnen sind, die für schnelles Gold fast jeden Auftrag übernehmen. Also ganz genauso, wie Fafhrd und der Graue Mausling, die nur selten von altruistischen Motiven getrieben werden, sondern auf ihren eigenen Vorteil bedacht sind und dabei regelmäßig mit der Stadtwache, konkurrierenden Diebesbanden rachsüchtigen Magiewirkenden aneinandergeraten.

Dementsprechend gibt es in „Judge’s Guide to Nehwon“ auch Regeln für das Leben von Gesetzlosen. Eine Zufallstabelle regelt, was zwischen den Abenteuern mit den Spielfiguren passiert. Wurde man von den Saufkumpan*innen ausgeraubt? Warum wird man plötzlich per Steckbrief gesucht? Was will die alte Lehrmeisterin, die plötzlich auf der Matte steht? All diese Ereignisse geben interessante Impulse für die Geschichte der Spielfigur neben den eigentlichen Abenteuern.

Für den Beginn einer Spielrunde ist zudem die Mechanik des „Meet“, des ersten Treffens der Spielfiguren, wichtig. Fafhrd und der Graue Mausling lernen sich zum Beispiel kennen, als sie gleichzeitig zwei Diebe überfallen, die gerade erfolgreich von einem Einbruch zurückkehren. Statt sich gegenseitig in die Quere zu kommen, entschließen sie sich, den Überfall gemeinsam durchzuziehen und werden schließlich Freunde. Eine Zufallstabelle enthält Vorschläge, wie die Spielfiguren im Rahmen ähnlich halbseidener Begegnungen in einer kurzen Szene oder einem eigenen Abenteuer zusammengeführt werden können. Entsprechend wird auch davon abgeraten, das Spiel mit jeweils vier Level-0-Charakteren pro Spieler*in zu beginnen, auch wenn das Grundregelwerk von Dungeon Crawl Classics dazu anregt.

Das beiliegende Level-1-Abenteuer „No Small Crimes“ kann als „Meet“ verwendet werden, die Box empfiehlt dazu jedoch eher die gesondert erhältlich Abenteuer Masks of Lankhmar und The Madhouse Meet oder ein eigens mithilfe der enthaltenen Zufallstabelle kreiertes Szenario. No Small Crimes beschreibt den Einbruch in das Haus des wohlhabenden Lord Suttar. Eigentlich wäre es ein leichter Einbruch, aber ein Fluch gegen Diebe sorgt für einen unterhaltsamen und ungewöhnlichen Dungeoncrawl, der schnell tödlich enden kann. In diesem Punkt ist es schade, dass keine Empfehlungen für die Einbindung neuer Charaktere gegeben werden, sollte eine Spielfigur das Zeitliche segnen.

„City of the Black Toga“, der zweite Band, beinhaltet alle Informationen zur Stadt Lankhmar und stellt somit das eigentliche Herzstück der Box dar. So knapp die Vorstellung von Nehwon in „Judge’s Guide to Nehwon“ auch gehalten ist, so detailliert ist die Beschreibung von Lankhmar, wo die Spielrunde ihre meisten Abenteuer erleben dürfte. Auch hier liegen Zufallstabellen bei, die zu vielen kleinen Szenen oder längeren Geschichten in den Straßen der Stadt inspirieren.

Zu jedem der einzelnen Stadtteile gibt es solche Tabellen und auch Hinweise, wie die dort angerissenen Szenen zu einem längeren Erzählstrang verbunden werden können, der durch ganz Lankhmar führt. Slums, Diebesgilden, korrupte Mitglieder von Stadtwache und Verwaltung, ein dekadenter Klerus und obszön reiche Adlige schaffen das Bild eines gefährlichen Molochs, in dem beherzte Spielfiguren aber auch eine gemütliche Heimstatt finden können. Dafür, dass dennoch keine langfristige Ruhe einkehrt, sorgen die weiter oben erwähnten Ereignisse zwischen den Abenteuern.

Abgerundet wird der Band von Nichtspielercharakteren – darunter auch Fafhrd und der Graue Mausling – und Organisationen, die mehrere Anspielmöglichkeiten bieten. Ebenso sind Zufallstabellen enthalten, um eine kleine Nachbarschaft zu kreieren, in der die eigene Spielrunde eine Heimat finden kann.

Tagsüber auf der Straße, nachts in Kneipen und Palästen Das Compendium of Secret Knowledge enthält als dritter Band schließlich die Regeln zur Charaktererschaffung für Spielfiguren in Lankhmar. In diesem Band finden sich, abermals in Form von Zufallstabellen, Anregungen für Vor- und Nachteile, hier „Benison“ und „Doom“ genannt, um den Charakteren etwas Fleisch auf die Knochen zu geben. Dabei bieten auch diese direkt neue Spielansätze: Die Spielfigur kennt ein hilfreiches Geheimnis? Gut, aber was denn genau und woher? Die Spielfigur wird von einer übernatürlichen Wesenheit verfolgt? Ärgerlich, wie ist das denn passiert?

Ein wichtiger Unterschied zum Grundspiel ist, dass es keine Klerikerinnen gibt. Dies liegt daran, dass die Götter von Nehwon zwar durchaus existent, ihre Dienerinnen aber in der Regel nur aufschneiderische Hochstapler sind, die keine göttliche Macht besitzen. Dies trifft nur im begrenzten Maße auf Personen zu, die einen göttlichen Patron (siehe oben) haben.

Magie hingegen ist sehr präsent in Lankhmar. Ihre Verwendung ist aber sehr gefährlich, was sich in weiteren Sonderregeln für Magier*innen widerspiegelt. Im Laufe der Zeit können Magiewirkende korrumpieren, was sich in ihrem Äußeren, aber auch in ihrer Persönlichkeit manifestiert. Für diesen Fall liegt abermals eine Zufallstabelle bereit, die Konsequenzen von schrecklichen Pusteln im Gesicht bis hin zum Wachsen eines Schnabels enthält.

Erscheinungsbild Die DCC Lankhmar-Box bleibt von der Gestaltung her sehr nah beim Grundspiel. Schwarzweiße Illustrationen, die deutlich von den alten Klassikern des Rollenspiel-Genres inspiriert sind, verleihen den enthaltenen Bänden den gleichen Charme, der auch Dungeon Crawl Classics selbst auszeichnet. Dies passt sehr gut, denn schließlich wurden auch die Geschichten von Fritz Leiber einst pulpig und überzeichnet bebildert. Manchmal geht dies aber leider auch zulasten der Qualität.

In dieses stimmige Gesamtbild fügen sich auch die beiliegenden Karten von Lankhmar und Nehwon ein. Vor allem die Karte der Stadt strotzt nur so vor Details, ohne dass sie von Markierungen übersät ist. Für sie allein dürfte sich schon die Anschaffung der physischen Box lohnen. Als PDF funktioniert sie aber auch gut, ebenso wie die Suchfunktion allgemein beim Durchforsten der Regeln hilft, da kein Index vorhanden ist.

Fazit Die Stadt Lankhmar passt zu Dungeon Crawl Classics wie die Faust aufs Auge, was daran liegen mag, dass die Geschichten um Fafhrd und den Grauen Mausling zu den alten Fantasy-Klassikern zählen, die einst die Entwickler der ersten Pen-and-Paper-Rollenspiele prägten. Entsprechend fanden sich ihre Spuren bereits im Design des Grundregelwerks, was mit DCC Lankhmar nun offensichtlich wird. Denn bis auf wenige Anpassungen an die Spielwelt bleibt das Regelsystem unverändert.

Eine der beiden beiliegenden Karten: Lankhmar. Da stellt sich die Frage, warum der neue Spielhintergrund überhaupt so umfangreich ausgefallen ist. Dies liegt hauptsächlich an den vielen Zufallstabellen und erweiterten Magieregeln, die viel Platz einnehmen und sicher auch etwas kompakter hätten dargestellt werden können. Andererseits helfen gerade die Tabellen dabei, das Flair der von Fritz Leiber erschaffenen Fantasy-Welt zu transportieren. Denn die eigentliche Weltbeschreibung ist nur sehr grundlegend vorhanden. Wer ganz in die Welt von Fafhrd und dem Grauen Mausling eintauchen möchte, kommt also um eine Lektüre der grundlegenden Kurzgeschichten nicht herum.

Aufgrund der vielen Überschneidungen kann man auch ohne die Box und nur auf Basis der Dungeon Crawl Classics-Grundregeln Abenteuer in Lankhmar erleben. Wer aber gerade an den erwähnten Details, an „Meets“ und neuen „Patrons“ Gefallen findet, sollte sie sich leisten. Am besten in gedruckter Form, denn dabei sind die Codes für das PDF enthalten, dessen eigener Preis bereits stattlich ausfällt.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar Boxed Set
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #87.5: Grimtooth's Museum of Death
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2020 10:18:50

The game system I used to play this was Dark Fantasy Basic. The solo engine that I used is one that I have been testing out. This 28 page module does contain some "mystery" rooms. I used some encounters from another module to "populate" these areas. I used six first level thief characters to play through the museum. They did rescue a second level spy character (she was cursed). All seven characters died on levels two and four. Maybe you will have better luck . . .



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #87.5: Grimtooth's Museum of Death
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VTT Map+Token Pack: DCC: Portal Under The Stars
by El M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2020 08:49:17

When I first dowloaded this, I have to admit I was a bit dissapointed. However the more I studied the pictures the more I liked them, especially the pawns. There are couple of issues however.

  1. The coloring on the snake is more sea serpant green than demon red snake. Even the text describes him as "ringed in crimson band the color of hellfire". Not sure why the artist deviated from this, given that he is a main part of the story I would have wanted him more accurately portrayed. The other pawns seem okay in how they are described and represented. The only other issue with the pawns is that they are all seperate files. Does DCC hate trees? Would have been nice to have them all print on one sheet instead of a 2x2 square per page. That is 10 sheets of paper needed to print all 5 pawns double sided. Some of the pawns you will need to print multiples of, like the bone piles, crystal men, clay statues, etc. You are looking at a lot of wasted paper. I did some cut and paste in google docs to get more than one pawn on a single sheet. I used google doc tables to keep them aligned.
  2. My biggest complaint is the black background on the map sheets. Goodbye black ink cartridge. There should be an option for no background at all. I would have preffered this since you don't play outstide the dungeon anyway. I will be working these through inkscape and cropping out the maps images and putting these on a white or no-background. I litterally cut out the map section and glued them onto a black poster board creating tiles. I will build up the dungeon as the game progresses using the tiles. This method saves a lot of black ink/toner and acheives the final result I am looking for.
  3. The price is the last issue. Yes 2 buck is not a lot and I might have been okay with it if the above issue did not exist. But if you compare this to some of the other DCC offerings it is a bit much. If they threw in some zero level characters pawns (maybe 4-8) this it would be a decent deal. Overall this is a real nice addition to the adventure and I intend to use it in my games. However, I had to invest a lot of time in getting these formatted for printing and writing this review for other to be aware of some of the shortfalls.


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
VTT Map+Token Pack: DCC: Portal Under The Stars
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Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (DCC RPG)
by Paul M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2020 10:23:36

I've been playing DCC for years now (since I backed the 4th printing kickstarter) and this game is infinitely hackable. It is hands down my favorite OSR style game, and I've combined dozens of other OSR game material with it during play including things like the Cthulhu Hack and Stars Without Number. It's awesome!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (DCC RPG)
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Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG (DCC RPG)
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 13:36:12

What else can be said that hasn't been said before? One of the originals and one of the best. Classic nostalgic art and feel. Wonderful.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2020 20:56:11

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights System-DCC RPG Producer- Goodman Games Price- $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/221855/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-94-Neon-Knights?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Two tastes that don’t quite go together. 78%

Basics-How do we stop a hoard who feels no pain! Zombies or unfeeling monsters have surrounded the town, and you are called to aid the defence. But mid-meeting you are whisked away to do the bidding of a wizard. Can you save the town and stop being a mister fixit on call?

Mechanics or Crunch-This adventure is short! The major bad guy is the wizard who keeps summoning you. You can fight the zombies, but the book makes it seem like you will die. As a DM I would kill you as well. The tower with the wizard isn’t bad, but he also is pretty much the only thing in it. It’s a short dungeon with balanced fights, but just not enough of them. It’s a little too old school as you have to find the fights and the goods here as opposed to them being out in the open for you to pillage and kill. I didn’t hate it, but it will require you to punch up the adventure to keep your group involved. 4/5 Theme or Fluff-There are not one, but two things for the PCs to face. But, they are tied together. BUT, only you, the GM, really get that. The wizard only brings you in when he needs help. You have to find and explore the place in seven rounds before he sends you back. The zombies are ok, but why are they here? I know why because I read the book, but it feels like two different adventures put together. I didn’t hate this, but even after reveals, my players felt like there were really two adventures here. Both of the singles are good, but together it’s three Michelen star steak mixed with gold ribbon winning chocolate. Maybe these two things shouldn’t go together. 3/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? no...That’s honestly my biggest gripe here. The execution isn’t bad. I would like clean maps I can show my players without having things marked on the map that they find. Text read fast and I could play quickly. It is one of the standard well put together DCC modules I know and love. 4.75/5

Summary-I don’t hate this one, but this might not be the first adventure I show to new players. I was able to turn this to keeping my players on the purple planet. It works well that way, but the basic story gets lost in most of the GM fluff. Not bad, but unless the players work to make friends with their captor, they won’t get it. The dungeon needs more pieces and stuff to play with in the form of fights or toys. The presentation is good, but I still want hyperlinks! Overall, it's an ok adventure that is maybe a bit too stuffed with disparate things. 78%



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights
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The Monster Alphabet
by Marco R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/08/2020 15:55:28

This book is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to make their monsters more unpredictable and mysterious. Tables upon tables to spark the imagination. I especially recommend the " O is for Ordinary" entry to give old favourites a bit more oomph.

As an example, I rolled up an angel with insectoid features and the ability to spit acid - and from that followed the creation of Xkrrrg the Many-Eyed God, lord of all that crawls and skitters for my campaign world.

And the whole thing is system-neutral, allowing you to use it with whatever system you enjoy. Given the modular nature of monster abilities in D&D 5e, for example, it's extremely easy to translate whatever table results you get into the game. And the same is true for most OSR systems as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Monster Alphabet
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #79.5: Tower of the Black Pearl
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2020 10:54:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), so let’s take a look!

This module is intended for 4-6 level 1 characters, and it works particularly well if one of the PCs has Sezrekan as a patron, though that is not required. A well-rounded group is suggested, as always, though the difficulty of the module is somewhat contingent on how nice the judge feels – there is one way that can undo death herein, making it a pretty good introduction to non-funnel gameplay for those new to DCC! Note that this only holds true for Lawful heroes. As usual, we get a break-down of the encounter table of the place, and the module comes with properly spelled out and atmospheric read-aloud text. The module also sports two different b/w-handouts of key areas. A brief table of wandering monsters is included.

It should be noted that this module has an alternate ending that can render this one of the most impactful campaign starters I’ve seen. I’ll discuss this in the SPOILER-section. Genre-wise, the module is essentially all about getting a cool treasure out of a dungeon – a classic, honest extract-the-treasure-scenario without bells and whistles.

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only judges around? Great! So, the module’s premise per se is pretty simple: Once every decade, the Empyrean Ocean’s tides recede far enough to reveal the highest parts of an undersea tower, 5 miles from the ocean; the night this happens is now! If this does not suffice to entice your PCs, well the notorious pirate Savage Quenn might be mugging a magician, who fills them in. Thee pirates of the Black Mariah are also after the legendary Black Pearl.

The tower of the black pearl is guarded by such pirates, but provided the PCs persist here, they gain access to the Hall of Mysteries: Here, a massive register, and plentiful candles burn: The register contains the names of all Lawful heroes of the world, with each candle representing their life-force: Snuffing out a candle kills that hero! Conversely, if a lawful PC dies in the adventure, their candle can be relit! This is a great safety net for clever players. After this, we have a chamber of portals: One portal is intended for further adventures, while another requires a magical key of sorts – leaving only one way to go. Both animated fetishes, crab-rats, and the pirates present further dangers in the complex, and there is a scene with a Charon-like boatman – which thankfully presents swimming, drowning, hypothermia, etc. rules,. All handily summed up. Nice. At one point, the PCs will meet Quenn and his remaining men, who propose an alliance – because they (correctly!) suspect a pretty nasty trap room ahead: Quenn plans on betraying the party, obviously – but anyhow: The trap room is one of the good DCC-traps: The deadly component can be discerned quickly by the players if they roleplay smart, and even if they walk in, there is a means to escape. In short: Good design!

Ultimately, the PCs get to find Sezrekarn’s tomb (when he was still mortal), and take ruby gemstones from it: These are required to enter the place, where the black pearl was sealed: The pearl is firmly held in a dragon statue’s mouth – which itself, is in a HOLE in the water, depicted in one of the handouts. To reach the statue, the PCs have to cross the water – which is full of poisonous snakes. Here, only player skill is required; battling through the poisonous snakes is a bad idea, and the most lethal encounter herein. If the PCs take the pearl, the magic holding the water at bay fades – 13 rounds to escape the tower, as the ice-cold waves are rising!

…and then there is the optional ending. This ending elevated a well-executed, linear dungeon-.crawl, a good module, to what I consider to be awesome. If you don’t share my enthusiasm for it, detract a star. Remember the candles? As a default, the water doesn’t extinguish them. But you could, you know, choose that it does. This would slay all the big heroes of the world, exempting the PCs due to their presence in the tower. If you, for example, have been playing in a world where too many high-level former PCs still roam, if you’re playing in an established world with TMGAM-Syndrome (Too Many Good Archmages), this’ll upend the power-dynamics, big time. A kind of reset-button for the setting, a means to make the PCs go properly into adventuring mode – after all, it is their greed that wrought this new age of darkness...

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a 1-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. As always, the b/w-map is gorgeous, but there is no player-friendly version included, which is a bit of a downer. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the inclusion of two neat b/w-handouts is another plus.

Daniel J. Bishop’s conversion of Harley Stroh’s module is a good example of a well-executed little adventure; I am usually not a big fan of linear scenarios, but this is not only a well-designed example of one, it also sports a sufficient variety of challenges posed, and the alternate ending, as noted, is epic and make this module a rather efficient way to reboot a setting in which have run several persistent campaigns. For those looking for exactly such an angle, add a star to the final verdict. All in all, regardless of whether you do or not, this can be considered to be a success. My final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #79.5: Tower of the Black Pearl
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Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
by Alex P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2020 10:58:35

This is a simple, yet fun looking adventure. I am looking forward to running this game. I really like these campaigns as I am able to incorperate them into the world that I am building. I am using these amazing books so that I can work on the main story at the same time I am running a campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
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Fifth Edition Fantasy #6: Raiders of the Lost Oasis
by Alex P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2020 12:27:30

I purchased this adventure for a family adventure, and my family really enjoy it. I was able to create a beginning that got the adventures together and then start this adventure. It really is a lot of fun and everyone is really enjoying it. It was so much fun, I purchased another adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #6: Raiders of the Lost Oasis
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #77: The Croaking Fane
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/09/2020 08:38:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, so this is a dungeon-crawl designed for 6 to 8 characters of 3rd level. The party should be well-rounded, and contain a thief, means to deal proper damage in melee and at range, etc. – you get the idea.

The module is in the mid-tier regarding danger faced as far as DCC is concerned; i.e. it is a deadly adventure, but one with fair challenges, and one that emphasizes player-skill over character skill. Smart roleplaying is more important than just rolling well. As always, we have proper read-aloud text for every location, and the module comes with a massive, one-page handout of area 2-10’s scenery; oddly, the text of the module does not exactly state explicitly for which area the handout is intended, but it’s obvious from the context. We get pretty impressive b/w-artworks of the dungeon, but no player-friendly versions, which is a bummer.

…I freely admit that I wouldn’t have reviewed this module, were it not for my patreon supporters. Why? Because I’ve analyzed so many frog-themed dungeons, I have become pretty jaded regarding them. Still, a request is a request, so here we are. Theme-wise, we have a frog-themed dungeon, and one that adheres to a well-executed dark fantasy aesthetic.

All right, and 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, the module begins with a pet-peeve of mind, namely that it nominally introduces not one, but two massive secret organizations that your world now suddenly has to incorporate if running this as written: The two competing frog cults of Schaphigroadaz and Bobugbuliz. Schaphigroadaz’ followers, the Salientian Knot, grew lazy and were subverted by Bobugbuliz’ servants – but instead of being destroyed, they went into hiding…and Bobugbuliz and his clergy repeated the unwise decisions of their forebears, growing lazy – and thus, the rise of the Salientian Knot is imminent, as a war of evil frog/toad-cultists wrecks the underworld.

The PCs are exploring essentially one of the lost temples of Schphigroadaz, and have a chance to prevent his followers from returning to power. The PCs thus further the goals of Bobugbuliz or simply help exterminate one small chapter in a much larger bid for re-emergence in this module.

…nobody needs that. I am not adverse to lore; I love it. When it MATTERS. Here, though? I’ve rarely seen a backgroundstory so anti-conductive to making me implement a module in my game. The lore here not only makes the PC’s efforts matter less (they only deal with one tiny enclave of the grand toad war), it also forces you to include a meta-plot of two competing factions that is not particularly exciting.

Thankfully, none of this lore is actually relevant to playing the module in any way, shape or form.

Evil frog-temple there, go pillage/explore, escape alive. Bam, done. All that humbug with competing frog gods? It’s superfluous at best. Make it a small cult, have the PCs clean it up and feel good about having stopped the cult, done. That’s all the PCs need to know, and no, the lore does not feature in the challenges to a significant degree.

Anyhow, let’s take a look at the dungeon: While the entry is shaped like a frog’s maw, the interior of the first dungeon-“level” is actually shaped like church, with transepts, nave, etc. – and there is a lot going on here: If this was a point and click adventure, there’d be a lot of “interaction points” here – each transept is its own keyed location, and from sarcophagi to sacrificial pits the PCs can open (hinted at, so no, this is not an invisible-line pit trap!) to toad-goyles to a fountain that hides flesh-eating tadpoles, there is a LOT to be done here – this is a fantastic example on how to make a very dense area full of adventuring. Better yet, the challenges posed here, while also featuring fights, take great pains to reward clever roleplaying – in that way, this is easily one of the best such areas I’ve encountered in quite a while.

Add to that the at times grisly imagery, such as a cursed man spawning a flood of flesh-eating toads, and we have a module that, theme-wise, could be just as well run in Lamentations of the Flame Princess without breaking the theme. In fact, this module is superior to the author’s church-based encounter area for that game (“A Single, Small Cut”),

After the party has managed to brave the darkened temple, they will have to make their way into the undercroft, where the more hidden rites and aspects of the strange sect are on display – these include, for example, unholy texts that can infest the reader, mummified toads and more. The density of interaction spots slightly decreases here. But yes, this undercroft includes a massive subterranean pond, where the handout mentioned previously comes into play: A vast amount of giant toads can easily make this a super-lethal battle royale: If the PCs are smart, they can use their environments, and if they explored the complex well so far, items can help as well. The PCs may find a particularly unpleasant cultist left behind (who seeks to goad the PCs into helping him reach the spawning pool), and ultimately find the pool where the Salientian Knot is currently undergoing metamorphosis – slaying the mutated frog-cultists ends the adventure, right?

…nope! There is a deadly toad thing hidden below, for an extra challenge! So that ends it, right? Nope! Upon leaving with the hard-earned treasure, the stone toad idol in the church animates, the portals slam shut, and the party will have yet another boss on their hands! There are btw. a couple of instances of behavior or treasures found that can cause this to happen. Nice take on the multi-level “It’s not over yet!”-boss fight theme.

The pdf contains the new 2nd level plague of toads cleric spell, an immediate version of the affliction that makes flesh-eating toads burst from the target; it essentially causes damage, scaling Strength penalty and scaling movement penalty.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice, original b/w-artworks. The cartography is excellent, as always, but the lack of player-friendly versions is annoying. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I’m genuinely happy that I was asked to review this module, because it is easily one of the best frog-themed dungeons I’ve had the pleasure of running. The sheer density of things to do, the amount of viable, detailed interactions, is great. The fact that the combats reward clever thinking, and penalize simply waltzing in? Awesome as well. Now, as noted before, I genuinely loathe the lore and excessive background that does not meaningfully contribute to the module per se, but this can thankfully be entirely ignored. All in all, this is a great dark fantasy yarn. If anything, some more interaction, a means to save a doomed soul, a puzzle or the like – a few non-combat/non-trap-focused interactions more, and this would be excellent. As written, this is a very well-designed frog-themed dungeon, well worth of a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #77: The Croaking Fane
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #76.5: Well of the Worm
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/17/2019 08:07:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 15 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), so let’s take a look!

All right, so, this is designated as a level 1 adventure for 4-6 characters, but as a whole, you could conceivably run this as a funnel as well; while there are no specific patron-gaining encounters or the like included, the module’s difficulty is lower than some of the tough funnels out there. As always, a well-rounded group is recommended, but as far as DCC is concerned, this one is less difficult than comparable adventures and doesn’t per se require a specific set-up regarding classes. A pole weapon or means to cause solid ranged damage is surprisingly helpful in this one, in spite of the cramped dungeon.

The module is also pretty straightforward in many ways: We have a straight little dungeon-crawl here, and a very linear one at that – if you want lots of things to fiddle with, you’ll instead find a hack and slash adventure. Theme-wise, this is firmly-rooted in the dark fantasy-genre – the dungeon is very Giger-esque, and there are several thematic allusions to the Alien-franchise. In many ways, this could be played in e.g. Lamentations of the Flame Princess’ default setting without much modification, so the focus here is less on gonzo or sword & sorcery, making this a more “local” feeling module that doesn’t necessarily require much in the way of setting it up.

As always, we do receive some very flavorful read-aloud text, and the module does come with 2 b/w-handouts. The map of the complex is gorgeous, but no player-friendly version is provided.

All right, and 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, the story is pretty simple: A madman called Solom Quor, driven insane by his contact with the Mother of Worms, has, over the years, degenerated into a barely human thing, all while breeding so-called war-worms – essentially worms with human faces, which gestate in humanoids, making acid-barfing war-worm zombies. Those slain by the draining of war-worms risk rising as war-worm zombies. Solom Quor’s plans near fruition, and thus the PCs have to brave the eponymous well and the claustrophobic dungeon it hides to stop the mad wizard.

The module wastes no time in establishing its atmosphere: Burrowed into the mortar of the walls, near mindless war-worms will attempt to drop on the PCs, dying if they miss – this suicidal attack establishes their mindless ferocity, and the first room of the dungeon proper helps this notion further: People glued to the walls with slime, incubating war-worms, are shown as the first handout, and some of the dead have already underwent the war-worm zombie transformation.

Navigating the claustrophobic tunnels, the party will need to brave combat in claustrophobic environments (including the chance to fall into pits full of war worms – hope the party brought sufficient means to pot-shot/pole-arm the trapped war-worms…) and find the horrid shrine of the worm mother (the second handout, btw.): Here, Solom Quor has a nasty ambush waiting, including a means to let rubble fall down via his escape route. The “rocks fall” does not mean that “all die” here, btw. – the cave-in only inflicts a moderate 2d6 damage to those trapped beneath the rocks. I am not happy with the implementation here – PCs “on the heels” of Solom are subjected potentially to the cave-in, but if it’s instantaneous, how does the one save make them get through a 10+-square tunnel? Personally, I think it would have been more prudent to realize the collapse via rubble falling for a round or 2…or1d3 rounds (with chances of being hit/pinned), and then have the entire tunnel collapse. This would have been more cinematic, and it would have been easier on the judge.

Anyhow, Solom, if he got away, will have his last stand with his war-worm queen, and in an adjacent part of the cavern, a blind, berserk war-worm zombie ogre awaits, which will be unleashed if the battle goes poorly for Solom and his queen. This one is easily my favorite monster herein, allowing for e.g. mighty deeds to target the stitching – and, being blind, the un-dead ogre also has another obvious shortcoming, beyond its blind berserker fury.

In case you were wondering, the module does offer random encounters, though these are easily my least favorite part of the module: Apart from the obvious war-worm angle, we also have snakes and vermin, and one type of spider can cause permanent Stamina damage, while a snake can cause death after 1d5 rounds on a failed save. Personally, I like such monsters to have some sort of context, foreshadowing or the like – having the random encounters be potentially more debilitating than the planned encounters is a choice I don’t particularly enjoy seeing.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, with no serious complaints on my part. Layout adheres to a one-column b/w-standard with a few b/w-pieces. The handouts are nice, if not necessarily mind-blowing, and the cartography is nice, but lacks player-friendly versions. Still, I do applaud the fact that the module prioritized its art-budget properly and included handouts instead of useless encounter art. The pdf-version has basic bookmarks. I can’t comment on the print version’s merits or lack thereof, since I do not own it.

Harley Stroh’s “Well of the Worm” is a well-executed hack-and-slash adventure; I was particularly intrigued to realize that this wasn’t originally penned for DCC – Daniel J. Bishop converted the module from its original 3.5-version, and did so remarkably well. This very much feels like a DCC-adventure. It also does its claustrophobic theme well, and manages to evoke a rather fun atmosphere…but the 3.X-roots do show in the miscellanea. There is a bit less going on beyond combat than I’d have liked to see, and while Daniel J. Bishop did a fantastic job making the combat feel properly DCC-like, beyond that, the module doesn’t have as much going on as I’d have liked to see. This is, in short, a solidly-executed genre-piece. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT, a bad adventure. It is, however, also not necessarily one that will blow your mind. It is evident that the module could have used a few more pages to develop its themes. As a whole, I consider this to be a 3.5 stars-module, and while I wanted to round up, I ultimately felt that the module, ironically, considering its slithering, slimy theme, is a bit too sterile beyond non-combat interactions for rounding up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #76.5: Well of the Worm
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