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DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
by Andrew W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2015 12:24:49
Spend the extra for the full book, not worth it for such a small chunk. The full book and the system are a lot of fun though.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
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Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
by Jason W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2015 12:07:33
It was enjoyable. I really liked the fact that it felt like old school AD&D. The only real problem I had were the Elves being allergic to iron because it doesn't make sense. You can't carve out a civilization if you're allergic to the tools required.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
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Fifth Edition Fantasy #1: Glitterdoom
by David C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2015 21:09:15
All in all this was a good piece. I didn't cross check the publisher date with the official release of 5e, but I did notice one rule discrepancy. The spells for the final NPC were set up like previous versions would have done.

Other than that, I would have liked to see a better accounting of time. Where Okkar's timeline fits in with the fall of the Knuckle and Steelhand Hall, exactly how many years has passed, etc. Because of that deficit, it makes it difficult to rationalize some things like how there are working crossbows still in one guardroom, how long ago all the ore was gone, and thereby what have the greed grubs been living on (unless they are actually undead), etc.

My players enjoyed the module, and picked up on the hook to continue helping Okkar by traveling to Steelhand Hall.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #1: Glitterdoom
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GM Gems
by Uzi W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2015 03:03:50
as it says on the cover "GM gems" is what this book has, it will not solve all your problems as a GM, but it WILL help you create more detailed and interesting game. the empty rooms worth describing part alone has helped me create more interesting, real, and detailed "dungeons" as well as ideas for what to do with these rooms if they aren't empty, so if you are looking for a solid book that will help in areas you don't even realize you need help in, like making campsites more extraordinary, go get this

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM Gems
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Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
by Micah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2015 10:14:03
The story is cool. What I really like a lot is the final set of combats. It's a neat fight where you climb up a tree and fight on multiple levels. It's tough to make combats dynamic at low levels but I feel like this does a good job.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #2: The Fey Sisters' Fate
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #80: Intrigue at the Court of Chaos
by Jeff S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2015 12:58:24
A wonderfully entropic quest, reminding the players that DCC is not a place where every encounter is "balanced", nor is every challenge solved by the sword. I particularly enjoyed the RP opps for intra-party conflct.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #80: Intrigue at the Court of Chaos
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #83: The Chained Coffin
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2014 08:12:06
Originally written at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/07/30/tabletop-review-dungeon-
-crawl-classics-83-the-chained-coffin/

After seeing several third party publishers like Brave Halfling run successful crowdfunding campaigns for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG system, Goodman Games finally decided to run one of their own. This campaign originally starter out to fund a regular adventure with a workable prop and limited edition cover. It grew to be an entire boxed set including an almanac and an extra adventure. Now, the boxed set isn’t ready yet and hasn’t been released to backers, so we’ll have to wait a few weeks until mine arrives and I can do a feature on it. Instead, today we’ll be looking at the version of The Chained Coffin that you’ll be able to download in PDF format from sites like DriveThruRPG.com or purchase in dead tree format your local brick and mortar gaming store. Don’t think you’re getting the short end of the stick with this version though as it includes several upgrades made possible by the 729 Kickstarter backers who took part, including some random encounter tables, seven mid-boss variants and more. So you are getting a bigger adventure than you normally would have – all thanks to crowdfunding. Hopefully you took part!

The Chained Coffin actually contains two full adventures. We will take a look at each one separately as they are very different. First is the adventure which bears the same name as the collection, The Chained Coffin. This adventure is designed for six LEVEL FIVE characters. Yes, that’s right. That’s pretty high for a published DCC adventure, so expect The Chained Coffin to challenge even the mightiest one time cheesemaker! I should point out magic and especially magic weapons are a must in this adventure, as many opponents have damage reduction or outright immunity to non-magical attacks. Going in without magic will get a character killed- even moreso than normal in a DCC adventure!

You would think from the title that a chained coffin would be central to the plot and it is in fact so. What you may not be expecting is that the inhabitant of the coffin is on the side of law and order. Usually coffins are the purview of chaotic, often undead, creatures. In the case of The Chained Coffin, an ancient and mighty priest of a lawful god has been locked up tight inside thanks to the machinations of an agent of chaos who seeks to become a demigod of sorts. The priest is now trapped in a permanent state of undeath within the coffin. The priest and his god make the coffin known to the PCs in an attempt to stop the servant of chaos who has reared its head once more in another attempt to amass vast quantities of power. The adventure will take through several dungeon crawls, although each of them are rather short. This is fine as you get several different locations instead of one long labyrinth and I’ll take the different scenery over a literal dungeon crawl any day.

Much of the adventure takes place in the Shudder Mountains, which will be give more depth in the boxed set. Here though you still get a pretty nice snapshot of this Ozarkian/Appalachian like area and its inhabitants. Besides random encounters with giants and bears, the regular inhabitants of hollers/hollows like Bent Pines or Bad Lick can be either helpful or send you on wild goose chases that eats up your time. Because you have only X number of days before the servant of chaos reaches a location where they can reign destruction down upon the land, time is of the essence and not something you want to waste on feuding with giants or selling your soul to demons like Ol’ Blackcloak. There are magical fiddles to be dug up, fingernail based fetch quests to win, and ghosts haunted by other ghosts asking for your aid. There is an enormous amounts of ways the adventure can go, along with several potential mid-bosses to face, like the Sin-Eater or Bad Lick Beast.

All of this comes down to finding the Luhsaal Wheel, which is the MacGuffin for the adventure and where the adventure’s final confrontation takes place. To get to it, you must first pass the spinning dial puzzle which trigger the whole crowdfunding for this adventure in the first place. The spinning wheel is a puzzle where you try to align all three rings properly. Do so and you can enter. Get the puzzle wrong and take damage along with a possible fall into a chasm. Unfortunately, there is no way the PCs or their players can figure out the solution to the puzzle. It is literally blind luck. There aren’t any hints and there certainly isn’t any logic to solving the puzzle. This is guess and check at its worst. The piece states that die rolls are not allowed, which is fine, and that player knowledge bleeds into character knowledge with this one, which I’m never okay with. The only real way to solve the puzzle is if someone somehow knows what any of these runes mean and that is very unlikely to happen. This was a massive (and annoying) disappoint to me. I was hoping for an actual puzzle straight out of old school D&D or like you find in point and click adventure video games. To have all this build up around the puzzle and have it simply be little more than a anthropomorphic personification of trolling rather disgusted me. Honestly as good (but not great) as the adventure was up to this point, had I known that the puzzle wasn’t actually a puzzle, I wouldn’t have sprung for the eventual box set and it was this Vince Russo style swerve that has kept me from backing the current DCC Kickstarter, Peril on the Purple Planet because I do not want to be this disappointed again. This part was just terrible.

After you get pass the massive disappointment that is the spinning wheel puzzle, you get your boss fight and everything wraps up happily ever after – as long as your characters live through the adventure, that is. You might even see one of your characters being a temporary demigod, with some big stat boosts of course. That’s always fun.

So that’s The Chained Coffin. Aside from the terrible puzzle that isn’t a puzzle, the adventure is pretty decent. It’s not as good as some other recent first party DCC releases like Bride of the Black Manse, The One Who Watches From Below or Intrigue at the Court of Chaos (all of which would probably have been better choices for the extra content and boxed set bonuses), but it’s a decent adventure, you’re certainly as fun with, even if a lot of you with house rule changes to the spinning wheel puzzle so players can get some kind of hint or tips on the actual solution. At least the physical wheel Kickstarter backers will get won’t be a one trick pony as the back of the book includes five alternative uses for it. That’s something I guess.

The second (and much shorter) bonus adventure in this piece is “The Rat King’s River of Death,” and it is for a party of Level 1 characters, although the text does not designate what size the party should be. Whoops. The adventure is also a direct sequel to the very first Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure, Idylls of the Rat-King. That great to see a sequel to an old piece like that. Unfortunately, that adventure is for D&D 3.5 rather than the DCC system and it’s been out of print for some time, so the actual people who have played the adventure and/or will get the reference will be quite slim indeed.

In Idylls of the Rat-King the named antagonist is killed by the PCs, but this is not the end of his story. Reborn into a cloned body, the Rat King has now taken a position of power in a small farming fiefdom far from the site of his original defeat. He has begun to poison the local water supply, as well as the crops, with the intent to wipe out human life with some sort of demonic plague. Hey, he’s Skaven – their plans aren’t super well thought out you know…

Now it is up to a new breed of PCs to take down the Rat King and his nefarious scheme. The characters will have to deal with rancid, pestilence inducing water, magic plague rats, a hedge maze full of sentient angry mutant plant life and some rat demons. In the end, “The Rat King’s River of Death” is a fairly standard dungeon crawl where PCs get a small plot hook in order for them to traverse a generic location and do battle with the big bad of the week. Now while the plot if fairly paint by numbers, the creatures and locations really spice the standard formula up and make this piece a lot of fun. The adventure even has some dangling plot thread so you can keep the storyline going if you choose. All in all, a fun short pat little piece, which is all “The Rat King’s River of Death” needed to be.

So, for ten dollars, you get two good adventures, even if neither of them are as good as other DCC adventures released this year. The Chained Coffinis well worth the ten dollars you’ll have to spend to get it (Or seven if you get the PDF), but only time will tell if the Kickstarter boxed set will be worth thirty dollars. Keep checking back as once I have mine, I’ll do a full pictorial feature on what it all contains. Until then, DCC fans should certainly considering picking up The Chained Coffin. There have been better first party DCC releases in 2014, but both adventures contained within this piece are still fun in their own right.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #83: The Chained Coffin
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Age of Cthulhu: Transatlantic Terror
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2014 08:10:45
Originally written at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/07/23/tabletop-review-age-of--
cthulhu-transatlantic-terror-call-of-cthulhu/

Although currently unavailable to everyone else, Goodman Games released one of the stretch goals from their recent Age of Cthulhu Kickstarter to backers. This very short scenario should only take a day or two to play. It is set in the 1920s and although it comes with pre-generated characters, it can easily be played by your regular Investigators from this era.

Transatlantic Terror has the characters on a nine day cruise from New York City to Belfast, Ireland. Along the journey characters will be living it up as first class passengers and even be allowed to attend an on-board wedding between two of the NPCs. Depending on how observant players are, this could be all that happens to them on this scenic cruise. If the characters are a bit too nosy for their own good however, they could uncover a plot by Serpent People that goes all the way to the White House! Of course, knowing CoC protagonists AND the fact they are trapped on a boat for nine days, the odds are pretty good the players are going to encounter more than just a happy couple celebrating their newfound marital bliss. Transatlantic Terror is a pretty hard adventure to finish in a positive manner though, I’ll warn you that now. Even if you have some pretty top notch players, the chances of them saving the intended victim of the Serpent People is going to be almost impossible. By the time players even get a hint of what is going on, he’s already dead. Still, I love the concept of being trapped on a boat with some Cthulhu Mythos characters as it’s always a fun time. Transatlantic Terror is nowhere as lethal to Investigators as say, The Owglass, but it is one that will test players’ wits and mental resolve as there aren’t a lot of dangling clues out there for them.

The black and white artwork in Transatlantic Terror is pretty terrific. I absolutely love the cover although I have to admit, it reminds me more of Killer Croc from Batman rather than a Serpent Person. That’s okay though, because the cover is as fantastic as it is spoiler-laden. I also love the picture of the R.M.S. Adriatic at night with a strange bulging bundle slowly sinking into the sea. There’s a surprising amount of art for this little twelve page PDF, and all of it is great.

Now, this isn’t to say everything about Transatlantic Terror is great. There are a few stumbles. The Table of Contents for example, is extremely erroneous. It doesn’t match up with the actual adventure itself and it goes up to page 14, while the PDF is only twelve pages long. Whoops. At least it’s not as terrible as the ToC in Horror Stories From the Red Room. Another notable error is that two of the Serpent People Antagonists are listed in the Pre-Generated Investigators section rather than in the Non-Player Character Appendix. Double Whoops. Although, this did get me thinking how much fun and adventure written FOR Serpent People or Ghouls could actually be.

Overall, Transatlantic Terror is a fun addition to the Age of Cthulhu line. I’m not sure how much I would have paid for this on its own, but as a free add-on from the Age of Cthulhu 9 Kickstarter, I’m quite happy with this little bonus. Transatlantic Terror isn’t going to shake up your game by any means, nor is it some monumental adventure you’ll be talking about years after the fact, but it is a fine, short little diversion, putting Investigators and Mythos creatures on a boat out in the middle of the ocean, which is a situation neither will really be comfortable with once the zaniness starts happening. Keep your eye out for Transatlantic Terror if/when it becomes available to the general public.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Cthulhu: Transatlantic Terror
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Age of Cthulhu 8: Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2014 08:09:56
Originally written at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/08/01/tabletop-review-age-of--
cthulhu-8-starfall-over-the-plateau-of-leng-call-of-cthulhu/-


Age of Cthulhu 8 was another successful Kickstarter project by Goodman Games. In this case the goal was to fund a hardcover adventure for this Call of Cthulhu line of products. The goal was met and then surpassed, allowing for a few extra bells in whistles in the release, along with some bonus mini-adventures like Transatlantic Terror. It is worth nothing that out of Goodman Games’ six Kickstarters, Age of Cthulhu 9 raised the least amount of money and “only” 341 backers as compared to double that for their Dungeon Crawl Classics Kickstarters. I can only surmise why but I think $25 for a single adventure is a bit hard for some CoC players to take, especially when the $7 tier got you a PDF version AND a free previous Age of Cthulhu release. That tier was such a great deal it probably ended up cannibalizing the sales of the hardcover edition. Anyway, let’s take a look at Age of Cthulhu 8 and if it is worth picking up once it becomes available to the general public. Remember that Age of Cthulhu releases are for Call of Cthulhu Fifth and/or Sixth Edition, so you will have to do some tweaking if you plan to use the adventure with Chaosium’s upcoming 7e core rulebooks.

Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng is an adventure that takes place mostly in the Dreamlands. I’ve always found Dreamlands adventures tend to be less popular than “regular” CoC adventures, but I think it’s because this aspect of Lovecraftia gets so little coverage and attention that when a Dreamlands piece comes up it throws both Keepers and players off their game. The whole Dreaming and Dream Lore skills or how reality is someone but not entirely different. Personally I enjoy them but like Cthulhu Invictus, it’s very easy to write a terrible adventure for the setting. Thankfully Age of Cthulhu 8 is not terrible. It’s actually very fun, although this is because it’s a more or less straight forward set of dungeons crawls with branching paths. In fact, one such path lets you bypass the majority of the adventure – but only if players and their Investigators are clever enough to discover that option. In this regard the adventure is really well done.

Now that’s not to say it is perfect. Azathoth is not written as the blind idiot god, but as something actively malevolent, which may annoy some purists. As well, ghouls are portrayed as more or less mindless human eaters. While they aren’t the kindest race towards humanity in the real world, Lovecraft wrote ghouls in the Dreamlands as intelligent and even quite willing to talk or even befriend humans. Look at how Pickman and his pack aided Randolph Carter in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath for example. At the same time, Hastur’s machinations come up and this is actually well done. The author does a great job of portraying Hastur and his cultists as less evil than a lot of other Great Old Ones, and you get a very Chambers/Bierce-esque vibe in the writing. This is wonderful compared to a lot of other authors who make the King in Yellow or Hastur some outright black hat wearing evil doer when he was originally written as one of the more benevolent Great Old Ones. The High Priest Not to Be Described revels in the destruction of all reality that is Azathoth’s plan…but he also helps the PCs to prevent it. This is the kind of weirdness that Hastur needs to be portrayed at – machinations that seem contradictory and bizarre to mortal minds. So some portrayals are really off the mark, while others are extremely good. It’s all in an author’s interpretation of the Mythos after all, but just a head’s up that purists or more anal retentive Mythos fans may quibble with some of the core events in this piece.

The adventure itself takes players from Arkham, Ma to Eureka Springs, AR (it’s a real place with supposedly a very nice big cat refuge) and then on to the Dreamlands. The adventure assumes Investigators are either veterans or recent additions to the “International Historical & Archaeology Society,” which is essentially the Age of Cthulhu‘s rendition of SAVE from Chill. It’s an organization dedicated to understand and subduing Mythos related thingies. Again, some people might take issue with this concept or shoehorning characters into an organization for a single adventure, but don’t worry. The adventure gives ways to get around being members of IHAS, as well as pregenerated characters to use if you don’t want to muddy up your regular characters with the organization.

It seems that a young artist on the stipend of the IHAS has been having nightmares growing in frequency and intensity. It’s also showing up in her paintings. Because of this the IHAS has sent her down to a mental health clinic specializing in…let’s say dream analysis…to help her get better. Unfortunately the artist in question has not been heard of in some time. Nor can the IHAS raise the clinic’s owner/director. The Investigators are then hired/chosen to go down to Arkansas and check things out. Once in Eureka Springs, the Investigators discover that they are in way over their head. Not only will they discover a way to enter the Dreamlands, but they will also have to foil a nefarious scheme bent on destroying that plane of reality and our own as well! No pressure here, am I right? From there the adventure is more or less a straightforward trek (also with branching paths, as previously mentioned). It’s simple in form and format, but still highly enjoyable to play. The end scene is especially memorable and will be worth experiencing even if you normally aren’t a fan of dungeon (or in this case Dreamlands) crawling.

The adventure is a lot of fun, and aside from occasionally requiring use of the Dream Lore and Dreaming skills (which most characters won’t have and some players might not even know about!), this would be a great introduction to the Dreamlands as you’ll see a lot of different things without having to get too in-depth. From there, if players liked the Dreamlands, they could move on to something like The Sense of Sleight of Hand Man or something similar.

Anyway, Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng is a fine addition to the Age of Cthulhu line. There are several ways a character can meet instant death/insanity, but for the most part the adventure is one of atmosphere and exploration rather than combat. There are a lot of really interesting locations and encounters in this piece and I want to give special attention to the various maps in the adventure, as they were really well done – especially the Plateau of Leng and Eureka Springs maps. Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng is another excellent addition to the Age of Cthulhu series and if you’re a fan of Dreamlands based adventures, or have been mildly curious about experience one, Age of Cthulhu 8 is a fine choice indeed.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Cthulhu 8: Starfall Over the Plateau of Leng
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Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
by Christopher T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2014 20:32:52
I love this thing. I use this for LoTFP and 13th Age (combined with an Excel doc to balance encounters) and it rocks. Players just don't know what's going to hit them next. It's a very solid idea generator as well as just busting out the stats and powers for a crazy looking beast. I can just imagine a summer afternoon getting high and making a bunch of monsters with this except I'm a geezer with kids that works at a large national corporation so that's just a fantasy, but I can sneak a couple monsters in from time to time while MLP is on the TV to fill up a notebook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and their Modern Simulacra
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #24: Legend of the Ripper
by Mike K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2014 15:00:09
It was well designed and looks to be a lot of fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #24: Legend of the Ripper
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GM Gems
by Joel W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2014 15:47:01
Lots of great ideas to get your juices flowing. I can't wait to drop these into my game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM Gems
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
by Dan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2014 22:46:29
Possibly the coolest low-level modules I've read. The Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG has each player create a few 0-level PCs a piece and the few characters that survive the first module become classed characters; 'Starless Sea' really captures that desperation, with a mob of villagers besieging a ruinous keep purely to prevent its inhabitants from further preying upon their families. There are no heroes in town--the villagers must make due themselves. And by the end of the module, after losing a few peasants in striking and memorable ways, each player may be lucky enough to emerge with true hero to call his own.

The opponents and the general feel of the module is VERY Appendix N / Michael Moorcock / Warhammer Chaos / Lovecraft. The enemy has its own motiviations and is working towards certain goals, so if the peasants fail, the world will be worse off for it. 'Starless' is a dungeon crawl, and for those who are quick to dismiss crawls as boring or too straightforward (which was me until recently!), it's great to see how such a relatively simple RPG style can have so much depth and flavor. 'Starless' is no railroad, either: the players can approach the problems at the keep in whichever way they can imagine. The module rewards clever decisions and otherwise chews through peasants without mercy.

The writing and layout are excellent, and the artwork really captures the mood and excitement of the story. Would, I'd imagine, convert with relative ease to other systems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #67: Sailors on the Starless Sea
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Fifth Edition Fantasy #1: Glitterdoom
by Charles C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2014 20:11:48
Pretty solid to me! Interesting monsters (e.g. dwarf skeletons with petrifying touches), an interesting nomadic dwarf sub-race, and an interesting new background (refugee). Worth the buy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fifth Edition Fantasy #1: Glitterdoom
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DCC RPG/Xcrawl Free RPG Day 2014
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2014 09:45:43
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/06/22/tabletop-review-dungeon-
-crawl-classicsmaximum-xcrawl-free-rpg-day-2014/

This year, Goodman Games’ Free RPG Day offering consists of not one, but TWO adventures for lucky gamers. Dungeon Crawl Classics fans get Elzemon and the Blood Drinking Box while Xcrawl fans get Dungeons Detonation 2014. This is my first exposure to Xcrawl, so I can’t speak to what the game was like before it moved over to Pathfinder mechanics, but it does mean that fans of 3.5 style gaming get two different adventures for their gaming group this year.

Our DCC adventure is only five pages long plus a full page piece of art and the usual (awesome) Doug Kovacs map. This means the adventure is a quick one that can be played in only a single session and also that Xcrawl is the main draw in this year’s twofer. Elzemon and the Blood Drinking Box is for seven to nine 1st Level characters and consists of a seven piece dungeon crawl. This particular adventure sees the PCs hired by the wizard, Rhalabhast of Many Eyes, to steal an artifact known as Yarafad’s Box. The box requires the regular feeding (5 HP per day) of Lawful aligned blood or it will lose a horrific monster upon the world. Of course the mission isn’t THAT straightforward, and there are some definite complications along the way, both physically and mentally. The adventure lasts roughly five days and besides the usual horrors that come from a hack and slash dungeon, there is a more cerebral element to the entire affair that the PCs may never become wise to. Players will also have to solve puzzles, fight off strange and sinister creatures that should not be and, of course, obtain Yarafad’s box. It’s a pretty straightforward adventure, save for the climatic plot twist, and as such it’s a great way to introduce gamers to the mechanics and atmosphere of Dungeon Crawl Classics. You also have two possible endings, one of which may spur the GM on to do several follow up adventures based off of revenge attempts upon the PCs. Not a bad little affair in all.

As Xcrawl takes up two thirds of the Free RPG Day offering, we will spend most of our time with that. Again, this is my first exposure to Xcrawl so I can’t comment on what it was like before the conversion over to Pathfinder, but I know Pathfinder pretty well, I feel comfortable commenting on the adventure even whilst admitting my ignorance of the overall setting.

From what I can tell, Xcrawl is a comedy-adventure, almost American Gladiators or The Running Man sort of affair, where player characters are celebrity entertainers of sorts. Smash T.V. is a nother good example for you old school video game fans. That doesn’t make the dangers or threat of death any less real though. The adventure, Dungeon Detonation 2014 is for characters between Levels 6-8, but there is no mention of a suggested party size. The idea of the adventure is that the PCs have agreed to take part in an Xcrawl for charity, giving them some nice public exposure and raise money for a good cause.

The dungeon in this adventure is a single level, but as Xcrawl is an entertainment/sport type of deal, the PCs won’t be the only party taking part. There will be five teams in all trying to make it through the dungeon, but it will be successively, not all at once. That’s too much chaos for all but the best GMs to deal with. For each piece of treasure the PCs collect, an equal piece will be donated to the “Jose Villalobos House for War Widows and Orphans. ” PCs will have to collect the most treasure and survive the most encounters to win.

What I found interesting is that Xcrawl takes place is a fantasy version of our real world, similar to how Shadowrun does, although Xcrawl has a fantasy bent instead of a Sci-Fi one. I think players will either really like or really hate this, depending on how serious they take their gaming. Me? I like to laugh personally, so I enjoyed the somewhat farcial nature of this piece.

Xcrawl isn’t the most well known gaming setting, so it was a wise idea to pare it with Pathfinder since that’s one of the most popular tabletop RPGs right now. You also get a half page of glossary and vernacular specific to Xcrawl to help new players and GMs alike become comfortable with the setting. The adventure also gives you a sidebar a few pages in (it probably should have been right up front) explaining a quick overview on how Xcrawl works, setting and mechanics wise. So even though this is a bit of an obscure game compared to a lot of Free RPG Day 2014 offerings, it should be an easy adventure to figure out and have fun with.

The dungeon itself is actually pretty long, with over a dozen rooms. Of course not every room has traps or monsters to best. Aside from the specific Xcrawl trappings, it’s a pretty standard hack and slash affair. Truly though, it’s the uniqueness of the Xcrawl experience that makes this adventure both fun and memorable. Of course, that could just be because I’m viewing this as a one-shot. I’m not sure that I’d enjoy a full length campaign of this nature. It’s like HoL – this type of adventure is best served as small treats rather than something you play regularly. Overall, I though Dungeon Detonation was very well done. I laughed at the absurd nature of the piece and I also enjoyed this variant on the usual Pathfinder style hack and slash experience. It’s definitely an adventure to try, but the overall campaign setting will definitely be for a niche audience.

All in all, another Free RPG Day gives us another quality offering from Goodman Games. If you missed out on this year’s release, it will probably make it out as a PDF to the general public at some point, so don’t feel too bad if you live far away from a brick and mortar store. Packaging both pieces as a “twofer” ensures gamers who pick this get two adventures for two different systems and thus gives Goodman Games a better chance of gaining a new fan. After all, someone might be a diehard Pathfinder fan and thus will be able to play (and hopefully enjoy) Xcrawl thus giving them impetus to pick up Maximum Xcrawl (The Pathfinder variant) core rulebook once it is released. Same with DCC. That still may appeal to a gamer like myself, who generally doesn’t care for Pathfinder or D&D 3.0/3.5. Both adventures are very different in tone and mechanics, so there should be something for everyone but the devout sci-fi gamer to enjoy with this release.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DCC RPG/Xcrawl Free RPG Day 2014
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