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AL 2: Sepulcher of the Mountain God [DCC] $3.26
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AL 2: Sepulcher of the Mountain God [DCC]
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AL 2: Sepulcher of the Mountain God [DCC]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Gabor L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2013 13:59:27

Sepulcher of the Mountain God is a first level Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure locale (although, as it is intended for 8-10 characters, a smaller party would be better off playing it when they are a bit more experienced). The mini-scenario describes a relatively small, linear dungeon consisting of temples to two rival evil deities, and the connecting cavern system. One of these, Ira, is a chthonic earth god type, and the other, Gelihedres, is related to underworld waters and icky crawly things. The player characters, exploring the tomb of a tribal chief, are drawn into their conflict which now revolves around a renegade priest and two stolen magical relics.

This module presents individually interesting encounters and adversaries, but has significant structural weaknesses. Taken one by one, there is some intriguing imagery of barbarous burials, pagan temples and cold, water-filled caverns (with some very neat illustrations). The adventure introduces craymites, a new subterranean race of humanoid crayfish who make pretty cool low-level opponents with a disconcerting ability they can use in combat. There are curses, relics and evil rituals which fit the themes properly. However, all of this is found in a dungeon which essentially consists of a straight line between beginning and end. This is not by itself a module-breaking issue, but there are others which add up to some rather serious problems.

There is a very high likelihood over the course of the adventure that the characters are going to be affected by a powerful geas, forcing them into the plot “or else”. Even without this contrivance, there are not many interesting, meaningful choices they can make during exploration. If everything is a prepared straight path, tactics lose meaning and exploration is nonexistent. The dungeon lacks the openness and complexity which would facilitate player planning, and which is in evidence in the first product in the same module series. This is, I think, a very “2nd edition” kind of mistake. The adventure’s linear structure is also littered with roadblocks. If the party doesn’t figure out a crucial puzzle in the beginning, they will not be able to enter most of the dungeon at all, since alternate routes don’t exist, and the adventure is also clear new ones cannot be created. Later, the way forward is hidden behind a secret underwater passage within an underwater passage, which is just the place some parties will never discover.

Finally, we have a combat-laden conclusion in an underground ritual site packed to the gills with human cultists, who apparently have no problem existing in a small complex whose only access point is the aforementioned secret underwater passage, yet somehow manages to contain a large campsite with beds and active fireplaces. This is a mystery that pervades the product – how does this linear under-realm function? The only ways in are a tomb and temple dedicated to a hostile god, and a flooded waterway descending even deeper into the earth. I don’t tend to pay much attention to realism, but to put it mildly, it is puzzling.

Altogether, this module is too brief and too plain for its own good: its potential for spelunking, underground exploration and approaching situations with varied tactics is limited, and what’s left is a fairly disappointing low-level scenario. Introductory modules have a special responsibility in that they should represent the best or close to the best a game can offer. This one is very far from that standard, and I cannot recommend it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
AL 2: Sepulcher of the Mountain God [DCC]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/21/2012 16:52:51

This module is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, while SRD and editorial combine to take up about 1 page, leaving approximately 11 pages of content, so let's check out PDG's second Adventure locale-sidetrek adventure for DCC!

This being an adventure module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential player might wish to jump to the conclusion!

All right, still here? This pdf has the PCs venture into the halls that of a primitive tribe to reclaim a sacred skull and a magic club, making this module potentially a viable option for usage in a Sword & Sorcery-style setting. The exploration immediately kicks off with an exploration of the vanquished tribe's undead-infested tombs (including meticulously-detailed treasures) to the option to get blessed by the local mountain god and thus pass the deadly stone guardians - and potentially be goaded into a divine quest to vanquish the mountain god's foes or suffer a luck-draining curse.

In order to succeed, the PCs will have to venture into the depths of the mountain and destroy legions of small, humanoid crayfish-like jumping mites as well as brave the mud demons of Gelihedres and cultists serving the dark god to stop the mastermind of the cult from summoning an avatar of his dark god into the body of a dead young giant. The pdf also comes with 2 pages of DM-maps (with keys) and high-res jpegs both with and without keys for the two levels of the dungeon.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the pdf comes with some ok artworks as well as bookmarks. This easily inserted module is a nice savage little dungeon centered on the conflict between two gods/spirits that have lost a lot of power (judging from the fledgling avatar's stats). This module is nice, but it lacks the compelling weirdness of its predecessor - it's a good module and it offers some nice experiences for your PCs and genuinely creepy moments and makes good use of the system, but in the end, it just didn't grip me as much as the sojourn into the dancing horror's complex. Thus, my final verdict will clock in at 1 star less than that module, resulting in a verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
AL 2: Sepulcher of the Mountain God [DCC]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/20/2012 07:08:07

This adventure, despite forming part of the 'funnel' by which a mob of first-level characters is winnowed down to a manageable party, is epic in scope, pitting law against chaos as mere mortals are caught up in a strife between two gods! It starts with a Background, which sets the scene and is intended mostly for the GM's eyes - some may be presented as more general scene-setting and history if so desired - and this is followed by notes for the GM on how to get the characters involved. These are both varied and detailed, giving you a good few options to get the characters to the dungeon itself... although you will need to create any surroundings or adventures on the way there for yourself, if you want to do anything than jump straight in.

The dungeon itself - spread over two levels and with a nice mix of natural and man-made features - is well-described and populated with all manner of interesting things to discover and interesting creatures to fight. There is a slight tendency to have but a single way to proceed, which may not be obvious and with little hint given as to how characters are supposed to figure out what they ought to do, although leeway is given in a note to the effect that any other innovate use of magic might work (i.e. if the GM reckons it might!).

A neat touch is that the characters will be deep into the dungeon before one of the deities involved, in a fit of petulance at being disturbed, bestows both a curse and a quest on the hapless adventurers, this providing the impetus for the second part of the exploration, that of the lower level. This makes for an interesting dynamic, much more than "Here's a dungeon, explore it!"

Overall, this is a nicely-done adventure, well-resourced and pretty much ready to run. I spotted all of one spelling mistake and a tendency to select randomly whether to refer to a Judge, a GM or a DM; but these are minor quibbles and do not spoil the enjoyment of a well-constructed dungeon crawl. Now, where can I find some players...?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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