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The Mall Of Doom
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2015 14:32:22

I have written a review of The Mutant Epoch and the Crossroads Gazetteer which may be helpful.

The Mall of Doom is, at heart, a good old fashioned dungeon crawl. It is also so much more. This "dungeon" truly lives and breathes. It is set in the Crossroads area; but it could be anywhere and could work with most PA games or as a module for a lot of other games. As the name suggests, it takes place in the ruins of an ancient mall. It doesn't have to be a mall though. It could also be the ruins of a small town, space port or any other place that would have various stores.

It is intended for beginning characters; however, it recommends that the players use multiple characters in case of deaths. So it can easily be used for much higher level characters. Personally, I am not a fan of players playing more than one character at a time. The Mutant Epoch has a completely random character generation system (or not, depending on your preference). The idea behind multiple characters is that the "cool one" will survive; although which one the "cool one" is can really surprise you.

Being new to the game, I ran this "as is" and had my players use three characters each. Because we used the completely random method to give the game a "test", the results were fairly interesting.

As a "1st level" dungeon it was a fairly good setting. The characters are hired...well to do some stuff. Part of the payment was up front in the way of "relics". This really helped out for the character that fortune had given a "pitchfork" as their weapon. The "dungeon" was located...well lets just say really close to a village where the characters could heal up and do some trading. This was fairly important and not for the usual reason of 1st level characters need to rest a lot. There was plenty of loot to be found! But most of it was not really valuable to an adventurer.

The best part about this dungeon was it really felt like a dangerous place. Things were in place that made it so that sometimes it was repopulated faster than it could be cleared!

Most of the players were down to one character by about 5th level. None of the players' "fav" from generation was the one left standing; but by then all of them agreed it was now their favorite. I can see where this system could have gone horribly wrong; but the "test" had bonded player with character.

Because of the way it was written, even old places felt fresh as the players worked on uncovering the secret. Their was literally more stuff to do in the same place for it to start feeling old.

The module was written with several possible endings (more on that in a minute). Ultimately, the players were able to solve the "problem". I can't say what happened next because it would give away too much. Lets just say the characters ended up just below 10th level and with a nice assortment of loot after returning to the nearby city. It wasn't their first choice of loot; but it definitely set them up for their next set of adventures.

As the first full "module" of TME that I ran for my gaming group, we had all gained a great understanding of the setting. Not only was it a great module, it was a great introduction to TME!

OK, now to the part, I would get to later. This module has two interesting features. It was made to be played as a "choose your own adventure" meaning that one person could sit down and play it without a Ref and all the encounters for each "room" were randomly rolled from several possible choices. So, "room 7" could have a collection of music discs the first time through, a hungry alligator chewing on the remains of a mutant the second time and a partially collapsed ceiling that reveals part of a car and its dead passengers the third time. It could really be run as a dungeon for the same players several times without repeating its self.

My players, after the first few attempts at rushing through it, finally settled down and approached it like the "Mall of Doom" it was meant to be! Honestly, I think the reason that they felt so attached to their characters by the end was because they really felt the "fear". Honestly, only an old GURPS module, Flight 13 has ever caused this kind of reaction in my players.

So, I have to say, its a great module! It is a good start to a TME campaign because of the pay off at the beginning. It also would work well for characters up to 10th Rank easy without modification. It would also work really well for many other games especially ones that are "dungeonny".

I would really like to run this for about a 10th level D&D group as a new "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks". Its well worth the money!

Also, if you are a bored RPer and can't get together with your gaming group for the weekend and don't feel like pugging a raid on WoW, it can make a snow day feel like a holiday!

Hope to see you at the Bohemian, where the Soylent Green has been certified to be PSH free!

[5 of 5 Stars!]