||False Advertising bugs me to no end. It is so disappointing to go see a movie that promises wall to wall thrills when there are only two real action scenes in the whole movies. Likewise, when a book?s back cover promises an engrossing story and delivers something fit for a Dr. Seuss novel, I demand payment from someone.
So I ask with all due respect from Goodman Games for them to accept my apology for my initial impression of Rumble in the Wizard?s Tower, the first entry of Goodman Games new series of adventures, Wicked Fantasy Factory. And by first impression, I mean the sarcastic grunt I let out when reading the item?s descriptions to offer a drop down, over the top adventure experience. After all, I had a right to be doubtful, this is the company that says that the NPCs in their DungeonCrawl series are all suppose to be killed but yet they are not.
Boy was I wrong.
Though it may not be a masterpiece, Rumble in the Wizard?s Tower is very diverse book from the Dungeoncrawls that you may be used to. The adventure takes place inside of wizard?s tower now bellowing to an evil wizard whom murdered his father (also evil) and plans on unleashing his army and new extraplanar time controlling monster. The adventure has a lengthy setup and borders closely on introducing too much non your campaign politics to a game, but, luckily, contains enough generic components that you can squeeze it into your campaign and eliminate some of the heavier political intrigue that may not fit in with the ongoing political intrigue of your current campaign.
The rest of the 36 page PDF takes many chances to divert from your usual adventure. Because the tower once belonged to another wizard, there are plenty of weird planar oddities throughout the castle alongside the pretty bland guards. The book?s shining moments are when it introduces new mechanics such as timestop encounters and finishing moves.
Rumble is more than just simple new tricks. The tactics sections for the encounters do a nice job of offering combat and non combat ways of handling encounters. The final combat at the end provides special advice for the DM to insure that the battle is a true climax.
For those whom doubted there was a real cartographer working at Goodman, get ready to eat crow. The first pages of the book has some of the richest and detailed maps I have seen in a book. They are the only color portion of the PDF and really add some flavor to separate the Wicked Factory series even further. Unfortunately, they can not be used in game without heavy manipulation because of all the DM notes on them. This is such a bummer considering Goodman?s typical blueprints would have done just as nicely if the maps were unusable for a campaign or PC handout.
For the DM
This adventure is not geared towards one particular type of party. Though it?s a dungeoncrawl, you find advice throughout about how to scale down or up things. This type of adventure writing creates adventures that everyone can use. Certain things can be done to bring out more of the mystery elements or background can be given to enforce the political implications. The actual combat tactics are not too invasive and do not try to detail every step of the combat.
The Iron Word
Rumble in the Wizard?s Tower delivers everything that its marketing text says it does. It is fun, over the top (without being comic booky) strong adventuring that any party should enjoy.
LIKED: - most of the mechanics are strong adventure elements that do not break the game
- this adventure contains a lot of different components, despite the overarching dungeoncrawl
- the temporal creature is a good mechanic to balance out an encounter that is going too good or not good enough.
- the description writing is excellent, always recreating the mood of the tower. Rumble handles similar descriptions by using rereference points throughout.
DISLIKED: - the finishing move promise fell flat for me. More time should have been given to make this a mechanic or this should have been left out. The whole section essentially says, during the final blow for an enemy describe the maneuver
- the political portion of the adventure may not be generic enough for some campaigns
- Sometimes the adventure feels too linear and lengthy
- A bit too much combat for the traditional campaign. I found myself deleting as many creatures as encounters as I do in the combat heavy Dungeon Crawls. Though it should be said that they give you non-combat ways of avoiding or escaping some of the creatures.
- All that beautiful art is useless to the DM if there is no nonmarked up map.
(edit- talked to Goodman games and they say that we may get one in a couple months)
QUALITY: Very Good
[4 of 5 Stars!]