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Wicked Fantasy Factory #1: Rumble in the Wizard's Tower $6.99
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2007 00:00:00

Wicked Fantasy Factory: Rumble in the Wizard's Tower is a 36 page d20 fantasy pdf adventure for characters of level 1 to 3. This adventure is the first product in a new series of adventures by Goodman Games produced in cooperation with Wicked Fantasy Factory. Each adventure in the series is for those that want their adventures to be 'things of legend' or just 'wicked sick' and each features new rules and a more bloody, yet cinematic, outlook on the fantasy adventure. This adventure sees the player characters assault the tower of a warlord bent on overthrowing the kingdom, and they must face not only the challenges of the warlord's minions, but also the remnants of the magical effects left over from the wizard who once lived in the tower.

This adventure comes as a single, extremely well-presented pdf file. The pdf contains a full set of bookmarks, a fantastic cover, and grim-and-gritty interior art, bordering and layout that suit the mood and flavor of the product. The maps are fantastic, detailed and clear, and are helpful to the DM in indicating relative positions of any enemies within a particular area. The covers and maps are arranged at the front of the pdf, with the main product body following on from that. Handouts and new monsters and magical items are included in the appendix. Editing, writing and mechanics are excellent, and where the adventure says it will provide more cinematic scenes and descriptions this is strongly supported by some quality writing and vivid detail. In general, a top quality presentation that suits the flavor and atmosphere of the product very well.

The adventure takes place almost entirely in Morrick Tower, although depending on which of the plot hooks are used, there can be some roleplaying in the city before that. Because this adventure is intended to be something of legend, there are some optional rules that one can use to make the adventure more 'bloody' or just more cinematic. These include rules for handling mooks or minor enemies, so-called finishing moves which allow you to finish off an enemy in spectacular fashion, and additional mechanics for making those final BBEGs that much more difficult. Admittedly these additions will not be for everyone, but in the spirit of the adventure and the style of the adventure, they can be a lot of fun. That said, this adventure can be run equally well without these options, and given the quality of the adventure, it will be as enjoyable and even equally spectacular.

By its basic nature this is a single location, dungeon crawl style adventure, but I think it offers more than enough other aspects to the adventure that make it much more than that. There is a really great story-line and background with some really interesting ideas, some very exciting encounters, challenges that almost require characters to think out of the box, and some description and detail that's excellent. Players and DMs will not be disappointed by this adventure, and those wishing for more cinematic encounters and spectacular battles will find this adventure right up their alley. The adventure is intended for 2nd level characters, although large parties of 1st level characters (6 to 8 characters) or 3rd level characters will also find this challenging. Scaling information is provided, but given the length of the adventure and the nature of the combat encounters, even large parties of 1st level characters will struggle unless they employ excellent tactics and think about their actions.

The combination of facing the warlord's minions and the remnants of the tower's magical effects mean that most character classes will get a chance to shine. Traps, puzzles, and combat all blend in well in this adventure, and there's good opportunity for roleplaying. At times, though, the adventure feels a bit scripted and could've used a bit more of a dynamic approach. It's what one could call a 'movie-style' approach to gaming in the sense that when you look at a film the scenes are often incredibly spectacular, but when you think about it you realise that there's a very detailed script behind it. Player characters might not notice it, but as a DM you can see the adventure being carefully scripted towards certain conclusions and certain outcomes. There's certainly nothing wrong with this approach as the results will be entirely fantastic and cinematic, but it can feel linear at times.

During the course of the adventure the characters will face a large number of interesting challenges. They will need to unravel the warlord's plot, contend with both the mundane and the fantastical, and deal with many eclectic challenges. The final encounter should be a thoroughly memorable affair. This adventure succeeds very well at stating its intent and then delivering exactly what it says it will. It may not be for everyone, but I think most players and DMs will be surprised by how good this adventure is despite perhaps not finding the adventure blurb to be to their liking. This is a great dungeon crawl and adventure, extra options used or not, and a fantastic start to a series that has lots of potential.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Rumble in the Wizard's Tower is an excellent and fun adventure that plays to the cinematic approach to gaming - dungeon crawling at its best. The descriptions and details are vivid and spring to life, the adventure is fast paced and exciting, the encounters challenging and require thinking out of the box, and the story and premise very entertaining. Even if you wouldn't normally go for this style of adventure, I think many will be surprised by what they find inside its pages. Excellent presentation, in particular the art and maps.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The adventure might not be for everyone, and it can feel very scripted and linear at times. Given the cinematic and large battles that abound, some large maps or battlemaps would've been really useful. This adventure can be very tough, although the difficulty is offset by the optional rules that the adventure incorporates. Those opting not to use them will probably need to ensure that their PCs are up to the task. The finishing moves mechanics could've used a little more polish.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[5 of 5 Stars!]