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Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord $7.99
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/23/2018 08:18:59

This is a classic delve, sending the party deep underground to rescue hostages and loot treasure from marauding troglodytes, complete with a 'boss' encounter with the Slithering Overlord himself! (Or herself, it's a bit hard to tell...). The default version is that the party is hired by the Order of the Invincible Sun to go down there to kill monsters and loot their stuff, but alternative reasons are provided or you may come up with a good one of your own.

The DM's Notes include a synopsis of the adventure, an encounter list, scaling information, a note on where this adventure is set if you are using the Dungeon Crawl Classics default world of Aereth, the promised other hooks to get the party involved and an extensive background for the adventure. It appears that there's a lot going on in this particular underground domain, with the Slithering Overlord himself having been driven out of his original home and having taken refuge here, and rival species contesting space with his own followers. Oddly, the Order of the Invincible Sun is described as a paramilitary religious order, which rather begs the question as to why they don't take care of business for themselves rather than hiring a bunch of adventurers to do it for them.

The underground setting is made up of three distinct 'sub-dungeons' which the party can explore pretty much as they please. There are a lot of unmapped narrow corridors connecting them, they are uninhabited and it's up to you whether the party has to explore them or if you just tell them that after a few hours they reach... wherever it is you want them next. The monsters to be found here are all integrated into their locations, each has a clear reason to be precisely where they will be encountered - often with an ingenious backstory of their own, which the party may or may not find out. Its very existance makes them more believable, however. In flagrant disregard of stated Dungeon Crawl Classics policy, some of them are prepared to chat if the party doesn't attack them out of hand... this raises the adventure to new heights as the party can, if they wish, try to figure out what's going on rather than merely kill every creature they meet and steal their stuff. (Interestingly, this option is found in many of the adventures, but it's particularly noticeable here.) Needless to say, some encounters are out-and-out combat ones, with monsters that attack on sight!

The final area, where the Slithering Overlord lives, has some... unusual denizens, the flora and fauna alike should prove quite a surprise. The Overlord himself is presented as an utter 'Baddie', but you might want to treat him a little more sympathetically. Options for future adventure are provided based on whether or not the party defeats him, and provide scope for some interesting and unique plotlines if you so wish. As a 'dungeon delve' this is a particularly good one!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/02/2007 00:00:00

Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord is a 52 page d20 pdf adventure for characters of levels 4-6. This product is one of the many products in Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics line of products, a series now consisting of well over forty different adventures. Each adventure in the series brings to the table a good and exciting dungeon crawl, complete with traps, monsters, and other deadly machination of the dungeon. This particular adventure features an underground exploration involving multiple factions of evil and the recovery of some holy relics and hostages.

The product comes as a single pdf file, and is very well and professionally presented. The product includes a full set of bookmarks, table of contents, adventure scaling details, encounter table, introduction, adventure background and summary, and details on where to place this adventure in the DCC campaign world introduced in DCC #35. That's about everything one would expect and more. The layout, editing and mechanics are all very good and professional, showing a high standard of pdf production. Artwork and maps are good, with clear maps, and some compelling art pieces that further improve on the quality of the overall presentation. Overall, a very well presented product along the lines of all the other DCCs in the series.

The adventure takes the PCs underground in search of the Order of The Invincible Sun's holy relics and some hostages captured underground. While underground the PCs discover that there is more going on than meets the eye, and eventually they will face the wile and cunning of the Slithering Overlord. The adventure provides refreshing information on the overall plot, as well as details on handling the various factions involved and the motivations of each of the factions of the adventure. There could perhaps have been done a little bit more here to improve the roleplaying possibilities, particularly in the adventure text itself rather than in a short prelude before the encounters are all detailed. Nevertheless, cunning players will find ways of dealing with all the threats that this adventure poses.

As one would expect, this is a dungeon crawl adventure, and as such combat galore to be had. In this particular adventure, the combat is particularly tough and gruesome, and in fact probably a bit of overkill to the point of tediousness. Almost every one of the forty-plus locations of the adventure contains some sort of combat encounter, meaning that the PCs will fight from one battle to the next. There's nothing time-wise stopping the PCs from resting, but the adventure could've done a little more to prevent endless combat of a multitude of different creatures. And while the backstory explains the presence of some of the creatures, it won't always be apparent to the PCs, meaning that some encounters might appear quite strange in the light of things underground. One good thing about this is that a number of new creatures are introduced, so PCs won't get tired of standard fare. Sonic bats, shimmering slugs, and neuronia will all keep the PCs alert.

I think in the old end the adventure lacks a little dynamics between the factions and between the factions and the PCs. It feels very static, with characters battling from one location to another, rather than dealing with very intelligent creatures each with their own agenda. One could explain this by the status-quo that exists between the factions, but the adventure would've been more fun is something dynamic was around. Still, it will make for a challenging and very deadly module for those characters taking a trip underground, and suit a mix of different characters due to some opportunity for wilderness travel. A good effort from Goodman Games.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Good, solid, and enjoyable dungeon crawl, with very good presentation and some interesting and different encounter ideas. A little exposition and dynamic development of the backstory will makes this an exciting adventure.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Lots of combat, probably too much. Lack of dynamic resolution of the various factions and the adventure could've done a bit more in this area.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2007 00:00:00

(EDIT: Fixed a big cut-and-paste error.) A number of gaming companies have tried to tap into an "old-school" feel, harkening back to the classic days of fantasy roleplaying games. Few companies are able to evoke this nostalgic design style as well as Goodman Games. Their adventures emphasize the best things about some of the early modules, while still maintaining the high standards of design and quality modern gamers have come to expect.

In the Slithering Overlord, the PCs find themselves facing off against three very different factions of subterranean monsters. The inclusion of three separate groups adds a certain amount of variety to the adventure. While all of the action takes place underground, the locations are varied enough to keep from becoming repetitive, and at least one dungeon has a touch of wilderness to spice things up.

The adventure includes a very simple adventure hook involving a religious order's search for three missing relics. This background is flexible and effective, and could even be completely ignored if the GM so chooses. In this regard, Slithering Overlord shares one of the strengths of the classic adventures that inspired it. It takes an interesting location, gives a decent reason for it to be filled with monsters, and adds a motivation for the PCs to go there.

One of the thing that stood out to me were the detailed monster tactics. I find these sorts of things to be a valuable resource when running an adventure, as it can sometimes be difficult to decode all of a monster's powers from a stat block. It's also nice to know whether or not a monster will fight to the death, what kind of attack it prefers, and how it interacts with other creatures in the dungeon. I appreciate the extra information. I also really like the flavor text for the various dungeon encounters. All too often, I see my player's eyes gloss over when I'm ready wordy boxed text, but this is (for the most part) short and to the point.

There is a lot of potential combat in this adventure, and I could see certain groups turning things into one fight after another. The various monster groups don't necessarily like one another, however, and a smart group could play this fact to their advantage. There are also a smattering of puzzles and traps; and I'm a sucker for any adventure that features riddles, especially when they're delivered by a giant stone head that shoots red-hot beams from its eyes. If that last bit doesn't sound cool to you, you may not be Dungeon Crawl Classic material. Another of my favorites was the fiendish otyugh, which is ?...summoned from a fiendish plane where sinners are forced to eat all manner of refuse as punishment for their sins.? Good stuff.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This is a good selection in the Dungeon Crawl Classics line. There is plenty of dungeon for exploration, old-school art, and both classic monsters and brand new creatures. This is a nice, solid module that would be a welcome fit in my home campaign.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: While I like the Slithering Overlord, there really isn't anything overly special about this adventure. Its good overall, but it lacks a unique hook to put things over the top. As with any adventure, there were specific parts that didn't work for me. For instance, while I mentioned my liking of the giant stone head, I found the riddles it asks to be too easy. Also, I think that some parts of the adventure could become repetitive if the PCs take a kick-down-the-door approach.

Also, I didn't care for the way the designers glossed over large sections of the underground area. There doesn't need to be extensive descriptions of vast underground corridors, but a few sample encounters would have been nice for the GM looking to do more than just hand-wave the travel between detailed areas.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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