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Shadow of the Necromancer 1E $10.00
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
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Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:58:36

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons Mini Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer

by Mark Taormino, 16 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Phred Rawles, Chet Minton, Adam Black, Brian Brinlee, Carlos Castilho, Bradley McDevitt, and Phred Rawles.

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

This is a mini adventure, and the first one Mark has done. Much like his Vampire Queen adventure I have used a figure called "The Necromancer" in my own games. Get out of my head Mark!!

These are designed to be played in one or two sessions. We managed to get through it in three short sessions. It has a great "Hammer Horror" vibe to it, and honestly, I rather love it.

The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , and one-page blank). The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true, and it works fine here. As with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, the adventure is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great, and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run. Exactly what you want in an adventure. Despite the size and scope Mark gives this one the same love and attention he does to all his larger adventures.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Andrew H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2022 20:18:47

Shadow of the Necromancer lovingly harkens back to the Dungeons and Dragons of the early 1980s. The plot is straightforward - stop a necormancer from raising an army of undead minions. The execution of that tried-and-true story is pretty fun. The adventure jumps straight into the action with the adventurers exploring a ruined keep reminiscent (one assumes purposefully) of the keep from T1 Village of Hommlet. It then delves into a short dungeon. Along the way there are exciting fights, devious traps, some 'eek moments' of unsettling horror, and even some levity to break up the levity.

The maps are beautifully rendered, coming in both the classic 'blue' format of the early 80s and the style more common in modern adventures. Artwork is plentiful and well done. And as an added bonus, we get characterful (if you pardon the pun) character sheets, one per class.

Two quibbles. The adventure begins with a lengthy prose story by way of background. On the plus side, this makes it easy to roleplay the villain as we understand his motivation and his slide into insanity. GMs are in his head. But the story is probably too long, taking up around a quarter of this 14-page adventure. Shortening this to provide additional encounters and a thorough edit of the adventure to tidy up the text would have raised this 4 stars.

If you're looking for a short but memorable 1st level adventure, you could do far, far worse than Shadows of the Necromancer.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! Great points for the improvement! I will definitely keep those things in mind for the future mini-adventures! This one was my first foray into mini-adventures so I was trying to find a balance as to how much story and encounters should go into one so the feedback is interesting!
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