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Dungeon Crawl Classics #68: People of the Pit $6.99
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/12/2012 00:43:53

Remember first level? You went into a dungeon, stabbed a few kobolds, went into another area, killed a few goblins, went somewhere else, slew some orcs, went to another place, attacked some skeletons, got their treasure, and finally did something (like slay hobgoblins) at second.

DCC isn't that.

"Now a decade has passed since the last sacrifice, and the rumbles of the pit-beast can once more be heard deep in the pit. This time, though, there is another factor. People have emerged from the pit, herding great slithering tentacles before them. These people of the pit wear gray robes and have no faces. The local peasants have chased the robed men away on numerous occasions, and now the humble folk around the ravine fear for their safety. It was enough to fear the beast of the pit, now must they fear the people of the pit as well? You have set out to explore the great ravine in search of mystery, adventure, riches, and fame—and perhaps to aid your neighbors along the way." -- from the Player Beginning

Spoilers ahead.

If the core book's "Portal Under the Stars" was a trap-encrusted killfest, "People of the Pit" is a refugee from Queen of the Demonweb Pits and Shrine of Kuo-Toa (and better organized, too). While Pit may not be campaign-sized large, your poor players certainly didn't take them on at first level!

And, like, Portal, Pit is sufficiently deadly. If your figher insists on running down the slick stairs, he could fall to the pit floor before meeting anyone. And when you do enter combat, those grey-robed cultists have the audacity to have these tentacled things burst out of them when they die. Oh, and if they're in an area where tentacles are nearby they can summon them to do their bidding (like grab characters and toss them screaming into the pit). And that's just the first encounter.

The adventure sticks to theme yet provides an assortment of enemies, magical traps, mundane ones, and a few Things to Run Away From. The adventure has method behind its madness. Smarter characters will proceed cautiously and use the shortcuts to their objective. Others will find themselves shocked, teleported, cursed, turned to stone, sliced open, and screaming a hentailike death. Thoughtfully, the adventure has plenty of 0-level captives who can replace fallen members, and more 0-level captives to replace the previous ones. And, yes, the trope-ic Indiana Jones finale has a beautiful babe about to be sacrificed to the pit.

If there's any criticism of the adventure, it's that it's not just for 1st level characters! DCC is about not knowing what you're up against, and the stats (and shortcuts) can certainly be adjusted for higher level parties. And you may want to make the Control Tentacle spell easier to access by the spellcasters, if only to roll on the corruption table!

I'm pleasantly please with the People from the Pit. Just makes you wonder what will happen at second level.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #68: People of the Pit
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