Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/12/17/tabletop-review-appendix-n-adventures-toolkit-2-the-vile-worm-dungeon-cra-
Almost two months ago I reviewed the first of the Appendix N Adventures Toolkits: The Ruins of Ramat. I really enjoyed it and, even though Brave Halfling Publishing is a bit behind on their release schedule, I was still chomping at the bit for the next entry in the series. What can I say? I love Dungeon Crawl Classics. Now I’ve got The Vile Worm in my hands, and while it’s shorter and not as good as the first release in the series, it’s still a fun (albeit quite brief) adventure for the system. The Vile Worm might even work as a side story or short encounter between major adventures due to its brevity.
The Vile Worm is a pretty simple, linear affair, and it is designed for eight to twelve Level One characters. I know that sounds like a lot if you haven’t played Dungeon Crawl Classics but trust me, it’s about par for the system. Each gamer plays two to three characters because the death toll in this system is so high. It sounds pretty crazy, but the emphasis with this system is roll-playing over role-playing and combat over characterization.
The story of The Vile Worm is fairly straight forward. The players come across a deranged hermetic berserker who is sacrificing people to a gigantic worm. The players have to take down this sin against nature and free the family that he has currently imprisoned. The players have to survive the monsters, navigate the berserker’s lair and try to not get impregnated by the worm and end up as a host to larvae. After that, the players must do battle with an even older and larger creature that they won’t see coming. As I said earlier, it’s a fairly straight forward affair, but the battles are memorable and it’s nowhere near as vicious to the PCs as most Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures. It shouldn’t take more than two hours to play through this unless the DM is REALLY padding things out for the players.
About the only down side to The Vile Worm is how expensive it is. With a price tag of nearly six bucks for only fourteen pages, The Vile Worm is way too expensive for what you get. I could get TWO Shadowrun Missions for the same price, and they’re twice the page length (or more!) and in full colour! A fourteen page document really shouldn’t be running more than three bucks at most. My guess is the cost is primarily due to the art by guys like Mark Allen and Andy Taylor. Still, that’s a LOT of money for such a small adventure, and my fear is that the cost per page will simply be too much for the majority of gamers, especially in this day and age.
My advice would be not to pick this up on its own due to the six dollar price tag for only fourteen pages, four of which are covers and legal mumbo jumbo. Instead, go for the subscription, which should bring the price down dramatically. Make sure you know and love Dungeon Crawl Classics first, or you’ll just end up with a bunch of adventures you’ll never use. Still, Appendix N Adventure Toolkits are proving to be the best third party releases for the DCC system. After only two, I’m quite satisfied, and I can’t wait to see what Brave Halfling Publishing puts out next.
[4 of 5 Stars!]