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C2: Goblin Cave

Hej everybody,

 

today I’ll take a look at AaW’s second classic play module,

 

C2 -Goblin Cave 

 

This module is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 25 pages of content, so let’s check this out!

 

This being an adventure-module, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion. Oh. The module is called “Goblin Cave”. Guess what you’ll get? Goblins. In a cave? Perhaps. Yeah that might be it. Seriously, though. The title is lame as hell.

 

Still here? All right! The village of Svor has recently suffered from incursions of goblins that are oddly well trained and since the isolated village is rather small, it falls to the PCs to put an end to the threat. After a round of investigation gathering (if desired), the PCs can track their way to the cavernous hideout of the goblins and it’s all old-schoolish dungeon crawl from here on out: In order to enter the cave situated at the edge of the murky lake, the PCs will have to wade through stagnant water and then best goblin sentries and make their way through a complex, in which they’ll be challenged by slippery cooking oil, worg-riding goblin cavalry and even make an uncommon ally: Grog the former chief of the tribe of greenskins is now a ghost that has been supplanted by the wizard Taraxian.

 

In an ironic twist, neither filth fever, nor poisonous spores make for the most deadly hazard in this place, but rather an overstocked storage area that might have the PCs buried in an avalanche of goods. Have I mentioned the rust monster that will add both to the chaos and frighten the players fearing for their precious goods…

 

Both the stolen goods and Taraxian’s library are rather detailed and the finale is also rather neat, offering not only a classic tactic, but also a circle which is a representation of the Circulus Sanguinus-spell the wizard employed to take command of the goblins. Whether with or without the help of the goblin ghost, the PCs will have to face down the wizard and hopefully manage to avoid slaying a  controlled acolyte. If they have helped the ghost, he may even point them towards his hidden treasure stash, which is a neat mini-puzzle to end the module.

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Conclusion:

 

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to AaW’s two-column standard with a white background, following the standard of the C-series. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks and will get herolab support, though the files have not gone online as I write these lines. The cartography provides us with an awesome full-color map of both the dungeon and the overworld, with the latter coming in two versions, one of which is player-friendly – kudos!

I expected to hate this module. It’s rather short and has one of the most boring titles imaginable. But, here’s the catch: It’s actually rather good and has some memorable moments:  If worg-riding goblins flinging disgusting, hot goblin soup at PCs doesn’t sound like fun, what is? The option to unearth a hidden treasure (even one as paltry as a goblin’s) is also rather iconic and a cool idea and the complex storage encounter is neat as well. All in all, this is definitely a solid, well-written module, but also one that sports a distinct lack of je-ne-sais-quoi. The spark. The additional environmental challenge. The encounter that will have the players talk about it for days to come.  While it won’t win any prices for ingenuity and lacks the vast iconicity of C1, it is still a low-level adventure that has its moments. I’d also consider it a good introduction to old-school play-styles since it can be difficult, but not nearly as deadly as comparable modules like C1 or the offerings of Frog God Games. Also, the module is rather on the short side and in the light of all of this, I can settle for a (at least for me) surprising verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform –  for a module named “Goblin Cave”. Yeah. I still can’t get over the title.

 

Endzeitgeist out.

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B4 – The Cave Beast’s Hoard

Hej everybody,   today I’m going to take a look at

The Cave Beast’s Hoard

This module is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s check this one out!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish ti jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! The quaint town of Woodwall has long been haunted by a legend of brigands or a beast that hunts in the surrounding area – wealthy people tend to simply disappear around the area and the old legend seems to have recently taken more victims – having the town feel a tad bit paranoid, since a growing town also means a growing incentive for the creature or brigands to attack the settlement.. Hope fully the player’s curiosity is roused, for after a round of gathering information, the Pcs will probably have to set out into the wilderness and do some old-schoolish tracking. After dealing with a couple of empty caves and giant spiders, the PCs will stumble upon the keep of the former wizard-hermit Telonel, which now is home to a tribe of kobolds – it is also here the PCs find the first cryptic hints of the fabled cave beast, though that may not yet be readily apparent.

After exploring the keep, the Pcs will probably stumble across the final cavern, in which the nature of the cave beast is revealed after some initial foreshadowing. Turns out that neither a brigand, nor an animal is the culprit – the wizard-hermit has created a treasure golem that has been enlarging itself with single-minded determination.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches, though there are some typos etc. here. Layout adheres to AaW’s 2-column standard and the full color artworks are ok, but nothing mind-boggling. The cartography of the keep is ok, though not on the same level as AaW’s usually stellar maps. We also don’t get a player-friendly map of the keep and no cave-maps, which is a bummer. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks, a background-less version and will probably get herolab support. As per the time when I write this review, the Herolab files have not yet been added.

Per se, there is nothing wrong with this module. It can be considered a sidetrek for a regular adventure, a way to fill an evening – and that’s somewhat the problem of this module: It is on the one hand very short. It also lacks maps for most locations contained herein. And it does nothing new or particularly special. It is not a bad module by any means, but it also has nothing creative or particularly evocative to offer. This module, over all, had me shrug – which is a pity, since a module should be many things, but formulaic and boring is not among them. The final creature could have, easily, by inserting hints on how to defeat it and a modified final beast made a cool puzzle-combat, which would have helped to give this module a sense of identity. I’d rather recommend you to check out some of the other AaW-modules instead like Winter Flower or Rogue Wizard instead of this one. As a sidetrek, I’d give this 3 stars, were it not for the utter lack of maps or unique, innovative content. As a full-blown module, whether when compared to other AaW-modules or the offerings of other 3pps, though, this falls short in length, map material, artwork etc. – thus, my final verdict will be 1.5 stars, rounded down to 1: This is unworthy of the high standard AaW has arrived at.

 

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings!
Endzeitgeist out.