Monday, March 11, 2024

Rougher & Smoother

 Just continuing where I left off:

UNDER MT. PEIKON (anonymous)

Ostensibly written for levels 3rd - 8th, this adventure is unusable.

Total treasure count is less than 14K, not counting (limited) magical items. I'm thinking 70K would be more appropriate. But that's not the main issue.

This adventure is all over the place; creative, sure, but it shows a profound lack of knowledge...or the base presumptions of AD&D. This is "OSR" (a non-edition), not 1E. Poor format, layout, etc. makes this too much work to read, parse, and re-work.

I will be skipping this one.  Sorry.
: (


Much better; Zherbus knows his stuff.

My comments on the original review were somewhat uncharitable; now that I have the full text in front of me, I can give the thing a more thorough analysis.  This adventure is pretty solid.

Written for characters levels 3rd - 4th, play-tested with two groups (one with four players, one with five), and roughly 60 encounters long; I'd be looking for this thing to provide at least 60,000 x.p. worth of treasure over its length. Total cash is (on average) a bit more than 30K, but there are a LOT of magical items in least 34, by my count, many of which are permanent in nature and quite valuable in terms of x.p. (a cloak of poisonousness, for example, still has a sale value of 2,500 gold...all x.p.).  I don't have an issue with the treasure stocking.

Nor do I have an issue with the threat level which, for the most part, is quite 'par' for an experienced party of 3rd and 4th level killers. Yeah, there's a cursed vampire and a ghost, but both have alternative methods of dealing with them...same with the harpy nest. For the most part, this just good, stouthearted D&D.

The adventure DOES suffer from being large and sprawling, making it difficult to parse and grok at times, but that's the main challenge in using it...little things that won't be discovered without a couple reads. For example, there's quite a lot of mummy rot in the adventure: something that's tough for PCs less than 5th level to deal with (since they don't have access to cure disease). And yet, careful reading shows that there is a 6th level cleric ("Lowrine") in the nearby town of Mirfield, easily reached within a day from any location on the map; these are the things the DM needs to be aware of when prepping the module. Fortunately, being a 22 page PDF, the adventure can easily be printed, bindered, and separated by section for ease of use. Yeah, it's a little challenging to render it useful, but it is still very, very functional scenario.

Will probably locate it somewhere down by Bruneau, Idaho, or possibly farther east at Glenn's Ferry (though I was planning on keeping that for something else...). Regardless, this is one of the last "wet areas" before the Great Dry Expanse; a suitable location for the "carcass of Hope."
; )


Another excellent AD&D adventure, this one penned by an acknowledged master of the system. A couple annoying quibbles aside (the use of UA-isms like social class, the appearance of the B/X bone golem in an AD&D work), this is a solid entry for PCs of levels 3rd to 5th. Here's Prince's review.

These days I am less comfortable with humanoid lairs as simple places to sack and despoil, but Trent provides plenty of reason for doing just that: these particular goblinoids aren't exercising a live-and-let live policy with the local humans, but are raiding river traffic, making deals with wererats, and getting involved in kidnapping schemes. Plenty of reasons for players to go there and do that "D&D thang" even if you (like me) have axed alignment from your game.

The scenario is written for 5-8 characters of levels 3rd-5th and is composed of some 44 encounters. Something on the order of 70K in treasure would be appropriate for an adventure this size, and an eyeballed 63K figure (not bothering to include the magical offerings) shows that Mr. Smith and I are on the same page in this regard. It is definitely worth the players' time and efforts.

Good maps, good scenario, good interactivity (lots of different things for players to do), disparate factions that make sense in relation to each other, and even a bit of the so called "weird" that everyone seems to rave over with an ancient subterranean god-force. All excellent.

Placement is tough for my campaign setting...a lot of waterfalls in Idaho, but there just aren't any in near proximity to the part of the world in which my players will be adventuring, certainly none as tall as the 500' Melonath Falls (Goat Peak at 650' is actually taller, but it is waaay up north in the mountains). However, if I cut the scale in half (1 square of the map equalling 10', rather than 20') and then use artistic license to "stretch" some real world locations a bit, I can shoehorn the location into Big Fiddler Creek Falls, some 40 miles east of Boise. The falls are five miles away from the town of Prairie, Idaho...a mountain town so small it doesn't even rate a page on wikipedia...a perfectly reasonable stand-in for Trent's hamlet of Veirona (described as a "glorified logging camp"). I doubt Prairie is much more cosmopolitan as the info I found for it on the interwebs suggests it doesn't have a single storefront in the place.

Big Fiddler Creek Falls: my version of Melonath.


  1. Just saw this. Thanks for the kind words (every positive review this gets makes the trashing it received from Tenfootpole sting a bit less). Don't know how well it fits with your campaign map but of you flip the N/S orientation Multomah Falls on the Columbia River Gorge should be a VERY close fit to the geography of this particular location...

    1. Ha! I can see that. Would that make Dodson the model for Veirona?

      My fantasy Oregon is a very warm, jungle-y area (the entire campaign is a couple degrees warmer than the real world) "Forbidden City" is located within its dense forests. Xvarts? They fit pretty good.

      FWIW I don't think Bryce "trashed" the adventure; he called it a "good adventure plagued by usability issues." Personally, I think it's pretty clear and clean and...while dense...does not suffer from the extraneous padding seen in other "wall of text" modules written for 1E (both past and present). Regardless, I wouldn't let it get you down...your target audience (i.e. aficionados of AD&D) appreciate it just fine.
      ; )