Topic: A Lamentable Year (Brief Gameplay Reports/Reviews)

When you play a ton of adventure modules, it’s only polite to write a couple reviews, right?

Full disclosure: I haven’t yet played Lamentations proper. I’ve ported the adventures to other game systems, or my GM has, so my experiences are based more on the ideas in each module than on specific game mechanics. Anyhoo, in the past year, I’ve run:

Scenic Dunnsmouth [D&D 5th Ed]. Gotta say I really loved this concept. I ran Dunnsmouth with one major conversion: I eratta’d the Time Cube, getting rid of the parabolic time distortion, and made it so that touching the Cube transported you to a random version Dunnsmouth. I rolled up 5 versions; a roll of 6 on a d6 put them in prehistory surrounded by a pack of hungry velociraptors. My players went there looking for a lost tax collector who was in village #2, and by the time they’d left, they’d basically re-created an episode of Animaniacs, finding the priest in every Dunnsmouth they visited and asking him questions about the Time Cube until he suffered an existential crisis. They left town with two “good” versions of Magda and one sorrowful priest after a climactic battle with the Time Spider and the spider cult.

10/10, would totally run again. Dunnsmouth lasted three full play sessions and basically became the first arc of the campaign, totally by accident.  I should also add that my players were six Gnomes and we all got fairly intoxicated, all of which was a fun plus in my book.

The God that Crawls [BlackHack]. Our heroes found a treasure map and went out to a remote village to search for loot. They quickly found and broke into the secret gate, avoiding all drama with the townsfolk, and managed to escape with a ton of loot despite never exploring the archives. A tense moment in the gods’ lair nearly earned them a party wipe, but they got lucky and escaped with some clever illusion spells. As a DM, I really liked this adventure, though I wasn’t so fond of the map. It’s beautifully done, but a little unintuitive for finding things quickly during the adventure.

9/10, would totally be a 10 with a revised map. The treasures alone are wonderful and I’ve since used variations of them in several of my home games. Even if you never run it, I think it’s worth picking up to read – the sad fate of Aquinas is compelling horror and it got stuck in my head.

I’ve also played [oD&D] in adaptations of:
Tower of the Stargazer
The Pale Lady
And we’re running Death Frost Doom on Halloween

My character for all these is a Magic-User, Sigilis, a depressed dandy who discovered a treasure map, quit his shitty job at the Wizards’ Guild (casting Read Magic on excretions from sentient slugs in the hopes of cataloguing their society - mind numbingly dull stuff), and decided to go adventuring with a sociopathic halfling and a possessed berserker.

Tower of the Stargazer: The Tower was great. Two henchmen died (rock spider, ghost chess), but in the end, we all got out rich. The highlight was the chess game with the ghost. Instead of playing an actual chess game, we rolled d20 and added our INT scores. If we lost, we became the ghost. Sigilis (INT 15) charmed his henchman Tulsey (INT 6) into playing against the ghost and, when he inevitably lost, Sigilis challenged Tulsey’s ghost and won handily.

Qelong: This was a great 2-session side-quest in our ongoing campaign. The Mines of the Elephant were difficult to reach and their guardian was not easy to overcome – we lost the berserker and eight of our twenty henchmen to the thing’s eye lasers before we figured out how to defeat it – and there is still so, so much unexplored Qelong left. I totally bought it to use after our current campaign wraps.

The Pale Lady: In theory, we were there to rescue ghost children and find the Word of Creation. In practice, Sigilis got seduced by the Pale Lady, aged 33 years in one night, and learned some sweet new spells. We went with the diplomatic options and no combat dice were ever rolled, but it was still a fun, tense session.

So yeah. Go buy /read this stuff.

Tangential note: Every LofP mod I’ve read so far has been thoughtfully designed to be easy to run. Coming from Pathfinder, I sincerely appreciate how much better LofP’s layout is than Paizo’s.  Leaps and bounds ahead.