DCC 29 Adventure Begins
Low level adventures are always important. IT is where the campaign starts and they get used more often then the higher level adventures. One complaint I have about most adventures is they are too long. There is needless filler in many adventures that do not support the plot and just make them drag out and slow the game down. It is one of the many reasons I really like this product. The Adventure Begins is twenty short low level adventures all in one nice hard bound book.
Goodman Games is best known for the Dungeon Crawl Classic series of modules and this is number twenty nine in the series. There are many well known writers from other books in the series that have adventures in this collection. The book is over two hundred and sixty pages long. The art is okay but the line is not well known for its art. Many of the adventures do have player handouts in them. That is the one downside to having the book hardbound as it is not good on the spine to open the book wide enough to copy these pages. Because of that I went ahead and also got the book in PDF.
This is a partial play test review. I have run about half of the adventures in here. All of them are great for first and second level characters. Each adventure also has simple suggestions for altering the adventures for parties of higher levels. Because of that one could easily start a campaign with some fun and short non connecting adventures. Below I am just going to cover some of the twenty adventures and talk them. Spoilers of the adventures are going to be in the descriptions.
The first adventure in the book is called Tower of the Black Pearl. It is also one of the adventures that Goodman Games released as a 1e module at Gen Con. Tower has a neat idea in it that it seems the writer is not sure what to do with. One of the first things the players encounter is a room filled with lit and unlit candles. There is a book that details the life of every adventurer. Each candle represents an adventure and the lit ones stand for the ones alive and the unlit ones are the ones that are dead. This is a pretty cool idea but it really doesnít go anywhere. There is a suggestions in the possible future adventures that when the tower floods all the candles are put out. Of course the players survive because for some reason being close or in the tower protects them but it starts a dark period in the campaign world with all the other adventurers dead. There is some other parts that do not make much sense like the Charon like boat man who just transports the group a short distance and attacks them later in the adventure if they do not pay him enough. It has some good ideas and makes a nice adventure for a random tower in a swamp. The Black Pearl is one of those classic old school items that grants a small bonus but attracts monsters to it.
Old Feodolís Basement is my favorite of the adventures. It is purely an urban adventure taking place in one manís basement. This was the start of my current campaign and the ramifications of it all are still being dealt with a few months later. The group is hired by two opposing siblings that do not like each other. They each want their fatherís will found so they can make sure they are the ones to inherit the fortune and if not they probably intend to alter the will. They cannot find the will because it is behind a section of secret doors. The party though should be able to locate them and deal with the problems behind them. If things go well there is no need to fight anything in the place. There are some animals that can be dealt with without killing and even an invisible fungus creature that can be dealt with the same way. There are clues to allow this though they are not always obvious. This was a fun adventure.
In the Plague Wightís Revenge the adventures follow a stream that is diseased. The adventure allows a low level group to fight monsters that would usually be a very huge challenge but because they are sick they are easier to defeat. There is a lot of disease in the adventure so it is very possible the group will be affected by that by the time they are done.
When Koboldís Fly is a fun adventure that deals with hang gliding kobolds. It offers some neat visuals and uses a simple device the hang glider that can be used to great effect. They are not the most well built items and there is risk in using them. The adventure is fairly simple and does a good job of incorporating the devices.
Chilled to the Bone is a good fantasy adventure. I say fantasy because it adds to the fantasy element having a planar creature that is extending the winter in a large area around it because it is quite angry at someone stealing its eggs. The eggs are of course very valuable and have magical properties concerning weather. The group can aid the creature or just make of with its eggs. The module does not assume one particular path the players will take and I like that.
The Isle of Fury is also an adventure with a neat idea that is pretty well done. An earthquake has uncovered five great stones and on the stones are runes that have a message from Odin. Another god can easily be inserted into the adventure. Being able to read the stones gives a small magical bonus for a day or the ability to freely multi class into a specific class. One of the stones though does curse whoever reads it. I like that the author tried to do something more with the stones then just be a message but I am not sure this was the answer. Though I admit I have nothing better to have the stones be able to do.
The Beast of Barren Hill is great. It shows that things do not have to be magical or include monsters. It takes a very real look at the fierceness of a bear and comes up with alternate rules that make a bear scarier and also more realistic. And the fact there is a druid helping the bear out does not hurt either.
The Mage Maze is another nifty tower adventure. This one has some neat visuals and encounters and a puzzle. The purpose of the puzzle is to allow the player characters to get themselves out of the tower for once they are in there is no easy way out. There are six rooms to the place and they all connect and if the players do not realize it they could be in for a long day.
There is also a small appendix of new creatures in the back of the book that are used in some of the adventures they have in here.
The Adventure Begins is a good collection of fun and easy to use low level adventures. I found myself wanting to use many of the adventures so I came up with different plot hooks and introduced them to the campaign. The players choose some and ignored others but it was great to give them options and let them choose were to go. Having twenty adventures to choose from really allows for a good number of options and a variety of different types of adventures.