Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: The Well of Souls

“From the darkness of the well emanates the haunting moans of the deceased plunderers and defilers who risked everything to learn the secrets below. But you have something they did not: The Tablets of Fate. Through guile and treachery, force and luck, you have jointly acquired these ancient stone tablets, and only with their hieroglyphics dare you hope to circumvent the horrors that lie within the Well of Souls.

You and your guide, Farid, stand around a gaping hole in the floor of a mountain cave. A crude pulley and rope system hangs over the hole, and from it dangles a single wooden bucket. Will you brave the depths below in search of fame, fortune and liberation from your downtrodden lives?”

This is a level 0 adventure, but it can be enjoyed with a party of 1st level characters aided by hirelings. It was designed to play in about 4-hours or less, making it ideal for new players, convention play, or even a one-shot.

By purchasing the print option, you also get the PDF for free!

The document is 5.5″ x 8.5″, and the printed version uses premium parchment paper for interior pages, and 65 lb. card stock for the cover. The interior pages have a deckle edge.
All print copies are assembled by hand.

The Well of Souls clocks in at 14 pages of content, including a page of handouts and 3 full page maps. I don't have the hard copy yet, so I can't comment on the premium parchment paper or hand assembly. The maps themselves are nicely drawn and easy to read. There isn't any art, aside from the cover, and the 3 tablets handout.

The adventure itself is a solid DCC funnel, and interestingly, designed for fewer players/characters than I'm used to seeing. 12-16 PCs, for 3-5 players.

Like most DCC adventures, the real danger isn't so much the monsters, though they're plenty deadly, but rather the tricks and traps. There are certainly enough clues to get past most of them, but what's the fun in that? I like how the adventure adds some twists on a traditional monster, and the magic item is not only flavorful, but useful.

My main criticism of the adventure is that it lacks a basic overview of the adventure, and ends with a door... to an area not covered by the adventure, and with no hint that it's the end of the adventure. Just "this door leads to area 7 on the map" Turn the page, and no area 7. It just seems an odd choice, given how little it would take to add a line saying "this door leads to an area that will be covered in the next adventure, or to the location of the judge's choice."

Aside from that, I'd say it's worth the $2 for the PDF if you're in need of a DCC funnel. I'll let you know what I think about the $5 print copy (with free PDF) when I get it.

You can buy The Well of Souls by clicking here.

If you're interested in seeing the Well of Souls in action, I'll be running it for ANTIGENCON on Sunday afternoon via google hangout. 

Disclosure: I received my copy for review for free.


  1. I had trouble finding Area 7 too. It's on page 5, at the bottom of the map.

  2. It looks like the issue with area 7 is not that it is an undefined area, but simply that it isn't well-explained. If you look at page 5, area 7 is actually on the map. It's simply the end of the corridor behind the secret door in area 2. There's nothing special there.

    So why is it on the map? Simply to connect the three maps in a circle. The map on page 13 has an arrow with the note "To area 7". Area 7 is just there to show where the third map connects to the first. It isn't well-explained, IMO. Actually, it simply isn't explained.

    Note that this is a good thing; my initial reaction to this adventure is that it appeared to be strictly linear, which I consider to be pretty boring. Instead, it's actually structured into a little loop, which is perfect for such a small map.