Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: Colossus, Arise!

What is it? DCC Adventure #76 for 8th level characters (double that for standard D&D) by Harley Stroh

Me, reading on the 2 train on the way home Monday night

Spoilers below!

So I haven't run very many high level adventures in general, and none for DCC, but holy hell, this adventure will kill you PCs if they don't play it smart. Basic set up is that a group of people from the 2nd age wants to kill off humans (3rd age) to usher in the 4th age, and they're using some pretty nasty magics to make it happen.

This is potentially a world altering adventure. Maybe even a world ending adventure if the PCs really elf it up. It would also work best if the Judge (DM) had this stewing in the background for a while, rather than just pulling it out to run on game night. The inclusion of a section on how to bring the PCs in given that they're pretty high level and probably have other things on their mind than traveling to a remote desert to kill some cultists. I mean, sure, end of the world sort of stuff, but PCs have probably already handled that once or twice already, right? By itself the section probably isn't enough to just plug into a long running game, but certainly is enough to get you thinking about how to do it.

The adventure is divided up into 3 main sections: the ruined desert city, the temple complex, and the big deadly fight at the end back in the city. While traveling to the city isn't necessarily part of the adventure, there is a 2 page spread of potential encounters along the way that can help set the stage for the adventure.

The ruined city itself is occupied by an army of small quasi-titans, and though the PCs are mighty in arms and magic, they'll need to not just try to plow through it with brute force. In keeping with the more old-school theater of the mind style gaming, there's no big keyed map of the city. The environs are abstracted and events, rather than locations are the rule. Given that the PCs shouldn't be scrounging for every lost copper piece, this makes a lot of sense, and I think would play out really well.

Once into the temple and its dungeon is then things get really interesting. There are a number of challenges where there are options to make things easier early on, but can have some consequences later. There is also a spot where PCs can literally walk themselves through death's door. What fights they get in, and who they choose to engage can also make some fights easier or harder, and open up some possibilities to get more info about what's to come. The fight with the Prophetess and her shield maidens specifically can go all sorts of different ways.

Given the nature of the events of this adventure, there's a neat additional mechanic to bring back the spirits of former PCs/Henchman to help out with warnings of imminent danger!

And then there's the final battle with the titular monster. No matter how mighty the PCs might be, a 300hp titan isn't just something you hack at. Thankfully the adventure provides some potential means of dealing with it. As befitting such an adventure, they all come with a (potentially) mighty cost.

Of course, the risks and rewards of saving the world or ushering in the end of the age of man aren't anything to sneer at either, should the PCs survive.

All in all an excellent offing that can absolutely destroy your campaign world. Use with caution!

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