Apr 172012
 

100168[1]By Thilo Graf

This adventure from Super Genius Gamesis 32 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 3 pages of advertisements, leaving 27 1/3 pages of content, so let’s check it out!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right!

Alak-Ammur was a legend among men – to say that he was a savant among arcanists would be an understatement. Alas, even the life of one as close to being a deity as a mortal can be has to end and when his time came, Alak-Ammur created a whole world of blasted deserts to serve as his tomb. It is here the portal to Allwhen lies with his mortal remains and it is here that your PCs will venture. The first formerly dungeon-a-day-adventure to be released by SGG to the general populace, this module offers us a unique backdrop on which lies a dungeon: Flanked by scorpion/lion-hybrid sphinxes, Alak-Ammur’s pyramid braves the red lightening and purple skies of his strange world.

This adventure is a straight-forward dungeon-exploration against the backdrop of a planar journey, which is uncommon at the point of me writing this. More importantly, this adventure pulls no punches and even the landing of the pyramid can be considered a trap, but a smart one that can be bypassed with a fitting secret blessing that can be obtained by wise PCs. In fact, the pyramid offers several puzzle-style challenges in which the PCs have to deduce the exact way in which complicated arcane devices work in order to unearth all the rooms of Alak-Ammur’s tomb. This advent of puzzles is something I whole-heartedly endorse, especially due to the fact that the solutions can usually be solved via conservative and more brute-force approaches if your players happen to get stumped.

The challenges of Alak-Ammur’s tomb per se are smart and feel organic. Even better, each encounter features some unique aspect that evokes a sense of wonder, be it a glabrezu that doesn’t want to fight or a wall of solid water. Monster-wise, the focus is on outsiders of varying kinds, but combat is not necessarily what makes this particular dungeon memorable – what does, is the dungeon per se, its unique puzzles and even furniture and other distinguishing features that truly make for a compelling backdrop. Glass floors over black flames, arcane pyramids overflowing with power etc. – the godlike power of Alak-Ammur is readily apparent in his strange tomb. “tomb” is btw. somewhat of a misnomer – the archmage has not truly perished and just stored his soul apart from his body – whether by accident or design, the PCs might very well awaken Alak-Ammur or even end him once and for all.

On the downside, the grand Alak-Ammur obviously hands out player-cheat sheets – as written, the adventure practically tells you to “put ring here”, “go there”, etc. – while the puzzles per se are interesting, they do tend to suffer from some hand-holding as written. And yes, that includes a triumvirate of specters who essentially work as a mini-map. Specters. With word of judgment-special abilities. That tell players to go >>here<< next. I guess even godlike wizards can’t get good help these days and even the living dead prattle along. Apart from this, in my opinion, completely unnecessary hand-holding, the module provides for a rather interesting dungeon with a unique flair. It should also be noted that the pdf comes with 2 DM-maps and two player’s maps. The latter even lack secret doors and keys and finally answer my asking for exactly these kinds of maps – excellent!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not stellar – I did notice some editing glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column full-color standard and features a beautiful piece of cover art, some stock art and full-color cartography. The pdf also features full bookmarks. All in all, I did enjoy the sojourn to the Tomb-World due to the unique locale, awesome maps (especially the player’s maps should be industry standard) and the far-out devices contained in his pyramid. The hand-holding though, is something my players would not enjoy and perhaps even be annoyed at. Combining this with the glitches and what otherwise would be a straight 5-star module clocks in at 4. I look forward to hopefully seeing more dungeon-a-day modules in the future!

Endzeitgeist out.

The Tomb-World of Alak-Ammur is available from:

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Paco G. Jaen

Born in Spain with a talent for dyslexia, I am gamer, player, graphic designer, photographer and psycotherapist. Also online magazine publisher and writer. Yep.. I do lead a busy life!