Sunday, May 18, 2014

The People of the Pit, Initial Impressions.

Just look at that sweet retro art.
Next on deck is Dungeon Crawl Classics #68 "The People of the Pit" (Sailors on the Starless Sea was #67 for anyone interested). People of the Pit is the next module in line and designed for 8-10 1st level characters. I'm still getting use to the idea of players running multiple characters, but then again a hallmark of DCC is that player characters die in droves. People of the Pit seems like it's going to do a pretty good job of living up those expectations. Several nasty combats and one hell of a final encounter are going to separate the men from the boys. I'm curious to see how my players approach this module.

I'm excited to run the game for other reasons. Aside from seeing my players driven before me and hearing the lamentations of their women, the module promises to be another pulp masterpiece. It borderline reminds me of an old Sci-Fi film or a Twilight Zone episode mixed with Cthulhu mythos and steroids. The adventure hits all the B-Movie basics; faceless robed cultists, shrouding mists, an alien atmosphere, funky natural denizens, a virgin sacrifice, slaves (to replenish the inevitable character deaths) and more tentacles than a hentai movie. Seriously, the tentacle factor is through the roof here. There are helpful tentacles, harmful tentacles, atmospheric tentacles, mutated tentacles, big tentacles, small tentacles, tentacle beasts, tentacle statues, tentacle cultists, tentacle summons, tentacle transit systems..

The dungeon looks like it's going to be a lot of fun to explore. I feel the entire things is designed pretty well, but there are some bonus areas that add a nice touch of variety to the package. The cursed workshop of a wizard has some great atmospheric effects, interesting loot, and creative encounters. A bit further down the line is a tomb full of ancient chaos warriors that should likewise keep the players on their toes. There are a few other gems scattered throughout the the adventure that add some "ohhhh that's pretty cool" moments to the module, but I don't want to give too much away. I tend to get excited about corny things, but I think that these areas are a great touch.

The trend I'm noticing with Goodman Games products is that they take adventures outside the familiar realm of repetitive room to room combat and skill-checks and into the realm of outright bizarre and fantastic. They're not afraid to take creative liberties with stories, encounters, or settings. This module continues to play upon those strengths and promises to be memorable. People of the Pit doesn't look like it can be finished in one session, although the possibility does exist if players are tenacious enough. If taken from top to bottom this adventure will probably stretch anywhere from 2-3 sessions depending on play style and length. Players might gain 2nd level by the end of the adventure, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

After last session my players are going to want some downtime to explore town, resupply, scheme, and get into trouble. I'll hold off on this module and feed them a one-shot adventure unless they feel like diving right in. Either way I'm looking forward to running it, seeing how they hack it, and submitting the post-game review right next to the obituaries section.

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