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Ruins of the Dragon Lord Box Set (d20)

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

Our Price: $44.95

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A dark mountain looms against the darker sky. It seems made of wisps of shadow and faint traces of evil fancy, like it does not quite exist. Rather like a nightmare.

The terrain around the mountain is no better, all grown with rocky peaks and crags like a skin disease. It is completely devoid of colour too, as if on purpose; a sickly rash for a sickly landscape.

It rains, of course. The rain, however, is not like water; instead it looks like cold white drips of ash. White ash falling on black soil; all of it is black and white.

Ghostly forms cling to the rocks and crevices, their appearance almost human, their vaporous mouths congealed in what appear to be screams but may also be dreadful celebration.

This, then, is Mount Moru. It has a world around it, made of legend and dread; it has a maze inside, inhabited by dragons and monsters.

At the base of the mountain, you can see a tiny standing stone, roughly the size of a man. It has some undecipherable carvings, though there is always the nagging doubt they actually mean something. Like a warning.

A road goes up the mountain. You really should not follow that road.

You really should not admit this mountain exists.
But there it is.

This is the road to Mount Moru.

It lies in the middle of the Morudhain lands, past Meadowvale and the Last Shrine. Just getting here is a bit of an adventure on itself, though what comes next is far more dangerous and shall only become deadlier as the road goes nearer and deeper inside the mountain: Ahead lies an underground complex the likes of which are rarely seen; one of the greatest, largest and deepest subterranean realms in existence. There is a whole world inside Mount Moru; a world inhabited mostly by monsters, traps and labyrinthine tunnels; a world ripe for adventure but also for peril and death. It may take months or even years for an adventuring party to explore it fully.

For those willing to attempt the task, this is a direct, if meandering, road leading to and up the fearsome peak. The trip is relatively safe, up to the point at which this road ends at the Entrance Caves that lead inside Mount Moru.

Ruins of the Dragon Lord is a grand adventure setting in the classic tradition. Those longing for a feel of "roleplaying as it used to be" will be instantly familiar with the sweeping style of the plot and the exciting variety of challenges that await. Everything you could want is inside the box!

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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Not a bad collectable, and useful to boot.

****( )

This is a public service announcement regarding The Ruins of the Dragon Lord boxed set written by JC Alvarez by Mongoose Publishing. For the longest time I meant to write a more in-depth review of this, but it seemed to be so rare and difficult to find it never came up. I finally scored a copy from EBay for about $20 a couple of years back.

The bottom line: It’s not quite worth the cover price of $45.00. I’d say it’s worth a price about half that, and so the price here on Paizo is more than fair, a darn good bargain.

The basics: It’s written for 3.5 of the d20 system. It’s a ‘complete campaign’ taking characters from 1st to 20th level (saving space by providing plenty of encounters with standard monsters from the SRD which are not reprinted). It also assumes a very fast advancement rate, again how they managed to squeeze 20 character levels of adventure into this space. It contains 3 books: 1 64-page setting book and two 128-page adventure books. It has nine 8.5x11 full color double-sided pages of map locations. It has two double-sided oversized poster maps, one with the campaign area with the cover art on the other side, and another detailing two locations of the adventure with a 1-inch grid to be a battlemap for miniatures.

The best analogy I can try is to me it tries to capture the feel of the old Dragon Mountain boxed set by TSR for 2nd Edition. There’s a campaign valley, and a mountain (“Mount Moru”) that’s the focal point of the adventure. You can explore the surrounding lands and gather clues and info (and levels) before tackling the mega-dungeon at the mountain.

The maps are colorful but not my style. They’re more artistic in flavor than exacting, and they would not serve well, for example, to scan and enlarge to make battlemaps. Luckily most of them are of a fairly standard and uniform design, easily recreated with tiles or whatnot. The artwork throughout is serviceable but nothing special.

The adventure itself is flavorful but straightforward. There was an ancient civilization that worshiped demons and dragons. They vanished within the depths of the mountain with their ancient lore and treasure. Now you can go in and kill the things there and take their stuff! That hardly does it justice, of course. Plenty of the fun comes from exploring the setting and piecing together the lore and clues as to what happened. With that comes plenty of dungeon-crawling against some creatively designed foes. The ancient feeling of the lost civilization comes through always. Surprisingly there are plenty of good solid opportunities for roleplaying throughout.

As for the complete campaign taking characters from 1st to 20th level I think there are some assumptions involved regarding DM modification and expansion. The good news is its very modular. There are design notes on how the PCs can stumble into the adventure at pretty much any level. Each dungeon is also fairly independent, meaning you could run them all as separate adventurers if you wanted. Organization is overall quite good, obviously written to ease the job of the DM.

It's also a pretty good read, chock full of good ideas.


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