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RPG Superstar 2015

Adventure, Dungeons & Danger: Horror at Dagger Rock (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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At the edge of the Daggerstone Hills is Dagger Rock; a pinnacle of granite that thrusts more than one thousand feet into sky. At its base sits Relford; one of the oldest and most popular mining settlements in the region. Since a recent earthquake, Relford is slowly dying: The mine has closed and the mighty Rel River has all but dried up. Terrified locals flee their homes, abandoning their meagre livelihood with no explanation. Those that remain keep their doors locked and are wary of strangers. There is talk that some people have simply disappeared…

It is said that between the dark and dead trees of the hills, inhuman tribes lurk, preying on the unwary. Who knows what horrors have crawled from out the shadow of Dagger Rock?

An adventure designed for 4-6 characters of levels 1-3.

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Very enjoyable gaming!

****( )

This is the first adventure we played back from 4th ed., and we had a blast!

Nicely packaged, with both GM and players maps, a nice array of handouts, well-documented appendixes that make life easy for the GM, the booklet in itself is of great quality. Since it is a .pdf format and production costs aren't implied, I would have liked a bit more color inside the booklet, but that's me!

The adventure has a lot to offer and should please to all styles of players and GM: part «sandbox», part dungeon crawl, the GM can choose to lead his players to certain parts of the adventure or leave them «in the wild» and let them run the pace of things.

Deep characters that aren't clearcut good or evil make it challenging for players to side with or go against some of the main protagonists, which I thought was good to keep them a bit off-balance.

Encounters are well planned, and easy to upscale or downscale if need be.

A word of caution: this might not be an adventure suited for beginning GMs: its loose ends and «sandbox» format might be rough to handle for inexperienced game masters.

Fred Daigle


Free old-school investigation/crawl sans art.

*****

This pdf is 74 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page OGL, 1 page credits that leaves 70 pages of chock-full with adventure.

The adventure features 6 adventure hooks and several maps for almost every location imaginable:
5 small maps of houses in the adventure, 1 player's map of the town Relford without any annoying letters. Very nice. Furthermore, we also get 2 pages of DM-maps.

The adventure per se, a dark tale about a cult with a nod towards Lovecraft county, highly detailed and can be described as a sandbox-style free-form investigation followed by a hardcore dungeon crawl that is very atmospheric and expects players to use both their brain and their common sense to defeat the obstacles they'll face.

The investigation works fine, due to the excruciating attention to detail that has been given to the NPCs - even wives and children have their own names, every entry features DCs to glean information in addition to the massive 1 page rumor table.

The adventure also features MASSIVE handouts for players: A 4 page journal, 2 One-page letters, 1 One-page missive and 1 One-page crude map. This should be standard.

We also get 2 new monsters, one of which is a template.

The quality of the prose is high and the atmosphere evoked makes the adventure a nice read.
The writing is very concise and offers the DM the tools to pace the investigation and modify the difficulty/pace. Make no mistake: This adventure cannot be run spontaneously and should be carefully read and prepared, it's too densely packed with information and fluff to be glanced over.

My only criticism is the lack of interior art, which would cost one star.

Conclusion:
As mentioned above, I'd normally detract one star due to the lack of interior art. However, the adventure is tightly and intelligently written and: It's for free! It's a large, high-quality adventure and it's for free. If you are somewhat into old-school gaming or like horror, check it out.


A Brave Little Adventure That Could (Still Use Art)

****( )

Sagawork Studios debuts their first Adventure, Dungeons, & Danger (AD&D) module, "Horror at Dagger Rock." The cover and interior style is a clear homage to the early adventure modules in the halcyon days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, and many a grizzled veteran remembers playing modules such as "Keep on the Borderlands" and "Palace of the Silver Princess." The basic model involves detailing a town and a nearby dungeon, and letting adventure naturally pop into being.

Stylistically, the module is laid out pretty much the same as an old 80's module, including very simple (some would say "clean and neat") dungeon and area maps. Sadly, there is no old-school module art, or any art at all aside from the simple maps. The module overall would have benefited significantly from a nostalgic angle if it had had cheesy 80's fantasy art, such as of the Bride of Dagon, or of some of the smarmier NPCs. A nice touch is an appendix listing pre-generated characters, including their own character sheets, thankfully laid out in one-per-page format, rather than the old stat blocks, which I cringe to think about.

From an adventure design standpoint, the module is essentially designed to focus on exploration of the town itself, and as this is extremely non-linear it can be hard to properly plot out what's going to happen next, so it can be difficult for a DM to run. Fortunately, the module lists out a series of less-than-random encounters which push forward the plot, involving kidnappings, assaults by the undead, and so on and so forth. However, the plot involves a hefty portion of the NPCs in town to be actively in league with the enemy, so it can be extremely difficult from the PCs' standpoint in terms of not having a clear "safe base" to cling to.

Given the heavy horror overtones in "Horror of Dagger Rock" and relatively high mortality rate (the designer admitted to having to nerf one of the monsters so it doesn't regularly TPK the party), this module is not for inexperienced players. However, I daresay that beginners wouldn't be interested in heavy nostalgia gaming!

Overall, it offers a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic gaming experience with a nice mix of intrigue, investigation, exploration, dungeon crawling, and good ol' fashioned violence. For nostalgic gaming, it certainly earns a 5/5. However, the lack of art in any of its 69 pages is a serious drawback, and thus scores a 4/5.



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