Cyclopean Deeps, Volume 1 (PFRPG) PDF

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Deep beneath the ground, in those regions where the echoes of mankind’s feet are seldom heard, where even firelight is a bizarre intruder from a long-forgotten place, the foes of mankind breed and multiply. It is a realm of dark chaos—for these creatures of the echoing deeps count each other as rivals and enemies. It is a place without peace, a place without virtues, a place where every countenance of evil is to be found in sluggish torpor, stirring restlessly in dreams of cruelty and hatred. These dark and deadly provinces are known as the Under Realms.

Most named regions in the Under Realms are quite distinct from each other, whether by geological formation or by the types of inhabitants that have established themselves in strategically important areas. Characters who enter this area expecting to find drowic elves, deep gnomes, and other “normal” features of the Under Realms will swiftly discover the error of their thinking. The Vaults of the Sunless Sea, located to the north of the Cyclopean Deeps, might fit that description, but the Cyclopean Deeps are a different and decidedly more unpleasant area into which the denizens of the Vaults seldom venture.

This series of adventures forms a mini-campaign in the depths of the earth, suitable for a party of 4+ characters with an average level of 10-12, or 8+ characters with an average level around 7.

Down to Ques Querax The first adventure in the Cyclopean Deeps mini-campaign, "Down to Ques Querax" introduces the perils of the Under Realms with encounter tables, region map, and many new monsters. Designed as the "link" to Rappan Athuk, this module may also be used to connect any deep dungeon to the Under Realm.

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Disclaimer: I purchased a physical copy of this book from Frog God Games' website (and got the PDF with it).

All right, let's get into this, shall we? As the name explains, this is the first volume (in a two-part set) of the Cyclopean Deeps, a realm deep beneath the ground. Now, to be clear, this is not an adventure path. You can easily build one of those (or just let it build itself by seeing where the players end up going - improv skill is a must), but this is by no means a linear series of adventures that the players must complete in a specific order. Instead, it's more of a hex exploration book, with an emphasis on allowing the players to roam around, get to know the locals, and take up the missions that interest them... all while trying to not die.

One thing I noticed (and was very pleased about) was the way the Under Realms started to get creepier and creepier as the chapters went on - it was absolutely delightful, and I'm looking forward to seeing how my players react to this place. Now, due to the nature of this book, it would be an extremely simple matter to pluck out individual areas and toss them into your own game world. That happens a lot with Frog God Games' stuff, so if you're just looking for a few unusual underground areas for your players to encounter, this works.

Unsurprisingly, most of the creatures in the Deeps are evil - but not all of them are actively hostile at every moment. More relevantly, few of them are from the core races, and they don't always act in a way that other species can understand. This really helps to increase the feeling of being in a strange, almost alien realm, and the PCs will have to be quick with their wits if they want to survive. (I mean, come on. This is Frog God Games we're talking about, so it's entirely possible they could stumble upon something waaaaaaaay out of their league. XD)

The formatting of the book is mostly top-notch, although I did notice a couple of repeated errors, most notably telling people to look to Chapter 4 for information on certain entities when that data is actually at the end of Appendix II. Given that this happened several times, I'm assuming that the book was originally formatted differently, and that's a holdover. Still, the actual content of the book is some of the best deep-realms exploring I've ever seen, and comes heartily recommended for anyone who wants to set a game there. (I'm looking at you, disappointed Throne of Night players.) The few errors aren't enough to cause a point drop, so this is a solid 5/5 from me.

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