Five Room Dungeon: The Rabbit Hole (PFRPG) PDF

4.50/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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How Deep Does It Go?

There is more to Coliseum Morpheuon than the Khan of Nightmares and the one hundred wishes of the Damnation Epoch. The Tarnished Souk brings souls from across the planes to its questionable market in search of riches and power. Groups vie for influence and advantage on and off the sands of the arena. Beneath the surface and hidden within the intrigues of shadowy factions, there are secrets.

Secrets with power. Secrets to die for. Secrets soaked in blood.

Can you bend the Dream to your desires and claim those secrets for your own? Are you willing to go down The Rabbit Hole? Are you willing to kill for what you will find? You're about to find out...

Five Room Dungeon: The Rabbit Hole is a 5 encounter dungeon for four characters, levels 15 or greater based on the original design theory of Johnn Four of Roleplayingtips.com, which delves into the dark and surreal inner realms of the Dream and Coliseum Morpheuon. It builds on the material presented in that adventure, but does not require it.

Authors: Ben McFarland, Clinton J. Boomer, and Matt Banach
Cover Art: Mark Hyzer
Cartography by Jonathan Roberts
Pages: 20

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4.50/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Highlights to EZG's Review

4/5

The following is a short list of highlights I would like to add to EndZeitGeist's review below. Please consider reading his review first.

  • This is a version 2.0 of the original products. Changes include, but are not limited to: layout issues, typos, a new section was added (Concluding the Adventure). Generally, the product looks much better and contains quite a few improvements. Therefore, if for some reason you were hesitant to give it a try, I would say this is something you really want to give a shot.

  • This is not an adventure, at least not in a conventional sense. The product is a list of five very challenging encounters, which require very creative thinking to get through them. By themselves, Challenge Ratings are beyond capability of your recommended party. However under Coliseum Morpheuon setting rules, everyone, including lowly fighters, can use powerful creation magic - all you need to do is to gamble with character's aspirations, dreams and hopes. The rules for Dream Burning are not included however (not in full, but sufficiently complete to extrapolate), so GMs are strongly recommended to either adapt the adventure a bit or brief the players (and train them in the use of) on how to escape seemingly impossible odds.

  • Statblocks are very elaborate, easily on the par with Faces... series. The product is heartily recommended to anyone who needs 18+ CRs in their game. That said, one really needs to read thoroughly to grasp creature's strong sides.

  • The adventure, thanks to encounters being separate, can be dissasembled and plugged into larger framework. It works best with Planescape, Coliseum Morpheuon or any Dream plane related setting. Personally, I would say that these encounters should be used as end-story devices. They are pretty hermetic, and most of them are going to cost lives.

  • My verdict: Initially I went with 2.5 stars for version 1.0.
    Version 2.0 easily nets 4 stars. The fifth star should be awarded only if the tea-party sits well with you in otherwise conventional if twisted fantasy genre.
    So, 4 stars (from me), 5 if you don't mind Mad Hatter paying a visit to your party.

    (I have all but respect for Lewis Carrol and Jabberwocks, I do feel that lifting stuff from his books, especially the encounters, is a tad overused)

    Regards,
    Ruemere


  • Mad Hatter. Alice allusions. Tentacles. Khan of Nightmares. YES!

    5/5

    This pdf is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving 24 pages of content, so let's check out this adventure!

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

    Still here? All right! This 5-room dungeon transcends the format of the premise by several factors but let me elaborate: This adventure is set in the Coliseum Morpheuon and it rocks for it - why? Because there is a place that surpasses even the Coliseum in weirdness and potential: The Rabbit Hole. Being on the realm of dreams, otherwordly beings and dread presences, aberrations and stranger things still dream as well, combining their alien minds with the sub-conscious dribble and madness seeping through the realm of dreams. In this place, people discard their dreams, throw them there to wither away - after all, dreams can destroy one as easily as a lack of them, especially on the plane of dreams!

    More intriguing, once, a sorceror discarded a dream there - a dream of madness that might have destroyed said man - who happens to be the Khan of Nightmares. Born out of his betrayal of his pit-fiend ally, the sinkhole remains a dangerous demi-planar cesspit of death and now Tarrec, a peddler of dreams, hires the PCs to brave the rabbit hole.

    The peddler wants the PCs to go to a tavern called "The Face" where the PCs have to put a mirror on a tentacled wall horizontal (e.g. by gravity-change), put liquid on it and enter the rabbit hole. The tavern is presented with enough information to make for a disturbing introduction to the adventure and I hope to see it expanded some time in the future (Jonathan Roberts - looking for a challenge?). Jonathan Roberts is a good cue - the stellar cartographer provides a stunning full-color map of the 5 stations (I refuse to call them rooms) of this adventure. Another awesome feature of this adventure is that PCs may actually dream-burn like hell, dream-burning and morphic subjective gravity are enhanced and here, anyone may use dream-creation. I LOVE these innovations, as the expand upon the stellar mechanics of dreamburning and make the possibilities available to the PCs wider.

    The adventure per se hasn't even started and it starts with a bang - the PCs fall through the floor - falling is not enough of a threat, though - The Kulkale , a CR 19 Tough Gargantuan Chaos Beastling Apocalypse Swarm is not to be trifles with and makes for a truly deadly, disturbing foe. Of course, no allusion to Alice in Wonderland would be complete without a tea-party. This one includes shard-laden crumpets and acidic tea - worst of all, the PCs should play along. Have I mentioned that the hatter here is an insane sadist whom the PCs have to appease to avoid the fate of the other tea-party guests? The third section is a moebius-loop-like labyrinth including a pack lycanthrope-nessian hellhound adamantine-clad creatures with 15 class levels. Ouch! After that, a Eldritch Shoggoth serves as the final combat encounter before the conclusion, which depends not only on the DM and his version of the coliseum, but has potential galore to be used in even more ways than provided.

    Conclusion:
    Editing and Formatting of V.2.0 are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column full-color standard used in Coliseum Morpheuon and the pdf features a nice mix of classic Alice-illustrations and CM-artwork. The full-color map by Jonathan Roberts is awesome and the pdf comes with bookmarks. This is an awesome adventure that redefines 5-room dungeons. The expanded dream-rules are great. The locations, each of them, oozes style and symbolism. The Alice-allusions are dark, creepy and sufficiently distinct from e.g. Crystal Frazier's stellar "The Harrowing" or the classic Dungeonland. I have but one problem with this adventure: It is only 5 rooms long. I would have loved a full-blown cthulhoid, nightmarish, high-level Alice-scenario - preferably around 128 to 200 pages. This distinct longing for more, the captivating pull the adventure exerted over me while reading it, the imagery - this 5-room dungeon belongs to the coolest little scenarios I've read in quite a while and thus deserves my highest verdict - 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - Ben McFarland, Clinton Boomer and Matt Banach have created a stellar scenario with trademark complex statblocks that alone are probably worth the asking-price. Check it out!

    Endzeitgeist out.



    Check out the Full-Sized Preview

    There is also some insight from Cartographer Jonathan Roberts Blog


    It's here! Woohoo! :D This was a lot of fun!

    -Ben.


    And reviewed here, on DTRPG, on Lou Agresta's RPGaggression and sent to GMS magazine.
    Awesome work. Can we have an expanded version? I so want more!

    Dark Archive

    Nice review End, this is on my short list of upcoming reviews as well.


    I waited for V.2.0, as the first version had some glitches. V.2.0 is awesome and I really hope that we'll one day get a far-out massive adventure like this. Oh, and thanks for the kind words, D_M!


    EZG,

    I've taken a liberty of adding a few highlights to your review, as I feel that people not familiar with Coliseum Morpheuon may need additional guidance.

    Regards,
    Ruemere


    Thank you very much for providing the additional information, ruemere. I quite honestly wasn't considering the fact that some people don't have CM. Oo

    Fun fact: I would have went 2.0 or 1.0 for V.1.0, but knew that V.2 was in the making and such low verdicts usually hurt to give - my vacations coincided with the release, so I figured I'd review V.2.0 - after all, RiP tends to improve their files when they find errors - a practice I try to encourage. :)

    I always enjoy reading your reviews and your additions honor me - thanks a lot. Now I'll get back to trying to catch up with all the pdfs I missed... :D

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

    Thank you guys for your feedback, input, and insight. Thoughtful reviews really do help me/us craft a better product, and to feel the glow of getting something right.

    I'm also delighted that one of the main critiques regards the deadliness of several of the encounters. That's good. We didn't want anything including the words "Apocalypse Swarm" to ever, EVER be taken lightly. Especially in an adventure in which the GM can - without hyperbole - say 'Welcome to your Nightmare'. Cue evil laugh.


    Yes, thanks for taking the time to review it! I know we really appreciate it.

    -Ben.


    EZG,

    You're a pro. Me, I'm just a fan of crazy stuff Rite folks produce. So, your words honor me even more.

    By the way, here is the stuff I'm on the watch from Rites Publishing now:
    Kaidan (Golden Spear adventure path), Heroes of Jade Oath, Evocative City Sites series, Faces series, In the Company of Monsters book and all Coliseum Morpheuon.

    Ezekiel & terraleon,

    guys, I liked what you did. I was to engrossed with Warhammer and Kult to jump on Planescape bandwagon, and your stuff, even this gygaxian tea-party, makes up for that with sheer craziness and openness of ideas. You have an access to end-game setting, with a lot of areas to cover. Do continue, please.

    Though, in the context of most parties not crossing magic line of 14th level, please consider adding 10+ level content for Khan domain.
    As most of Paizo adventure paths reach conclusion by 14th and 16th level, building playgrounds for such parties is likely to net you more fans.

    Regards,
    Ruemere

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