Thursday, 16 October 2014

[Review] The Overrun Mines

The local mine has been overrun by foul creatures, stopping all mining operations! The Lord has dispatched a call for brave heroes to clear out the mine, but what lurks below the surface?

That's the premise written on cover of The Overrun Mines (that's a Drivethru link, it currently costs only 0,39€) by 3 Toadstool Publishing+Shane Ward.

Looks

Illustration is from https://openclipart.org and it does look like it's taken from a source where you can get pictures for your stuff. It is not necessarily a bad thing and the pics chosen for this adventure are ok. Only the cover picture is lame. But hey, look at the price tag of this adventure and don't judge!

Layout is normal, two columns, easy to read. Nothing fancy. Everything doesn't have to be fancy as long as it is easy to read and to check things up.

In my review copy there were some mistakes (I pointed these out early, don't have updated version if there is any). Really minor and easy to work around. AC and HD mistakes and dungeons section number 13 twice replacing number 12. Nothing too bad and definitely no game crippling.

The Dungeon

Map is hand-drawn, no special effects here. But it is clear. The dungeon is interesting in my opinion though a little railroading. By this I mean that soon after entering the dungeon you go left, right or straight. Basically all of these end in dead ends (except one what leads to part two of the dungeons). So exploring is an u-turn at some point.
I have two thoughts here:

  • It's okay because this place is a mine, not a labyrinth complex. So it makes perfect sense. Also this is a small dungeon you can throw in your campaign so characters are not going to spend damn long there (this is a problem I'll deal with later)
  • It's a little dull and either all places get explored, or player rushes through (my player!).
The sections (14 in first and 8 in second part) are good though. Nothing super special, but I enjoyed running and reading it. Not everything must be flashy and gory and what-the-funkery all the time and  more traditional approach (for me) is something I welcome. There are great things what I enjoyed a lot (wounded worm was awesome in play) and something what made me a little confused (undead goblins waiting for you). There are also some NPCs you could rescue, what was fun!

The second part is better, because behind an ordinary dungeons experience there's something else. You can do a lot with this part, if you want to. I did! It fit my campaign very well, actually inspiring it. I did not run the second part fully by-the-book but it was very good resource and idea to push my campaign to this new direction... That was great in this adventure, to inspire.

I am not sure how many force the adventures to work as written, and I am not sure if the review is not as good if you didn't run it b-t-b (heck, I don't even run or use everything I review!) but that's the fun of roleplaying. You take something someone else created, and make it your own. The product cannot be bad if it inspired you. It is bad if you don't even want to use it! In this, The Overrun Mines worked fine.

Extra

Okay, the dungeon is ran, what next? I like products what give something extra you can use. Small rules, new monsters, something. When you have used the adventure or the dungeon there's still some value left. And here is.

First, you get pregens (four human race-as-classes, they look like Labyrinth Lord and B/X stats) with equipment ready.

Then you get rumors. I love rumors! In my opinion the rumors tell a small story about the game world the writer wrote the adventure for. Even though it is generic the rumors are the people of the adventure, what make the background even if there is no setting background involved. These are good rumors and good adventure catches.

Also you get two optional rules. The first is Resurrection rules. Simple. When you get resurrected, roll D12 and see the table for results. You might loose 1 from stats, or level, or HP. Mundane, but nice addition (not always resurrection table results should be gore-gruesome-weird).
The second rules is Underground Day Rules. Basically the more you stay underground in the dungeons without daylight, the more symptoms you get. Like saving throws worsen but there are also good things that can happen. I have to say, there is not much logic why some day you might feel weak and next day you can memorize more spells or get bonus to combat. Maybe the dark claustrophobic surroundings can make you feel bad, or make you perform better. I don't know.

Conclusion

Nice, short adventure to run. Nothing earth shattering. It is cheap and easy to throw in your campaign and for me the second part of dungeon worked as campaign altering inspiration.

I don't know how I could have liked it more. If undead goblin enemies made more sense (why those are there, why miners didn't just throw the corpses away) and Underground Day Rules idea was better explained. But still this was good enough for me to enjoy it!

Cheap dungeons to throw in the middle of your campaign, go get it!