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Monday, 16 May 2016

Things Better Than Crypts

UKM1: Tomb of the Necromancers is a scenario for Crypts & Things, the Swords & Sorcery inspired variant of Mythmere Games’ Swords & Wizardry published by D101 Games. Designed for four to six characters of Sixth to Eighth Level, Tomb of the Necromancers takes place in the north of the Continent of Terrors default setting. There the ruins of the Unknown City sit at the edge of the Death Wind Steppe, surrounded by the foothills of the Wolf Head Mountains. Now all that stands in the ruins is the fishing village of Tetronis, protecting the secrets of the great and terrible, but now lost, god known as Orlusz—and his worship.

The player characters are hired to explore a hidden building below the ruins surrounding Tetronis. By the time they reach the village, someone has got there before the adventurers and put many of its inhabitants to the sword. Thus the party will need to deal with this problem if its erstwhile employer is to be found and its members are to progress into the dungeon. This has some nasty moments and fun encounters and these have the grim feeling of the Conan tales. Once they get past these—plus a well handled revelation—Tomb of the Necromancers becomes a whole lot less interesting. The dungeon of the scenario’s title is bland in comparison, barring an encounter or two. The whole of the dungeon feels like it should be baroque and ornate, but it is far from that. 

Unfortunately, in terms of physical presentation and production, Tomb of the Necromancers has a number of issues. Whilst the artwork is good, the scenario’s cartography is inconsistent—the map of the village is much, much better than that of the dungeon. In fact, the map of the dungeon is just simply bland. Worse, the scenario reads like a first draft and really, really needs a good edit. Barring a couple of issues, the poor editing will not get in the way of running the adventure, but without it, Tomb of the Necromancers is just not as professional as it should be.

Further, Tomb of the Necromancers is a scenario of two halves. The first half, getting to the village of Tetronis and dealing with the threats and dangers above ground is more interesting than the second half, that is, the dungeon below which never quite rises above being just another Dungeons & Dragons dungeon. This is primarily because above ground scenes make much more use of Crypts & Things’ Continent of Terrors setting. Despite these issues and the lack of a professional presentation, Tomb of the Necromancers is welcome as an adventure for higher level adventurers.

-oOo-

D101 Games will be at UK Games Expo.