Friday, 11 November 2016

Curse of the Kobold Eye

WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye is a level 1 adventure written by "Weird Dave" Olson and published by Cut to the Chase Games. It is a Dungeon Crawl Classics conversion of an adventure originally written for multiple systems, including 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. This is the second part of the "Wrath of the Kobolds" series.

Any conversion from one system to another can have problems, but this is even more pronounced when the conversions attempt to present exactly the same adventure using varied mechanics. This is less true where two systems contain roughly similar expectations for the game milieu, such as 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder, and more true where there are larger divides in expectations.

There is no byline for the DCC conversion in this case, but it is lazier than it should be. For instance, on page 7, a giant spiders' lair contains a long sword +1. Such an item shouldn't have appeared in Dungeon Crawl Classics, which has a system for unique magic items. It could easily have been listed as a finely made longsword doing +1d damage on the dice chain without affecting the mechanics much. Or the converter could have given it a full write-up, making it something unique and interesting. The problem with this second method is that the non-DCC versions of the adventure suffer by comparison.

The rivalry between gnomes and kobolds was established long ago in Dungeons & Dragons, and it makes sense to use gnomes in a series of adventures focused on kobolds. But gnomes are used so frequently in the series that they really require a Dungeon Crawl Classics gnome class. I personally suggest using the gnome class by Yves Larochelle in Crawl Fanzine #6 as an adjunct to these adventures.

The adventure itself is interesting enough. Placing the characters under a curse (hopefully through events in the previous installment of this adventure series) not only provides motivation, but is in keeping both with Appendix N fiction and the suggestions in the Dungeon Crawl Classics core rules. There are interesting things to do, and locations that should be interesting to the players. There are interesting NPCs for the judge to role play. Names like "Kra-Moth-Ka" and "Markar Laan" read like something out of a Lin Carter pastiche of Robert E. Howard or Edgar Rice Burroughs. That's a plus.

There are also areas and characters here that the players are likely to return to. This sort of campaign milieu building increases the value of any product, this one included. But be aware that you will likely want to go carefully through this product, adjusting treasures and adding touches to make it less "Dungeons & Dragons" and more "Dungeon Crawl Classics".

I find that I like the voice of the author here. I enjoy reading the "Weird Dave's Notebook" sidebars, because it is almost always worthwhile to get a glimpse inside the thought processes of other Game Masters.

An unusual curse from their last brush with danger befalls a party of adventurers! Haunted by the spectral image of a one-eyed kobold warrior, the heroes must race to unravel the mystery of the curse while avoiding death at the hands of their ghostly visitor. Can they stop the effects of the curse in time before it consumes them entirely? A harrowing journey awaits them!

Get It Here.

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