dark_towhead (dark_towhead) wrote,

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Another Book For the Pile of Completed Reads...

68) Sellswords of Punjar by Harley Stroh (2008, Goodman Games, 32 pages).
The first of Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics line of adventure modules for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. This module tries very hard to live up to the Fritz Leiber style origins of the roleplaying game, providing a series of locations for players to adventure through, in their efforts to solve the mystery of The Beggar King. Encounters are a little combat heavy (what else is new?), but atmospheric flavor text abounds. While there are few developed personalities for the characters to encounter (maybe three), the setting itself is pretty nice. Starting with an urban based setting, the action moves subterranean rather quickly. By the adventure's end, characters should move from first to third (or higher) level.

As it is, I will not use it. However, I will happily tear it apart to make a variety of smaller encounters to serve several more plot heavy sections. In fact, this is what I've done. Taking the small subunits of the urban stretches and building them into full stories on their own. Example: One section, called (I kid you not) "The Bazaar of the Bizarre" (did I mention Fritz Leiber's influence?) takes up one room in a slum building, and is directly connected to two other rooms. I've chosen to take these places out and plant them elsewhere in the city, and then to construct a story around them. That eerie fountain (which is presented as something of a throwaway encounter) gets moved and made central to a completely separate adventure.

As a book to rip apart for inspiration and tasty pieces, Sellswords is filled with nice moments. Were I a traditional "kick in the door, kill the orc and take his stuff" I might run this mostly as written. It certainly lends itself well to that mode of play. However, that is not my cup of tea.

Cool additional materials: a two sided, full color battle mat, and pages of "roof tiles" under which to hide the rooms the characters have not yet wandered through. Pretty cool stuff.

This may well be the last book I read this year... Who knows?
Tags: 2008 books read
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