Crypt of Morgrath (DCC)
So, this adventure is intended for a group of 4-6 1st level PCs, but it could be easily run as a funnel for thrice the number of PCs. It represents a brief dungeoncrawl and features a solid isometric map, and is, tone-wise, a less bit out there than what you usually see from DCC-adventures, due to the module having originally been penned for DCC. The pdf provides a read-aloud introductory passage, but no read-aloud texts for the respective locales.
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
After a night of carousing and some violence involved, the PCs are basically press-ganged into service by the local lord, one Markus “Mooseblood” Hogarth:A black-jeweled circlet has been stolen from his vault, and he managed to catch one of thieves and…extract…a confession. The criminals were hired by the wizard “Squid-Eye” Varnago Nix to do so, and they were to deliver the circlet to a dilapidated and ostensibly, cursed crypt. The pdf does not provide a rumor-table for PCs doing their legwork, but it does feature a brief random encounter table for the complex.
A plus I did not expect to see: The complex actually isn’t linear: As the PCs act as basically headhunters, getting all of the criminals requires exploring two routes, but only one is truly required to finish the adventure. Above the eponymous crypt of Morgrath, the PCs will find a bandit beset by wolves – the man was part of the crew, and fill the PCs in on the inevitable betrayal the bandits suffered at the hands of the wizard. As a very minor complaint, checks within are usually noted as follows “DC: 13 Strength check”, which constitutes a minor deviation from DCC’s formatting conventions.
Cool: There is a kind of magical fingerprint scanner lock hidden as a bonus piece of loot that clever PCs can find in an altar room…provided they deal with the main antagonist. And yes, it can be forced open for slightly less rewards. But I’m getting ahead of myself: The crypt contains pretty fast skeletons (And undead archers whose arrows may spawn more of them!) and zombies can be found as well. The latter have felt a bit odd to me, as they RAW don’t represent slain bandits, though they do have them cornered in a barricaded room.
Easily my favorite piece of obscure loot would pertain a sarcophagus that can act as an elevator…and that could TPK ignominiously a group, for it is weight-based and may well snap back up, sealing the PCs to a horrid fate of bland starvation…but then, there’s an idol that’d allow for the learning of patron bond down there as a means of escape…
Beyond those, we have a giant wood louse and poisonous whacker weeds among the more creative critters, and drinking from random pools may not be a good idea…
The eponymous Morgrath, obviously the master behind the theft, is btw. a failed lich who instead became a draugwight – a potent foe, who, with his PERMANENTLY luck-draining touch will be A BBEG thieves will HATE. Oh, and ole’ Squid-Eye? Here as well. Morgrath may be unable to cast spells anymore, but he has accepted tutoring the wizard…in exchange for him slaying his allies.
And that’s it, folks!
Editing and formatting re good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard, and the module features a few solid artworks. The cartography is neat b/w, but the pdf features no player-friendly version of the map. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Joshua LH Burnett’s crypt is a generally pretty fun sidetrek, but not a perfect one. As a whole, I think that this is a valid purchase, but it is not necessarily a must-own. Due to its PWYW-nature, I will round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.
You can get this little dungeon here for PWYW!