Genius Adventures: There’s Yer Problem!
This module clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
All right, still here?
The PCs come to Crescent Bay, a fully mapped (and statted) town with a deep harbor, separated into lower town and upper town by lifts, looking for work and find that in the employ of Jollahan Tierpesh Lugathel III – whether directly or as suggested, by missive in a tavern makes ultimately no difference.
Utterly loaded, Lugathel offers a vast amount of wealth for the PCs to venture below the mansion and diagnose/fix an issue with the vastly complex mechanisms there – and this essentially is the module – the PCs explore a small, mapped “dungeon” of machinery, deal with gremlins and planar threats (associated with the machine) and finally, annihilate a devil . Sounds like boring? It’s not! In spite of the module’s brevity, the two smart, cool puzzles – logical and fun both of them, really help making this one distinct, even beyond the arcano-technical techno-babble (awesome!) -and the iconic, Bond-esque epilogue and further adventure hooks provided additionally increase the value of this module.
That being said, the second of the puzzles feels a bit like a wasted opportunity – by amping up the complexity and having the borders refract the beam of light in different ways, that one could have been vastly enhanced for a more gripping final encounter.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ printer-friendly 2-column standard and the module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The module’s cartography is nice for the low price and the graphical renditions of the puzzles are solid.
Curtis Baum’s little module has more to offer than its small page-count would suggest – in fact, I really enjoyed reading this one. The uncommon environment and cool challenges make for a nice break from regular adventuring and proper puzzles are something I always enjoy. that being said, I do feel that the finale falls a bit flat of what it could easily have been, with the hook provided in the final foe’s dying words being rather trite. While the epilogue rocks, the lost chance of making the finale truly interesting by combining proper action with a good puzzle somewhat disappointed me – there is this nice set-up for a visual puzzle and then it’s more or less discarded. This is the only strike against this module, though. hence, my final verdict will clock in at a more than solid 4.5 stars, rounded down by a margin to 4 for the purpose of this platform, mostly due to that and the rather common adversaries faced in combat/missed chance of making the terrain more unique and effective in battle – all this iconic environment, so few modifications via steam, hostile terrain, etc. Still, for this price, more than a nice sidetrek!