Monday, June 1, 2015

Review and Commentary On Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino For Your Old School Campaigns

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Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino just completed a successful run of a Kickstarter this morning. I've been following the progress of this module quite closely and could not wait to get my hands on this module. First things first, don't buy this module if you take your gaming too seriously. Because this is a module that is written for a DM and players who are looking for a good time in a science fantasy adventure with some very interesting damn dangerous challenges for their PC's. Make no mistake this adventure is clever and quite deadly and loaded with homages to 80's horror movies, science fiction films, and lots of ass kicking fun. I received my review copy along with the backers and so this copy of the adventure is in the raw, there's mistakes, errors,etc. which will be edited out within the final PDF that hits Drivethrurpg. The pdf clocks in at forty pages of packed adventure with a separate four page map booklet with maps and cartography by Alyssa Faden. 

There is a lot going in fory pages of module, the encounters here are tight and downright demented. Seriously the author has an open ended and yet event laden approach that takes a party through the adventure logically but open ended. But what's really happening? 

Chocolate Thunder and Otto the Viking are taking down the "Sucka!"

If you missed this Kickstarter you can still find out more info on how to order this product and others from our website at
The set up for this adventure goes something like this : 
Locals have been hearing whispers of strange happenings around the Ancient Volcano. Rumors over the last few months of an unspeakable evil that has risen up inside. An evil that “fell from the stars.” They say there is something wicked and devilish going on inside. Highwaymen report of strange creatures, mechanical monsters, and "Little Green Men" that are roaming the land causing chaos and mayhem! 

The locals are at their wits end. They put out a call for the bravest, the strongest, the smartest group of adventurers they could find... and unfortunately for them, your group has "answered the call." You and your stalwart band of adventurers know exactly what to do...  plunder the mountain for the treasure within! And maybe figure out what those pesky locals are bitching about!

Robo-Vikings? Um... yes. They are not happy!

Half of the adventure takes place in the Volcano Dungeon Lair and the other half on a huge, Futuristic Spaceship which the Star Spawn has had "parked" above the planet unknown to anyone for the last 1000 years!
And I'm happy to report that it does exactly what it says on the cover and then some. There are plenty of weird and dangerous monsters, alien life forms, and a ton of stuff happening. You got ray gun blasting action, a mix of elements of fantasy, science fiction, dashes of Lovecraft, rude bits of fun and high weirdness. And its all laid out in such a way that this adventure will fit right into your favorite retroclone system. In fact the Secret Machines is designed to work with your favorite retroclone system. According to the Kickstarter: 
This module can be played with the OSRIC(tm) system or easily adapted to Pathfinder, D20 System, Labyrinth Lord, BFRPG, Swords & Wizardry, Warrior & Wizards, etc or any fantasy role playing system you may want to use it with under the Open Gaming License v1.0a!
Because this adventure is designed in such an almost system neutral fashion, I personally think that with a little bit of conversion this module would make an excellent cross over point with the White Star rpg system and Swords and Wizardry. 
Spoiler Alert! Yes you will find this craft and be able to fly it!

But I can also see this module working very easily with Dungeon Crawl Classics or for that matter with some adjustment Lamentations of the Flame Princess or the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. But due to the science fantasy elements of The Secret Machines of The Star Spawn this may be more of making adjustments for the relics and technologies found in the module. There are some nifty treasures and relics in the encounters that really bring the science fiction elements to life.
But is it good? I do believe with the right group that this is a perfect balance between Barrier Peaks style weirdness and a solid adventure grounded in pulp with lots of weirdness happening with its pages.
There are some very mature elements in this module so it might not be for the kiddies. Seriously there is some really deranged stuff happening in this one.

Aliens doing their "Autopsy" experiments on a live sample... Alien #1: "Hmm what is this thing for?" Alien #2: "Just rip it out and we'll see what breaks!" Alien #1: "Heh-heh-heh... cool!" Artwork by Chuck Bowman

 There are six new pre-generated characters but given the nature and tightness of some of the encounters in this adventure after looking em over, I'd use these guys as hirelings for the party or as NPC adventurers who have preceeded the current party of adventurers. 
So bottomline do I think that this is a module worth your attention? Yes I believe so if your looking for a tight, well written, dangerous and completely deranged science fantasy adventure! There's lots here to recommend this one. And once the 
Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #2: Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino hits the stands its going to bring some amazing elements of weird science fantasy to your tables. 
And don't forget that  Maximum Mayhem Dungeons has another Kickstarter happening right now, go and check it out you won't be sorry. Right over Here


  1. I backed this module as well, and I'm looking forward to looking it over. I love me some gonzo science-fantasy adventuring. :)


  2. If this adventure module is even HALF as exciting as The Hanging Coffins Of The Vampire Queen, our players will be overjoyed!

  3. I personally think its slightly better then,The Hanging Coffins Of The Vampire Queen and the author thinks so as well. So I'm waiting with baited breath for the editors to get the final edits done on the Secret Machines pdf and go from there. Personally I think its a great fit for either an Advanced D&D first edition clone or as a bridge gap adventure for an advanced game of Swords and Wizardry for the White Star rpg system. Or for a similar retroclone system. I hope you have fun with it Timothy.

  4. Well Ed, the module actually has many of the elements of gonzo science-fantasy adventuring But be fore warned, bring a few extra character sheets, cus your going to need them, you'll be mopping the entrails up from the floor if the PC's are not careful.

  5. Lol thanks everyone I hope you enjoy it! Thanks again for the review Eric!

  6. Your really welcome Mark and it was a ton of fun to go over! Can't wait to release it on my players! I look forward to Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #3: Villains of the Undercity coming up! Cheers Mark!


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