Thursday, December 10, 2015

Some Notes On Running Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2 Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino For Use With Your Old School Campaigns

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2 Secret Machines of the Star Spawn By Mark Taormino is one of those modules that takes several gonzo themes and then twists them into some dangerously brilliant for old school play. This is the type of adventure that you can take a party of adventurers from the depths of the plot and into the depths of space. It's just become available on Drivethrurpg and its got some solid material going for it. I've run this adventure as a mini campaign numerous times now and folks really seem to love it.

The plot line goes something alike 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 townsfolk 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!"

So here are some notes that I've found when running this adventure, be sure to have a large party with several PC character sheets in reserve. Many of the encounters and treasures of limited use and may need to a adjusted for extended campaign play. The monsters and situations can quickly develop into their own mini encounters so leave yourself as the dungeon master enough time to do a 'continued next game' option.  There are more then a couple of things to remember when dealing with MMD#2, the game environment might seem pretty amusing and gonzo but there are several parts that can mess up a party very well. The presentation here is very old school and through it works on old school setting principles the focus here is a compete setting crawl through a pulpy science fantasy setting.

Another strength of the Secret Machines is the OSRIC gaming material's stat spread and encounter curve, the adventure puts the adventurers center stage for about 90% of the action and it means that while deaths will occur, the PC's here are the focus of all of the adventure events. This also makes the Secret Machines good value for the money because the internal system can easily be converted over to other retroclone gaming systems. This is especially useful for Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other pseudo historical settings. "This product uses the OSRIC™ System (Old-school System Reference and Index Compilation™). This module can be played with any fantasy role playing system you may want to use it with under the Open Gaming License v1.0a and can easily be adapted to most campaign settings as well." For that style of retro clone campaign I would suggest either the Russian interior or Romania around the early Fourteen to Fifteen Hundreds when UFO activity according to historical records was at an all time high.

Recently I've run Secret Machines of the Star Spawn with Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea & the adventure was a nice success. Several points can lead and dove tail into other Hyperborean adventure location hooks and threads including those featured in  Beneath the Comet and the  Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess. This is a part of the strength of MMD#2 in that it plays very nicely with other OSR style adventures.Personally I would set the adventure toward one of the out lying Hyperborean country side locations allowing the party to blunder into the adventure's set up situation.

Several things I've recently done with Secret Machines is to dump the party off on Carcosa and also as a way of introducing several new monsters into campaigns of White Star. The game adventure has and does make an excellent adventure bridge point to play around with a campaigns setting once the

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