Saturday, November 26, 2016

Commentary On Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King Kickstarter For Your Old School Campaigns

I almost had this kickstarter from Mark Taormino & the Maximum Mayhem Dungeons crew slip under my radar. Luckily I happened to catch Mark yesterday on Facebook PM.  I've been on a sort of mythological sword and sorcery bender lately. Fortunately lately Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King is the perfect adventure module to scratch this itch.

So why I'm I all excited about this module? Because Mark Taormin & Alan Chamberlain have delivered very successful Kickstarters before but this one is  written and ready to go to the Testing, InDesign, Artwork and Layout Phase once this project is funded! The plot sounds one part Lord of the Rings & two parts action movie with the  Maximum Mayhem Dungeons label spin on it. 

These are desperate times when the Dwarven king  summons brave fools erm souls to the Smokey Mountains on a quest most vital! "The Dwarven King of Brundurum has summoned you to his throne room within the Smokey Mountain. Brave souls are needed for a noble quest into the depths of the earth to retrieve the legendary hammer known as Fireheart. But beware - the Goblin King and his evil hordes believe the hammer woke a Lava Titan and they will seek to possess it at all costs. Who is telling the truth? Who is really kin to this ultimate weapon? What secret powers are at play in this tale of suspicion, intrigue and betrayal? Only your stalwart group of adventurers will find out and walk away with more fortune and glory than ever... if you can escape the Vault of the Dwarven King!"

The legendary hammer known as Fireheart is exactly the type of weapon that can get adventurers into loads of  trouble especially with the the Goblin King and his evil hordes. I know how these two writers/designers think, there's going to be lots of danger for the party. Vault of the Dwarven King is character levels 4-7 and can be played with the OSRIC system or easily adapted to AD&D, D&D 1e to 5e, Pathfinder, D20 System, Labyrinth Lord, BFRPG, Swords & Wizardry, Warrior & Wizards, etc. which means its going to be a challenge for the players no matter how you slice it. These modules of  Maximum Mayhem Dungeons don't hesitate to TPK even with a veneer of humor and gonzo adventure coated on the top of it.

Often times these modules have Easter Eggs & homages to classic Eighties films, popculture, & more even as they try to kill off your PC's in an awesome or fun fashion. In this case we're seeing a homage to the mine car scenes from Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom.

Everything here screams Eighties action movie hijinks even as the adventures speeds along at break neck pace;"There is a whole mine car system around the blue map dungeon! It will be a real funny roller-coaster type thing the Players can ride! The above artwork is in progress from Bradley McDevitt. The artwork below is a rough, in-progress drawing from Mark Lyons of the Mine Cart boarding area. Oh it looks like the previous riders decided to make their visit a permanent one. The Goblin attendant is wearing a little hat and a vest with a name tag that reads "Sprinkles." He speaks to the Party in Common. "Everyone all aboard, remain seated please and keep your hands and arms inside the mine car at all times..."

Knowing the way that the authors think this module is going to be a mini campaign unto itself. Many of the features of the adventure bare this out.
Four classic blue map dungeons on the inside cover
- Over 30 numbered encounters, DM Background, Players Background, Character Backgrounds, Wandering Monster tables, Rumors table etc.
- Removable covers (softcover books)
- 32 Pages (estimated)
- Two new monsters (Lava Titan and TDB possibly more)
- Boxed and unboxed text
- Saddle-stiched book (softcover books)

This classic format bares out the idea from ye olden days that pre made PC's are going to be included making the idea of being able to convert from one edition or format a real snap.

Here is a sample of the Villains PDF with some encounter information. It may give you some ideas of how to convert:

There is also the fact that other  Maximum Mayhem Dungeons titles have been added as part of the reward levels but it also means that an enterprising dungeon master could combined into a mega campaign. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to create  a massively weird Maximum Mayhem Dungeons campaign setting worthy of your OSR attention. I've run these titles in the past and they're gonzo fun but brutal as any old school module of the past.

Do I think that Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King  is worth your attention and money? Yes I actually do because this is going to be a good solid romp through Vault of the Dwarven King!
You can support this
Kickstarer right over here!

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