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Dungeon Crawl Classics #31: The Transmuter's Last Touch
 
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #31: The Transmuter\'s Last Touch
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #31: The Transmuter's Last Touch
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/22/2006 00:00:00

DCC 31 The Transmuters Last Touch

As a module review there will be spoilers. So please do not read this if you expect to ever play the module. It is a fun module, and that?s all a player needs to know.

The Dungeon Crawl Classics are a series of modules by Goodman Games. They are a bit old school in that they are a bit simple in the plot and have creative encounters and are dungeon crawls. It has a been a very popular line of modules for me and my group. This review of Dungeon Crawl Classics 31: The Transmuter?s Last Touch is a module that I did not get as a review copy. I picked it up and was able to run it for my group so that is what this review will be based on in addition to a thorough read through. I choose this one because it is one of the shorter adventure and we were able to run it in one night. It is also a two dollar module or one dollar PDF. I have a copy in each format to comment on how the each are for this review.

The Tansmuter?s Last Touch is the thirty first in this long line of successful modules. It is written by Jeff LaSala. The module is sixteen pages long and a PDF that counts the four sides of the cover it is twenty pages. The map is nicely done and very easy to read and follow. It is just one level so the map is one a single page making it very convenient to just print that out for one that just has the PDF version. The PDF version has book marks but they could be more complete. I think book marking each of the fourteen encounter areas would have been useful. The art is very well done and there are three pictures that serve as player handouts. These are always nice and easy to print out just them. That is the main reason I got the PDF so I could print them out. They did take a bit of ink though. The adventure is designed for first and second level characters. It does have some simple to follow ways to scale up the adventure for parties of seven or more characters or higher then second level. Basically they suggest that all the kobolds should increase by a class level, they add a monster to an area, and give the final bad guy an additional power. I ran it for three players playing strong second level characters. I did not scale the adventure up at all and I ran it as is. The adventure is site based. There are a few simple ways they suggest to start the adventure. Once have the group investigate caravan attacks, or find the after effects of a battle with a caravan. The Group can be just in the area and get attacked by some kobolds or just happen upon it. I choose to integrate one of the characters backgrounds with the backstory of the adventure and had them seek the place out for that reason, So, there are many different angles a DM can take to get the party to start this adventure. The adventure is short but there is a lot of creativity in these few pages. The place the PCs are going to explore has had three different groups inhabit it over the many centuries. I really like this as one can have encounters and lore and knowledge checks to give the PCs pieces of information that involve the two older groups while they deal with the current inhabitants: the kobolds. The place was built by followers of Soleth, a god of peaceful death. There are statues and carvings to him in a few places. I was ready to give the group more info concerning him and his place in campaign but they were not as interested in that as others might be.

When those people left the place it was taken over by a Transmuter who used the solitude of the old temple to do his own experiments. It is this that really makes the module shine. Instead of having just a bunch of changed monsters and critters here, the writer chooses to do something different; something a bit more creative. There are certain spots in the floor of the place that if one steps they will be temporarily changed as a bit of transmutation magic takes effect on them. The changes are useful and can be a bit mysterious as the group tries to figure out what is happening. The changes though to ware off after five rounds so it is nothing that will permanently alter anyone. It is these places that can make the encounters fun as the kobolds are running to them to gain powers to kill the PCs. And they can also complicate the encounters as the squares are easy for a DM to forget to use at times or need to look up what they do and mark which kobold is affected by which one.

There are twelve of these squares throughout the place that do different things. They will alter the appearance of a person as well as give them some ability. A character with spell craft can possible figure out what is going on. One square causes the person to smell and issue a stench of poison around them. Another will quicken a character like they are hasted. The kobolds know where they are and what they do and they can plan their encounter with the PCs around that. It is a bit of fun having kobolds with a variety of weird powers and then seeing the PCs step on those squares and get the abilities for a time as well. Aside from the transmutation squares there are other obstacles the kobolds and the place have to make this a difficult place for players not ready to think some strategy. There is a bit of a complication to just figure out how to open the door and though it took a little while for group to talk and experiment their way through it they were able to figure out what to do. The first encounter has some kobolds playing dice and a big bronze gong. I liked this as it gave the players the problem of not just dealing with the kobolds but also stopping them from sounding the alarm. Another fun and challenging room has a wall of debris that the kobolds fight from on top of. It can be a bit of a challenge if the party is not ready for it. Our group made it a little tougher when three kobolds from another room were allowed to escape and bolster the defenses in this room. Another room has prisoners and a jail keeper kobold that is not too keen on what is going on in the dungeon. It is set up as a very well done role playing encounter though of course players can fight their way through if they choose. A separate place has an unstable bridge over an underground river. There are kobolds with crossbows on the other side and it is just another nice room that can catch the players at a disadvantage. The module was a lot of fun and offered some nice different encounters. There are plenty of ways the module can be expanded on and even additional levels or places accessible by the underground rive can easily be designed. This was well worth the cheap price for a night of creative, fun, and challenging gaming.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #31: The Transmuter's Last Touch
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/18/2006 00:00:00

Whereas 2 bucks can no longer buy you a gallon of gas (and in some places it won?t even buy you a half gallon), it will buy you Dungeon Crawl classics #31, The Transmuter?s Last Touch,a good, short dungeon exploration adventure from Goodman Games.

The Transmuter?s Last touch is an introductory adventure to wet the appetites of DMs and Players and give them a taste of what the Dungeon Crawl line offers. Whereas you can not beat the price, the adventure is not the usual puzzle-filled, overwhelming creature fests that you find in their larger more expensive products. The book is 20 pages with 3 handouts and a few pages of background, summary and explanatory setup in the front.

Though it has a weak set up (The PCs stumble and find this layer of sleeping Kobolds), the action does pick up throughout. A smart Kobold chieftain named Tazex is attempting to harness the power of an ancient god to wage war on the world. Sadly, he does not realize he is a Kobold and that a band of PCs are there to thwart his plans.

For the DM With Kobolds, you are bound to have creative traps and there are a few in this book. Make sure your party enjoys combined roll and role-playing out of traps. There are many of players whom assume that all they need is to roll when they get into a room and they will find, disarm, remake and market any trap they find.

The Iron Word

The Transmuter?s Last Touch is a good adventure that borders on the typical. The augmentation stones that has the potential to provide creatures and PCs with unique powers if stepped on are different, but the brevity of the adventure cuts down on what more these things could do. I would love to see a sequel to this adventure exploring the stones at later levels. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: - solid introductary adventure

  • the augmentation stones are unique
  • nice value for 2 bucks<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: - the premise seems to be more than what 20 pages can do <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #31: The Transmuter's Last Touch
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/18/2006 00:00:00

A number of gaming companies have tried to tap into an "old-school" feel, harkening back to the classic days of fantasy roleplaying games. Few companies are able to evoke this nostalgic design style as well as Goodman Games. Their adventures emphasize the best things about some of the early modules, while still maintaining the high standards of design and quality modern gamers have come to expect.

Like other adventures in this series, The Transmuter's Last Touch gets right to the meat of the adventure. Although the author gives a few suggestions on how to get the PCs involved, the vast majority of the module's 20 pages are devoted to the dungeon and its denizens. I really enjoy this kind of "less is more" philosophy. Giving too much background can sometimes make an adventure harder to use. A complicated and detailed backstory makes an adventure less generic, and therefore requires a lot more work on the part of the DM to insert it into his or her campaign world. Transmuter's Last Touch gets the balance just right. Essentially, kobolds have taken up residence in the lair of a long-dead wizard. The lair contains a legacy of sorts; a lingering residue of transmutation magic that alters its occupants in strange and unpredictable ways. The kobolds have learned to harness this "background magic", using it to give them an edge over their enemies. The PCs, after being drawn into this plot however the DM sees fit, must battle these magically mutated kobolds in their strange lair.

The adventure includes all of the things you'd expect of a good dungeon crawl. There are traps, hidden treasures, and an ill-tempered dire weasel. Alright, so dire weasels aren't as iconic as sharks with lasers, but at least they're ill-tempered. The designers give the kobolds in each area tactics, which should help to ensure that the little buggers offer the proper challenge to the party. The authors are also careful to note some of the logic behind where the various traps and other dungeon features came from, giving the DM some tools to improve his players' sense of verisimilitude. There is just enough detail to make things seem cohesive without bogging the adventure down with useless background information.

Finally, the areas of transmutation magic that can temporarily "mutate" the kobolds help to give this adventure a unique flavor. Not only must the PCs face a group of enemies who enjoy a home-turf advantage, but they must also contend with fire-breathing kobolds, quickened kobolds, and other magically-altered baddies. The fact that clever PCs can also tap into these transmutation "pockets" and gain their own enhancements makes things even more interesting.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The Transmuter's Last Touch is a nice little adventure that incorporates some of the best things about D&D's truly classic modules. It's not trying to be a stunning work of plot and intrigue, nor is it offering a unique and never-before-seen adventure concept. Instead, the Transmuter's Last Touch is simply a fun adventure full of the kinds of things that make D&D dungeon crawls enjoyable. It has background without getting bogged down in small details, interesting yet familiar monsters and encounters, and some nice old-school art.

While the authors are going for a classic feel, the adventure design is thoroughly modern. The enemy tactics are sound and the game mechanics are spot-on. This is a nice, professional adventure that I'd love to run for my group.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This sort of adventure isn't for everyone. If you're looking for an adventure filled with plot, or the kind of thing you can build a campaign around, other products will serve you better. If your group doesn't enjoy dungeon crawls, then they probably won't like Transmuter's Last Touch. The background details are here, and certain elements could definitely inspire a creative DM to build further adventures, but those kinds of things aren't the focus of this product. This is a dungeon crawl against a lair of kobolds...with a twist. If that's not your cup of tea, then you might want to look elsewhere for your adventure needs.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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