I avoided Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics for a long time and with good reason. I just do not like their advertising slogan. Their slogan boasts about how everything is suppose to be killed and their adventures is like the good old days of gaming. My memory may be a bit fuzzy, but I remember the good old days of gaming as being 10 people crowded around a small coffee table drawing Xs and Os and asking if their +8 Vorpal Sword of Chain slaying critted. Not necessarily what I would call the good old days.
Fantastically, the slogan is the only bad part of their adventures. And for the most part, thankfully, their slogan is untrue. Each of their adventures is incredibly different from the last and exciting in their own right. Dungeon Crawl Classics: #32: The Golden Palace of Zahadran is no different. It is a very well crafted adventure flavored in a mideast east setting that is suitable if you are running anything from Persian themed to Egyptian themed. It also fits nicely if you are looking for a nice exotic locale that is much different from your traditional fantasy settings.
For the Dungeon Master
The layout of the Golden Palace is great. The first couple of pages are maps of the inner part of the dungeon, that is followed up by a list of all the encounters in the module, a chart to scale the adventure and some well placed background about the culture. There is nothing I enjoy more in a setting than when the authors go the extra effort of looking things up in a book. The Golden Palace appears to be researched as it draws from myths from the ancient Persian culture.
The adventure itself is quite exciting. It starts off with a bang as the first thing you fight is the big bad guy. That is a rocking way to start off a game. You then proceed to maneuver your way through puzzles and hordes of his minions to stop the onslaught from happening. Throughout, there are great little DM tips that make things helpful. After the adventure, there are some monster and item information and several useful handouts.
The Iron Word
If you are looking for an exotic campaign setting adventure, it is a good idea to purchase the Golden Palace. It is a good idea to purchase it if you are running an exotic campaign setting and have no need for such an adventure, because the adventure reads so well and the names and gods are so easy to edit out, you will find a way to use it in a campaign setting. The layout is very easy to get through and it makes DMing easy when you want to concentrate on bigger parts of the picture. The only thing I wish it had was a spec more detail in the maps.
LIKED: - layout is great , very easy to find things when you're using it electronically
- the adventure is different and fun. The puzzles are amazing as are the creatures and encounters you meet in the game
- this game is a good mix of new and old school adventure
DISLIKED: - wished the maps werea bit more detailed and helped me out a bit more. But this is a very minor nik pik. The legends for the maps will work fine for most people.