Dungeon Crawl Classics #37: The Slithering Overlord is a 52 page d20 pdf adventure for characters of levels 4-6. This product is one of the many products in Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics line of products, a series now consisting of well over forty different adventures. Each adventure in the series brings to the table a good and exciting dungeon crawl, complete with traps, monsters, and other deadly machination of the dungeon. This particular adventure features an underground exploration involving multiple factions of evil and the recovery of some holy relics and hostages.
The product comes as a single pdf file, and is very well and professionally presented. The product includes a full set of bookmarks, table of contents, adventure scaling details, encounter table, introduction, adventure background and summary, and details on where to place this adventure in the DCC campaign world introduced in DCC #35. That's about everything one would expect and more. The layout, editing and mechanics are all very good and professional, showing a high standard of pdf production. Artwork and maps are good, with clear maps, and some compelling art pieces that further improve on the quality of the overall presentation. Overall, a very well presented product along the lines of all the other DCCs in the series.
The adventure takes the PCs underground in search of the Order of The Invincible Sun's holy relics and some hostages captured underground. While underground the PCs discover that there is more going on than meets the eye, and eventually they will face the wile and cunning of the Slithering Overlord. The adventure provides refreshing information on the overall plot, as well as details on handling the various factions involved and the motivations of each of the factions of the adventure. There could perhaps have been done a little bit more here to improve the roleplaying possibilities, particularly in the adventure text itself rather than in a short prelude before the encounters are all detailed. Nevertheless, cunning players will find ways of dealing with all the threats that this adventure poses.
As one would expect, this is a dungeon crawl adventure, and as such combat galore to be had. In this particular adventure, the combat is particularly tough and gruesome, and in fact probably a bit of overkill to the point of tediousness. Almost every one of the forty-plus locations of the adventure contains some sort of combat encounter, meaning that the PCs will fight from one battle to the next. There's nothing time-wise stopping the PCs from resting, but the adventure could've done a little more to prevent endless combat of a multitude of different creatures. And while the backstory explains the presence of some of the creatures, it won't always be apparent to the PCs, meaning that some encounters might appear quite strange in the light of things underground. One good thing about this is that a number of new creatures are introduced, so PCs won't get tired of standard fare. Sonic bats, shimmering slugs, and neuronia will all keep the PCs alert.
I think in the old end the adventure lacks a little dynamics between the factions and between the factions and the PCs. It feels very static, with characters battling from one location to another, rather than dealing with very intelligent creatures each with their own agenda. One could explain this by the status-quo that exists between the factions, but the adventure would've been more fun is something dynamic was around. Still, it will make for a challenging and very deadly module for those characters taking a trip underground, and suit a mix of different characters due to some opportunity for wilderness travel. A good effort from Goodman Games.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Good, solid, and enjoyable dungeon crawl, with very good presentation and some interesting and different encounter ideas. A little exposition and dynamic development of the backstory will makes this an exciting adventure.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Lots of combat, probably too much. Lack of dynamic resolution of the various factions and the adventure could've done a bit more in this area.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>