Sit back young one and let the Iron DM tell you a story about the good old days of Dungeons and Dragons. Back in the earlier frontier, lets call it ODD, there was a town and there was a dungeon and that was it. A team went into a town explored the dungeon for forever, looted it and then they moved on to the next town and adjacent dungeon. You could do pretty much anything in the system. Some say that the system was being written as you played it. Modules were created for up to 20 players and without a solid CR, difficulty was left up to the whims of the DM.
One of these such modules was Judges Guild’s “Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor”. This was a great adventure back in the day, but the new adaptation, published by Goodman Games, horribly fits into the current 3.5 edition world.
The new edition is supposed to be updated to 3.5, but so much of the old school “kill monsters until you die and puke and kill some more” seeps in to ruin the fun.
No one does dungeon crawls better than Goodman Games, and it comes as a disappointment that more effort was not put into Badabaskor. The game starts off with an introduction by the original author of the module, which was first published in the mid 70s and then an old school rumor chart, something I miss in 3.5 adventures. There are also some really helpful appendixes before and after the adventure with monster stats and helpful old school maps. However, it feels as if the reader is left out to dry at this point.
The plot is as convoluted as they come. There are apparently 5 or 6 different factions trying to get this treasure, and they are fighting with you and fighting with each other throughout. This reads like a mess for a DM to run and would require additional spreadsheets to keep track of everything. Some factions seem to be there for no reason other than it sounded cool back in the day. Why an Amazonian tribe is assaulting a fortress in the middle of the desert at the same time as all the other events are going on feels like someone felt like making adventure jambalaya.
Then there are the almost 100 encounters throughout the 66 pages of this PDF. All but 5 of them are traps. The average adventuring group may encounter 5 to 6 encounters a session. That means it would take you 8 months to complete this one dungeon if you play every week and the pcs speed through. Some of the encounters are colorful, but a good many are fairly mundane. The old school mentality of spending the entire campaign in one dungeon for a year or two just does not bode well in the 3.5 adventuring styles.
For the DMs
The myth and history behind the dungeon is pretty good, aside from the predictable faction setup. I like the organization of the rumor chart.
The Iron Word
This product is made for the 1st edition player whom wants to play 1st edition with 3rd edition rules. To that I say, 1st edition is better with 1st edition rules so pick this module up in the original version, also available in PDF, and have a much better time. This one feels like someone ramming boiled oysters down your throat at mcdonalds.