||The Sunken Ziggurat is yet another quality addition to the Dungeon Crawl Classics lineup. Author Richard Pocklington has created a solid D&D adventure with a fantasy-Babylonian flavor which sets it apart from almost every other D&D adventure out there.
The Sunken Ziggurat is an excellent "change of pace" adventure, and it doesn't require substantial changes to your player characters, their situation, or to your game world, in order to run. So long as you can accommodate the idea that an ancient Babylonian-style culture once existed in the history of your campaign world, you're good to go.
If you want to do the Indiana Jones thing, and have your player characters travel to distant lands to track down the mysterious Sunken Ziggurat that way, you can add all that in yourself.
As ever, Goodman Games understands the realities of the gaming table, and knows that many gaming groups need to get into the action as quickly as possible. So, whether the mysterious stone tablet takes your players to distant lands, or merely to a foreboding swamp in the player characters' home nation (implying that their medieval society is built above the buried remains of a lost ancient civilization), the adventure accomodates both story setups (and a few others), focusing instead on what happens after the player characters arrive at the fabled Sunken Ziggurat itself.
And what an adventure it is! The author obviously knows his Babylonian myth and history, but he has diligently turned history into fantasy, so that it all meshes perfectly with a baseline fantasy campaign's sensibilities. There are notes on how to handle the ancient fantasy-Babylonian language (called Unuul), even going so far as to suggest Unuul be treated as a forerunner of modern Common, so that modern-era player-characters might have a decent chance to read it.
Likewise, the author provides all the Babylonian-style names for the new creatures encountered herein, but only in parantheses. Each new creature has a more-familiar D&D style name for ease of gameplay.
Bardic Lore can be used to "remember" other key details about the lost civilization, if the requisite Knowledge skills are not with the players' party.
Simply put, this is a great dungeon crawl in the Goodman Games tradition. It's very fun, and -- as I intimated earlier -- it brings a kind of Indiana Jones feel to the proceedings, with the players immersed in ancient ruins, strange traps, and an exotic culture underlying it all.
Player-characters will find themselves dealing with a fascinating, yet unfamiliar, adventure site -- a place where they don't automatically recognize or understand the significance of everything they see.
And the creatures and monsters they battle won't all be familiar either. There are new challenges and new thrills to be had in combat as well.
Like the best of the Dungeon Crawl Classics line, the Sunken Ziggurat is a fun, action-packed sword and sorcery romp. At a time when other companies -- including WotC itself -- insist that "adventure modules don't sell" Goodman Games continues to prove this assertion wrong.
Adventures like The Sunken Ziggurat show that Goodman Games understands the reality of the gaming table better than the competition. They know what a gaming group needs, why they need it, and how they need it presented. Action and fun rule, in adventures where the player characters and their choices are the focus of events, and player character actions have a genuine impact.
If you have a group of D&D players with some 5th to 7th level characters looking for some action, buy The Sunken Ziggurat. It's well-made, engaging, and a welcome change-of-pace from the usual medieval-style adventuring.
The artwork and player handouts do an excellent job of communicating the "exotic" setting to medieval-minded players.
[5 of 5 Stars!]