|From Beneath the Glacier|
The Bat Plague may still be out there, but now so is this zine (and YOU can be the judge which one you like better). Not all restrictions are gone, but they are suitably relaxed to resume print sales and shipping. Delivery is bound to be slower than usual for a while – I am hearing that packages, which had taken five or six days to reach European addresses now take twelve days or so – but at least it seems to work without major problems. If you can trust the Post, you can perhaps trust the rest of our civilisation as well.
And so, we have this issue! The common theme this time seems to be “things that go deeper than anticipated” – at least this is one aspect which, by some act of Fortune, unites the four articles. There is something quite fascinating going into an adventure, and discovering that the dungeon you expected to end has a deep well going down to a new level; the plot threads you have almost had in your hand suddenly trail off again in new directions, or the room beyond the secret door has a second secret door, hidden even more carefully. What lies beyond the door, the well, or the almost solved plotline? Only one way to find out!
The titular adventure, From Beneath the Glacier, takes the characters to the high mountains where something has gone wrong. Where do the nighttime raids and strange corpses washed down the rivers come from? The answers are found in this scenario, with 21 keyed areas, offering challenges related to navigation, exploration, and confrontation – not to mention a major dilemma once the company is victorious. This is an adventure for mid-level characters, levels 5-7 (our test party was slightly stronger by the time they got there, and had an easier time).
Of course, sometimes an undead-haunted cellar is just an undead-haunted cellar – The Hecatomb of Morthevole is a take on the proverbial “help this guy with rats in his cellar” dungeon, except it is not rats, and the cellar goes deeper than you might think (levels 2-4, 12 keyed areas, which is not bad for a two-pager – I am thinking there will be more smallish scenarios in future issues).
This issue’s centrepiece, drawn from The City of Vultures, is the best known of its Underworld complexes. The Tomb of Ali Shulwar is fairly well known among the city’s thieves and smugglers, but few know of its deeper layers, and none before have mapped its connections, secret sections and true depths. This article presents two entrance levels and three main levels of the tomb (more precisely, what lies below the tomb… if the tomb is even the real tomb) in 66 keyed areas. The dungeons are mostly for the 4th to 6th level range, with outliers (and tougher side-areas, to be presented next issue).
The issue’s final article, The White Hand, introduces one of the City’s lesser conspiracies. A vigilante group formed to mete out “good old-fashioned street justice” to market thieves (and everyone the members believe to be one!) would usually merit little discussion beyond “Thugs (3d6)”… but something is off here. Links to now extinct organisations, infiltration attempts by other conspiracies, odd musical tastes and bizarre characters hanging around the White Hand make it a gateway into an entire world of hidden meanings and secret warfare. Who is using whom? Who watches the watchers watching the watchers? Most importantly, what happens when it all falls apart at the slightest shove? Whether used in the City of Vultures or somewhere else (which would be easier than it first looks), it will be fascinating to find out.
The issue’s map supplement this time is an unkeyed dungeon level. Or it is multiple smaller dungeon levels on one sheet? You be the judge!
The print version of the fanzine is available from my Bigcartel store; the PDF edition will be published through DriveThruRPG with a few months’ delay. As always, customers who buy the print edition will receive the PDF version free of charge.
In other news...
- Castle Xyntillan is being reprinted. While copies of the first printing are still available, there will be more soon. The PDF edition is also out there, although the promised, improved functionality will still take some time (my IRL job has been picking up pace again).
- If you look at the back cover of Echoes #07, you will discover a listing for EMDT62. This was too optimistic, but this module – the English version of the great In the Shadow of the City-God – should be published early next month… if things go well, along with a module collection.
- The Four Dooms of Thisium, our Bat Plague placeholder campaign, keeps racking it up. 44 PC and follower casualties have been noted, and while one Doom has been averted, three more still hang over the city, abandoned and cursed by its very gods!
|From Beneath the Glacier|