Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: MCC #2: A Fallen Star for All (Mutant Crawl Classics)

Find it at the Goodman Games store!

Moving onward from our opening "funnel" (I use quotes there because it kinda was a funnel and kinda wasn't) I sent my players out to investigate the impact site of a fallen star that burned in the jungle miles from their home...

The Setup

A star fell from the sky and set the jungle alight. That was days ago, and scouts have reported back the the fire is dying down and the fallen star has revealed a lost city of the ancient ones. Your tribe has sent you and your seeker team to investigate and return with all the artifacts you can, but be wary, there are other tribes who desire those same artifacts and they may be willing to fight for them.

The Good

It took us four sessions to complete this adventure. We play weeknights and usually get about 2-2.5 hours of game in per session so this is easily enough material for 8-10 hours of gaming. Probably a little less if you don't have to recap prior sessions as heavily. For a $10 module I look at this as a very good return on investment.

The initial advance up to the crater and into the complex are very good with a lot of chances for combat, exploration, and role play. There's also some interesting new creatures and artifacts before you even get inside.

Once inside the facility there's a lot to do and even if the group moves quick there's plenty of options as the Judge to run encounters.

The Bad

Unfortunately there;s also so much going on inside the complex that at times it's hard to keep everything straight. There's also so much packed in that some of it isn't as well developed as I would have liked to have seen. There's an AI who could have used a little more meat to aid in roleplay, and part of the final portion is explained to the Judge but not really easy to get across to the characters. Still these are fairly minor complaints overall, and may be less of concern to other Judges.

The Ugly

In my review of Assault on the Sky High Tower I lamented some Tech Levels that were high enough to maybe be impossible to interact with using the rules as written. I don't mind this for optional or non-critical portions of the module, but I take issue when they become impediments to progress. In this instance there was a TL 6 object that required at least an Intelligence of 18 (as written). I ruled it down some, because I didn't see the point, but again it seemed weird.

However I started to think that maybe there was a change in the Tech Level rules during the development process and during the time this module was written when I found that there were some Tech Level 8 items at the end of the adventure. According to the rule book the highest TL is 7 which needs an Int of 24 and represents alien tech (where this is meant to be ancient technology). I believe now it is likely that there was a change and this module wasn't updated accordingly.

Also ugly was the let down of finding out that the fallen star was just a McGuffin to expose the complex to the world and didn't factor into the adventure thereafter. If I run this again in the future I'll make a change in that respect.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed A Fallen Star for All and I think my group did too. There were some sticky bits but nothing is perfect (or some I'm told). The adventure provided a "dungeon" to delve that was full of interesting encounters and artifacts. The bang for the buck I got out of this module was impressive given that I got around 12 hours of play out of this module (4 sessions of around 3 hours each). I'm going to rate this 3.5 rads out of 4.