Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review: MCC #9: Evil of the Ancients (Mutant Crawl Classics)

Find it at the Goodman Games store!

Having finally plumbed the depths of an ancient complex the resident shaman forced the local AI to submit to its will by calling on ACHROMA to display its secrets the seekers found a hidden installation deep within the lower level.

The Setup

Evil of the Ancients is a self contained adventure, but it can also serve as a direct follow up to MCC #2: Incursion of the Ultradimension. I didn't use it as such, and in fact changed the entire approach to suit my campaign, with the locale of the adventure moved from a stand-alone base to a hidden portion of a different facility. As written the adventure starts when the players find an intact structure above ground and investigate. As such a Judge can insert this adventure into nearly any locale or region of the world that they want.


***Last warning, spoilers ahead***

The adventure is about a facility that is "haunted" by extra dimensional creatures accidentally pulled into the world in the closing days of the ancients before the great disaster. These creatures are trying to get home, and in order to do so need to sacrifice a powerful psychic mutant. The adventure is meant to be creepy and atmospheric as the mental influence of these aliens slowly wears away at the PCs and influences increasingly bizarre and dangerous behavior.

***End Spoiler***

The Good

The first thing that I want to praise is the ease of insertion into campaign play. It's easy to grab any old adventure and run it as a stand alone, a one-shot, or in a campaign that is only loosely defined, but the way I run my game I find a lot of adventures require extra work to make them fit into my world and narrative. This adventure is very much "drag and drop" and really helps in that regards

Secondly this adventure really oozes with atmosphere, and a Judge who takes the time to build that atmosphere and mood up will reap the rewards of a table full of paranoid players. The adventure really hinges on this as well, with very little in the way of traditional conflict. Instead it plays out like a haunted house scenario until the characters themselves begin to fall prey to the aliens' mind games and turn on each other. As a result this "level 3" adventure could be run with almost any level of characters with just a few tweaks.

The Bad

Honestly, I have no complaints. The adventure is pretty great, with a lot of the role play elements that drive the plot forward to keep things going. The story is a creepy one, and perhaps a better means for that larger story to out itself might have been nice, but I don't think that all that information needs to be made clear to the players anyways; mystery and suspense are easier to maintain when the players don't know what's going on. The adventure even gives you a couple of different outs depending on player actions and the Judge's preference. Talk about accommodating.

The Ugly

This isn't an adventure that will slam dunk with every group. It's very role play heavy and fairly light on combat. It worked for mygroup because they took the role-play and ran with it, especially as the *ahem* mental influences began to rack up. If your group just wants to do beer and pretzels and slay some freaks this may be a hard sell.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed Evil of the Ancients immensely. My group had fun, and even though some of the role play aspects were played open due to the nature of an online session my group ran with them anyway and had a ton of fun with this one. The story is interesting and maybe a little tragic, and the growing tension plays out very well at the table if your players are the type to roll with it. I'm going to rate this 4 rads out of 4!

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