The Emerald Enchanter was written by the Dark Master himself and is classically cheesy. The locale is a wizard’s citadel of ridiculous design, with traps, secret doors, and dead end corridors—all the stuff you expect to find in a “dungeon,” not a residence. This one doesn’t take itself too seriously, with flying skulls and disembodied hands, and came off as light and fun, not dark and serious like some of the horror-inspired modules Goodman has produced. Of all the adventures, this one is the most D&D-inspired rather than Appendix N-inspired. I kinda felt like I was in middle school again rather than in a Lovecraft novel. In our 5 hour time slot, the party only made it through about a third of the map and, oddly, found the emerald guardsmen much more challenging than the eponymous wizard or his (very cool) tile golem. Both the wizard and golem made bad initiative rolls and died without getting a single shot off, whereas the guardsmen kept the party’s clerics very busy stopping everyone from bleeding out (six instances of a party member reduced to zero HP!) The Hall of Anguish, though creating much anxiety in the party, was easily defeated because 8 HP does not a menace make. All in all, this one was a fun, simple, map-based, combat-based adventure with some great Mullen art.
After a dinner break, three of our six players stayed for a second game, Intrigue At The Court Of Chaos. This module is kind of the opposite of a lot of DCC adventures, being puzzle-based with no real need for a map and very little combat. I thought there was too much set up written into this one, so I simplified the hook significantly: You drink a shaman’s potion and find yourself at a party in hell. Each player is approached by a different Chaos Lord and allowed to make a wish, which they committed to in writing before being teleported to the adventure start. The puzzles weren’t really that hard to figure out except for Creation, which resulted in half the party becoming pregnant, depressed, light-sensitive, and sweating sunlight. So great! Now the dwarf is as tall as a man and the transgender wizard has a baby. The climactic battle versus their better selves was pretty cool too. This module was quite fantastic and the illustrations of the Lords of Chaos were nice. Unlike the Emerald Enchanter, we were able to finish this one in a single sitting, and the characters are forever changed by their experiences therein, which is the mark of a truly memorable adventure.