Sour Spring Hollow & Doom of the Savage Kings

Sour Spring Hollow is a hidden gem tucked away in The Chained Coffin box set, a 0-level funnel with an Iron John meets Children of the Corn flavor.  It’s set up like a horror film with creepy cabins, lots of character death, and a little mystery to solve in order to stop the ghostly hillbillies from drinking everyone’s blood.  I thought it had the right mix of exploration, combat and logic puzzle, while hitting several of the Goodman Games buttons: the foes are non-stereotypical, there’s no real treasure to speak of, and it has a cool Doug Kovacs map that can double as a handout.  It was pretty short–only took us two or three hours to play–but I thought it was the best thing in The Chained Coffin.

After leveling up, we played Doom of the Savage Kings, getting about half way through before calling it a night.  Doom of the Savage Kings is nice as a first level intro since it starts with a little town populated with interesting NPCs that the characters can become involved with.  Our party, experienced gamers who were mostly new to DCC, chose to thwart the sacrifice of poor Morgan Haverson, thus becoming embroiled in town politics by promising the Jarl to deal with the hound problem themselves.  It was the most natural hook I have seen written into any Goodman Games module.  Unlike the Well of the Worm, in which the players nearly refused to take the hook and enter the well, this adventure was written such that it was the players’ idea to enter the tomb of Ulfeonar.  This module has obsolete references to Morale checks and such, making me think it’s an older product converted from a different edition, but I can see this as a classic: Meaningful character choices are made, flavorful monsters with perilous abilities are battled, and  several unique magic items are to be found instead of boring old gold pieces.  We weren’t able to finish this adventure that night, so it remains to be seen how it will end.  The safety of the village lies in the characters’ hands, but instead of retrieving the needed magic items from the tomb, they have replaced every snake ghoul they slew with one of their own party who died and rose again.  This module is open-ended enough that there was no sure way for me to predict what the players would do, making more work for the game master, but now I’m hooked too and want to know what they will do next.  All thanks to the Dark Master for re-skinning Doom of the Savage Kings and keeping it in print.  It’s a good one.

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