The Star Wound of Abaddon

This is a horror adventure, something Goodman Games should be well known for by now. Dark and blasphemous and morbid, like you would expect, and it was fun to play. There is player choice at the start, but then they are railroaded to a finale scene which was pretty freakin’ good (“buried alive”!) I always lament the lack of a map, but one isn’t needed with this lost-in-the-wasteland scenario. We were a little disappointed by all the non-lethal combat; Two fight scenes where you can’t die–blech! There’s no tension, and the PCs get less XP than other combat. But the adventure was well paced so that these minor scenes came first, then a big fight scene and locale to explore, and finally the climactic scene which was creepy and cool. Battling the level boss can make your PC’s head explode in instant death, or raise your Intelligence +1, depending on player dice rolls! So great!

My only real complaint about Star Wound of Abaddon is not unique to this module, but a problem I’ve had running other DCC modules: There’s too much to keep track of. DCC is rules-light, but many modules spice that up by adding new rules or twisting existing rules. This module had some cool twists on spellcasters (“cosmic perversions”!) but I kept forgetting to apply them. I need a computer to keep track of all the exceptions to the rules. Too many modifiers, too many special attacks, too many variations on the norm and the cool twists get lost in the flow of play. Once a precedent has been set, I just go with it. The “cosmic perversions” were definitely part of the attraction of this adventure, but it got lost in the shuffle of tracking combat for five players while helping the new guy, remember who is Bleeding Out and who has been affected by the wizard’s Enlarge spell… I’m not a computer, but I see how D&D inspired the computer game industry to automate all the rules. I imagine the author running the adventure many times with many different groups, but I just run it once and don’t have time to commit the text to memory.

So-so art and maps; Sufficient player choice; Minimal locations to explore; Definitely unique monsters to battle; Some good treasure to be found; I would give this one a thumbs up.


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