Review: DB2 Crater of Umeshti

Posted: 27 June 2012 in Reviews

The second in the DB series of Castles & Crusades modules, Crater of Umeshti is 26 pages of old-fashioned dungeon crawl, written by Casey Cristofferson and illustrated by Peter Bradley.

It’s aimed at characters of 2nd or 3rd level up to roughly 5th. There is a background story, based around the ever-popular ancient culture destroyed by a meteor strike, a surface feature (the crater) and its inhabitants to explore, and three dungeon levels with puzzles to solve, monsters to slay, and treasure to loot. Adventure hooks are listed in the form of NPCs and organisations who know of the crater and want what’s inside, or raving survivors of earlier expeditions.

The level maps are small, and hard for me to read; they take up about 1/6 of a page, and really should be at least half a page. As a PDF file this is an inconvenience, since I can read them perfectly well by zooming to 200% magnification; but in print they’re verging on unusable. The layout of each level is essentially a ring of rooms and corridors around a central sinkhole.

As is traditional, there are a number of new magic items, spells, and monsters; DB2 as a whole is kobold-themed. There are a bit over 50 encounter areas, and almost all of them have monsters, so I’d say a party would get 3-10 sessions out of the upper dungeon levels; certainly the module is openly intended to be one of repeated forays into the dungeon, with intermissions while the party rest, recover, and spend their ill-gotten gains at some suitable base location such as a town.

Rating: 3 out of 5. Solid stuff, if stereotypical; easy to use and to drop into an existing campaign. Let down by hard-to-read maps.

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