Saturday, October 22, 2011
B8 - Journey to The Rock, Shadow Walk
"Journey to The Rock", released in 1984, does sport a cover by Elmore which is never a bad thing though this is not one of my favorites of his. The module is also a departure in the B series that it includes a fair level of wilderness adventure. These departures are not always bad as was it was done in B6 though that had its issues as well. I had read somewhere that the module was based off of a tournament adventure which makes it very linear in its flow which will be a negative to many.
The module has a few other issues. One is the fact that a fair portion of the module will not get to be played. The idea of the adventure is that the party has three paths to get to their objective. Unless they split up two of these won't get used in the module though the DM could save them for later.
One other concern that came to me while looking it over was the lack of real material there. The module is 32 pages long which is of average size for modules from that time period. Then I started looking at the content. There are four full page illustrations in the module but there are no smaller illustrations so that might be within the normal range. There are also four pages dedicated to handouts and pregenerated characters. There is a one page players map and one page dedicated to post module adventure ideas. There are three pages for the ToC and the introduction and two pages dedicated to new monsters. This gives us a total of 15 pages that are not adventure at all.
Once you get to the actual adventure portion of the module there is one page dedicated to the start of the adventure and four pages dedicated to The Rock. That leaves 12 pages that are split between the three paths. This will work out to eight pages of material that can't be used in the module without some series redesign. Doing some quick math this gives us what is basically a 9 page adventure.
After spending all this time beating it up I have to say that the adventure idea is not bad. It is more of an execution issue and taking the fact that, if what I read was right, and that it was designed as a tournament module the 9 pages would be about right for a two to three hour session. In the end is it worth picking up. I will have to say that I am not kicking myself for having it but I am not sure it was the best gaming investment I ever made. It does seem to sell for a bit more than others in the series but the print runs got smaller after B6 as I recall so scarcity is the issue there. I see it got between $15 and $25 most of the time so you might get a better bang for your buck buying some of the newer stuff released online.
From the back of the module:
"To a wizard, knowledge is power, and the wizard Lirdrium Arkayz wants to know the mysterious secret of The Rock. Many have tried to discover it - but The Rock keeps its secret well. The wizard offers a rich reward to anyone bold enough to solve this dark mystery.
But the road to The Rock leads to danger and hidden peril - dangers that hae claimed the lives of many brave adventurers. Rashness and folly will lead to quick death, but riches await the clever and the brave. Have you the wits, courage and skill to survive the Journey to The Rock?"
Duration: 2 turns + 1 Turn/Level
Area of Effect: Caster
Casting Time: 4 Segments
Saving Throw: None
By means of this spell the magic user is able to merge themselves with the shadow of another creature. The effect of this will be to allow the caster passage to where ever the target creature goes. Unless something similar to a True Seeing spell is used the caster will not be detectable and Detect Invisibility will not allow them to be seen.
The spell does have its limitations and possible peril though. The caster is limited to casting this on a creature that is able to and is actively casting a shadow. The caster is also bound to the shadow and is at the mercy of the creature as to where they go. The caster can break the merger at any time and will appear at a distance from the creature equal to what they were when the spell was cast. They will appear in a spot that is "safe" from environmental effects but perhaps not other dangers.
There is also another possible danger connected with the use of this spell. If the creature enters an area where they are not casting a shadow the DM will need to make note of this. For each round after the first that there is not a shadow being cast there is a 5% chance that the caster will lose the connection. When this happens there are two possible outcomes. There is 50/50 chance that the caster will either have the merge broken as described above or be cast into the demi-plane of Shadow.
Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last, were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper credit.
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