Monday, October 31, 2011
DDA1 - Arena of Thyatis, Arcane Fire
The module is designed for four to six characters of second or third level. The suggestion is for seventeen levels though I am not sure that is too important. The module is as much about role playing and problem solving as it is combat. The module is very much a mix of A4 and B6 in plot and feel. I am sure that gives too much away but the module has been out for a bit.
The module's plot is one that is easy enough to follow and would most likely be a fun one to DM though I am not sure I would like it much as a player. The concept behind it is one that as a player would make me feel like I had no options in what was supposed to happen which would be an issue. In a module like A4 this carries the plot in a series along but in an introductory module I might find it hard to stomach. It also falls prey to one of my concerns in some story lines in that why are second level characters being sued for something important like this.
The module does have some great material in it. It presents reasons why the characters might be involved and why they have attracted the attention of the necessary parties. It also presents an optional character class the Rake. The Rake is a swashbuckler/thief which might be a good alternative if a thief and some of the baggage they carry with them does not fit into the realm of what the DM wants. It also features a down and dity unarmed combat system including the option to disarm.
The module itself is broken down into five parts. Like I said earlier the module has a good mix of combat, role playing and problem solving. The maps in the module are all well done and the map of the mansion is something I might "borrow" for use elsewhere. There is also a nice overview of Thyatis with the various zones of the city and some important locations mapped out.
The module finishes off with a society The Order of the Sands which I am not sure would have any interest for the players unless one of them was smitten with the idea of arena competition. It also has a page dedicated to Thyatian names. This might seem wasteful to some but if you are going to use Thyatis as a setting I think the names of NPCs are not used often enough to add local flavor. The module also earlier had a synopsis of the legal system which could be of use later.
Though this would not be my first choice of the lower level "B" modules to use it is one that I don't feel money was wasted on. It packs in more than some others and except for heavy handedness required for the plot it is well done. I see this one go for more than some other modules and I think it might be that the print run is lower but that is all conjecture though the label change may have some affect as well. Regardless of all that this is one that I would suggest picking up if you can get it for the right price.
From the back cover:
"It's party time in Thyatis...
And simply everyone is going to the magnificent VILLA OSTEROPOLUS, home of the wealthy old senator, Helenites. Raucous fun, exotic food, and even advanced betting on the upcoming Arena games are expected. Even adventurers just in from the outlands may meet the powerful here. So don your festive togas, for in Thyatis City there are important connections to be made and deeds to be done, duels to be fought and fame to be won.
(But beware, oh Adventurer! The politics of Thyatis can be as labyinthine as the mazes beneath the Coliseum...)
This module is designed especially for the DM who wants to sharpen his interactive skills.
- Presenting the detailed layout of a Thyatian noble's mansion and maps of the multi-level Coliseum of Thyatis
- For four to six characters, levels 2-3
- Brief guide to Thyatis legal system
- New optional class, the Rake
- Fast unarmed combat system, including disarming attacks
- Special appendix on creating Thyatian names
- Featuring The DM's Guide to Winging It"
Area of Effect: Individual
Casting Time: 2 Segments
Saving Throw: Halves
When this spell is cast the magic user causes another spell caster to be engulfed in an arcane fire. The fire will persist only for one round and may cause the target damage though there will be no effect on inanimate objects.
The fire will cause damage to the target only if they are another spell caster and only if they have spells remaining in their repertoire. If the target has no spells left to cast then there is not effect to them and the caster will know this.
If they do have spells to cast then the flames will give the magic user an idea of how many spells by the color of the flames. The flames will scale along the ROYGBIV scale with R being the lower number and V being the highest. The target will also suffer damage from the flames if they have spells to cast. They will suffer one point per their level plus one point per spell they have left to cast. The target is entitled to a save for half damage rounded up.
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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