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A Sewer Runs Through It (PDF)
by Bill Urban Date Added: Friday 20 September, 2013
A Sewer Runs Through It is a Hackmaster adventure intended for 4 to 6 first level characters, set in Bet Kalamar, the capital of the Kingdom of Kalamar, the gem of the Sovereign Lands in KenzerCo’s Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting. Very much an introductory adventure, A Sewer emphasizes aspects of Hackmaster that contrast sharply with other role-playing game systems. Blindly rushing into combat, or indeed, anything, in A Sewer will produce the inevitable combined effects of one or more character deaths and a smug grin spreading across the GM’s face. Careful husbanding of resources and consideration of potential risk/reward from given encounters are necessary for success in the sewers beneath Bet Kalamar.

Several different ways to introduce the adventure to players are presented, and careful effort was made not to employ background information specific to Bet Kalamar that would render the adventure useless set in that particular city. The adventure is easily adaptable to other cities in any fantasy setting; indeed, the adventure’s lack of specific information about Bet Kalamar might be deemed a legitimate criticism from those of us eager for more background on the capital of the Kalamaran Empire. It would appear that Portability won a Contested Game Design Roll against Background (Historical/Cutural).

A pronounced strength of A Sewer is the variety of challenges lurking in the undercity muck. Combat, skill checks, player savvy and anticipation, opportunities to role-play instead of roll-playing, many different types of player and character approaches are supported, and even necessary, in A Sewer, a real accomplishment in an adventure of only fifteen pages. Most impressively, the conclusion offers several different springboards to further adventures in whichever city the adventure is located.

Tightly written, with especially helpful designer notes, logical placement of obstacles and motivations for character opponents, and a reasonable degree of choice for players in adventure progression combine to make A Sewer Runs Through It a worthwhile buy for GMs looking either for an introductory adventure or a sideline, “pocket-dungeon” for established characters trawling through a campaign’s central city in sandbox style…

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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