Monday, February 7, 2011

Tomb of the Iron God: A DM's Review

As you know I recently ran Matt Finch's Tomb of the Iron God as the first adventure in our Northern Reaches Campaign.

Having DMed the adventure, I thought I'd post some short comments and observations for those of you who might run the module at some point in the future.

**Stop reading now to avoid spoilers**

In short, I loved this as an introductory adventure. There are opportunities for a TPK on level 2, but overall this is a great exploration style adventure.

I really like Finch's prose: clean and concise. He gets right to the detail and avoids long winded speeches and such that bog down DM preparation.

There were a couple points where I thought modification and edits were needed. I think the large encounters on level 2 required some larger rooms and the revolving floor room could have been explained differently/more effectively.

I really love Finch's idea of crypt alcoves throughout level 2. Searching these alcoves, and tying that process to turns and random monster rolls, was a great idea and fit the style of an introductory-level adventure.

I do have two qualms with this adventure, and these are realatively minor. First, too many of the rooms on level 2 have exactly the same one-sentence write-up. I understand that there should be some sameness to the crypts, but even a slight tweak here or there was needed. Halfway through the level my players recited the sentence back to me before I could finish it. If you are DMing this adventure I'd advise minor edits in advance of play. Finally, this adventure really, really needs an interesting NPC. Throughout the adventure I felt this was a glaring miss in the adventure and could have facilitated some great role-play. Perhaps the Iron God took pity on one of the priests? Maybe the old guy who drags the death cart to the monastery was spared? I dunno. I think it would have been great to have an interesting NPC.

Overall, Finch wrote an excellent adventure. I can recommend the module to fellow DMs without reservation.


  1. Did you buy this from a brick and mortar? I don\t recall seeing it at my FLGS, but i\d be tempted to buy it, I must check around next time i'm there.

  2. I gave up on brick and mortar stores a long time ago.

  3. I'm a notorious and ardent supporter of FLGS, but i'm in the enviable position of having a very good one, The Sentry Box, that I have been purchasing from for 30 years. While not always the speediest, the do (eventually) listen to me and bring in items that I want to buy.

  4. Nothing like that in my area. The very few stores stock nothing but 4E or warhammer, and look at you sideways if you ask for anything else. It's all about the home games in my neck of the woods.

  5. Looks like I can't get a copy of Iron God, as its no longer on Lulu and I can't find a distributor on the interwebs.

    This is a good adventure?

  6. That's weird... why did they take it off of Lulu? I have a print copy, but find it strange that it would ever be removed, since it's PoD.

  7. I ran it for three kids and their dad and liked it. We skipped about half of the second level. I find it's a bit too large. Perhaps a nice touch to thwart completionists? It worked out for the kids. I also would have liked more of an intelligent opposition. As it stands the goblins and their talking head were the most interesting parts.

  8. I understand, I liked the exploration style rather than having the same-old dungeon factions. But I understand what you mean.

  9. I like to see reviews, thanks for putting this up. Was the pdf from the usual suspects (RPGnow or IPR)?

    Oh - I see in the comments - Lulu (not rpgnow).