|Cute little kobold.|
This adventure is split into three sessions. The first is a programmed dungeon, with map included. The second is the standard random dungeon using the tables found in 4AD but using room contents from this adventure. And the third is an abstract, climactic show-down.
Chapter one comes with a nice map. Rooms, tunnels, etc. are already drawn out and numbered. As you move to a numbered room, you go to the entry for that number and read the directions there. There might be traps, monsters, treasures, and so forth. I like some of the entries, brings an old-school choose-your-adventure vibe. And the chance of dying is surprisingly high. Nearly lost two characters, one of them almost twice! I felt this chapter was geared more towards new players and characters, almost a linear approach to introduce different aspects of how 4AD plays. Which isn't a bad thing. I can see how this approach to dungeon design for 4AD could be used to expand future adventures.
Chapter two is the standard random dungeon creation from 4AD, but using contents of this adventure. I fought 4 Vermin, 3 Minions, 1 Weird Monster, 5 Wandering Monsters, 2 Bosses, and the Final Boss. Thank goodness for explosive 6 rolls and spells and holy water. It took me 21 rooms to finally fight the Final Boss, and he was brutal. There wasn't a single character that escaped with more than half their life points by the end. Since dungeon creation is not new for this chapter, the only thing I can comment on are the monsters (minions, vermin, bosses) that are included. A couple of the vermin and minions are only marginally different from the basic ones in 4AD, but some have surprising additions which ought to make things more difficult for your party. The bosses, however, are very nasty and all play different from those in 4AD. I had the joy of fighting 2, 3, and 6.
|Final dungeon map for Chapter Two. I fought the Final Boss in room 21. Look at all the rooms I had to escape back through. Lots of wandering monsters, yay!|
|The party, having survived the entire adventure.|
Overall Caves of the Kobold Slave-Masters is a decent first adventure. I'm looking forward to how future adventures might expand 4AD. Already some ideas are churning in my imagination on how to create my own adventure. If you like Four Against Darkness, or solitaire dungeon-delving with only paper-and-pencils, then this adventure might work for you.