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Review: Inside the Demon Idol

April 20, 2015

into-the-demon-idolI made a number of purchases at GaryCon. I am still reading and sorting through some of the adventures I picked up. My con-buddy and fellow Skyland Games guy Mike bought EVERY zine at the DCC booth. Needless to say he has got some reading ahead of him. Watch this space for reviews of those in subsequent weeks. In the meantime, I finally read through Into the Demon Idol by Jobe Bittman of Bloody Hammer Games and Spellburn fame.

This is the expanded edition of what was a very memorable 2013 submission to the one page dungeon contest. The premise is an adventure based around the iconic art from the cover of the 1e AD&D players handbook.The expanded print version provides some details about areas surrounding the temple, including a hex map with friendly towns, a fort, and a conclave of lizardman tribes that are the big threat to the region.

I honestly don’t remember what I paid for it, as the purchase was made amidst a pile of others in the dealer room, and I haven’t been able to find an online price or source for a print or PDF version. It is 18 pages long in digest/zine format. Interestingly, while creatures are mentioned throughout the adventure, the stat blocks for them are printed on a separate insert for 3 systems: Dungeon Crawl Classics, Labyrinth Lord, and Swords and Wizardry. Fellow spellburner Jeffrey Tadlock provided the stats for LL and SW. I like how skill checks are handled. Since this could be played in several systems, skill challenges are just assigned as Easy, Average, Hard, or Very Hard, roughly corresponding with DC 5, 10, 15, and 20 respectively. Despite referencing the typical AD&D stats in the skills section, throughout the text what would be DEX checks are instead referred to as Agility, revealing a DCC bias. Not that it’s difficult to figure out and adapt to whatever system you would like.

1st-Edition-Players-HandbookMost of the creatures on the statblocks card have a variety section. Much like beastmen in the iconic Sailors on the Starless Sea or undead from the DCC rule book, there are variations on the creatures you encounter. Some lack much detail as to their effect. For instance, one type of lizardman can transmit lycanthropy with a bite (awesome!), but is there a save? Do they turn into a werewolf or werelizard? Be prepared to roll with the punches and make some rulings on the fly.

There is a lot of great stuff in this adventure, and the expansion on the one page dungeon would allow you to really take your time as you travel to the different points of interest on the map, and play out the final scene. I don’t want to mention what that is (because spoilers), but the cover of the adventure is a big clue. You could also feasibly run it at a con if you skipped the hex-crawl bit, and focused on the Idol itself.

Overall, it will definitely provide a memorable game night or two, and makes me want to scan other iconic artwork for adventure ideas! If you are lucky enough to spot this in a dealer booth at a con, scoop it up!

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  1. April 27, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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