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Friday, September 7, 2012

Review - The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time - Part II - Head Scratching and All That Jazz

Despite the fact that it looks like a VD infected
penis of a Mongelman, I like the cover.
It's been over two weeks since the first part of my review of The Monolith From Beyond Time and Space. Why the delay?

Because I really wasn't sure what to make of the "adventure" as a whole. Actually, let me rephrase that just a tad. I wasn't sure what the "whole" of the adventure was supposed to accomplish, except to bring an ongoing campaign to a screeching halt. If the adventure doesn't outright kill your party, the survivors will probably be so fucked up, your campaign will be just as dead. This isn't ending your campaign on a high note - it's more like a slasher flick killing.

As a tournament module, where the players aren't invested in the characters or the campaign world, it could be a hoot to play. Heck, if you want the the players to be invested in it, make it like that whole season of Dallas that was retconned back in the day - after you basically skull fuck your players, it never really happened. Take them out for drinks and have a laugh. Because if I ran this for my regular group as a legitimate part of the campaign, street justice would fail to describe the acts of violence that would be directed at me.

All of which is a shame. The concept of the Monolith From Beyond Time and Space is a good one. Who doesn't want a little Lovecraftian weirdness and horror in their fantasy? I know I do. The key word is "little". One scoop of Mythos - the full half gallon in one sitting leaves one sick and never wanting more, ever again.

Monolith is certainly worth more for it's parts, than as a whole. A dungeon that reacts to the voiced thoughts or desires of the characters? I can run with that. Screwing with perceived distances in a certain location, due to magic or otherwise? Crapload of fun with that. Screwing with the free will of the players? Not so much fun. Damning them deeper and deeper, pretty much irrelevant of the decisions they make? Not my style of game.

I think any of the "screw the party" aspects of the Monolith are workable on their own. Maybe more for inspiration other than taken straight up, but James has some interesting scenarios that could play out well on their own (and probably toned down a bit). So, raid it for parts, plots and ideas if you will, but avoid adding this to your campaign unless you really want to burn it all behind you with no going back. Or run it as a one off at a con.

(yes, I see I used some pretty vulgar language above. it is what it is.)


1 comment:

  1. I always run Raggi's stuff as one-offs. I love them to death, but most of them would, as you said, bring your campaign to a screeching halt. Case in point: I have run Death Frost Doom exactly three times, and two of those times it was a TPK. The third time would have left the surviving party members with evil alignments and the cleric of the party completely stripped of his powers by any but the most sadistic deities. :)

    ...none of these points are complaints, by the way... I think they're great modules, just not so much for a campaign you intend to continue with the same group of PCs.

    ReplyDelete

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