The 13th Skull
is a mixed bag, almost quite literally, as it is two adventures in one package. The first, the 13th Skull, is pretty much a 4th level rescue mission.
The quick backstory is one of the Duke's ancestor's promised the daughter of one of his 13 generation of decedents (and 12 sons of earlier decedents to a devil for power and immortal life - the fool! ;) The daughter gets kidnapped in front of the PCs, the Duke offers a fortune for her safe return and the game is afoot!
The adventure itself is good, but doesn't rise to the level of Goodman's previous releases in the DCC RPG line of adventures. The art still rocks, the maps are awesome, but the adventure itself? Maybe it's the short length - 9 pages plus map less the rocking art. Maybe its the fact that even success will likely result in the death of the hostage (I know it's DCC and it's dark by nature - but when the designer states only one playtest group managed to rescue the princess, I think there might need to be a tweak or two.) It looks like it should play well until the end - so tweak the final battle is my suggestion.
Further in it's favor, the adventure does leave itself a few hooks for further adventures at the end.
Now, on to the second part of the bag: The Balance Blade, a 2nd level adventure. This one is a head scratcher for me.
First, it is stated it is better played as a one-shot, as it concludes with intra-party combat. This effectively means it isn't much use in an on going campaign, which is where I assume the vast majority of DCC RPG gameplay takes place.
Second, it requires mixed alignments to pass through certain areas. Which means it makes it even harder to try to edit this at home into something that will work in a campaign.
Third, it requires props - index cards and colored stickers. I understand why the props are needed, but it makes online play a bit awkward.
It might make a fine one-shot for a con or gameday, but except for the fairly linear map it's going to take some work to fit this into a campaign.
So, one good adventure and one less good adventure, for the price of one adventure.
From the blurb:
Thirteen generations ago, the ambitious first Duke of Magnussen made a fell pact with an unknown power, who asked for but one thing in return: the thirteenth daughter born to a Magnussen duke. Now, generations hence, the daughter of Duke Magnussen XIII is stolen away by a hooded executioner riding a leathery beast. As it wings back across the city walls to drop behind the Duke’s mountain-top keep, all who watch know it alights in the Magnussen family crypts, where the devilish secrets of thirteen generations have been buried and forgotten – until now…
This adventure module also includes The Balance Blade, a short level 2 adventure in which a wizard’s patron makes a simple request: travel to another plane to retrieve a legendary blade of neutrality. But once the journey is in motion, the wizard finds that not all is as it seems!