Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Review of Quake Alley Mayhem! for Gathox Vertical Slum

I was kindly given a copy of "Quake Alley Mayhem!" to review.  Here's the publisher blurb:

Enter a seedy underworld of alien hyper-capitalists and wondrous ancient artifacts with Quake Alley Mayhem! 

This murderous, misshapen module foists a host of traps, puzzles, and environmental hazards upon unsuspecting players in a race against time. Structured for both tournament and campaign play, Quake Alley Mayhem! includes pregenerated characters, supplements to track the party's progress and impending doom, and hooks to fit the adventure into a larger campaign.

Designed for 3 to 6 players of levels 1 - 3.  You can purchase the adventure here

This adventure was written & illustrated by David Lewis Johnson, Edited by Mike Evans (DIY RPG) and the layout was  done by Matt Hildebrand.  The adventure is intended for Gathox Vertical Slum, however it could be easily inserted into a home brew alien world with no problems (Following the review is the publisher blurb for Gathox Veritcal Slum).


The adventure is setup for campaign & tournament play, which includes a handy chart for tournament scoring.  The hook is straight forward, it focuses on a team of fresh gang members and their attempt to retrieve a artifact for their boss. The thing I really dig about this module, is there are no rooms in it that are empty.  Every room has a chance for roleplay, a fight, and or a deadly trap.  In other words this isn't a vanilla dungeon with safe words! This is partially because of the tournament aspect of the adventure. 

In my humble opinion the writing is solid and evocative.  The rooms with traps are different than your average type trap, the puzzles are fun.  The adventure is setup with a timer and the GM needs  to keep track of what is going on at all times, as some environmental hazards play a big part in what happens thru out.  This is a awesome mechanic.  There is even one specific room that is dedicated to slowing down the PCs and having them enjoy a little bit of side gaming.  Of course, the hazards don't stop right!  Excellent idea. 

Here's the cool thing about this module, it's totally DIY RPG.  All of the races, aliens, places, weapons and artifacts are all made up.  It's not your typical fantasy adventure, with fantasy creatures.  It's not your typical alien world either.  However you could easily run this adventure as a "gangs of Chicago" kinda thing no problem.  (Well with a little bit of tinkering).  Heck you could easily run this in a mutant future campaign.  


The adventure takes place in a old mill/safe house.  There are three levels, and 18 action packed rooms!  Once again, easy to pop into whatever universe you are playing in. 

The nice thing about this adventure is that it comes with pregenerated characters on very cool hand drawn character sheets (note there is a blank copy in the back of the book).  The PC races give you a bit of insight into the world of Gathox.  Included are:   

Street tough, Martial master, Soldier, Cosmic doctor, spiritualist, faith healer, mutant.

The module also includes a handy death and dismemberment table, its a d10 table, and I'm printing a copy of of it for my GM screen (when I get to a place with printer, ie work).

Honestly this is a pretty cool adventure, and if you like your gaming a little gonzo alien awesome, I think this is absolutely perfect for you.  At the end of the book are a few campaign hooks, and a wonderful rumour table.  Both of which easily setup more adventures.  While the source book Gathox Veritcal Slum is not needed to run this adventure, I'd strongly recommend it, if anything just to have a bit more background information (also to support DIY RPG, cuz they put out some awesome shit). Of course reading the sourcebook will get you even further into the mood.  

Seriously cool adventure.   

Gathox Veritcal Slum
Welcome to Gathox Vertical Slum, a far out, gonzo science fantasy campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry White Box Edition and other classic tabletop role playing games.

Aliens, mutants, spellslingers, and hardened criminals struggle for dominance in a lawless city built upon the back of a wandering, world-hopping godling. Inside this tome you’ll find:

* A fully mapped and fleshed out Vertical Slum, stuffed to the gills with greedy factions, hook-laden NPCs, and seedy locations.
* A new gangland system for running domain-level games at level 1.
* 43 fully illustrated strange and inimical monsters to spring on unsuspecting players.
* New classes, skills, ability checks, hirelings, and gear for players to work their will across the mean streets of the Great Spire.
* A vertical dungeon introductory adventure to test the skills and resourcefulness of new and seasoned players alike.
* Over a hundred lavish interior illustrations by D.L. Johnson.
* Five pieces of interconnected chapter fiction contributed by Josh Wagner.

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