Review: Stars in the Darkness

Stars in the DarknessAuthor:  Daniel J. Bishop
Publisher:  Purple Duck Games
Art: Christopher Heilmann
Price: PDF $6.99 – at RPGNow / at / at
Pages: 38 (incl. cover)

Stars in the Darkness

Following quickly on the heels of The Waystation, Purple Duck Games has released another adventure in the Adventure Locale line. Stars in the Darkness is for 4 to 8, 3rd level Dungeon Crawl Classics characters. As part of the Adventure Locale line the module is designed to be dropped into any existing DCC RPG campaign with minimal effort.

This is the 3rd module written by Daniel Bishop for the Purple Duck Games. With Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror and Through the Cotillion of Hours Daniel has proven his firm grasp on what makes an Appendix N influenced adventure tick. Stars in the Darkness continues with Daniel’s streak.

In ancient times elven ancestors used to protect the stars. As time went by the stars appear to have lost their protectors and stars have begun to go missing. Some are lesser stars, others are stars that are responsible for luck being drained from the world as they disappear. Eventually as this luck disappears with the stars the PCs will become affected and seek to rectify this issue.

Once the PCs realize something very dear to them is being affected there are a myriad of ways to introduce the rest of the adventure to them. The heart of the adventure takes place in a “conceptual space”, allowing it to be dropped in any campaign with relative ease. This also leaves several avenues for a judge to get their PCs to the location.

The adventure includes a chart linking 30 important stars to each of the birth augers in the DCC RPG rulebook. As the stars are captured they will affect the PC’s birth auger. The included chart makes it easy to link birth auger to star, referenced by name, and a description of the star.

Several new creatures are introduced in the adventure. Perverted cousins of the elves, flying creatures that harvest the stars, and more.

The main portion of the adventure takes place in a conceptual space with large rifts and caverns the PCs must explore to rescue the captured stars. Making their way through this cavern the PCs must seek to rescue the stars they can and put an end to what is taking the stars.

The Review

While I have been impressed with the entire product line from Purple Duck Games for DCC RPG, I am always glad to see one authored by Daniel Bishop. My online group still fondly talks of Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror. I was anxious to see what he had in store for us this time.

Easy placement in an existing campaign is a staple of the Adventure Locale line. Stars in the Darkness remains true to that. I have already begun plotting introing this adventure at the first opportunity in my current campaign. It will still be a bit before we get to it, but it allows for a gradual introduction to an existing campaign.

As mentioned above, there are several new monsters for this adventure. New monster help keep long established gamers knocked off their game a bit, as they never know what is coming. The final encounters in the module are very well done as well with a couple of unique features thrown in to help keep things interesting and far from ordinary.

The stars disappearance being tied to the character’s luck being affected is an interesting mechanic. It plays well to the DCC RPG ruleset and is sure to quickly get the character’s attention and give them heartfelt motivation to resolve this issue for something more than treasure.

While this adventure is ready to dropped into nearly any campaign, it does require a thorough read through for the judge to get familiar with it. Nothing particularly difficult, but I get the sense this adventure will run better with some prep from the judge instead of trying to run it on the fly. Several of the earlier Adventure Locale offerings I felt could be run with minimal prep.

This looks like another very strong adventure from Purple Duck Games. It hits the Appendix N feel for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, introduces new monsters and interesting concepts. This one will be a hit with my gaming group.