[Spoilers] Review/Criticism of Tome of the Bizarre ("Where the Undead Lie")

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Escher
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[Spoilers] Review/Criticism of Tome of the Bizarre ("Where the Undead Lie")

Last night I ran my group through the Tomb of the Bizarre issue of the Sentinel Comics starter set, and honestly, this is the weakest issue so far.

The problem I had was primarily related to the first 'scene', which is really a series of mini-scenes set in important chambers in the tomb, each of which requires an Overcome to pass into the next important chamber.  The trouble is the lack of guidance on what those overcomes are, y'know, overcoming.  Each room has an exit that is clearly visible, so there's nothing that really stops the heroes from just strolling by and leaving immediately, which leaves all the actual action to happen in the unspecified maze of corridors between said rooms.  And sure, you could require eight successful "find your way" overcomes to get to the end, but even three of those in a row immediately got boring, and then I was somewhat at a loss to provide interesting things to overcome for the rest of the adventure.

While a couple of 'maze of mystery' type rooms could be interesting, what I was wishing for halfway through the session was a list of specific challenges, which the heroes can then solve or bypass in interesting ways.  Like the chambers at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, where different heroes might bring different talents to bear on the problem.  A room full of canopic jars, where one might contain the jewel that slots into the obvious socket on the statue to open a door -- or you could try to just punch through the door, or hotwire the control system.  A horde of skeletrons that you have to defeat to move on.  That sort of thing.  Anything but eight repetitions of "You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike..."

Edit: To clarify, no, I didn't put my players through the aforesaid eight repetitive checks, I made some stuff up, but I felt I'd been largely abandoned by the issue in doing that.

Edited by: Escher on May 19 2018 - 6:19pm
Escher
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Joined: Jul 13, 2013

Oh, yeah:  I should also mention the odd disconnect between where the last issue left off with Visionary saying there was danger at the Tomb of Anubis and this one picking up with a portal in a cheesy Vegas casino.

I massaged them together by basically starting off this issue with a news reporter on TV describing "Danger and mysterious happenings at the Tomb of Anubis... exhibit at a Las Vegas casino!  The Freedom Five have been called to investigate..."  Rather than just some random room, the portal had appeared in the entry way to a small museum area at the casino, which is modeled after the real Tomb (in a cheesy Vegas sort of way).  The centerpiece of the exhibit was some actual artifacts recovered from the Ennead's fight with Oblivaeon, so there's at least a reasonable explanation for why there could be a mystical connection between this place and the real Tomb, and why Visionary might've been mistaken about what she saw.