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A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Depths of Felk Mor by Roderic Waibel

By Edited Aug 2, 2016 0 0

Depths of Felk Mor by Roderic Waibel and published by Sacrosanct Games is a "supermodule" intended for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. The book is covered by the Open Game License, and some parts are therefore Open Game Content.[1] The module aims to take players from level 1 to level 10 through the course of playing it.

The supplement is available in PDF for $9.95, print on demand softcover black and white book for $24.95, or both PDF and printed book for $24.95. The version reviewed is the PDF, although it was purchased at the reduced price of $6.97. This is a 236 page watermarked PDF with a full colour front cover, two blank pages, one page the front matter and Table of Contents, one page the Forward and one page the Open Game License. The one page Forward explains that the intention was to emulate old TSR D&D supplements, and that it wasn't intended to provide the battlemaps seen in more modern supplements.

The Overview gives some information on how the module is set up, and the player handouts, as well as the desire to emulate the Old School RPG style, background to Granite Keep, where the adventure truly starts, the Cult of Remahotep, how experience is rewarded - it isn't for treasure - and how the dungeon should progress. Although this is described as a sandbox campaign, it also states that if players do not visit every area, they will probably be underpowered for later encounters and, if experience is awarded for treasure, they may be overpowered. The overarching plot is to defeat the Cult of Remahotep.

Depths of Felk Mor
Plots/Rumours has methods of getting players involved in the module. Some of these are generic, which can be explored, and others are specific hooks for certain class types. Some rumours will not be immediately stumbled across either.

Regional Areas of Interest has brief details on various places on both the local (hex) and the overland map.

Granite Keep gives details on several locations inside the keep, as well as descriptions of various non player characters who can be found in it.

Phase I: The Adventure Begins expands on the local areas of interest, providing full details for the encounter locations, as well as various random encounters.

Phase II: The Ant Tunnels starts the players underground, and has more random encounters and locations for four levels of ant tunnels, the maps for which are in Appendix C.

Phase III: Underground Water Caverns continues on from the Ant Tunnels, with more random encounters and detailed locations. There is a reduced size copy of the map in this section, with a larger one in Appendix C.

Phase IV: Felk Mor is the titular location, and is a large underground cavern occupied by several different races, all but one of which could become allies, the last being definitely hostile. Even the orc tribe is not necessarily hostile to the players. There are random encounters and detailed locations, and this area functions like a city, or perhaps several towns, for rest and recuperation, assuming the players don't alienate everyone. Details are given on the different races inhabiting the region, and there is a full page map of the area, which is duplicated in Appendix C. Also in the appendix are several detailed maps of parts of the area.

Phase V: Temple Complex is intended to be the most important part of the adventure, and is connected by teleporter nodes. There are some small maps of specific areas, but the main map is in Appendix C. One of the major encounters is in this area. Again, there are random encounters and detailed locations, with some Lovecraftian names.

Cave Section is another area of the dungeon that is connected to the Temple Complex. This is home to two warring tribes of goblins, the Sharks and the Jets (West Side Story with goblins). The map is again in Appendix C.

Dungeon Level 2 is yet another part of the Temple Complex, with the map in Appendix C.

Kobold Lair continues the Temple Complex, with this area being occupied by Kobolds, and the map is in Appendix C.

Dungeon Level 3 is yet another part of the Temple Complex, with map being in the appendix again.

The Zoo is an unusual area that seems to have little in common with the rest of the Temple, and is occupied by a variety of creatures, with the map in the appendix again.

The Maze has a large map in this section, and a smaller one in the appendix, where it joins to the final area. This is the climactic action against the Cult of Remahotep, with a possible confrontation with the avatar of the god.

The Bugbear Tribe is a supplementary area in a different location, with a dragon and a bugbear tribe to defeat. The map is again in the appendix.

Appendix A: Magic Items is a less than one page section detailing five new magic items that crop up in the adventure.

Appendix B: New Monsters has 22 new monsters, with mostly one monster per page, but in some cases two. Some, but not all of the  monsters have images.

Appendix C: GM Maps has the maps of the various different locations. This section has the only full colour illustration in the supplement, which is a colour hex map of the local area that looks like it may have been done with Hexographer. The rest of the maps are either completely, or mostly, in black and white - some have some coloured areas added.

Appendix D: Encounter Handouts has various images that can be shown to players, which are also often in the relevant parts of the adventure, as well as some other handouts that can be found in various places.

Appendix E: Player Handouts are a few more handouts, including maps, for the players.

Appendix F: Spell Scrolls has a number of full page scrolls with spell names and writing on, that can be printed and given to players when they find spell scrolls. During the adventure, there are references to this appendix when the players find spell scrolls.

Appendix G: NPCs has details on the major NPCs that can be encountered, as well as some mostly pre-generated characters that can be either used by players or as a competing party.

Interior of Depths of Felk Mor
Depths of Felk Mor in Review

The PDF has bookmarks for (almost) each major section (Dungeon Level 2 and Appendix F are missing), but some additional bookmarks would have been helpful, such as one for each new monster. The Table of Contents has the same level of detail (but Dungeon Level 2 and Appendix F are not missing). Navigation is therefore okay, but not as easy as it could have been. The labels in the bookmarks and Table of Contents do not always match up with those inside the supplement itself. For example, Areas of Interest in the Table of Contents is actually the section Regional Areas of Interest.

The supplement aimed to create an "old school" feel and it accomplishes this by using old school artists such as Larry Elmore, as well as having the illustrations in black and white. Images for all of the detailed monsters would have been nice, but this is often the most expensive part of creating a supplement, getting custom art. Some of the monsters will also be familiar from earlier iterations of the D&D system, such as the Lurker and the Rot Grub. The colour hex local map has what appears to be a hand drawn road on it; this is rather uneven and detracts from the map, and should possibly have been done in a different way.

The Appendices take up a substantial amount of the book; in fact, almost half of it, and there is often a lot of unused space on these pages. Each location is set out in a similar way, with a brief overview of Key Feature, Monster, Reward and Trap. In some cases, these are not applicable, and Trap is only present if there is a trap. These are followed by Descriptive, which isn't always present but can usually be read out to players, and GM Info, some of which can be read out and which provides more details, including monster behaviour.

There are a number of spelling, grammatical and formatting errors, including some that would have been caught by a spellchecker, whilst others wouldn't, including using the word "abandon" on multiple occasions when it should have been "abandoned" and using "Descriptive" when it seems that "Description" would have been more appropriate. Some of the maps from Appendix C are duplicated in the relevant parts of the book; others are not, which means that printing out various maps would be a good idea. The old school style is suited to printing fortunately.

The module is described as being a sandbox, but this isn't fully true. With some locations, particularly those in the wilderness or in Felk Mor itself, the order in which they are done isn't that important, but as the players are expected to have visited every lower level area prior to some encounters, it isn't a true sandbox campaign. There are a number of references that can be caught, such as to H. P. Lovecraft, West Side Story (perhaps the only book to ever combine both) and the song Mad World for example.

The module is aimed at D&D 5th Edition, but it is also compatible with earlier versions of the game and especially Old School Revival games such as Swords & Wizardry and Labyrinth Lord. Immediately on opening it, the book seems reminiscent of the older modules available at the beginning of the D&D and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons era. This is deliberate, as is pointed out in the Forward. The module will be less easy to use with such as Pathfinder or D&D 3.5, as it lacks the extensive battle maps that are pretty much essential to play those games. Some parts of the adventure seem rather separate from others - but that is fairly common in old school adventures, so it's a tossup as to whether this is a good or a bad thing. There are a number of suggestions for expanding the adventure, one of which was developed by the publisher into the follow-up Ssrall Mak. Certainly, Depths of Felk Mor is a fairly extensive campaign, with options to expand it, and worth getting for anyone who likes the original TSR adventures.

Depths of Felk-Mor egdcltd 2016-04-22 3.5 0 5
3.5/5
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Bibliography

  1. "Open Game License." Wikipedia. 22/04/2016 <Web >

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