Death Rock (1990)

Death Rock (1990) is the third volume of the Doomstones campaign and a clear improvement over the previous installments. The first section is more mountain traversal, but it is brief. The chapter really gets going once the players arrive at the monastery, where a ghost gives the group a series of hints via playing cards that lead to the location of the Crystal of Air (sort of), all the while a band of orcs lays siege to the place.

The adventure benefits from a memorable antagonist, a chosen of Tzeentch who has mutated from an orc into a strange bird person. He wants the crystal too, so it his arrival is no accident. Running the siege concurrently with the investigation seems like a thrilling prospect, particularly since retrieving the crystal from its hiding place will give players the means for a decisive victory. In grim fashion, though, plausible outcomes are given for the defeat of the monastery’s defenders, too.

The puzzle is pretty perfect. The cards are found all over the monastery, encouraging exploration. Once they’re all collected, solving the puzzle seems just tricky enough to feel challenging without turning into a slog. And the best part: the solution of the puzzle doesn’t solve the problem — that can only be accomplished with further investigation and conversations with NPCs. That’s a good puzzle!

Tony Ackland did all the interiors himself. I guess that means he did the cover too?

Oh, also, Gotrek and Felix are provided as additional visitors to the monastery, in case the GM thinks the fighting of the siege would overwhelm the players. Its a neat little potential cameo.

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