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Adamís Wrath

Author: Lisa Smedman
Type: Adventure
Format
: 64 pages paperback, plus map
Release date: 1994
Level
: 5-7
Domain: Lamordia
InsideCover Map: Shloss Mordenheim, Shloss Von Aubrecker. Colour map: various locations of Isle of Agony, Lamordia domain.
New Monsters: Fleas of Madness; Flesh golem, Ravenloft
Notes:

Reviews:

Once the Forum

ďAdamís WrathĒ was a 2nd edition adventure designed to take place in the domain of Lamordia. It also offered some expanded information on the region that has since been included in other products, such as the 3rd edition Ravenloft Gazetteer II.

Why should you seek out ďAdam's WrathĒ? (the Pro side):
 This adventure is filled with tasty ideas and accessories that can benefit any campaign that spends time in the domain of Lamordia. Useful maps of every major dramatic location in the region, including Schloss Mordenheim, Schloss Aubreker, the monastery of the quickening thunderbolt, and the Isle of Agony are included, along with some occasionally inspired room descriptions (but beware if you pay to download this product online; some sellers do not provide most of the maps because they were printed on a poster that came with the product but usually doesnít get scanned). The author should be credited for thoroughly researching the genre conventions of mad science, as the text is filled with details of twisted medical procedures and archaic science that easily flesh out a DMís descriptions. There are also a few very evocative illustrations, including a pretty definitive version of Adam vs. Mordenheim.

Why should you dismiss ďAdamís WrathĒ? (the Con side):
The adventure as written is unimaginative and pretty much unplayable. It was clearly designed for hack-and-slash outsiders coming into Ravenloft for a very brief stay, and is filled with all kinds of unsubtle, completely non-gothic encounters. This might have been excusable if it didnít jerks the players around so much, unfairly limiting their options and railroading them at every turn. Easily the worst example of this is that in order for the adventure to progress past the beginning the party MUST be killed off. You heard me, not just one PC killed, not half, ALL of them must perish during an ideally inescapable encounter designed for just that purpose. This is simply awful adventure design, no matter how cool the author thinks the resulting resurrection is, as nothing builds player resentment faster than being so grotesquely puppet-stringed by the DM.

Thereís also the fact that the adventure has little to do with Lamordia beyond Mordenheim and Adamís squabble. The players never go anywhere near the domainís major settlements, and most of the NPCs encountered are either insane, monsters, or both. You canít really build horror if you have no baseline of normality to deviate from, so ďAdamís WrathĒ is little more than a glorified dungeon crawl.

Finally, I have to object to the way Mordenheim is characterized in this product. The author seems to have forgotten that he isnít in fact the darklord of the domain, and makes him so cold and ruthless that Adam is practically a saint in comparison. Even back in the days of the black box Victor was established as a passively evil individual, one whose crimes were indirect rather than gruesome, and who still thought of himself as a good person. Whereas the core flavour text states that the worst heís ever done is arrange infrequent mercy killings using painless poison, here he routinely kidnaps and tortures innocents.

Conclusion:  ďAdamís WrathĒ contains some worthwhile ideas and materials to be scavenged, but is useless as an adventure even to the most gothic-free Ravenloft campaign. Donít try to run it unless you think it would be interesting to see a player mutiny.

 

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