Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Review: Citadel by the Sea


One of my favorite features in Dragon Magazine were the adventures in the center of the magazine. Sorta like the centerfold. One of the adventures that stood out for me was Citadel by the Sea designed by Sid Fisher. It appeared in issue #78 and won 1st place in the module design contest, category A-1. It combined many of the classic elements without being cliché. Orcs barricaded within a ruins of an old elven fort with a couple of dungeon levels beneath. Mix in some undead, an evil half-orc cleric and an orcish artifact and you got yourself a wang dang doodle of a party. What I appreciate the most about this adventure is the simplicity and the progression of the adventure.

This adventure is very adaptable. How difficult is it to place that setting/situation into a campaign? I have used it four or five times, with small changes. It became a stronghold for one of the players. He tried to capture some creatures during his expeditions to stock his own dungeon and found it was easier to kill the critters than subdue them. There is plenty of room to develop the area for a micro setting, a seed for a sandbox campaign. The village of Awad (probably not the best name in the world) could easily be mapped out and some of its inhabitants are already detailed. The area has a history that could be altered, but even if the GM decided to use the background it can easily be adapted into an existing campaign.

If you have issue #78 (it's a pretty great one) than dust it off and take a look. I was fortunate to find the first 250 issues on DVD a few years back. There were many great modules tucked into those pages and this one always seems to come back to me. It's like a great late night horror flick you've seen it a dozen times. It's just as good the twelfth time as it was the first time.

8 comments:

  1. This is one of teh sporadic issues of Dragon that I indeed own in non-digital format.

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  2. This is one of my favorites as well although I didn't use it as much as you did.

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  3. After I read this, I had to get up and root through my bookshelf.

    Wouldn't you know, I have 76 and 79 but not 78 (or 77 for that matter).

    -John

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  4. I used that one once in AD&D, and once in GURPS. Both times were excellent fun - it's very simple but well-written and interesting. I'd use it again in a heartbeat.

    It made a great GURPS solo adventure, too, for a fairly tough starting PC in my 3e GURPS game.

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  5. I like that one quite a lot. It's also one of the few low-level adventures that appeared in Dragon that were also so flexible. "Chagmat" is another good one.

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  6. I've run it three and a half times over the decades, including once running it as recommended as a solo adventure for a half-orc character.

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  7. You know, I THINK I remember that one. I'll have to dig out the old issues and take a look.

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  8. I just played this one this past weekend with my 10-year old daughter. The way her face lit up when, staring at the lowest dungeon level map she realized it was in the shape of Grummsh and there had to be a secret door leading to the spear... it made my whole weekend.

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