Author Topic: REVIEW: Game49: Wyrmhaven (by Ray Dyer)  (Read 281 times)

Offline hans

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REVIEW: Game49: Wyrmhaven (by Ray Dyer)
« on: April 01, 2017, 11:16:58 PM »
Yet another of Ray Dyer's ten! entries into the One-Week Challenge (, Game49, Wyrmhaven is a delightful Dragon hunt; the second such mission in the continuing "Thunder Rift" campaign. 

This time the Dragon is a youthful Green that's quite tricky and proficient in magic.  To get to the Dragon the party also has to contend with a tribe of Troglodytes (showing off some very nice Combat Icons).  Their caves contain a number of entertaining surprises, including a nice little referential homage to an adventure of Frodo Baggins. 

I only noticed one typo: " et, knowing that you were victim of a spell..."  Y? 

There also seemed to be a bug in one of the tunes, where, after it seemed to end, it would play another couple of notes, then silence, then those notes again, then silence, etc., etc., and on and on.  It was no game stopper, merely a minor annoyance, at worst.  Since this type of bug might sometimes occur in very specific memory configurations, it might not even happen on other players' machines. 

Those two little things did nothing to spoil for me the fun of this very enjoyable adventure! 

Thanks, Ray!   :kermit:

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: REVIEW: Game49: Wyrmhaven (by Ray Dyer)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 08:20:12 PM »
 * This review follows the designer's advise to run the Thunder Rift series (along with game07: B10 Assault on Raven's Ruin) in a particular order.

 * Party rolled: Human female Paladin LG, Dwarf male Cleric LN, Centaur male Ranger NG, Gnome female Magic-User NN, Halfelf male Cleric/Magic-User CG, Halfling male Thief CN -- Ray's Realm allows such racial classing as part of the adventuring package and encourages his Realm players to mix in as many races and classes so as to enjoy the breadth and depth of any given adventure... so's I dids!

 A word about the Thunder Rift modules: these adventures were created in 1992 (when some of us were youngers just starting to explore the game) and were meant to be a sandbox of sorts for DMs and players both new to the game.  They allowed for a lot of modification and were interconnected only by threads, to be filled and fleshed out by the DM running things, adaptable to any of the gameworlds.  As such, there is ample opportunity for Ray to put his Realmstamp upon them, which I am pleased to find to be the case.  I didn't think I would recall as much as I did about the wilderness spread of the adventures, but it didn't affect my play of them in the least.  Ray's done the project a fine service in his importation to the Realm, with custom music and graphics detailing each design individually. On to it, then!

 After an enjoyable week spent with the dwarven envoy from Hearth's Home along with rewardbearers from the gnome burrows which had just been emancipated... these folks and more from all over Kleine opened their homes and their tables for us to feast and fest at, and so we did!  Gorged with local cuisine and Bolder's new collection of corks from all-too-many vints of a variety of bottlestuffs, our party magic-users finally completed their mystic ruminations over the trio of magical staves we now possessed, sharing them between themselves as well as taking time to scribe several new spells we'd also been lucky enough to collect.  Our vacationing was soon ended, however, with a summons from Sascia, the spellcaster advisor of the bailiff down at Knacker's Knob.  At least, that's what some of the folks called it... others mentioned Darrow, but we assumed that Darrow was the name of the wilderlands near the Knob... ah well, if we wanted to be cartographers I suppose we would have brought atlas-making and place-name-recalling equipment with us.  Regardless, Knacker's Knob was a good deal more interesting this time around, and bailiff Wortley promised our newfound dragonhunting abilities would be well-rewarded.  Again.

 This adventure has the largest scope yet I've played in the Thunder Rift series, and there are interesting ways to being your own exploration if you poke around first.  Two days away from the hospitality of the Knob, it is suggested you make use of a good, fireless camp before proceeding: there is more to fear within the caves and caverns of Darrow than simply enemies.  As my prior adventure, this module contains some great new (to me) sprites and combat icons, and an even greater assortment of enemies.

 At the close of this game, my party was all 5th level and 6th level: both my pure cleric and pure magic-user gained addition 3rd level spells, which makes certain combat spell gambits possible that gives us a huge advantage tactically against opponents singular or in groups.  The end of the modules, at this point, are also getting more and more descriptive, which I really appreciate.  My party can tell it's getting close to the end of their Thunder Rift adventures, so I eagerly hit the training hall to [R]emove everyone individually for importation into the next title.

 This adventure has been the most memorable yet, especially with the artwork.  Thanks Ray, and great job especially with your celebratory texts here. :D

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: Game49: Wyrmhaven (by Ray Dyer)
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 10:47:21 AM »
Another exciting dragon hunt, quite similar to Wild Dragon's Den, but this time with trogs instead of lizardmen and a young green instead of a black dragon, who looked less fearsome than the black one, but was a lot more dangerous than any creature encountered so far, wiping out my party two times - and by actually killing them one by one, with single spells or breath attacks. The third time, I was able to kill him in just two turns, which was a little underwhelming, but I was glad to get away with my hide for a change.

Btw, the accompanying text file claims that this design is intended for characters of level 1-3. I believe that's an oversight; according to Flopsyville it is for levels 4-6. Characters of lvl 1-3 would probably be scared to death, just by looking at the dragon.  ;D

Prices for training have more than doubled since the last time I visited town, and I welcomed it, but it was still just a drop in the ocean. The dragon has a big hoard and you get rewarded a lot with money again. This time my party was physically unable even to accept the bailiff's reward, since there was no room or strength for additional coins to carry around. I politely declined and secretly dropped some more platinum in unexpected places. At the very end of the adventure, a merchant I had saved from the haven of the Wyrm extended a personal invitation to my party to pay him a visit. I shortly got my hopes up that I would finally get a chance to spend my money on some more exotic items, but it was a trap! The merchant only meant to shower me with more surplus coins ...  :o

Frankly, it's not as if I'd have much use for more magical items either, you get enough of those during your adventures, and in general the combat is easy enough for my party. It's just such a shame that the platinum coins have completely lost their value for me by now, to an extent that a dragon hoard is more likely to make me groan than rejoice. And I'm not even talking about gems and jewelry, of which my party has plenty as well - enough probably to replace all the coins I can throw away, and more. I assume that's because Ray is faithful to the rewards described in the original P&P designs, without bothering much about in-game economy, and that's perfectly fine. I'm nitpicking again here! But it would be nice to be able to spend all the monetary rewards from the Thunder Rift series on something actually rewarding, to give them a meaning, even if it's just the opportunity to hire a companion or pet, just for the fun of it, or some extra text events about investing in local projects, going to the circus, buying horse armor DLC, whatever. ;)

Anyway, back to the actual design, which was a lot fun. Great level design, memorable encounters, and some really, really nice pictures. Especially the two big pics from the intro describing the location made a big impression on me. Beautiful!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 10:50:12 AM by Olivier Leroux »