Currently a pre-order from Pelgrane, with the PDF downloadable now, this is a 360 page campaign based around a living dungeon. The book is written by one of my favourite RPG writers, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (who has done such great work for games like The One Ring, and GUMSHOE titles) and is for the 13th Age RPG and for characters of level 4-8. The prequel, Make Your Own Luck, was the Free RPG Day release from Pelgrane in 2014.
I delayed buying this product for quite a while , despite being a big 13th Age fan. I was not very interested in descriptions of various levels with his little background information or motivation to them. However, I was totally wrong. This large and very diverse kit contains not just a lot fanqtstic dungeon levels, but also a wealth of information on how to tie them into plots, cults, icons , icon dice rolls; and also provides options for many backgrounds and different villains -- both big bads, and lesser.
This review is probably best to read if you're a GM and not a player, depending on how surprised you want to be.This book is a campaign designed for taking characters from level 4 to level 8. That is a large portion of your campaign to hand over to a prewritten adventure. A lot of GMs prefer making their own campaigns and this book realizes that. What this book does, instead of telling you how your campaign is going to play out, it gives you more options than you could possibly use in a single campaign. They admit from the start that you probably will not use every level of the dungeon because it might not be relevant to the character's stories. The plot behind the adventure: This dungeon is alive. It swims throughout the world eating places that your characters love and causing destruction and mayhem. Your goal is to destroy it. The adventure handles all of this well. They tell you that spending an entire campaign in dungeons is boring and gives you ideas and tools for adventures outside of the dungeon between delves. There is not one correct way to destroy the dungeon. The book gives you a lot of possible scenarios that your players may think up so that you can be prepared for whatever your players throw at you.The dungeon pieces themselves (the rooms, the challenges, monsters etc.) are wonderful and in many cases can be chosen for your characters. There is a Tomb of Horrors-like level, underwater level, a forest level, and more. 13 levels total, I believe. You can easily take one of these levels and use it as a separate dungeon in your own campaign. You can view this book as either one campaign or 13 adventures to be used elsewhere.The downsides? You should probably read through the book a couple of times. But that's not too bad, because Gareth's writing is very fun to read. Also, the price hurts a bit.Ultimately, it's a wonderful masterpiece. It's a well-designed campaign that is written to be customized to your group. While the price is bit high for what I'd like to spend ($50), it is entirely justified. It's full-color, hardcover, and it's longer than the 13th Age core book. (There's also a swordapus! You know you want a swordapus!)
"I need a 13th age campaign, not a series of descriptions, plots, and monster stats... ". That's what I told myself. So I wrote "Eyes of the Stone Thief off as a book of fluff or, at best, another mega-dungeon. I was aprihensive when my wife presented me with the book and accompanying pdf for my birthday. Wow was I wrong.I'm new to Pelgrane press and I should learn to better trust their production values.The physical book is great quality, but the adventures and stories inside are what has me excited.The campaign (and I will call it a campaign) is simultaneously tightly coherent and pieced together, while also providing you with options -and indeed instructions for- swapping out adventures, villains, or repurposing the whole campaign.NPCs are deep, stories are rich, and I've just started including this in my ongoing game with no problem! The only issue I had was getting past my own expectations.The different adventures are even set up to be a subplot in your main campaign, but it looks like there are enough encounters to take a party through as an,aim plot too. And don't worry - much of the action takes place outside the dungeon as the characters escape, visit special locales, and re-invade this living dungeon/story arc /boss monster all rolled into one.
To be honest, I have had my difficulties with the concept of "MEGADUNGEON" as well as the 13th Age concept of a "LIVING DUNGEON" for ages. This book has changed this for me. The story and the dungeon are a plausible set-piece in a High Fantasy environment. Everything is perfectly fitted for usage at the table in 13th Age's generic campaign setting and easily tailored to the PCs in your game. As well, you could rip everything apart and use bits and pieces as you go in your very own adventures and settings. Also it provides a lot very helpful concepts for EVERY Dungeoneering campaign. The only thing you could criticize is that the book provides too much content. I won't do this.
As someone who is not fond of traditional dungeon crawls, I really enjoyed running this one as a GM. It is a massive, sprawling, modular set of impressive locations tied together by a great plot, but at the same time very easy to reconfigure and repurpose (I ran it all as a sci-fi post-apocalyptic setting, for instance). Tons of great ideas to pillage here, as you would do with any proper self-respecting mega-dungeon - and they don't get any bigger than the Stone Thief.
I admit it: I am completely addicted to purchasing published adventures for different game systems. However, Eyes of the Stone Thief was not a "typical" experience for me where I hear/read about a new AP and purchase it, then read and implement for my gaming groups. No, this is one that I got to experience a portion firsthand as a player while at GenCon 2015, and having enjoyed myself so thoroughly that I bought it for my players at home.This adventure path is really more of a series of related adventures more than an ironclad set of events that happen. It appears that EotST was written with a more sandbox playstyle in mind, where a group could come across the Stone Thief multiple times in their careers rather than the traditional dungeon-crawl. This definitely adds a measure of freedom for the GM to run a campaign how they see fit rather than being beholden to the campaign.
First off, this book is expensive. But I think it is worth every penny. Reading throguh it I got the impression that the author
1) put a *lot* of effort into making a fun campaign, packed with interesting ideas and characters
2) put a lot of effort into making sure a DM can get the maximum out of the book without constraining the DM to a particular path or style of game.
This second point seems to me to be a very hard thing to do, but the book gives the DM lots of tools to help them run the game they want, seamlessly integrating into the 13th Age rules.
I dont' think I've ever read a RPG campaign book from cover to cover before but I couldn't put this down and it was all I could do to stop myself from dragging my friends out of work during and running it for them straight away.
I bought it recently to kickstart a new campaign, and I started reading it. I am not a huge fan of "megadungeons" but this is so much more. It's a very dynamic meta-environment, which the GM can adapt and shape to his own ideas. I can't wait to run it for my group!
The challenge of this book is how to write (again) about dungeons from a fresh and novel point of view.
I appreciate a lot the courage of the authors that decided to face this very interesting self-challenge, but I think they didn't succeed.
At the end, what is left by this book is a kind of repository of dungeon ideas from which you can quickly pick a piece of a pre-cooked dungeon when you are in a hurry and (perhaps) low on inspiration. Well... I think there are a lot of available resources (on line, other printed adventures,...) for that.
I don't think "another" dungeon book was so sorely needed and the twist that they triad to put on this fails to cast a really different light, making it fresh and novel.
I'm not fond of excessively large dungeons, so I shouldn't have been interested in this at all, right?
Luckily I've been reading a few reviews about this, so it soon became clear that it's not your typical mega-dungeon, at all.
While a considerable amount of the page count is taken up by a description of about a dozen quite distinct dungeon levels,
the real focus is on providing context and motivations for PCs to delve into the dungeon repeatedly.
What I liked best about it is that thanks to the excuse of the Stone Thief being a living dungeon, the maps aren't fixed.
The dungeon's layout is fluid and each of the described locations contains suggestions on how it may change between visits.
And this is in a word _brilliant_! It also happens to match my preferred GMing approach to a tee.
The layout and organization of the book is also outstanding: everything's cross-referenced, and there's a big index with additional information.
It's telling that I found myself wishing there was even more content (extending it to cover the heroic and epic tier).
The system-seller for 13th Age.
This is one of the best adventures I have played and the best Megadungeon I know of.
First of all, the adventure is not linear or railroaded at all; the writer has provided a number of hooks and paths and opportunities; the campaign can be run in a number of different ways.
In a similar way, the DM can freely connect the sub-levels (each of superb quality) for maximum flexibility in telling a unique story, PLUS he can add other published material with no effort, because of the nature of the dungeon.
This adventure is a staple inasmuch it uses in a very conscious way the specific features of the 13th Age system, in particular the Icon Relationships system.
The creativity of the writer shows in a number of ways. The plethora of new fantastic magic items is stunning. The villains are many, and every one is very well designed. Easter Eggs everywhere. But first and foremost, the witty style in which this Moby Dick of an adventure is written makes the DM willing to read it for the pure fun of it.
A Masterpiece. If you play 13th age, YOU HAVE TO PLAY THIS ONE UNIQUE THING!