Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:07 PM
A note to designers. Technical flash is great, but make sure there's some substance to back it up, AND that you're not getting in over your head. If CM had done this, the scenario would have been far better off for it. Knowing the premise of the scenario, I went in excited, and came out rather disappointed.
The plot is supposed to be about Mobsters in Melliput. That's why it's called Melliput Mobsters, because the main villains are the mobsters. Of Melliput. If you're aware of the RSC, then you also know that these are supposed to be nephil mobsters.
Only, we don't really get a feeling for anything mobstery. Instead, the whole thing feels like your bog-standard generic evil secret society. They don't have motives, they don't have much of an agenda, they just are. Which only really cuts it if you're dealing with some abomination Man Was Not Meant To Know. There's a book tucked away that expounds a bit on what they're doing, but there's a reasonable chance it could be missed if the party isn't thorough in exploring the city. 'Course, character motives all around were pretty poorly explored.
Anyway, it's pretty straightforward. There's a twist you can see coming a mile off, but I won't spoil it in case there's a slim chance you might be surprised when you see it.
Combat balance felt spot on. Admittedly, it felt at times like the designer was throwing random monsters at me, and he certainly seemed to have a fondness for splitting monsters, but everything felt good for a L10 party.
Other than monster splitting, there's not much in the way of unique challenges or battles. It is, for the most part, pretty much hack and slash all the way through.
Oh, right, loot balance is off, as I believe other reviewers have already mentioned. There were enough magic items and sellables coming in that I could practically fill a swimming pool with the amount of gold I was getting (I'd estimate around 10000-15000 gold total, WAY too much for a scenario of this level and size). I was able to kit out (what amounts to) one full priest, two lesser priests, and a full mage with every spell this scenario had to offer, while still having cash left over for a rainy day.
This is where the scenario suffers the most. Town design is okay, as is outdoor design, but various graphical glitches mean that things such as walls and doors are interspersed with massive blotches and blocks of white space, amongst other problems. Dialogue is also bland, unappealing, and sparse; trying to get more than two sentences out of any NPC is akin to pulling teeth, and every single NPC is nothing more than a two-dimensional cut-out there to either sell you things or advance the plot. Likewise, the dialog box writing is short, spartan, and often somewhat awkward. The designer clearly meant for there to be an air of exploration and discovery, yet there's no atmosphere or flavor to encourage it... almost everything is painfully plain and bland.
The designer was clearly in WAY over his head. You can see half-finished and buggy things like the casino and hotel. You've got the aforementioned graphical glitches. And most of the technical wizardry is in places that doesn't really need it. If he had applied even half of the effort he had put into the casino and hotel into making better content, this scenario would be much better for it.
SUBSTANDARD. Might be worth a look, but one hopes that the next scenario CM makes learns from the mistakes of this one.