Tuesday, February 25, 2020

An Occurrence at Howling Crater Review

"If The Hills Have Eyes had a baby with Plan 9 From Outer Space and let the baby do crack in a space ship, you'd get An Occurrence at Howling Crater."

Yes, I have a Howling Crater barf bag. You should be jealous that you don't.
An Occurrence at Howling Crater is the second grindhouse 5e adventure from PX Games.  The above quote is a pretty good description of the module. In game terms I'd say the adventure is Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, if the titular peaks were replaced with the sun blasted valley from The Hills Have Eyes. Mine doesn't have quite same oomph though. I mentioned the adventure is grindhouse so I'm sure you're asking, how so? Well, like Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride, the adventure contains a section with tropes and rules to emulate the genre.

Sometimes, when I do these reviews, I go into the minutia of encounters, monsters, magic items and other things that can be encountered in it. I'm not going to do that with this one. While the elements do crossover there are two big parts to this adventure.
Want some vittles?

First you have the crater itself and the horrid irradiated mutant cannibals that call it home. This isn't just The Hills Have Eyes. This is the super twisted remake and sequel. These mutants have horrifying mutations. I'm going to give a short except of what is probably the most sickest of the mutants, Momma Opal:

Momma Opal herself is an immensely obese woman, barely clad with a thin, stained smock, with 8 bruised, veiny, fatty breasts hanging loose, up which she is suckling both a pair of  young mutated babes, as well as selections  from the family's sickly-looking livestock.

Did I mention that she shoots acidic milk from her teats as an attack? No. Must have forgot that part. This really does set the tone for the encounters with the crater folk. They're nasty, vulgar, and unforgettable. Another example of this can be seen in the Bone Tomahawk tribute. Luckily, Levi didn't include any redeeming qualities in them, so your murder hobos can (try to) slaughter the lot with no regrets! Once the adventurers make their way through the town of crazy cannibal mutants they will enter a crashed ship.

The ship is controlled by an evil entity that speaks to the leader of the cannibal clan. The ship is full of strange tech, weird aliens, and robuts! It's a change of pace from the blasted hellscape of evil the party just fought their way through. The fights are tough and the party's ingenuity and tenacity will be challenged. There are some great homages to classics in this section too, such as The Thing.

If you like crunchy bits, this adventure has pages of new items (magic and technological), diseases, and monster stats galore! There's awesome a custom character sheet and a contract for your players to sign (to keep you free from liability when their characters die).

The layout and art is top shelf stuff! While it's all great, the Skullfungus pieces are my absolute favorites. I can't get enough of his work.

I think this adventure is pretty fucking sick. Levi definitely has some issues. Only a twisted deviant would enjoy it. That's why I give it three thumbs and a glowing tentacle up! Seriously, this adventure is just a blast to read and I can't wait to run it. It's not for everyone, but damn the folks that "get it" are going to go nuts.

When the book is available to the public, I'll do a post about using it and Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride in the established WotC settings (or at least Forgotten Realms and Eberron).

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