Looking Over Dungeon Delve: Deific Heart of Magma


It's still just cover art

Premise

An ancient dragon has been destroying the towns built around its volcano lair during the volcano’s nightly eruptions, so the party is tasked to defeat it.


Good

The first idea for expanding the adventure, that the party discovers they can’t actually kill the dragon until they deal with a hidden power source advancing it towards godhood, is nice.


The retreat condition for the efreeti is welcome.


The sidebar for portraying the colossi gives them some interesting flavor.


The set-up in area 3 with the dragon trying to drain the essence of the divine aspects to empower itself is cool.


Salvageable

The battlebriar’s, nagas’, colossi’s, balors’, and dragon’s auras should have flavorful descriptions when they have detectable effects.


Unless getting the players to laugh at childish drivel is desired, give the dragon’s lair a better name than “Death Mountain”.


If the dragon could use the magic item in its hoard, the dragon should use it.


Bad

Dragon or no, why are people staying on a volcano that erupts every night? Wouldn’t the ash and lava drive them all away pretty quickly? How many towns are built on this volcano that the dragon’s attacks can be a known recurring problem and yet the party can intervene “before more towns are destroyed”? Having a premise that’s marginally more sensible than The Silence of Evil doesn’t make it good.


The typo in the second idea for expanding the adventure (“perhaops”) seems to show how much everyone involved just wanted to wrap up the book instead of doing good work.


The second idea for expanding the adventure is adding one encounter. The third idea for expanding the adventure is adding more rooms for reasons that the GM has to invent for themselves.


If a rock surface is hot enough to glow red, it’s damn well hot enough to deal damage.


Are the bodies on the tile art supposed to be random dead bodies, or are they supposed to represent something else? They’re ignored completely in the text, as are the textures that I’d expect represent difficult terrain.


In what world are the nagas artillery-type creatures when they’re best equipped for dealing melee damage and have about twice the durability of the brute-type meant to guard them (or, to frame it another way, they each have about 85% the raw durability of the dragon at the end of this adventure)? I understand their chance to hit with their melee attack is worse than their ranged options, but it’s not worse enough to end up with lower excepted damage output when they get five melee attacks per standard action.


Why is there an environmental effect to lower resistances to elemental damage in area 2 but not in area 3? Why is this information buried in the “Features of the Area” text and not given any indication in the boxed text? Why do I still insist on taking this adventure seriously?


Overall

Well, this one is a step up from The Silence of Evil, though not by much. It still has a senseless premise, several issues with flavor throughout, and a bizarre lack of effort that leaves me wondering why I’d want to bother with using the adventure at all.


Admittedly, the trapped angels that the dragon can consume to heal and recharge its abilities is cool, but that’s not enough by itself to make me care to think more about the rest of this.


All in all, it’s disappointing that the last adventure in this book, one featuring a dragon that’s trying to become a demigod, is filler, and not even good filler at that. At least it has a few bits worth stealing for use elsewhere.

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