Ruins of the Undercity (Review-ish)

This has been a while in the making. I've been really slow about getting these review-ish things posted. Part of this is because I'm a Bi-Polar loon. Well, no, that's all of it, really. So, without further ado....

Review-ish Thing #1: Ruins of the Undercity

Ruins of the Undercity is a small form factor Labyrinth Lord supplement by Kabuki Kaiser available both as a PDF from RPGNow for $5.00 (US) or as a printed softcover book from Lulu for $9.90 (US). Ruins of the Undercity is essentially a love letter to Appendix A of the original AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide (Random Dungeon Generation). It provides all of the tools that you will need to randomly generate the titular ruins of the Undercity, treasure tables (including rules for campaign-specific artifacts), and a healthy series of random encounter tables that heavily reference the Labyrinth Lord monster catalog (listing page numbers therein for reference). Now for my sole (and petty) criticism....

This latter thing makes using Ruins with systems other than Labyrinth Lord a little inconvenient but, to be fair, it is billed as a Labyrinth Lord accessory. This said, I wouldn't mind seeing a future printing of Ruins that includes basic stats for all of the creatures inline (things like HD and AC, which can easily be converted between the various old school clones with a bare minimum of mental math). Sure, this would boost the page count quite a bit, but it would also make Ruins a much more useful supplement for those of us using clones other than Labyrinth Lord. Worth noting is that some monsters specific to the Undercity setting are detailed in Ruins itself.

Rounding out Ruins are some basic rules and tables for wandering into the city of Cryptopolis that sits atop the Undercity (e.g., a shopping list, detailed rules for interacting with merchants, random city encounter tables). These aids taken with the Undercity generation tools do provide a basic framework for a solo dungeon-crawling campaign or can be used to randomly generate dungeons for use in a multi-player game (for the former, you'll want to roll up things on the fly to preserve suspense but, for the latter, I highly recommend generating a sizable chunk of your dungeon beforehand).

In conclusion, I feel that Ruins of the Undercity packs a lot of play potential into a relatively slim package. I don't personally play Labyrinth Lord (I currently plan on using it with Darker Dungeons and Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game), so I've had to put a little bit of extra work in to get the most out of Ruins of the Undercity, but it has been worth it. Ruins of the Undercity is a worthy successor to Appendix A and a fine product made available at reasonable prices.


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