The D&D adventure Journey to the Rock has a reputation of being really bad. It’s not as infamous as The Forest Oracle or Castle Greyhawk, since it’s just really bland and forgettable, but it’s really bad.
The party takes one of three different paths to get to the Rock. So they’ll only get to see one third of the adventure. Because when they reach the Rock itself, it only has a single room inside. Which is a giant empty room. 240 by 350 feet with a 350 feet dome. On one wall are seven chests and four statues. The statues will attack the party, but only if the party is strong, has most of its hit points, and most of their magic still available. Otherwise they are just normal statues. There is a stupid puzzle and if the players pick the wrong chest, they are teleported out the door and have to go back empty handed. If they pick the right chest with the MacGuffin, the quest giver will teleport them back to his house. That’s the whole adventure.
But it has backstory! Which is just ridiculous.
Many thousands of years ago, a great magical city was under attack by forces of Chaos, and when things started to look desperate, the rulers decided have two of their best escape the city and go into hiding until they could continue the fight. To make sure one of them could not reveal the identity of the other if captured, the two were given their mission secretly and not told who the other person was. But the two would be able to find each by being given two halves of an amulet that would make them both immortal and grant them great magical powers to fight Chaos, but whose magic could not be used by anyone else.
Eventually all the people of the city were banished to another dimension and the city itself was forgotten.
One half of the amulet was hidden away in a secret chamber in the Rock. The forces of Chaos learned that one half of the Amulet was hidden in the Rock but couldn’t get to it, so they laid a spell over the entrance that would prevent its owner from going inside.
Now this millennia old immortal wizard decides he needs to get his half of the amulet from the Rock to find the other immortal who escaped from the city so they could start finding a way to rescue their people from that other dimension. And to break the barrier that has been preventing him from going inside the Rock himself, he hires 6 to 8 adventurers of 1st to 3rd level.
Actually, his servant hires them. The wizard himself never comes out of his laboratory and does not reveal anything about who he is, what the amulet is, and what he needs it for to anyone. The players will never know any of that and it has no relevance to the adventure at all. Which is a good thing, because it makes no fucking sense!
As in the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the person producing this should have immediately been sacked. And the person responsible for sacking him should also have been sacked.
I do like the cover, though…
5 thoughts on “This has to be the most ridiculous adventure premise I’ve ever seen”
I have a lot of irrational love for Journey to the Rock. The cover, interior illustrations and premise, however poorly executed, really speaks to me.
I like the basic idea of a multiple paths pointcrawl wilderness journey leading to the dungeon destination.
And I like that low level characters aren’t level-barred from dealing with Big Matters.
That’s the skeleton I like. There is a lot to re-work to make it good though. The Rock itself is a vast disappointment and should be expanded.
Since Lirdrium is an entirely backstage character, I’d probably make him something like the last immortal of Tuma and Temlin his champion. And put some more “time and place” restrictions on access to the rock. Temlin can’t go there, too connected to the banished exiled immortal (or maybe he is himself the last Tuman), and only has a small window to recruit someone else to do it (similar to how Tuma only appears now for a brief period, because the magic laid on it has weakened over the ages). There, fixed.
The amulet being simply to find his colleague is also a bit meh. It’s the key to undoing the curse, of course.
The whole “first they took the people, then the city” is also a bit weird. I think I’d put the city inside the Rock, as a place of exploration like the appendix suggests. And have the citizens basically be victims of a Mass Imprisonment spell that happened together with the whole “shift the city into another dimension”.
Also, a word for the pre-gens. Strongest character, ST 17, is the frigging halfling.
Also, the city still exists. The North Trail leads through its ruins. So it wasn’t actually banished to another realm?
The idea with multiple paths to the dungeon could work if you have a dungeon that is so big that the players will have to make the journey back and forth three or four times at least. If the first path becomes too much trouble, perhaps because the party stirred up the locals in previous encounters and they increased their patrols and defenses, then the players might want to try out one of the alternative paths.
This adventure assumed the players are going to be teleported back to the start once they reach the Rock, which makes the whole thing pointless.
But now that you pointed that out, I really need to properly Jaquays the overland map for the West Marches I am working on. A big river system as the main transport and travel path is great, but by itself it’s only branching but never looping. The ability to get around obstacles on alternative paths is the main draw for me about loops.
Bei “dem Schwarzen Auge” gibt’s auch lächerliche Abenteuer, die binnen einem Wochenende geschrieben wurde (Werner Füchs hat es gestanden). Es gibt auch gute (und auf deutsch geschriebene) Geschichten, die für Sword and Sorcery passen würden.
This module, while not good, kicked off the entire wider story of our campaign! I think the backstory has a lot of potential directions it can take a party. in our campaign Tuma was transported to another plane to escape the forces of the Master who needs both amulets and the radiance in order to bring it back. After a 7 year campaign the characters have just started red arrow black shield.
Yeah, the idea is not a bad one. Just that it has not reason to be printed as part of this adventure at all.
And the wizard waiting a thousand years before he starts thinking about starting the first step of his mission.