Citadel of the Corruptor Review
by Grant Howitt
Citadel of the Corruptor is a 4e-compatible adventure module for level 5 characters, published by Goodman Games.
This supplement is a dungeoncrawl, and unashamed of that fact; there is a brief moment of plot with a couple of handfuls of railroading, at which point the fighting starts and doesn't stop for a good long while.
But it's not strictly by-the-numbers hack and slash - there's exploration, discovery, horror and glory to had as well, in what adds up to a pretty solid supplement.
The story focuses around a fallen citadel recently occupied by a variety of monsters following a dwarven attack with the evil chemical Mindfilth gas. Our heroes are tasked to avenge the fallen inhabitants and put an end to the dwarves and their wicked schemes.
It makes a nice change from duffing up the undead, punching demons and the like - and the chance to battle an enemy whose evil motives you can identify with is certainly refreshing. There's also a mix of other enemies - orcs, ghosts, shapeshifting piles of goo, giant frost bears - to keep things interesting.
The stat blocks for all enemies are presented on the same page as their encounter, so there's no awkward flipping between pages or even books; you can run the entire thing without referencing another manual, which is blessing. The other production values are solid, too, with original art and maps for all locations.
The writing, though, leaves a little something to be desired; the flavour text seems dead, with no flavour being imparted with the information. A GM should never feel embarrassed to read out what's been written, and paraphrase be damned - if I've paid money for a product I expect to be able to read out the parts I'm supposed to be reading out.
The plot is delivered a little heavy-handedly (but this is a dungeoncrawl after all, so it's not a huge complaint but something of note) and the names of monsters and locations are often hard to pronounce or comedic. For example, the Leysahrid is a tearing storm summoned by the Ekkjavetr (a race of ice witches) which drives the players into a fight with a fearsome orc tribe known as the The Groot; and this is only the first encounter.
I'd recommend practicing your pronunciation of the difficult ones before you start, and possibly changing the name of the orc tribe so you have something other than "GROOOT!" to shout out during the opening encounter; Frostblood, for example.
Aside from the rather dull text, the fights are well-planned and orchestrated and are easy to run and fight. If your group is less concerned with character interaction and more with kicking in doors and breaking heads, this is a fantastic product and well worth your time and money. For those looking for a little more intrigue and choice in their games, it could get a little samey after a while.
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