Tabletop RPG Review: Shadow Under Devil’s Reef

Shadow Under Devils Reef

As I wrote in my review of Dungeon Crawl Classics, the game is what we used to call a ‘beer & pretzels’ game.  Nothing too serious, just something to have some fun with, have a few laughs.  It’s a game that dives deep into the weirdness and goofiness of 1970s Fantasy, and as that, it seems like a blast.

Shadow Under Devil’s Reef essentially takes the premise of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and turns it into a classic Fantasy dungeon crawl.  It presents a small coastal town, shrouded in mists and gloom, where a menacing coral reef lurks in the bay.  A ship with a powerful foreign princess has broken up on the reef, and the PCs rush into action, either to rescue the princess (and get that sweet reward money) or to collect as much loot as possible.  OK. Sure. Throw in mutations, Deep Ones, ancient alien beings, and all kinds of weird stuff and you’ve got what looks like a potentially fun scenario.

The book has a couple wild maps and some pretty good art.  It’s definitely got the feel of something you’d draw in a high school study hall (assuming you’ve got the skills to draw this well).  I like the cover art, too, which has a very 70s Fantasy vibe.

This was Goodman Games’s 2017 Halloween module, and it’s meant for level one characters, though the author does say that players might opt to play four level zero characters per player, so this one might work as a ‘funnel’ adventure.

Having not played or run Dungeon Crawl Classics, I can’t say for sure how this module would actually work, but it seems like a good one.  It’s well put together and concise without feeling lacking. My only complaint, or the thing I’d change if I ran the module is the mutation bit.  It feels more true to the weird style of DCC for the mutations to be permanent, and not to fade after characters leave the influence of the reef.  But that’s me. Maybe your group wouldn’t like that.


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