Supplement Review: The Vile Worm by Jimm Johnson and Jeff Lynk from Brave Halfling Publishing

So once you’ve killed broken in a few 0-level DCC RPG characters via The Ruins of Ramat from Brave Halfling Publishing, why stop there?

The next logical step is to slaughter get those new 1st level characters into another adventure! Thankfully Jimm Johnson and Jeff Lynk from Brave Halfling have just the thing… The Vile Worm. The name alone evokes interesting imagery in my mind, from the bizarre film The Lair of the White Worm to a more Shakespearean-themed dramatic insult such as “Thou craven ill-bred worm!” (inspired by the Shakespeare Insult Kit). As far as dungeon crawling goes, I fully expect to see a classic Purple Worm or Carrion Crawler from D&D creeping around some old dank dark hole…

The Vile Worm - Brave Halfling PublishingWhat can you find in Johnson & Lynk’s worm-inspired dungeon crawl? Well, without spoiling too much, I have to say right off the bat that not everything is as it seems. And yes, that’s a bit contrite, but I think the module encompasses all of my various imagery from my previous paragraph quite nicely. From a NPC pretending to be something he’s not to a Lovecraft-esque worm waiting for a new morsel to snack upon.

This is another short adventure – a mere 14 pages (10 pages of content plus two covers – one in color and one in B&W) in digest format or 7 pages (6 pages of content plus a cover) in full 8.5″ x 11″ pages – but I have to say that I’m liking the short form module. It provides enough detail to help a GM get into the functional bits quickly without beating around the bush. The color cover was done by Andy Taylor and the interior art was done by Taylor, Mark Allen, and Steve Zieser. Allen also did the great map and two player handouts that offer wonderful imagery from the various rooms, characters, and encounters the PCs will interact with. I still think the map should be part of the book (though small I think it would still be usable), but I understand why it was kept separate. Ultimately it boils
down to the art being too gorgeous to shrink. 🙂

The story itself has almost a fable quality to it, involving an old hermit in the woods alone with his pets communing with nature… But we all know about appearances being deceiving, right?

My one beef with this module is the explanation of how to use the player handouts. There are two pictures. The first is mentioned in the description for Area 1, which makes no sense considering that what’s pictured doesn’t get seen by the PCs until they get to Area 2A. And what’s labeled as Player Handout #2 really should be listed for Area 1. So I think these were just mis-labeled or put in the wrong order somehow. Handout 1 is really #2 and #2 is #1. Just reverse them and it makes more sense.

The text itself is well-written and I even learned a few new words like symphylan and cnidarian. Finding new words in gaming materials always reminds me of my time reading the AD&D 1st edition PHB & DMG with a dictionary by my side as a kid.

One word of warning… This adventure isn’t for the faint of heart or the squeamish. There are definite horror aspects mixed in with the fantasy elements here, so keep that in mind. And there’s a good chance the recommended 8 to 12 1st level characters may become worm food by the end. So if you’re looking for an easy adventure, you’re in the wrong place!

But overall another great adventure from Brave Halfling. May any who enter the lair of The Vile Worm survive to tell the tale!

For more information about The Vile Worm and Brave Hafling Publishing, check out…

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