Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Warden – Doom on the Warden [Metamorphosis Alpha]

Doom on the Warden

Author: James M. Ward
Publisher: Goodman Games
Page Count: 48
Available Formats: Print + PDF – $29.99

Doom on the Warden is Goodman’s Games’ latest release for 1st Edition Metamorphosis Alpha. It is written by the game’s creator James M. Ward. It pays homage to Gary Gayax’s Tomb of Horrors Tournament Adventure—an adventure where a gamemaster can challenge their advanced players. It is designed for six to eight experienced characters with a familiarity of the Warden and an arsenal of artifacts. The adventure takes place on the mythical Level 0.

The adventure is designed to seamlessly integrate into an existing Metamorphosis Alpha campaign or run as a tournament module. The players will find themselves on the edge of their seats for Doom on the Warden is a horror story—strange encounters, secluded locations, hostile creatures in shadows striking without warning, and death could come at any moment. Each region on Level 0 has its own flavor of horror, filled with dangerous flora and fauna of the mutated kind. If the characters can survive long enough to discover the secret of Level 0, they stand a chance of taking control of the Warden.

The adventure begins when the PCs discover a hatchway ascending the flue of a chimney. Once inside, after a moment of disorientation, the hatchway alters in orientation, becoming a narrow walkway—a vast forest of colossal trees and two-head forest creatures in the distance. Once on Level 0, players will have many locations to explore that exhibit unique and lethal challenges. The lethality of the adventure is inline with the Tomb of Horrors. Expect a fairly high body count if the players don’t play it smart. At any point, a bad decision could kill a character or the whole party instantly. A careful, thoughtful approach is needed to survive.

The adventure provides a hex map of Level 0, noting numbered encounters. The map provides a basic overview of the level, and gamemasters are left to fill in manicured walkways, rivers, and paths for players to follow. Level 0 is vast, with 18 miles from stern to aft and approximately 14 miles from starboard to port. Each region on level 0 has its own random encounter and random device table. Other than the encounters noted on the Level 0 map, all other encounters are left to the gamemaster to create. The adventure’s length is only 30 pages, with the remaining 18 featuring pre-generated characters for tournament play.

The lethality of Doom on the Warden makes it a great adventure to run as a tournament module. Appendix A, at the end of the adventure, provides guidelines on how to speed up play. Players get to choose from three types of groups to use: human, wolfoids, or mutants. The first group consists of pure strain humans from the Vigilist tribe, which dates back to the first Metamorphosis Alpha campaign run by James M. Ward. It’s a homage to Gary Gygax’s village of the Vigilists, a village started by him as a player. Vigilists seeks to regain control of the Warden and put it back on course. The second option is to play as wolfoids from Epsilon City. Through ancient texts, the wolfoid group has learned of Level 0 and wishes to take control of it and the ship. The third option is to play as a group of mutants coming together from various parts of the ship to take over Level 0 and to gain control of the ship from the humans. There are eight pre-generated characters for the wolfoid and mutants. Humans have one, but human characters are quick to generate.

Doom on the Warden is available on Goodman Games’ website as a letter-sized hardcover book with a PDF. The book looks like a hardcover children’s book. Its demure page count is the likely cause. Most publications with a short page count that doesn’t require an extra sturdy binding are finished as a paperback. It’s odd to see such a thin hardcover. The cover features a beautiful full-color painting of the deceased captain of the Warden at his post, seated in this command chair by artist Stefan Poag. The interior is black and white with fantastic line art one has come to expect from Goodman Games. The layout matches other Metamorphosis Alpha game supplements, keeping with an old-school vibe.

It nice to see Goodman Games continuing to support 1st edition Metamorphosis Alpha. It’s been a few years since any new material from them has come out. Doom of the Warden is a great addition to the line. It is super deadly and will challenge the most seasoned player. It works great as a tournament module with minor adjustments for the type of group running through the adventure. Make Doom of the Warden part of your Metamorphosis Alpha collection. Just don’t mix it up and accidentally read it to your children at night, or you’ll never get them to sleep unless you TPK their characters early.

~Stephen Pennisi

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