Friday, August 25, 2023

Review: Temple of the Wurm

When I saw the cover of this book, with player characters drooping and flopping like melting Salvador Dali clocks. I groaned.  There's no way I'm going to like this adventure.  Then I read it, and I was surprised. It's odd and cool and felt like a Cthulhu Mythos excursion without a deep one or squid face in sight.

Remember people, adventure reviews are for referees.  Don't spoil yourself, players.

You could say this adventure is "high concept".  The players explore an alien temple where many spells, traps, and alien attacks can make them two dimensional, collapsing to the floor like silhouettes and able to slither up walls and ceilings.  There are also effects that can reverse the dimensionality in the other direction, making the players 3-dimensional, or adding additional dimensions, moving the player character through time or into the higher dimensions.  It has the potential to be very weird.  Note:  there are no Dali clocks in the adventure, although time can become twisted; if anything, some of the locales in the alien dungeon have a circuit-board quality with flashing lights that brought to mind a 2-D character entering the movie Tron.

The situation is fairly simple - people are disappearing near a lake.  A likely hook is the missing son of a fisherman and a request to poke around under water - he was taken.  There is a cave in the lake, leading to an air filled dome and the entrance to the temple proper with the warring two-dimensional aliens.  If the players are resourceful and can learn how to communicate with the aliens, there are opportunities for roleplaying and alliances - there are even factions, and a terrifying predator ("the wurm").

It's hard to rate how this adventure would handle during gameplay without a playtest because of the strangeness, and there could be a wide range of outcomes depending on whether players learn how to communicate with the alien factions.  My guess is it would be a hoot (a technical term).  It should make for an interesting challenge having combats where some characters are 2-dimensional, others are 3-dimensional, and monsters are similarly shifting in and out of different phases.  There are also areas that can only be reached having a 2-dimensional scout opening up exploration avenues leveraging dimensionality and letting players exploit their new states.

As an avid reader of Lovecraft and all things Cthulhu Mythos, I couldn't help but notice how this adventure taps into vibes similar to From Beyond, or The Mountains of Madness, and the idea there are older, stranger races just beneath our feet or just beyond our ordinary senses.  I think it's quite likely players returning from Temple of the Wurm will forever mistake moving shadows or flickers just outside of their peripheral vision as the 2-dimensional explorers invading the realm of the 3-dimensionals.  I would certainly take advantage of that ambiguity to create fear and uncertainty.  "Have they found us again?"

The author of this one is Alucard Finch.  It’s digest sized, 48 pages, with great layout and art.  It's not tied to any specific LOTFP time period or setting, so could be placed in any type of campaign.  That's been a theme with these new releases so far, they've featured dungeons that could work both in a LOTFP setting and in a heroic fantasy setting where the referee is willing to play into 'the Weird'.  It's available at the LOTFP EU webstore or here at DriveThruRPG:  Temple of the Wurm


  1. One of the flaws of LotFP adventures has been the setting IMO; it doesn't fit with my campaign or any D&Dish campaign that I've been involved in. The other flaws are the whole "nega-dungeon" thing, and the "Haha, you opened the red door and blew up the campaign world".
    Also "Alucard Finch" has got to be a pen name.

    1. ..."basically 15th-16th century Europe" can't be made to fit into any D&Dish campaign you've been involved in?

  2. About 200-300 years out of time.