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Designed by: Darren Steele and Daniel Hodges
When I see a one-shot adventure, I expect one of two things: a self-contained side trek that can easily be dropped into my ongoing campaign, or a simple but fun one-off for new or side PCs to tackle in between our main campaign.
With an ambitious arcane-punk city setting, “The Wizard’s Egg” tends more toward the latter. There’s a bit too much lore and world-building involved in a one-shot but the heist is effective and the ovoid laboratory is a memorable and neatly designed dungeon to tackle for Tier 1 PCs.
“The Wizard’s Egg” is set up similar to a Shadowrun mission: PCs get hired by a fixer to infiltrate some corporation and snatch a MacGuffin. In this case it’s less a smash and grab and more a find and explode. Some E-drives have been stolen, and Wave Ex would rather take down an entire laboratory than risk them falling into their rivals’ hands.
That laboratory happens to be a giant egg suspended between skyscrapers. Once the PCs make it past the electric fence checkpoint, they can hang out at the nearby restaurant to scope out the different means they have of getting inside: the vents at the top, the garbage chute at the bottom, or simply fight their way through the guards at the entrance.
I love a heist that affords multiple options for the PCs, and gives everyone a chance to shine. The egg dungeon does a fantastic job of doing just that, with trapped doors, poison gas, riddles, levers, ooze garbage disposals, and a con artist of a wizard whom the PCs can befriend, blackmail, or eliminate.
Hopefully the PCs continue with the plan of placing explosive charges on the E-drives, because it leads to an exciting action-packed finale as they have to escape the egg while it explodes all around them, using a well-detailed rules system that breaks down the action into a series of non-combat skill challenges.
Combat is the biggest time sink in Dungeons & Dragons and I’m glad to see it used sparingly in a mission that’s described as a heist and a one-shot. In fact if the PCs play their cards right, they could make it through the whole adventure without lifting a sword, or they could smash and fight their way through half the dungeon.
The three-dimensional dungeon design of the egg helps sets this adventure apart and make it a memorable heist, though I would have loved to see some adaptations and options for making it setting-agnostic. I may be interested in running the heist but less enthused about learning the finer lore details and technology level of this world.
- Interesting heist design with multiple entrances, challenges, and traps.
- Multiple appendices with helpful tables, deeper PC relationships, level scaling, and a lexicon.
- Excellent skill challenge breakdown for creating an exciting non-combat action climax.
- Setting up the unique arcanepunk city of Pindus for a single one-shot is asking a bit much.
- The three quarters cut out map is great, but lacks top down battle maps for VTTs.
The Verdict: “The Wizard’s Egg” crafts a memorable mini-heist adventure within an interesting ovoid dungeon design.
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