A Fallen Star for All – Mutant Crawl Classics Module Review

a fallen star for all

A Fallen Star for All is a level 1 Mutant Crawl Classics (MCC) module running twenty pages with nineteen pages of maps, room descriptions or artwork relevant to encounters. This review is based on playing at MACE West game convention in Asheville, NC and my purchase and reading of a physical copy of the module.

The hard copy price is $9.99 and you can get a pdf of the module at goodman-games.com or drivethrurpg.com for $6.99. The hard copy has high quality using good paper and a sturdy cover. Like most goodman-games MCC modules, there are excellent maps of both the wilderness and the underground encounter areas. Unlike some modules, every piece of module art is relevant to at least one encounter. There is no “gonzo art for the sake of having gonzo art.”

The backstory of A Fallen Star for All is a meteorite hit uncovers several surface buildings and entrances to an underground dwelling of the Ancients. The meteorite was highly visible, and the crash started fires with huge smoke plumes marking the crash. These beacons attract every investigatory team in the area. The module has no pregenerated characters and is suggested for first level characters.

The concept is excellent. The premise that many parties swarm the area is logical. Some encounter quirks will frustrate players – but in a fun way. There is some neat technology, utterly useless from a gameplay perspective, that is interesting and mysterious. A Fallen Star for All can probably be played in one longish (say 3-6 hours) or two short play sessions as long as characters are already rolled up.

The remainder of this review has some mild spoilers. The review is intended for GMs deciding if this module will work in their game and some spoilers are necessary for the review. Stop now if you want to avoid spoilers.

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As written the module is unbalanced. First, many other parties are encountered. The number and quality of opponents will probably crush any first level party lacking overwhelming weaponry. The obvious tactical solution upon realizing many other seeker teams are converging is to wait in ambush for depleted parties loaded with treasure. That tactic cannot work due to a bad design choice.

A doomsday explosion is highly likely to be triggered in a room deep in the complex. The explosion destroys the complex and the surrounding area. If the party charges forward, the combat attrition will probably doom them because most opponents are unwilling to negotiate. If they wait to rest up, or set a long-term ambush, the doomsday device probably kills them.

Last, a very late encounter will almost certainly kill one or more characters. This death is so predictable that the module contains a wonderful illustration of the time and manner of the upcoming death ballet.

I have several suggestions for GMs considering running A Fallen Star for All. If the encounter tables and unwillingness of enemies to negotiate are retained, make the party 2nd or 3rd level. Second, remove the doomsday trigger or make it harder to activate. Last, carefully consider if you wish to kill off a party member in an almost certain death situation regardless of how well they play.

In sum, I like the ideas of A Fallen Star for All. The maps and illustrations fit gameplay better than most MCC modules. I would make judicious modifications before running it in an ongoing campaign. Run as a one-shot or a convention game, merely adjusting player levels or equipment would work fine. A successful mission at the expense of one or two player deaths is reasonable for a one-shot or convention game.

Overall, the poor play balance yields a rating of 3 on a 10-point scale if run without adjustments using first level characters. Even with good players, a total party kill may occur. With reasonable adjustments, this module jumps to an 8 on a 10-point scale.

Two final thoughts. First, I dislike doomsday devices wiping encounter areas off the map. Why snatch away the fruits of victory If the group plays well? Second, although my character was the given sacrifice in the certain death encounter, Michael Jones my GM at Mace West was excellent. The pregens were sufficiently powerful to make the module a challenge but not a death trap – aside from my sacrifice. Mr. Jones has one of the most pleasant voices I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to in an RPG. His maddening dialogue as the AI was memorable.

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