If you hired Tim Burton to write a Dungeons & Dragons adventure but asked that he write it from the sadistic persona of someone like The Joker and to not take things too seriously then you might end up with something like Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon by Luciella Scarlett. This product is beyond high fantasy. It is a departure from your run-of-the-mill deathtrap. When I put players through this adventure I envisioned an entrance not unlike the one below.
Tim, if you ever read this, please consider writing a D&D campaign for me.
Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon
Writer: Luciella Scarlett
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length/Inclusions: 21 pages
In this “highly obnoxious” dungeon crawler you will send some 3rd level characters through a funhouse dungeon designed by a lonely beholder. You may be wondering why on earth (Toril?) any player character would willingly enter a danger that practically has death written all over it. As a matter of fact, when the players approach this dungeon they will see two signs. One reads, “Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon,” and another reads, “Treasure and Excitement this way!” I think that second sign answers the question as to why anyone would enter this place. Adventurers do nothing if not seek treasure and excitement.
How Will This Murder Dungeon Play?
As I made my way through this adventure, I started thinking it would most likely be an adventure for clobbering baddies and avoiding traps. That’s mostly true. But there is enough roleplaying opportunity here to keep things interesting. This is my second time looking into something from Luciella Scarlett. So far, her adventures are filled with whimsical and preposterous situations. It makes her unique and fun. If I told you this adventure had a huge rubber duck that fired lasers from its eyes you might think I’m exaggerating. But you’d be wrong. Giant Rubber Duck has 153 hit points and does 2d8 lightning damage with those eyes!
The beholder who built this dungeon did so not simply to kill adventurers. Yeryl designed his dungeon to entertain the adventurers. Some deadly encounters in the dungeon are avoidable. Some you can talk your way out of. And still others require logic and puzzle-solving. Beholders are evil aberrations. But that’s not to say they don’t long for friendship. Luciella has taken a unique approach with her big bad evil guy. Yeryl is a paranoid beholder but the characters do have plenty of opportunity to roleplay their way out of a sticky situation once they encounter him. But they’d better be careful.
This module is just 21 pages long but it’s mostly written word. The graphics and stat blocks that are included take up minimal space. It’s a lot to read. However, it is not overly dense or even verbose given the volume. You will want to take your time with it though. You want to be well-prepared in the (inevitable) event that your players do something unexpected.
Something else I have picked up with Luciella’s work is minimalism. After the cover page there is exactly one color picture. One of Giant Rubber Duck. There are 4 small grayscale maps that might have been made with Microsoft Excel or similar product. And there are two stat blocks. With this murder dungeon you will not find a zip file of high-res maps or pregenerated characters or anything. It’s just you and the PDF.
I don’t tell you that as a complaint so much as to set your expectations. There is a section for suggested props so if you’re one for arts and crafts you’ll have a good time with that. I, for one, am not crafty so I skipped this.
All in all, this murder dungeon is all about the theater of the mind. Just like the good ol’ days.
Luciella provides you with a couple of straightforward hooks and gets the adventure started right away. Fortunately, there are no red herrings in this adventure, so each encounter is a step closer to getting to the final showdown. In the meantime, your players will encounter everything from ochre jelly to shadow demons and from stuffed animals to troglodytes. And we were especially fond of the animated armors who mock you behind your back. Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon will challenge the PCs and the players as well.
This is an inexpensive module. You won’t get any fancy maps to load up in a VTT and there is no need for a “print-friendly” version. What you do get for the cost is a densely written adventure that will give several hours of play. The author suggests it will take you 7 hours to complete this murder dungeon.
You may want to have your players roll up characters especially for this adventure if you don’t want to put characters who are engaged in a bigger campaign. This adventure may not fit seamlessly into anything else you’re running.
Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon by Luciella Scarlett
Thanks, Luciella, for the review copy of Yeryl’s Super Happy Fun Murder Dungeon!