The second adventure for Chaos Scar is out. The backstory to Den of the Slavetakers is pretty confusing: you have gnoll slaver(s) that are actually using their slaves for
"death rituals" whatever a botched witherling is instead of selling them, a halfling packing a meteor shard that is using it to create fucked up homunculi (for some reason), and myconids that are being drawn to the shard and want to take it and destroy it...I guess. I mean, they're taking their time on it, to be sure, but they'll get around to it when the plot calls for it. Or not. I dunno.
The default hooks are either going into the Chaos Scar to rescue captured halflings and/or being hired by a temple of Avandra to bust up Torog's cult. Simple and straightforward, which is fine considering that the encounter composition is batshit random. There's just no theme or sense of consistency going on here.
First, there arent gnoll slavers, there's just one gnoll with one arm. He fancies himself the Hand of Torog, and spends his time playing watchdog during religious ceremonies (that are held I have no fucking idea where) instead of actually participating. Actually, he gets to play watchdog with a mutated arbalester that is kept chained up for no reason that is made apparent.
Second, the map looks pretty artificial, which normally wouldnt be a problem except that I dont know if its supposed to seem that way. From what I gather, its "naturally formed"...with thin walls, level floors, stairs (of all things), and doors. If its worked, I want to know how, since halfling and gnolls arent exactly known for their masonry.
See, I dont mind the squared off walls and whatnot (much easier to map by any means), its the rest of the crap that doesnt work for me. There should be more difficult terrain, uneven sections, lack of doors, and for the love of fuck where are all the slaves? Even if they're all dead, where would they keep them? There just isnt any room for them. The entire dungeon layout looks bad, reminding me of the worst aspects of Rescue at Rivenroar and/or Keep on the Shadowfell.
Finally, the end attack where all of three myconids show up to fetch the shard is also pretty damned weak. Like, a fungus tower comes crashing against the cliff, and then a trio of shrooms clamber up and...well...dont do much. I'd have liked to see the insertion of minions or something to make it seem, I dunno, grander.
Why not have the dungeon be a lost fane of Torog that was revealed after the meteor crash, seeing as he's an Underdark god and all? Actually, you could have just as easily gone with all myconids that are serving the shard (or something of a better level that also likes to live underground). What if gnolls were kidnapping people, and the party show up only to have most of the gnolls and slaves gone and discover that myconids erupted out of the dark and dragged everyone off? Could add a horror element to the adventure, and add some consistency to the plot (like, gnoll slavers...plural).
The general concept of Chaos Scar has be intrigued. Stick in the Mud really had me going. This? This grinds that interest to a halt, and drops a fucking bomb in my car. I have absolutely no interest to run this. Luckily Chaos Scar is designed to be very open ended so my players can skip it...or I can just rework it with my own ideas and call it something else entirely.