Monday, June 09, 2008

The Dungeons: Crypt of the Moaning Diamond by Rosemary Jones

Ivy is a Mercenary from "The Siegebreakers", a company brought in by the Thultyrl to bring down the city wall of Tsurlagol after it is invaded by an orcish chieftain named Fottergrim. The city could easily withstand a siege, so there are only two choices: go in over the walls, incurring a great loss of life, or try to bring down the wall. To that end, Ivy and her group have been brought in.

In addition to Ivy, the human leader of the group, there is Mumchance the Dwarf, Zuzzarra the female half-orc, her half-sister Gunderal, the water Genasi, and Kid, a goatish-looking Tiefling who has spent most of his life enslaved by and to mages. With them comes Captain Sanval of Procampur, a member of the Thultyrl's army, and someone that Ivy both likes and wants to irritate, as he is extremely correct and always impeccably groomed, while she always looks as though she slept in her clothes and barely touched her hair.

When Sanval comes with Ivy to check on the course of the passage her group is tunnelling beneath Tsurlagol's walls, she tells him that Gunderal has been calling all the water in the area to the space beneath the wall, making the ground softer and easier to undermine. However, when the tunnel collapses and traps them all in the maze of passages beneath the walls, they must hurry to find the way out, for the passages are filling with water, and they don't care to be drowned.

But they aren't the only ones in the tunnels, and there are hints of a great magical treasure concealed within the tunnels, a fabled stone that has sonic powers great enough to destroy the city and bring down all the walls at once. With no choice but to go forward because of the rising waters behind them, they are entrapped by a wizard once second in command of Fottergrim's forces, who is in search of the Moaning Diamond for himself, and who will use it against the forces of the Thultyrl. Can Ivy and her company outthink and overcome the wizard, when their own mage is nearly sidelined with a broken arm, making her unable to cast all but the simplest of spells, and all the rest of them can only rely on their wits and weapon-arms? Or will they be trapped inside by the rising waters, and become food for the monsters that ceaselessly prowl the depths?

It took me a bit of time to get into this book. The author's style wasn't my favorite at first, but before very long, I was enjoying the book immensely as it carried me along as if it was a raging river. And that's about the pace it moves, too, as the characters dare not rest for very long, with the waters rising about them, and the siege of the city threatening to end with the attackers going over the walls in less than two days if the Siegebreakers cannot bring down the walls.

The book is enlivened by the characters, who are not the usual band of mercenaries, but sell themselves out to gain money to support a farm full of foster children and animals. Sanval, while he appears straight and almost too stiff, is interested in Ivy, and Ivy, deny it though she would, is equally interested in him. The two half-sisters, by turns bickering and supportive, and the Kid, not knowing his true parentage and yet amazed by the support he finds in this not-family family.

This is adventures the way they should be, and as such, I would recommend this book to any DM or player who enjoys D&D. It's too good not to.

1 comment:

Rosemary Jones said...

Thanks for sticking with it. Insightful review :)

Rosemary Jones