Friday, 24 March 2017

Dark Waters - the denouement

I played the second chapter of the 4AD programmed adventure Dark Waters.  Following on from the first chapter, the brave party of adventurers had now to descend into the depths of the flooded caves under the pirates' hideout looking for the gold statue of Tezany of which they had had a tantalising glimpse before it had been whisked away.  Unlike Chapter 1, this was actually a standard 4AD roll-the-dungeon adventure but with appropriately themed aquatic monster and special features tables.

The underwater caverns of Dark Waters

I will not dwell too much on the details of the adventure.  Suffice to say, the party explored the largest cavern system of their careers to date.  A high spot was meeting and defeating a Sea Hydra (a tricky Level 5 weird monster which grew attacks as it lost lives) before progressing through several rooms, hitting a dead end, doubling back to the Sea Hydra room before meeting a wandering monster.  This was, you've guessed it, another Sea Hydra.  The party then progressed north through a series of interlocking corridors before coming across the Final Boss, being the Avatar of Tezany, the Shark God, with 8 cultist minions.  The fight was hard but bloody to begin with, until Zandemar remembered he had discovered a sleep wand early in the adventure, which he promptly used to on the Avatar.  Having defeated the Avatar and recovered the gold statue, the party worked its way out of the complex with little trouble. All the characters had levelled up to Level 3 apart from the cleric Flandrian who had got luckier and made it to Level 4.

I am afraid I got a little bored with this one, although this was partly down to the roll of the dice which meant I met quite a lot of monsters and not very many special features and no special events.  It's really these elements that add to the story of the game as there is a chance of a clue or being sent on a quest and these seemed lacking in Dark Waters.  I am going to explore whether I could use a solo roleplaying game engine to add something to 4AD for the last two games in the 6 by 6 Challenge but I think this may be a bit of a gaming dead end.  Having said that, you may need to be in the right mood to play this game in order to be prepared to fill in the story telling gaps which makes this more interesting.  I will have to see!


  1. I had a much different experience with Dark Waters; I ran into the main boss in the 6th room. I agree that the game can get a little boring if it goes too long. For me, the sweet spot is 10 -12 rooms. I've been playing with smaller grids in order to end the game sooner.

    1. I've been following your mods to 4AD with interest. I'm thinking of experimenting with one of the sole role-playing engines (The 9Qs) or I might just keep it simple and roll a quest at the beginning and see where it takes me.