It’s hard to find quality high-level RPG adventures with interesting stories that don’t involve visiting the Abyss, killing a demon or becoming a deity. Rite Publishing’s Coliseum Morpheuon for 3.5/Pathfinder offers an entirely new look at the Plane of Dreams, filled with tangled plot threads, bizarre characters and a nightmarish contest called the Damnation Epoch.
It’s inadequate to call Coliseum Morpheuon an adventure or a module. At 127 pages, there’s a lot to explore. It’s not quite a full-fledged campaign setting, but it does present a range of locales in the strange Plane of Dreams, populated by the creepy Khan of Nightmares and a host of other creatures who could be allies or foes. There is a specific adventure contained within the Khan’s realm as well, so you can make things open-ended or just run through the encounters.
There’s a very nice modular rules add-on that you can plug in to a campaign that visits the Plane of Dreams. The system gives each character a set of aspirations, hopes and goals which can be traded, sold, stolen or burned off for various mechanical benefits. It’s a nice integration of theme, role-playing hooks and crunchy power boosts.
At the center of Coliseum Morpheuon is the Coliseum itself. The Khan of Nightmares controls this arena, where he holds regular contests and challenges. The winners receive lavish prizes in the form of other people’s dreams, while the Khan rakes in vast sums as the promoter and venue owner. These are not your basic gladiatorial fights, though. The arena’s structure is subject to the Khan’s control. It might be an icy lake set up for a naval battle for one contest, a haunted mansion filled with dark and twisted corridors the next.
Every 100 years, the Khan holds the Damnation Epoch, the grandest of his grand games. This contest pits teams of intrepid adventurers of the utmost skill and power against each other in hopes of winning the fabled Cup of Desires, a vessel of dreams that grants 100 wishes. Your party can be lured to the Epoch by the grand prize, and the ten challenges presented by the Khan and his assistants will keep them plenty busy. There are several subplots to explore as well, as the PCs interact with the Khan’s callous brutality and strive to uncover the plane’s darkest secrets.
Coliseum Morpheuon strikes a wonderful balance between fluff and crunch. There are rich plot hooks aplenty, and you get deep background information on the plane and its denizens. Alongside, you’ll find stat blocks for dozens of characters, thumbnail sketches of the teams competing in the Epoch, and full stats for two other teams. There’s even a section filled with pregenerated characters in case you’re dying to visit the Plane of Dreams but don’t have a party high enough in level yet.