Review – The Titan Attacks

The Titan Attacks! is a single-player one-shot adventure by Luke Russel about stopping a massive war machine from destroying a town.

This is a bit unusual for a D&D adventure, for 2 obvious reasons: First of all, it’s aimed for one player and the GM, although there are ways to scale it for more players, and second, it’s not full fantasy. It’s more of science fantasy, and while many settings have elements of that, it’s not the primary focus. Still, you can fit it in many different settings, including pure fantasy if you lean more into the magic aspects, obviously also science fiction, as well as steampunk et cetera.

The plot of this adventure is that a gigantic war machine, the Nephilim Titan, has risen up from a wasteland and is on its way to (or, more accurately, through) the town of Tarian. The only way to stop it is for a single person to infiltrate it and sabotage it from the inside, as well as kill the pilot.

There is a very strong element of a ticking clock; the longer it takes to stop the titan, the more devastation it unleashes upon Tarian, ultimately destroying it utterly. As such, the player is disincentivized from resting or goofing around, although exploring all of the titan is not a bad idea. The reason for that is that, while the ultimate goal is to kill the pilot, the player can also destroy or disengage various systems: the fusion cannon, stabilizing gyros, energy claw, and power generator. Each of those, besides obvious effects on the titan itself, affect the pilot as well; so while you can probably make a beeline for them straight away, it will be a more difficult fight.

There are a number of new creatures and items included in the adventure, all of them leaning heavily into the technological/mechanical aspect. The enemies are mostly drones and automated turrets, while some of the items interact specifically with them – e.g. a weapon that allows you to hack drones, charming them for a short while.

While I think this is a well-written and fun adventure, to be honest, I don’t think D&D 5e is the best vessel for it. Of course, the author themselves describes it as a 5e-compatible adventure, rather than purely D&D, but there aren’t any variations of it for other systems. I don’t blame Luke for it obviously, I know how hard publishing is, but I guess I just feel a bit like a part of the amazing potential the story has is lost with the choice of system. This is part of a massive discussion about systems alternative to D&D, which I probably shouldn’t go into in this review, but it is a relevant topic.

Overall, The Titan Attacks is a fun one-shot concept – and the single-player focus (or, at least, the low number of players) and straightforward story is also pretty good for new players who want an introduction to TTRPGs.

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