Review: Rite Publishing – Coliseum Morpheuon

Product Name: Coliseum Morpheuon
Publisher: Rite Publishing
Author: Clinton J. Boomer, Jonathan McAnulty
System: Pathfinder
Setting: Coliseum Morpheuon
Theme: Epic Fantasy, Gladiator
Type: Adventure

Coliseum Morpheuon is more than just an adventure module for Pathfinder. It is an entire setting taking place on the Plane of Dreams, written adventure, possible mini-campaign, and possible full campaign setting. The setting is beautifully detailed with an excellent array of adversaries, NPCs, plot-hooks, encounters, and the Gladiator events themselves. The publication is filled with fantastic illustrations, maps, and an easy to read layout. Even if you don’t use the Gladiator events or the overall Gladiator games, the content is filled with so many more ideas that you are almost getting 2 full publications in one with loads of potential for exciting adventures and thrilling campaigns.

The Coliseum Morpheuon Gladiator events are written for 16th – 20th Level characters and could be thought of as a playground (not just a sandbox). There are given events that are supposed to occur at given times, but the time in-between can be spent playing anywhere throughout the playground doing virtually anything the GM or players can imagine.


Coliseum Morpheuon begins with an introduction and a majestic look into the Plane of Dreams. Multiple locations are eloquently described in a brief but colorful format. The Plane of Dreams can be a wondrous and dangerous place at the same time and every description brings those ideals to the forefront. Included in this description are the possible hooks for GMs and players to use explaining how entrance could be made into the Plane of Dreams.

While the source material presented in this section is grand, there are some mechanics “hidden” throughout that almost seemed to be buried in the descriptions. While it’s a good way of describing the stats related to the setting, it makes things a bit difficult to reference quickly when you need to grab that specific bit of information related to an adventure or campaign being run. I would rather see these specific stats noted in bullet form or at least given separate entries. Regardless, it does not detract from the overall value of this first chapter.


What good would the Plane of Dreams be without incorporating your dreams? The new mechanics presented in the next section (and referred to several times throughout the entire publication) refer to how a character’s, PCs and NPCs alike, dreams come into play within the setting, their in-game effect, and how to use them to gain an added edge during virtually any encounter.

Adding to these new dream mechanics are traits related to the Plane of Dreams, new dream-related actions, and some alternate mechanic methods. Adding to the previously presented source material, these new mechanics aid in the dynamic use of the Plane of Dreams and how to take full potential of the setting.


There are two chapters dedicated to a listing of the adversaries and NPCs found throughout the Plane of Dreams and the Damnation Epoch Gladiator games. The NPCs contain beautiful illustrations while only one of the possible creatures are illustrated. The lack of illustrations is mostly a moot point as the creatures found throughout the setting are based around the already published creatures offering a handful of minor to major differences in how they “look and feel”. While this may seem limiting, it actually puts a lot of possibilities and ideas into the hands of the GM to develop their own adventures or campaigns using bestiary they are already familiar with.

Not all of the creatures are straight out already published material, and these newly created creatures are wonderfully described including all applicable stats, abilities, and an explanation of their mannerisms. These few creatures could benefit from illustrations but the listed descriptions help to paint a proper picture.

The NPCs are very 3-dimensional including all proper stats and abilities but also including their associated Plane of Dreams mechanics and tactics. The major NPCs include illustrations, repeated throughout the publication, that exhibit the highest of quality. Even if you do not choose to run the Gladiator games, this section continues to enhance the already valuable material previously found.


The bread and butter for this setting of the Plane of Dreams is the island of the Coliseum Morpheuon. There’s more to the island then a simple gladiator amphitheater. There is an entire city with an established society filled with merchants, thieves, residents, and secrets… lots of secrets, 38 to be exact. Of course, these are only the secrets listed in bullet form, not the secrets that can be extracted from the source material and NPC descriptions. On top of this list of secrets is a list of plot-hooks which can easily be developed into the overall storyline and purpose for why the PCs desire to win the Gladiator games.

While this may seem mundane, it’s actually a very important piece to the adventure module as the storyline is meant to be flexible with numerous possibilities and a multitude of different endings. The outcome and the non-planned encounters are dependent upon the storyline devised by the GM and followed by the PCs. It’s like playing on a playground, not just a sandbox. The lands and surrounding societies are decently described and offer many options to how these possible plot-hooks can be played out from where they occur to who would be involved.

Embedded throughout is the full description of the actual Coliseum, which in itself is a collection of structures designed to support the Gladiator games and the participants of those games. These are duly important to the storyline and understanding the written adventure module. Again, another huge collection of source material for this adventure and virtually any possible adventures or campaigns.


Here’s where the Damnation Epoch is fully described. This includes the history, summary, and possible storylines surrounding the Gladiator games. These storylines are a deeper look at the Gladiator games and how the already introduced NPCs would come into play. They are well presented, but a little short and could benefit from more narrative descriptions. The good part is that they are all relatively flexible and can be combined with out plot-hooks and story arcs to create a very unique feel to whatever game-type the GM is trying to establish.

Enhancing the incorporation of the NPCs is the idea of benefactors to the Gladiator games. The benefactors are the NPCs that sponsor the PCs for the purpose of winning the games and achieving some type of higher purpose. Again, these ideas play into the storyline and you can start to see how the overall story arc is developing. This method of presenting bits and pieces of the story in a modular format makes the setting extremely flexible and a unique storyline can be created over and over again giving the PCs a different experience each time. The rival teams for the games are also introduced here with two of them being fully detailed and fleshed out in the Appendix. The other teams are left to the GMs imagination in creating 3-dimensional and dynamic opponents.


If you think the Gladiator games is the only focus of the setting, then you’re partially wrong. The PCs are not allowed into the games until they can prove themselves worthy. That’s where the invitation comes in. The PCs are faced with a number of encounters they must overcome before gaining the opportunity to enter the games. Some of these encounters occur outside of the Coliseum, some of them inside. Plus there are bits and pieces of information the PCs can gather in-between the encounters.

While this is a prerequisite for admission into the Damnation Epoch, they can easily be used as encounters for any adventure or campaign found within the Plane of Dreams, although the encounters are written for high-level PCs. I find these encounters a great lead-in to the Damnation Epoch, giving the PCs a taste of what difficulties they may face throughout the Plane of Dreams. All of that source material and creature presentations come to life within these trials.


There are two different types of encounters found during the Damnation Epoch: ones that directly effect the games and ones that are side-encounters. The side-encounters are mostly social in nature but could easily involve small amounts of combat, if so desired. These are the tests of the Coliseum Morpheuon in how the PCs interact with the NPCs and the major members of society. While not being required, they do have possible in-game effects and can drive the storyline in different directions. This is done by possibly acquiring extra gold, allies, or allowing the players to demonstrate their PCs mannerisms.

The tests of the Damnation Epoch are the actual Gladiator games, 10 total. These are the encounters the PCs must make it through if they wish to make it all the way to the end and win the grand prize. Many of these encounters utilize the different Fantastic Maps created for Coliseum Morpheuon while others are simply fully described. I found some of these descriptions to be a bit confusing at times, especially those without an accompanying map. While this could make more sense by simply drawing the described layout on paper or a battlemap, I found myself reading through them more than once to grasp how the encounter was being run.

This is the adventure module and the purpose of the Gladiator games, and they are awesome! I really liked these different tests as they combine strength, strategy, endurance, and skill. They are all put-together extremely well and will definitely test the limits of the PCs and the players.


Secrets of the Coliseum Morpheuon is an interesting title as it actually presents possible storylines and daily encounters besides the ones listed for the Damnation Epoch, using the plot-hooks previously presented. While these are possibilities for the GM to use, they are by no means the only possibilities. This chapter is the one that brings everything together. An extremely valuable tool for GMs to create whatever experience they and their players desire.


There are three appendices found in the Appendix section. Two of them are dedicated to fully introducing and detailing the two adversarial teams found throughout the Gladiator games, while the third is a group of pre-generated characters found within other Rite Publishing publications. The best part of having these in the Appendix, is how easy they can be quickly referenced for use within adventures or campaigns outside of Coliseum Morpheuon. The illustrations here are a bit cartoon-like, but I still like the style and appreciate their existence and the full color. These two groups can also be found in the Paper Minis release for Coliseum Morpheuon.


I can’t help but say great things about Coliseum Morpheuon. The publication is very professional and I absolutely love the illustrations. New mechanics, setting details, new adversaries, new NPCs, and maps, this publication has it all! There is so much value found throughout that no matter what you don’t want to use, there is bound to be piles and piles of information that you will find very useful.


Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
There are a few spots where the content doesn’t match-up, but it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the publication. The illustrations are phenomenal, the layout is smooth, and the content is easy to read through the majority of the time. I would like to see less statistic presentation and more narrative descriptions, but all the details are properly covered.

Content: 10 out of 10
I usually rate the storyline for an adventure module. Because Coliseum Morpheuon concentrates on the encounters while giving the GM the ability to determine the storyline, I’m going to rate the content instead. Easy to summarize, the content is a valuable part of this publication. There is a plethora of source material concerning this Plane of Dreams, an abundance of new adversaries and NPCs, wonderful maps with a virtually endless number of uses, and enough plot-hooks to create an entire campaign within this setting. Just reading through the material I was easily able to visualize full campaigns starting at 1st-Level or simply plugging the Gladiator games adventure into an ongoing campaign. The publication itself has a huge amount of re-playability and a ton of valuable content usable for mountains of different adventures and campaigns.

Desire to Play: 8 out of 10
As much as I like the Gladiator events and the colorful setting, the possible storylines presented throughout are listed as plot-points while I would prefer to see more narrative description. This could prevent a potential storyline from becoming dull. While the Gladiator events are great strength, skill, and endurance challenges, I would have liked to see more options for how to conduct the events or at least written so that the GM can make some of their own tweaks to make the events unique to coincide with how the players enjoy running their PCs. However, I still find the ideals of the Gladiator events to be quite exciting and a great deviation from the standard types of encounters often found throughout published adventures and campaigns.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Overall I highly recommend Coliseum Morpheuon. Not only for the Gladiator events but for the wealth of source material presented throughout. Along with this there are great new mechanics for GMs and players alike pertaining to the Plane of Dreams that could make any adventure or campaign more colorful. Rite Publishing has done an excellent job of bringing together a collaborative publication that can serve as a sourcebook, adventure, mini-campaign, or full campaign.

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