It's review time! I ordered Death Love Doom and Monolith From Beyond Space and Time from Noble Knight, read them, digested the contents for a week or so, and now I shall spew forth what I think.
I am a Raggi fan - I like the sense of nihilism in his modules. So naturally I like these. There is one thing I absolutely do not like about his products though - tiny little books with tiny little type. There's a concrete reason why - presbyopia. Do you know who gets it? EVERYBODY OVER 40. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it's going to. Dammitall, your audience is getting bad eyes, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, and the tiny typeface in the tiny books really sucks, because you can't read up close, and you can't read it held farther away when the letters are so small.
So I hate the physical presentation. On to the modules. Spoilers abound, so skip if you're planning to play these.
So I ordered Death Love Doom despite Jim's warnings about the controversial content. It's really not all that grotesque, although why all the tormented people decided to rip their clothes off for the art I don't know. I'm not sure I can run this for my players, because a lot of the tension here involves being drawn in to care about what's happened to this innocent family. My players epitomize murder-hobodom, and I expect it would be endless looting and ignoring anything not immediately hostile, possibly followed by arson. Which is a fun way to play, but treating this adventure that way just makes it a grotesque home invasion.
I have no concerns about their ability to follow the clues to the necklace that I've seen in other reviews - mutilated people are running around shouting about it, it seems kind of hard to miss. If you just flee out of the house in horror, yeah, you'll never know what happened.
The only part of the module I'd change is the bit where they get to decide the value of the necklace if they go to destroy it, they'd go for millions. Of course the chance that they actually try to destroy it instead of pawn it off on unsuspecting yokels is zero.
The set up for the module is a house where the family hasn't been heard from in days, and some thieves want to break in. So it's pretty easy to dump wherever you want - no involved hooks or geographical issues to worry about integrating into an existing campaign. I might try running it for my players if less than a full group shows up - that way the tension will rack up due to concern for their own physical safety, if not for the NPC's.
The other module I purchased was The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time. The cover art looks interesting to me, but my family disagreed - there were many, many comments about "radioactive doodies". Eventually I had to stick the book on a shelf where they wouldn't notice the cover, because the long involved stories about the how's and why's of radioactive doodies became overwhelming.
The adventure itself is pretty cool. I don't see the problem with railroady bits that other people have mentioned - my players would be completely stoked to have the ability to fall asleep near someone they don't like, and presto, you wake up and problem is solved. I have no respect for characters' integrity and back-stories though - I regularly inflict weird bodily changes upon PC's. This is just upping the stakes a bit.
The only part I really didn't like was the owls. First, the shrubs were stopping players from leaving - the only way to leave was when the DM felt that enough dramatic tension had occurred. What the? Story-game balogna that makes no sense, and really is the opposite of old-school. The other thing about the owls that stank was the slow degradation of spellcasters. Your magic-user saw some owl statues, and now you're screwed, and there is explicitly nothing you can ever do about it, nor was there any way to avoid it. It's "weird", but it doesn't really sit right, it isn't a result of any player actions, it doesn't make playing the character more interesting, just gimps him... This is apparently some fellow name Kenneth Hite's work, but James had editorial control here, so boo hiss to this part.
The rest seems like it'll work pretty well. The monolith requires a "sacrifice" to leave, but presumably the "sacrifice" character will become one with space and time. Or perhaps a henchman will want to become one with space and time. Or the monolith can just be left open, which is how I expect my players would deal with it - because having light-surfers murder their well-guarded opponents would be very tempting. Or they exit onto another world and try to find their way back home the "back way". Players are creative, and there's a lot of them, I don't see a little thing like an extra-dimensional monolith keeping them from their murder-hobo ways.
This is pretty creative, James had mentioned it being his interpretation of a D&D "artifact" level magic item - which it performs wonderfully as.