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WK0 Night of the Mad Kobold (PF)
Publisher: Cut to the Chase Games
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/24/2015 14:15:44

If you are a player, please do not read the review as it contains spoilers

This short adventure is intended for 1st level players and is presented as a prelude to a trilogy of adventures not yet published (but successfully funded through Kickstarter). The PCs start the adventure in Cresthill, a town run by Gnomes. The mad kobold, Rinklo, has taken his hatred to the next level and is using his alchemical knowledge to build bombs powerful enough to level an entire building. After one such bomb goes off near the PCs location, Errick, a gnome captain of the guard, asks help from the characters as he is short staffed due celebrations going on in town. If they accept, they can start the investigation by examining the remains of the building and asking questions around. They discover that a suspicious man, identified as a disgruntled guard by Errick, has been seen hanging around the abandoned building sometime ago. They easily find the man and after probably a brief fight, he gives up and reveals that he is involved with Rinklo and also gives up the location of the next three bombs to go off, but he does not know anything more than that. The characters must hurry to catch up with the kobold and prevent all the bombs from going off.

The adventure has a great background story. It is also generic enough that it can be set anywhere in any campaign. Contrary to many short modules, the antagonist, Rinklo, had a string influence growing up and he is a good antagonist for low-level characters. I really enjoy the idea of having a race against time to stop the kobold from completing his plan. A time table has been provided to help the GM know what Rinklo will do next and at which location he will be. This definitely helps to avoid the pitfall of having the characters follow a railroad adventure. The method to keep track of time is elegantly simple and makes the GM’s task a lot easier. Instead of calculating movement in minutes, it is calculated in time segment. Kudos for making it simple! It is also remarkable that combat is not the way to succeed here. Yes, Rinklo will fight if cornered, but his plan can be stopped without a fight. Or course, Rinklo will fight, but his bombs can defused without fighting him. The adventure presents three major NPCs with a well developed background story: Captain Errick Kelver, Bren Kapesh, and, Rinklo. It is easy to understand their motivations and it makes it easier to have them interact with the characters. These are, in my opinion, the strong points of the adventure. I am very details oriented and I noticed a few points that I feel could have improved the module greatly. The first thing I noticed is that the town of Cresthill does not have any stats. Since the adventure does occur over the course of one night, we may not need to have the stats, but I think it would have been good to know the ratio of gnomes vs. other races. There seems to be an interesting social situation where half the town lives in poverty. Does this have an effect on how they view the gnomes? Do they feel like Bren and given the chance would turn on the gnomes? The module does not cover that.

When the adventure starts, the characters must examine the first place that was bombed. Although some indication is given on how to handle this, it would have been nice to have some modifiers for some of the clues based on class and/or race. The checks are based solely on Perception which I find a bit easy as someone without any kind of expertise could find important clues by rolling a high score. That part of the adventure also confuses me a little as the adventurers do not have much incentive to investigate. Or course, they are adventurers, so they probably will agree, but some group may refuse to get involved. One of the hints is a note revealing that the gnomes will pay for their transgressions, but the first building targeted is an abandoned fishmonger shop. Even a kobold as mad as Rinklo would see that this does not hurt the gnomes much. Unless this is a very busy street or it hurts the Kelver family somehow, it may throw off the characters a bit if they focus on figuring out why that particular building was targeted. Contrary to the other locations, it does not seem to be tied in any way to the Kelvers.

Bren Kapesh and Rinklo have combat stats, but we do not have their ability scores. So, if a spellcaster wants to cast Ray of Enfeeblement on Bren for example, we do not know how much this will affect him. Of course, we can deduce that he has 12 or 13 strength based on the bonus on damage and attack. It still would have been nice to have this information. Likewise, when the characters confront Bren, he is helped by a few thugs. His stats are the same as the thugs. Considering his role and the fact that he is described as being a heavy drinker, I feel it would have been appropriate to create a different stat block for him and apply the sickened condition to reflect that he has been drinking.

The race to stop Rinklo truly starts once the characters question Bren. The locations are described briefly and the mean to defuse the bombs is explained. This part is quite good as it is. I do feel however that a few things are missing. While he is in Cresthill and until he can put his plan in motion, rinklo must have been residing somewhere. Although the adventure is designed to be a race against time, players may want to look for the kobold in his lair. It would have been nice to have a small lair with maybe a few other kobolds waiting on Rinklo’s return. He is described as a fiery speaker, so he may have enlisted a few other kobolds when he left. The lair may even contain hints to the last location of the bombs which is not only hard to deduce for the characters, but not necessarily obvious based on what the characters know or can learn.

Another thing that would be interesting is to have a few optional events that the characters may have to deal with throughout the chase. If they are making good time, these could have been used to make things more interesting. Should the buildings get blown, there is also no explanation as to how the inhabitants of Cresthill react. Buildings being blown up and possible casualties will surely create some unrest among the people. This is not covered in the adventure. It would have been nice to have some kind of population reaction scale that would go up if characters fail to stop one or more bombs.

As for the bombs themselves, they are not too hard to defuse but I feel that they are way too powerful for 1st level characters should the party make a mistake, 20d6 of fire damage with no save is pretty tough even for high level characters. GMs should be careful with this. There are ways to diminish or avoid the damage, but a careless or unlucky group will surely result in a TPK if a bomb goes off.

Lastly, the epilogue explains what happens at the end of the night and how captain Errick reacts should the characters succeed or fail. There is however no mention of how the rest of the population or the ruling family reacts. It is hard to believe that should all the bombs go off, people will not ask question, that no one will wonder what happened. I understand that the GM can easily adjust events and that it does not impact the adventure, but it would have been nice to have a few notes in regards to consequences.

Overall, it is a good adventure. Despite all my comments, the adventure achieves what it sets out to do: be a prelude to something larger and cover a one night chase against a mad bomber. Any GM can alter it based on their group’s actions and preferences. I still think the bombs are too powerful for a 1st level party and that a few more events would greatly improve the adventure, but it is still a pretty nice adventure with a very strong background and interesting NPCs. I would not recommend it to a beginner GM however as I feel, some adjustments are needed, but then again, it may just be me being too details oriented. I look forward to the next adventure in this series!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
WK0 Night of the Mad Kobold (PF)
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B10 Night's Dark Terror (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2015 12:59:03

This adventure uses the Basic Rules set of D&D and serves as a bridge between that set of rules and the expanded rules of the expert level.

After a well detailed background of the adventure and several tips on how to play the game using the wilderness, the characters start the adventure by being offered a job as caravan guards for a group of people selling horses.

When they arrive at the homestead of the horse merchants, they are taken right into the middle of a battle between the inhabitants of the homestead a several goblin clans. After spending a long night helping the defenders of the homestead, the characters will be asked to help recover the horses that the goblins captured during the siege. As they explore the surroundings of the homestead, the group will encounter many dangers and find clues that other homestead have been attacked by goblins. Encountering a few survivors, they learn that the guy who hired them has been captured by goblins. During their exploration, they have the chance to meet a chevall (a shapeshifting centaur) and if they help him, they can learn where the goblins are hiding and eventually, what happened to Stefan, the one who hired them.

As they rescue Stefan, the leader of the kidnappers, an agent of a secret society called the Iron Ring and mastermind behind the goblin attacks, manages to escape. As they accompany Stefan back home they learn that he was interrogated about a magical tapestry that he suspects is in his homestead. Back at the homestead, Stefan is intent on piercing the secret of the tapestry using a strange magical needle with a golden thread. The tapestry reveals the location of the Lost Valley of Hutaaka, home to a legendary people thought to no longer exist.

Stefan hires the characters to accompany him on his exploration of the valley. On the way, the group has another encounter with Golthar, the man who escaped them previously, and they have a chance to finally deal with him.

When they reach the valley, the characters realize that it is still inhabited by the Hutaakans and their former slaves, the Traldars. Both groups are at war with each other while trying to survive the horrors unleashed by their incessant wars. Tips are given to run that last part of the adventure no matter which group the characters choose to support, if they choose one. They can even play the Yojimbo game and use eahc group's hatred of the other to their advantage. Once one group becomes dominant, it will try to eliminate the characters. The adventure ends whenever the characters are forced to flee from the valley or choose to leave.

The rest of the module is dedicated to suggestions for further adventures, tips on running the adventure, a rooster of npc's and monsters as well as bestiary.

Until I read this adventure, I remembered my days of playing the game with this set of rules as my very first introduction to the game and I remembered how I instantly fell in love with it. In my memory, the rules were simple and the adventures straight to the point. I never played this adventure before and was not aware of it until I picked it up recently and started reading. Between now and then, 30 years have passed and I played several iterations of the game. Reading this I feel like the game has become quite complicated. Everything in this adventure is as good as any other, more recent adventure. You have many locales to explore, a complex plot, a villain that become a nemesis, wilderness encounters, rules on how to deal with wilderness adventuring and much more! this is a great adventure and a classic in my opinion. It uses a rich background and into details. It is impressing how many elements have been crammed into this adventure compared to more recent ones with even more pages.

With little effort, a GM can adapt this great adventure to any system using none or all of the information provided herein. If I was not already deep into an adventure path, I would definitely adapt this adventure to Pathfinder!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B10 Night's Dark Terror (Basic)
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B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
Publisher: AAW Games
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2015 09:56:49

This adventure starts with a one background to introduce the main villain and the reason why he built this tower. The background contains enough detail to satisfy most players who wish to use their knowledge, but can be easily expanded if you want to make this adventure a part of your campaign.

Follows a few adventure hooks and then we get to the first part of the adventure covering the journey through the desert. Advice is given to make the journey interesting and three encounters complement this section. Two of these encounters are quite helpful to provide a bit more information about the tower if the characters are able to help the young nomad in distress. In the event that they fail, they can still get the information from the nomad tribe, but they are a bit less helpful. If you used random encounters before these two encounters, the nomad camp provides a good respite and chance to rest for the characters. The third encounter is more typical of desert encounters and does not provide any more details on the adventure background.

The rest of the adventure covers the exploration of the tower, the inhabitants, the traps protecting the tower and of course, the main antagonist. This part of the adventure is quite deadly in my opinion. Not many rooms are devoid of danger: they either contain traps or creatures. Options are provided to make the adventure even more deadly. Having the main entrance blocked after the characters enter is a nice one and prevents the group to stop and rest after each encounter. However, using the option to have the tower sink below the sands after a certain amount of time makes it one giant trap. Unless you are confident your players can navigate the tower easily and efficiently, I would not recommend this option.

Overall this is a nice desert adventure with very interesting traps and opponents. It is straightforward by desing and it is also what makes it easy to use in pretty much any campaign. I liked that although the traps are difficult, there is often a way to deactivate them after they are sprung. The characters need to find the hidden lever. Sadly, this is only for the first level of the tower, the traps on the other levels cannot be deactivated with a lever. That being, said a group without a character that deal traps will have a very hard time in this adventure. These traps can also be reset by the mephitis and the invisible stalker serving the master of the tower. It would have been nice to know how seriously they take this responsibility. The tower is supposed to come out of the sands every 60 years... So, some indication on how often they reset the traps, or if they patrol to check on the traps would be helpful. I assume it is left to the GM's discretion. If the characters fall back on the lower levels, you can always decide if the traps have been reset.

Besides this, the encounters are well detialed and the information is presented in a way that a GM can run this adventure without much preparation and without searching through books. Each encounter provides a fair amount of treasures, more than I usually give my players, but this can easily be adjusted.

A nice tough adventure!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
B19: Tower of Screaming Sands
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Purple Mountain II: Ruins of the Dwarven Delve
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2015 09:35:50

The second level of the Purple Mountain mega-dungeon looks quite nice and fun to play. It has challenging encounters and I like that not everything is out to kill characters, unless they make them angry :-) There is a good use of the environment during fights and I like the diversity of the opponents. What I really enjoy however are the notes left by the designer. Having a table with a list of all the encounters, locations, and experience points, as well as quests that can be accomplished is something I would like to see more often in an adventure. There is also a list of treasures with their value and where they can be found. It helps a lot to plan on game! The module itself is well-designed and will most likely be very challenging.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Mountain II: Ruins of the Dwarven Delve
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Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven (PFRPG)
Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2015 09:26:30

This is a short adventure that can easily be played in one session.

**Spoilers** After a caravan goes missing, the characters are hired to find the missing goods and missing villagers that were in the caravan. After interrogating the only surviving member of the caravan, the characters go looking for the culprits. A few random encounters are provided to bring a bit of excitement during the trip. The characters find the caves where the hobgoblin bandits hide and during their exploration, they find that the walls bear strange runes in many places. As soon as a necromancy spell is cast (which is bound to happen when fighting the hobgoblin cleric), Tyrkaven cultists, cursed by their dark god to become zombies, become aware of the presence of others in their cave, and they swarm forward to investigate, killing anyone they encounter. The characters will have to stop them before they reach outside and assault the village.

Although I did not play it yet with my group, this adventure looks tough for 2nd level characters. The introduction and conclusion are very short and to the point, but that is expected in such a short adventure. Depending on your style of play, if you like to have details and stats on everything, get ready to develop the village that serves as the backdrop to the adventure and some NPCs. However, the goal of this product is to provide you with a pre-made adventure, and that is where it delivers very well. I like that while fighting the hobgoblins, the adventure takes another turn and zombies start pouring out of the deepest part of the caves. The mysterious glyphs on the cave walls are also a nice touch even if their main purpose is to serve as a warning that not everything is right. The only thing I would have liked to see is a bit more detailed on the Tyrkaven-cursed zombies. We have a lot of information on how they became cursed and how they will react when they become aware of the presence of others in their cave complex, but when looking at the builds, you will notice that they kept a fairly high degree of intelligence and that they are very fast (their speed is 50 ft.). They have a scream special attack and their leader as the same abilities as a fighter of about level 5. However, we do not get a template for Tyrkaven-cursed zombies or a short sidebar to explain how they differ from regular zombies. While this does not prevent anyone from running the adventure and one can assume that the curse of Tyrkaven made them so, if you want to expand the adventure, it would have been nice to have at least a simple template.

That being said, I still think this is a good low-level adventure with enough details to be expanded in an even bigger adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven (PFRPG)
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Deadly Delves: Quests of the Sands (PFRPG)
Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
by Martin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2015 15:45:44

This book is a collection of 6 short adventures (around 4 pages each including map) that are intended to be inserted in an adventure path set in a land similar to Ancient Egypt or they can be played on their own.

Each adventure contain enough details to be played straigth from the book with the only exception of a few adversaries taken from different bestiaries. Overall, the adventures are interesting and well written. The maps supporting the adventures are nicely done and the I really liked the haunts as they were original in design.

Of the 6 adventures, 3 have a mummy (or mummies) as their main challenge. So, if mummies are not your thing, then I would not recommend this supplement. However, the adventures cover a fairly wide range of levels, so even if you play them as stand alone adventures, you should not bore your players with a variants of the same monsters.

This is a nice supplement, I recommend it for every GM running a desert/egyptian campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadly Delves: Quests of the Sands (PFRPG)
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