5E Mini-Dungeon: Carrionholme (5e)
This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.
Since this product line’s goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
In the center of a swamp, a hag-coven in service of Jubilex has created a complex inhabited with slimes and molds – including wandering black puddings. The complex very much is a solid theme-dungeon, yes. However, at the same time, it is not “sunken” – at least the text never mentions any swim-checks, water-depths of intrusions of swamp water – which is a pity, for some terrain-tricks would have helped to set this dungeon apart.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.
Jonathan Ely’s Carrionholme has an evocative title, cool adversaries and a premise I enjoy. At the same time, it does something the format, alas, has no room for – waste words. The reference to other swamp-dwellers unrelated to the complex is pretty long and eats the words that could have been used to provide the unique terrain-features this dungeon practically demands. So, dungeon in the middle of the swamp…why is there no water? No mud? Quicksand? A component of decrepitude, of decay? This mini-dungeon could be so much more unique. As written, it could be literally anywhere and lacks the component that anchors it as a complex as a unique dungeon. While not bad in any way per se, the overall experience of running this one proved my points valid – without modification, it is generic; add some terrain and you get awesomeness. The conversion by Kyle Crider is solid, but unfortunately didn’t add much regarding the passive Perception mechanics herein, which, considering the power of the foes and traps, could have made this work better in 5e than in PFRPG.
Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.
You can get this mini-dungeon here on OBS!