5E Mini-Dungeon: The Dragon Queen’s Sanctuary (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 case you were wondering: The original PFRPG-version used an advanced scrag as a boss, while this one uses a young black dragon, hence the changed name of the mini-dungeon.
A couple of years ago, this little druidic stronghold has been overrun by a horde of trolls – now in ruins, the subterranean parts of the complex still remain – and actually manage to provide a concise exploration experience: From oozes to strange, magical rooms to track the movement of the stars – the flavor of an old magical complex is captured well, with the traps and objects complementing the flavor. History and Atheletics are actually useful for once (nice!) and not ignored in the conversion, though I do think that it’s a bit of a pity that mouldy hazards have not been translated. The boss tactics deserve special mention: Attacking from a pool of putrid water and with an actually effective flight plan, taking care of the BBEG of this mini-dungeon is trickier than one would expect…as she escapes in another pool, which is connected to a secret part of the dungeon! Knowledge skills, just fyi, help filling the blanks the PCs may potentially have and yes, the terrain actually *is* relevant in this one. That being said, Kyle Crider’s dragon substitution does make the boss fight slightly less unique than in the original.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 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. It should be noted that here, I have seen the artwork before in another context, but to make up for that, the map’s more beautiful and detailed than usual, which is actually a plus for me.
Jonathan Ely’s venture to the “scrag”…äh, pardon, “dragon” queen’s sanctuary is a fun, inexpensive sidetrek that sports atmosphere, a challenging boss and thematically fitting obstacles. The original mainly excelled via the virtue of the unique boss and, alas, this fascination is somewhat lost in the 5E-version – why not use cool lair tricks here? How to rate this, then? Well…I do think that this conversion loses the unique boss of the original, which is a bit of a bummer. What remains is a nice, module, sure, but also one that could have gone one step further. Solid work, 4 stars.
You can get this nice module here on OBS!