5E Mini-Dungeon: Hobgoblin Lair (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. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains…*drumroll* a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that’s pretty amazing! The dungeon’s number-less version of the map doesn’t come with iterations sans the deceptive “S” denoting secret doors, but at least the trap icons have been purged in these VTT-versions. Still, I wouldn’t be able to use them as is, with the deceptive “S” around…but then again, this is really inexpensive.
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.
Herein, we receive the seasonal home of a bunch of goblinoid raiders led by a bugbear – as such, the place is rigged with an array of basic, conservative traps – and yes, their home does hide an old, Dwarven shrine. The details provided for the rooms per se are captivating, and the boss, a bugbear, is a solid choice for a boss.
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. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art – kudos!
There is a big issue I have with this pdf, and it pertains the argument that I’d try to field for its time-saving aspect – apart from one trap and one monster, none of the hyperlinks actually points to its target. Even though the open 5e SRD contains all those stats for the traps etc. featured, the lack of hyperlink functionality is somewhat annoying and mitigates the “Hey, you have no time, just get this and go play!”-aspect. Formally, the conversion by Kyle Crider isn’t bad, though.
On a content-level, I loathed this mini-dungeon in PFRPG and I still dislike it in 5e – it’s the boring, vanilla anti-gobbo-crawl. I have literally seen this done a gazillion times as a reviewer and while it’s not bad per se, I can improvise more compelling material. Still, for the time-starved GM, this may provide some help, though the hyperlinking hiccups can be a bit jarring there. In short, the author Jonathan Ely has since then improved significantly and I’d urge you to check out one of his more recent offerings in the series. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down – unless you really need a vanilla anti-gobbo-crawl.
You can get this mini-dungeon here on OBS!