This first installment of the Campaign Elements-series is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, ~1.5 pages SRD, leaving us with12.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The first thing you’ll notice about this mini-supplement is the level range – this one can be run for 2-8 level 2 characters, 1-2 level 3 characters or a level 4 solo thief. That out of the way, this is an adventure-review and thus contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! After a short background/introduction, we kick off this pdf with one conan-esque quest – infiltrate a hidden temple of the Harrower, a strange, spider-like god. While the creatures in here are susceptible to lawful or neutral turning are penalized by -1d (and even further closer to the sanctum) and spider-affine spells can be increased in their power or have unforeseen consequences based on a table of 1d7+luck with 9 entries.
While the default assumes no service by the cultists in progress, advice to include them for a bigger challenge is included, as is a 2d5-table of treasures found, a 1d5 table of unique items. The complex per se contains 10 areas and challenge-wise, the dead famous thieves in the beginning should hint at some dangers to come – offering blood to get past guardians, finding a holy book of the harrower (which contains written tenets and hints!), fighting deadly crab-like beasts with sticky filaments called Moon Reapers -worse, these beings may cause personality damage with their filaments, turning into the dread guardians of this place – disturbing indeed!
Oh, and there is the fungoid-looking spider-like thing that is this place’s grand guardian – and an idol of the Harrower with a tempting emerald. And whoever steals the emerald, will, as in the classic sword & sorcery trope, be hunted by the dread idol – which is almost indestructible and slow, but relentless: Adventure-seeds galore waiting there, especially since the thing is fully statted. 222 HP. That’s all I’m saying. Oh, and have I mentioned the chance to fight the personified Anger of the Harrower, which curses the area with VERY bad luck…
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard with iconic b/w-artworks included and the cartography is serviceable, though nothing to write home about. We don’t get player-friendly maps, which remains the module’s only true flaw.
Seriously, I’m fast becoming a fan of Daniel J. Bishop – the author GETS what makes magic feel magical, what can evoke a sense of disturbing antiquity and what makes the Sword & Sorcery-genre work -and this is no exception: A glorious little module for a more than fair price oozing flair, panache and disturbing imagery – my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars EDIT: Now, with seal of approval since a player-friendly map has been added.