EZG reviews TOME: A Whale of the Problem
The second installment of PDG’s TOME-series is 7 pages long, 1/2 page editorial,1 ¾ pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 ¾ pages of content, so let’s check this out!
In case you’re not in the know, this series provides us with complex encounters using unusual creatures – everything required to run the encounter is provided herein, though. As essentially either a throw away encounter of skeletal from to craft a full-blown adventure from, the product handles much like an adventure and thus this review contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right. Set per default on Whale Island in the setting of Porphyra, the premise of this encounter is uncommon, to say the least: Whale Island is a known hunting ground – for sky whales. Yes. For flying whales. And much like regular whales, there is a dedicated amount of people hunting these creatures, namely in this case, the Twilight Fleet. The Pcs are hired (with a significant lump of gold!) to deal with a particular Abia, a CR 13 sea-serpent-like being that has been destroying their vessels. The issue is – the thing’s intelligent and considered a guardian by the local populace and not particularly malicious. So why is it suddenly attacking?
Well, turns out the sky whalers have killed creatures in the sea and the serpentine guardian took offense – whether by diplomacy or other ways, this conflict can be resolved in various ways. Dead sailors reviving as brine zombies (both sailors and brine zombies coming with statblocks) and similar complications can be added at the DM’s discretion and apart from the Abia, we also get a CR 7 fetchling corsair-statblock, which uses 4WFG’s Corsair-class that is currently being revised) as well as the racial traits of Porphyra’s fetchlings. Finally, the pdf offers us the Mariner’s Shield you may know from the awesome “Items of Power and Ambition”.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to PDG’s printer-friendly 2-column standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w and color artworks. In spite of the brevity of the encounter-supplement, it comes fully bookmarked, which is awesome.
Author Mark Gedak has created nice encounter set-up, though a VERY weird one – sky whales and an actual industry based on hunting them are introduced in the encounter and honestly, at least for me, that severely hampers the plug-and-play appeal of the encounter. I do like its weirdness, but for many campaigns, that might be a bit much – the changes to your setting necessitated by this are a major downside in my book and honestly – the unscrupulous whalers-angle, even with a twist, is not that innovative and when compared to the first TOME-installment, feels less easily being integrated into one’s campaign – also due to the massive reward the PCs can score. All in all hence a solid encounter, but not a perfect one. My final verdict will thus be 3 stars.