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 of the map, in both GM and player-friendly versions!
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, a helpful tool in the GM’s arsenal. Got that? Great!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
It is well-known that the underdark houses some of the most malignant, vile beings and cults – and in a particular cavern, two rival cults engaged in a constant one-upmanship of “more evil than thou” – one cult was lawful, the other chaotic – and both were thoroughly vile. Alas, in a surprising twist, they did not attempt to eradicate each other, at least not until a particularly nasty elf killer happened upon the cults. While he managed to eradicate both cults, step by step, he did not, stupidly, I might add, account for evil cultist leaders rising as the living dead. Well, guess what they did? While he got away with his life and is sustained for now by the magical spoon he owns, the complex still represents a three-way standoff. As the module notes, this extended encounter/sidetrek area is a brutal challenge – and indeed, the pdf makes excellent use of PFRPG’s vast bestiary and the tactics of the creatures herein are surprisingly detailed for the pdf’s brevity. In order to triumph here, PCs are most likely required to make use of the still very much palpable hostility between all those evildoers…
(As an aside, this may just be me, but this mini-dungeon really struck me as a perfect fit for e.g. conflict between Tsathoggua and Orcus/as a side-area for Rappan Athuk or similar complexes.)
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 nice. Huge plus: We get a GM AND a Player-version of the area in which this takes place, providing full VTT-friendly compatibility.
Stephen Yeardley knows how to write mini-dungeons; I am a huge fan of his big adventures as well as the small ones and this one is amazing due to its focus on pure functionality – we get a volatile, extended encounter-situation and ignite the powder-keg once more by adding PCs. The module can be slotted easily into just about any context and the author chooses the adversaries in a creative manner – from totenmasken to polong and guecubu, this excels in its smart creature choice and precise, challenging set-up. I really like it. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this mini-dungeon here on OBS!