May 182015
 

Mini-Dungeons: Carrionholme

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This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map (alas, sans player-friendly version) and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com’s shop and thus, absent from the pdf.

 

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.

 

Still here?

All right!

 

In the center of a swamp, a hag-coven in service of Jubilex has created a complex inhabited with slimes and molds – including wandering black puddings. The complex very much is a solid theme-dungeon, yes. However, at the same time, it is not “sunken” – at least the text never mentions any swim-checks, water-depths of intrusions of swamp water – which is a pity, for some terrain-tricks would have helped to set this dungeon apart.

 

Conclusion:

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.

 

Jonathan Ely’s Carrionholme has an evocative title, cool adversaries and a premise I enjoy. At the same time, it does something the format, alas, has no room for – waste words. The reference to other swamp-dwellers unrelated to the complex is pretty long and eats the words that could have been used to provide the unique terrain-features this dungeon practically demands. So, dungeon in the middle of the swamp…why is there no water? No mud? Quicksand? A component of decrepitude, of decay? This mini-dungeon could be so much more unique. As written, it could be literally anywhere and lacks the component that anchors it as a complex as a unique dungeon. While not bad in any way per se, the overall experience of running this one proved my points valid – without modification, it is generic; add some terrain and you get awesomeness. I can’t rate potential, though. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

 

You can get this solid mini-dungeon here on OBS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

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