Mini-Dungeons: The Case of the Scrupulous Pawnbroker
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.
This mini-dungeon begins with the PCs having either a business relationship or wanting to establish one with a hard, but fair pawnbroker – now his store’s door is open and suspiciously empty, while an iron door in the basement leads towards a gruesome scene – the assistants have been slain and reanimated as zombies, though the PCs may save the owner’s dog as further support. If the PCs do not tarry, they may save the pawn-broker from the hostile assault of a really nasty gang of thugs under the command of a sorceror – they’re trying to break into his treasure vault, after all… Oddly, the thugs encountered in the final encounter have proper hyperlinks to their stats, whereas the first group of thugs lacks these, putting undue work on the DM. Beyond that, solid defenses for the treasure vault and a nice aftermath help make this module feel somewhat round.
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 and it does sport a nice full-color artwork, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players.
This mini-dungeon has me torn – on the one hand, the story Stefanos Patelis weaves is a nice one that can easily fit in any urban environment and it does sport the small details and level of believability I enjoy. on the other hand, it could have benefitted from a short tactics-section for the adversaries if the PCs e.g. call the watch- a couple of lines would be there to warrant it and this may very well turn into a kind of hostage situation – bartering is a quite possible notion for the PCs and since the foes use the pawnbroker’s traps to their advantage, one can see the potential of the writing here. While the hyperlink glitch is a bit annoying and the social dimension a tad neglected, for its limiting format, this one still fares above average – my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get this nice mini-dungeon here on OBS!