The Sinking: Locks of the Panopticon
This installment of the Sinking-mini-modules clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players will want to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right!
With a massive bounty on their heads, courtesy of the Trypus Acadamae, the PCs hopefully have managed to flee the city once again towards their refugee camp, where blood senator Vulgrax may actually prove helpful with the help of the information the PCs have uncovered – the PCs are presented with a blade with weird etchings that may prove to be from the hold the Malchort Cabal operates from/seeks to control – the fabled Panopticon. (And yes, if this does not feature an omni-scrying device, I will be very much disappointed for using cool terminology and then failing to deliver.)
Now via the lost tunnels in the Vulgrax’s old holdings, the PCs may penetrate the fortress of the Malchort -however, they will have to succeed in elementally-themed challenges – from freezing cold subterranean lakes with sea serpents, magma lakes etc. – the challenges per se being simply awesome: They actually require brains as well as brawns to solve and e.g. challenge the player’s logic with an AWESOME poem/light-based puzzle. Or the puzzle would be awesome. However, the map actually lacks *some* of the crucial colors required to solve the riddle – the map is supposed to show which squares are which color, but fails to list more than half of them. I am so sorry for the author, but this is utterly sloppy and renders the module unwinnable as written. While *any* DM can just randomly assign colors to squares, rendering this a non-issue, it still is a glitch I cannot let stand.
Finally bypassing a crystal dragon and dread undead guardians, the PCs can penetrate the panopticon through the Darkgate…where the final chapter of The Sinking awaits!
Editing and formatting are per se not bad, but he glaring oversight on a map that renders a puzzle unsolvable as written without the DM using fiat is simply inexcusable. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with cool, original b/w-artworks and 0onegame’s great cartography. The pdf comes extensively bookmarked for your convenience.
I am so very sorry for author John Ling. He has delivered an array of solid challenges, which, while in theme being of the “been there, done that” type, in execution, panache and flair more than make up for the classic theme. This module would usually be one I’d recommend – not with the highest accolades, but still – especially for the low price, this is a fun ride with cool ideas and I love it if players need to use their brains as well. But the glitch with the map is beyond severe…it’s unpleasant to say the least and for more than one person, it may actually ruin the whole module. Hence, I can’t rate this higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 – and only due to a DM being able to relatively easily fix the issue. Otherwise I would have ragequit the review right then and there. Fans of The Sinking still need to get this, of course.
You can get this module here on OBS!