The Cave Beast’s Hoard
By Thilo Graf
This module from Adventureaweek.com is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s check this one out!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish ti jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! The quaint town of Woodwall has long been haunted by a legend of brigands or a beast that hunts in the surrounding area – wealthy people tend to simply disappear around the area and the old legend seems to have recently taken more victims – having the town feel a tad bit paranoid, since a growing town also means a growing incentive for the creature or brigands to attack the settlement.. Hope fully the player’s curiosity is roused, for after a round of gathering information, the Pcs will probably have to set out into the wilderness and do some old-schoolish tracking. After dealing with a couple of empty caves and giant spiders, the PCs will stumble upon the keep of the former wizard-hermit Telonel, which now is home to a tribe of kobolds – it is also here the PCs find the first cryptic hints of the fabled cave beast, though that may not yet be readily apparent.
After exploring the keep, the Pcs will probably stumble across the final cavern, in which the nature of the cave beast is revealed after some initial foreshadowing. Turns out that neither a brigand, nor an animal is the culprit – the wizard-hermit has created a treasure golem that has been enlarging itself with single-minded determination.
Editing and formatting are good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches, though there are some typos etc. here. Layout adheres to AaW’s 2-column standard and the full color artworks are ok, but nothing mind-boggling. The cartography of the keep is ok, though not on the same level as AaW’s usually stellar maps. We also don’t get a player-friendly map of the keep and no cave-maps, which is a bummer. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks, a background-less version and will probably get herolab support. As per the time when I write this review, the Herolab files have not yet been added.
Per se, there is nothing wrong with this module. It can be considered a sidetrek for a regular adventure, a way to fill an evening – and that’s somewhat the problem of this module: It is on the one hand very short. It also lacks maps for most locations contained herein. And it does nothing new or particularly special. It is not a bad module by any means, but it also has nothing creative or particularly evocative to offer. This module, over all, had me shrug – which is a pity, since a module should be many things, but formulaic and boring is not among them. The final creature could have, easily, by inserting hints on how to defeat it and a modified final beast made a cool puzzle-combat, which would have helped to give this module a sense of identity. I’d rather recommend you to check out some of the other AaW-modules instead like Winter Flower or Rogue Wizard instead of this one. As a sidetrek, I’d give this 3 stars, were it not for the utter lack of maps or unique, innovative content. As a full-blown module, whether when compared to other AaW-modules or the offerings of other 3pps, though, this falls short in length, map material, artwork etc. – thus, my final verdict will be 1.5 stars, rounded down to 1: This is unworthy of the high standard AaW has arrived at.
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