Crypt on Keeper Hill (5e)
This mini-adventure for 5e clocks in at 2 pages and is intended as a brief interlude. It is intended for 3rd level characters, and the two pages are pretty much chock-full with text. The adventure sports two sections of read-aloud text – one for the introductory angle, and one for the boss-section, and we do get a small colored map, but no player-friendly version for VTT-use/printing out.
As always for mini-adventures, I do not expect an epic story from this and will rate it for what it is. Monster stats are obviously not included on the two pages.
All right, in order to discuss the content within, I need to go into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.
All righty, only GMs around? Great! Keeper Hill has been shrouded in a wretched gloom for 20 years, and the local populace lock away their livestock and themselves at night, as undead emerge to plague the vicinity of the cursed place. When the PCs arrive, they are approached to hopefully solve the problem…when arriving in daylight. By night, they’ll be thrown in combat with zombies, with a villager providing solace from the horrors of the night. A tenth of the zombies are infectious, and a “save vs. CON” per wound will prevent infection with zombiism. Okay, so that’s not how you phrase saves in 5e. Furthermore, the disease transforms the PC in 2d4+2 hours, unless targeted by Cure Disease. This spell does not exist in 5e. It’s lesser restoration. Beyond that, this should have been resolved with the wealth of 5e’s conditions or at least a fairer exhaustion level accumulation mechanic, not a save or suck. The pdf compounds on this obvious lack of knowledge by having the villagers hand off a scroll with that nonexistent spell. *sigh*
At night, the approach to the hill is guarded by zombies, and, on a plus-side, the lock may be opened both via holy water and…a “DEX – Sleight of Hand” check – which is once more, not how 5e handles the like. This obvious ignorance of even basic rules and formatting of 5e extends to the 4 sample traps, where e.g. poison darts don’t inflict poison damage or the poisoned condition. A gas that makes PCs start “wretching uncontrollably”[sic!], (should be “retching”) also does not use the rather obvious, proper rules language here. There also is a fungus that drives PCs insane – you guessed it, sans specifying how that should be interpreted in the context of 5e’s robust madness system.
Beyond a hazard of unstable walls that may collapse (and have rot grub-infested corpses fall down) once more doesn’t exactly get the rules right, and the finale is a battle versus the erstwhile protector of the hamlet, now a banshee, and infected zombies. And that’s it.
Editing and formatting are okay on a formal level. On a rules-language level, this gets almost everything wrong. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard; the artwork is nifty and the full-color cartography is neat as well. No player-friendly or VTT-compatible map is included, which is a bit of a downer. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Lloyd Metcalf’s 5e Interlude would be a decent module, were it not for the fact that it gets pretty much every 5e rules-convention or aesthetic wrong, failing to capitalize on the cool things the engine can do, which is a pity, as the prose here and there does have potential. Still, my final verdict can’t exceed 1.5 stars, rounded up due to the low price.
You can get this mini-adventure here on OBS.