Presented in the lush 'stone effect' format familar to readers of 0one Games's Master Adventures series, this adventure is partnered with a entry in the Battlemaps series that provides a whole ship, although the bits you'll actually need are provided within the senario itself.
Aimed at 10th-12th level characters, it is set in a fairly generic riverside port town called Rivenwater, which has the right amount of detail to be usable without much effort and yet capable of being dropped into a suitable location in your campaign world. The background to the adventure gives a run-down on events in the distant past which have a bearing on the threat which has re-arisen and places every inhabitant of Rivenwater at risk. Like many adventures, the DM will need to find a reason to put the characters in the town to start things rolling (a few basic suggestions are given), but once they are there, they'll be swept straight into the action by the initial encounter.
While the whole thing is very atmospheric, and it feels like the town and its inhabitants will carry on with their daily lives irrespective of the characters' presence, the adventure itself is quite straightforward, and suited to the party that likes a good fight or two rather than those who want to interact with their surroundings in a more peaceful way. However, if combat - and combat against strange and exotic foes - is what you like out of an adventure, then this one is well worth consideration. You get to skirmish on shore, in the river, on a boat, through a swamp and finally... well, you'll see when you get there! Should you be victorious, you really will have saved the locals from a fate worse than death.
Maps and handouts are beautifully presented, as is the adventure itself. One minor point: throughout the text an evil temple is refered to as 'desecrated' whereas I think they intended to say 'consecrated' - desecrated means that it has been defiled and rendered unfit for use by whatever religion it belongs too, not set up nicely for evil worshippers! A minor point but it jars a bit... not enough, though, to detract from a well-written and presented combat-oriented adventure that should keep a party of adventurers on their toes.
Return to Blood Runs Cold page.
Reviewed: 15 January 2005