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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5: Black Waters

Black Waters

Ten years ago, a massive earthquake devastated part of Absolom called Beldrin's Bluff, most of it falling into the sea with great loss of life. In this adventure, the Pathfinder Society's thirst for artefacts takes the party to the site of possibly the greatest tragedy - a school where nearly all the students died, killed by falling masonry or drowned - to conduct the first archaeological dig permitted since the disaster.

The adventure opens with the party being invited to the home of a Pathfinder Society Venture Captain who explains the background and gives them their task, along with the key to the railings. In the course of any investigations they might make before embarking on this job, they get invited to a posh formal dinner hosted by the mother of one of the dead children. It's an interesting opportunity to impress upon them the very real grief still felt by those bereaved by the disaster as well as entertaining to watch them on their best behaviour!

From there the adventure proceeds as a straightforward delve - or is it? There are various hauntings, a lunatic and unmentionalble evils stirred up by the disturbance of the necrocropolis on top of which the school was built to contend with. Oh, and there are a few critters down there as well, which resent being disturbed by passing adventurers, not to mention the environmental dangers posed by investigating a place that's been inundated by water. Good use is made of faction missions, with members of each faction tasked to recover various items... whilst these don't compete with each other, it is unlikely that any faction wants its interests broadcast, so assorted party members trying to retrieve whatever it is they've been asked for without letting anyone else see can also prove amusing. Naturally, there are one or two surprising discoveries to be made here, too.

Whilst a conventional delve at a first glance, this is actually quite an interesting adventure that hangs together well, with a reason for everything... even if it's not always obvious at first glance. Acting as archaeologists may prove entertaining to those players who see their characters as more combative in nature - although they will not be disappointed on that front, especially if they enjoy fighting undead.

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Reviewed: 9 January 2016