This early scenario was originally released as a free download as part of the 'Original Adventures' series from Wizards of the Coast. Aimed at characters of around 2nd-level, it casts the party as unwitting agents of the deity Heironeous, whose scheme to punish a rather over-zealous (not to mention cruel) cleric has somewhat backfired.
With plenty of background material to ensure that the DM knows what is going on, the party is presented with a situation in the village of Newkeep - an ettin has destroyed the only bridge across a nearby river, and the villagers would like some help in dealing with it. A few hooks are provided in case the party doesn't accept the challenge at once, and then they can get on with attempting to track the ettin, lie in wait for its next visit (it has taken a fancy to the village cattle so comes nearly every night) or attempt to solve a cryptic riddle that's appeared on the wall. One they actually come face-to-face with the ettin, there's an interesting moral dilemma for them to solve...
It makes for a nice gentle adventure with scope for more than 'bash monster, take the loot', with a good feel of Newkeep as a place existing outside of the needs of a party of adventurers for somewhere to adventure in. There's a complete annotated map of Newkeep with the main locations and people described, and resources to help you run the party's initial arrival and subsequent investigations. Oldkeep, where the ettin has made its lair, is also mapped and described... and the ettin is not the only opposition that the party will face.
A nice adventure with a lot more to it than originally meets the eye, giving scope to develop the characters' personalities and style, a good one for a fairly new party.
Return to The Ettin's Riddle page.
Reviewed: 5 February 2016