This is a neat little scenario to drop in and use as a side adventure for a beginning party seeking to grow a reputation of being good fellows to go to when you have problems. A once-prosperous village is having difficulties, and it's up to them to find out what's amiss and sort it.
There's very little background for the DM, indeed there isn't really any for the party either - first they know about it all is getting attacked by a hitherto-unknown monster (a new one, introduced in this adventure). It apparently comes on them whilst they are camping at night, this is not clearly explained. From then on, they need to go to a nearby village where they will need to interact with the locals to find out what is going on. Apart from the initial monster attack (and a potentially-puzzling aftermath), the first part of the adventure is pure role-play although there are plenty of opportunities for combat later on... even if all with the same monster! (As in, several of them appearing rather than just one specimen.)
The village is well-described and set up in such a way that it's easy both to locate it wherever you want in your campaign world and expand and reuse it later on. There are various locations to visit and it is clearly laid out which clues to the mystery can be found where. There's also a nearby tower, which used to belong to one Jerimond, a mage who befriended the village during his later years before he died, which they can visit. There are no plans for either village or tower, however, and you will likely feel the need to sketch something out. As well as a new monster, the pivotal magic item (Jerimond's orb, of course) is described at the end.
With a nice balance of investigation and combat this should provide an enjoyable evening's play, although this is not quite a pick-up-and-run scenario: you will find that studying who knows/thinks/is doing what will repay the effort and as mentioned above you may wish to draw or find suitable plans for the village and tower. The scope for making it fit into both your world and your ongoing campaign is excellent though. There's also potential to run it as a quite scary adventure with unknown monsters plauging terrified villagers...
Return to Jerimond's Orb page.
Reviewed: 11 April 2017