This Oriental-style adventure begins when a powerful lord's ancestral swords are stolen! War is brewing and it would be disasterous for morale if word got out... and the poor lord's lands, his whole heritage, are at risk. As you can imagine, it's really important to get the swords back preferably before anyone realises that they are missing!
That's all in the Player Introduction, printed as usual on the back cover of the module. It all seems quite straightforward... then the DM's Background explains how it's a bit more complicated than that. There's all manner of scheming and double-dealing going on, a quite fascinating story... but will it come out? There's some further background for the players, and a selection of ways of getting the party involved in this whole sorry mess.
The early part of the adventure, as can be imagined, is very much investigative but fear not, it soon turns into a delve into some quite interesting places underneath the lord's ancestral castle... places even he didn't know were there. There's a good plan of this underground complex for the DM, and notes on the myriad traps and other things to be found down there... and reasons for why they are there. It's not one of those implausible trapped mazes that are there just because, well, a bunch of adventurers might visit one day. However, some of the 'read aloud' text blocks seem to have drifted from the rooms they were intended for, so read through in advance and reassign them as appropriate - from Room #5, move them all up 2 rooms (i.e. the text block associated with Room #7 actually belongs to Room #5 and so on). It makes more sense when you look at it.
There's an interesting new monster which provides an added dimension to proceedings, and the opportunity for a good brawl at the end. The ramifications of different outcomes are explained clearly. Overall, it makes for an exciting adventure with real depth, and could provide one of the defining points in the early part of an Oriental campaign, giving the party an opportunity to get established.
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Reviewed: 10 January 2018