This adventure all begins when a party of adventurers arrive in a small seaside village and undertake to investigate a haunted lighthouse... and find far, far more than they bargained for! This one just keeps on giving, with dungeons to delve, monsters and smugglers to defeat, and nefarious plots to thwart. Oh, and part of the action takes place underwater. What more could you want?
There's an overview of the whole thing, lists of wandering monsters, and notes on how to scale the adventure if you have a stronger or weaker party than the 4-6 5th to 7th level group for which the adventure is written. There are also several hooks, one or more of which can be used to get the party heading for that lighthouse if the mere thought of a haunted building isn't enough to get them going. Then we settle down to some detailed background about the area and the lighthouse itself, which make fascinating reading and show why things are in the state they're in when the party arrives. This all helps to set the scene nicely.
The adventure proper begins with the party arriving along a clifftop track to the foot of the lighthouse. Once they venture in, everything they'll find is described clearly, with notes on how to run each encounter to best effect. There are various ingenious traps to circumvent and a rather confused ghost lurking on the stairs. That, of course, is just the beginning. There's a ruined manor house, assorted cellars, and some sea caves to explore yet, and as mentioned before a plot to unravel and thwart before the party can go home for tea, or even a well-earned pint.
What's so good about this adventure is that everything has a purpose. NPCs and monsters are found where they are because they have a good reason to be there that doesn't involve providing opposition for a good fight - although many of them will be happy to oblige when the party shows up. Another good thing is the sheer amount of things that are going on, it doesn't all revolve around the main plot... and the party can explore the various areas petty much as they please, there's no one route through. The whole adventure shows clear evidence of having been thought through carefully and honed to make it a realistic setting. Definitely one to enjoy, whichever side of the DM screen you are sitting!
Return to The Secret of Smuggler's Cove page.
Reviewed: 29 May 2018