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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5: Mysteries of the Drow

Mysteries of the Drow

Originally written as a convention tournament adventure and intended to be played using Drow characters (pre-generated ones are provided) over three rounds, this scenario may be played with any characters with little or no adjustment as part of your campaign. It makes use of material from two other Goodman Games publications, the Aerial Adventure Guide and the Complete Guide to Drow, but although these may enhance your game you don't need to possess them to run it.

The introductory material for the DM explains what is going on. As usual, there's factional bickering going on amongst the Drow. For Drow parties, they are summoned by their head of house to aid the cause by retrieving an unknown but powerful weapon another house has found. Other suggestions for getting the party involved are given if you are not using the pre-generated characters - perhaps they are mercenaries hired to do the job, or they have been captured by the Drow and are given the task as the price of their freedom. There's scaling notes should your party be stronger or weaker than the at least 35 character-levels recommended, a list of wandering monsters to roll on, and lots of detailed background to add richness to the setting. It's not just one Drow house against another, you see: there's internal bickering within the houses, and other non-Drow factors at work too.

The mission itself breaks neatly into three parts, with three elements of the puzzle to be acquired. In convention play, that equates to the three rounds of the competition, but if running this as part of an ongoing campaign it can be a bit more freeform, with the party exploring all the locations and following up on clues in whatever manner they please. There's plenty of advice on how to keep the party moving in the right direction - if nothing else, they'll have a Drow matriarch on their backs, demanding, demanding... Prior preparation is vital, especially as some locations work far better if you have certain props and handouts ready for when the party gets there. There's one puzzle which works best if you can present the players with an actual representation of what they find - don't be alarmed, it's simple to put together, and clear directions are given.

The adventure begins with the Drow matriarch delivering her instructions to the party. Then they are sent forth to explore... A massive delve follows, with ample opportunities to interact and to fight with a range of monsters and sentient denizens of the deep. To do well, the party will need to gather information as well as fight their way through the opposition and puzzle stuff out. There's a huge amount to see and do packed into this adventure, with some mind-boggling ideas and magics to get your head around.

It's a real microcosm, a slice of the underground world of the Drow, and ought to keep you and your group entertained for hours. Everything is clearly laid out - even a series of door-opening puzzles which should challenge even the most puzzle-happy parties to the limit, yet the necessary clues are there for them to find. Each item, creature, NPC is where it is for good reason - even the wandering monsters have good reason to be wandering where they might be encountered - and the lid is lifted on what it's like to be a Drow in a world of Drow. Of course, once the objectives of this adventure have been met, the further ramifications are only just beginning, but that's another adventure that you will have fun creating... Definitely recommended!

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Reviewed: 31 May 2018