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Dungeons & Dragons 3.5: Talons of the Horned King

Talons of the Horned King

This arctic adventure sees the party helping a town that's beset by strange creatures who, it appears, have already made off with a local lordling. They'll have to travel through icy wastes and unravel a mystery around a druidic circle. What lurks beneath?

The DM is provided with a synopsis of the adventure, an encounter list, scaling information, a few ideas for getting the party involved, a note on treasure available, and a detailed background story. Provide your own warm socks! If you are using the default Dungeon Crawl Classics world of Aeryth, there's a note suggesting where to locate this adventure; if you are using your own campaign world find a reasonably isolated arctic area with a settlement nearby. It explains that the Talons of the Horned King is a mysterious and ancient structure mostly buried in the ice, with a 'crown' of metal spikes - the talons - on a vast depiction of a human face, or at least, that's what it looks like. Nobody knows who made it. A strange species of large hairy humanoids are said to live nearby but they are shy, gentle beasts rarely seen. Recently, after a shooting star was seen in the area, they have become more aggressive, attacking anyone they encounter with almost mindless ferocity... and then, for the DM's eyes only, the underlying truth is revealed.

The adventure proper begins with the party beginning their final approach to the Talons, facing a narrow twisty ravine they must traverse to get there. The wind and snow are fierce, and they'd better take precautions to stay warm (there are some notes on handling cold weather through game mechanics). Other perils await... and there's stuff to find that will help the party later on.

Then magic starts to behave oddly, and strange balls of blue energy can be seen floating around... and that's just the beginning of the strangeness that is to be found as the adventure progresses... and then the party finds its way underground and that's when things get downright weird!!!

Descriptions are detailed and evocative, backed up by a selection of player handouts to let the group 'see what you mean'. The whole adventure hangs very well, especially considering the more bizarre aspects, and there's a nice mix of brawling, problem-solving, trap-evasion and the odd conversation to keep the party entertained.

Return to Talons of the Horned King page.

Reviewed: 22 October 2018