Designed to be more than just a one-off adventure, this book presents the township of Fourwell in sufficient detail for it to be a base of operations or a regular calling-point in your characters' travels, as well as the source of several adventures and other exploits. It is made up of three main sections: the town and its inhabitants, a complete adventure and a collection of prestige classes and new monsters enounctered here but with the potential for use in any campaign.
The town of Fourwell is a prosperous settlement in good agricultral land, with a minor trade route running through it. It is currently ruled by a giant who served the township well during an overwhelming attack by bugbears nearly 30 years ago, previously a wealthy merchant held the office of Earl of Fourwell. There is a substantial fulltime militia, and the town is able to support a theatre as well as nightly shows by a circus based here. There is quite a lot going on, with scope for interaction between visiting adventurers and the inhabitants of the town.
Several locations are described in detail including the militia barracks and a small magic guild. There is also a thieves' guild and several groups of adventurers have already made their base here - so small groups or individual adventurers may wish to join one of these organisations rather than set up independently.
As well as the main adventure several ideas for other things that characters might do here are provided, with plenty of options to suit both good and evil groups. There is also an optional extra of some shrines left behind by mysterious 'outsiders' which can be investigated if the DM chooses to include them... although the locations are not marked on the map as mentioned in the text.
The adventure itself is a straightforward dungeon crawl through an abandoned halfling underground residence. Both the background rationale for what happened and the encounters within are put together in a coherent manner, with both challenge and rewards being at a suitably low level for a 2nd-level party (there are scaling notes if you have more experienced adventurers poking around, however).
Finally, there are three prestige classes which could come in useful either here or in any game. The Crusader is a religious warrior, but one who relies on his own abilitities coupled with devotion to his chosen deity, rather than the more divinely-powered Paladin... and it's open to followers of any deity irrespective of alignment. The Red Gladiator is a flashy but tough fighter, suitable for single combat and display work; and finally the Scholar is a knowledge specialist... these last two perhaps better suited to NPCs than as adventurers, depending on the style of your game.
Overall, it is a well-developed township that could serve as a temporary or even more permanent base for a group of adventurers, or somewhere that they can at least return to rather than pass through just the once and never return.
Return to The House Under the Hill page.
Reviewed: 28 December 2006