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Dungeons & Dragons 3e: Lair of the Demon Princess

Lair of the Demon Princess

This adventure begins with an introduction to the default setting, the campaign world of Hanan Pacha. It's a strange place, a flat-topped conical island hovering above an ocean. Sufficient background is given to enable you to run the adventure here, and it fits so well that even if you have an established campaign world of your own it is recommended that you consider some form of magical transportation to deposit the characters here to make the most of the unusual environ for the course of the adventure, sending them back to their own world afterwards. Some ideas are given for ways in which your characters can find themselves in Hanan Pacha all of a sudden... oh, and when they get they are trapped and need to find a 'spell key' to make their way back home!

Fortunately, although trapped the characters are met by a wizard who gives them a bit of orientation, and offers them a reward if they'll find out who is stirring up trouble, and a further one if they are able to deal with the trouble-makers. Like any good epic, the characters must first make a journey through dangerous places before they are in a position to undertake their tasks - the dangers being both adverse terrain and weather, and hostile inhabitants. Yet while for plot reasons they are there to pose the characters a challenge, each has its own reasons for being there and for attacking - good alternate reality stuff! Moreover, although a journey must be made, there are several alternate routes to choose from, each with its own dangers and challenges. The trip is really part of the adventure, not just a case of 'we need to get there to begin the adventure.'

Eventually, we hope, the characters reach what passes for civilisation, and should be able to pick up some more information about Hanan Pacha and what is going on at the moment. But the travelling is not yet over - there is a voyage at sea with its own dangers to complete, not to mention the minor point that the city which is the characters' destination happens to be under siege. More information, and yet further travel, this time through a jungle replete with appropriate dangers to face. Eventually they should come to their ultimate destination, the Lair itself... and then of course have a dungeon complex to explore. A good classic dungeon crawl with some excellent traps in it, no less!

I was told that the person doing the layout dropped out midway through the project, and while it shows in the resulting product it is still very useable if a bit scruffy in places. The plotline is coherent and clear, with plenty going on and opportunities to explore and talk as well as a good amount of meaningful combat - it's not just a case of having monsters to fight because most players want a fight: each group is there for a reason and successful combat will gain you more than just a heap of corpses, it advances the adventure. Overall, it is an adventure in the classic mode, with travelling through dangerous enviroments to the culmination of the dungeon and combat with the instigator of the trouble in the lands... with the twist of the unusual setting as an added bonus.

Return to Lair of the Demon Princess page.

Reviewed: 19 July 2008