With potentially world-shaking import, here's a real cracker of a stand-alone adventure to drop into your campaign just when your characters think that all they have to worry is about whose turn it is to cook over the campfire...
So, there the party is, sitting around said campfire when a robed figure clutching a sythe turns up! But he hasn't come for anyone's soul, it's a bit more of a challenge than that. As he crumbles away before their very eyes, he asks them to take on a quest to save the very fabric of the universe itself. Assuming they don't dismiss this apparation as something brought about by those dodgy mushrooms the elf insisted on adding to the stew, they have an incredible adventure ahead of them, with all to play for and the very universe at stake.
Perhaps inevitable when gods start interfering in the characters' affairs, but there is a fair element of railroading once they embark on this adventure. A single path to follow, arbitrary effects that WILL happen and which there's nothing that they can do anything about... things that will annoy some players, but - for those prepared to enter into the spirit of the thing - events that bring home the fact that this time they are messing with things that are truly beyond mortal comprehension, even for relatively high-level fellows like themselves. As you'd expect, the combat encounters are physically challenging, but the main thrust of events involves a lot of puzzles to solve - something else that some players find annoying but others relish. Solving them should prove entertaining, and they can all be solved, even if you may find the need to drop the odd hint here and there.
It is, and intended to be, a strange adventure, not the regular sort of affair that goes to make up a normal campaign. It has the potential, if well handled and entered into in the right spirit, to be something that those who venture through it will talk about - in character and out - for years to come. Some players, as mentioned before, will find it a frustrating or even dull experience. That's the trouble of messing with the affairs of deities. They don't think like you or I do, and this adventure gets this across well.
It will work best - although it is truly a stand-alone event - if inserted into your regular campaign, and played through with your usual characters, than run as a one-off. For there are times when players will see their cherished characters at dire risk, maybe even having to contemplate making the ultimate sacrifice - and by that I mean, choosing to do so, not just risking all in a brawl. Moments that can become the highlights of your shared storytelling.
If everything goes wrong, and they fail to complete the quest, say it's a shared dream and blame it on those mushrooms! Yet if they complete their mission, they all will have something quite unusual to look back on as they break camp and continue on their merry way.
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Reviewed: 5 May 2012