The author's foreword extols the merits and usefulness of short 'filler' adventures during a long-running campaign, hence this adventure which is designed to be played in a single session. We begin, however, with Raging Swan Press's usual detailed analysis of encounter structure and stat blocks, showing you how everything fits together.
Then it's on with the backstory to the adventure for the GM. Various suggestions are made for involving the party, from merely coming across the hermitage that is the focus of their explorations in their travels to being hired to go there for a completely different reason from the main thrust of the adventure (neat!) or being in a village where there's been a bit of trouble concerning missing livestock and starting from there. If you choose either of the reasons, then you can spread rumours and encourage the characters to ask around a bit before they set out... some of the information they can gather might even be useful! Everything has been set up so that it can fit easily into your own campaign world - just find some village in a reasonably remote, frontier-style region. To make life easier, a couple of the series of villages published by Raging Swan Press are mentioned as suitable, if you don't have any of your own to hand.
Anyway, however you get the party there, they need to travel about six miles from the village to find the remote hermitage. The immediate surroundings as well as the hermitage itself are described in comprehensive detail, enabling you to make it come to life for your players. You even get little mannerisms to aid in roleplaying the people the party will meet - one, for example, licks his lips when he is nervous. Have fun with that...
Whilst a basic delve at a quick glance, there's a lot more depth to this adventure with a 'villain' who is in some measure quite sympathetic, and both he and others encountered can be talked to as well as fought... if that's what the party choose to do. The outcome of the adventure is thus left open-ended, it very much depends on what the characters decide to do about what they find. That gives a feeling of satisfaction, that they have some control over events, that their actions matter: neat. There are also some suggestions for follow-on adventures including not only the suggestion that they might like to settle in the hermitage themselves but what might happen if they do!
Overall, a neat and thought-provoking interlude to drop into an established campaign, well worth having to hand for that occasion when, for whatever reason, you need an evening's adventure.
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Reviewed: 1 April 2016