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Dungeons & Dragons 4e: Hammerfast


Hammerfast is a strange place. Originally a necropolis or city of tombs for the dwarves, it is now a regular settlement with people living and working here just like anyplace else... except ghosts not only walk the streets, they are full citizens just like everyone else! This book provides detailed information on places and notable individuals (alive and dead) to enable you to run your own adventures here. It's full of ideas that spawn plotlines as you read through it, thus making it an ideal sandbox setting - wherever the party chooses to go, you can come up with something for them to do.

As well as the ghosts, there are traces of its former state as a necropolis in the shape of tombs. Of course, just as citizen ghosts are protected by local laws from assault, so are the tombs supposedly protected from the depredations of tomb raiders - but since when did that stop most parties? And the loot to be had, say the rumours and legends, are rich and magnificent in the extreme. For many parties, that is enough reason to visit Hammerfest. Others may arrive on more mundane business, yet may not elude the allure of such adventures.

Just about everything you might need is here, starting with the surrounding area, for which you get a map and information to support wilderness adventuring. Once the party arrives in town, resources are at your fingertips so that they can visit taverns, go shopping, fall foul of the law and do most anything adventurers tend to do in town. There's a map of the town to put in front of them as well as a floorplan of a two-storey inn, the Foundation Stone (complete with a chandelier should anyone be moved to swing from it in a fit of swashbucking!). You can also find out about the local guilds, a cult that threatens the place and much more - even the festivals they celebrate and a couple of fun tavern games to play.

It's suggested that you can use this setting in a number of ways from building a campaign arc to take characters from 1st to 10th level, mine the NPCs for adventure ideas (an easy task, the ideas jump off the pages as you flick through) or as a detailed background in which you can set your own urban and wilderness adventures, providing a richly-detailed place that they can explore between adventures.

If you have the original publication, the town map comes as a poster with the floor plans for the Foundation Stone inn on the other side. In the PDF they are spread over two pages each (you'll have to print them and stick them together if you want to spread them out on the tabletop) whilst in the print-on-demand version they are bound into the book, still spread over two pages, along with the surrounding area map. The print-on-demand version is mostly good as far as internal text is concerned, crisp and clear. Unfortunately the cover and the surrounding area map have been printed from too low-grade an image. One can survive a cover that's a bit pixelated, but the surrounding area map is of low quality and quite difficult to read the names of features. Fortunately you can track it down online in better quality versions if you need better resolution.

Overall, though, it's an excellent product whichever version you have: a fine example of a place in which adventures happen (rather than an adventure with a place built for it to happen in), yes you will need to create your own adventures but the ideas here should enable you to do so readily.

Return to Hammerfast page.

Reviewed: 30 November 2016