A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Ice Kingdoms campaign setting. Along with the setting, I received the first of several planned modules, Lair of The White Wyvern, by Ryan Lynn and C.S. Barnhart $8.99 on RPGNow.
This module fits the tone of the setting, a modified Viking land and mythos. The PDF I received is black & white, with no cover art. The art is well done pen & ink pictures.
Within we have an Introduction containing a table of contents that are linked to the pages, a background, four adventure hooks, and the village of Ainhild. There is also a general area encounter table, and two area specific encounter tables.
Next comes a seven part adventure. Each part leads to the next in logical succession. There are “timed” events and set encounters that happen if the players do certain things. There is an area map and maps of the village and other locations.
Finally, there is a bestiary with 14 creatures, four of them are new. One, the mountain ape, is mentioned in the Ice Kingdoms Setting, but its stats are in this module. Some of the creatures are slightly modified from the standard old school version. For example, the bandits have 1st level thief abilities. As many bandits as there are, I wonder if this doesn’t overpower them. It would probably depend on the GM and how the players interacted with the bandits.
The central theme is that the characters need to investigate the source of a mysterious and deadly illness that has beset the village. Is it a curse, a punishment, a plague, or something else? I don’t like to spoil the specifics, but it has a nice twist in it so that it is not what one might expect.
This is a 50 page booklet for 4 to 6 characters of 3rd to 5th level. There is a place for combat, but fighting in the wrong places will leave the party worn out. A party without a cleric would be at a disadvantage in some situations.
What I Liked:
- This adventure does a good job of giving the players a feel for the setting.
- It occurred to me as I read it that it would be a great location to build upon and the authors acknowledge this and give suggestions to make this happen.
- There is enough detail for sub-plots in the adventure. Some are detailed by the authors, others came to mind as I read it.
- The modular design of the seven parts of the adventure make it easy to skip, such as in convention play.
- One could also lift a part to use as a piece of a home brew adventure or other module.
- This is definitely old school. – Not all encounters are balanced, encouraging players to think before they rush in.
- Stats and opportunities for several skill checks are mentioned for those who play using rules that have them.
- This is not my style, but I can see the value for those who like them.
- It is generic enough that it can easily be used in any rule set. There are few stats.
- The maps could easily be used online, such as in Roll20.
- Some of the maps are the only color art in the book.
- The pen and ink are is all very good. I feel it is all more consistent than in the campaign setting book.
- The general encounter table is 0-9 using a d8, and is -1 if in forest, and +1 if in mountains. This is an interesting way to get two tables in one.
- The layout is clean and simple.
What I Would Like to See:
- As with the campaign setting, this needed another pass by a proofreader. Extra words, missing space between a couple words, correctly spelled but incorrect words etc.
- I don’t know if this is the final copy or just the review copy.
- There are a lot of text boxes for read aloud text.
- In my case, I have to know a module very well to be able to read such text at the right time.
- Some of it is a bit long.
- I think an experienced GM could give this one thorough reading and a couple quick reviews to get it straight the best way for them to run this.
- While the layout is clean and simple, there is very little white space between the columns in this two column layout. It is still readable, and seems OK on my monitor.
This is an adventure that I’d like to play in. I can also see me running it. If you like the Ice Kingdoms campaign setting, you might find this a helpful piece for fleshing out a small area.