For 4–5 Characters Level 10–11
The Halls of Hellfire is a former holy site and part of a fortress deep within the rocky deserts of the South. It was always seen as hallowed ground and was revered by the many nomadic clans that travelled those deep deserts. Indeed it was once seen by all as neutral ground, and often used to settle disputes, enjoy celebrations and trade between themselves, but is now shunned. However, several dozen years ago, the Halls were used by the exiled sorcerer Mennu the Betrayer to summon an unnamed demon as old as time itself; in the process Mennu lost control, his life and his soul, and the demon furiously razed the remnants of the fortress to the ground, before returning to the Abyss. All that was left was the deepest portion of the underground chambers, long since hidden and occupied by creatures that thrive on the residual evil that permeates this site.
5E Mini-Dungeons are single page, double sided adventures for 5th Edition which are setting agnostic and are easily inserted anywhere in your campaign.
An Endzeitgeist.com review
This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.
Since this product line’s goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
The Halls of Hellfire were once a sacred neutral ground, a place for peace talks – now, the halls are a beacon for creatures of pure evil, tainted by the darkness that saw the downfall of this once-sacred space. The lamia of the desert have been drawn to this place and both regular specimen of the feared species as well as a spirit naga and a young blue dragon await the PCs to toy with their minds and break both their bodies and souls.
Conversion-wise, we have protection from good on the whole complex, which is solid, but skill-wise, we have Str and Thieves’ tool DCs equal to one another…and that’s it. No interesting terrain tricks or the like.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups, though, unlike in earlier mini-dungeons, DCs and skills are not bolded. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.
Jonathan Ely’s Halls of Hellfire provide a storied locale with per se cool combat encounters and some solid traps. Alas, at the same time, I did feel like this locale fell short of its awesome background story – some tantalizing hints, a bit more fluff, perhaps a series of short special terrain features – something to make the PCs experience the tragedy of the place first-hand would have gone a long way to make this more than a cool ruin inhabited by some lethal lamia. Since 5e doesn’t have PFRPG’s wealth of lamia, the other monsters also detract a bit from the strong leitmotif of the PFRPG-version.
Kyle Crider didn’t do a bad job with the conversion, mind you – but I still felt like this could have used something more to make it properly unique. As written, it is a decent offering and hence, my verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I can’t bring myself to round up for this.
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