A Pathfinder/3.5 Compatible Adventure for 4-6 PCs of level 1
The adventurers travel across Serpent Lake with a group of Rybalkan soldiers. The group camps for the night adjacent to the ruins of Ka’Teek. As they sleep a goblin steals a precious keepsake from one of the PCs and disappears into the ruins. The party pursues and finds themselves confronting undead guardians of the Sun Lord while avoiding dangerous traps.
Will the PCs find the goblin and retrieve their precious keepsake or stumble upon something much more sinister?
Also included in “Crypt of the Sun Lord”:
ENDZEITGEIST – February 19, 2013
The revised edition V.4 is Better with a capital “b” Endzeitgeist — Apr 9, 2012, 01:01 AM This adventure is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages SRD, leaving 24 pages of module, so let’s check this out!
The default of this module is set in the adventureaweek-campaign setting and this fact is evident from the very start – while generic enough to fit into just about any setting, a sense of being entrenched in the place, being truly part of a greater world is almost immediately evoked.
That being said, this is an adventure review, you know the drill: From here on reign the SPOILERS. Players are advised to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! Hailing from the Klavekian kingdom, the PCs venture forth to the lands of the Vikmodere, which essentially correspond to the stereotype of pillaging, evil vikings with longboats etc. Whether these stories are true or just a product of xenophobia remains unclear. The PCs travel on the vast Serpent Lake en route to the village of Rybalka. As they reach shore and camp, though, a goblin makes off with a valuable family heirloom and thus forces the PCs to follow him into the crypt of the sun lord, where the little bugger and his 2 brothers have set several traps.
Unfortunately for the PCs, the crypt is also the resting place of the Sun Lord’s guardians and skeletons and undead animals as well as the goblins will make up for the resistance in the short dungeon crawl to follow. Finally, the PCs may not only reclaim their heirloom, but also the fabled blade of the sun lord. The blade has been nerfed in the updated version and now only gradually unlocks the rest of its abilities. However: I’m still not a fan of parts of the blade’s fluff: Vampires will flee from the light that emanates from this blade, attacking only if no other options are available.” I still feel like the blade is a powerful reward for a rather easy module and should be guarded by a kind of boss battle.
Another problem is the “steal-from-the-PCs”-angle. It works. Almost always does. But it works because they have worked for it. The PCs here are 1st level. They have no attachment or sense of accomplishment to tie them to their characters or loot and thus make this hook with a thievish goblin to guide them into the tomb a very bad one. Not to mention the fact that any group of PCs worth their salt will have a) guards and b) the means to quickly track down and kill the thief, perhaps even in the act. A Goblin can’t stand up to the combined wrath of a well-rested group – the casters and ranged fighters will CRUSH the bugger.
Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect – I did notice some glitches like missing blank spaces, but most have been taken care of. Layout per se is beautiful with a used parchment look. With the revised layout, the icons and boxes are much more smoothly integrated into the text, thus offering a more concise overall impression. I’m still not a fan of the boxes, but they have been shrunken to a point where they still serve their intended purpose and don’t feel as jarring anymore. I’m happy to report that statblocks now adhere to standard PFRPG-formatting.
But there are also bright points: The cartography is AWESOME. I’d recommend the download for these alone – a map of the peninsula, of the whole lake etc. is provided and the map of the crypt is neat as well, although I would have loved a player-friendly version sans the secret doors/numbers etc. The artwork is also neat.
And then there’s balancing. This adventure still is a cake-walk. Seriously. It’s not only easy, it’s ridiculously easy. The opposition faced is laughably incompetent, most of them wait in their rooms to get destroyed and there is no true boss. If the PCs get off track, they can fight a black bear. WITH a lot of backup. That’s the toughest adversary herein. I don’t want meat-grinders, don’t get me wrong. (Though I sometimes enjoy them.) But players need to feel CHALLENGED by a module to enjoy beating it. I wager that my group could complete this whole module without taking damage. Seriously. The reward has thankfully been slightly nerfed, but I think the module might still have need for some kind of boss. Not even the clichéd ogre or shadow make an appearance at the end of the 1st level dungeon (thank goodness), but any kind of boss or final trap to end the module on a high note would have been great. As written, it feels like it peters out.
The people at adventureaweek.com are obviously listening to what you tell them – this revamp of the layout and the whole pdf, in fact, is superior to the first one I reviewed in every way. Seeing that, while most assuredly not perfect, this module is free and with its improvements, I’m adding a star to the final verdict for a score of 4 stars.
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