This free GM's Guide for Headless Hydra Games' upcoming Viridian Legacy AP is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving a total of 19 pages of content for this guide, so let's check this out!
The pdf kicks off with a short discussion on how the AP will work - the AP will span 12 adventures, each covering one level - chapter 1 for level 1 and so on. Additionally, the AP uses story-leveling, i.e. at the end of one of the modules, the PCs gain a level - interesting decision and I look forward to seeing how that works out. Also, the individual adventures could be shorter than usual in an AP, but I'm speculating on that one. What somewhat jarred me was that, if I'm not mistaken, the final battle and hooks to continue the AP will be separate release - that better be one hell of an epic final conclusion!
The three central themes of the AP are discussed: Legacies have power, Past actions have repercussions and allies abound - interesting selection of leitmotivs, especially the latter - I wholeheartedly appreciate the sentiment, so let's hope the allies don't hog the spotlight in the campaign like in some of the early short fictions by HHG.
After that, GMs are introduced to the legendary adventuring group "Exalted Champions", their history and ultimate downfall as well as a key-element of the AP - 6 intelligent magical items are their legacy, all containing fragments of their personalities - cooler even, the respective write-ups come with a background for each of the champions, a typical story of adventuring exploits and each of the items gets its own, beautiful artwork. Nice! have I mentioned that they become more powerful with the levels, akin to legendary items?
After that, prospective GMs get 4 sample statblocks for goons of the primary antagonists and 4 sample encounters that reflect the tactics of these foes. Finally, fey influence, dominant and enchanting and one of the reasons Mor Aldenn has such a distinct feeling, is also covered and will resurface throughout the AP and the first fey-influence in the person of a corrigan (with full statblock, a new type of elixir and a full-color artwork) is also included in this GM-guide.
The pdf closes with a beautiful map of Mor Aldenn, split between two pages.
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column standard and the full-color artworks are awesome. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is slightly inconvenient, seeing that DM will have to check back regarding the intelligent items. It should be noted that both this pdf and the player's guide are rather big files (~40 Mb), so both are not exactly tablet-friendly.
I am looking forward to the Viridian Legacy-AP due to a variety of factors: First, I really enjoyed the campaign setting book, a fine piece of city-sculpting indeed. Secondly because the format and its story-driven leveling and its leitmotivs are simply interesting and thirdly, because e.g. Ron Lundeen is involved with the AP and I enjoy his work. However, there is also potential for stumbling stones: I hope the individual adventures don't end up being too short, that the climax in its separate pdf will be sufficiently epic, that NPC-allies don't hog the spotlight... We'll see how the authors of the AP manage to portray all of that. What I was missing apart from the bookmarks in this pdf was a comprehensive outline of the AP for the DM, an adventure to adventure break-down, which would be immensely helpful if the concept of "Actions have repercussions" is to be maintained - I hope the modules will include notices for the GMs so we only have to track the significant interactions. That being said, this GM-guide is still a very cool, free offering and provides a neat sampling of what to expect. Were this a commercial file, I'd perhaps go lower, but since this guide is free and professionally presented as well as well-written, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 stars nevertheless.