I've really agonized over this review. If there's anyone here who follows my reviews, or gets any use from them, you may have noticed that I rarely write negative reviews.
Usually, I will only write a negative review if I feel that the product misrepresents itself in some fundamental way, or is truly an inarguable waste of money. Otherwise, I just refuse to review anything which doesn't strike me as noteworthy.
Legacy of the Savage Kings is not a waste of money, but it is arguably the weakest of all the Goodman Games adventures I have seen thus far. More importantly, I feel it misrepresents itself to the buyer.
The title and cover copy seem to suggest that this is some sort of barbarian-kingdom themed dungeon crawl. Visions of the ruins of King Conan's Aquilonia immediately come to mind. I know that's why I bought it.
In actual fact, while there is a barbarian king's tomb in this story, the majority of the adventure plays out as a pretty stock cavern-crawl adventure set in the middle of a swamp. The major foe is a female magic user, and her hench-creatures are among "the usual suspects" for a swamp/cave crawl. The Legacy of the Savage Kings of the title is essentially the aforementioned tomb -- the rest of the adventure carries a different flavor.
After much debate, I finally decided to say nothing about this module, rather than give it a bad review. After all it was functionally adequate, even if it did misrepresent itself to some degree.
However, Goodman Games has just released a "prequel" to Legacy of the Savage Kings -- adventure 17.5, War of the Witch Queen -- and I felt compelled to speak up.
I haven't bought War of the Witch-Queen. I presume it's better than Legacy of the Savage Kings. Certainly, the author of both adventures, Harley Stroh , has shown himself capable of much more creative adventure design than he showed in Legacy of the Savage Kings.
Still, I had visions of people who really enjoyed War of the Witch Queen rushing out to buy the sequel -- and I felt compelled to speak up and say, "Be aware of what you're getting here. It's very standard stuff, and the so-called legacy of savage kings barely exists in the gameplay, except as plot background"
And now, I've said it. Buyer beware.
LIKED: The production values are top-notch, as ever, with Goodman Games.
DISLIKED: This is probably the weakest adventure Goodman Games has ever released, in my opinion. Both the publisher, and author Harley Stroh, have shown they are capable of so much more. It must've been a bad day all around at the publishers when this one passed muster.
The adventure title and cover copy are subtly misleading. This is not really centred around any legacy of any savage kings -- it's a pretty standard cavern crawl set in a swamp, whose sorcerous "boss" figure has some pretty standard hench-monsters.
Maybe this adventure would be good enough for other d20 publishers, but Goodman Games is better than this. It barely passes with a 3 out of 5 stars because it's not fundamentally broken, just an unfortunate low point for the publisher.
War of the Witch Queen is probably great, but think carefully before buying this one.