RPGNow.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info













Back
Dark Tidings $9.99 $4.00
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
1 2
2 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
Dark Tidings
Click to view
Dark Tidings
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2018 07:51:56

Ptolus: The City by the Spire has a thriving industry going - adventurers exploring the depths below the city. Not all of them come back. You can even get 'retrieval insurance' from the Delver's Guild, to have a team sent to rescue you. This adventure is the tale of one such rescue.

The Introduction explains enough about Ptolus for this to be run as a stand-alone adventure (of course, it's much enhanced if you DO have the setting!), and it can be set anywhere suitable in your own campaign world - it is a dungeon-delve after all, so it doesn't really matter what is above-ground. For those who do possess the Ptolus sourcebook and the Book of Experimental Might (whose variant magics appear here), this work is thoroughly cross-referenced to matters referred to therein, but enough is made clear so that if you don't have them you can run the adventure anyway (and stick to standard Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 magic if you prefer).

The adventure set-up is simple. Two youngsters whose father was a noted delver have inherited his adventuring gear and a fair bit of cash on his demise - so they hired a few henchmen and set off to try delving under Ptolus for themselves, armed with a commission to capture an exotic beast for a collector and fuelled by a determination to prove themselves every bit as good delvers as was their dear old dad. They've been missing for a couple of weeks, and their mother has appealed to a family friend, a wealthy noble, for help. This noble is in search of adventurers to send to find out what happened to the youngsters. Alternatively, you can have the Delver's Guild hire the party. Either way, they'll get an advance to purchase equipment and supplies and a little research time before they are pointed at the entrance the youngsters used and sent on their way.

Interestingly, there's an option to start the adventure in media res, that is, to start with the first dungeon encounter and then backtrack to explain just why they have just had a brawl with some dragonnes underground. While it may be fun to open a game session by calling for initiative rolls, I much prefer time to progress in a normal manner (unless, of course, time-warping magic is in play). Take your pick.

Three prologue encounters are provided as the party enter the dungeon, then we get on to the encounters proper - with a note that monsters do not sit at their assigned map positions just waiting on the offchance that a party might come by, they have lives of their own to lead and it just happens that they are there when the party enters... or if the party does something really unexpected, they might not be in position and you'll have to improvise! However there are lots of hints and tips to guide you in this, indeed all aspects of running the adventure, so don't panic.

It all makes for a good delve, well-constructed with 'monsters' who have reasons for being there, loads of interesting detail, and the opportunity for a successful party to find themselves quite well looked after when they return to the surface. If they're unsuccessful, well, did THEY have retrieval insurance?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Tidings
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2009 20:22:49

It’s always nice when Monte comes back to deliver just one more Third Edition product. While he officially retired from making new game materials a while ago, every so often he releases another product or two as it suits him. One, or rather, two such project was The Book of Experimental Might (and its sequel) which introduced a number of variant rules and new materials for 3.5. Now, Monte has released an adventure, Dark Tidings, which puts those new materials into play.

To be clear up front, Dark Tidings not only makes use of new rules from both Books of Experimental Might, but is also set within Ptolus, Monte’s City by the Spire campaign setting. Ironically, despite the fact that this adventure is made for use with the BoXM, it’s the Ptolus material that really seems more noticeable. Beyond being set within Ptolus itself, and having a number of connections to various aspects of the book, it’s written in the same style as Ptolus, where there are margins on the side of each page filled with notes, and in many cases references to particular pages or sections of Ptolus.

The adventure itself is a fairly short dungeon crawl (though there’s plenty of backstory and exposition leading up to that, along with an inspired suggestion for getting the action started immediately), where the PCs are sent on a rescue mission after a group of adventurers that went missing a little while ago. The dungeon itself is brief – less than a dozen rooms – but in true Monte style, it’s not what you’d call straightforward. There are different factions of monsters fighting over the dungeon, as well as a magical effect that’s throwing a (story-based) monkey wrench into things, all as the PCs hunt for survivors and try to get out alive themselves.

So how exactly does this book use the BoXM rules? And is it usable if you just want to run it as a “straight” 3.5 adventure? In fact, there’s really one answer to both of these questions – specifically, that there are almost no (full) stat blocks to be found here. Most of the creatures have just very brief notes regarding things like their hit points, along with specific changes from the BoXM rules (which is mostly just giving them a few extra feats). Only three characters have their full stats presented here, and it’s here that the BoXM rules are used as defaults (such as having spells re-ordered over twenty spell levels). Given that, it’s really not that difficult to use this as a normal 3.5 adventure, were you so inclined; just ignore the rules changes for most encounters, and reverse-engineer the three characters with full stat blocks (which is mostly just eliminating a few feats and giving them normal spells prepared).

When all’s said and done, my honest impression of Dark Tidings was that it really seemed to showcase Ptolus more than it did the Book of Experimental Might. The city-campaign’s trappings were layered heavily throughout the adventure, to the point where they honestly seemed to overshadow the use of the new rules from the BoXM. This isn’t to say that said new rules aren’t put to good use here – it’s just easy to lose sight of that. The problem, I think, is that the BoXM is ultimately designed with players and their PCs in mind; as such, using NPCs to showcase it doesn’t work too well – the changes are too subtle to really be noticed by anyone other than the GM, particularly in a published adventure which is giving at least some deference to being compatible with the normal 3.5 rules. I really liked Dark Tidings – it’s a good adventure, and it deserves to have full marks – but it doesn’t seem like it’s showing off the Book of Experimental Might the way it’s supposed to.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 2 (of 2 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG