You thought "Beasts of the Dominions" was a bestiary for "Beasts & Barbarians" ?
Wrong ! I know... I wonder why they called this book "Beasts of the Dominions" since it contains the description of less than ten monsters... "Adventures in the Dominions" would have been far better, fot it is a collection of 10 short or medium-sized adventures. I must say I am not a big fan of the free B&B short adventures, for I think they don't manage to convey the thrill of Sword & Sorcery gaming, but here, they are quite compact so you won't get disappointed by most of the tales that this volume contains. For interested purchasers, here is a very short description :
- "The betrayers of Rhybard" : The heroes must act as spies for a Borderlands governor; their mission is to infiltrate a powerful rebell band. Will they side with the brave rebells or remain loyal to the governor ? This adventure is vert dense, and those 10 pages provide stuff for several evenings.
- "Lotus Spawn" : In Zandor, the heroes have to retrieve the local ruler's daughter from the claws of brigands who have found shelter in an old forest. Alas, the players will have to compete with a reckless rival, and the forest is infested by... Lotus Spawn.
- "Moloke-Tanu": The players are members of a merchant party allied to a friendly Ivory Savannah tribe. But strange disappearances menace the success of that expedition. Who or what is lurking around ?
- "Pale Shadow" is definitely reminiscent of the "Pool of the Black Ones", a Conan story by R. Howard. The heroes had no other choice but to join a pirate crew highly divided between sailors disgruntled by their captain and the rest still loyal to her. In fact, only the common goal of a treasure hunt thanks to a recently found map holds them together. Once on the island, violence is about to break up....
- "Pantarkos Lucretios" : This decadent Faberterran noble has kidnapped the heroes who must now fight for their survival in his private arena... or perhaps they'll prefer to find some new escape route ?
- "Caudru" : The heroes act as bodyguards of a 16 years-old pampered and arrogant nobleman, Salathar, in southern Kyros. One night, while they're enjoying a banquet in the palace of Salathar's uncle, the High Priestess of the godess of fertility pays them a visit....
- "Spider Queen" : The heroes escort the newly appointed governor of Vadokara, in southern Kyros. Something's wrong in this crumbling town, since the two former governors disappeared without a trace. Can the heroes save the new governor from such a doom ?
I have some criticism here. Not of the adventure itself which is really entertaining, in the very spirit of S&S. But I deeply regret the absence of any map for I am unable to figure out the layout of two key scenes (the escape and the final lair). The excellent abstract navigation system provided once again by Umberto cannot give the answers to the very probable questions the players will ask on the whereabouts of their characters and their foes.
- "Tokomal's Jaghza" : While riding along a Tricarnian abandoned ricefield, the heroes rescue a desperate pregnant teenage girl. But she's soon abducted once again by her evil master... (Warning, this story is truly horrific !)
- "Yarakan" : One more adventure with a strong Conanesque feel : the heroes are hired by a vengeful captain who wants to retrieve a Khav cargo out of his vessel, now stranded in the swamps of the Buffalo river delta....
- "Yellowfingers" : Here, the heroes are sent to a gloomy cairn in order to negotiate peace between two clans...
The book ends with an Appendix, the "Disciples of the Black Temple", a Caldeian sect with new edges and gear.
[5 of 5 Stars!]