Advanced Adventures 15 - Stonesky Delve is an OSRIC adventure of exploration, deep cave delving and unlocking ancient dwarven secrets. The adventure was run as a tournament adventure at GenCon Indy 2010, as presented in this format, although it can easily be run as a standard adventure without the need for tournament time-keeping or scoring. In this adventure the PCs are asked to explore a recently opened and uncovered region of the dwarven lands on the slopes of Stonesky Mountain, where they will need to spelunk down into dark, watery and dangerous caves to explore, navigate and map these parts of the dwarven religious lands. In the process, they naturally stumble on things not bargained for, as dwarven history comes to life in the deepest caverns. Stonesky Delve is suitable for 4th to 7th level characters.
The one thing that immediately impressed me with in this adventure was the level of detail and realism. The cavern exploration is done wonderfully well, with full three-dimensional details and realism in the sense that there are critters and monsters where they should be. The exploration is very detailed, and characters will get a real sense of wonder as they pass through the caves. The adventure structure and layout is very logical, with a lot of thought going into design and placement of each encounter area or cavern room. As the exploration continues, they characters uncover ancient and sacred locations within their exploration, and here I felt the exposition was a little weak despite the creative design and verisimilitude of the exploration remaining top notch throughout. While I can expect that an exploration of some caverns is just that, if some additional story elements are added, it would've been nice to seem them become tantamount to the exploration itself rather than just another part of it. In the same vein, while the exploration is required to take place over a few days, why not add a sense of haste to the overall adventure rather than the somewhat artificial adventure background requirement? Perhaps this is all an artifact of the tournament nature of the adventure - who can explore the furthest in the least amount of time. Nevertheless, this is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that can be real fun, with good and exciting combat encounters, lots of atmosphere, and an adventure that can have equal amount of terror and excitement for the players and characters passing through it. Good product.
[4 of 5 Stars!]