Desert of lost relics is another fantastic entry in the Vengeance of the Shunned campaign. This module again opens with one of my players’ favorite things, Handouts. So the hooks to get them invested in the module happen before even chapter one starts. I am not sold on making my players bored. I understanding that it is setting a tone, but it may take a better game master to pull this off. AFTER the desert part though the module really gets going.
The initial scripted encounter with the unredeemed Asaatthi is truly devious, and even a middling DM will be able to make this encounter rather shocking. The turncoat slaves are a great touch and allows the DM a lot of flexibility when it comes to dramatic tension.
The fortress itself is very well designed. Honest, I could gush for a page about how consistently fantastic Anne Gregersen’s cartography has been throughout these modules. Suffice it to say that the maps in this adventure are wonderful. If your group is into pushing figures around the table then these maps are perfect for you. If you use a VTT then the modules have you covered. If you are into a more theatre of the mind approach to encounters, then, again the module is set up so that isn’t a problem. Dungeon ecology is an art and Vengeance of the Shunned has nailed it thus far.
Again, in the fortress we have a random encounter table. These aren’t cool for me as a DM. (I prefer to plan out my players’ encounters a bit more, and enjoy milestone advancements), but they are here if any DMs want them. The scripted encounters though are very well done with some new enemies and some old classics.
The monsters section brings back some old classics. I do think that the art choice for one of them is really odd as the artist drew the giant mantis derpy, but also with equipment and a spear, while the monsters, as presented, are Intelligence 3 giant bugs. This is a fairly minor nitpick. Overall, I would say that Desert of Lost Relics, in my opinion, may not be strongest entry in the Vengeance of the Shunned campaign, but it is still a 9 among 10s. A lot of what takes away from it, for me, come down to personal DM preference.