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5E Mini-Dungeon #026: Sanctuary of Exsanguination
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/22/2017 07:50:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

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Still here?

All right! When the witch-priestess Segolia established a temple in a frontier town, she proceeded to demand sacrifices of orcs and similar raiding humanoids - which was no problem for as long as the place remained a frontier's town...but progress being what it is, the raiders have been bested and the witch continues to demand sacrifice. Now people have gone missing - so the PCs are tasked to investigate Segolia's temple.

While the guards provide ingress to the PCs, they do so at the request of their witch-priestess and she is pretty much not making any pretentions - the temple sports a deadly stone guardian and undead as well as two portals the PCs need to pass to reach Segolia - on the way there, further adversaries remove any doubts of Segolia's evil nature. The adversaries utilize the terrain to their own benefits and Segolia, ultimately, turns out to be a vampire spawn.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Michael Smith's sanctuary is a solid, rather magic-heavy little mini-dungeon and sports some cool potential for encounters as well as a solid final boss. At the same time, the rooms themselves felt a bit less versatile or interesting to me. The module does lose a bit of its old appeal in Kyle Crider's conversion, as the original penaggalan boss has been converted into a vanilla vampire. On the plus-side, skill-uses are pretty versatile this time around. In the end, we have a solid module, well worth 3.5 stars, though I can't bring myself to round up here.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #026: Sanctuary of Exsanguination
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5E Mini-Dungeon #025: The Phase Spider Lair
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2017 07:20:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

It should be noted that this mini-dungeon was kinda first created for 5E -in PFRPG the module originally pitted the PCs against chokers.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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Still here?

All right!

The mountain town of Kraga has seen many changes over the course of its existence - what once was a dwarven town is now a border settlement and the canals of the settlement now run through the strange, lost settlement. A string of disappearances brought the PCs into this complex...and indeed, we have a strong leitmotif here, namely that of arachnid foes, with phase spiders, ettercaps and the like...and basilisks also can be found here. Skill-wise, PCs should try to avoid coming in contact with the sewer plague...and the worst encounter here can be avoided by smart PCs. Loot-wise, a cloak of elvenkind represents the most potent item herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of b/w-art - kudos!

Jonathan Ely's phase spider lair is a fun, no-frills module with a nice leitmotif. It's not a spectacular offering, but it does its job relatively well. The conversion does a decent job as well. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #025: The Phase Spider Lair
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5E Mini-Dungeon #024: The Lapis Maiden of Serena Hortum
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2017 07:47:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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..

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Still here?

All right!

The desert village of Serena Hortum is the backdrop of this module, with a local named Nadia looking for her missing sister - a beauty named Alucia. The trail leads to the estate of a merchant (a mage) called Bodigar - though, inside, the PCs are in for a nasty surprise: Bodigar has indeed abducted Alucia and his mansion does show enough indication of his depravities - the worst of which would be the statues in the garden, which also feature fair Alucia, transformed into stone by his pet basilisks. Bringing the vile merchant to justice will be an interesting task indeed!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of b/w-art - kudos!

Justin Andrew Mason's Mini-Dungeon is compelling - either as straight-forward hack and slay or as an infiltration, this one offers a nice story, a cool backdrop, diverse challenges and even a bit of social interaction, this is a great example of what can be done with a straight-forward, smart application of the limiting mini-dungeon-formula. Kyle Crider's conversion of the module is generally interesting and solid, though I wished it made more use of 5e's simple and easy to modify Stealth mechanics, but that may just be me. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #024: The Lapis Maiden of Serena Hortum
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5E Mini-Dungeon #023: The Aura of Profit
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2017 07:46:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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Still here?

All right!

So, in the poor section of town, Fritz has an underground alchemist's laboratory - so why would the PCs try to stop Fitz? Well, his alchemist laboratory creates waste that makes people more susceptible to alcohol, which directly influences the profits of innkeepers all around. So, the PCs will have to stop Fritz - if only to prevent alcoholism skyrocketing. The dungeon as presented is surprisingly varied - we have an engineer-wizard, minor constructs (short-hand statblocks included) and some neat traps, some of which are obviously nonlethal. Big plus for the 5e-version: We get full stats for Fritz! Two thumbs up for going the extra mile there!

Oh, and know what's kinda cool? Fritz is not a bad guy - he can actually be convinced to make modifications that negate the detrimental effects of his alchemical refuse.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

This makes me happy, it really does - Rory Toma delivers a captivating, fun mini-dungeon herein - with things to do beyond killing everything, a mix of traps and roleplaying and an interesting "adversary." The topical background story also makes sense and opens potential for further adventuring - what if an evil character gets wind of Fritz' mixture? Kyle Crider thankfully has gone above and beyond in conversion: Diverse challenges, sample stats, hyperlinks all in order - no complaints on my part!

Seriously, what more can you ask for from a small, humble 2-page module? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars plus seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #023: The Aura of Profit
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5E Mini-Dungeon #022: Pleasure Den
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 07:42:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

This mini-dungeon does not make any prisoners - no introduction, nothing - but what we do get from the get-go, is a module that depicts a complex devoted to the pleasures of the flesh (non-explicit): Vampire spawn and succubi can be found within these rooms and the interesting thing here is rather unique: This mini-dungeon may see relatively few combats: Compliant and courteous PCs that are not foolhardy may experience this as a kind-of lethal respite from e.g. mega-dungeons like Rappan Athuk and the like. Fire elementals in ovens? Check. A disguised spirit naga? Check. Oh, and yes, there's a medusa.

Now conversion-wise, the respective NPCs and critters have been translated rather well this time around and we actually have social skills we can use: Charisma (Persuasion). Loot-wise, this works and I noticed no hiccups in the hyperlinks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Rachel Ventura delivers a rather interesting mini-dungeon - while the theme could have used some elaboration or suggestion, I do enjoy the significant amount of read-aloud text that sets this apart from every other mini-dungeon. If this pdf has one weakness, then it's not in the complex itself, but rather in the lack of a central plot-line: It's just "Put PCs in, see what happens." - which is nice and not usually something I complain about, but with a disparate roster of foes, a narrative base-line would have enhanced the sense of cohesion of this module. This is not bad mind you - especially not for the brevity imposed by the format. Kyle Crider's conversion loses nothing of the original module's appeal and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #022: Pleasure Den
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5E Mini-Dungeon #021: Daenyr’s Return
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 07:41:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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Still here?

All right!

Daenyr has been gone for more than 3500 years - the nasty vampire's erstwhile temple of darkness has fallen to ruin and all'd be well. Until a cult of deranged vampires and cultists have re-entered the temple and begun engaging in their dread rites - so, it's mop-up time! Hyperlink-wise, we have two instances of a hyperlink missing (of all things, one's for the BBEG) and opposition-wise, the 5E-conversion uses cult fanatics, mummies and vampire spawn - no individual modifications this time around. Skill-check wise, we use Investigation and Perception...the basics and I'm really wondering why there's not chance to unearth info via Intelligence (Religion), given the theme of the dungeon.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos!

Michael Smith's Daenyr's Return is a solid mini-dungeon with a tight leitmotif: Anti-vampire-crawl. The dungeon is decent, but it loses a bit of its unique components in translation. The conversion by Kyle Crider is solid, if not his best work. All in all, a solid 3-star mini-dungeon.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #021: Daenyr’s Return
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5E Mini-Dungeon #020: Sepulchre of the Witching Hour's Sage
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/08/2017 04:16:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Sometimes, the PCs need answers at any cost. Thus, they enter a two-way portal in a cemetery near the ruins of an ancient civilization and enter the sepulchre - where they will soon notice that entering specific rooms may deal small amounts of "negative energy damage" on failed Con-saves. sigh That's supposed to be "necrotic damage" in 5E, right? Worse, I think that 5E's HP-reduction (see vampires) would have made for a much more interesting mechanical representation here.

Indeed, several undead and shadowy books continue to perpetuate this theme, while an illusion-supplemented trap is a) interesting and b) devious. The little dungeon also sports minor item-scavenging and a terrible final revelation of a horrid price to pay for the information and a unique, interesting showdown with the sage and his gibbering mouther advisors.

While the damage-mechanic that is the unique-selling proposition of the module, has not been translated well to 5E, the skills the dungeon requires this time around are rather diverse, so that's a plus - as are the dangerous books contained herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no glaring hiccups, though 3 of the hyperlinks don't work. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

Stefanos Patelis delivers an excellent mini-dungeon here that has lots a bit of its charm in the conversion, but Kyle Crider did succeed in maintaining most of it - the module, as a whole, is an intriguing one and sports diverse challenges, which I ended up enjoying. While not perfect, it is worth the asking price. My final verdict for the conversion will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #020: Sepulchre of the Witching Hour's Sage
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5E Mini-Dungeon #019: The Goblin Warren
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2017 05:50:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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..

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Still here?

All right!

Situated amidst a barrow thought to be curse, the quasit Viletongue has had a good run - what demon doesn't delight in driving mortal priests mad and have them kill one another? Alack and alas, today, he is still imprisoned, though he has found new ears to whisper in - those of goblins. Bilemaw the Impaler (stats as a bandit captain - nice reskin) and his warparty, complete with worgs, has since moved in and followed the quasit. The PCs, sent to eradicate the goblins, may actually do the crafty outsider a favor by dealing with some traps - a desecrated shrine housed a mechanism that ironically makes it harder for the demon to escape. So yeah, the PCs may unintentionally unleash a pretty nasty beast...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

I wasn't looking forward to Jonathan Ely's Goblin Warrens, mainly due to hating the exceedingly generic hobgoblin lair. With an interesting shape and set-up, traps thrown in the mix and a background story as well as things to do beyond "kill everything", this one is a proof of an author who is coming into his game - seeing how limited the space allotted is, I was pretty impressed by the level of detail provided and implied and firmly believe that a capable GM can make this warren rather memorable, in spite of the classic themes. Conversion-wise, we actually have a few skills, some nice environments and traps and a nice translation of the quasit's motivation. Kyle Crider's conversion is solid and retains the flavor of the original.

Now, sure, this does not reinvent the wheel, but is has fun ideas and deserves a rating as a good mini-dungeon, scoring a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #019: The Goblin Warren
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5E Mini-Dungeon #018: Neotomas' Paradise
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2017 05:26:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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..

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Still here?

All right!

So, beggars have been vanishing and thus, it falls to the PCs to venture forth into the sewers to find them - and yes, they may contract sewer plague here - which is a nice deviation from the tired. Exploring the dark tunnels, the PCs not only have to brave rat swarms, they will also encounter a ghost of a slain beggar before finding the culprit of the disappearances - a nasty wererat slaver on a recruiting spree and by now transformed were-rat beggars...oh, and yes, the PCs can walk into a gelatinous cube.

On the downside, the ghost is once again not an encounter supplemented by social skills or interaction in that way...and the wererat boss uses the same stats as the wererat beggars...which feels a bit lazy. Which not provide some statblock modification shorthands here?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups, though there are two hyperlinks that are not functioning properly. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

Michael Smith's good sewer level in the original had it all - environmental hazards, lighting, social interaction...and apart from the lighting issue, all are lost in translation. Social interaction? Not really covered - the ghost is just window-dressing. The boss uses the same stats as his servants (which sucks) and any skill information is curiously absent as well - fallen into sewage? Well, no idea how hard it is to get out again. Not impressed. The conversion, in short, gets rid of what made this fun, at least to me. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #018: Neotomas' Paradise
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5E Mini-Dungeon #017: Shadows of Madness
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2017 05:54:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't sport any deceptive trap icons or traps - kudos, though the place where the secret doors are can still be gleaned by proximity...but if you conceal that part, it works well. In short: Full, proper VTT-support and help for guys like yours truly that can't draw maps.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

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Still here?

All right!

Wizards strive as wizards are wont to do, for knowledge - and much like dwarves digging too deep, they are prone to being destroyed by this thirst for knowledge. Exactly that has, alas, happened to a wizard names Tibor - and now the PCs have found a stair amid the rubble of his former tower.

In this small dungeon, the PCs will fight undead foes and ultimately, save a woman -who was kidnapped by ogres to facilitate the planned retribution of said aforementioned wizard . This guy, now, driven mad by gibbering mouthers, constitutes the boss of this dungeon.

Loot-wise, there is a mirror of life-trapping to be found here, and skill-wise, you'll find the usual: Doors to break down or crack...and no social interaction, which highlights a weakness of this module

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from the hyperlinks - there are quite a few that don't work, which is a bit annoying. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - which I'd applaud, were it not for the fact that it depicts a bugbear, which was present in the PFRPG-version...but doesn't show up in the 5E-iteration. The cartography, with player and GM-VTT-maps, is nice.

Michael Smith delivered a nice mini-dungeon in its original iteration. Alas, Kyle Crider has done better conversions in the past. You see, this mini-dungeon, in the original, was pretty much defined by its strong shadow-leitmotif, with templated foes, rare enemies and a medium to save - all of this has been lost in translation, when a couple of minor modifications could have retained that feeling. In short, this leaves the mini-dungeon very much bereft of its soul and renders it much more generic in its 5E-iteration. The damsel to save, relevant in the original, is relegated to commoner status and once again, there is no social skill component here. While not bad per se, this is also a long shot from what I'd consider great. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #017: Shadows of Madness
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5E Mini-Dungeon #016: The Halls of Hellfire
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2017 08:13:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

The Halls of Hellfire were once a sacred neutral ground, a place for peace talks - now, the halls are a beacon for creatures of pure evil, tainted by the darkness that saw the downfall of this once-sacred space. The lamia of the desert have been drawn to this place and both regular specimen of the feared species as well as a spirit naga and a young blue dragon await the PCs to toy with their minds and break both their bodies and souls.

Conversion-wise, we have protection from good on the whole complex, which is solid, but skill-wise, we have Str and Thieves' tool DCs equal to one another...and that's it. No interesting terrain tricks or the like.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups, though, unlike in earlier mini-dungeons, DCs and skills are not bolded. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

Jonathan Ely's Halls of Hellfire provide a storied locale with per se cool combat encounters and some solid traps. Alas, at the same time, I did feel like this locale fell short of its awesome background story - some tantalizing hints, a bit more fluff, perhaps a series of short special terrain features - something to make the PCs experience the tragedy of the place first-hand would have gone a long way to make this more than a cool ruin inhabited by some lethal lamia. Since 5e doesn't have PFRPG's wealth of lamia, the other monsters also detract a bit from the strong leitmotif of the PFRPG-version.

Kyle Crider didn't do a bad job with the conversion, mind you - but I still felt like this could have used something more to make it properly unique. As written, it is a decent offering and hence, my verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, though I can't bring myself to round up for this.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #016: The Halls of Hellfire
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5E Mini-Dungeon #015: Torment at Torni Tower
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2017 06:56:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't sport any deceptive trap icons or traps - kudos, though the place where the secret doors are can still be gleaned by proximity...but if you conceal that part, it works well. In short: Full, proper VTT-support and help for guys like yours truly that can't draw maps.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

Somervel has not been treated kindly by the seasons - its pale forts, somewhat akin to beaver lodges, earthen mounds on islands in the marshlands, have been isolated for quite a while - most of the complex is below ground, with one tower jutting forth from the mound. Torni's tower has fallen to the seasons and when he PCs are sent to investigate the place, they are greeted by a haggard female - but that's just the beginning of the trouble.

Turns out the female is a disguised night hag who not only single-handedly (or better: single-clawedly) took the fortress and slaughtered its inhabitants, she also makes off to rouse her ogre, ettin and troll minions, some of which in states of drunkenness (which is accounted for by the mini-dungeon with nice quick and dirty 5e-rules!) and prepare her detailed and rather awesome tactics - while in 5E, she doesn't collect stirges to throw at PCs, she instead gets will-o'-wisp allies. What about speaking tubes? Yeah, smart! So, the presentation provides the roster of inhabitants, the rooms and the tactics of the night hag - all in all, providing a surprisingly awesome and best of all, organic mini-dungeon against foes with unique tactics and in a distinct backdrop.

Here's an issue in the 5E-version - the pdf does not specify how good the hag is at her ruse; here, we would have had a great chance for a bit of social skill use, but we, alas, don't get that.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from the hyperlinks - there are quite a few that don't work, which is a bit annoying. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! The cartography, with player and GM-VTT-maps, is nice.

Stephen Yeardley does it again - this mini-dungeon is inspired, cool and does everything right: From an awesome, unique locale to smart adversaries and a surprising amount of fluff crammed into the scant few pages, this mini-dungeon is concise, logical ad downright awesome. The hyperlinks aren't always properly implemented, which can be slightly annoying. Kyle Crider generally did a good job in conversion, though the pdf does lose a bit in the tactics department. It's not bad, mind you - not even close. But the PFRPG-version just made me cackle with glee, where this one only made me smile - it's nice, but if you're playing both systems, the PFRPG-version is the better one.

This notwithstanding, we still have a nice mini-dungeon here, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #015: Torment at Torni Tower
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5E Mini-Dungeon #014: The Soul of a Prince
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2017 06:54:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

So, prince Remlek's soul has been hijacked - the PCs are sent to retrieve it. It is in the claws of a devourer trapped in a complex under the city's sewers and it can't escape the complex. No one knows the soul is in the hands of a nigh hag, but the crafty creature has established defenses to lure more powerful souls to activate the escape portal. Okay, if this sounds a bit confused, then because the introduction is just that - how do the authorities know where the soul is, but not that it's in the claws of a night hag?

The complex is brutal: There is a chamber that sports a circle that continues to summon wraiths. Without hallow, the circle can't be destroyed. Spell not available/prepared? No divine caster with the spell? Tough luck - your module has just gone from hard to insane in difficulty - and that is provided your players guess that they are supposed to cast the spell. There is RAW no means to find that out within the module. Worse, in subsequent rooms, we have HEZROUS summoned. While these guys are no longer as bad as in D&D 3.X, that's insane - particularly considering the lack of means to find out what you're supposed to do. Worse, this is billed for characters level 9 - 11. Guess how many hallows you'll usually have at 9th level? Bingo. ONE. Have fun with infinite respawning foes.

There also is a "puzzle" that boils down to "roll a skill-check," with the ticking timer of the aforementioned constant summonings rendering the whole thing potentially super-lethal.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.

This, in its PFRPG-version, was one of the most confused and BAD modules in the whole series - and good things first: The 5E-version is actually better than the PFRPG-trainwreck. Rory Toma's Soul of a Prince, however, is still a middle finger to the players. No means to decipher the means to eliminate the constant summoning, a flimsy lead-in that doesn't hold up to rudimentary scrutiny...etc. In short, this is not a good module. If you don't have at least 2 hallows and a character that can reliably meet high Intelligence (Arcana) checks (the only skill this module requires, btw., don't try. I'd strongly suggest going for one of the many, many better modules in the series. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #014: The Soul of a Prince
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5E Mini-Dungeon #013: The Case of the Scrupulous Pawnbroker
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2017 06:51:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't sport any deceptive trap icons or traps - kudos, though the place where the secret doors are can still be gleaned by proximity...but if you conceal that part, it works well. In short: Full, proper VTT-support and help for guys like yours truly that can't draw maps.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

This mini-dungeon begins with the PCs having either a business relationship or wanting to establish one with a hard, but fair pawnbroker - now his store's door is open and suspiciously empty, while an iron door in the basement leads towards a gruesome scene - the assistants have been slain and reanimated as zombies, though the PCs may save the owner's dog as further support. If the PCs do not tarry, they may save the pawn-broker from the hostile assault of a really nasty gang of thugs under the command of a cult fanatic - they're trying to break into his treasure vault, after all...

Pretty big plus: Kyle Crider has done some nice modifications to traps and stats in short-hand, which adds a bit more 5E-feeling to the conversion.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from the hyperlinks - there are quite a few that don't work, which is a bit annoying. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! The cartography, with player and GM-VTT-maps, is nice.

This mini-dungeon has me torn - on the one hand, the story Stefanos "The Netlich" Patelis weaves is a nice one that can easily fit in any urban environment and it does sport the small details and level of believability I enjoy.

On the other hand, it could have benefited from a short tactics-section for the adversaries if the PCs e.g. call the watch- a couple of lines would be there to warrant it and this may very well turn into a kind of hostage situation - bartering is a quite possible notion for the PCs and since the foes use the pawnbroker's traps to their advantage, one can see the potential of the writing here. It is pretty obvious that, for once, we could have used some Intimidation, Deception, etc. - and we get nothing like that; much like most of these mini-dungeons, Perception, Investigation and thieves' tools are the main non-combat options used.

This is by no means bad and Kyle Crider did a solid conversion here, but the few rough patches in the formal criteria, joined by the lost chances for social skills and the like, do drag this down a bit. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #013: The Case of the Scrupulous Pawnbroker
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5E Mini-Dungeon #012: Nekh-ta-Nebi's Tomb
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2017 04:35:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Oh, and the series now comes in an archive that also contains...drumroll a .jpg-version and a .tif-version of the map! Yeah, that's pretty amazing! The dungeon's number-less version of the map doesn't sport any deceptive trap icons or traps - kudos, though the place where the secret doors are can still be gleaned by proximity...but if you conceal that part, it works well. In short: Full, proper VTT-support and help for guys like yours truly that can't draw maps.

Since this product line's goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

...

..

.

Still here?

All right!

The tomb of Nekh-Ta-Nebi can be used as its own tomb of a minor noble or as part of a bigger complex, if you're for example running Gary Gygax' Necropolis, Dunes of Desolation or Mummy's Mask. The complex itself is pretty much a straight-forward Egyptian-themed dungeon, complete with giant scorpions and mummies.

Alas, while hyperlinking is consistent herein, the monster choice is significantly less diverse than in the PFRPG-version - at least a reskin would have been nice here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from some properly linked hyperlinks not being color-coded/highlighted - cosmetic hiccups. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art - kudos! The cartography, with player and GM-VTT-maps, is nice.

Jonathan Ely's Tomb of Nekh-Ta-Nebi is as straight-forward a mini-dungeon as you'll get for the theme - it is solid in its theme and execution and there is nothing wrong with it. Conversely, it also is kind of unremarkable. No room, hazard or encounter really blew me away and the overall complex left me unimpressed. Now this may well be the jaded bastard in me speaking, but I found this mini-dungeon lacking in anything remarkable that sets it apart. While this means that this pdf probably fits into every Egyptian-themed scenario, it also left me thinking that I can brew a scenario like this up on the fly. This is further exacerbated in the 5E-version, with undead hyena and the like falling prey to a lack of templated creatures - what we get here are vanilla undead. Kyle Crider's conversion isn't bad, but the pdf does lose the few components that kinda set it apart for me. Compared with Kobold Press' legendary "Last Gasp", it falls really, really flat.

Time-starved DMs may still consider this worthwhile, even though I, as a person, didn't. As a reviewer, I can value the solid craftsmanship, though, and for the time-starved DM, this might work. hence, my final verdict clocks in at 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
5E Mini-Dungeon #012: Nekh-ta-Nebi's Tomb
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