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Cheben
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2013 12:27:25

Cheben is a rather basic adventure. It does very few things wrong, but doesn't do anything particularly imaginative either.

The basic premise of the adventure is there is a rather typical fantasy village besieged by low level monsters: goblins in an old armory, skeletons and zombies out by the graveyard, and some rather neat low-level constructs in an abandoned library.

However, the world, the village and the threats are nothing that even an entry-level GM couldn't come up with on their own. Local NPCs are defined mostly by what gear they have to trade the player characters rather than by personal motivation, and the example dialogue is flat and noninflected. There's no roleplay hooks for any of the local NPCs- they are as emotionless as the townsfolk in an early Final Fantasy CRPG. They have one or two lines of dialogue and a few things to sell the PCs, nothing more.

I would love to see the adventure re-released with expanded personalities and goals for the major NPCs, more villagers to interact with. Even bullet-pointed lists of personality tics or relations with other villagers would go a long way in bringing the villagers to life.

As it stands now, the layout is very clean and mostly legible (though there were some cut and paste errors in the statblocks of the abandoned library's guardians). The pages are sparse though, with only 3-4 pieces of amateurish, 'old school' art scattered throughout. I'm sorry, with stock art as cheap and readily available on this site as it is, there is no excuse for poorly illustrated gaming PDFs.

However, the basic skeleton of the adventure had potential. I'd love to see Cheben re-released soon with corrected statblocks for the library monsters, additional art and a punched up layout, and more NPC depth.

CHRIS



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cheben
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Cheben
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/28/2013 09:00:25

Like any career, getting started as an adventurer can be quite tough. This adventure provides a ready start, almost an internship (only you get paid) for budding adventurers and is recommended as a campaign starter...

In the Kingdom of Maarin, you see, everything is nicely organised. Would-be adventurers can head for a certain inn (of course) where an official hires likely groups for various tasks that the royal army is too busy or not quite suited to undertake. The party is offered a good starter position, to attend to various issues in a new island settlement called Cheben - the usual sort of thing: restless undead in the graveyard, an old armoury dating back to a previous empire which might have been raided by goblins, a spooky wood that needs clearing out and a cache of books belonging to some long-dead wizard that needs recovering. The people in the settlement are welcoming and offer monetary rewards, discounted equipment and so on.

The township itself is outlined, with some of the local notables detailed; and then each of the sub-adventures is given similar treatment... all you need to run them but plenty of space for you to put your own spin on things and stamp your own individuality on the burgeoning campaign. Maps are basic but provide everything that you need.

The nice thing is that the balance between detail and freedom is well-measured, making this an idea campaign starter whether or not you have any idea about your campaign world or indeed where longer plot arcs may lead. It is easy to weave your own ideas through what is presented here, yet makes an ideal jumping-off point if you do not have much more developed yet. Neat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Hunt
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2013 10:06:00

A classic adventure of a village beset by a red dragon demanding tribute with menaces, which has already returned the charred skulls of the last lot of adventurers to try to make rid of him... with a cunning backstory that will prove quite a surprise when all is discovered!

The village magistrate is getting desperate and sends an emissary out to search for more adventurers, which is how the party gets involved. They are enticed with the promise of directions to a tomb where some dragon-slaying weapons are cached - left from the foundation of the village when then, too, it was threatened by a marauding dragon - as well as the dragon's own horde.

From there, things seem obvious. Visit the tomb and then take on the dragon in its lair... or wait until it comes round to collect its tribute. Locations are well-described, with all stat blocks and other information you need at your fingertips. For those who use it, a Hero Lab file can be downloaded via a link to GoogleDocs.

Map support is good too, with full-colour maps of the surrounding area (in both player and GM versions), the tomb above and below ground, and the dragon's layer.

It all sounds deceptively simple... but there is more than meets the eye!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Hunt
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