This adventure is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/patron-list, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 14 pages of content, so let's check this out!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right! In the village of Dronabar, a woman and her children have been abducted by zombies - less than two hours until dusk are left and it's up to the player characters to save them before darkness falls and all the dangers of the woods creep from the shadows. When the PCs find the broken cart (including a b/w-map with a grid), the PCs will have to defeat some fast zombies and then track the assailants back to a graveyard where their knowledge-checks as well as the flavorful read-aloud texts will provide for a creepy atmosphere - that will be enhanced even more by the realization that they will have to take a portal into the plane of shadows to save the innocents and encountering a helblar, guardian of the dead and cemeteries.
In the plane of shadows, the PCs will have to make their way to a desecrated temple now consecrated to Orcus - after braving the dangers of the place, clearing the zombies etc., the players will hopefully be there in time to prevent the sacrifice of the innocents by the dread zombie-lord cleric of undeath. Additional ideas for the continuation of the story-line are part of the deal.
The pdf also includes a page of general introductory information to Shadowsfall, the plane of shadows, as well as a selection of 4 pregens (all with artworks) - they include a dhampir (plus new weapon, war-trident), an umbral kobold alchemist (including full racial trait information), a fetchling ranger and a wanderer wizard (also with complete racial traits).
Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor glitches, I didn't notice any significant ones. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks are nice. The maps are ok and serve their purpose. The pdf comes with full, nested bookmarks. This module is FREE and it is hard to beat free stuff - here a heartfelt "Thank you" to JBE and all sponsors without which this module would not have been made.
The narrative is mostly well-written and while some pieces of prose are slightly less compelling than others, the overall narrative is solid. Free Rpg modules usually are intended to introduce players to mechanics and settings and thus, this module is not extremely hard, challenging or far-out, but it provides an interesting and compelling introduction to the plane of shadows that makes me anticipate the other Shadowsfall-books even more. Its introductory mission is accomplished, its flavor is nice etc. - however, not all is perfect. here and there the narrative feels slightly less organic to me. We get no player-friendly maps. The overall plot is nothing to get too excited about. We do, however, get herolab-files. That being said, while not perfect, this module is free and I'm willing to forgive these minor imperfections and still settle for a final verdict of 5 stars - it's free and you have definitely nothing to lose by checking out this neat little module.
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