A few months ago, I ran the first part of Blackbyrne’s Dark Veil campaign. The editing and descriptions were very well done and the ideas behind the adventures were cool and creative. Sands of Despair, the follow up campaign, is an expanded effort. It succeeds and fails exactly where the previous editions of the series do.
Sands of Despair is an Indiana Jones style campaign which embarks the PCs on a journey to recover the Artifacts of Dalacore in the Sands of Despair. The first part of the adventure has a linear structure and the second half of the 95-page adventure opens up a semi sandbox game where the players go back and forth through time. The last part brings the PCs back to the present time to recover one of the artifacts.
This is one of those adventures that has a ton of great concepts, but will need to be heavily adapted for any campaign. There aren’t too many series that makes me feel that I, the DM, is being railroaded. A problem with most of the series, this is very evident in time travel scenes where the PCs are locked events that are set places in time. The idea of going back in time to be apart of the battles is great, but the writer missed a great opportunity to incorporate the actual PCs impact on the history.
For the Dungeon Master
You got to love any adventure that combines worthy ideas with detailed maps.
The Iron Word
Sands of Despair churns some strong imagery in its descriptions and has a ton of great ideas. The adventure does need to be injected with a few puzzles and a tactical combat or two.