The tent poles of older editions of Dungeons and Dragons were well-developed stand alone adventures which provided DMs and Players a fertile ground to grow great stories. Currently, 5e lacks a lot of adventure support, with the publisher focused on larger storylines and a slower paced release schedule. This creates ample space for independent publishers to provide stand alone adventures and RITE Publishing has answered the call in grand fashion!
The Breaking of Forstor Nagar is an adventure compatible with 5e designed for 8th level characters which features some of the best 3rd party design I have seen in a long time. This 46 page module presents a grand rescue scenario in 9 parts that guide the characters into the heart of Forstor Nagar, the City of Grinding Ice, during the height of a raid by the terrifying Hungering Legion. The module opens in epic fashion with siege weapons, explosions, and lots of combat and just gets better from there. Many 5e mechanics are on display here and I particularly enjoyed how the designers used environmental and terrain effects to bring the cold, icy, and harsh reality of the city to life. The narrative provides plenty of options and does a good job of anticipating player actions, helping the DM to expand beyond the boundary of the page and offer meaningful choices. Those who enjoy combat will love the encounters with the bloodthirsty Hungering Legion, but the module also presents ample opportunity for exploration and interaction.
One of the greatest strengths of this module is its setting neutrality. You can drop it in to a cold environment in any world. The ideas presented also provide ample fodder for the DMs imagination. I was instantly drawn to the Hungering template, my mind coming up with lots of ways to expand this idea and use it as a prominent campaign feature in my own game. Not only do you get that new template, but new spells, new items, and a plethora of new creatures to pilfer. There are so many great ideas here I could see enterprising DMs expanding this backstory and using the lore to build a campaign arc across many levels, culminating with this epic assault.
The PDF is beautifully produced. It is well organized, clean and crisp with top shelf artwork that reinforces the narrative. Speaking of artwork, the purchase features a bonus download of high-resolution, top quality electronic copies of all featured images. That's an amazing value that will be great for those of us who love printing maps, utilizing projectors, or playing in a variety of online tabletops. Having both tagged and untagged versions makes it even better for the DM, who can keep all of the nasty surprises hidden while still providing players with a beautiful visual.
The only real negatives I have are minor. First, I wish there were more motivations for entering the city. The rescue plot is great, and central to much of what happens. There are plenty of hooks to draw the characters into this particular plot, but it would have been nice if the concept was a bit more open with the "why" the adventure is happening. This is something that could be altered by a crafty DM who enjoyed tooling with publish works, so it does not detract from the module. Second, there is a passing reference to Prestige Classes, a concept that doesn't exist in 5e and is probably just an editorial mistake, but did have me scratching my head for a moment.
All in all, this is a FANTASTIC bargain at $9.99. You won't be disappointed and you'll get multiple sessions and ideas out of this one purchase. So come along with me and lets race the Hungering Legion to the Dragon Oracle!
[5 of 5 Stars!]