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Tower of the Stargazer
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/16/2010 17:05:16

Tower of the Stargazer is an adventure for OSRIC/Labyrinth Lord style systems and is suitable for beginner players and referees. The adventure takes place in a mystical mage's tower, where the characters must deal with all sorts of obstacles and traps en route to finding the answers to their questions or merely the treasure foretold to be there. The adventure is well written and presented, and I particularly appreciated the design notes and explanations offered by the author on various scenarios, justifying encounter and design decisions (even if I didn't agree with all of them). In essence it's a rather simple adventure, completely location based, with little follow-up or opportunity for much further beyond this. However, the background information and adventure detail are enough to make this a fun romp.

The adventure is focused more on navigating the tower's defenses and locations rather than infiltrating a well-guarded area. While there are combat encounters to be had, these are actually quite few given the number of tower locations. Here I wish proper details on statistics had been included, rather than the vague references contained in the product. The traps and puzzles in the adventure are quite clever (particularly the elaborate ones related to the telescope and the treasure levers), and the majority of them make sense even without the author's complete design notes. However, I'm not really in agreement with the deadly nature of the adventure, even if it does make sense. Beginner players don't want to have their characters die ten minutes into the game. And while it can be justified, I think it can turn players away. It felt in places like the adventure was more for a sadistic referee to have fun with rather than the players characters to learn the ropes of a new system or roleplaying in general.

Be that as it may, I think the adventure has some merit. There's good atmosphere around the tower and its confines, and the wonderful art will make for good handouts to inspire and creep players out. I wish in a way the adventure had been a little more dynamic - as is, there's nothing stopping the characters taking their time through the adventure. One other point of note is that this adventure can end rather quickly. While well designed to be rather non-linear in how it can be played, a few lucky choices can see the main encounter done pretty soon. Overall, perhaps not so much geared to teaching new players as new referees, but an adventure with lots of opportunity for cleverness, good puzzles and good atmosphere.

[3 of 5 Stars!]