I’ve been playing role-playing games for over twenty years. In that time, the height of my “boxed adventure” experience was in the golden age of TSR – before WOTC. Adventures were written to inspire, and the inspiration that created in the GM then got passed on to the players. While it was not often that I used the descriptive texts verbatim, there were areas where that writing (particularly with puzzles) was key to ratcheting up the tension, and giving my players a sense of achievement (or horror, in the case of failure). Time changed the quality and methodology of the publications, as well as the overall intent – the formatting even became less immersive, with a lot of indexes, appendices, and poorly organized clutter.
TPK has re-set the bar with Silvermote – this is golden-age level caliber content all over again. The quality of the work, both artistically, and mechanically, speaks volumes about the effort and thoughtfulness that TPK put into developing this adventure. Even the “filler” encounters are smart, and the balance between dark fantasy horror, and a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl/kill the monster module is expertly executed. There is some great artwork, along with the maps, which really help in providing inspiration for GM’s who may be struggling in finding the correct adjectives to set the mood.
The ”recommended” ECL of 8-12 is certainly well suited for the printed matter. You could easily beef up some encounters and enemies, and still have challenge for players a bit higher even. Bump down a few particularly challenging items, and you have a tough slug, but a doable one (maybe with a hefty NPC or a cache of disposable magic items) for those even below the low end of the recommended. There are some particularly nasty traps, and a wide variety of encounters throughout Temerlyth’s lair.
Regardless of the party you bring, Silvermote will hook your players – possibly in a vital place… There is a lot in this supplement – healthy plot, a good peppering of NPC’s, some fantastic mapwork, and a great means of scaling the adventure and encounters as needed. As with Temerlyth the Undying’s supplement, this is all provided in a fairly neutral setting, which can be dropped into your existing campaign, or, if you like, form the foundation of a new campaign setting.
There are some really interesting new magic items and magical arms/armor powers, as well as an entire mechanic for creating magical libraries! This mechanic alone is worth the price of purchase, and you get a whole well-crafted adventure for free!
My only issue with the product was the variation in link depth, through the breadth of the PDF. Despite this inconsistency, I think that the fact the adventure is linked (with reference materials going to d20pfsrd) is brilliant, making for a quick double-check when planning, or a fast end to player questions while running. I’m sure as TPK continues to grow in their finesse, issues like this will even out with experience.
[5 of 5 Stars!]