Castles and Crusades - Where Cool Water Runs is a short stand-along encounter from Troll Lord Games for the Castles and Crusades gaming system. This encounter is suitable for 3 to 5 characters of levels 4 to 7, and sees the characters being hunted by several cunning and deadly creatures as the PCs inadvertently approach their nest. As one would expect, the encounter takes place in a single setting - in this instance a refreshing glade through which a gentle stream runs. The presentation of this product is top notch, sticking to the format maintained throughout all Troll Lord Games' products. My only quibble here is the lack of a scale on the map provided. This encounter can be used in any campaign setting, and very useful and interesting adaptations are included in the 6 page product for Troll Lord Games' own world of Aihrde.
The encounter is a fairly simple one but very well detailed to make sure that CKs will know exactly what to do with which creature and when. I thought the tactics of the creatures involved, a new creature called the charon fiend, were very good, suiting both the nature of the encounter and the details of the creatures themselves. Often the best encounters are those that use the terrain well, and some elements of that are present here. The tactics will give the PCs some thought, and make for an entertaining encounter where the PCs won't know where the threats are coming from. The charon fiends themselves are probably the best part of the product as a whole - I liked their flavor, their description and their mechanical details. I think these creatures can be both terrifying and dangerous at the same time, particularly if used with the tactics described in the encounter. One weakness of the encounter, and really with a lot of products of this nature, is that the encounter is by and large telegraphed. If the CK starts reading blocked text in a seemingly innocuous clearing, there's little doubt the PCs and the players will expect something. It would've been useful if the encounter had been scripted to not be so obvious, or at least given the characters a non-mundane reason for stopping in the clearing and hence triggering the encounter. Overall, though, a very clean and neat product with some uniqueness in the new creature involved and some decent encounter design.
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