This adventure, designed to be run in the Ptolus: City by the Spire campaign setting, tells the tale of one of the darkest nights in the city's history, and lands the party right in the thick of the action. There's something for everyone here with investigation, intrigue, action and dungeon exploration all playing their part. It's suggested characters should be at fourth level when they begin, they'll likely reach ninth level if they survive until the end. Hence it makes a good follow-on from the Adventures that come in the Ptolus sourcebook or as a separate PDF, as they take characters from first to fourth level.
Herein there are six linked scenarios, which can be run as a continuous adventure or separately, as best suits your needs. If you intend to use it, some foreshadowing is in order which is outlined in the Introduction. There are also notes of how to interweave events in this plotline with another adventure, The Banewarrens, if you want to create something spectacular by combining the two. For even more complex overlapping adventures, there are other plot hooks within the Ptolus sourcebook that are suggested. Finally, the Introduction addresses a potential pitfall: in finding information about shady goings-on which ought to lead the party to the next stage in the adventure, they might just trundle round to the authorities and hand it over for investigation. The solution is simple: deputise them!
It all begins when the party find a locked magical chest and need to find a key... Several different ways in which they just happen to acquire the chest are given here, any of which can be slotted fairly seamlessly into whatever they are up to at the time. However they end up possessing it, no doubt they will then want to find out what's inside. Inquiries lead to a minor artefact that might do the trick, which is believed to be located in a disused brothel. This is the location of the first part of the adventure.
Events pile upon events. As an investigation-based adventure, it is somewhat linear - although this can be alleviated by the interleaving spoken of earlier - but there is an internal logic that drives the adventure forwards provided the party has got interested enough to want to find the answer to what's going on... once they find out, they're going to want to stop it as it will make things far, far worse for the whole city and as they live there they should have a vested interest! Subsequent adventures include rescuing a young admirer from the clutches of a sinister cult... only to find that he's disappeared and needs rescuing! Once that is accomplished, rumours of dark deeds practised by evil cultists come to light, investigating these leads to an underground temple to clean out and news of another threat to eliminate, and so on to the climax - but it's clear where you can break off to do something else, and even add in reinforcing information if the party isn't paying attention or showing any inclination to engage with the next stage of the plot.
Good maps and room descriptions are suppied along with fully-detailed NPCs and monsters for encounters, and there are clear cross-references to matters touched upon in the Ptolus sourcebook (or, if you've collected your copy that way, to the series of PDFs that cover the content). There are also marginal notes to aid you as a DM to deliver this adventure to best effect and even comments about things that happened in Monte Cook's own campaign upon which all of this is based. It all ends in a pitch of high excitement, with barbarian invaders outside the walls and an evil ritual set to destroy the world being enacted inside... epic stuff, cinematic and giving the party a real feeling of having saved the world... there's even the possibility of sending the barbarians home without bloodshed. The party will be the talk of the town and richly rewarded as well, a fitting end to a memorable adventure.
[5 of 5 Stars!]