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The Goblins of Summerkeep $4.99
Publisher: Brent P. Newhall's Musaeum
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2010 16:21:27

The Goblins of Summerkeep is a 4e GSL adventure that sees the characters attempt to liberate a noble's keep from the clutches of a small goblin tribe. The adventure is suitable for character levels 1 through to 10, and the author has gone through considerable and welcome effort to provide stat blocks for a variety of different character levels. Unfortunately the remainder of the adventure doesn't scale that well, although, to be fair, there aren't really any skill checks, puzzles or traps that would need to be scaled. As one would expect, the adventure holds a far more sinister secret, and the players are left to uncover the truth and save more than the keep from the powers of evil.

I guess there are two main things to say about this adventure - first, it's very well organized. The author has put a lot of effort into making it easy to run, easy to work through, and easy to play. From that perspective the adventure is in a way more suitable to beginner party's and DMs. I expect that 10th level characters will expect more of a challenge than the combat encounters this provides. That level adventure should play differently - it should challenge more than just the brute force of the party, but also their ingenuity and their available resource. Which leads me to the second point - the adventure is awfully linear. There's almost no scope for playing the adventure differently than scripted and no dynamism in the script that would challenge the players to think about their strategy for invading the keep. If the goblins had a better prepared battle plan, making use of their cunning to avoid such incursions (which they must assume will be coming) the adventure would've played out a whole lot better.

It's a decent adventure, very well organized and presented, with useful maps and even battlemaps for miniatures. I wouldn't be tempted to challenge higher level parties with something this simple, or at least not without modification. I did like the tension created once the characters discover the true purpose behind the keep, although again I wish there had been more opportunity to reflect, and more of a threat. Stumbling from one major encounter to another without the possibility of the characters getting it wrong or being able to control their own actions is unfortunate. Good effort, more for beginner players and DMs, and well designed with true ease in running and playing.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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The Goblins of Summerkeep
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