Welcome to our little Review section here on the Open Gaming Network.
We take products and review them, intending to give the reader the best chance of evaluating whether this particular release is for them.
There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:
1 * – Bad
2 * – Mediocre
3 * – Decent
4 * – Good
5 * – Excellent
The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.
That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!
This week we give you The Horseshoe Calamity!
Publisher: Legendary Games
Author: Ron Lundeen
Cover Artist: Not listed, but artists are: Jacqueline Hines, Matthias Kinnigkeit, Evan Surya Nugraha, Beatrice Pelagatti, Steve Wood (Special mention goes to Marco Morte for the maps)
Page count: 28 ( 1 page cover, 1 page interior cover, 1 page credits, 2 pages of Explaining what “Adventure Plug-ins are), 1 page Table of Contents, 2 page Open Gaming License), 18 pages of content (including maps), 1 page advert and 1 page back cover)
As usual, we start with the map. This shows 2 centaurs and 2 humans fighting 2 spectres in the snow. This immediately puts to mind some icy undead encounters and sets a great tone for the adventure. I really like this map, as it actually depicts a fight that could happen in the adventure. The only thing I have to complain about is the font of the title, but that’s a really minor gripe.
Reading through the adventure plug-ins, they imply that this adventure fits into the Reign of Winter adventure path (since that title is an IP, they cannot refer to it in the book), in between part 2 and 3 of the adventure called “Maiden, Mother, Crone”. Personally, I’d be more inclined to fit it in just after “Shackled Hut” in that Adventure Path, but that’s a matter of taste. I can easily see how a GM would fit it into both places.
Now, this will be a bit sparse, as I do want to avoid spoilers, but I overall the adventure is good. The first part is very “talky” and the second part is a classic dungeon crawl, even if it’s more of an icy fortress than a dungeon, but the formulae works here too, though I wish there was a bit more to the diplomacy bits of part 1. (The PCs are supposed to make peace between 2 parts of a village, but there’s no mechanical incentive to do so, no reward that I could see, but I can see how groups that like roleplaying encounters would have fun with this. The fight with the bully centaur breaks it up a bit as well, so I’d recommend to most GMs to include that, even if the PCs technically avoided the fight. Besides, at this point, they could probably use the loot).
The dungeon works well, though the encounter structure bothers me a little. The CRs are not steadily increasing, like I’d prefer for a steady increase in challenge, so the first one is 9, next is 8, then 7 then 9, then 6, then 7 and finally 9 again. I’d have preferred for it to start at 6 then increasing from there, but I can see where the structure would have been difficult to maintain. So while it is a personal gripe and opinion, it’s not a dealbreaker.
A couple of things to note. There are some minor editing issues in the book, like missing italics for the magic items for Dylvak, but it really is minor. Most of it is spot on, it’s just the editor in me talking. It’s nothing that would bother most people.
One MAJOR note though is the maps. They are GORGEOUS. I really, really like them, though I do think that the Frosthammer map feels a bit sterile and I dislike the font used on the Dolanni map for the locations. But they are just so nice looking that I might steal them for use in other campaigns, simply from preference.
And so we come to the conclusion:
As said there are some minor issues here, which can be a bit annoying, and I think there’s a lot of non-content stuff in this. You get a 28 page PDF, and 15 pages are the content (not including the 3 full-page maps), 18 pages including the full page maps. That means that 10 pages are just various other bits and pieces that are not the actual adventure, and I can see where that would put some people off.
With that being said though, I think this is a good little adventure, and one that I could easily see myself fleshing out even further (perhaps following the tribe on their migration), so I would rate this at a 4½ star. That said, I can’t get myself to round this down, as my own rating system doesn’t require 5-stars to be perfect, and I do think that this is an excellent product. So, the final verdict is 5 stars.
I loved this one, but give me a bit more content next time. (And PLEASE put in a picture of the hoofghast. I love the idea of it, and I’d like to actually see an artist’s rendition of it).