(5e) The Secrets of Iriestine’s Order

By Cory Mann
Horror Module Publishing
Level 1

Deep in the heart of the forest, there is rumour of an underground temple forgotten by the ages, built for a god long dead. You have been tasked by a small town with trying to find out if there is any merit to the rumblings of the temple reawakening and followers flocking to it. Do you and your party have what it takes to delve inside the deepest recesses of the inescapable dungeon?

This is a 29 page adventure that mostly describes a five level dungeon with about thirty rooms in it. It means well and is better than the usual 5e fare, but makes some pretty basic mistakes. Still, it offers a hint of exploration, and the elements that made D&D popular to begin with: wonder.

What if the rumors weren’t true? You know, the villager have rumors of a temple in the jungle, the party shows up, finds the temple, and its just a ruin, abandoned? Adventure over! 🙂 But , anyway …

Ok, villagers are under attack nightly. You go there to make your name. The first night the village comes under attack and you go find the goblin attackers the net morning, in a ruined dungeon/temple, and then explore the five levels until you reach the bottom and some spirit dude who needs put to rest. Less linear than most 5e dungeon far, it calls the various levels “Acts”, indicating that someone has either never seen a real dungeon or is pandering to a market that expects things in acts. Anyway …

You can’t get in to town. In spite of asking for help, they have a guard in front of the gate that won’t let you in. You’re not given stats for her, so I guess a stabbing is out of the question, as is sneaking in. No, it’s made clear you need to describe yourself and make a DC 10 check to get in. This is a classic no-no; It’s a roll to continue. Some trivial challenge blocks your path but you have to roll to get past it. What happens if you fail your roll? You don’t get to play tonight? No stabbing stats, no sneaking in details … I guess nothing happens and we all go home? No, obviously that’s not what is going to happen. The DM is gonna fudge something and the game will go on. Then why does the roll exist? Why roadblock the adventure? It shows a basic lack of understanding of adventure design. Better, FAR better, to just let the party in and make the roll contingent on how they are treated, rewarded, or some other criteria. Or, not have it all. Just roleplay and let them in. “Please help us! We’re dying here! One more night and we won’t make it and we’ll all be dead!” … “But please jump through these 12 hoops first and agree to these 99 thesis …” Sometimes, D&D villages get what they deserve. Remember people, your choice for Beadle is important! Anyway …

The town, while unrealistic, have a good outline of things you can learn in the inn, as well as a good NPC summary; what they know and do son. It all fits in about a column and is organized well. WHich can’t be said for the rest … You learn of a ranger on the edge of town who can tell you where the temple is. But his details are located in an event called “The Fire” in which a building burns down at night. The whole thing is short enough that it doesn’t really matter … but any longer and it WOULD. It points to a lack of understanding of formatting and organization.

The core of the adventure is a five-level dungeon, with goblins, traps/puzzles and a few undead. It starts with goblins and some hoblins, moves to some puzzles/traps, etc, and then on to some undead at the bottoms. The whole “corrupted good guy” tomb thing again.

The encounters are not all bad. SLeeping goblins to take advantage of. Several puzzle like rooms. They’re not necessarily great ether. An illusion of a red dragon kill everyone, for no reason other than “because.” A pillar that allows you to float is in the dungeon explicitly so you can cross a pit trap … with lots of words about the players thinking creatively, etc. It’s trying, but resorting to things for no other purpose than doing them is not a great way to design. Empty rooms don’t drone on and read-aloud is kept to manageable size … mostly.

But …

It’s lacking core creativity. As such, its little more than a random dungeon design with some rando monsters that is expanded upon with more text. Goblins sleep in beds. Latrine rooms are included. Read-aloud indicates that the creatures see and they attack, etc. Stat blocks (big & bloated, of course) inconsistently appear in the text. One room has four coffins with duergar in them. Alive, as it turns out. WTF? In later rooms the dungeon becomes a test, and doors slam shut when you go in rooms, and there are challenges to prove yourself, etc. Descriptions describe exits. Things like the red dragon illusion pop up … for no other reason than … well, there is no reason cause there are no reasons. What reason ca… anyway …

Even something with these issues, though, is better than the usual bloated text plot things at is usual for 5e/Pathfinder. There is something TO this. It may be not great, but you comprehend it.

This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview doesn’t show you any of the core, the dungeon. The town entry is there, as well as the inn rumors, and the fire/chase events. Essentially, everything BUT the core of the adventure. Not cool. But the inn summary with the bullets and NPC boxing is well done and you can see that.

This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to (5e) The Secrets of Iriestine’s Order

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you’re looking for an interesting 5e adventure, I was recently a player in a one-session adventure called Giantslayer (http://www.dmsguild.com/product/195471/Giantslayer–Adventure). It wasn’t perfect, but it was extremely open-ended and it has an excellent premise; you’re arrive in a village which just received an ultimatum from a Hill Giant: give him all the food when he returns in two days. It has some delightfully simple rules about how to handle whatever traps and schemes the players come up with. There are a few things I would tweak, but I thought it was overall a really solid little adventure.

  2. Gus L says:

    I’m okay with monster bathrooms but only if there’s something in at least one latrine – and ideally a random table of latrine contents – It’s like in the FPS Borderlands 2 where porta-potties filled with guns are one of your first few kinds of treasure chests.

    As to towns my favorite thing (and I think it’s pretty efficient) is when every town has and order of battle – a table with it’s residents (by broad types, not usually individuals), their stats, what they will do if the town attacked and maybe a few tactics. This tells you all about town organization, loyalties, some personality and responds directly to what happens if the PCs piss off the (always disagreeable) townies.

  3. Bigby's Affirmative Consent Lubed Fist says:

    SLeeping goblins to take advantage of.

    Oh, dear… Bryce, old chum, this phraseology is, well, infelicitous.

  4. It sounds like an enlarged version of MT Black’s Temple of the Nightbringers. That worked really well as a drop-in extra to my campaign. I’d be genuinely interested if you compared the quality of the two.

Leave a Reply