by Frank Mentzer
The farmer’s son had found an oddity indeed… a rare Ice Gem, of mysterious origin. It came from the old well on the farm, the Quondam Fount. Something might be Down There. And since you’re famous adventurers, he wants you to check it out.
This is a small adventure in the bottom of an old well full of freezing conditions and other planar creatures. Twenty-eight pages about thirteen encounters with a lot of repeat information. Its gonna be a hard slog for the DM. The core idea is decent.
A farmer has found big jewel and tells the party where to find more if they agree to give him a split. That’s a decent enough hook as is the dungeon location: at the bottom of an old well behind some loose stones. The core element of the adventure is a journey through ice tunnels. The tunnels and rooms are all completely sealed off and the party needs to break through the walls to move from hallway to hallway and room to room while dealing with very cold conditions. This is complimented by the Ice Trolls; a race of water elemental creatures who can liquify and invade an orifice. You now have the vast majority of the interesting portions of the adventure. A stream here, a “roof tunnel” there and a rotating ice block and you have the rest.
The rest of the pages are mostly very long drawn-out examples and expository text and multiple read-alouds that depend on the actions the characters take. The information about ice diamonds and ice trolls must be repeated at least three times each. The adventure is so very frustrating because interesting things are buried inside of the terrible formatting. There’s a very good exploratory/caving vibe going on. Breaking through walls, avoiding ice streams, tunnels high up on walls/ceilings, mining for ice diamond treasure. The core monster(s) are also nice; with multiple forms and combinations.
This reminds me of the very early days of modules: you knew there was something cool in there but had to struggle mightily to try and tease it out.
This is available on DriveThru.