Menagerie of the Ice Lord

By Dylan Hartwell
Self Published
Labyrinth Lord
Levels 3-5

Lord Venator lived in a remote mountain top family estate castle overlooking the snowbound village of Nix. An accomplished and enthusiastic hunter, he bored of mounting stuffed trophies and took to keeping his prey alive in a growing menagerie in his expansive abode. A recent malfunction of the magical cages resulted in widespread escape. The Venator family castle is now overrun with vicious beasts and Lord Venator is thought dead. A brave party of adventurers, suspecting the Ice Lord is dead, hurry to loot the icy abode that resembles the valuable magical crystals with which it may be filled.

This is a one hundred room minimally keyed castle themed around an Ice King who has lost control of his caged animals. It’s got a good mix of unique monsters and magic items and has about? of its rooms with monsters and maybe ½ of the rooms, total, have any sort of description at all. It’s not bad for a minimal keying, and hits several key needed things, but it could use a little punching up in many of the descriptions.

The idea is that there’s this village surrounded by snow. The local lord is a snow elf and once a year he thaws the fields to allow the villagers to plant their tubers. He’s four weeks late, no one has come to/from his castle in awhile, and the village will starve if they don’t get their crops planted.

The village is really minimally described. It has a few NPC’s with a few sentences each as well as a list of the people in the village who worked in the castle and have not been seen. There is just enough here to run the village. I could quibble and say a few “scenes” of a sentence or so each, would have been a welcome addition, as would some interpersonal relations between the villagers. But it’s a decent job for the amount of the text provided. The trip to the castle basically revolves around “do you have appropriate transport for deep snow?” as well as one encounter with a frozen body in the middle of the road.

The castle has 100 rooms and sprawls over several levels. The map is basic but it DOES note which rooms have monsters in them, with an asterisk, which is something more adventures could do to facilitate running them. Making a lot of noise and the map shows a monster next door? That’s a map notation that helps the DM run it at the table. Some of the descriptions are just a room title, like “Full Linen CLoset” or “Empty Closet.” Others have a few words with the room, like “Ornate mirrors line the walls” or “Wall hold paintings of nature.” Those two types of room descriptions probably cover about 80% or 90% of the rooms with the few others having a few more details in them. IE: a second sentence or third.

As minimally keying goes this one isn’t bad. There’s a decent variety to the rooms.

This is available at DriveThru.

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