This is a Castles & Crusades adventure however it can be used with any pre-4E version of D&D.
This is a basic low-level adventure that is well done with several evocative locations and a pretty decent setup. Most of the booklet consists of the write write-up of a local halfling village with a small little adventure set within it. It would be a great introductory game for a story-based campaign.
I have a confession to make. I love whimsy and the fantastic. Flower fields full of pixie dragons, craggily wizard towers in full sunshine, and misty fey grottos. However there’s another part of me that loves adventures with the the simple folk, farmers, the salt of the land, you know … morons. I love a good village full of dirt farmers and their simple ways. Mud, filth, and morons. These guys provide AMPLE adventure hooks of every variety.
This time around we have a little halfling village In it is a local guy who’s adventurer cousin recently passed away. With visions of greatness and a desire to be a big man he takes his inheritance and builds a great halfling hall where he wines & dines the locals to raise his stature in the community. Only … when he was building his hall he found an old barrow underneath it. Being a cheapskate at heart he decided to utilize it to build his hobbit-hole cheaper. He wasn’t too curious during the construction, and soon had a fine house. He liked to entertain, and during one of his parties, with most of the village notables present, an slight accident occurred. It seems one one the items he inherited had some special powers, and it caused all of the bodies in the unexplored portion of his barrow to animate. During his party. Massacring everyone present. When the reeve went in the next day to investigate, along with a few of his men, he didn’t come back out. The insular halflings are now in a bit of a panic. When the party shows up they quickly relate what they know, which is next to nothing, and implore them to investigate.
The module is about 24 pages long and over half is taken up with the description of the halfling village and it’s surrounding areas. There are several notable characters and almost everyone has either a strong personality hook or some brief but interesting backstory. As such this would probably make a decent home base for the party in their future adventurers. I really enjoy these sorts of interesting little village write-ups. Sometimes I wish I had a small booklet of them so I could whip them out at will when the party stumbles upon one or I’m in need of one. Its no where near the quality of People of Pembrooketonshire, but that supplement is so over the top that few could match it. There are a few businesses in the village, and some outlying farmsteads that are described.
The adventure proper is a short little affair. The halfling hall has about eight keyed encounters, mostly with the undead. Underneath is a short little linear dungeon with 12 keyed encounters. There’s a nice little rumor table provided, with some false leads, town gossip, and some true rumors. A few of the residents also know a little more, so a party that spends some time poking around ahead of time should get a few helpful clues. There’s a nice little wandering table with some local residents and some undead prowling about. The upper hall is full of the reanimated bodies of the revelers and a few other creatures reanimated. The hall has some little room descriptions and an interesting encounter or two that should thrown even an experienced party for a loop, especially the first one. The idea of halfling villager zombies is also quite interesting and should provide some fun opportunities. The path to the lower barrow should be easy enough for a party to find if they poke about a bit.
The lower barrow is mostly a linear affair. There are a few traps that are well done and should lead to a few ‘gotcha’ moments. Most of the encounters are not forced at all. A careful party that explores along should be able to recover a decent amount of loot and avoid quite a few combat encounters. It’s a nice little barrow with a couple of things for the party to poke & prod and few nice descriptive elements however it mostly lack the more interesting room descriptions found in the upper hall, with a few notable exceptions. Those mostly pertain to the new monsters found. There’s a couple of creepy encounters with a bone pile and pile of dismembered hands. Those should keep the party on their toes. Further, things are set up so the more interesting monster encounters are the ones the party will probably encounter and the other areas have more mundane ‘book’ encounters.
There’s another small adventure area tacked on to the end. It does feel like a tack-on, and is just a small building populated by kobolds. I generally don’t like humanoids, they tend to be overused and are usually just sword-fodder. Human bandits almost always are a better choice. Keep the mundane as mundane and the fantastic will be all the more fantastic, and terrifying.
This is available at DriveThru.