The Heart of Glass

This is a Castles & Crusades adventure module although it can easily be used with any pre-4E version of D&D.

This is a city adventure. Several portions of the city are briefly described. The NPC’s are all related to the hook. The city has several factions; all those presented relate to the adventure presented.

Once there was a noble paladin. There were ‘issues’ and he was turned in to a vampire. Now he has to drink blood to survive, a situation he’s not altogether happy about. He’s learned about a magic item which should suppress his need & desire to feed. He rolls in to the town where it’s at and starts a thieves guild where one previously never existed. The freelancers are not happy about this and an underground war starts between the new guild and the old freelancers. He bolsters the guild by bringing in a group of assassins. Oh, and he’s got his vampire minions as well. On the other side is … well … not much of anyone. There’s a VERY high level thief and his buddy a wizard. The wizard had the artifact the vampire wanted and he launched a raid on her tower. She escaped, but left the artifact behind. The vampires are occupying her tower, waiting for her to return so they can force out the location of the item. In the middle of this are all the folks in the city. It was already a seedy place, and now getting increasingly chaotic from the underground thieves war AND the vampires prowling about. Pretty much everyone knows there’s a thieves war going on. Some few know about the assassins. Almost no one knows the vampires are prowling about. Hey, this sounds like a great time to add a PC party!

The book is arranged in three broad parts, each describing one part of the city. The various locations are described, along with the residents at those locations and what they know of the thieves, assassins, and vampires. There are about 40 or so locations described. Some are allied with the new thieves guild however many are unaligned or just show some sympathies to a particular faction. These cover various social classes from beggars to the merchants. There’s a four page summary of events at the start of the book as well as several appendices that contain many new monsters and magic items, as well as the assassin NPC class, rumor tables, new spells, a brief background on vampires in this game world, inn prices, and so forth. The amount of support material is decent and I appreciate its inclusion.

I see a couple of problems with this one. First, city adventures live and die by the atmosphere provided in the city. That atmosphere is largely provided by the cast of colorful characters in the city. This list is a tad short in Heart of Glass. Several of the NPCs have some meat to them however they tend to be a bit one-dimensional. I would have liked to have seen quite a few more relationships, particularly as they relate to events outside of the Heart of Glass storyline. I tend to judge city adventures by how much I like the city and how it can be reused outside of the main plot lines. That means the folks need some beef behind them. The main plots in this are integrated in to the text of the various building locations and NPC descriptions found in those locations. This makes it hard to follow what needs to happen to make the plot move along. A better organization for the main plot would have been appreciated.

This is available on DriveThru.–Crusades-Heart-of-Glass?affiliate_id=1892600

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