In the deep woods just outside of Middleport, there stands the Full Moon Tower. In the days when the tower was new, children from Middleport began to disappear in the dead of night. The villagers tracked the missing children to the tower, but not a single one was to be found inside. Only a beautiful woman, a witch, who would not tell where the children had gone. Generations have passed since the children left. Still, the villagers do not go near the tower, for none have entered it and returned.
This 26 page adventure features a six level tower with six rooms, one per floor. It has a nice turn of phrase here and there but overall comes off as longwinded, mostly due to the embedded plot and conversational style of the text.
The basic idea here is that there’s this tower in the woods and bandits in it that sometimes raid the town to capture people and goods. Inside is the evil presence of a witch who takes over bodies and makes them her thralls, having several of them. A cage of prisoners at the top of the tower, her evil coven in the basement, and the bandits kept in check by hostages the incorporeal witch has taken.
The village, which several pages are spent on, doesn’t really get much to distinguish it. It’s both the first sign of good things from the adventure and of the bad that plagues this one. The village takes about two pages, of which is ¾ rumors, but there’s still nothing much of note for all that content. A lot of content that tells us nothing interesting … with a couple of exceptions. The innkeeper had his son taken and he’s sharpening his sword. Or, to quote directly “Gert spends all day sharpening an old iron sword, wishing the bandits would show up again. He mumbles that it will be worth it them doing it, if he can catch them doing it.” Mumbling to himself, on the edge of loosing it, sharpening that old sword obsessively. Not really paying attention to anyone. I can run that guy. There’s another point of two thats interesting as well. The locals call the tower Full Moon Tower, or The Dark Spire, or The Witches Castle. Nice having different names, a real local color sort of thing. That’s the sort of specificity that can make some place seem alive and real, both the tower and the village.
Those little specifics are quite interesting. AT one point we learn that the witch cut out her own tongue to become a witch. Nice! Good detail! It’s worthless, in the adventure, since she’s incorporal and exists only as a vague glowing purple light in peoples eyes that she takes over. This is quite sad. Good detail, but worthless to the adventure. There’s also a nice little art piece of a mosaic on the first floor of the tower.
After this things are just downhill.
The door disappears after you go inside. *sigh* There’s plot embedded in the entire thing, making the rooms long and involved. The style of text is conversations, with a lot of “If the party open the door then they see” sorts of text. The elements with the witch manifesting as a glowing purple in her thralls eyes is lost in all of this. Instead of doubling down on the theming it goes all over the place, with the nicer bits getting lost.
And then some of the descriptions are just plain confusing. One thrall, a person I guess, has a tail that it shots spines from? I don’t get that all. And a DIE! Situation where the first party member probably dies in one room. The door slams shut after they go in and then the DM is instructed to just give the sounds of fighting and to kill the PC. That’s uncool. At one point you find a glass eye that doesn’t really do much but detect evil. The final battle in the basement notes “if the witch sees the party throwing the eye around she will cause it to burst in mid air the next time they do.” Why would they be throwing the eye around? It doesn’t make sense.
There’s supposed to be this embedded plot with a bandit leader led captive, his brother talking to the party (after they’ve killed all his men, I assume, knowing how most things go.)
It’s just words words words, conversational without the great specific highs it reaches in place. The plot is not integrated well, not thought out, and just feels tacked on and not well developed.
That’s a shame. You can see where the designer wanted to go. Local “haunted” tower. Bandits forced to kidnap people. Thralls, eyes glowing purple. A bandit desperate to save his brother. A strong moonlight element to power magic, etc. But it just doesn’t come off, at all.
This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview doesn’t work. Neither does the print version of the downloaded files. 🙁