The Palace of Evendur

By Tom Garner
Crawler Solo
Levels 1-3

Your party is approached by a local storyteller who spins a tale about the empty and overgrown Palace of Evendur, once home to a powerful planar travelling wizard, who went missing more than a life-time ago. The players must unravel the mystery of the palace, erected at the edge of a strange and enchanted forest…

This thirteen page adventure uses four pages to detail a small “palace” with ten rooms. It does everything wrong. But, also, it does it wrong is a kind of classical way. You know, the way some kind-hearted but well meaning person might. But it’s still wrong. And unusable.

A five paragraph long read-aloud starts off our hook, with a bard dude offering you 30gp to go look at this disappeared wizards home and solve the great mystery: why did the wizzo build his “palace” on the edge of the woods? Not what I’d call a great mystery, but whatever. After many pages of worthless padding later, we get to room one.

And are confronted again by a long section of read-aloud. This is the norm for this adventure. You need to wade through it. It says things like “You are standing before …” or “You are in a large throne room …” Rom after room. And then sentence after sentence after that. “Upon the throne appears to be …” Every read-aloud makes an appearance. Too long. Using boring descriptive wors like large. Things APPEAR to be. Over-revealing details of the room. As well as the perspective thing. 

Then comes the stat blocks. A full on stat block, inline with the text, in full MM glory. Including Treasure Type and description. This gets in the way, actively, of trying to understand the text of the room in order to run it. At one point I think I waded through a page and half of text, only to find out that there was a notable chandelier in the room, in the next to last paragraph. Well, fuck. And it’s important. And it’s not in the read-aloud. Well fuck me. This is a textbook example of why that kind of shit should not be done. 

You’re looking for a key, it turns out, so you can get in to the garden room on the half moon. No real clue that’s what you need to do, but that’s what you need to do. When you kill the armor in room two (4HD, surrounded by a bunch of 2HD flying swords. And a 4HD murder rug. At level one …) it drops the key. 

After slogging through room after room of things artistically saying “what’s the password?” then you meet a kindly dryad in the garden who tells you her tragic tale, and then returns to her tree. But, wait, the missing wizzo planned for this! The tree dies! She’s now driven insane! Kill her! Yes, this is the way of this adventure. Play by fiat. And not the good kind of philosopher-king. The bad kind.

Let’s see. It has almost no monetary treasure. At all. But, you do get three wishes, as a party, when you go in! You don’t know it, but you do. Also, all three good types of crystal balls are stuffed up a chimney in one of the rooms. Three of them. In fact, the whole place is littered with magic items. And maybe … 500gp of mundane treasure? Until you kill the dryad. She has “treasure type D” buried under her tree.

Why? Why would you do this? Why would not just roll the treasure and put it here? Why tell us it’s D? You put fucking treasure in to every other room. Why would you not put it in to that room also? The main room? 

This is fully representative of The Bad Old Days. When T$R shoved things down our throats. When the interactivity in an adventure was strained. It’s weird, both this and the previous review were, I think, straining the boundaries of kiddy D&D, that slur that folks used to described BASIC to differentiate it from their 1e master. It’s the full on Eliminster “Heel!” thing. Neither adventure go fully there, but they are getting really close to it. It’s not the whimsy and wonder of an OD&D game, but a writing and orientation to a simplistic interactivity. Not in just stabbing. But in blatant passwords and find the blue key syndrome. 

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru with a suggested price of $1.30. The preview is six pages. You get to see some of the padded intro and the first room, as well as part f the second. That should be enough to tell you what you are signing up for.

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3 Responses to The Palace of Evendur

  1. Dave says:

    “Until you kill the dryad. She has “treasure type D” buried under her tree.”

    Totally going to use this if I ever get the chance.

  2. Artem the Orc Blade says:

    I had very strong suspicions that this was a conversion from 5e, and holy guacamole I was proven exactly right (see the author’s confession on p. 10).

    All cancerous design trends of latter-day 5e are in there. Hey, at least it’s a 10-room dungeon instead of a 5-roomer…

  3. The Middle Finger Of Vecna says:

    10 rooms does not a palace make.

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