|Joshua J. Frost|
The module has some minor problems with certain combatants being mis-placed. Nothing serious but may leave the players scratching their heads wondering if they missed something.
A bear? Seriously? ...in the middle of a desert and trapped in the a dragon's lair for like what... 100 years? How did he survive in the blistering heat with the confusing desert terrain and only bugs to eat? And then end up in a room with the doors shut. On top of that, it's a POLAR bear! (Or dire bear depending on level) With all due respect to the author, the encounter is a little silly as written -- how does a polar bear get into a desert mirage that only opens once every 100 years?
For potential DM's, my advice is to replace the polar bear with an displacer beast that is an escaped pet from the Gnoll camp and call it a day. Yes, Displacer Beast's natural climate is temperate hills so technically he doesn't belong either, but the Gnolls kept him in a cave to guard mushrooms. He escaped a few days ago, wandered in the desert before coming here to rest and he attacks the PCs on sight because he's starving.
It's a tactically interesting combat (and same CR as the polar bear) which makes a tiny bit more sense than a fur covered, arctic animal in a room with shut doors and no food. At least the Displacer Beast is smart enough to work the doors with his tentacles.
|Joshua J. Frost|
It's important for me to point out 2 things: (1) Displacer beasts aren't open content and (2) Who says the bears were in the mirage for 100 years? The dragon uses his lair to collect menagerie's and since he's old, insane, and bored, he forces people to occasionally clear his menagerie. That could have been spelled out better in the scenario, but I don't think it's silly in the least.
This is so far the only scenario I was disappointed in. The reasoning behind the mission was... confusing at best. There were too many combats. Some of which, at the high tier, were just overpowering. A healthy sense of danger is one thing, knowing the creature is going to kill the entire party is another. It was also hard to follow the sequence of events, which may have been the point. This would have been better if it were a two round scenario.