Beacon in the Dark (PFRPG) PDF

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The dwarves of Karn Ungil seek to reclaim their former outpost of Ballo Dar from drow invaders. They are sending a small group of spellcasters to sneak into the heart of the outpost and reawaken its magical defenses. The dwarves of Karn Ungil ask the player characters to escort this expedition through the twisting tunnels of the Underlands. While drow attack the group, they face a greater danger. One of them has already betrayed the group from within.

"Beacon in the Dark" is an adventure for characters level 7-8. It is set in the Underlands, and can be dropped into nearly any campaign or run as a one-shot.

It features:

  • 2 Combat Encounters (including defending a besieged fortress)
  • 1 Skill Encounter
  • 1 New Incantation

NOTE: This is the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game-compatible version of the adventure. It is also available in a 4E-compatible version.

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2.5 stars - Run of the mill sidetrek

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This adventure is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 17 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! The PCs are hired by dwarves who have recently lost a stronghold to the drow to reclaim it or, to be more precise, escort a cleric, a wizard and a druid to the stronghold to perform a ritual to reactivate the magical defenses and drive the dark elves away. Problem is: The dwarves suspect a mole and indeed, one of the casters is being blackmailed by the viscous dark elves. Indeed, the trek goes anything but smooth and after a rather deadly ambush by the drow, the PCs and their 3 allies can reevaluate their strategies - whether they stick to their original route or take an alternate one, their trek through the underdark will prove to be rather challenging. Once the PCs have reached the fortress of Ballo Dar, they will have to defend the spellcasters while they perform their rituals against wave upon wave of deadly drow and the pests - depending on whether they've routed up the traitor, the finale will be more difficult and in fact result in a rather hard war of attrition on the PCs and their resources. The pdf includes a new incantation, a DM cheat-sheet and full stats of all enemies and the NPC allies in the module.

Editing and formatting are okay, but not stellar - one instance still calls this a 4th edition adventure and there are some minor glitches throughout the text. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and all battles have their own b/w-maps. The artworks are b/w and the pdf comes without any bookmarks, which is a bummer. This adventure is a straight-forward sidetrek and I enjoyed the new incantation as well as the "Hold your ground"-finale, but overall the module falls somewhat flat of e.g. the coolness of "Good little Children never grow up" or "The Golden Banner" and can be rather considered a run-of-the-mill scenario. While there is nothing wrong with the module per se, neither did I consider the module to be stellar. The alternate route the PCs can take is nice, but I would have enjoyed a more pronounced splitting of the paths and more consequences for the route-splitting/ferreting out the traitor. Thus, while not a bad module by any means, neither did this one wow me and combined with the glitches, I'll settle for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 stars in spite of the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine.

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