Hand of the Inheritor

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Starts badly and doesn't get better.

2/5

Major point: My players (a dedicated group who love roleplaying) played part one and then unanimously declared "We love our group but don't give a toss about the storyline". So we finished at the end of part one. Having read the rest I honestly couldn't tell them it got any better, apart from having less oozes.

Taking part one in a little more detail...
The very first fight was brutal. Shopkeeper becomes ooze - pretty cool, all the players are suitably WTF! Then they confidently step forward and deal 60 points of damage to the ooze. With piercing and slashing weapons... Suddenly there are four black puddings...

They nearly died, three times over. It was only because I deliberately didn't target the healer, and one of the oozes mysteriously got out of the enclosed tent and wandered off into the crowd to be beaten up there, that the module lasted beyond the first fight. Maybe it shouldn't have done.

The information gathering part was a great concept. The debate with Baat'sulan was good fun for everyone and really played up the "non-humans" element of the module. Good stuff, although there wasn't much to work with from a GM point of view beyond generalised slurs. The medical section however was awful. It boiled down to "how many people are trained in medicine"? In my party it was one person. To let them do it by themselves made no sense, because if they can do it then why can't the NPC that you're helping, so where is the time saved? I said that it was one person per tent, but then the only way to 'win' was to spend a load of money because it was all medicine skills or use up purchased items... so the player's were going to be hit in the pocket for not all being medics. It seemed unfair so I let the one character roll it all and we all promised not to think too hard about it.

The repentant half-orc was a great character and I was pleased to see him reappear when I read part 3. The fight annoyed me though. Two infected people turn into oozes just as they meet the PC's? Wait a minute, you did that already, two pages ago! I changed it (since my PC's all had the Slithering by now - which is inevitable by the way since the Fort save is mathematically impossible for all but the most optimised barbarian) so that they only transformed when they were first hit by a PC - I felt that made more sense, the last dose overwhelmed them and triggered the change immediately. I just ignored whatever damage they took before that and ran the oozes as written - no mechanical difference and it made more sense... so why couldn't it just have been written like that?

By the time they'd tracked down the clues people were still involved. A bit annoyed with bits (the medicine checks!) but involved. The Caravan House was a reasonable mini-dungeon, with some variety (golem, invisible stalker - who was murdering the party but only lasted 3 rounds. Good thing too, with twelve they'd have died. Again.) The mystery was solved! Inside a biting book that they couldn't figure out how to open! I had one of them accidentally prick their finger on it. It worked.

Then we got to the Archive of the Sun and the fun died. It was dull. Lots of boggards, no variety and no real reason why anything was there. They killed the boggards because well boggards... but that was it. Then they got to the central chamber and... here have two more dungeons.

Players said "meh." I said "meh." We went for a new game.

Having read parts 2 and 3 I think there are some nice bits. The encounter on the road with the sisters that signposts the captives later in part 2 is nice. But the rest of it just isn't. I thought re-using the dungeon was potentially clever, but it added to the "same-ness" feel which put my players off it the first time, and the fact that the Apsis Consortium just pops up out of nowhere again didn't help. The big boss being turned into an ooze early on was a nice price for hubris but deprives the players of any satisfaction because they kill him (or what's left) without even realising that they're doing it. He's just "ooze number 8" by that point.

Overall some good ideas - a great attempt at exploring an underdone part of the world and a 'non-human' module, unfortunately let down by bad execution and a lack of imagination. It was just too much of the same thing over and over again. My players wanted to enjoy it, but there was nothing to latch onto: only one major NPC and a quest to save a city they weren't even from. Great idea, bad execution.


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A promising beginning

4/5

This is a good way to begin an adventure path. The light-hearted start gives everyone a chance to feel for Trunau even if not a native. (Side Note: make sure AT LEAST 1, preferably two or three of you players a re natives - in my five person party only one was and it was a struggle to really get the others hooked). Following on is a murder mystery and then an excellent running battle which takes place through the whole town including chances to rescue various NPC's, which gives the whole thing a nice sense of urgency without being an excessively drawn-out combat.

The book ends with a much more standard miniature dungeon crawl which is still fun a flavorsome with some very nice treasure at the end! Consider changing the armor to suit your party best.

Pros: A good AP, lots of different things to do during the adventure.

Cons: Relies on players having an attachment to Trunau - otherwise, none.

Tips: Can be finished very quickly (my group took about two in game days to finish the book) but the story seems to assume at least a week. As a GM be wary of that.
Also - make sure your players are crystal clear about the fate of the final boss and the timing involved, it becomes important in book 2.