Midgard Adventures #6: The Buried Palace (PFRPG) PDF

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Visit the Palace of Long-Lost Emperors, and Learn Their Secrets...

"The Buried Palace" is an dungeon adventure for the Pathfinder RPG, wherein the characters descend into a buried palace at the request of a Lord Marshall in search of a powerful magic item. In the process they find themselves embroiled in a growing conflict between the Lord Marshall and his enemies.

A truly dangerous adventure that combines human and inhuman threats.

This is a classic-style Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for four 7th-level PCs set in a small city-state, and easily adapted to any campaign.

24 pages.

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An Endzeitgeist.com review


This module is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. All right, still here?

Imperial Marshall Karridoc Castellan of Valera, one of the most powerful men in the 7 cities, requests the presence of the PCs - for an uncommon task: Below a bathing house, recent tremors have unearthed an old ruin of the Valeran empire - one the PCs are to scour for works of art and similar valuable memorabilia of interest to Valera.

The module doesn't waste much time before dropping the PCs into the fray - and for a good reason. While usually buried palaces would elicit yawns from me, this one is expertly crafted: Unstable and in danger of collapsing, the PCs will have to contend with a constant dread of claustrophobia as the water from the bathing house trickles down and modify their fighting tactics accordingly - blasting this swarm of army ants with a fireball doesn't seem to be that smart when collapse is a real danger...

Via both terrain-features and crunch, a sense of desolation and decay is evoked alongside a very present fear of being squashed as PCs have to contend with creatures that feel at home in the ruins - whether the aforementioned swarm or violet fungi or one glass golem left from the days of old, the inhabitants of the palace will challenge even experienced PCs while feeling like they truly belong to the complex, eliciting a sense of organic wholeness seldom seen in modules, let alone ones with "only" 20 pages.

Worse for the PCs, the Boss-encounter is a delusional worm-that-walks that is in possession of a crucial piece of regalia the PCs will want to acquire. Here we also have a cool idea - while the foe is more than a sufficient challenge, his delusions may just prove to be the edge the PCs need, for they have a precarious situation on their hands upon return:

From frescoes and information gleaned in the ruins, the PCs can unearth a piece of information that may not only turn their former employer against them, but also make them some of the most wanted men and women (and humanoids, if present) that roam the 7 cities... What that is, you ask? I won't spoil that one! Suffice to say, clever reasoning and a touch of diplomacy and an aptitude for lying can help in the climax of the adventure, which should feel refreshingly different from the standard-fare one expects.


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant 2-column standard in b/w with the read-aloud text being framed by orangeish/brownish colors. The artwork is nice and Sean MacDonald's cartography in b/w is awesome and detailed - though I wish player-friendly versions of the dungeon's maps had been provided. Their absence is the one thing that galled me about this module. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Steeped in Midgard-lore, yet easily transported into any given setting, The Buried Palace delivers a concise dungeon that makes sense, oozing looming dread and a sense of antiquity while not forgetting terrain, interesting creatures and a twist ending that your PCs won't see coming - at first. The dawning suspicions should enhance the tension that suffuses the pages of this module and makes it, from start to finish, a challenging, but not unfair and exciting module - one I can't believe author Mike Franke has crammed into a paltry twenty pages. I've read many dungeons that fail to reach this level of immersion with twice the page-count.

If by now you haven't guessed: I really, really like this module and the only reason I'm not slamming my seal of approval on it is the lack of player-friendly maps. In fact, I'd usually go for 4.5 stars due to that and round down, but honestly, that would be a disservice to this module and its more than fair price. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

A new adventure by Mike Franke, this one a great crawl with a few twists. It's been fairly heavily playtested in some convention games, and backers of the Midgard Tales project got copies of this adventure as well.

Which leads me to ask: Who will review it first? Or who can tell the tale of playing it or running it?

I got it. I only glanced through it since I am trying to lose weight, and that means getting outdoors more often. What I saw, I liked.

Wow, almost two years ago I was working on the Midgard project for Kobold Press and came up with the idea for this adventure. I read an article about street workers in Rome falling into a previously unknown imperial palace almost completely preserved beneath the streets of the modern city. That’s the stuff of gaming I thought to myself, ancient cities and buried ruins. I imagined a whole buried city hidden beneath the streets of Imperial Valera in the Seven Cities region of Midgard just waiting to be discovered. Thus was born the Buried Palace, actually the first adventure written for the new setting of Midgard but previously only available to people who worked on the project.

Well this adventure is just about a Buried Palace, the rest of the buried city is still firmly only in my mind, but if you like political machinations, Machiavellian power plays or just good old fashioned dungeon crawls, then this adventure (and the city of Valera) is for you. Oh, and this adventure gave me the opportunity to revisit a favorite from my youth. Some of us may recall the awesome and evocative picture of the giant ant biting off the hand of the knight in the AD&D Monster Manual. Watch out for the ants.

This is one of my fav covers, I just love the pure feeling of adventure it gives me :)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hugo, you knocked the cover out of the park. And I think another one of yours is shipping in June.

I have to say I was also thrilled with the cover art. It was like Hugo psychically took the image from my mind and then made it real because this is just how I saw it while I was writing the adventure.

I'm glad you two like it! :D

one of the kickstarter projects that I contributed to, had this as an extra reward. Is there any difference between that version and the one that is for sale here?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Slight changes to the cover design, to make it clear that this is part of the Midgard Adventures series. No changes to the content.

Thanks very much. I am getting ready to run it sometime in July, so was doing some prep work to ensure I was ready.

Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to GMS magazine and Nerdtrek and posted here and on OBS. Great job!

Wow, I'm beaming over here on my side of the computer. I'm glad you liked it! I certainly had fun imagining it and putting it on paper. But I of course need to give a shout out to everyone else who contributed (artists, cartographers, editors, layout, etc.) who do the real work. I just think up fun stuff.

Glad I could make you smile - you really deserve the accolades for this one! I didn't expect to like it back in the day (long before this was made available to the GP) and did so and when I reread it, I realized how good it actually is. So yeah - great good!

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