Deadly Delve 1: Fane of the Undying Sleeper (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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Protected by the roiling waters of the ocean, the Fane of the Undying Sleeper lies at the top of a set of stone steps only exposed at the lowest ebb of the lowest spring tides. Protected by impregnable stone doors, the fane has lain undisturbed for centuries. Once the lair of a heretical and degenerate demon-worshipping cult the benighted, profane place has never known the tread of human feet. None have yet penetrated the fane, but nevertheless wild and outlandish rumours speak of terrible dangers and glittering treasures to be found beyond the impregnable doors.

With a tide low enough to reveal the fane’s entrance fast approaching, are the PCs brave enough to dare the terrors of the Fane of the Undying Sleeper? A Deadly Delve for 3rd-level characters by Creighton Broadhurst.

Deadly Delves are short, self-contained richly detailed adventures. Designed specifically to be both easy to insert into almost any GM’s home campaign and to be completed in one session, Deadly Delves include everything you need for a great dungeon bash. Each Deadly Delve features a new layout designed expressly to make the GM’s job as easy as possible.

For a free sample head over to ragingswan.com/undyingsleeper

This product is a Dual Format PDF. The downloadable ZIP file contains two versions, one optimised for printing and use on a normal computer and one optimised for use on a mobile device such as an iPad.

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****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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An RPG Resource Review

*****

Diving straight in, the 'anatomy' of an encounter is explained - this refers to the logical way in which information is presented in the work, the aim being to present it in the order in which the GM will need it when actually running the game (not, of course, that the adventure will not benefit from the GM reading it through in advance and undertaking any other preparatory work they feel necessary!). This is followed by what is in essence a master class on how to read a stat block - very informative, especially for those who are less rules-focussed in their approach to games.

Next comes a brief backstory, about a pretty vile cult (even by sahuagin and skum standards) that used to worship at the adventure site and how it all ended. The adventure itself begins when the party arrives on the wet, seaweed-covered steps to the Fane itself. As an aid to getting them there, several adventure hooks are provided - one has it as pure chance when they are looking for something else or have even been shipwrecked at the right place! If they have gone there on purpose, via one of the other hooks or something else of your own, there are some rumours to hear and information to be gathers, should the party have a mind to do so. A sidebar contains notes about placing the adventure in your own campaign world, and what you'll need to have (or change in the adventure).

We then move on to the adventure proper, with the entrance to the Fane complete with dramatic description and all manner of window-dressing to make it even more interesting. Once the party gains access, the detail continues, with attempts to involve all the senses (sounds and smells are described along with descriptions of what is to be seen). There's plenty to keep the party absorbed and busy, with a good multiplicity of ways to accomplish things (like getting in - there's a list of ways in which they might get the door open in the first place). They may be in for a few surprises, and there are naturally opportunities for a fight.

The conclusion leaves plenty of options, and there are a couple of suggestions for further adventures. Just remember to keep an eye on the tide... This is a neat, well-constructed concise delve for any group that enjoys exploration.


Woe Be-Tide Thee

*****

Like all RS products, this one has amazingly flavourful descriptions. These are on a chart that you can roll for, or cherry pick your favorites. Much of the history can be obtained by perception checks, and, as mentioned by other reviewers, much of it is in abyssal. This adventure is scalable and instructions are included. Like the other DM offerings, this one has many tantalizing hooks for DMs to develop into a campaign. It even has a mini "continuing the adventure" section with future adversaries statted out. Section 6 [no spoilers!] is really the best part, upping the ante on the flood factor for PCs. I absolutely love the simple and effective manner the flooding works in this product. It allows a DM to scale ahead and back the flooding at his discretion for parties, but also gives tables affecting water levels. A great mechanism to be reused for other dungeons. There is also an emergency escape route built in, but it has its own challenges.

What makes this adventure really great is not only that the adventure itself looks like lots of fun, but that there is so much that can be re-used elsewhere for your money. The descriptions tables can be reused for all kinds of seashores, The spell fragment puzzle can be reworked with the details given in the side box by a clever DM, there are the statted cultists and acolyte for later adventures and a new template. The pre-gens can be reused for PCs or NPCs and I love the ammo check boxes.

This is also extremely new DM-friendly. All the templates are included, as are the rules for drowning and how to use the adventure for very fresh DMs.

For 5$, a perfect offering.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This module by Raging Swan Press clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/how to use, 1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content so let's take a look!

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

All right, still here? Via one of 3 different hooks, gathering information, one of the 8 rumors provided or the like, the PCs find out about a particularly nasty set of slimy stairs on a wind-swept beach, accessible only during particular low tides and sure to pique the interest of fortune seekers. Said beach btw. comes with a short table of discoveries to add further detail to the shore...but it doesn't end there - the little dungeon than follows maintains this level of detail and even surpasses it by quite a bit. But let me give you a sample here - each room comes with a small description for the DM, followed by entrances and things players may perceive or miss, followed by read-aloud text and then features - from illumination, to terrain features and e.g. doors (including hardness/break-DC etc.) to dressings galore and infos gleaned via a vast variey of skill-checks, the level of detail is staggering and surpasses even most of Raging Swan Press' other offerings. Throwing pews, looking at various carvings - there is a vast amount of mood-setting going on here that ampsup the ante of what to expect by quite a bit. Indeed, the best thing here beyond that might be the fact that the presentation is so concise you can run this module sans preparation, just reading as you go. I did try that and it worked, with one minor caveat, to which I'll come later.

So what's the deal about this little dungeon? Well, it once was the center of worship for an unholy union of sahuagin and skum, brought together by the mutual veneration of dread Dagon. As is wont to happen with many a twisted cult of different races and/or beliefs, squabbles broke out that saw this particular fane deserted and a sahuagin imprisoned alive - not any sahuagin, mind you - much like other creatures herein, said being had the deformed template applied and is by now a skeletal champion. The theme of encroaching doom is enforced by the exceedingly short time-frame the PCs have to explore the complex - the tides are rising! Much like Raging Swan Press' "Dark Waters Rising" or 4 Dollar Dungeons' superb "Horn of Geryon", the tides influence the areas significantly and make the task of the PCs harder. In Raging Swan's trademark ease of using anything they put out, one handy page sums up just about all the necessary rules for the DM to handle this situation with varying levels of water-height. It should also be noted that the focus is different here - where the aforementioned modules used tidal tracking either as a global changer of certain areas or as a timer, here, while also a timer, a particularly nasty skill-challenge the PCs face might actually unduly and hastily increase the hassle they face -woe onto those who face Dagon's wrath! Exploring the fane doesn't end their troubles, though, as Dagon cultists may follow up on their exploits! Oh, said caveat - the pdf also introduces spell fragments, essentially magic-themed haunts that may end up doing...something. Per se a great idea, but their integration in the otherwise flawless layout could have been a tad more easy on the DM, with the standard text being bolded so the DM knows where these things are prior to reading the text.

The pdf also provides the deformed creature template and 6 pregens for the intended level 3.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting, as I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press, is top-notch, near flawless. Layout adheres to RSP's two-column b/w-standard and does sport a nice, if not particularly awe-inspiring map (no player-friendly version included), but the official homepage does sport the artwork as a hand-outs pack for layers - AWESOME! The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use.

Creighton Broadhurst, mastermind of Raging Swan Press, knows how to craft SUPERB modules - he has proven that time and again. This one is per se no different - I currently have next to nil free time on my hands to prepare anything, much less write my intricate, insane plots and thus, this module fit the bill. I tried running it and it worked exceedingly weell, with one minor hick-up - without preparing ANYTHING.

This, ladies and gentlemen, sets the bar higher for similar modules - go and play indeed! Now that being said, I do have some minor complaints - one being that the fane baackground story remains somewhat elusive to the PCs; slightly more means of unearthing it (and tying that to solving the module!) would have been great to see. Another minor gripe I have here is the difficulty, or rather lack thereof - the module does an exceedingly awesome job of creating this atmosphere of dread, decay, looming doom and finality via the encroaching tides...and doesn't, difficulty-wise, follow-though...with the exception of the boss, who, for once, is actually hard and had my players scared for a bit. Now I'm aware my players are much worse than most gaming groups, but a more linear difficulty/threat-curve with a slightly less pronounced difficulty-spike would have helped the pacing of the module. My players stumbled into the boss relatively quickly and were shocked and then expected something EVEN WORSE coming soon...which simply didn't. Now bear in mind, this is criticism on a high level. This module still had my players comment all the time how great the atmosphere was, how detailed etc. - they had a lot of fun.

But it still feels like this one slightly falls short of what it could have been - with a tad bit more rooms, more spell fragments (which are btw- also used in a puzzle that could be brute-forced in alternate ways...), a thread tying e.g. spell fragments tighter to the rest of the complex. Formally, this adventure offers extremely tight fluff and cool crunch to support it...just make sure one of your PCs knows abyssal, or much of the plot will be lost on your players. All in all, a very good module, a tad bit short of true excellence, but still a very enjoyable dungeon crawl, especially heartily recommended for time-starved DMs with a final verdict of 4 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.


I love it but...

****( )

My standard disclaimer is that I really love Raging Swan stuff, my current campaign is set on The Lonely Coast (their free campaign setting) and I'm always excited when they put out a new module. There are spoilers below so you have been warned.

Reading through Fane I was really excited to find that it was set against Dagon cultists and as such gives me a great way to introduce an already planned Lovecraftian theme to my campaign when the characters are still low in level. The adventure is advertised as short and it's not an wrong but on the terms of a single session side trek (with great options for expansion) it delivers a great location well worth exploring, a time limit due to the rising tide and some memorable encounters. I found myself questioning if the rising tide theme felt a bit too much like Dark Waters Rising (one of my favourite Raging Swan releases) but it's definitely something to keep half an eye on for the players rather than something that drives them onwards.

One thing that I often find with Raging Swan material (and this is in no way a bad thing) is that the locations and characters have amazingly detailed and very cool background that the party will probably never find out about. Fane is another example of this but as with other modules I find that it both gives me a real feel for how to play the adventure and fires off my imagination for ways to both foreshadow and follow up the material.

I have a "but" in my title and it is almost the only thing that I don't like about the module. My problem is that if none of the characters can read Abyssal then there is a good chance that much of what is so clever about the module will be lost on them, there is a chance that they won't even make it through the front door. This won't be a problem if you play the adventure as a one shot with the supplied party (and someone plays Paradan, the wizard) but otherwise I'd dread that the party would walk past some of the otherwise really cool stuff here. I suppose that you could use a different language instead if you can find something suitable.

As I say beyond that one niggle (and my inexperience as a GM may be seeing problems where they don't exist) I really like this and am definitely planning to run it. I'd definitely recommend it.


Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Is now available at Paizo!

This adventure feature a new layout, I'd love to get your feedback on, which I've designed to make running the adventure super easy. I blog a little bit about the layout here. Please let me know what you think.

Also, as normal, you can grab a free sample here.

I hope you enjoy Fane of the Undying Sleeper!


That adventure sounds dread and moody. Love the tidal aspect - does that play a part in the danger of the fane? Get in and out before the tide returns?

As to the layout - looks a lot like the DnD 4e "encounter to a page/two page spread" layout. Is nice and well-organised for the GM, as you obviously designed it to be. And as someone commented, the scaling of the encounter up or down is nice.


The store has it sorted as a 1st level adventure, but the description says

Quote:
A Deadly Delve for 3rd-level characters

Which is it?

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

It's for 3rd-level characters. I'm sorry for the confusion!

Webstore Gninja Minion

Fixed the sorting!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review UncleRiotous! Much appreciated as always! I hope your players enjoy the fane.


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.
Cheers!

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks very much, Endzeitgeist! As always I appreciate the review. I'm sorry your players found it a bit too easy. I'm making a conscious choice to reduce CRs in my modules at the moment - I'd rather the PCs cover a lot of ground in each incursion than be forced to attack and retreat, attack and retreat. I think it gives them more of a sense of achievement, and makes for more challenging resource management.

Thanks again!

Sovereign Court Raging Swan Press

Thanks very much for the review, Megan. I much appreciate your time and effort!

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