Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Curse of the Witch Head
Author: James C. Boney
Contents: 12 saddle stitched black and white pages, 1 title page, 10 pages of adventure, and 1 open game license page.
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
Product Code: XRP6103
Retail Price: £6.00 or $11.00
A stand alone adventure for 4-6 characters of levels 6-10, this is a tightly plotted module with an interesting premise. The background and introduction take up just over a page of text, relating a tale of family woe, dark magic, unworthy successors, bribery and patrimonial greed. The motivation for player character involvement is a ducal promise of an unspecified boon, if only they will wrest the witch head from his enemies, a task that has already proven too much for his own soldiers and two groups of adventurers.
The objective is a place known as the Witcheed Hill, beneath which is a single level dungeon complex. Although the journey from the ducal residence to the hill twenty five miles there are no prescribed or suggested wilderness encounters, so the game master is left free to choose whether to introduce any or move directly to the adventure location. The dungeon itself takes up only five pages of text, but it is action packed, filled with traps, oddities and dynamic denizens who have a plan of defence. The last four pages constitute the appendices, which describe the primary antagonists, special traps, as well as three new monsters, two new magic items and a relic.
This is a good module and my only real compliant is that it is a little on the short side, being four pages shorter than the previous two offerings for the same price. There is room for expansion here and I would have been happier with a standard sixteen pages, and very happy if they were as well presented as the rest of the adventure.
Technicalities and Errors
Apart from the occasional editing error, I didn’t notice any inconsistencies or mistakes in the main body of the text or printing errors. I did spend some moments wondering of what use the leather baldric +1 carried by Sendric was, eventually concluding from his armour class that it was being treated as leather armour +1. Lasker is similarly listed as having an armour class of 2, which does not take into account either his shield or the magical benefit of his plate mail +1, I could not decide which; nor is his +1 to hit from strength listed in his stat block, which might easily be overlooked. Auron has rather a lot of spell slots for a level seven cleric, but I assume that is purposeful. The only other problem I had was that the Labyrinthine Golem is not assigned a hit die total, which I would have preferred to have had.
All in all, a very good module with plenty of adventure potential, a non linear dungeon layout and dangerous adversaries. It is hard to design challenging and interesting adventures for unfamiliar mid to high level player characters, but Curse of the Witch Head succeeds with regard to both. I was very pleased with my purchase.
Alternative Reviews: Grodog, Gnarley Bones,