In Search of Adventure is a collection of six first level adventures by Goodman Games. Written by fan favorites like Aeryn Rudel with art by David Griffith, Doug Kovacs and others, the book bosts maps by none other than Ed Bourelle, well known and respected map maker currently making waves with Monte’s Dungeon A Day online series.

The art by David Griffith in particular is strong in the book. There’s a great picture of a pair of adventurers on top of a dias/altar fighting a host of undead and another of adventurers fleeing a trap. Maps by Ed are top notch as always. This includes crypts, pyramids, ruined towers and other goods. No full scale maps alas. Page use if fairly high but like most 4e products, the stat blocks to tend to bring out the white space.

Adventures are relatively short clocking in at less than twenty pages each. The adventurers provide short dungeons for the players to explore. The one I’m running right now is by Aeryn Rudel, King Dretch. My game is set in the pre-4e Forgotten Realms using 4e Rules. The party members have done minor work for a merchant lord and have been contacted with a request to investigate the great elven wizard Numeshay as his son hasn’t contacted the family in some time and he worries that something may happen. I placed the ruined tower that was once Numeshay’s home in the Ardeep Forests outside of Waterdeep and had the party move on from there. In addition, there is a studnt f Nueshay that I changed to a relative of the elf ranger in the party. No sense in not customizing the adventure to fit the party.

Thing one, while there is a lot of nice background, it’s not heavily tied into any one particular place or genre. Not this isn’t to say that all of the adventurers can just be plopped anywhere. Some of them are more suited for unique situations. For example, Children of the Snake God has the party wandering through the wasteland known as the Xa Deshret (Desert?). Perfect for starting a campaign, as the book intends, but perhaps not suitable for every campaign.

In my own game, King Dretch was easy to place. Find a local where I can add a ruined tower that may or may not have some elf references about it.

The other thing I didn’t like about it was no quest xp. No quest starting points. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible, but as that’s one of the staples of the 4e engine and most, if not all of the adventures by WoTC have them, it’d be nice to see that incorporated into the Goodman Games line of material as opposed to, “You’re wandering through X and you see Y.” This isn’t to say that the adventures don’t include hooks. They do. Just no xp for them.

The adventures do include notes on scaling the adventure for parties of higher levels, as well as suggested material to continue the theme or core of the adventure. For example, in King Dretch, the party can easily follow up on several elements of Numeshay’s own studies.

The encounters utilize not only monsters, but also traps. In addition, they work on keeping the environment part of the game. In the first encounters outside of the ruined tower in King Dretch for example, the rubble and ruins about the tower make it count as difficult terrain.

My experience with King Dretch is probably going to be two sessions. My group, even at six players (elf ranger, Dragonborn warlord, Dragonborn cleric, Halfling rogue , human wizard, dwarf fighter) is pretty focused. In the first session, they’ve already went through three encounters. This doesn’t count the time the group spent working with their patron in the first place and doing their shopping and other little things that took up half the session. Heck, it doesn’t include the hour and a half break I had to interrupt the group with. I can’t see them failing to clear out the ruins in the next session. Other players may not fair as well so I can see each adventure lasting two to four sessions.

In addition to the adventurers, the book includes several new monsters. These are lower level beasts like 4th level skirmisher abattoir wolves, the old favorite insect ankhegs, another old favorite the dretch, and several others. It’s a nice bonus to have but in and of itself doesn’t make or break the adventure.

If you’re looking for a collection of adventures that can be quickly prepped and act as a great starting point for your own campaigns, In Search of Adventure is for you.