Saturday, 27th March, 2010, 01:36 AM #1
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't expecting much... and while it did not floor me in awe, I was still pleasantly surprised.
Premise: A dwarven town that was once a tomb complex is now inhabited by some dwarves, orcs, and ghosts that all live together in Hammerfast because of circumstance.
What to expect
Do not expect a full-fledged adventure (like Keep on the Shadowfell, etc where you can pick it up and run through it that same hour for your group).
Do not expect something like Dungeon Delve where encounters are mapped out with enemy starting locations and features of the encounter spot.
It is in fact a supplement to provide inspiration. (Think of it more like the Gazetteer supplements from previous editions of AD&D, but on a slightly smaller scale; or taking the location style at the end of DMG1 on Fallscrest and expanding that with slightly more depth).
What is in it
It presents a city:
* buildings of note
* NPCs of note
* Major villian agendas
* It also presents a couple paragraphs on encounter ideas (see below) that tie in to the location.
You won't find many stat blocks (not for the enemies or other NPCs, only a couple are there for some NPCs that you might eventually fight if you follow up on some of the story ideas).
The foldout map is color. Speaking of the foldout map, it is a first level of a tavern on one side and the upper level on the other side... an odd choice, but inns are reusable in any campaign so i guess you might get more than one use out of this.
It has 9 encounter ideas (one for each of levels 2-10) that involve some item/person/agenda related to the city.
When I say "encounter ideas", it is not a series or stats or encounter location maps (like dungeon delve was), etc. It is more along the lines of a) plot hook, b) how it fits in with the grand scheme, and c) a couple sentences on misc particulars. (in fact, some don't even detail out the entire encounter mix, just a mention of the types to include).
Also note that this is just 9 ideas so it can not serve as (nor is it meant to be) a continued uninterrupted story/campaign. It would work best if you had other adventures in the area and these adventures were peppered in over time (think of it as a nonlinear story arc/line that might just be some side treks while doing other stuff, but then later you start to realize these sidetreks are related).
And it is geared for heroic teir, but since it does not have much in terms of stats, it could be leveled up for higher level. Though, the tone (being city based) really is more appropriate for heroic tier adventure so it may not be a good idea to level it up too much beyond that.
It's a concise presentation, I didn't feel like I was being overwhelmed with information or walls of text that I would forget over the course of trying to run a game.
Also, the supplement (except posted map) is entirely black and white. But since it isn't detailing encounter maps, and such, I didn't feel like it being in color would have added anything. A couple NPC sketches, a map on the inside cover of the area, map of the town, etc. are scattered about.
I found it an interesting/fun read (of course, i suck at having much variety between cities so there is some inspiration in here).
If I had to ask for something to improve it, I would have liked a couple more encounter ideas. Even if I didn't like them all, it still gives more to choose from or draw ideas from.
For the rest of you, if you like the premise of the town, Hammerfast would be a fun place to stop over and/or mine for ideas. Maybe the PCs use the city as their own hub between adventures, or maybe it is just a place they find themselves crossing through every so often while traversing the Netir Vale (or elsewhere).
But if you do not like the basic premise of the town, then you probably won't get much use out (beyond something to simply read but not use) of it since it is mostly fluff and background and story tied to this location (i.e. there aren't stat blocks or encounter scenarios that you could port to other situations without essentially redoing everything).
Last edited by fba827; Monday, 5th April, 2010 at 04:50 AM.
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Fast. A Hammerfest would be somewhat different.
Magsman (Lvl 14)
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