Tenarlian: The Longest Night - A Holiday Review

If you are looking for darker holiday fare, Crumbling Keep Productions has put together the adventure you seek. Take a step in from the cold, friend, and let us speak of Tenarlian: The Longest Night.

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Disclosure - EN World has been provided with a copy of the PDF of this adventure, which you can purchase here.

Tenarlian: The Longest Night is a one-shot, dark holiday adventure that is compatible with the 5E SRD. It is available from the Crumbling Keep’s itch.io site and comes in at 34 pages. Background and information on the setting, the Isle of Samsarass, can be found here,.

The first few pages talk about the dark nature of the adventure and explicitly lets you know up front some of the topics to be covered. There is a link to the Monte Cook Games’ Consent in Gaming tool and the designers encourage its use. Crumbling Keep is not trying to have a gotcha moment here; they are very up front about the content. Keep their warning in mind when choosing to run this one shot adventure. There are also premade characters with their stats shown in stat blocks in the “monster” format. I could not find a specific level range for adventurers, but the premade characters have 9 Hit Dice each. Keep that in mind if using existing characters in the adventure or rolling up specific characters for Tenarlian. Take note that the setting for the adventure is elf-centric.

Aesthetics

Tenarlian is a good looking adventure. The book has a fair number of illustrations and break-out boxes with information that breaks up the text nicely. The blue background is fine and provides an evocative feel, but occasionally words get lost in the color. A higher contrast font color may have been easier to read. The maps are in full color and look great as do the illustrations. The production values of the PDF are first rate. Aside from the font, my only issue is that the character sheets do not blend well with the overall aesthetic, but I doubt most folks will have an issue.

A side note: the designers provide pronouns for the NPCs and the premade PCs as well, which strikes me as thoughtful design.

Plot

As always there may be minor spoilers.

The players will find themselves as either part of or being introduced to the somewhat unfortunate members of the Elgolor household. Matriarch Axilya Elgolor lies dying in her chamber as other members of the family gather around. All of this is taking place during the Elven celebration of Tenarlian, which is both Winter Solstice and the Elven New Year. It is a dangerous time meant for reflection and is held to be the time of year the Demon Gods are closest to the mortal realm. The adventure begins in media res with the characters scattered about the household, ready for the action to begin. Much of the action is driven by a timeline. Backgrounds provided for the premade characters help keep the adventure moving. What decisions the characters make will affect the outcome of the adventure and overall survival.

Overall Impressions

Tenarlian: The Longest Night
is a good adventure, with a dark theme. It has a cinematic feel in terms of atmosphere, though it is not a Hallmark holiday special for sure. The plot is interesting enough to keep the player’s attention and the opponents seem challenging. As a one-shot adventure it works.

But it is not for everyone. The adventure could have used a summary to help keep track of events better for a less experienced GM. Also, the actual adventure is a bit short. Of the 34 pages only a few are dedicated the nuts and bolts of the adventure. However, as a snapshot of a family holiday gone bad, you do get what you pay for from this adventure. A GM could play this with different groups just to see how each handles the situation. In that sense, it gives real value. Certainly worth adding to your holiday adventures.
 
Sean Hillman

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