Basic Paths: Curse of the Sickled Hand
by Megan Robertson
Do not be deluded by terms like 'basic' and 'introductory'... this adventure promises full-bore excitement, well-resourced and smooth to run, no matter whether players or GM are novices or experienced. It takes place in a wilderness area near to a rural village called Gafolweed, which can be placed anywhere suitable in your campaign world; those who have played the adventure Fangs from the Past may recognise some NPCs and locations, but it is not necessary to have done so to get full enjoyment from this scenario.
The Background lets the GM know what's really going on, and an Adventure Synopsis provides a framework for the plot, along with a nice map of Gafolweed where the adventure proper begins - in a tavern, with the characters' supper being interrupted by a frantic cleric incoherently babbling about walking dead raiding the graveyard... enough to spoil anyone's meal.
Moreover, if they calm the poor priest long enough to get the story, these undead seemed impervious to his clerical powers, carrying on meticulously exhuming bodies and carting them off despite his prayers and spells! Convinced that his deity has deserted him, the cleric intends to retreat to his monastery to repent and meditate, but has managed to collect a fair amount of coin with which to pay the characters to investigate the matter on his behalf.
Assuming they accept, they will find plenty to do tracking down the walking dead and discovering what they are up to... and nothing is quite what it seems. Each encounter is set out clearly, with descriptive material and game mechanics laid out ready for the GM to use. Spotted about are 'GM Tips' which are intended for novice GMs but contain good advice for anyone wishing to improve their game-mastering skills. There's an immense amount of background detail which makes the whole place come alive, and it is well worth spending time studying it so that you can use it to good effect during play.
Characters who interact with the locals can find out much that will aid them, although naturally more martial skills will also be required to achieve success, as will expertise in dungeoneering - there are tombs and caverns to explore. This adventure proves an excellent introduction in that it has just about all the elements of classic fantasy role-playing: a threatened community, an evil villain scheming away, hordes of minions, trick- and trap-filled complexes to explore... and it is laid out in a manner to make running it easy for novice and experienced GM alike.
Maps are beautiful and comprehensive, and there's a collection of lush battlemaps for groups who enjoy miniatures or just like to see precisely what their characters see, even some 'standees' for the main NPCs/monsters likely to be involved in combat. Adventure beckons... accept the challenge!