Whilst like the preceding adventures in the Basic Paths series this one is aimed particularly at beginning players and GMs, this is both aimed at slightly more experienced (4th Level) characters and is set in the same township, with the intention that the characters are beginning to get to know, and hopefully care about, the locals.
The adventure opens with a scream, as a lone orc attacks the settlement of Gafolweed. A single orc is no trouble to a whole party of adventurers, but it soon becomes apparently that there are hordes of orcs out there all on the warpath, and the characters' help will soon be enlisted to deal with the problem. And we're off...
Background is vivid and engaging, be it the backstory to the adventure provided for the GM, the overview of Gafolweed, or the details of locations and individuals encountered along the way. Particularly of note are sidebars designed to highlight and explain features of the rules for novice GMs - even the most experienced will find snippets of mechanics that will enhance their game knowledge - for example, a clear description of the art of 'reskinning' a familiar monster to give it a wholly-new aspect without having to go to the trouble of designing one from the bottom up.
The adventure doesn't shy away from things that novices might find hard, like mass combat, but settles down to explain what needs to be done clearly and concisely. Worth studying in advance, but even a new GM should find it possible to run hordes of orcs and equally-numerous defending cavalry confidently.
As the adventure unfolds, there is plenty to do and a quite surprising route to discovering and combatting the evil that has come to roost in the neighbourhood. Everything is presented clearly, with discussion of the options available and catering for many of the things that players might do that could so easily catch an unprepared or new GM on the hop!
In classic style, this adventure moves smoothly from the initial set-up and a good brawl, through a journey along which information, resources and even allies can be gathered to wind up with a dungeon-delve and climactic showdown. There's a lot to see and do throughout, with interaction and investigation balanced well with combat. The dungeon is no mere backdrop to the climatic fight, either, just getting there provides a good challenge with plenty of the things all good dungeons have (traps, monsters, tricky bits...) even before you get to the final showdown.
Everything is laid out clearly and where you're going to need it, with some flavourful illustrations, delightful maps and battlemaps for the main brawls. There are even paper 'standee' miniatures for the main opposition. Overall a well-presented adventure that is a delight to run... and ought to be fun from the other side of the screen.Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]