The ascent of Tempest Tower clocks in at 2 pages and is a mini-dungeon. This means we get 2 pages content, including a solid map and all item/monster-stats hyperlinked and thus, absent from the pdf.
In The ascent of Tempest Tower, only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Big plus: This mini-dungeon comes with a key-less .tif player map as well as a high-res GM map for VTT-use – kudos!
Since this product line’s goal is providing short diversions, side-quest dungeons etc., I will not expect mind-shattering revelations, massive plots or particularly smart or detailed depictions, instead tackling the line for what it is. Got that? Great!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? All right!
On an open plain, surrounded by a devastating lightning storm stands one single tower – the eponymous structure contains an artifact, the heart of the tempest. To gain access to the tower, you must first deduce that the 4 symbols (represented on the map) hidden on the door correspond to energy types and then inflict said damage types simultaneously to the structure. Annoyingly, the pdf’s conversion fails to get them right: Lightning is referred to as electricity, and bafflingly, the pdf mentions divine damage, when 5e has the perfectly serviceable radiant damage type.
Only then, you can have access to the structure and brave the advanced stone golems, the devastating flame vortex and finally brave an ancient blue dragon to reach the artifact – which may be the only way to deal with that powerful evil in your campaign’s end-game! Alas, the 5e-rules are weird: Wrong dispel checks, lack of damage thresholds for barriers that need to be brought down…oh, and the golems aren’t properly hyperlinked. Have I mentioned the cool magical trap included that’s called Flaming Vortex…and doesn’t deal fire damage, but untyped damage? Oo
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length. Cartography is full color and surprisingly good for such an inexpensive pdf, and the inclusion of a key-less map and VTT-capable options is a big plus for me.
Justin Andrew Mason’s high-level mini-dungeon has it all: An artifact, an evocative location, powerful foes, required high-level magic to best it. This would be pretty much an instant recommendation…but while the PFRPG version has had some serious glitches, Kyle Crider didn’t do a much better job in the 5e-version. Instead of fixing the hiccups, the mini-dungeon sports different problems, some of which are just as puzzling, perhaps even more so, considering 5e’s rules-array. I cannot recommend this pdf. My final verdict will be 2 stars.
The ascent of Tempest Tower is available from DriveThruRPG.
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