Review – 5E Mini-Dungeon – Sepulchre of the Witching Hour’s Sage
This pdf 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, with only deviations from the statblocks being noted for the GM. Unlike most 5E Mini-Dungeons, this one does not come with VTT-maps or player-friendly iterations, which is a bit of a bummer.
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.
Sometimes, the PCs need answers at any cost. Thus, they enter a two-way portal in a cemetery near the ruins of an ancient civilization and enter the sepulchre – where they will soon notice that entering specific rooms may deal small amounts of “negative energy damage” on failed Con-saves. *sigh* That’s supposed to be “necrotic damage” in 5E, right? Worse, I think that 5E’s HP-reduction (see vampires) would have made for a much more interesting mechanical representation here.
Indeed, several undead and shadowy books continue to perpetuate this theme, while an illusion-supplemented trap is a) interesting and b) devious. The little dungeon also sports minor item-scavenging and a terrible final revelation of a horrid price to pay for the information and a unique, interesting showdown with the sage and his gibbering mouther advisors.
While the damage-mechanic that is the unique-selling proposition of the module, has not been translated well to 5E, the skills the dungeon requires this time around are rather diverse, so that’s a plus – as are the dangerous books contained herein.
Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no glaring hiccups, though 3 of the hyperlinks don’t work. Layout adheres to a nice 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, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. Stats, as mentioned above, obviously are hyperlinked to the SRD.
Stefanos Patelis delivers an excellent mini-dungeon here that has lots a bit of its charm in the conversion, but Kyle Crider did succeed in maintaining most of it – the module, as a whole, is an intriguing one and sports diverse challenges, which I ended up enjoying. While not perfect, it is worth the asking price. My final verdict for the conversion will clock in at 4 stars.