By Thilo Graf
This installment of the “Splinters of Faith”-series from Frog God Games is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving 19 pages for the ventures to the gardens of Iseleine.
This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS, so potential players might want to skip to the conclusion.
Calamity has befallen the pacifistic paradise the followers of Iseleine have crafted for themselves in the midst of the lush Kajaani forest – In the midst of the woods, a huge, forested chasm looms and within, a vast pillar containing paradise-like gardens was erected ages ago – on it, the strange, non-violent followers of Iseleine wallow in their passivity, beauty and talk to plants while slowly losing their connection with normal life. The disturbing tranquillity of this place of solace has been disturbed by the high-priestess murdering her husband, flinging herself from the column into the gardens below and any search troops sent have not returned. Unfortunately, the priestess also had the sacred oil needed for the Scepter of Faiths on her.
This adventure is cool, to be exact, my favourite among the Splinters of Faith series so far and that due to a neat idea: Obvious weapons, component pouches etc. may not be taken into the lush, tranquil gardens. Even worse, the followers and faith of Iseleine, with their crystalline sphere atop the temple that sprinkles and throws rainbows across the valley are inherently CREEPY. The perhaps best red herring I’ve read in quite a while, for the followers are truly naive pacifists – their high-priestess was killed and replaced by a succubus in disguise, who not only impersonated her, but also committed the murder. What starts as an exploration of the creepy temple swiftly turns into a search-mission in the lower gardens, where strike-squads of Derro currently undermine the column to send it crashing down, taking the eden-like gardens with it. It’s up to the PCs to stop the mad dwarves and their allies while not (openly) violating the tenets of Iseleine.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks/maps etc. rock. The exploration of the lower gardens should be tense, but once again no player-friendly map is presented, only one for the Dm with all the hotspots, making the exploration quintessentially dependent on the DM’s willingness to draw up his own map, which is a downer. The pdf comes with no bookmarks. This is by far the most iconic of the temples presented until now and makes for a STELLAR adventuring location. While the mystery plot is rather flat, it could be expanded easily to feature a more compelling story-line. The other gripe I have that mars an otherwise stellar writing is that, once again, we get no transition – no random encounters, no information on terrain, nothing for the journey between part 3 and 4, in spite of the continent map included in each installment. While I did really love this adventure, I also feel that aforementioned problems undermine its usability, thus making it impossible for me to rate it the full 5 stars. Instead, I’ll settle for a hearty recommendation and 4 stars. If you want to check only one of the first 4 adventures out, get this one.
Splinters of Faith 4: For Love of Chaos is available from:
So what do you think?