Storage Vault of Alantes
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Headless Hydra Games is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial and 1 page SRD, leaving 7 pages of content, so let’s check out this 3-room dungeon!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS, so potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.
Still here? Ok! Alantes was a weird fellow, even for a wizard – supposedly mad and eccentric, the mage dabbled in biomancy and other strange pursuits and is rumoured to have constructed several hidden storage vaults. This takes the PCs to one of them, in which a fabled golden apple, supposedly being able to restore one’s youth, lies.
Knowledge DCs to get additional information on the fabled apple and some myths are included in the deal and, with a bit of foreshadowing, a DM can easily insert these prior to the adventure, making it more rewarding, as there are two “Press 3 buttons in the correct sequence”-puzzles/traps guarding the vault and separating 2 of its rooms. While a rogue could still disarm them the traditional way, solving the puzzle in the case of the second one is much more rewarding. Why the first of the 3-button-puzzle features no way for the PCs to find out the solution, I don’t know. The inside of the vault is covered in elaborately-crafted high-reliefs and provides the first combat challenge, a grey ooze cleverly hidden in the scenery. The true climax of this short delve, though, is the new creature – The Golden Apple Guardian (CR 4). An utterly disturbing magical plant emitting hallucination-inducing pollen and featuring deadly spores comes with not only cool signature abilities (one is optional for evil DMs like yours truly!), but also with a beautiful b/w-artwork by Richard Chaplin, a weakness to exploit and an option to get the apple without killing the deadly plant. However, making the plant immobile is a downer – PCs will snipe it till it’s dead. Several trapped boxes and full stats for the apple are also included for your convenience.
Editing and formatting are very good, though something is a bit awkward with the read-aloud text in the module and I’m not sure whether that was intentional or not: The read-aloud text features sentences like “According to the information the party received…”, which feels a bit odd and is not something I’d encourage, as it detracts from the otherwise very good writing of Ian C. Hagan. Layout adheres to HHG’s 2-column standard and features a beautiful b/w-illustration as well as a nice piece of isometric, full-colour cartography by Justin Hernandez. The pdf is fully bookmarked. I did like this little, very affordable adventure, which provides you with an awesome side trek for less than a buck. However, as mentioned, there are some minor blemishes that keep me from going all out on this one: First being the lack of options to pass the first puzzle and secondly, the inconsistent quality in the fluff-text. As written, this is still a very interesting side trek for a very fair price and thus I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars.
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