By Thilo Graf
This installment of The "Sinking"-series of short pdfs from 0one Games is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1.5 pages advertisements, 1 page back cover, leaving 7.5 pages of content, so let’s check this scenario out!
This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS, so potential players please jump to the conclusion.
All righty! The Menach family (known from the Great City before) was rather severely influenced by the Sinking, losing the patriarch of the half-orc smugglers and collapsing a lot of their tunnels. When his sons took over the family business in his absence, a devil corrupted them promptly and changed them by adding the half-fiendish template. *yawn*
Ever since, they have been kidnapping people with alchemical ether and started operating a slave-ring. The PCs thwart a kidnapping attempt in an alley (*yawn x2* for the cliché of saving the damsel in distress that way) and one of the kidnappers has a note (a hand-out, which is nice) that leads the PCs to the tunnels that contain the operation. I can’t count how often this "parchment of the guild leads to hide-out"-routine has been done and quite frankly, it means that everyone participating in the operation is stupid with a capital "s". A short investigation based on some other clue would have gone a long way of making this more enticing.
After surviving a trap, the PCs stumble upon the smugglers and their devilish allies and hopefully defeat them. A little map of the complex is included, as is a magic chamber pot, feeling like a ominous and unfortunately rather fitting end for this one.
Editing and formatting are ok – I noticed some typos and punctuation glitches that are unnecessary at this length. Layout adheres to the elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pieces of b/w-artwork rock. The pdf comes with bookmarks. I’m sorry, this is probably rather harsh, but this adventure is BORING. The Npcs take what has been a morally ambiguous, but useful factor in the great city and turns them into card-box cut-out villains who are utterly stupid to boot. The combats don’t offer that much enticing imagery or environmental complications and the damsel-in-distress-parchment-clue angle is stale, bland and bad. If I’d use it, my players would ask whether I was hungover, as I usually improvise better lead-ins. The tie-in to the Sinking is also rather flimsy, as the PCs probably never get to find out why the foes turned towards the means of their corruption and probably wouldn’t care either. Not engaging, boring and clichéd to the extreme, I can’t bring myself to recommend this installment. Due to the nice artworks, low price and the fact that the formal criteria are ok, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2.
The Sinking: The Devil’s Smuggler is available from: