Review – 5E Mini-Dungeon #022: Pleasure Den
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.
This mini-dungeon does not make any prisoners – no introduction, nothing – but what we do get from the get-go, is a module that depicts a complex devoted to the pleasures of the flesh (non-explicit): Vampire spawn and succubi can be found within these rooms and the interesting thing here is rather unique: This mini-dungeon may see relatively few combats: Compliant and courteous PCs that are not foolhardy may experience this as a kind-of lethal respite from e.g. mega-dungeons like Rappan Athuk and the like. Fire elementals in ovens? Check. A disguised spirit naga? Check. Oh, and yes, there’s a medusa.
Now conversion-wise, the respective NPCs and critters have been translated rather well this time around and we actually have social skills we can use: Charisma (Persuasion). Loot-wise, this works and I noticed no hiccups in the hyperlinks.
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, but there is no key-less version of the map to print out and hand to your players. The pdf does sport one nice piece of original full-color art – kudos!
Rachel Ventura delivers a rather interesting mini-dungeon – while the theme could have used some elaboration or suggestion, I do enjoy the significant amount of read-aloud text that sets this apart from every other mini-dungeon. If this pdf has one weakness, then it’s not in the complex itself, but rather in the lack of a central plot-line: It’s just “Put PCs in, see what happens.” – which is nice and not usually something I complain about, but with a disparate roster of foes, a narrative base-line would have enhanced the sense of cohesion of this module. This is not bad mind you – especially not for the brevity imposed by the format. Kyle Crider’s conversion loses nothing of the original module’s appeal and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.