Monday, May 4, 2009

The Scouring of Gate Pass (EN Publishing)

The first installment of the War of the Burning Sky AP has arrived! The adventure kick-starts the saga with the heroes of the story being caught in a small mountain-pass town, which is about to be overrun by the army of the neighbouring empire. They are quickly embroiled in the resistance against the magic-user-hunting empire, when they are hired to help a local cleric leave the town. Before that is possible, they must hunt down vital information that is getting stolen back and forth amongst some of the factions involved in the coming war. All this an more happens while their town in under siege and crawling with bounty-hunters, assassins and other nefarious personages that are sympathetic to the other cause. There are plenty of non-combat skill challenges, lots of opportunities to roleplay with interesting NPC's and plenty of combats that are nicely spaced out, so that the heroes can catch a break once in a while, without straining credulity. It's just too bad that they chose to make most NPC's as classes NPC's instead of as monsters. There is just so much more freedom to make interesting powers when you make them as monsters (not to mention the saving of space - 2½ pages of various stat blocks seems a lot, even for an important NPC). Also, quite a few seem in the low end of the power scale (for example a solo with a 1d10+4 damage attack, and only a rechargeable attack to affect more than one creature), while quite a few make little sense (skirmisker that deals more basic damage than the brute, but has lower to hit). There are also a few places where the editing failed, with stat block calling the NPC's powers one thing (changed due to GSL reasons I assume?) while the text calls them their original name; slightly confusing. Overall SoGP is a really good adventure (that can easily be made great) to start a 4e campaign with, especially if you are not overly fond of dungeon-adventures.
Rating:* * * *

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