As the party of adventurers leaves the Sunless Citadel, having defeated the Belac the Outcast and his twig blights, they decide to investigate rumors of the secret dwarven stronghold of Khundrukar and the ancient cache of famed steel blades. Finding that secret map to the location on Belacs body was a lucky break! Hearing rumors that orcs have infested the caverns, the party heads to the nearby town of Blasingdell to recoup and spend their treasures in preparation of the upcoming adventure.
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The Forge of Fury is the second Official Dungeons and Dragons adventure in a series of eight standalone adventures created for 3rd edition. These adventures were designed to highlight the new rule-set in 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons, and do a great job at that function. This adventure is designed to take players from 3rd to 5th level, although it can be modified somewhat for higher or lower level characters. It was released in November of 2000 and much like its predecessor, the introductory module, Sunless Citadel, it returns to the core Dungeons & Dragons concept of a dungeon crawl: a single site-based adventure, usually under ground.
***Spoiler Warning*** Some plot details are discussed below
***End Spoiler Warning***
The introduction provides the basics for what is needed to run an adventure: what materials, who should read the adventure, the background of the adventure, and several possible adventure hooks. The introduction is short and sweet as it should be, but the adventure hooks are lacking for players who may want more motivation then go to place X and kill monsters A, B, and C, and return with treasure Y. This kind of railroading at the beginning of the adventure is good for less experienced players, but more seasoned players may need more clever reasons, or additional plot tied to their adventures.
The Forge of Fury
The main part of the adventure, this section details the five levels of the Forge of Fury: The Mountain Door, The Glitterhame, The Sinkhole, the Foundry, and the Black Lake. These five areas are where the players will spend 99% of the adventure (the other 1% will be outside if they need to leave to lick their wounds and re-stock on gear).
A good job is done of describing all of the potential ways the party may approach and/or enter the Forge of Fury. This is a nice touch, as many adventures assume players will act in the way the author wishes, but that is rarely the case. Nicely done!
The encounters are nicely detailed and explanations and reminders are given in context with certain encounters. For example, crossing a dangerous rope bridge has a DC of 8 (a player must roll an 8 or better [including applicable bonuses] on a twenty-sided dice to cross the bridge), and the encounter reminds the Dungeon Master (DM) that heavy armor institutes a penalty. Nice touch.
Another nice touch is the sidebars throughout the module. These bring up pertinent rules and information that, while buried in the Dungeon Masters Guide or the Players Handbook, may not be easily remembered or found. Another type of sidebar shows the round-by-round events of how the orcs will respond to the players characters attacking the front entrance. Excellent service in any adventure!
Thought has been given to dungeon ecology: why monsters are where they are, how they react to certain situations, and how they interact with each other. For example, it describes how the orcs in the gate level interact with the troglodytes in the lower level. A good dungeon ecology is not necessary for a good hack n slash game, but adds a great level of immersion for gamers as they advance in their gaming skills, as they will begin to ask the questions, and even use the ecology to their advantage. For example, if the players could find a way to trick the orcs into attacking the troglodytes, they could weaken two enemies at once.
This adventure makes nice use of classic monsters, including orcs, trolglodytes, ropers, oozes, and more, and culminates (potentially) in an exciting battle with a dragon! And players from earlier editions of D&D will be pleasantly surprised how the third edition of D&D allows for more flexibility in the monsters. For example, Burdug is an orc shaman who can cast spells. Orcs were almost always pig-faced monsters in 1st and 2nd edition that attacked with melee weapons. Most players would not have expected to encounter magic-using orcs, but creatures like this are much more common in third edition. New, exciting villains are always fun!
Care is also given to balance reality with fun gaming. There is enough treasure to make the players happy, without being too powerful; there are places to rest and recuperate when they are in trouble; there are natural breaks between levels; there is even a place for players to include new characters if their old ones died. Also, the encounters are balanced between straight up fighting, sneaking, and using tactics to survive. This was thought through very nicely!
The end of the adventure is somewhat of a letdown, but since not much care was given to plot or plot development, it is almost a non-issue, although players may be slightly annoyed anyway. It does give, though, hooks for further adventure and where this one can lead to. That is a good touch.
A very welcome touch: all of the monsters statistics are provided in one handy reference location. No need to flip back and forth through the adventure book if monsters move around.
Also, one new creature is introduced in this adventure: The subterranean lizard. It is sort of a cross between a monitor lizard and a chameleon. This is a much more exciting addition then the twig blights that were introduced in the first adventure, Sunless Citadel.
Small editing problems: Nothing major and most people probably will not notice any error.
Interior art: Poor-mediocre line art, which is a real downer after the exciting cover illustration by Todd Lockwood.
Generic, can fit into any campaign with little to no modification
This module is based on the 3rd edition D&D rules. To update to the new 3.5 edition, you will need to update the statistics of the monsters from the current Monster Manual.
Writer: Richard Baker, one of the co-creators of Dungeons and Dragons third edition.
Cover Artwork: Todd Lockwood. The cover is a very striking image of the new iconic D&D characters fighting the newly stylized black dragon.
Interior art: Dennis Cramer. Rather bland line art.
Cartography: Todd Gamble. The cartography is pretty good, but there is at least one place where the room description does not fully match with the map (encounter area 13). Not a major issue, but slightly annoying.
Dungeon Master's Guide
You may also look at purchasing the official D&D miniatures if you prefer not to use tokens or other stand-ins for battle:
Giants of Legend
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