Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: The Shrine of St. Aleena

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl.

The boy was just getting started out in his new life as an "adventurer". He didn't know much, and the girl even asked him if knew about clerics at all.  But theirs was not a story to fill long epics or sagas. Her story ended then when she was murdered.

The Shrine of St. Aleena is an adventure in the lands where that boy who never forgot that girl would later become a man, settle down, raise some kids and erect a 20 ft tall statue in honor of the saint she became and the girl she was.

The adventure "The Shrine of St. Aleena" is another act of devotion.  Maybe by a similar boy, now 30 years later a man. Sorry, I don't know Peter C. Spahn personally.  The adventure is designed for beginning level characters, levels 1-3, around the the eponymous shrine.  Just like the old days there is a dungeon crawl and the surrounding environs where monsters can be fought and sometimes even NPCs can be befriended.

The central plot is that the minions of "The Infamous One", the wizard that killed that poor girl, are attempting to defile this most holy of places.  It is up to this generation of heroes to once again stop his plans.

This could have come off as a ham fist attempt at nostalgia, but there is an earnestness about it and honesty that instead it comes off as loving tribute.  The art, descriptions and some situations all have thinly-veiled references to things going on in the 80s in gaming that if you are the right age then you will find them very amusing.  But if not, no worries, they still work in the adventure.

The plot is thin at best, but it's still more plot than most of the old-school adventures from the time when the Saint herself was still alive.  So really, that is feature not a bug.

There is a great table of rumors (d12 though not a d20), plenty of random wilderness encounters (yeah a d20 table!) and of course that awesome site of the 20 ft statue of the saint.    In true old-school fashion there are a lot of save or die encounters here, so you are warned.

The objective is easily defined, but there is a lot here to keep the party busy.  A dedicated party could complete in one (longish) session.  Most parties though will take more.

The only thing I think missing in this is some information on what the shrine is like after the defeat of the Spawn.  Personally I think drinking from the pool grants a Cure Light Wounds once in a character's life time or maybe even a Bless enchantment.  Another random table! d6 for random benefit!

d6 Roll Benefit (only once per character)
1 No effect!
2 Cure Light Wonds
3 Bless +1 on next d20 roll
4 Remove Poison
5 Remove Paralysis
6 Reverse Turn to Stone

In the end I really enjoyed this and plan on inserting it into my regular game as a "Side trek".  That's pretty serious for me. I was limiting all my adventures to modules made in the 80s only.

Well worth the money paid.

1 comment:

petespahn said...

Thanks for checking this out! And yes, it was 30 years ago when I lost my cleric friend. :)

Pete Spahn
Small Niche Games