I premise that the editorial staff of No Dice Unrolled received a PDF copy of Adul, City of Gold in order to review it. It is a D&D5 adventure created by Menagerie Press for a group of 6-8 level adventurers.
The product is a 55 dense pages PDF, with double-column text and with a classic and effective layout. The images are mostly filling figures scattered here and there, plus some full-page color ones which pleasantly interrupt the text. A couple more would have been appreciated. The adventure is contained in 32 pages, maps included, plus a dozen pages of appendices with monsters, magical objects, backgrounds and a couple of handouts for players.
Adul, city of… black
No, not because of tax evasion, but because black matches with everything. This is to jokingly assert that the adventure can easily be inserted in almost any existing context and campaign. With the storyline and game world in the hands of the Dungeon Master, almost any independent adventure can be adapted to be part of a campaign; but Adul, City of Gold is particularly versatile. It is about exploring a city that can be reached through a ritual. Therefore there are no places, times, characters to be inserted or adjusted. All you need is the will of the players to travel to a mysterious city, once famous for its magic and its knowledge. It could be the perfect place to send adventurers to find something.
It also creates a very malleable scenario for the Dungeon Master, so that he can insert his own ideas, milestones, characters. A mysterious city full of treasures and knowledge can truly be a central hub of many campaigns. Just going to add, model and customize what can be found based on the plot and characters, I think the real treasure may have been found by the Dungeon Master.
City of… gems
Although I can’t reveal the plot, there are many gems in the adventure. Several details are taken into consideration. Conditions, illnesses, unexpected events, as well as obviously traps and encounters. I found some very interesting ideas. It’s a shame not to be able to share spoilers, but some encounters and some places are the result of a careful and creative balance of verisimilitude and originality.
Obviously the main theme is the exploration of a ruined city and much of the content of both the product and many sessions that may come out will be focused on that. The monsters are in part recurrent, in large part already seen elsewhere, but declined with contextualized customizations.
City of… gold!
Just to emphasize which is the correct title! Summing up, I believe that this adventure is well structured and balanced in the various aspects that distinguish D&D. In addition, it has the (already said) great merit of offering a useful base for fascinating customizations. I cannot speak about the balance of the fights, although they seem a correct and adequate challenge.
I cannot make big criticism. The city could have been widened a bit and maybe I’d liked a few more sub-quests. It would have been nice to have some pictures of internal views of the city, also to show to the players.
During the Kickstarter campaign the price was lower, as we had highlighted in the news article. Here is the convenience of financing projects through crowdfunding. It is now available on DriveThruRPG at around €11 and in my opinion it is still a good investment, that will difficultly disappoint you.