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The Sunless Citadel (Dungeons & Dragons Adventure, 3rd Edition) Paperback – August 1, 2000
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I'm new to Dungeons & Dragons and DMing, so I decided that buying a module for our first adventure would be advisable, until I have enough experience and confidence to create my own campaign.
Although it is slightly outdated (being based on 3.0 rules rather than 3.5) it does not seem to conflict with the revised rules in any serious way, as far as I can tell.
As a site-based adventure (the site being the titular Sunless Citadel) most of the content in the module is devoted to the subterranean structure itself and almost no attention is given to the nearby town of Oakhurst and the surrounding environs. A little more detail in this area would be very nice, but it isn't missed too much.
The citadel itself doesn't fail to please. It's got a little of everything that you'd want in a good low-level dungeon, a cool little backstory involving a dragon cult (unfortunately relatively little of this backstory is directly available to your PCs, so you may want find wants to drop more hints and clues about its history if you think that is something they'd enjoy), a war between goblinoids (making diplomacy with one faction an option) and your obligatory sinister antagonist. There's traps, puzzles and secret passages ways. Your players will contend with a variety of threats including the aforementioned goblinoids, as well as the local vermin, the odd minor demon or two and even a dragon wyrmling.
One thing I'll note is that the adventure does seem a bit light on treasure for the players. I ran through the module and totaled all of the items and coinage up (including hidden treasures, enemy gear -- most of which isn't worth bothering with, potions and magic items) and the ballpark estimate I came up for if the PCs scraped the dungeon clean ends up at about 1/2 to 2/3 of what the Dungeon Master's Guide (3.5) recommends for a party to get from encounters in the course of achieving their 3rd level (which is how far this module will take the PCs), if that.
Perhaps the worst thing about the loot allocation (in my opinion) is that a large percentage (almost half) of the value of total loot is tied up with two particular items that make up the whole dungeon's hoard. This is the sort of thing that the DMG also advises against, as it makes fair loot splits between the players somewhat difficult. For a low level adventure in particular, I would prefer a more even loot spread.
The light treasure isn't a completely bad thing though. It gives you liberty to drop in a few items that you think you characters will like without necessarily overdoing it on loot -- just be careful and reference the pertinent sections of the DMG.
There are a few errors and inconsistencies. The goblin chief should have a higher CR and his encounter should have a higher EL. A few monsters should have higher or lower attack bonuses, save DCs, etc. Mostly minor stuff, but there is no good errata available online that I've been able to find.
My group is only about 1/3 of the way through the module so far but I think everyone is enjoying it. I'll probably get the "sequel" to this module (the Forge of Fury, which one of the treasures in this module vaguely hints at, though it isn't documented as such for the DM) while I work on writing my own adventure.
A good buy for a beginner DM.
Plus, everyone loves Meepo.
1st, the party MUST have at least four characters, with one of those a cleric. My players went in with only two characters, and keeping them alive was tough at times.
2nd, It is a little tough to blend in with a pre-existing campaign world. We use forgotten realms and I had to do quite a bit of rewriting on the backstory to make it fit. If you are starting a new campaign from scratch, no problem.
Overall, I found it an excellent adventure and recommend it. Just make sure you take enough time to really familiarize yourself with the module before you begin play, and make sure your players understand that sometimes talking is better than fighting.
I don't want to ruin the surprise, so if you're looking for a low level adventure for any party (in 3.0 or 3.5 of course) then definitely pick this one up!
First let me say I haven't played this module, or DMed it. The production quality is quite good, glossy colorful cover, clear and nicely drawn maps, evocative black and white drawings throughout.
The adventure itself allows for a wide number of plot hooks for a starting group, and supposedly leads into one of the later modules in this series which is a nice touch. The final encounter is quite interesting, a mix of different types of creatures in an unusual location (a grove underground). The sunken temple is an unusual dungeon too, and there are areas that have been controlled by goblins and kobolds as well as areas that have been unexplored by anyone in ages.. a nice mix. There are nasty traps, the ability to help kobolds out and make the temple easier to handle, prisoners to release, and even an unusual dragon encounter. As an opening module for a group wanting 'traditional' style AD&D adventuring, I highly recommend this module. While there may be too many encounters with the kobolds and goblins, there's enough here to reward the party that takes their time to explore and roleplay instead of killing everything in sight.
Most recent customer reviews
The adventure can fit well into most campaign settings and was interesting to play...Read more