First, the positives:
- The formatting of the adventure is very similar to the formatting of the example adventure from the first book.
- The layout is very easy to understand. It gives you simple text to read to the players and accounts for various possible player reactions in a realistic manner.
- This campaign book truly is a campaign. If you completed the entire book, your characters would go from level 5 (beginning) to level 10 ("Master" level). I think this concept is pretty unique! It's a good thing they released the Book of the Magnakai so you can continue adventuring to level 20...
Finally, the negatives:
- This book is for Kai only. This rules out the other 12 or so character classes from the Heroes of Magnamund book. I'm sure you could shoehorn in other characters but with the way the plot is written I don't think it would flow right.
- Deadliness. Simply put, this adventure is LETHAL! At one point (on page 115) if you don't successfully jump, your character dies! At several places there are overwhelming odds such as 24 deadly armored skeletons; "The Darkness" with INFINITE endurance (and he'll automatically fight at +10 CS!); 20 Mountain Gaiks, 20 Doomwolves and a Drakkarim Death Knight Captain AT THE SAME TIME. The book says that it's the Game Master's responsibility for keeping the heroes alive... I would say that would require some MAJOR revisions to the story as it is written.
- The timeline doesn't seem long enough to justify taking characters from level 5 to level 10.
- Sometimes, even well intentioned characters can fail a mission based on a decision they made mid-adventure. For example, after Master Stormsong is taken by the bad guys, if the heroes try to rescue him or even report what has happened to their masters the mission is considered a total failure.
All in all, I've decided against running this adventure. Although I think it's well written, the fact that only Kai can go on it is too limiting and it IS incredibly deadly, even with the rules modifications suggested in the front. Even though the campaign designers provided a well-thought out product, I think the limitations on this are too great to make it playable.
1LR Review: 10 out of 20 - It's a Miss!